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Terrain

Discussion in 'Terrain' started by JohnV, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    UPDATE - 4/11/2013

    So, I think the whole Caribbean is ready for a first test! All that's left is implementing a tile system for CryEngine and different level loading between islands, for example. That way we can load parts of the Caribbean that are visible and close to the player and unload the rest. This solution seems to be the most reasonable for the time being.

    If we finally use Ogre for the game though, this matter would be a really easier job. However, there would be more work on other stuff, like the graphical detail and other stuff this engine lacks in cmparison to Cryengine. On the other hand, I believe that further investigation in what can be achieved with Ogre, has to proceed unaffected with our progress in Cryengine.

    Some pics of the current work (World Machine rules!):
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sorry for the foggy first pictures. It gets like that when I get too far high in World View (one of the views WM has for your terrain). I can't disable fog for better visibility in this case, so you will have to struggle a bit.:rolleyes:

    Also, as you can see, the colour textures are the same as always. I will keep it that way for the first test and then I have some ideas of making it look even better and more variable, according to each island's climate and such. Also, capes not yet implemented, so coastlines are still just beaches.

    To let you understand the current stage of the project better, these are just Views of the terrain pre-built. This means, the algorithms for the colour textures generation are ready, so do the heightmap imports and tweakings (like erosion algorithm I applied to increase detail), but the final heightmap and texture images are not built. I am going to need some time to make the final built since just loading the WM save file including all of this, uses about 6GB RAM and that increases, as I cycle through the views of the terrain (because of redefining detail), or editing. I am going to build the terrain part by part and not the whole at the same time, since this is impossible. I will also exclude parts of the sea that are deeper than 50 meters.

    FIRST POST

    So, after quite a headache, I managed to import the vast caribbean heightmap information to World Machine from google earth. No colours added yet, just a heightmap reference ones.

    Here are some pics (not a pic showing the whole caribbean, because World Mahine didn't let me zoom out enough):
    Caribbean1.png Caribbean2.png Caribbean3.png Caribbean4.png Caribbean5.png Caribbean6.png

    Some island close-ups:
    Island1.png Island2.png Island3.png

    And some 3D view of Puerto Rico (camera pointing to the south accidentaly):
    puerto rico.png
    It is quite impossible to use the whole heightmap for the game, even in paged terrain mode, for two reasons (which you could have arleady thought of):

    1. We are going to need insanely much time to get promising results (that goes especially for the time the build in World Machine will need)
    2. The overal resolution we will need, is like 1.000.000x1.000.000 pixels or something which means hundreds of GBs I guess?

    I would really like to see some suggestions about what to do. What I am thinking of, is scaling it down, like 3 times smaller than the actual size, which I wouldn't like at all, or build it in a medium resolution and then edit by hand the areas that we need for the towns, locations, paths etc, in a much higher resolution.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  2. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member Admin Creative Support Storm Modder

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    This is promising work. :onya I suspect that both scaling and lower resolutions will be needed.
  3. Post Captain

    Post Captain Rigging Expert Staff Member Coordinator QC Advisor Storm Modder

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    Whatever you end up doing, that system will be much cooler than what Alkella left us with.
  4. Thagarr

    Thagarr Viking Raider Staff Member Admin Creative Support Storm Modder News Gatherer

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    Fantastic work JohnV, nicely done! :onya

    I agree with Hylie, I think there will probably have to be a combination of both approaches, scaling and lower resolution. Keeping the areas around the major ports as realistic and highly detailed as possible, but there will probably have to be some compromises there as well.
  5. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    @Hylie Pistof, thanks:) Lower resolution will definitely be needed, but I wouldn't like the scaling solution. I would suggest that to be our choice, only if we can't do anything better.

    @Post Captain, yes, World Machine is the most awesome terrain program I have used! Check the gallery on the website.

    So, some little progress. I added a land and beach erosion effect to the whole terrain, just to help me with colour masks and provide me with the option to use as good resolution as I want. I will post progress with colours hopefully soon.

    Here is the before/after of a 8x8 km view of a Hispaniola coast:
    Hisp_before.png Hisp_after.png

    EDIT: Oh, what do you actually mean with scaling? What I meant too, like scaling an island down from 100x100 km to 50x50 for example?
  6. Hammie

    Hammie HoO Team Member Programmer

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    I think its best to scale it down to a manageable size to have the basic silhouette correct. Then we could make the landscape realistic by sculpting the rivers and rocks to make everything look to scale.

    This way we have islands that are recognizable but optimized for gameplay.
  7. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member Admin Creative Support Storm Modder

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    If I am not misunderstanding then yes, that is what I am thinking about. I personally want the world map and sailing map to be large, but once on land the islands need to be scaled down some. No one wants to be hiking through the jungle for hours on end, but also it should take more than 5 minutes to cross the Isthmus of Panama, for instance.

    Does that make sense? :unsure
  8. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    I think I understand what you mean. Sounds a good idea, but still, scaling the terrain down, would hurt my feelings with realism a bit:rolleyes: But if we do not have any other option than to scale down the terrain, then your idea is what we should do.

    I was thinking of this too. It is really a problem having to walk kms and kms. However, I think we can solve this problem by keeping the actual size and implementing this: The islands in world map, will have drawn the paths that character can go to. If the character follows a path for the first time, he has to walk it in the real world island, but will have the option to increase time speed. After he has explored it, he can walk it on the world map (which means reaching the destination much faster) and stopped, if there is an attack from thieves and such. I hope though, that it won't be that long, even with increased time speed. Of course, being forced to walk it in the real world island, will be the players option, according to the game difficulty he has choosen:)

    By the way, we should definitely have the ability to increase time speed a lot in the game.
  9. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen Navigation Officer Staff Member Admin Project Manager Storm Modder

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    If we scale down the ships too, it doesn't make a difference, right? ;)

    The most important is that the islands have the correct outline and preferably the heights correct as well.
    What if you scale down the resolution? That might make them more easy to handle and afterwards I imagine that the final models need to be edited by hand anyway.

    Also, would it work better to do one island at a time? We can then place them by coordinates separately.

    In the end, I suppose Hammie is the expert on knowing what can actually be made to work with the game engine.
  10. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    Use "scale" only when you are talking about changing the size and not resolution, because I am getting a bit confused lol:confused:

    Adding an island separately is a very good idea, but for that I will need to export them as a mesh, which is pretty difficult judging from each resolution (performance issues, running it on a program like mudbox, 3dsmax or blender). Except there is an option to add multiple terrains, scattered whenever you wish in a single world, in UDK (in other words, we want to avoid underwater terrain). @Hammie, if you know well about how the terrain system works in UDK, please say if this is possible.

    Oh, and I can work the whole caribbean simultaneously, because World Machine let use erosion algorithms and such, that are applied to the whole terrain automaticaly and then I can choose specific areas to change if I wish to:) That lets me finish quite fast.
  11. Hammie

    Hammie HoO Team Member Programmer

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    It is possible to add multiple terrains but you don't have to put them in the same world/level. We can combine levels and dynamically load/unload them to save memory.
  12. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    Great!:dance So I will build the world in pages and we can add each page on a different level (or multiple pages on each, according the amount of levels we need)
  13. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen Navigation Officer Staff Member Admin Project Manager Storm Modder

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  14. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    I was confused too when I first heard about paged terrain:p It's an alternate word of saying tiles. In other words, I will build the terain in multiple tiles:) (the whole world divided to smaller terrain sections)
  15. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen Navigation Officer Staff Member Admin Project Manager Storm Modder

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    Ah, OK. Thanks for explaining. :doff
  16. splat

    splat Powder Monkey

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    excellent work there on the terrain.
  17. JohnV

    JohnV HoO Team Member Terrain Sculptor 3D Artist

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    Colour update. First colour test, based on Puerto Rico and showing part of it.

    without trees:
    without trees.png

    with trees (no actual trees, just indicative):
    with trees.png

    I would really like to see comments on this and if you have ideas, please post them:)
  18. Hammie

    Hammie HoO Team Member Programmer

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    It is looking very good. But its size scares me some. How big is it?
  19. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen Navigation Officer Staff Member Admin Project Manager Storm Modder

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    Does indeed look very good. :onya
  20. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member Admin Creative Support Storm Modder

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    I can't tell the scale, but it looks full size. At 2 knots average speed it would take days to get out of sight of land.
    It is very sharp and clear though.

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