Terrains, skys, Oceans, anything to do with the environment

Terrain Questions

Terrain Questions

Postby pgadesertrat » 21 May 2013, 00:07

I had opted to refrain from posting questions until I had invested a substantial amount of time with the software, reading thru forum posts and available docs/tutorials but the time has finally come to ask for some guidance. Just for background reference, I'm part of a small indie team that has been working on a golf sim title for a while now with another engine and are looking at switching over to Skyline.

- After importing a 16-bit height map, which works well, Skyline automatically applies materials to the terrain. This is certainly a great feature for rapid development. However, I could not find a way to simply clear the material slots so that initially I have just a single material applied to the base. The reason for this is that we'll be using terrain matching satellite images that need to be draped over the imported terrain to use as a guide for manually texturing specific areas on the course (tees, greens, fairways, bunkers, etc.). Only workaround I could find is to adjust slope/height values in the 4 other materials, refresh material build until only my base material was displayed. It would be nice to have a reference image overlay option to use instead:). Guessing that I'm just missing something here:).

- I recall reading in the features list that they total number of materials will be doubling from 5 to 10 which is great news as we'll regularly use 10 to properly texture a golf course.

- Is there any way of using 3D Splines to define areas on the terrain, similar in theory to the road tool but instead the spline could be drawn and manipulated (bezier ideally) to precisely outline say for example a sand bunker. Then, an option to fill the interior of the spline area with a chosen material. This also ties directly into my next question.

- Multiple terrain collisions, is it currently possible in the default tool set? Either by material assignment or by using the above mentioned 3D spline system. This is our biggest concern currently as golf ball to surface collision properties need to be dialed in to accurately simulate shot reactions.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby iamcheeseontoast » 21 May 2013, 16:08

There is a colour layer over the top of the materials but its still in dev. You could possibly use that for the satellite image. i'm sure the guys will let you know more.
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby pgadesertrat » 21 May 2013, 16:27

That would definitely be a slick way of doing it. Have the color map available in the terrain interface with an option to use an alternative image as an overlay. Look forward to hearing a reply from the devs.
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby SolarPortal » 21 May 2013, 17:11

We could implement a checkbox on the terrain creation panel or in a settings panel(when we have one lol), that enables the terrain to be painted or vice versa when a heightmap image is loaded. This would get around your first problem of the terrain being painted.
A possible fix for now, is to get a big brush and erase each layer so the terrain is unpainted, or like you said adjust the painting slopes/heights.

Second, to use an overlay image, load the image into the slot of you choosing and set the tiling property to match the world size you entered into the creation panel. This will make the image UV's 1:1 with the terrain and give you a large overlayed texture.

- I recall reading in the features list that they total number of materials will be doubling from 5 to 10 which is great news as we'll regularly use 10 to properly texture a golf course.

yes, the terrain material upgrade is planned in to the current list of tasks, as we want more lights on the terrain instead of the default one lightsource which we use as the directional light.

- Is there any way of using 3D Splines to define areas on the terrain, similar in theory to the road tool but instead the spline could be drawn and manipulated (bezier ideally) to precisely outline say for example a sand bunker. Then, an option to fill the interior of the spline area with a chosen material. This also ties directly into my next question.

ha, i quite like this idea and never thought of it lol.
i don't see why it couldn't be done and we will implement this at some point, but we still have to stick to priorities unless its really required.

For now, you could use a small brush and paint in the outline of your bunker, then using a larger brush, fill in to the outline. With the next release, we have solved the terrain brush to stop jumping from vertex to vertex and instead move across the surface smoothly, which makes editing alot easier/faster.

- Multiple terrain collisions, is it currently possible in the default tool set? Either by material assignment or by using the above mentioned 3D spline system. This is our biggest concern currently as golf ball to surface collision properties need to be dialed in to accurately simulate shot reactions.

Currently, this is not implemented, but we are looking at this feature ourselves.
We have just had a discussion and a couple of ideas are in mind. This is a feature that is currently being tackled among others that are required.

e.g. the vehicles need to detect whether they are on grass, rock, asphalt, etc... and reduce or increase traction for the wheels or change the particles used and detect whether the particle is enabled or not.

I hope this response can answer some of your problems :D
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby iamcheeseontoast » 22 May 2013, 17:18

I know Cry uses a colour layer and a detail layer while we use a colour and normal. They then use the colour only for distance. they also use the detail layer for different sounds and effects.
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby SolarPortal » 22 May 2013, 18:15

i thought cryengines base colourmap existed all the time but faded the detail layers out leaving a larger texture to give terrain detail. Like seeing a rock face in the distance, might have large cracks at a distance but up close using the detail layer shows more cracks and rock formations, but at all times will show the correct color of the rock from the colormap layer.

If we used skylines colormap to give information, then it would restrict how you could paint the terrain. e.g. cant paint brown onto the grass or rock as it would return the same info.

We will most likely store the information with the materials layer that gets sprayed onto the terrain, then raycast to the terrain, pick up the layer used at that position and grab the necessary information.

In the golf sim's case, the ball should fire a physics ray on the -Y Axis(points down) from the balls position and collect the contact data(if ball is in contact with ground) from the terrain to detect which texture it is sat upon and change the necessary physics parameters, it has too be done this way atm as we can't define set areas for extra collision meshes; but this will exist at some point.
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby pgadesertrat » 22 May 2013, 18:59

Thanks for the info. Erase method is a much better solution.

Nice to know that increasing the number of available materials is on a future to do list along with terrain paging, multiple terrain collisions, integrated networking, etc. The upcoming terrain brush fix you mentioned will be very much welcome. Had a discussion with our small team and everyone is on board with making the switch to Skyline from our current engine:).

So... we have decided to start with a basic driving range to give us a simpler, controlled environment to work with while concentrating on the 1st core game element which is the character rig swing system. Kind of like building a house you have to start with the foundation. Fortunately, we have a really nice advanced bones rig for the character, base models and a full set of motion captured swing animations plus some post shot player reactions. The play method that we need to implement is one referred to as a real time mouse swing as it has many advantages over the tired power bar click method used by most golf games. Basically you click on your character to start the swing, then pull the mouse back towards you for back swing and then push away for the down swing (vertical swing method, horizontal would be right to left). The character rig will follow the mouse movement in real time. There are all kinds of calculations that have to be computed based on the user's mouse motion. Off axis values to determine additional fade/draw spin applied to the ball, length of back swing and speed/velocity of down swing to calc total power of force and backspin rotation applied to the ball at impact, user controlled starting position of ball before swing to modify trajectory of the ball flight (back in stance for lower shot, forward in stance for higher shot). No doubt this is going to be a lengthy and complicated process but we're looking forward to getting started. If you guys have any tips or suggestions, possible a similar character controller to use for reference (warrior swinging a weapon), we'd certainly appreciate it.
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby StarFire » 23 May 2013, 13:40

Great to hear you are moving over to Skyline with your project :D

We will happily work with you to help you get the required mechanics for your game. You can either email myself or SolarPortal directly if there is information that you need help on, that can not be posted to the forums for whatever reason.

I will soon be passing all of the current character controller functions to lua so custom controllers can be created which will be ideal for your game.

If you want you could create a post in the projects section of the forum to keep everyone informed of your development ;)
http://www.chi-ad.com/Skyline/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=9

Great to have you onboard =)
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Re: Terrain Questions

Postby pgadesertrat » 28 May 2013, 19:32

Great to hear that the dev team is already working on a solution to allow for specific collision properties per surface material. This would be essential to simulate many outdoor sporting games such as auto/moto/bicycle/skate, ski/snowboard/snowmobile where the player would encounter varying types of surfaces. I remember a couple years back playing a demo of an Ogre3D based commercial game entitled Motorm4x. To this date it's an amazing example of what is capable with the rendering engine. It's a 4x4 game that required some controlled throttle/brake response in certain hill climbing situations so I'm assuming they had multiple surface collision properties implemented. Also, the river areas were amazing visually. I'd love to find out how they simulated flowing water and waterfalls so realistically, possibly flow maps? Attached only river area screenshot I could find from WIP game version circa 2007. Unfortunately, the software company is no longer around that I could find.
Image

Ah, being able to create controller customization via Lua would be of great help. Our team is made up of several talented graphics artists/modelers and our sole programmer (C++ background) so the more the rest of us can do along the way the better. Makes sense to have the modelers working directly on a character controller since they are most familiar with the character rigs (one male, one female). Depending on performance impact I'm really in favor of high level scripting as much as possible as it's typically a quicker way to develop and implement play features.

Yes, I'll see about adding our project info as suggested this week so we can post updates in the future.


Thanks
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