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Two roads diverged in a grassy wood ....

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Well, after the enormous outpouring of support for the Cow following last week's entry, he makes an earnest return this week.

I sat down with him this week and asked him what he most wanted to see in game next, and he was keen on getting some grass to run about on. Now, unfortunately, for such a common surface, good grass is surprisingly difficult to do well (my personal favourite to date is Warcraft 3's grass - a bit cartoony, non-repetitive, well bordered, and lush).

To let me experiment with some options, I knocked up some placeholder 3d tiles and slapped them into an existing test room I had lying about. I then ran a series of texturing options through them to see how they looked with the cow, close up, zoomed out, etc.

The first candidate was a photo of some nice lush grass I took on Toronto Island run through Photoshop's Pattern Maker. It looks nice up close:

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But zoomed out, it's a repetitive filtered mess:

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Some of this can be blamed on Pattern Maker (which doesn't do the best job of tiling for mine), but some of it is just inherent in the small tile size at a large zoom. Clearly, if I want to go for real looking grass textures, I'm going to need some world-space UV mapping solution. Given my hardware shading code is still bubbling along on the back burner, I tried out some more stylised/cartoony alternatives.

Here's a simple flat green - a bit Chaos Engine-y, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be (especially when you consider my game isn't going to have massive fields of grass - it'll more be smaller borders, paths, surrounds):

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Here's the same grass with a simple flower decal stamped on to it:

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The flower stamps seem to break up the repetition a bit, but obviously in the test above there's far too many of them. Perhaps with a few other stamp types and a used a little less frequenetly/more randomly, it might start looking ok. Most of the other texturing ideas I wanted to play with rely on UV mapping that goes outside a single tile - so they'll have to wait a while. But if you've got any opinions on the above, or other styles/approaches to try, I'd love to hear them.

I think I'll play around with some other alternatives for a day or so, and then just pick one to go forward with. The next thing I want to add is height field support so I can build some little hills and valleys for the cow to frolic on.

Cheers!
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Why not combine the decals and the grass tile texture? Remove some of the contrast from the grass keeping it tiled as it is, then allow the decals to make the repetition not so obvious.

Not sure how it'd look mind you [smile]

All the best,
ViLiO

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Quote:
Original post by ViLiO
Why not combine the decals and the grass tile texture? Remove some of the contrast from the grass keeping it tiled as it is, then allow the decals to make the repetition not so obvious.

Not sure how it'd look mind you [smile]

All the best,
ViLiO


Funny you should suggest that. I did have that image in the original post, but pulled it out as there were just far too many images. Here's the one I tried out:

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It's a bit dreary, but it gives you the general idea. Since throwing up the original entry, I started playing around with putting some basic "texture" under the cartoony pattern, which is a similar idea. My favourite texture so far is Photoshop's sandstone. It's quite subtle, but it gives that "claymation" feel - like the game is a little set or something. I'm still looking for a way of making the effect a bit "bigger" - but any kind of scale/contrast increase just ruins it.

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Nice seeing you've taken up this project again! This is one of my favorite projects in GDnet, my brother's too. Anyway, for me it seems that the grass texture that doesn't tile well looks the best -- with some changes of course. Alternatively, the last one you posted in your comment gives a different look that I like too.

If you want to make the first texture tile better, there's some advice in this post here, you can see how a filter is used to eliminate the bigger shadows:

http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/mod/journal/journal.asp?jn=259175&reply_id=3112413

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