Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,529

    Lightbulb Dynamic Terrain Chunks

    Well, I was asked to come up with some ideas for the terrain chunks that we were discussing in the second class meeting, and come up with some ideas I have. I am feeling pretty proud of what I have come up with.



    Setting Permissions and invites

    My idea started with my suggestion during the second meeting, which was: “You could have somebody that is already working on a particular spot, click on an invite other person button, so that the other person can join the first person, and work in their spot with them.”



    Levels of Permission

    I think it would work best if the level designer, for a given chuck of terrain, would be able to, not just set a simple on off permission for other people to be able to alter the current chuck with them, but to also be able to set specific levels of permission. For example, you could have a set of check boxes to click on or off. They could be;

    * Allow Terrain Morphing
    * Allow Texturing
    * Allow Mesh Alterations
    * Allow All



    This way you could have it set to just one thing that they are supposed to do to help, such as texturing only, to keep them from changing any of the terrain shape. As, far all the Mesh Alterations goes, that would be for if you only want them to do things like go around and make sure all the imported meshes look nice. They could look for things like if there are any floating meshes, or even importing meshes, or just lining two meshes up nicely together, or simple “planting” trees.

    All this would allow you to get help fine tuning your terrain chuck without worrying that someone else may undo some of your hard work.



    Terrain Chunk In-Betweens

    In animation they have a term called in-betweens. This refers to the drawings that someone has to do to fill in the animation in between two different key frame animations. You have the seasoned animator draw the, more difficult, key frame animations only, to make the best use of his or her time, while you have a lesser animation artist draw the frames in between them to make the animation look smooth as it goes from one key frame to the next. Drawing the in-betweens is a lot easier to do, and you don't need the same kind of training and expertise as does the animator. The animator will have to look over the work of the in-between artist to make sure they did it correctly.

    Now, I think it would be best to apply that to our work with terrain chunks. I don't think anyone should ever be working right next to somebody else. By that I mean no adjacent terrain chuck neighbors to deal with. Having people shaping adjacent neighboring terrain chunks would be highly problematic. If I want to make a range of snow covered, mountains, and my neighbor wants to meet them with his flat desert plains, well then we have an issue. It would not look good.

    So, I say lets just implement a system where the terrain artiest can create the terrain that they want to, as if they were key frame animations, and then later after they are all done, and there is an empty terrain that is surrounded by adjacent, finished, terrain chunks, then we have an in-between artist connect the terrains to one another, by gradually shaping the terrain to make the key chunks fit smoothly with each other.



    Shifting Terrain Chunks.

    (or better yet) Dynamically, shifting Terrain Chunks.


    Now what I would hate to see, is for somebody to have to redo their entire terrain chunk, from scratch, simply because we end up realizing that it is in the wrong place for what we want to do. It could be that the “level” feels a bit too big, or even too small, and we want that area to be moved to a different location. Now that would be devastation if we had to just redo it like that, every time we changed our minds about placement.

    It is for that reason that I think we should have the Terrain Chunks be movable. So, if you had a grid of terrain chunks and you wanted to move the terrain chunk from the grid square 4-3, to that of 7-5, then you could just do that. Now if you could do that Dynamically (at run time) too, well that would just be all the more awesome.



    2D Terrain Prep



    How I think it should ultimately be handled when we do it for more then just test purposes, is to have to submit a basic 2d example of the terrain that you want to do, as a proposal. If your idea is approved, you will be given a terrain chunk spot to work on. If you need more then one that you may be given more then one adjacent chunks to work with.

    I think before we even get to that point we need to have a very basic idea of the land that we want to make. We can always change or add to it later if need be. I also think that there should be a very basic map drawing, as in, mountings here, shore here, desert here, swamp here, lake here, river running here to here, city here; and that kind of thing.


    I also think that it would be great if somebody wanted to submit a terrain idea for approval, and not want to make it them self, that they could feel free to do so. Now, if that idea was approved, and the submitter stated in their submission that they did not want to make it them self, then the submission could be “put up”, for all to see, and for someone that is interested in making it, to “sign up” for the job. That way people that have good ideas, but don't like to mess with the terrain themselves, could still contribute, and people that don't have any good ideas, but like to play with the terrain editor will be able to find something for them to do.



    Well there you go Jason. I hope you like my ideas on this. I think they are pretty good.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    63
    neat ideas. I thinnk creating the terrain dynamically for the "inbetween" is a bad idea. I like the idea of having inbetweens but I think it should work a bit like this:

    Everyone can submit terrain concepts and ideas in 2D, be it concept art or litteral maps.

    If the concept art is approved it goes into a bucket where anyone can take on the task of turning it into a 2D map the 2D map then goes back up for approval with the attached concept art.

    when the 2d maps are approved they go into a bucket where anyone can take on the task of creating those maps. Once a map is taken no one else can take it as a task. The terrain artist has "X" days to complete the task before the progress goes under review. the map will go under review at which time it is approved, denied, denied and readded to the task list, or given an extension to complete.

    once the map is approved it is added to the grid and again goes into a bucket where anyone can take on the task of "stitching" it into the grid. Like you said an "inbetween" artist that attaches these areas together.

    That being said I think there needs to be an overall plan for how many areas and the general layout. we need a high level map that they players can pull up in world for navigation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,088
    I think these are all excellent ideas. I definitely agree with the "Shifting Terrain Chunks" since this is a likely scenario when your developing areas. I would like to also add the ability to "Copy Terrain Chunks" in there as well. Imagine you want an entire area that consist of 4 chunks to have the same type of terrain, it would be much easier to just paste that terrain on all four than having to redo it for each one. Then you can go in and make slight changes to make the area more unique and not as obvious it was reused.

    -Dane
    You know you want to!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    861
    Shifting terrain patches to new locations is no big deal especially if the data is saved in a database then it is a simple matter of reassigning the heightmap data in question to a new position. What I'm looking forward to messing with will be saving multiple iterations of work on a particular patch either by the same artist or multiple artists them being able to blend between the two. Maybe even have the ability to mask areas off so if you like what one artist did in one part of a patch and the work of another artist in a different part of the same patch, you could then take both samples mask off the part done by one artist and blend in the part you want from the other artist.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    209
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfknightly View Post
    ...I am feeling pretty proud of what I have come up with....
    And you should, good post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfknightly View Post
    ...Now, I think it would be best to apply that to our work with terrain chunks. I don't think anyone should ever be working right next to somebody else. By that I mean no adjacent terrain chuck neighbors to deal with. Having people shaping adjacent neighboring terrain chunks would be highly problematic. If I want to make a range of snow covered, mountains, and my neighbor wants to meet them with his flat desert plains, well then we have an issue. It would not look good....
    That's two problems there you are describing:
    1) is the altitude difference between these tiles or "chunks" that neighbors can produce.
    2) is the overall look of the area.

    The first issue has been explained by Lee that he has some ideas of solving it, so I don't see that as a problem anymore because we trust him for handling this issue well and with good care (no pressure Lee :-P)

    As for the second issue you described. A tile of snow next to a tile of desert, that can be somewhat problematic. Not only that, perhaps even an eyesore for that matter.
    Great example is from Minecraft where some players have put a real deal of effort making a rich and beautiful piece of land with nice environments and buildings (go see youtube) VS some neighbor that gets a great idea of just building a tower, with one "block-size" for both sides and a height of somewhat poking one of the gods asses... or digging big death holes down to magma land. Yes people are creative, even if its a stupid idea they will be creative


    Love the idea of "Shifting Terrain Chunks", good posting.
    Last edited by A. Enrico; 02-16-2011 at 02:08 PM. Reason: typo
    A. Enrico

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,529
    Thanks for your comments guys.

    Zergcow,

    I am not sure how your idea of the in-betweens, is any different then mine. It sounds like just what I was talking about. Maybe I said it in a way that was a bit unclear.

    I do not want an idea to go into a bucket where anyone can choose it on a first come first serve basis. The submitter of an idea should always have first dibs on that idea, if they want to, unless it conflicts with something somebody else is already doing. If they don't want to do it then in can go in the bucket. After all the person that is likely to have to most passion for creating it, is the person that thought it up. They will want to see their vision realized. It would be silly to take it away from them, only to put them on something they are less interested in designing.


    You said;

    “That being said I think there needs to be an overall plan for how many areas and the general layout. we need a high level map that they players can pull up in world for navigation. ”
    That is just what I meant when I said;

    “I also think that there should be a very basic map drawing, as in, mountings here, shore here, desert here, swamp here, lake here, river running here to here, city here; and that kind of thing.”


    Dane,

    Yeah, Copy and past is a great idea.


    Chronos,

    I am glad that the shifting terrain patches is not going to be a big deal. Also, terrain patches sounds better then terrain chucks. I couldn't remember what you guys were calling them.

    Your talk of blending between them is an intriguing one. The mask sound really interesting. I think I understand what you mean. You are saying that you could simply undo what a second artist did, to return it to the state the first artist put it in. What is more, you can blend two or more artist work together, by moving down or up a percentage bar. I would think that it would still need someone to manually step in and touch it up a bit, but that could be a powerful time saver.

    All in all, these are some exciting, and powerful, ideas. It is nice that we have the time to do what we want, or at least to give it a try.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    450
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfknightly View Post
    Your talk of blending between them is an intriguing one. The mask sound really interesting. I think I understand what you mean. You are saying that you could simply undo what a second artist did, to return it to the state the first artist put it in. What is more, you can blend two or more artist work together, by moving down or up a percentage bar. I would think that it would still need someone to manually step in and touch it up a bit, but that could be a powerful time saver.
    I understood what Lee said as being able to take two different patches, each with their own height information for every vertex, and blending between them on a vertex level, You could paint straight on the terrain where each vertex would be given a weight from each patch. It would be like a black/white mask in photoshop, where a value of zero uses 100 % of layer 1, while a value of 1 uses 100 % of layer 2. You can apply the same idea to textures.

    If it was an requirement for everyone to hand in a 2d concept of their terrain beforehand, it would have to be a feature of the terrain software. It's too much to ask of people to go into photoshop and do a concept drawing. It could be as simple as filling in with texture a 32x32 grid that represents the terrain patch from above.

    I agree on the designated zones idea, and have someone designing the world at a high level (desert, forest, city etc), and then letting others implement the details.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    47
    Sounds like a free-for-all to me.

    I am under the impression that it would be best to have a detailed 2d representation of the entire game world created first. Then the terrain builders would build to print, so to speak.

    I am not sure how the gypsy wagon approach would be an improvement, but perhaps I am misunderstanding something.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,529
    Quote Originally Posted by Metanol View Post

    If it was an requirement for everyone to hand in a 2d concept of their terrain beforehand, it would have to be a feature of the terrain software. It's too much to ask of people to go into photoshop and do a concept drawing. It could be as simple as filling in with texture a 32x32 grid that represents the terrain patch from above.
    Hey Metanol, I really like your idea of submitting little baby representations of a terrain. It could be either one you wanted to do. If fact, it could also just be described in words, to express the very basic idea of it. No, reason you couldn't do two, or even all three at the same time, to really drive your proposal in.

    Thanks for explaining what Lee meant. It makes a bit more sense to look at it that way. It is kind of similar to how I took it, but still different enough to take note of it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •