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EmpireProductions

Need some Advice Please.

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I am looking for advice on how I can improve the over all quality of my visuals in my client. One thing some of you may say is to improve the quality of the water. The water is far from finished but is on the todo list just not the top of the list. Any advice on how to improve the water are also welcomed! Here are some example screenshots from the client. Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2 Thanks for taking the time to respond!

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First piece of advice: Finish it, then polish it.

As for the water, a decent solution is a water animation texture. Various programs are capable of generating that sort of thing. You tile it like it was terrain, maybe add a tile with a "small waves" animation...

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For bigger things, fill out the world more. Make the trees leafier, smoother. Add differing tufts of grass around the place so it doesn't look so bland on the ground.

Also a big thing in the characters is detail. You have a good model and a great face texture, then the rest of the body seems to be made up of block colors. Give them actual clothes with the illusion of wrinkles, folds, etc.

Oh and make the water better :p

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*Better/More tree models with random orientations.

*Terrain painting (not just one texture)

*More detailed terrain height mapping, small bumps and ridges, not just smooth rolling hills

*Environmental objects such as fences, rocks, debris..

*Shadows

*Characters in more than one animation pose

*Normal Maps

Other than that the lighting and stuff looks decent.

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For the Terrain I do use Perlin Noise. The Height maps are made using Libnoise. I am still playing around with it trying to get the best results.

Thanks every one for your comments. More insight into it would be greatly appreciated! I will update with newer screenshots as I go.

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Stop using Perlin noise!
(No. perlin noise is NOT nice looking if
used with out mixing to something better!)

go to L3DT
play around with generator and export height+normal+skylight maps.

go to cgTextures
grap some big ground, sky and water textures and make them 2^n tiling textures.

Lights and fog are good. (add fake shadows (black circle under object is good))
Bloom level is ultra realistic! :P (yes I hate BLOOM!)

/Tyrian

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I do have L3DT and I have used it some however I stopped using it because I couldn't make large enough terrains with it. Using libnoise I can make however large terrains I want with out worrying about the edges of the heightmaps lining up with each other.

The Only way I could use L3DT is if my world was based on Islands instead of one very large terrain mass.

EDIT: Also why get sky textures? The sky is the Caelum sky addon for Ogre3D. That means that the sky has a day/night cycle, moving cloud layer, weather effects, and more to it.

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Quote:
Original post by TyrianFin
Stop using Perlin noise!
(No. perlin noise is NOT nice looking if
used with out mixing to something better!)


Stop using random noise!

Are you making WoW? because that game's boring, and it has seemingly infinite random terrain. Don't be boring, put some detail on that sucker.

If you dont have fast vehicles there's no reason for silly rolling hills. Make a village. A map with buildings and roads painted on, creeks, plants, and lots of other props.

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The game allows Guilds to own and fight over land. Guilds can build cities and the NPC characters will be building cities as the game is progressing. City building is done through a RTS style menu system with building upgrades and additional buildings will become available as you add buildings and upgrade them. New weapons will be researched as your guild progresses as well. So pretty much it's a multi-player large scale RTS game with RPG elements.

So far Guilds are able to be created and theres a couple types of buildings that can be created.

So now based on that we need large amounts of land for Guilds to own and fight over. I have however decided to go back to the Island Idea and have different Islands that Guilds can own. That way I can use L3DT to create the different heightmaps for the islands.

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Here are a few more screenshots:







I still need to figure out how to have a extra detail map following the player around to give the ground texture more detail. I also need to add paths and other things around on the terrain to make it more interesting but I think it is starting to look good!

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Looking better.

Tips

Try adjusting distribution of trees.
Not on steep slopes and more clusters (no uniform distribution)

Add lots of big rocks / boulders.
(rock distribution likes steep slopes)
(reference pics/videos of Fallout 3)

And if you still have problems with edges of world,
then you might try same trick what Oblivion used.
Create Low-Low-Polygon model of you continent/all
that player ever can see and show it as distant LOD.
(idea is that there is no nead for complex pageing & LODing,
just one constant distant LOD model, and paged detailed terrain near player)

Or you could try same techique from Shadow of the Colossus.
(Distant terrain is baked on fly to "skybox".)

Partialy transparent GUI elements are not good for usability.

/Tyrian

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You're making progress, still there's a long way to go :-), so try to organise your tasks to improve the visuals. Here's one way to do it:

Best to take one aspect of visualization, do some research on the aspect and try to improve the visualisation of this aspect. Once you have made some progress, pickup the next aspect. You will need lot of iterations, but each iteration will look better.

Here's a list of aspects:
- GUI
- surfaces/materials
- water
- terrain
- animation
- vegetation
- sky
- lighting
- shadowing
- global illumination

Try to improve in each aspect once before starting the next iteration. For your first iteration I would guess that GUI, surfaces, water, terrain, animation,vegetation and sky has been improved. Still lighting and shadowing are not really recognizable.

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Fast working speed, lots of free time? :)

Some words about lighting.

1. In your screen shots there is lot`s of contrast,
and I guess that is becouse there is no gamma correction in action.
(this is a bit advanced topic, but ones you get it right
there is no returning back to bad habits :D )

So try to activate sRGB framebuffer in your renderer, and take care that
in going textures end up in linear color space.

Use one directional light as sun, and set it`s color to very light yellow.
(90% white + 10% yellow, lights power about 0.8)

Try adding hemisphere ambient light. (might be better to check out from google)
mix(groundColor, skyColor, smoothstep(-1.0, 1.0, dot(normal,worldUp))) * lightPower
(good light power about 0.5)

/Tyrian

Ps: And while adjusting lights, force all materials to pure white lambert.

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You would add bump maps on top of the Normal Maps? Or just use one or the other?

Also I have purchased a license for Particle Universe and I am taking a break from working on improving Visuals so I can work on the combat system. I will post some screenshots and maybe a video of the particle effects some time soon.

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The best thing u can do is to make a consistent thematic for your game and consistent look and feel. To make it stand out I would suggest also use a novel or interesting art direction.

Right now all ur screenshot look very disjuncted, ninja, open semi-grass lands with pine trees, windmill, castle... Also you need to work on the ground textures, using some sort of multi-texturing technique for near and far and detail textures.

Also u should enable anti-aliasing, those jagged edges don't play well on the eyes.

Should look into level packs catering to openworld games like yours..

Something like this :

http://www.torquepowered.com/products/enchanted-forest

Though this is for Torque.. but you might be able to find an exporter or write one for ur engine.

Good Luck!

-ddn

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I think things are shaping up rather nicely.

If I were in your position, I'd be looking around at some of the games that excel in this area.

For example looking at CoD (old but easy to find on google):
http://www.ngohq.com/attachments/screenshots/1348d1227271582-call-of-duty-4-modern-warfare-screenshots-call-of-duty-4-modern-warfare-screenshot-1.jpg

Ignoring the sheer depth and detail, I notice some key elements that can be easily utilised in your visuals...

Someone already mentioned about non-uniform tree placement, going for the "natural" look, but also some variety of types would be ideal. You don't need many, a couple of small shrub/brush type objects, a couple of mid-size bushes/trees and a couple of larger ones. If time is an issue, make them less detailed, but more of them. I worked on a golf game a while ago that used simple billboarded trees to great effect simply because the camera angle was well thought out, and there were a good mix of well-designed pieces. If you can also put in grass, then please do let me know - I've been looking for ages for a fast efficient grass renderer!

Fog and atmospheric effects can make a dramatic difference for very little effort. After all, in real life, even on clear sunny days, haze and heat distortions affect visuals the further they are away. The brain takes these things as given, so without them things often seem just a little unreal.

Bump-mapping will help roughen things up, both on the objects as well as the landscape, which really does need some detail, particularly near the camera (less so further away ofc). When the landscape is at times taking up two-thirds of the screen, you know it's going to need to be a key focus for visual improvement.

One final element: shadows. The objects as they stand are completely disconnected from the ground. Shadows serve as an anchor to bring them back down to earth. And this goes for pretty much every object in a scene. In a lot of cases you can get away with alpha circles tied to an object's base. If you know the objects are going to be static, for example buildings, you can bake shadow textures onto the ground, and in this case make them extremely detailed and realistic with little or no development/rendering overhead.

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