Official Community Forums
 
HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  The Wiki  Website  github Project  

Share | 
 

 [Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
jstrat74
Experienced Newbie
Experienced Newbie
avatar

Posts : 43
Join date : 2012-03-11
Location : Ohio, USA

PostSubject: [Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator   Sun 11 Mar - 12:56

Hello all,
This is my first post and foray into any kind of design. I went in with very little expectations to "stick with it". I'm writing an ongoing Blog series and detailing my discovery of Mutliverse and my "play" sessions with it. If something more comes of it... Great. If not, at least I'll have had fun.

I'm at the very beginning of discovering different tools and experimenting a little. I've played with L3DT Terrain Generator and the Multiverse terrain generator. I've had a few hiccups(not all resolved) over importing L3DT, but I'm still learning.

My general question, since some of the compatible generators cost money, is which did you find to be the most flexible as well as the most powerful terrain generator?

I'm assuming I'll be running into different limitations. As an example: The L3DT imported maps seem to be limited by textures within the Multiverse assets. That's not a problem. As I play and start developing a game-plan, I'll parse info and try to make a structure and blueprint. For instance, I haven't even looked into all the limitations and if you can import textures into Multiverse asset repositories, then I'll head down that road - to make my own. If not, I'll head down another road.

But, I'm trying to find different limitations of the terrain generators, which are obviously better and which are just different depending on the job I want done. And how to tell which one is right for me, if there are some better suited for what I want(I.E. typical Fantasy MMO).

Thank you and I look forward to chatting more, as I learn more about the processes in making an MMO.
Back to top Go down
jstrat74
Experienced Newbie
Experienced Newbie
avatar

Posts : 43
Join date : 2012-03-11
Location : Ohio, USA

PostSubject: [Terrain Generators] What I'm learning, so far.   Sun 11 Mar - 17:45

I've been tinkering before and after I made my last post and thought it'd be helpful to pass on what I'm doing/learning. I'm playing around a lot with mainly the graphical side of things, for now, but plan to look into scripts, down the road.

I've explored

  1. L3DT Terrain Generator
  2. TerraGen(I need to actually explore this but took a cursory look and downloaded it)
  3. Multiverse Terrain Generator
  4. Earth Sculptor
  5. PnP Terrain Generator


I'm also looking into the wiki as to how to import/export from all these compatible terrain generators. If there are others, please, I'd love to know.

I'm also trying to toy with how some or all can be used in conjunction with each other to possibly output a better looking/more cutomizable/flexible terrain map.

I knew going into this that there would be many limitations and I'm fine with that. This is not the CryTek 3 engine we're dealing with, but I know from experience and looking at games like Perpetuum(made using some very small, minimalistic resources with restrictions yet utilizing tricks to make it look really good), that depending on what visual style(s) I want and finding all the tricks, I could possibly make it look better than what one, basic do-it-all terrain generator could do.

If I find different ways to combine the terrain generators, I definitely want to take into account work/time. I want to find a good balance for what I'll ultimately be able to get out of it. I'm fine putting in a lot of work for little return, but I'm sure there are some caps I can set for myself, to make the project keep chugging a long.

For instance: Even if I find out I could use 3 of those programs and by doing a lot of converting, creating, importing, reconverting, manual coding, drawing, recoding and more to result in a "super-awesome" map, I may just decide to forget that route in lieu of fewer steps resulting in a few steps below "super-awesome".

I'm not trying to make the next greatest next-gen MMO here. Far from it. Smile

I've also looked into the following programs for creating assets. Any advice on these would also be greatly appreciated.


  1. Blender
  2. DeleD
  3. TreeMagik 3
  4. Google Sketchup


I'll keep posting my Terrain Generator specific findings/questions/discoveries in this thread. I'm create new threads and clearly label them that concern other tools.
Thanks.
Back to top Go down
AWM Mars
Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member
avatar

Posts : 78
Join date : 2012-02-23
Location : Wiltshire, United Kingdom

PostSubject: Re: [Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator   Sun 11 Mar - 20:45

Hi jstrat74,
Like yourself I have played with a lot of different programmes trying to create a 'toolbox' that would give me a clean workflow into a scene manager. Most of those you listed, I have used.

Personally, for asset (both model and scene) I mainly use DeleD. This is a great programme to get into quickly and produce some good results. Its main limitations are, poly count (only by sheer screen lag at around 50k-100k polygons on screen) and last generations material handling (no bump mapping, shaders etc), this may change in the future. Sometimes I supplement DeleD with 3DMax, which I find complicated compared to DeleD, but it has better material creation. I do like the free movement with DeleD, unlike many that tether you to the centre of the model/scene.

I have tried the many variations of Blender, whilst it is getting better, the interface is still far from anything mainstream. I spent the first 40+ hours just trying to navigate the help files and tutorials. It is no doubt very powerful and covers almost every eventuality for a project, but left me feeling it was a Jack of all, Master of none, built by a very enthusiastic committee, keen to include everything.

Google Sketchup was primarily designed to create (low poly) simple models of buildings etc for Google Earth. Personally, I felt it was too lightweight for my needs. It does have quite a few good features under the hood and is backed by a successful brand, it is also considered one of the mainstream formats. It may not adapt when the MPEG formats are onstream for both delivery, collaboration and rendering of Virtual Environments, in the near future.

Like you, I have tried most of the terrain generators available that are free, or have a good trial version. Earth Sculptor was pretty good, but it maybe a 'fault' of the version I had, but the terrain texture maps had a noticeable white line at the joins. TerraGen is perhaps the easiest to get into, but the trial limits the output, so hard to properly evaluate. For the most part, I create my own terrains, albeit they are limited in realism. Like most this I create based upon Organic, I need to label it so people know what it is.
I have only briefly tinkered with the Multiverse Terrain Generator, focusing first on a clean workflow for importing my years of assets. It seems competent in the right hands. Like most 'hand' generators, I find myself seeing what I want in my head, but frustrated by my lack of artistic creation.

One thing for sure, what works for me, may not for everyone else.
Back to top Go down
jstrat74
Experienced Newbie
Experienced Newbie
avatar

Posts : 43
Join date : 2012-03-11
Location : Ohio, USA

PostSubject: Hi AWM Mars   Sun 11 Mar - 21:29

Hi AWM Mars,
Thank you for your input.

I'm finding that I don't mind settling for the strength-limits that L3DT provide - even after importing into the Multiverse Terrain Generator.

Right now, I am playing with a few terrain generator combinations. I tried importing L3DT with only partial success. I got to a point where I needed to designate texture filenames, but it didn't match up with what tutorial on the wiki. I started doing trial-and-error and could get a few of the textures to work, but not all. I'd like to get them all to work, because that means more detail in how the terrain looks.

This lead me to wondering if I could draw/make my own texture files and import them into the terrain generator. I like a lot of what Multiverse is capable of and even though some of the tools and outcomes seem rudimentary, it is very flexible in allowing imports of different textures and assets. My next goal is to see if I can get outside textures imported in, with the same detail as the original texture. As you know, there are some really detailed and nice textures to be found/made. If those could be brought in, it could really improve the look of a final Multiverse Generator map.

I found it fairly easy, with a good payout, to make random maps in L3DT and import them over. So, if my texture idea can work, I may very well settle with that, but I will keep looking and experimenting.

I'm fairly happy with the random generated maps, but it would be neat to see if I can generate one and import it into either PnP or Earthsculptor. Those tools give you precision drawing tools to create terrain features exactly the way you want. That would be ideal to me. I could have a really large, pre-generated map and then just slightly alter it in places to fit my story/ideas.

I love the idea of using TerraGen for the skybox, but the licensed version is very expensive. I need to play with it some more. My first attempt gave me an error.

I also liked what I saw with DeleD, so I am going to keep playing with it, for the time being. I am totally confused on how to make Collision Volumes, though.

I will probably be sticking with terrain for the foreseeable future. I want to keep playing with tools and combinations of tools to see how far I can push them vs. how much work/time would be involved. As well as the skybox. Once I have that to my liking, I will move on to individual assets(walls, houses, barrels and other objects to populate the area). I am eager to get to trees and vegetation, but I am holding back until I finalize what I want to use for my terrain maps.

OH! I also really like L3DT because it creates many layer-maps and Mip-Maps! I don't know anything about design, but from playing MMOs, I've heard that term before and the terrain Mip-Maps that I've generated so far look very similar to the map-graphics used on MMO mini-maps, that I've played. That may be another really good reason for me to go with L3DT.

So, not to beat a dead horse, but to give a small recap:
I currently want to see if I can import textures into L3DT and Multiverse Terrain Generator. I also want to see if I could make a map in either Multiverse TG or L3DT, export it to Earthsculptor or PnP, add a few detailed spots to shape to my liking, then export it back into the Multiverse World Editor and apply the new textures.

P.S.
I am trying to get organized early and set phases and planning for this project(even if it doesn't go very far). My first major goal is small: I want to make a complete, but very tiny area of land(or 'zone'). Because, I currently plan on moving to coding, after I get graphics taken care of. After all, I think graphics are very important; as important as anything else, but for me it's just the icing on the cake. The real sweat and tears will be in learning to code.
Back to top Go down
AWM Mars
Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member
avatar

Posts : 78
Join date : 2012-02-23
Location : Wiltshire, United Kingdom

PostSubject: Re: [Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator   Mon 12 Mar - 11:11

Mipmaps are similar in someways to LOD is to Meshes. When imported/converted, the rendering engine will use a diminishing scale of texture for LOD meshes. Progressively loading/unloading them into memory to preserve performance.

Say your texture is 512x512, then a mipmap is created of the same texture but into the following sizes: 256x256, 128x128, 64x64, 32x32, 16x16, 8x8. These are applied to lower poly meshes that are rendered in the distance, utilising the larger sizes in steps, as the viewer gets closer. Having them pre-created, is perhaps cheaper than creating them on the fly.
The lower resolution versions are all stored on the same texture, which will now be 1024x1024 and used as an Altas texture, utilising UV mapping coords for each resolution to be used. In some cases, with the ilks of trees, they become billboards, saving even more rendering cycles. You can see this effect sometimes, when terrain etc 'pops'.
Back to top Go down
jstrat74
Experienced Newbie
Experienced Newbie
avatar

Posts : 43
Join date : 2012-03-11
Location : Ohio, USA

PostSubject: Re: [Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator   Mon 12 Mar - 11:21

AWM Mars wrote:
Mipmaps are similar in someways to LOD is to Meshes. When imported/converted, the rendering engine will use a diminishing scale of texture for LOD meshes. Progressively loading/unloading them into memory to preserve performance.

Say your texture is 512x512, then a mipmap is created of the same texture but into the following sizes: 256x256, 128x128, 64x64, 32x32, 16x16, 8x8. These are applied to lower poly meshes that are rendered in the distance, utilising the larger sizes in steps, as the viewer gets closer. Having them pre-created, is perhaps cheaper than creating them on the fly.
The lower resolution versions are all stored on the same texture, which will now be 1024x1024 and used as an Altas texture, utilising UV mapping coords for each resolution to be used. In some cases, with the ilks of trees, they become billboards, saving even more rendering cycles. You can see this effect sometimes, when terrain etc 'pops'.

I was reading about LOD concerning assets(meshes). The wiki explains how to reduce poly-count and load on a players' PC by rendering either using multiple instances of an asset(requiring more art assets) or by automatically reducing poly count and prescribed distances. I really like the automatic idea and when I get to that point, I want to utilize automatic LOD in assets.

Thank you for this info!

I currently have no idea if Multiverse can use mip-maps in terrain, or how I would do that. After hearing your explanation, I do recall players, from MMOs I've played, that games do reduce the quality of distant terrain. It sounds like it would be a very good idea, to reduce load on a players' graphics card and maybe make a game run smoother(?)

I will add this to my list of things to look at!

I found out how to hand-edit parts of a heightmap in L3DT. I like this, because I am fairly happy with how L3DT creates terrain maps, the good amount of variables you can set and how easy it is to import into Multiverse World Editor. Now, I just want to see if I can further improve the quality and amount of textures being utilized by the map. I know that Multiverse World Editor only allows up to eight different textures, but I think that will be fine with me. I've created some practice maps with only four textures and even they look good.

So, next up is figuring out how to get more textures into L3DT and/or Multiverse World Editor. After that, I want to work on the skybox and see if Multiverse allows for any other ways to generate sky other than a skybox.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: [Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator   

Back to top Go down
 
[Terrain Generator] Choosing a terrain generator
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Unity Terrain Toolkit 1.0.2
» Drop pods
» eldar terrain
» Randomly Generating 2D Terrain in Unity
» Completed GW Terrain.... War of the Ring Scenario...

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Development :: Developer Tools-
Jump to: