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Darren Monahan

Update #49: Water, Trees, Day/Night, Lighting... All That Jazz

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* We are still experimenting with the tree, grass, and bush animations.  Our goal is for them to look natural but add life.  If they are distracting/odd or too still, that doesn't work.

 

Thanks for all of your feedback.

 

Hello Josh,

 

I have been looking at the bush and tree animations and I have to admit that they did not feel too natural. After looking at it a bit I identified at least one property that can be improved.

 

I noticed that the velocities with which they move are CONSTANT and as a consequence when they change direction, the velocity changes discontinuously. This is probably why some people use the term "jerky" to describe these animations. What is apparently missing is ACCELERATION. Flexible systems like trees and plants whose motion is excited by wind should show a smooth motion without discontinuous jumps in velocity. Perhaps the use of a simple sine wave could lead to better results.

 

Without the need to go into real dynamics modelling in terms of physics, you can perhaps experiment with a superposition of various sine waves or a single wave with perhaps a variable amplitude in time. But the key is to avoid discontinuities in velocities.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Anyway, the animated scene looks very promising and I especially liked the dynamical lighting so keep up the good work.

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Cloud shadows! Duh, an easy hack. Scroll a cloud texture along your sun/moonlight shadow map channel and you're done. Good for altering weather. Speaking of which, assuming the trees and grass (and banners and such) are stored in separate textutures from the main background right? Just to alter their animation timing for it to get more/less windy.

 

Also, god rays! Everyone likes godrays. Just remember to have their color be based on primary sun/moonlight color, because I remember playing a (fairly recent?) game that didn't do that right and it was just "c'mon!".

 

Too many ideas, I know. Basic atmospheric scattering for altering fog in areas? Ok I'll shut up now.

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Oh, and guys, expect the shadows from everything to cast onto characters, and tree shadows moving and etc. shouldn't be hard. It's all just stored in a 2d texture like the background is. Contact hardening shadows! You've got them stored, the evaluation shoudn't be hard, there's well documented stuff from Microsoft and Crytek and etc.

 

Also, the dynamic shadows from point lights... huh. Uhhh, per object shadow maps, store the areas to be shadowed in the background in a separate channel... anyway, I'm shutting up now, for good, I mean it this time.

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LIAR! You sir, are a liar! I call the unity image a Photoshop farce! I demand that you send me the prototype files, with the sole intent of undeniably proving to me that this is real! You might as well send me regular updates of the prototype to avoid further accusations...

 

Now seriously: dare I say this will be the best looking 2d game ever?

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So my question is, since the water levels are all set to be raised and lowered dynamically, will there be a druid spell that takes advantage of this?  I.e. will a druid be able to raise a river's water level and possibly sweep away small mobs stupid enough to stand in it?  

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Looking pretty amazing. I can't recall the last time I saw a game preview and said out loud "ohhhhhh wow".


Sanity? Sanity is for the weak and boring!

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I am very excited to see this, it looks great! Thank you for the continual stream of encouraging updates.

 

For me, I think this is going to hit the sweet spot in terms of graphics. I feel like RPG games lost something as they endeavoured to push the 3D graphical quality higher and higher. I don't simply mean that they required more computational work from computers, took a longer time to develop, led to sacrifice in other areas, etc, but rather in terms of stimulating the imagination. The graphics are pleasing and plant a vivid picture without trying to do all the work for you, like a work of art might do. Great stuff.

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Good looking dynamic shadows are extremely demanding on the graphics card and wouldn't fit well with the 2D nature of the game. PE has a big a advantage being Pre-rendered. The artists can go and tweak the shadows generated in Photoshop if they don't quite look good enough. If you want shadows to be realtime dynamic there will be a decrease in quality. That most games out there do not even attempt to do day/night cycles or large scale lighting changes. Its one of those things that's really difficult to do real time. 

 

I'm quite impressed by what I've seen. Especially with the way that depth has been preserved in the backdrop. Wasn't expecting to see dynamic water that can be raised and lowered. Also wasn't expecting to see the shadows projected by the characters to match the contours of the background. Quite curious about the tricks they have done to do it.

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Now after countless replays I must say that I love background sounds: birds, crickets, waterfall, etc. things that make sound in background but don't take foucus. And this sounds where quite brilliantly combined activity sounds (character foot steps, light movement sound). And these sounds didn't hinder background music that bring nice feel of serenity. I would like highlight chorus part of music which was just excelent choice in my opinion. Such sound and music design gives scene more life, but also makes me believe that PE's atmosphere will be just magical.

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Absolutely great stuff, really like how this is turning out so far. Cant's wait to see some sneak peeks into the other environments they have in mind in the future.

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This seems like a good opportunity to post a link to this:

 

http://www.effectgames.com/demos/canvascycle/

 

It's a collection of animated 8-bit pixel art landscapes for a variety of environments at different times of

day and year and with different weather. I hope Project Eternity's locations will be as varied and as good at evoking a mood.

I'm really glad you posted this, because one of my biggest hopes for this game is still keeping the old IE feel, but also changing the perspective so maybe we have a similar level where we cross a bridge or cliff and there's a canyon with birds flying around and water falls coming down, etc.instead of the same camera perspective the whole game.

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* Dynamic objects (like the characters) can cast dynamic shadows.  We are already exploring how we want additional dynamic lights in the scene to a) light the objects and b) affect their shadows.

Dynamic objects? Cut it with the marketing terms, you mean the 3D models, i.e. only the 3D models can cast dynamic shadows.

 

Put some more work into the 2D animations (trees, bushes) by adding a 3D overlay or something. Then they can cast dynamic shadows too.

* We are still experimenting with the tree, grass, and bush animations. Our goal is for them to look natural but add life. If they are distracting/odd or too still, that doesn't work.

The trees/bushes look pretty good, but the animations could be better. The oscillating and rapid "twitching" looks rather unnatural, especially since it is not uniform. i.e. when there is a gust of wind more than one bush/tree should twitch and it should happen uniformly.

 

Also the bushes could be better. Only the middle part of the bush is dynamic, the rest (painted on the background) is static, which looks quite strange.


Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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Dynamic objects? Cut it with the marketing terms, you mean the 3D models, i.e. only the 3D models can cast dynamic shadows.

I'm pretty sure that's a coding/world-building term, and not a marketing term.

 

"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3! Now with 50% more dynamic objects! 8D" doesn't have much of a ring to it.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Registered after I watched Update #49.

Really well done guys!!!

 

The graphics, sound, and music (thank you for not skimping on the music!) simply took my breath away.

I felt a sense of game immersion I haven't experienced for a long long time.

I really really appreciate the fact that you guys are aiming to make this game playable on lower end PCs.

Looking forward to more updates!

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OK, about the only thing that I saw in the video that I think should be remedied before game's release is the way the 2D planes within the little bush moves. I think the 'swinging' of the bush's own 2D planes is a bit too slow, and probably too much. Perhaps keep the swinging radius a bit shorter for the small bush, eh? Also the randomly-generated 'double mini-shake' of those animated 2D planes is a too unnaturally quick. Perhaps it's a bug, or an incomplete feature?"

 

 

Yeah, some of the bushes are more "twitching" than moving in the wind...


"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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It bein' the first time I says sumpin' on this here forum, I jes' want ta congratchelate yer team fer makin' sumplace I wants ta explore!

I fink yer headed in the right derecshun... jes' foller that leetle light!

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Dynamic objects? Cut it with the marketing terms, you mean the 3D models, i.e. only the 3D models can cast dynamic shadows.

I'm pretty sure that's a coding/world-building term, and not a marketing term.

 

Yeah, the others being static objects.  :)  Jeez, what's with all these whiners? Did they not get their special treat today?

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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Ok, I lied. A shadow map caching: http://diaryofagraphicsprogrammer.blogspot.com/2008/12/cached-shadow-maps.html like scheme should work well for point lights casting dynamic shadows. Since the scene representation is just a g-buffer you'll have to stick with statically placed lights casting shadows, but it should work well enough, and you're only doing reading out character depths anyway.

 

Oh, and why isn't the water reflective? Yeah, you'd need some sort of really basic skydome. Doesn't Unity come with something easily doable? You just store the flipped camera perspective in the same manner as the background, and done! With a real camera perspective for dynamic stuff obviously. Downrezed, or full rez for high end machines, because why not?

 

You can even do the same trick for reflective floors. Smooth tiled stuff, ice, marble, whatever. To get a rougher looking reflective floor you can generate mip-maps of the reflection texture and select the right mip-map that corresponds to the roughness. EG http://bit.ly/12Km59C Though a marble floor WOULD look good with screenspace subsurface scattering as well: http://www.iryoku.com/screen-space-subsurface-scattering . As would fur on animals, plant material (leaves/grass) and etc. Maybe all that stuff would be too small on screen to have much of an impact though.

 

Lastly, soft particles! That's being done right? I didn't see any clipping in the waterfall stuff. Yay soft particles! And lit particles, including shadows, but I digress.

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Dynamic objects? Cut it with the marketing terms, you mean the 3D models, i.e. only the 3D models can cast dynamic shadows.

I'm pretty sure that's a coding/world-building term, and not a marketing term.

 

 

 

Yeah, the others being static objects.  :)  Jeez, what's with all these whiners? Did they not get their special treat today?

 

 

Then tell me why some of the dynamic objects (trees, bushes) can't cast shadows? They move, i.e. they are dynamic.

 

Because they are 2D bitmaps, that is why. Only the 3D dynamic objects (character models, etc.) can cast dynamic shadows, the 2D dyanmic objects can't. The 3D static objects can also cast dynamic shadows, the 2D static objects can't.

 

So, use your head (if you possess this ability) or read up on the subject before you start "flame whining" next time.

Edited by Helm

Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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Dynamic objects? Cut it with the marketing terms, you mean the 3D models, i.e. only the 3D models can cast dynamic shadows.

I'm pretty sure that's a coding/world-building term, and not a marketing term.

 

"Call of Duty: Black Ops 3! Now with 50% more dynamic objects! 8D" doesn't have much of a ring to it.

 

 

Either you have no idea what marketing actually is (it can be used in more than one type of context) or you a fanboy flame troll. ^^

 

There are 2D and 3D dynamic objects in that scene. The 2D objects can't cast dynamic shadows, the 3D objects can.


Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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