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Lava experiments

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Ysaneya

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General progress

In the past two weeks, I've been working a lot on "polishing" the engine. This means investigating all sorts of bugs and problems that I had noticed, but didn't have the time to fix so far.

For example, I added support for minidumps. When the engine/program crashes, the exception gets intercepted and generates a dump file that contains a stack trace as well as local variable values. It works in release mode too, so there's no performance cost; the only restriction is that I need to keep the .pdb files associated to a release. From a user's point of view, a small dialog box pops up and asks whether a minidump should be saved or not. If agreed, it generates a file called 'minidump.dmp' near the executable. This can be packed together with the log file and sent to me for further investigations.

All future releases of prototypes, ASEToBin, StoryGen etc.. should include this minidump.

Lava experiments

On the "visual" side, I've spent a couple of hours on lava. The effect is "okay" I believe; later on, I plan to add a screen-space heat ( distortion ) effect.

The current shader samples a lava texture and combines 14 octaves at different frequencies. The last layers ( closer to the ground ) are animated, but it's quite subtle. A self-illumination term is calculated and added back additively. However, that alone isn't enough: lava emits light on the surrounding terrain; so to help a bit, I've added a bit of red-ish lighting additively, that is a function of the distance above the lava plane.

With HDRI enabled ( like in those screenshots ), and the glowing effect, it's looking rather nice. I've included day and night shots.

I'm thinking of using a similar shader ( with probably a lot of copy/paste ) for the sun surface effect.

At this point, what is worrying me the most are the z-fighting artifacts between the ocean/lava and the terrain.

I've also created a small terrain editor that allows to tweak the procedural parameters ( those were previously hardcoded ), change the frequencies, etc..







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12 Comments


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That's a very breathtaking effect. I can't wait to see what it looks like with the heat distortion effect, too! *sets as background*

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Looks really nice.

Do you think you might be putting out a new video with all the new effects added since the last video? Maybe just a little unofficial one at youtube.

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Quote:
Original post by Radan
Do you think you might be putting out a new video with all the new effects added since the last video? Maybe just a little unofficial one at youtube.


There will be a new video in the coming months, but I want that one to be particularly polished and breathtaking. I'm waiting to have the planetary engine in a more complete state ( for example, vegetation is still simplistic, clouds should be volumetric, etc.. ) before making it.

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That looks nice. As you already suggested: It still needs to be polished. But it looks great already!

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What are your plans with regards to publishing? I imagine you are already getting inquiries from interested publishers looking for a next gen Space Sim?

I'll echo what everyone else is saying while I'm at it. Your work is amazing!

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how do you procedurally decide where to place a volcano? do you deliberately generate volcano-like terrain, or do you try to detect terrain patterns where a volcano would look ok?
how do you decide which terrain vertices should have the red light based on height above lava plane? is this on a per-tile basis?

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Great work as usual man! I really like the last 2 shots of the lava. Looks amazing.

The screen-space heat blur effect is easily implemented and will really make the day-time shots look a lot better. I threw one into my game in a few hours using a scrolling 2d distortion map/post-processing shader. I made a journal entry a long time ago about it [ even posting the texture if I recall ].

Keep up the great work!!

- Danny

edit: Here is the link...to my heat blur entry, loosly based off the ATI Caves Demo w/ the lava etc. written about a year ago. Though I'm sure you've got 1000 better ways of implementing the effect already.

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