Anyone else feel like this? Or am I just weird?

Friendly conversations, and everything that doesn't fit into the other forums.
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Mitovo
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
  by Mitovo » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:27 pm
So, I've been playing around in TGEA lately, and I don't know what it is, but for some reason, I always feel more motivated and "comfortable" working with that editor than I do working in T3D. I don't know why. It's like putting on an old pair of shoes - there's holes, and the soles are worn down, but they're just comfortable as heck.

Of course, I'm saying this from an artist point-of-view. Might have a totally different opinion if I were a programmer.

Further, I still don't think it looks bad at all. With some good artwork, and clever use of different effects, I bet you can still get some great results from it. I loaded up the rainy prairie content demo, and thought "you know this does not look bad, at all. I could easily play a game with these graphics". I really wish there was still more active support and community around it. I'd love to actually build something with it, I just don't think the community is there anymore.

T3D has a lot of great tools and features, for sure. Not knocking it at all. It just doesn't feel as comfortable to work with, for some reason.

Anyone else feel like that? Or am I just weird?
Duion
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by Duion » Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:51 pm
I don't feel that since I do not know any Torque version before the open source release.
You will not have much choice other than to switch to Torque3D, since there is lots of updates and new features coming.
Mitovo
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:02 am
I don't feel that since I do not know any Torque version before the open source release.
You will not have much choice other than to switch to Torque3D, since there is lots of updates and new features coming.
Yeah. Well, to do any serious project, I'd likely have to switch to T3D, anyway, because there's not much of a community around the earlier versions anymore, and you can't buy a new license.

I was just wondering if anyone else who'd worked with them also felt working with TGEA/TGE to feel more "comfortable" in a similar way to me.
JeffR
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by JeffR » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:03 am
I'd say I'm more comfortable with the current editor. May be because I reaaaally know it at this point, but I just like it compared to the older editors.

That said, if you could figure out what makes the TGEA editor so comfy to you, that's the sort of thing that makes for good notes on improving things going forward. An editor you can feel comfortable working with is really important.
Mitovo
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:20 pm
I'd say I'm more comfortable with the current editor. May be because I reaaaally know it at this point, but I just like it compared to the older editors.

That said, if you could figure out what makes the TGEA editor so comfy to you, that's the sort of thing that makes for good notes on improving things going forward. An editor you can feel comfortable working with is really important.
I was thinking about that and, I think, it kinda comes down to them feeling more "straight forward" to work with. Fewer buttons to push. Fewer places to have to poke around for things. I think there was something "elegant" about the TGE/TGEA editors.

Also, I like the "feel" of the terrain editor more, for some reason. I just can't get comfortable with T3D's terrain editing.

My biggest beef with T3D has to be the weird way it handles terrain materials. The approach taken by, well in my experience, most every other game engine I've worked with, is more straight forward. Among my favorites are where you create a new material, assign your diffuse texture, normal map, spec map, etc. Then, each element has a slider with a real-time update view to see what it looks like. Get it where you want it, click 'Save', and you're done. It can take seconds to get a perfect looking basic material, no fussing with decimal places. A few also have vertex color blending, so you can colorize the terrain in spots, to add variation or change the overall look of it (I think Blizzard started doing this in WoW, too, either this expansion or the last one).

T3D's approach feels very convoluted to me, by comparison, like it's off in left field. It's the only terrain material editor I've ever seen that works the way it does. You have to make sure you have good color/brightness balance for diffuse and detail textures. Then you have to fidget with numbers at the decimal level 'til you find the right blend. Then you have to make sure your macro detail texture is well balanced against the normal detail and the diffuse, or things get too bright, or too dark; this also requires fussing with extremely small numbers. Then there's making sure the normal texture is "just right", which also involves messing with really small numbers, to not get really bizarre "warping" effects on the surface (I've never seen this phenomenon happen in any other terrain editor with normal maps). I'm sure there's a method to its madness, I've just never been able to wrap my head around it. It always feels like I'm fighting with it to get results I could have in seconds in other editors.

If there were a genie in a bottle granting me a wish, it would be for a reworking of the terrain material editor to be more intuitive with better visual feedback.

Aside from that, I'd like to see the height editing tools standardized a bit, too. Those also work very differently from most other engines. T3D is the only editor I've used where "flatten terrain" continuously updates the "set height" as you move the brush, causing it to rise and lower as you move around. The standard flatten tool works where it gets the height under your mouse cursor when you first click, locks in at that value, and then adjusts the terrain to that elevation as you move around, until you let go of the mouse button.

As for TGE/TGEA's set up... I think I like their terrain texturing approach better simply because they are much more straight forward. Pick the diffuse texture, pick the detail texture, done. You get results that just look good without having to fuss with them extensively. The lack of options works better in their case lol. However, expanding on them, I'd *personally* have liked to see the terrain material workflow taken in a different direction.

To give an example, Esenthel has one of the most intuitive and straight-forward terrain material editors I've ever seen or used. Here's a demo of it in action. You can see how straight-forward and intuitive it is, with great visual feedback, etc. I'd suggest watching the whole vid, as it shows off a variety of tools that, I think, would be phenomenal in T3D. Would love to see something more along those lines in T3D

My two cents.
Last edited by Mitovo on Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:26 am, edited 4 times in total.
Duion
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by Duion » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:45 pm
The terrain editor may be easy and intuitive in Esenthel engine, but nowadays we have total different standards in terrain editing alone. You have very complex tools that do just generate terrains, like World Machine. I don't think any engine now has such a capeable terrain editor like World Machine and others. If you want good looking realistic terrains you will have to switch to third party tools anyway.
Mitovo
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:05 pm
The terrain editor may be easy and intuitive in Esenthel engine, but nowadays we have total different standards in terrain editing alone. You have very complex tools that do just generate terrains, like World Machine. I don't think any engine now has such a capeable terrain editor like World Machine and others. If you want good looking realistic terrains you will have to switch to third party tools anyway.
I'm not talking about advanced or "realistic" terrain editing. I never allude to any such thing. Please don't put words in my mouth.

I'm talking about very, very basic functions like painting terrain textures and flattening terrain. Are you seriously arguing that such basic functions are so far beyond T3D that the only feasible solution is to use a 3rd party editor instead? If that's the case, and the response to "how T3D's tools can be improved" is "use a 3rd party editor", then why have terrain editing/painting tools in T3D at all?

Further, I was asked a question and I responded. So far, you've responded in this thread twice, and neither response was at all relevant, nor constructive. You flat out said in your first response that you haven't used TGE or TGEA, yet you felt qualified to respond anyway. Now you're responding in a way that completely deflects away from the main point.

Also, you're completely contradicting yourself from another thread I'd posted, the one about Deathball Desert. In that one, you stated, and I quote:
Probably some skill and patience is needed, you can try out the other tools in the editor, like smoothing, making ramps, adding noise etc should not be that hard, I hand crafted my terrains as well.
So, in one thread your vote is for T3D's editor, because you hand-craft all your own terrains. Yet in this thread, you're here arguing about "different standards in terrain editing", and that a third party editor would be required?

Do you actually have a position, or do you just like to disagree for the sake of disagreeing?

Whatever the case, none of your replies so far have been at all constructive or helpful, and I find you irritating. If you're not going to add to the conversation in a meaningful or relevant way, can you please leave the thread and let others who are interested continue?
Thank you.
Duion
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by Duion » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:27 pm
My levels are all made with the T3D terrain editor all made by hand, it was not that hard, I only improved the basetexture in a third party tool. The only problem you occasionally get is that you get hard edges from the brush, there maybe could be some more options to randomize or smooth the brush so you do not get such harsh edges where you paint.
JeffR
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by JeffR » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:42 pm
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Mitovo


Yeah, I really dislike the current terrain materials deal. Making terrains use the regular materials is on the block for 4.0, because the odd half-n-half materials it has now is definitely less than ideal.

As for the flatten terrain, I think it's intended to flatten at the average point, compared to the set height function, which sets it to an explicit height. But yeah, I can see what you mean about flatten sampling the height when flirst clicked, and then acting as setHeight as long as the mouse is held down. Maybe as an alternate mode for flatten to dictate weither it re-evaluates the height, or just paints-to-height of the initial click.
Mitovo
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm
by Mitovo » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:50 pm
@MiToVo

Yeah, I really dislike the current terrain materials deal. Making terrains use the regular materials is on the block for 4.0, because the odd half-n-half materials it has now is definitely less than ideal.

As for the flatten terrain, I think it's intended to flatten at the average point, compared to the set height function, which sets it to an explicit height. But yeah, I can see what you mean about flatten sampling the height when flirst clicked, and then acting as setHeight as long as the mouse is held down. Maybe as an alternate mode for flatten to dictate weither it re-evaluates the height, or just paints-to-height of the initial click.

Well, again, going by what I've seen in other editors (not trying to make this a T3D vs Other contest.. just drawing from experience)... Many of them do have both options.

Typically, the Flatten tool is used for more imprecise, "on the fly" type editing. Say you're creating a small town like area, or just want to place a small shack somewhere that's hilly/uneven. You find a nice spot on the terrain and figure "this is a good spot, I'll just flatten this out". So, you select the Flatten tool, and do your thing.

The Set Height tool is more "I know I need this area to be 30m above sea level, with this adjacent area 40m... Rather than manually raising the terrain up to 30m then 40m and using the flatten tool (terrain editing for the Elder Scrolls games works like this, incidentally)... you can just set the height, and then paint away and it'll be set at the height you need it. I've always thought of a "Set Height" tool as a way to block/rough out large areas that you know will need to be certain elevations, so you can go in and do the finer editing later.

Some editors have a kind of "in-between" mode, where, say with the "Set Height" tool active, you'll Shift-Click on the terrain at the height you want, and bam, it sets that as your flatten height, so you don't have to go and manually enter a number each time, etc. That's a kind of quality-of-life addition that seems small, but can really speed up a workflow. The Neverwinter Nights 2 terrain editor uses a method like that for painting bodies of water.

So, they achieve effectively the same result, but each suits a different workflow, or phase of the workflow.
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