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 Gorthaur's Maps 
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:16 am
Posts: 64
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Btw, as nice as these look. I have to raise a concern: How intensive are these maps? Looks like there's a shitload of geometry? Also, what kind of texturing do you have on those, exactly? Just a blend of diffuses?


Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:41 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:21 pm
Posts: 24
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Thanks for the kind words everyone! Let me explain how these were made to address everyone hopefully. I already explained most of this to Greth.

Voidspawn, the geometry is just a regular terrain generated by a heightmap and layer alpha maps in UDK's landscape system. I usually use 3-5 layers of materials. There are a few subtle specular and normal maps in some of the materials. I assume unity is doing something similar with the splat map system. I'm no technical artist though and there a bunch of different ways to texture things so it's likely I'm not doing it the best way.

Perhaps it looks more complex than usual because 1) some of these are very large terrains and 2) the fancy texturing of the erosion flow patterns on some make it look more complex than it actually is 3) Normal maps on the sand dunes make it look more complex also

I don't know if Unity has the fancy level of detail and streaming stuff that UDK has to simplify the terrain geometry at a distance but I doubt we will need gigantic terrains anyways.


In the past I have made a number of terrains for various game projects with mixed results. It usually involved hand painting terrains as well as the textures in the tool which was overly time consuming and did not look very natural. I tried a variety of procedural terrain generation programs and ended up buying a standard license for World Machine (licensed for commercial use for $100).

I've been experimenting with the available presets and macros and editing, combining and creating new ones to generate terrains I like. There is a ton of trial and error involved to get the desired results and still need to learn a lot to make truly original terrains that play well too. Texturing is handled by a macro in world machine and UDK but there is an alternate way for Unity that should work too.

Most of the textures here are from cgtextures.com (a royalty free texture website where you can pay to get higher resolution versions in bulk) and modified by me in GIMP or Photoshop to adjust colors and styles to make them look better. The red and white terrain has textures from Tribes 2 as placeholders but will be replaced as soon as I can. I'm no artist so a real texture artist would be a great asset for us I think.

The floating base was made for practice and it has no internal structures yet. The internal part is the most time consuming in my opinion and I don't want to waste time on a base until I know it will be used in some way. The current stuff is too similar to Broadside but I think we can make some original floating ships and bases in our own flavor at some point.

I've been using some expensive programs to create the bases so these greyboxes couldn't be used in a commercial release but no doubt they would be replaced by higher detail stuff made in Blender by me or hopefully a better modeler. I used Sketchup (commercial license is $500 I believe) and Maya ($$$) to create architecture so far.

These terrains are a bit overscaled but that can be changed easily. A weakness of the procedurally generated stuff is that unlike Greth's the individual features are not tailored to specific gameplay so it's more about trial and error to find places best for gameplay and then make maps from those. Basically I generate an infinite world based on rules and then explore that world for the best part and cut that out to create the map. Perhaps it will be possible to modify the heightfields in terresculptor to blend them with hand sculpted terrain. These large, procedural terrains are also better for large gametypes with vehicles etc. rather than something that needs to be highly designed like a dueling or deathmatch map.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:48 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:04 pm
Posts: 102
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Oh Man! WTG! Excellent work, all the right stuff.
All hail the terrain overlord Gorthaur.
Truly exceptional.


Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:56 pm
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Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:16 am
Posts: 143
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Well I'm still impressed. I'm going to look into WordMachine more, I think my handcrafted terrains could use stuff like erosion - I don't quite like the results I'm getting in Terre. I might even end up shelling out the 100 if it does this kind of stuff.

So the weightmaps / splatmaps were generated through Worldmachine I take it? As I said before I haven't really spent that much time on texturing. I'd love to get this kind of result on the stuff I already have. I love the 'veined' plant patterns going on. Hell, if you could link me to those textures I'm going to try those myself.

As for modelling, I'd really look into Blender. It's free and it's integration with Unity is unbelievable. I'm starting to become versed in the whiteboxing / prototyping aspect of it all, where Voidspawn is doing the stuff that requires actual artistic skill. I would strongly advise against Sketchup as it has no business making gameplay functional models.
Again, I'd like to chat, I can also give you some of the scaling we're using for buildings right now. Most of it is translated from the UDK units we used.
Player height in Blender / unity is 1 unit tall and 0,5 wide. I'll still need to do testing, but so far the Deimos (Deathmatch) remake we're working on is using 3,5 height on the walls, 6 wide and 0,5 thick. Floor panels are 6x6 and again 0,5 thick - so the size of a full floor is 4 high on the outside.

It's from there that we can find the best high speed environment, lowering the ceiling will lead to faster perceived speed but will reduce movement choice etc.. These values are largely untested but are a good benchmark to work from.

Right now I'd like to design flag bases as 'tiny deathmatch maps' to allow for duelling to be smooth and not just an afterthought. At least for indoor flag bases without a direct outside route for a capper.

As for procedural terrain, I've tried it on my own as well. But as you said, there is a lot of trial and error involved. After a long time of experimentation, I've pretty much narrowed down some of the things that make a good competitively viable heightmap.
Some of my general criteria for my handcrafted terrain are as follows:
- Radial symmetry.
- Never a great amount of map visibility on high points, or make those points hard to reach (steep inclines).
- No direct line of sight between bases.
- The shortest route (as the crow flies) between two bases should never be the easiest one. (e.g. it should have at least 2-3 valleys between). AKA preventing the creation of the dreaded Llama trench.
- No wasted space. Each valley or area of the map should be considered active to gameplay. This is important for the development of routes by players of all levels. I don't map out possible capping routes. I create multiple approaches from valley to valley. Which happens automatically with the way I paint them. It's quite random as it is.
- Plateaus and Valleys. If you build your map with different height levels as a base, connecting them with valleys you can give a map a lot more depth. You can have sudden tremendous height differences pop up after an area everyone could have sworn was flat. You don't dot around mountains that go up and down. Doing this can also hit a perfect feeling of transitioning when you're first on a downward slope, suddenly confronted with a steep drop. You don't get the same sensation if you've consciously climbed the hill, the hill needs to come out of nowhere.

On the subject of valleys, as I said I don't really make hills. I first make plateaus and the brush strokes I use to spread those out become the hills.
The effect of Valleys is loosely explained here with images of Megiddo. And you can see how it evolves with a timelapse I made of another map 'Draxin' that tries to borrow gameplay from Dangerous Crossing.

Sorry to go on a rant, it came out of nowhere :P

As I said before in a PM to you though Gorthaur, I do believe procedural terrain is a viable thing, but then for something like a fully deployable gametype where route balance isn't important.

_________________
Greth, much like Lilith, was one of Gods first children. He was subsequently banished from the garden of eden because he kept complaining about the lack of radial symmetry in the heightmap concept of the garden. The placement of the tree of wisdom was also lacking in strategic importance. All historical records featuring Greth, including Bible passages have been expunged since the early 12th century.


Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:15 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:21 pm
Posts: 24
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
I couldn't find a video of the first step but I will explain it. There is a macro someone developed that you plug into your World Machine flowchart so it takes the heightfield and splits it up into layers. You edit the macro setting the lower and upper extents of each layer so you choose what slop mountain texture begins, what slope snow begins, etc. So you will have a bunch of .r8 alpha maps exported such as cliffs, hills, grass. One of these is called "flow" which is what makes the veiny looking erosion patterns. You have to tweak it as well to say where it starts and ends on the elevation.

Once all of those are exported you import them into your specially set up landscape in UDK: http://youtu.be/zU2QunA0eTc

Since we are no longer using that I imagine we will have to use this tutorial to get similar results: http://youtu.be/TUPwG_CXYFA


Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:29 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:21 pm
Posts: 24
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Edited first post to add in latest work. These aren't finished levels by any means but mostly landscapes ready to be modified and turned into levels once we have gameplay working properly. Need working jetpacks and flags before I can get a feel for things.


Sat May 03, 2014 8:32 pm
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:57 pm
Posts: 780
Location: San Francisco, CA
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Mmm, pretty.

Also, are you working in UDK? If so, you should be able to load up the UDK free fall source for jetpacks and flags.

_________________
"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Sat May 03, 2014 9:43 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:21 pm
Posts: 24
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
Yeah I have it loaded up. The jetpack is so buggy though. It only works about half of the time. I guess the flags don't really matter unless you have multiplayer though hah! Forgot about that. I think you just had UT ctf flags right?


Sun May 04, 2014 4:33 am
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:57 pm
Posts: 780
Location: San Francisco, CA
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
That is odd. The jetpack should work flawlessly. And yes, just used UT CTF flags.

_________________
"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Sun May 04, 2014 4:08 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:21 pm
Posts: 24
Post Re: Gorthaur's Maps
I'm still using the old UDK stuff for this. Are you talking about Unity working perfectly? I never saw a link how to set that one up.Or maybe I am using an old build? Last time I asked someone said the jetpack not registering your mouse click sometimes was a known issue in the UDK build.


Mon May 05, 2014 10:09 pm
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