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Old 08-30-2017, 10:41 PM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
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Default The skybox thread

Let's discuss skyboxes - your favorite skyboxes, the worst skyboxes, the most enigmatic skyboxes, boxes in the sky, and so forth.

I've had some time off lately and I've been playing an unhealthy amount of Doom. Therefore, I couldn't help but notice the skyboxes. The very first one that you see is incredibly enigmatic to me. According to Pika, who provided both the images and the information, it was ripped from a Chinese tourism manual. The mountains appear normal in the original image but the way that they are used in the game makes them appear incredibly far away. Therefore, it seems like you're on a base in the middle of this enormous plain that is surrounded by mountains

https://i.imgur.com/ONHhiiO.gif

https://i.imgur.com/seF32Fi.png

The fog also creates a weird effect and the fact that there are apparently enormous mountains covered by vegetation on Mars is kind of strange.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, this is how huge mountains should appear in the distance:

https://i.imgur.com/XVrO3wq.png

They should be only slightly distinguishable from the horizon, not towering over it like some behemoth. The mountains in the Doom skybox appear to be far away on the horizon, yet they are still enormous like they're right in front of you.

The skyboxes in many of the 3D Mario games are infamous. I've seen tons of threads on various forums over the years discussing skyboxes. The ones that get the most attention are Wet-Dry World in Mario 64 and Shiverburn Galaxy in Mario Galaxy 2.

https://i.imgur.com/owMSFSn.png

The one that creeps me out the most is Big Boo's Haunt. I think that it's because of the way that the image is magnified so greatly. There's a site that claims that the skybox is actually a crypt on a hill but I can't tell. It just adds greatly to the surrealism when you're inside this cage full of ghosts and in the far distance, it's just trees that appear several thousand times larger than they should.

https://gamingreinvented.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/mario64ghostbg.jpg

Anyone who played the game remembers that to access this world, you defeat a boo and then shrink down to an ant in order to jump into the world that has materialized from his ghostly body. That makes it seem like the trees are actually from the courtyard but that they've just taken on a sinister appearance when viewed from within the world.

Then of course there's the game that reminded me of how much I love a good skybox and how crucial they are to creating a good atmosphere.

https://i.imgur.com/8pgxRm4.png

A lot of modern games don't leave as much to the imagination. The skyboxes are bland or sometimes they don't exist at all because you're in an enclosed area where the surroundings are all modeled. Sometimes the skybox is just totally featureless and boring. The technical drawbacks of old hardware resulted in some crazy skyboxes like in Doom in Mario 64. TFE/TSE HD is the only modern game that comes to mind where the skyboxes were still amazing.

There are plenty of other skyboxes that would be cool to discuss but I don't think that I'd ever be able to locate them. Skyboxes are way too underappreciated so it's time to give them the attention that they deserve.

Last edited by Poorchop; 08-30-2017 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:40 AM   #2   Add To Ignore List  
Khnum
 
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Default Re: The skybox thread

Serious Sam 2 had the best looking skyboxes in the SS series IMO. Extremely good detail in single texture. Also the 360 degree skybox in Floatera and Cecil levels was amazing!

Next in my list is the classic FE - Space Skybox, Karnak at Night, the desert mountains with some forest on it (used in the Hatshepsut level) and of cource - my favorite - the skybox from Moon Mountains.

Quake 2 had amazing skyboxes too, like the Big Gun and space.
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Old 08-31-2017, 12:30 PM   #3   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: The skybox thread

Here's three random anecdotes that come to mind on the subject from the top of my head:



As a kid playing Quake, the purple scrolling sky combined with the ancient architecture, hellish runes and dreadful soundscape totally freaked me out. For me it really added to the feeling that I was out of place, uncomfortable and far away from safety.

Also speaking on the subject of Doom, when I played it for the first time picking up the invulnerability sphere freaked me the fuck out not only because of the sharp monochrome filter, but the sky would look the same as without powerup. I learned much, much later that it was actually an engine bug. It did contribute to my young mind being immersed in the game.

The Grand Cathedral from Serious Sam Classic TSE has an amazing skybox. Not only because of the lighting and crepuscular rays, but these God rays were actually animated. I haven't seen something so awesome in skyboxes before and really stood out for me for many years.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:34 AM   #4   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: The skybox thread

I like atmosperic skyboxes from Unreal 1. Unusual realization technique.
Also, Judge Dredd vs Death has an incredibly beautiful city skyboxes.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:02 PM   #5   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: The skybox thread

Sounds like I need to play some Quake and Unreal. I've only played a little Quake Live but I don't remember it having any particularly interesting skyboxes.
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:51 AM   #6   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: The skybox thread

Quake Live ain't where it's at. That's basically Quake III Arena which is a multiplayer-oriented arena shooter like Unreal Tournament. I'm talking about ye olde Quake I from 1996.
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:20 AM   #7   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: The skybox thread

BtW in many cases Quake 3 is closer (at terms of visuals) with the first Quake. Most of the skyboxes are just some texture floating over, just as it was in the first Quake. All of the religious-themed levels are similar to the Quake 1 levels atmosphere, and so on, and so on... Quake Live brought some changes almost on all classic levels - either or retextured versions of the original levels (like Q3DM17, which received skybox, instead of black nothingness), or level layout changed a bit (like The Very End of You, which in terms of layout is copy of Quake 4's remake of the map - Xaero Gravity.).
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