Post news RSS Progress Update 4

In this progress update, improvements were made to the mountains, light scattering was added for the point lights, and a new airship - the medium broadside-class, was modeled.

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Two major changes have been made to the rendering engine since the last progress update. The mountains, which were looking a little bare and low poly, now have more detail, normal maps and textures. The point lights (as opposed to the sun, which already had atmospheric scattering) that are placed in all lanterns now have their own light scattering added to them.

To improve the mountains, the engine now breaks mountains up into small patches, and for each patch generates six levels of detail - one very low poly patch (2x2 pixels), one low poly patch (4x4 pixels), one normal poly patch (8x8 pixels), one high poly patch (16x16 pixels) and one very high poly patch (32x32 pixels). Additionally, a 128x128 pixel patch is generated to create a normal map for all patches. The normal map adds a lot of detail - and makes even the very low poly patches look feasible from a distance. Each patch can be swapped out for one of the 5 levels of detail depending on it's projected size on the screen, and the very low poly patches are used for collision detection. A mountain might be made up of 8x8 of these patches, which are generated to fit seamlessly next to each other. Finally, experiments with textures on mountains are being made - no single texture could cover an entire mountain and look good, so instead, I'm using small, tileable textures and overlaying them based on the position and slope of the mountain. The following screenshots use two of these preliminary textures, one grassy and green for low slope areas, and one rocky and gray for high slope areas.



The next major change was light scattering for point lights. Before this update, only the sun had light scattering added (to create effects like sunset). This is because light scattering effects are expensive, and while doing them for one light source (the sun) is ok, doing them for hundreds of little point lights would be too expensive. However, using an image space post processing effect, I have added an approximation to light scattering for point lights. The scattering creates a light glow around lights caused by light scattering inside the atmosphere, and is most noticeable inside clouds and denser atmospheres. This effect will also allow for stunning lighting effects caused by lightning bolts inside of clouds.



The final minor update has to do with the silhouette lines. Tweaks were made to the algorithm to stop the random line artifacts that were appearing when looking at the mountain from a distance.


Short video showing off all of the above updates:


Also, as you might have noticed, the above screenshots include a new airship (with preliminary textures), the medium broadside class airship, modeled by Shrew81.



Comments
RedOwl
RedOwl

Very nice work, Terra! I love the new mountains and the lantern glow is quite pretty, too. ^_^

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vfn4i83
vfn4i83

Very nice. That montain is just awesome, hope that the whole map isnt just a montain.

Looking foward to more

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terra0nova Author
terra0nova

No given scene will have more than a few mountains, depending where in the world the scene takes place (some areas are more densely populated with mountains than others - but a scene is only a few kilometers by a few kilometers large). However, there will be a lot more than one or two mountains in the world - scenes are just for single missions, and outside of scenes is a world map view, where you can fly from mountain to mountain. In a common scene, there might be two mountains, many clouds, a few towns on each mountain, and of course plenty of airships.

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Timmon26
Timmon26

I think it's also possible for a scene to take place over nothing but land, with no Twilisphere visible. If you were to fly over the very center of Andasho for instance, you'd see nothing but mountains; cities could easily be built in the valleys between peaks in these areas.
Other scenes may just be endless clouds...

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spellman23
spellman23

Very sweet.

Gonna have to figure out a better way for clouds to distinguish themselves, though. Right now they kinda blend in too easily.

Really loving the progress though. Keep it up!

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awesomepossum
awesomepossum

Agreed the clouds do kinda blend together at some angles.
However, the cloud shadow effect as you moved the camera facing towards the sun is awesome!

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terra0nova Author
terra0nova

Yes - there is a problem with the cloud shading, and it has to do with the image space technique I use. When the sun is behind the clouds reflecting through to the screen, then the technique is fairly accurate and that's why it looks good. But there are problems at all other angles, causing the clouds to all look gray and uniform. I have ideas to fix the clouds, and they are one of the first things I'll fiddle with when I return to working on the rendering engine. Clouds have probably caused the most trouble to me during development lol .

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Noremakk
Noremakk

This is shaping up to be a great game.

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ZiroBurno
ZiroBurno

Beautiful work! A true work of Art and fantastic gameplay is in the making :)

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terra0nova Author
terra0nova

Thanks Ziro. The rendering engine looks quite artistic, and I myself am looking forward to when there is more gameplay coded and an early gunner stage demo.

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