Terrain resolution question...

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Mitovo
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:28 am
Hi folks!

Just curious about something.

One thing I've not been a fan of with T3D's terrain is that it seems to be very "chunky" at standard settings (1m per unit), and it's kinda ugly to me.

I decided to try something out, and it seems to be yielding positive results so far. BUT, I just want to be sure there's no downside to this before I get too excited about it...

What I'm doing is using a heightmap that's 2x the size of the area I'm looking to create, and then setting the unit size to .5m. So, I use a 2048x2048 heightmap, set the unit size to .5m, and end effectively end up with a 1 kilometer area, but with much "finer" control over terrain detail.

So, for a 1/2 Km area, I'd use 1024x1024, and so on...

Now, are there any down-sides to this? Is T3D's terrain LoD system effective enough to make this work effectively?

Thanks in advance!
jjkarau
Posts: 17
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 5:02 pm
 
by jjkarau » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:51 am
At one point I kind of tried that same sort of system trying to make the resolution overall of the landscape look better, but I did run into problems down the road scaling everything else within the level to work along with it, i.e. character and buildings and such.

The problem I believe you are having is that Torque actually reads heightmaps different than other engines, and it seems to me every engine reads those heightmaps differently. Not to mention heightmaps can be made many different ways. Try altering the colours on your actual heightmap or even just try running a large, soft, smoothing brush across the terrain and see if that helps.

I personally have a lot of reading and searching within the engine to confirm any of my suspicions or ideas, so don't take them at face value, it's just a suggestion of a workaround that I use.
Mitovo
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:35 pm
At one point I kind of tried that same sort of system trying to make the resolution overall of the landscape look better, but I did run into problems down the road scaling everything else within the level to work along with it, i.e. character and buildings and such.

The problem I believe you are having is that Torque actually reads heightmaps different than other engines, and it seems to me every engine reads those heightmaps differently. Not to mention heightmaps can be made many different ways. Try altering the colours on your actual heightmap or even just try running a large, soft, smoothing brush across the terrain and see if that helps.

I personally have a lot of reading and searching within the engine to confirm any of my suspicions or ideas, so don't take them at face value, it's just a suggestion of a workaround that I use.

I see. Well, I wasn't intending on changing the scale of anything else. Effectively, I'd want to end up with a 1km area (for example) either way. This way, I'm just able to get finer detail in the terrain - specifically in areas where there's a sharp change in angle (like the top or bottom of a cliff). I've noticed that in other engines, the transitions tend to be a lot smoother with out as much of that "sawtooth" effect, while it seems to be very pronounced in T3D's case. It creates a very low-poly/chunky effect. I'm just looking for a way to mitigate that, without having to have every cliff be smooth/rounded, or having to rely on covering everything up with 3D meshes, etc.,

I'll have to figure something out that works.

Thanks!
rlranft
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:11 pm
 
by rlranft » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:04 pm
Yeah, that should do the trick - the "downside" is the increase in the terrain data size. So unless you're running the 64 bit build you'll hit the memory cap earlier.
Duion
Posts: 1064
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:51 am
 
by Duion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:11 pm
I once tried a terrain with 0.5 square size, looked a bit more detailed but you get stuck more often and it increased the polycount by a whole lot, so overall not a good idea, better work on better textures and blending instead smoothing the terrain mesh more.
rlranft
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:11 pm
 
by rlranft » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:41 pm
Well, getting stuck more is probably a result of having the higher horizontal resolution while keeping the same vertical size - so more polygons that exceed the "max walkable" slope. So one would have to ensure that the source heightmap was relatively free of noise.
Duion
Posts: 1064
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:51 am
 
by Duion » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:24 pm
No, you also get stuck because of more edged terrain.
Bloodknight
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:58 pm
by Bloodknight » Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:16 am
You will get more fidelity at a cost, the terrain LOD operates on a division type algorithm last I looked at the parts I understood, so while it does work, its still going to be heavier on memory in some respects. That being said 1 2k height map is a 2k heightmap probably not much difference, but as mentioned if you start getting bigger then more memory will be an issue, I do some experimenting pre x64 times with large terrains, I should probably revisit my 8k terrain at some point.

the height is pseudo based on the squaresize if you experiment with square size in the game, and then re-import a height map at the same square size you will see what I mean.
Well, getting stuck more is probably a result of having the higher horizontal resolution while keeping the same vertical size - so more polygons that exceed the "max walkable" slope. So one would have to ensure that the source height map was relatively free of noise.
No, you also get stuck because of more edged terrain.
both saying the same thing since you can only get 'edges' with angled polys.
Mitovo
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:21 pm
Hmm, good to know!

Okay, I'll just keep it at 1 per unit, then and work with it from there.

Thanks for the feedback/info!
Duion
Posts: 1064
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:51 am
 
by Duion » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:02 am
1 or 2 are the only sizes that work well, everything else gets into too big issues.
If you want to save polygons you can increase the terrain LODing scale, it will remove polygons in the distance by reducing them into bigger polygons, that should be enough.
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