Denkasen !

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Denkasen !

Postby Sirius » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:41 am

Hello everyone !

I'm proud to give you Denkasen, my first (ahem) real Age !

It's a small holiday Age. Not really big, no fancy puzzle or anything. But !... It has a very particular feature that I believe will be very interesting to Age builders ! (lambda explorers: you can look for it too, it's fun !).
Now, you might be wondering what that particular feature is. Well, I'm not going to tell you. Link there and try to find out ! It's not particularly well hidden, but be sure you don't miss it. A cookie to the first person to find it and figure out what it does !

The Age was built using mostly Korman (I manually patched the exported Age to fix a few things). I tried to make it as good-looking as I could, but it's still a bit empty to my tastes. Maybe I'll add some more things later (some rocks, a few patches of grass), but for now, just enjoy it as it is !
Suggestions and criticism are of course welcome !

Here ya go.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/e39eu7twzs6wd ... n.zip?dl=1
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby tachzusamm » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:59 am

I'm not revealing the "secret" here as well, but hey, the Age itself looks quite pleasing where it comes to lighting and foliage.
The rocks also look great.

Did you do the lightmapping using Korman's method, or did you use your own?


Edit: Oh yes, suggestions...
well, you could add a beach canteen. :D
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby Aloys » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:06 am

Nice. :) I love peaceful places like that.
I found your hidden feature! *cough*turtlerock*cough*. Nearly drowned myself. :p That very neat, I had no idea you could control that at run time, even less with that kind of interface.. Great job on this!
Is your terrain using your vertex color baked lighting script? It looks good anyhow.

Suggestions and criticism:
I don't get any shadows on my avatar, is that normal? (I have the same problem on my Korman test Age).
Also I couldn't swim; is that on purpose? (because of your hidden feature). I'd love to swim in there. :) (I walked under water right to the other side of the Age to make sure I wasn't missing anything. :p )
I like your palm trees, although I find them a bit too high-poly. Not that it looks bad, but the beach they rest on is a little low poly compared to them. That's a tricky thing with polygon density, to make sure it's more or less even everywhere.

it's still a bit empty to my tastes.

I know what you should add:
Show Spoiler
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby Tweek » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:16 am

The shadows under the plants on the ground could use some work (really pixelated for me and I'm running the game with everything maxed out).

There is also some serious glitching going on with the wavesets.

The palm trees and ground plants could do with having the premul option turned on in the texture settings (will reduce that weird alpha halo they have) that is if they haven't already. I'd probably subsurf the sand and make the sand dunes a little more rounded and less triangle. If the Age isn't going to be huge and complex you could probably get away with increasing verts there. Also the ground textures could probably be higher res or sharper (lots of blurry textures).

Also..the..surprise...interesting idea...however I can't seem to exit out of that unless I use the /link command to either reload the Age or leave it completely.
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby Aloys » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:24 am

Tweek wrote:The shadows under the plants on the ground could use some work (really pixelated for me and I'm running the game with everything maxed out).

Weird, they look decent on my screen, not too high-res, but not pixelated either. However they are too strong/black compared to the terrain shadows.

Also..the..surprise...interesting idea...however I can't seem to exit out of that unless I use the /link command to either reload the Age or leave it completely.

Hint: there are some scrolling arrows on the bottom of the left menu, scroll down and you'll find an 'exit' entry.
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:31 am

Nice. This age exposes how much we need high alpha testing though (or Sirius could apply pass indices to fix the halos)
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby Tweek » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:34 am

Ah I didn't scroll down enough to see that. I was expecting to be able to close out of the interface in the same way you can all the others in Uru.

Being able to tweak those values and seeing it in real time is super helpful for understanding how they work though.
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby dendwaler » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:51 pm

Thats realy impressive! To see what happens in real time makes the tweaking lots easier and gives me better understanding of the settings... And its a nice area to.! Ok , there some minor glitches but that happens if you put it together in a short time, its not the the main purpose of this age to be " pretty" after all.
Thx for the effort and the python! :D
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby janaba » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:01 pm

Hi, Sirius, this is a neat little age, a holiday age, as you've called it, peaceful, beautiful and pleasing to the eyes ... :P

Of course, but you know that, it's in the initial stages, means very much work in progress, just put together for test reasons using Kormahn etc., though an impressive one already ... It has very much potential, and yes, I also don't have a shadow here (I always have one in general), and I couldn't swim, so I went straight through under the water to not miss anything, but I've explored (means with flymode lol) the upper regions of the age, with many scenes or walls as you see them in Ahnonay, but beautiful nevertheless ...

I couldn't find anything 'special', no 'special feature' as you've all mentioned and experienced, no special rock, a 'turtle rock' even or sth similar extraordinary lol ... I walked up the palm trees where possible and did lots of things that came to my mind, but maybe one has to have an expert eye or sense to detect 'that', like everyone else who posted here by now ... 8-)

Yay, however, a nice and inspiring start for all age builders, who couldn't get around to try this yet, thanks, Sirius ... :)
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Re: Denkasen !

Postby Sirius » Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:06 pm

Thank you all, very much ! I like hearing you like it !

So, to try to answer all comments...

Shadows: I didn't use Korman's automated lighting, because I wasn't sure how to set things up for the shadows of the palm trees cast on the ground. It had to be a lightmap to keep details, but I had to use vertex color for the rest of the terrain mesh where there weren't very complex shadows. Since I wasn't sure how best to do it, I decided to use a trick I found used by Cyan: create a duplicate of the area under the trees, and apply the shadowmap as alpha to it (which might explain why they look too dark). Then I removed remaining vertex shadows cast on the main mesh. Not exactly a piece of cake, but it does the trick (although it might be why shadows are too dark around this place).
I'll have a look at increasing the resolution of this texture, but I must also smooth the shadowmap manually since Blender doesn't apply antialiasing to shadows :x

As for shadows on the avatar... Well, these are really tricky, they require either real-time shadow casting (which is slow and ugly), or projection of the shadow map by a light. I'm not sure if Korman supports it yet.
(oh, and I also noticed the avatar wasn't casting shadows either, but that may be because I don't use Korman's light baking.)
Workaround: play in first person !

About the foliage: I'm aware about alpha artifacts. I removed most partial transparency in the textures and set the kBlendAlphaTestHigh flag for these layers, but totally forgot about passindices. Honestly at that time I was more worried about shadowing and terrain stenciling being completely wrong :lol:

I'll also improve the beach mesh in a later version. The way I build my terrains, I always build a low-poly mesh, then add subsurf/displace/decimate modifiers. This allows me to keep a very simple mesh which is easy to edit or unwrap, which Blender instantly transforms into a more complex and more natural high-res terrain. The only downside to this method is I can't decide which part gets more vertices than another, and I don't have much control over smoothing of particular areas until I apply all modifiers.
(this is actually the issue I mentioned on the Korman thread about my canyon Age - didn't have time to reply to Aloys and go into more details on this.)
TL;DR: I'll smooth things out in the next version, so it feels more natural (especially where the water meets the beach, which I assume is the area Tweek considered glitchy).

Overall texture resolution: texturing is my bane and I'm doomed to run into this issue until the end of times, grrr ! Hem, anyway. The thing is, I mostly fetch my textures on CGTextures, which doesn't allow me to download high-res versions of tiled textures. Which means I often go with the low-res version (which is itself downscaled to a power of two on exporting).
If it's that much of an issue, I'll download a non-tileable, hi-res version of the texture, and tile it with Gimp. Problem is, Gimp doesn't allow me to tile textures horizontally only, which is a problem in some places (also, I wonder if CGTex's tiling isn't a bit better). Either way, I'm by no means a master of Gimp or textures.
I did work a lot on the sand, though - it combines 3 textures with different blending and size, and even though it's still a bit pixelated, it's almost impossible to notice the tiling. I even managed to blend all these textures without the saturation, contrast or brightness going overboard which, in itself, is quite an achievement for me.

Since you're wondering, I didn't put a swimregion for various reasons: 1. the beach is too steep (again!), which makes getting out of the water annoying, 2. swimming avatars don't follow the movement of waves, unfortunately, 3. I didn't see the option anywhere in Korman, which means I must add it to a separate page with PyPRP (which is what I did for sounds, actually - sounds aren't part of Korman yet ?). I will add one eventually, have no fear.

Anyway, I noted down all your ideas for the next version.

And I thought the first complain would be the ugly palm tree billboard on top of the cliff... :shock:


janaba wrote:I couldn't find anything 'special', no 'special feature' as you've all mentioned and experienced, no special rock, a 'turtle rock' even or sth similar extraordinary lol
There is a stone slab on the ground between some of the palm trees ;)


By the way:
Show Spoiler


Anyway, about the special feature:
Show Spoiler


Aloys wrote:Nearly drowned myself. :p That very neat, I had no idea you could control that at run time, even less with that kind of interface.
Show Spoiler


dendwaler wrote:Ok , there some minor glitches but that happens if you put it together in a short time, its not the the main purpose of this age to be " pretty" after all.
Yeah, as I said, visuals weren't the goal at first. It took me the best part of two days to put together the interface, and two more days to build the area. This is actually fast work, but I didn't do much else during these days...
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