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New Grass System - Development Log

New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 27 Mar 2018, 11:08

Hi,
Just wanted to start a development log for the new grass system to show where the current work is and whats been done.

So, the new grass system is using an instanced grass patch which means that you only pay for a single tile of grass that might be 8mx8m. This same mesh is then used to populate the rest of the grass on the terrain which eliminates stuttering like we had on Gen1 where you would move across the ground at speed or in a vehicle and it would pop as the grass is generated.
This happens no more.

However, because it is instanced, that means the tile has to be created as a flat tile:(see image)
unknown.png
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which we then use the vertex shader with the terrain heightmap data to move the Y positions of the grass to sit on the terrain. The heightmap data will have to be recreated every time you press play, regenerate the grass tiles or if we are lucky, then recreate the map after the editing through the mouse release. This recreated data is stored into a FLOAT32_RGB format for accurate information over large areas.

Picture of the saved out heightdata:
unknown (1).png
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It was not as simple as sampling a single point of height data though as it ended up looking very steppy or stairs.
unknown (2).png
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After doing some vector mathematics in the shader and working out which triangle the vertex belonged to on the terrain, we now have it working quite nicely.
unknown (3).png
unknown (3).png (890.01 KiB) Viewed 1489 times


The only downside now is the buonding information since the bounds are set with the flat tile still and the new data is edited on the GPU, so this is affecting culling at the moment which is my current job.

I will keep this thread up to date with the development
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 27 Mar 2018, 12:13

Bounding box information is now working and updated.

Plus we have some decent height grass with density while running HBAO with it:
Clipboard Image.jpg
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby planetX » 27 Mar 2018, 15:52

This is looking great man, can't wait to play with it. ;)

My specs: Windows 10 - Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700HQ CPU @ 2.60GHz - 16 Gb ram DDR4 - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4 Gb

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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 27 Mar 2018, 21:06

Thank @planetX :)

Next bit of development information is that a basic wind in the vertex shader has been created and this is fast and looks ok so far.
Tomorrow is focusing on the actual grass mesh rendering and keep it as close to PBR as possible while improving performance.
Currently, i am also having an issue with the normals of the mesh itself, but we will get it :)

Til the next bit of news... and video tomorrow of grass & wind.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby cassius_b » 27 Mar 2018, 22:54

thanks. Great work.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SpiderMack » 29 Mar 2018, 17:40

Nice work.
Terrain will need a grass painter tool to let people paint grass on areas they want.
For performance grass density could get lower when grass is far away.

Another feature that could be interesting is grass color changing with terrain diffuse texture color.
It's a render of terrain from top view , they called pigment map in Wicther 3, you can read the presentation here :
http://twvideo01.ubm-us.net/o1/vault/GDC2014/Presentations/Gollent_Marcin_Landscape_Creation_and.pdf
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 29 Mar 2018, 18:25

ive been using the witcher3 pdf as a base guideline... and many other sites and information, too many to say them all lol

Grass already has lods and gets less dense towards the back.
Grass painting tool will be created.. already part of the plan, just getting the base work done first before i start on editor side.

Grass Colouring based on terrain map is a must and will make it blend much better with the terrain.

Not got much done with the grass today, since i have been doing tech support.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SpiderMack » 30 Mar 2018, 13:09

SolarPortal wrote:Grass already has lods and gets less dense towards the back.
Grass painting tool will be created.. already part of the plan, just getting the base work done first before i start on editor side.

Grass Colouring based on terrain map is a must and will make it blend much better with the terrain.


Great.
About colouring i don't think it's not an absolute must have, Skyline needs solid fundations first before fancy graphics options.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 04 Apr 2018, 20:24

ok, bit of an update on the progress of developing the grass.
Found and fixed why my lighting was changing when looking up or down and since fixing that, i have made some progress.

Vertex colours at the bottom of the grass are made black and blended onto the diffuse texture which gives the grass a fake shadowing on top of the terrain surface.

To add to this, we passed the terrains global normal which is what makes the mounds look like mounds and added that to the grass and used a dot product against the lighting direction which gives the grass an interesting look.
When the terrain face is dark, it darkens the grass and is the same vice versa.

Here is a couple shots to show the difference.

Grass With Terrain Normalmap - lighting addition
unknown2.png
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Grass without the Terrain Normalmap - lighting addition
unknown.png
unknown.png (985.86 KiB) Viewed 1423 times
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 04 Apr 2018, 21:13

Some more quality shots to show the newer grass rendering:

unknown.png
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unknown2.png
unknown2.png (837.16 KiB) Viewed 1423 times


Clipboard Image.jpg
Clipboard Image.jpg (198.03 KiB) Viewed 1423 times
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 07 Apr 2018, 15:08

So, grass system now has working shadows and lighting.

Shadows:
unknown (4).png
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Point light:
unknown (3).png
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Point light with point light shadows on grass:
unknown (2).png
unknown (2).png (848.9 KiB) Viewed 1408 times


Spotlight:
unknown (1).png
unknown (1).png (520.95 KiB) Viewed 1408 times


And of course another cool screeny of the grass:
unknown.png
unknown.png (969.6 KiB) Viewed 1408 times
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby cassius_b » 07 Apr 2018, 20:17

looks amazing.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 09 Apr 2018, 17:50

been doing a bit more with the grass and now we can place the grass on any terrain resolution and it will conform perfectly to the surface.

Also stopped the grass having repetitive patterns due to the single grass patch used for instancing by rotating randomly throughout a 90 degree 360 degree Yaw radius.

And of course its starting to look even better in scenes:
SkylineScreenShot04092018_174518585.jpg
SkylineScreenShot04092018_174518585.jpg (154.69 KiB) Viewed 1389 times
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SpiderMack » 10 Apr 2018, 10:44

Looking at the picture each grass type seem to have a different density and distance display, good work.
Now it needs some rocks, some trees and some wind for vegetation :)
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 09 May 2018, 12:17

Been a little while since i posted on this thread. But we do have a new update for you about the grass.

First, is the editor that has been developed in Qt and uses Skyline's Editor Plugin system to create a dockwidget built directly into the editor, this means all of you can do the same. The editor is now looking like so:

Image

For the grass, this is fully hooked into this editor now and on top of that, we have the ability to load a custom mesh for the grass that you have designed in a modelling package and imported into skyline. It produces much better grass visuals at the cost of a bit more performance because it can use an arbitrary amount of vertices compared to the quad, crossquad, or triquad precomputed meshes which use 1,2 and 3 polys respectively.

Show of custom mesh grass:
Image
Shot top down with custom mesh grass:
Image
Shot top down with Crossquad:
Image
Notice how the custom mesh allows us to create grass to look better when looking directly down.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 09 May 2018, 13:49

Just a couple more shots of what the grass editor can do:

Image

Image
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SpiderMack » 12 May 2018, 14:23

Can you show it on a terrain with multiple textures , working terrain pigment color ?
When will we be able to try it ?

Nice update :)
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 13 May 2018, 11:40

Thx, Currently, the terrain pigment has not been done, but that grass is sat on the terrain surface. Terrain pigment will be done at some point to make it match all that better.

As for when to try it, i am currently working on the spraying side and after that, is the serialising for load/save of the file and then pretty much ready to use :)
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 16 May 2018, 18:11

Grass Add / Remove feature is now working:

Image

Next is to make it use a circular brush followed by integrating a load & save routine for the grass.
A few bits of polish and it will then be good to go as Gen2 's first grass system.
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 27 May 2018, 20:35

New update: Load and save of the grass system is now working... yay! this means the system is pretty much usable now.
Here, this is an image of a loaded back scene:

Clipboard Image.jpg
Clipboard Image.jpg (207.64 KiB) Viewed 1110 times


Notice how the grass is not on the rock and accurately matches the grass ground texture, this is because the grass layer is copied from the blendlayer of the grass texture on the terrain which makes it real easy to cover your world in grass :)
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby cassius_b » 28 May 2018, 22:48

impressive! Nice work.
Reminds me I must cut the lawn. :|
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 29 May 2018, 13:52

thank you :)

Reminds me I must cut the lawn.

lol :P
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 29 May 2018, 16:05

First version of the grass system is now usable and will be apart of the next update which should be the weekend coming up if not sooner :P
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SpiderMack » 01 Jun 2018, 21:05

That's great.
I hope we'll got more exciting things worked on next, like great gameplay and challenging AI.

Removed video from this post
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Re: New Grass System - Development Log

Postby SolarPortal » 01 Jun 2018, 23:34

Thanks :)

Removed video due to thread hijack, this thread is about the development of the grass system in skyline, not AI, gameplay or
UDK.
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