Thanks to you, too, dear Apollonius, for your excellent design ideas, for your dedication for Scrabble3D, and for all your screenshots that show to us how Scrabble3D could be, ehm... , will be designed in the future!
Ha ha ha...WOW. All I could do when they made a Greek amphora was laugh. What an amazing find! I've been saving up for RPG Maker XP, but I believe that might have to take precedence! That could be used to make seamless backgrounds (like the grass or marble in the 2 skins so far) but NOT ONLY that, but borders and other elements too! And did I see a cubic 360 panorama in there?
I know...it's too soon to talk about this before before textures are even implemented, but I wanted to do it anyway, just in case it might help in the development.
I've been thinking a lot about custom space color transparency lately. It actually began when I was working on the flower skin. When the background was a full pattern (not repeated from one unit), I used GIF files for the premium spaces, so that I could make the background of the flowers transparent. Would that be possible if there were a large image for the board, without having to use gif's? Is it possible to assign a transparent color for a board space?
I ask this already expecting it to be highly improbable, but I would love a slider for custom color transparency.
Now wait! Before you throw something at me...just listen.
What if there were an image set as the background for the board, just by default. Also by default, you could set the transparency for all colors on the board to 0%. You would have to increase the transparency of the "normal" space colors (and perhaps of the premium space colors) in order to see the background image at all. You'd never see it otherwise. Users could then simply replace the blank default image to whatever they wanted, and increase the transparency of the spaces in order to make it visible. I think you could get away with having only 2 sliders; one for normal spaces and one for premium spaces, but I think 2 would be necessary.
In this way, you could have a solid background for the entire board by only using transparency...maybe! When I make a skin (or another user does), the transparency and texture association settings could be saved as default for that skin.
You could also make premium spaces like this:
For that, it would roughly translate out to something like this:
"Normal" Space Transparency - 100% Premium Space Transparency - 50-75%
Now, if you wanted to use the flowers instead for that board, you would probably want to set the premium space transparency back to 0%. Those will (hopefully) have a transparent background anyway.
This could even work for the letter tiles, to make them look as though they were made of stained glass!
I know that is a lot...especially when nothing has even been finalized yet, but if this might actually help things along, then I thought I might as well suggest it!
I don't want to slow you down, and perhaps your ideas can be realized. Just some remarks... One problem that has to be avoided is dependency from special hardware. If a big texture could be rendered only by expensive graphic cards I would prefer to do simple stuff only. As far as I know a normal texture is sized 256x256 pixel. That needs to be multiplied by 4 (red, green, blue and transparency) bytes to get needed memory installed on the graphic card: 262144 bytes. It depends on hardware how memory is allocated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_card#Video_memory OpenGL is a tricky way to do graphic stuff. I'm not an expert and have do much work in a conventional way. Therefore, I define as many textures as letters are placed in the cube, as colors are needed, as textures are used and so on. The background defined in options > design (128x128) is loaded and letter plus value will be plotted onto. If I would do all the fancy stuff that I do in 2D (player color, last move etc.) one needs to multiply the number of used textures, and only a few users with expensive graphic cards could play the game. But, of course, there are other ways to do graphics. If we decide not to have "real" pieces, that means no 3D effect, no shadow, no illumination etc., I can code all the stuff that you are doing with a paint program. Have a look on these two chess boards for an example:
Let me make sure I understand...were you planning on rendering the 2D board in 3D, so that it could be tilted at an angle, and the tiles would also be rendered in 3D?
If that is the case, then WOW! I didn't realize. That would be even closer to what I was able to enjoy in Scrabble 2001.
I will say this:
If you need me to playtest beta versions, I have access to 3 computers. 2 have Windows 7, one is a laptop (with onboard graphics chipset), and one has a geforce 1900 series card. The 3rd is an old XP machine, with only an onboard graphics chipset. None of those are really state of the art, cutting edge technology, so if they can play the program, then just about anything can.
But if a 3D look is too much, I for one would sacrifice that in order to make a fully skinnable 2D board.