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Terrain engine

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Nitpicking

- clouds don't have a coriolis effect
- no storm effect
- motion blur / bluriness in starfield
- clouds have patterns
- terrain too blue
- atmosphere too thick
- over saturation to white
- areas too sharp / contrasted
- terrain only based on altitude / too randomized
- texture pack for ship is too low contrast / flat
- jagged / aliased shadows
- too strong stars reflections
- lack of bloom
- star field edges are visible
- only one type of clouds

I'm not complaining. Just noticing. I'm getting more and more scared of posting updates. The amount of anticipation, hype and expectation is rising, and honnestly, while many of those remarks are valid and will be fixed, many of them are just not on my todo list.

Take the comment about jagged shadows for example. I've explained in great lengths in past dev journals that a technical choice had to be made between shadow resolution / aliasing, shadowing range and performance. If you increase the range and keep the same number of shadow maps, you'll get more aliasing. If you increase the shadow resolution or amount of shadow maps to decrease the aliasing and keep the same shadowing range, you'll hurt performance ( which is already quite low ).

It's a bit annoying as a programmer to say "this can't be fixed, or I don't have more time to spend to improve that", but really, I have to progress on the game itself.. all I'm saying, nit-pick as long as you want, but don't expect everything to be perfect at release time.

Screenshots time

Sorry for the lack of anti-aliasing, I forgot to enable it before taking those pictures, and I didn't want to spend another half an hour just to take a new set.

Behold, lots of pictures today !

Terrain texturing, sun shafts / god rays, vegetation ( not procedural, modeled and textured by SpAce ), etc...








































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Any nitpicks aside, I have to say that that is some of the best terrain I have seen in any game, period. Keep up the good work!

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I've been following this journal for almost 2 years now and I have to say I cannot wait until there's a demo where you can actually fly across those planets... I would even forgo control over the flight-path, just some none-interactive "screen-saver" like thingy would be cool already.

Personally, I would like to see some more postings about the rest of the game, such as the mechanics of the gameplay, what kind of economy there is going to be in it, and how persistence is handled for areas where there are no players... Don't get me wrong, the work on this engine is mighty impressive, but solving those other things is even harder in my opinion.

Anyways, good luck & keep those journals entries coming!

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This is my favourite journal on the web. I wish I could do some of the stuff you're doing! There will always be people who complain; you are never going to be please everyone. I will never understand the pedantry of people who notice when a pixel is out of place and you shouldn't concern yourself over it either :)

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[wow] I've always been a fan of terrain rendering and that is impressive to say the least.

Quote:
I've been following this journal for almost 2 years now and I have to say I cannot wait until there's a demo where you can actually fly across those planets... I would even forgo control over the flight-path, just some none-interactive "screen-saver" like thingy would be cool already.
Seconded [cool]

Jack

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Having seen these screen shots, my jaw is respectively lying on the floor. The screenies are extremely surreal and awe inspiring. The prospect of seeing this project in it's entirety is something I've looked forward to for a long time as well.

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Stunning as always! [wow]

The "god rays" are really impressive and all that much better knowing that you are using OpenGL (since "god rays" were the big thing for DirectX 10).

There will always be nitpickers. As you pointed out, some things need to be that way for performance or just the availability of time. I think that most of them/us are jealous of what you have done. [wink]

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It looks like you have sampling problems on your radialblur ("god rays"). You should check out this topic for a better, faster way to calculate this.

http://pouet.net/topic.php?which=4964&page=1&x=12&y=5


Love following your work! Keep it up!
Cheers,

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That would look very nice if it was for a helicopter game with limited, hand-crafted terrains.

For a procedurally generated space/planet simulation... just awesome.


Will the game have several different planet types like was planned earlier (IIRC), so that this is just a single example?


I guess you're still working on water shaders?

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The terrain looks fantastic! Really, my expectations for an Elite-inspired, space trading game were far surpassed a long time ago. I just want to see some trading and pirating going on. ;-)

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Wow, this is really amazing. Like some others, I have been watching this for a long time. In fact this is what keeps me coming back on this website ;). I first started reading when you first did procedural textures and I remember thinking that you should stick with actual textures because it looked crappy. Haha, was I wrong, you sure made everything look amazing.

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Nitpicking is like an intrinsic property of the universe, I think. Part of it is that As your engine approaches photo realism, small details start appearing. A sort of uncanny valley for terrain, I guess.
It's weird - part of my brain prefered the screenshots without the trees :). Living in seattle gives you an unrealistic notion of how forests should look.

Anyway, it's looking bloody good. Can't wait to play it.

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Beautiful, amazing god rays ! Serait-ce possible d'en savoir plus sur la technique adoptée, et sur la source de lumière utilisée pour le radial blur ?

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Absolutely stunning!

I've actually been working on a somewhat similar project as a hobby for some time, and looking at your work in comparison humbles me. Mine will never be more than a hobbyist-made indie game. Yours will be able to compete in the big leagues. Can't wait to see the final product.

I've worked on large projects in the past, and I know how nitpicking can affect you. I actually abandoned a couple projects that were quite nice before I learned to ignore them. If you listen to them, it'll just drive your morale down, and I'd hate to see such a fine project abandoned.

Screw the nitpickers, just keep doing things the way you want to. You haven't gone wrong so far. Cutting off irc and email sounds like a fine idea.

And for the record, half the criticisms that people seem to come up with aren't even visible to me. Or at least, it may be a very minor artifact visible in a screenshot, but would never be noticed ingame. As alexmoura said, as you approach photo-realism, people expect TOTAL photo-realism, which obviously isn't practical.

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Very nice, as usual!
re: nitpickers - it's amazing what some people come up with! I've had people email me demanding that I admit defeat with my project and turn the code over to open source as I have no chance of doing it justice.
Of course, these people are best ignored :)

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Quote:
Original post by alexmoura
Nitpicking is like an intrinsic property of the universe, I think. Part of it is that As your engine approaches photo realism, small details start appearing. A sort of uncanny valley for terrain, I guess.


Indeed, and that's why I made my comment in the last Journal entry about the shadows. But don't get me wrong here, I LOVE all the work done so far, it looks so amazing, no other "game" can come even close to this. Add to that my love for space and space-related movies/series/games (in fact, I just played some space rangers 2) and this project is kind of like a dream in construction for me.

So if you see me nit-picking again in the future, please note that it's from a very passionate fan of your work and if those things never get fixed I wouldn't even be bothered to ask why, because I know the rest looks so great (and hopefully plays so great) that those small things fall into nothing.

So yeah, I'm honored you mentioned my reply in your post ;) And all I want to say is, keep up the good work and really DON'T be intimidated by the high expectations, the last thing we want is you stopping posting here, even if the posts are "less shocking/impressive".

Yours,
Jean

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