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layers ftw!
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TOPIC: layers ftw!

layers ftw! 6 years, 7 months ago #363

I believe in a structured and visual workflow.
So I suggest that the whole work be organized on layers. It's the only way to combine 2D environment with 3D conceptualization. But do it not only with collision but with everything.

Make a layer widget (pane) just like in Photoshop.
The layer could have states, like locked/unlocked(active), visible/invisible, selected/unselected. Each layer would have in addition a small check box.
Each object when is selected would check the box of every layer containing it. Yes, an object can be in several layers, like currently. Thus, a precaution regarding states would be necessary:
- locked layer doesn't lock an object spanning across unlocked layer(s). The same for visible layers. In fact, the same object is drawn in multiple layers and so, there's no problem with state propagation among layers.

Why would a layer have both "unlocked" and "selected" states? -- You may ask.
You could create objects simultaneously in several layers by selecting them before creation. Thus, an object physically occupies more layers.
The unlocked state would be there for operations that by default would propagate all through the layers. By locking some layers, they don't affect these.
Of course, for simplicity reasons, you could drop the locked/unlocked state.
A newly created joint would "rivet" all the objects in unlocked/selected layers or in these, selectively only in topwards direction or bottomwards.
The layers could also have transparency.
This would be the "physical" layout (layers sorted physically)

But we're free to sort them by types (as in body, joint, force), by brush, by transparency, by width of objects (no of containing layers), by scripts or even by... restitution. In this case, a layer would display only joints or scripted bodies. More like a "search by" thing. (not too useful but when it comes to control, no feature is useless if only requires extra few minutes of implementation)

One more thing: it takes a little time to do but I think it might be cool:
To see the Z axis on Y. That is, the objects seen from above. Not difficult, if you have already done the layer system. Take the X's of each and set a const width for Z. Hey, I'm not talking about some parallax or self-occlusion shader (although... )
With the same regard, a thin slider on the side of the layer widget would go into or out of the 2D objects in the scene, that is, progressively fade in or out layers of overlapping objects.

Re: layers ftw! 6 years, 7 months ago #365

  • Dimitris
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 218
Interesting suggestions you have there.

I think that it would be indeed very useful to have layers in Physion (AutoCAD style layers). Layers would definitely organize better a scene but I *think* they would make the usage of the program a little bit more difficult to use and understand (at least for the average user)

Yes, an object can be in several layers
I didn't exactly understand how an object could span across several layers... Could you explain that?

You could create objects simultaneously in several layers by selecting them before creation.
Same as above.... (explanation?)

One more thing: it takes a little time to do but I think it might be cool:
To see the Z axis on Y. That is, the objects seen from above.
Very good idea but I don't think it would be as easy (implementation-wise)

Thanks a lot for your suggestions

Re: layers ftw! 6 years, 7 months ago #366

You're wellcome. In fact, I thank you for showing interest in my suggestions. This way there is a slight chance that the future versions of Physion would partly work the way I'd like.
No offense but honestly at the moment I'm using another application (because I don't quite know how to use Physion) but I'm having a hard time with that application, due to 2 aspects of the lack of layers:
1. It's hard to select an underlying body; you have to move the top ones behind. Not to mention that there's no way of easily change the z value of the selected body (incrementally) -- you can only place it either on top or at the bottom of the "stack".
You could say that this can be very well mitigated without layers, by simply clicking more times and cycling through the overlapping bodies, like in Incredibots (which BTW has a smooth workflow for the few features it has).
But what when several bodies have the same shape and size? How can you tell which one is selected?

2. The second aspect is visualization. Suppose you d/l a scene and look at an object having more overlapping bodies. How do you figure it out? There are cases when you have to cycle somehow between the bodies, just to see it through.

So, the aspects are building and understanding. Moreover, what we conceptualize in mind can be easily "materialized". Imagine what is the difference between thinking of somebody and looking at her/his picture . Or computing 2-digit multiplications mentally.

Yes, an object can be in several layers
When a body has more "layers" of collision, it shows up in more of our layers (in each of them. This assuming that you can view individual layers content). You could make it so the scene is more realistic by allowing a body to only span consecutive layers, so not to have "trans-dimensional" bodies . In that case, the no. of layers would give the width of the body (imagine an object seen into the Y axis).
About the layers, I'd personally prefer not to call them "collision layers" but more like "physical layers", because unlike the former which hardly are layers, due to excessive abstracting, and are restricted to collision, "now" there's more to them, they are physical, concrete, we can see the width of the body, like slices, and you could add to the realism even further, by having the option that the width of the body would influence the mass )

You could create objects simultaneously in several layers by selecting them before creation.
When you create a body and want it to have more (physical) layers, you first select the layers that the body would span, then build the body which now is as thick and influential as the no. of layers.
I said "select" the layers, because by default only one layer (generally the top-most) is selected and you'd have to hold CTRL to select multiple layers.

You mentioned AutoCAD layers. You're right. I think thumbnails for every layer would be more difficult, as you'd have to draw multiple times. Nevertheless, the AutoCAD layers -> thumbnails upgrade would make just an as huge leap as a collision layer -> AutoCAD layer, or if you will, like the evolutions from command-line games -> 2D games and 2D games -> 3D games . I'm not implying that you should go for thumbnails, I only state what would be the most intuitive and expensive system like, conceivable.

The thumbnails and Y axis view are more like ideas rather than suggestions, I know there's a long way...
If you've read through to see this, I thank you again
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