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September 2nd, 2017 by Holy at www.swordofmoonlight.net

As a result of my endeavoring to do good by Sword of Moonlight in the back half of 2017 two remarkable things came about:

The first came out of left field. Something I’d thought about doing for years: it applies a meager form of classical antialiasing to the shapes cutout by black parts of texture-mapped images. This counters pixelation. I ended up doing this now because of a secondary interest in “cross-platform” text rendering; that is a challenging problem. I was considering an approach that made me curious about what this would look like, and I thought I should try to do this first, since it was simpler.

There is virtually nothing on the WWW about classical antialiasing, much less examples in software. I found some resources for implementing a relatively modern approximation called MLAA. It is not really suitable for this application, but the results were a marked improvement, so I’ve made it the default technology going forward.

The next development would be a major undertaking to finally seal the cracks I opened up in 2015 when I developed the modern replacement technology for the earlier antialiasing extension. Note that these kinds of “antialiasing” are unrelated. The new development smooths precise, purely black and white edges; whereas the “antialiasing extension” produces straight geometric lines in 3D images, and does so by preventing aliasing in the first place, akin to how MSAA works or worked, but leverages time and our eyes, so that our silicon computers can be used for more interesting things.

This is the end of a long, frustrated effort, that actually led me astray to explore COLLADA almost two years ago. Or at least, the goal I had then has been accomplished. That is to make amends for the trouble I caused. (Of course the extension can be turned off, but it looks so amazing, that the odd crack in space is insufficient cause; especially since King’s Field has a long tradition of such cracks.)

This development comes in the form of a new release. For the first time the art of Sword of Moonlight has been expanded upon by this website, or rather the art files hosted here are altered henceforth.

I remodeled all of the tiling pieces used to build mazes and exteriors that were affected by the 2015 evolution of the antialiasing extension. It was not inevitable. Many complications arose. The whole project just squeaked by. I did it for the sake of timeliness. The experience has shifted my perspective of what parts of Sword of Moonlight most require attention in the immediate term.

I avoided work on models that did not result in cracks, but while working on those that did I made other types of revisions, and insofar as those affected other models, or if I noticed something especially glaring, I made revisions to models outside the narrow scope of the campaign. I worked on the images that the models share, so that all models saw some benefit. Some changes I made can be said to go beyond mere touching up.

This work spanned many full-time work days. 3D sculpting work is time consuming. In this time I worked with the level design tool more than ever in recent years. I don’t use Sword of Moonlight as a user does. To use it so was very eye-opening. So out of this I made some quality enhancements to it. Of most interest is a new “play” button that sits between the compile step and test buttons, that combines their functions into one uninterrupted interaction; or 4 fewer button presses!

Spending so much time in this tool allowed me to address myriad glitches and deficiencies, most of which I was not even aware of. I will try to recount all of the details inside the accompanying forum post.

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