Korman: wanted features

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Korman: wanted features

Postby Sirius » Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:20 am

With Korman quite ready now, I thought we'd all have thrown PyPRP out the window, or at least we wouldn't be considering building new Ages with it anymore. However, it seems lots of people here still use it and don't want or don't recommend switching to Korman.

While I understand Korman still misses some features, I'm wondering what exactly holds people back, since you can build full Ages with it. Heck, even if some features are missing, there is still the possibility to build some parts of the Age in PyPRP if necessary, which is what I did to get sounds in Denkasen. Okay, it does add a step to the exporting process, but what little time you lose doing so is given back tenfold with Korman's export speed and Blender's new UI (I am NOT going back to the 2.49 interface, ever ! :twisted: )
Obviously there are also people working on very complex Ages with PyPRP, and these could take some work to port to Korman. And people are quite resilient to change as well :lol: But surely that's not the main reason to avoid Korman ?

So I'd guess it all boils down to which features are missing from Korman. The thing is, tons of features are missing, since Plasma has a crapload of them (most of which aren't even used by Age builders).
My point is, maybe we should make a list of the most urgent features to be added to Korman, since I believe PyPRP makes building incredibly slow and drives newcomers away from Age building. Looking at the issues list of Korman on Github, I can also see some features which don't really seem as important (normalmapping ? it's cool, but expensive, and I doubt many people would use it. Particles ? people would only use them for rain or snow, which means the good ol'way of hacking the PRP is probably enough for now. DistOpacity and FadeOpacity ? I bet builders have no clue what it's used for).

So ! Here are the features I think Korman lacks most, and which would allow us to definitely dump PyPRP in v0.03 or v0.04. I'm also interested in knowing what you guys think about it, of course !
  • Swimming: because people use oceans a lot, and who doesn't enjoy a good swim :)
  • Ladders: climbing these is annoying as hell, but it's also easier to setup than an elevator when required.
  • VisRegions: no matter what you do, you always need a good VisRegion when your Age gets any bigger than Tsogal.
  • Sounds: personally I don't miss them much, but eventually it would be cool to have them (this would be easier than setting them up in PyPRP as I mentioned earlier).
  • Subworlds: it's quite an essential tool for Age building, but it can easily be replaced by a Python script in the meantime. I'm currently using a simple Python script for all the rides in my Age, and it works like a charm (it just requires a few extra lines of code in Korman, which should be a lot easier to add than all the subworlds stuff).
  • Bones and rigging: not originally in PyPRP, but it would allow for much more interesting animations: the wind in branches, animals, complex machinery... :D
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Tweek » Sat Nov 14, 2015 6:43 am

I don't use Kormahn currently because I've not had time to learn the new layout for Blender. But yes, missing features is a big hold back also (swimming, ladders, sounds are big things to have missing as I use them a lot).

The thing is, tons of features are missing, since Plasma has a crapload of them (most of which aren't even used by Age builders).


If they are missing then perhaps that is why they are not used? Things like Normal Mapping, that's actually something I've been wanting to be able to use for a while now. Particles I'd love to use (not just for rain and snow) but I don't because you have to use a hacky method to put them in which is a hassle.

I'm not sure what all the features are that could be added, it is possible that there are several there which are things I've been wanting to be able to do for years (Normal Mapping again as an example).

Ultimately, what I'd like from Kormahn is for it to be a single place where I can build an Age to completion (or import existing UruCC/MOUL/EoA Ages) for either UruCC or MOUL without having to resort to hacky stuff to make things work.
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Sirius » Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:58 am

Tweek wrote:If they are missing then perhaps that is why they are not used? Things like Normal Mapping, that's actually something I've been wanting to be able to use for a while now.
I was actually thinking about things like camera regions, vertex lighting, multilayering and stenciling, which are all available to PyPRP and not really hard to use, but only a few people actually use them. Also, exclude regions, footprints, ripples, etc which are also available but harder to use or less documented.
All these probably aren't as vital as ladders, SW and swimming, which are always used.

As you said, some other features are not used because they aren't available, but we'll have access to more of these in due time :) I just think we shouldn't focus on adding them to Korman before people are willing to make the switch in the first place.


And yeah, there are still tons of features only Cyan ever used. Just to name a few: cluster groups (improves performance for grass, pebble, etc, while keeping memory usage low. You could even have Korman automatically generate those for you), sunglares that are drawn over other objects (like Tsogal's sun. You can make outstanding visual effects with those), UV mapping based on distance to the avatar, or orientation of the camera (this one is tricky to understand, but has a lot of other uses as well - Myst V's soapy bubbles, for instance, use this to handle transparency based on how you look at them).
And this was just texturing stuff. The list just goes on.
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:21 pm

Sirius wrote:
Tweek wrote:If they are missing then perhaps that is why they are not used? Things like Normal Mapping, that's actually something I've been wanting to be able to use for a while now.
I was actually thinking about things like camera regions, vertex lighting, multilayering and stenciling, which are all available to PyPRP and not really hard to use, but only a few people actually use them.


And these are among the features that make ages visually appealing (versus eye-numbing triangle clouds). :( Korman makes some things, like exclude regions, much easier to use. Of course, a lot of the advanced features are still not implemented yet.

Sirius wrote:DistOpacity and FadeOpacity ? I bet builders have no clue what it's used for).


Paradox has detailed a very nice lamp/sun flare technique using these two features together that would probably be exposed as a single "flare" feature. There has been some amount of thought put into the items tagged for 0.03 ;). My personal workload in terms of features for 0.03 includes soft volumes and vis regions. All of the C++ is written, but there's still some time and thought that needs to be put into design and usability. Those two things are currently in short supply, unfortunately :/

Sirius wrote:UV mapping based on distance to the avatar, or orientation of the camera (this one is tricky to understand, but has a lot of other uses as well - Myst V's soapy bubbles, for instance, use this to handle transparency based on how you look at them).


Those are (for the most part) limited to shaders that are hard coded into the engine, unfortunately. Aside from the grass shader, it will be difficult to expose them in any meaningful way :| . BTW The bubble shader only exists in Myst V.
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Sirius » Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:57 am

I'm sure you're all doing a great job on Korman :) Don't feel like I'm rushing you or anything, I was just wondering the reasons for builders not to use it (since it came up a few times in the forum), hoping it would also be of use to improve the plugin.
Both building and coding take time, and sometime you just have to wait for both the opportunity and motivation. So take your time ;)

Tsar Hoikas wrote:Paradox has detailed a very nice lamp/sun flare technique using these two features together that would probably be exposed as a single "flare" feature.
Combining multiple obscure features into a simple one is exactly what PyPRP lacked - this way people are more likely to try and use it ;)

Tsar Hoikas wrote:Those are (for the most part) limited to shaders that are hard coded into the engine, unfortunately. Aside from the grass shader, it will be difficult to expose them in any meaningful way :| . BTW The bubble shader only exists in Myst V.
Actually, no, both transparency effects used by the bubbles are available on Complete Chronicles. The bubble shader is merely an improved version of one of them (besides moving the vertices around, that is).
Other than that, just like normalmapping, both transparency effects rely entirely on a specific combination of layers, and work just fine in every versions of Uru (so it's perfectly possible to have Korman export them with a bit of work). I played a lot with them since they intrigued me :) It seems it's not limited to transparency either, you can use it to blend any layer you want.
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby dendwaler » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:01 am

However, it seems lots of people here still use it and don't want or don't recommend switching to Korman.


You are right , i am one of those that still uses the old PyPRP.
For reasons you all mentioned.
Its nearly impossible to switch over in a big project in its endphase.
So many little issues all at once that i cannotmaintain the overview.
The scripting is nearly all done, and i have to do it all over again when i switch.

But when i start with something new, i will definitely do that with Korman.
The new Blender has so much more possibilities i want to use.
One of the annoying things is that building for plasma its needed to use triangles or quads only.
Several times i forgot this when made a new object and then it can be a lot of work to correct this.
I should set that as default somewhere.

Anyway with a fresh project its easier to let grow your skills in the correct use of the new Blender and Korman equally.
It will be until that day that i start to actualy use it , before i can give any comments or will have " wishes" .
Though my first impressions of Korman where very positive.
Those wonderfull Worlds are called " Ages" , because that is what it takes to build one.

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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:33 pm

You're right Sirius. I had forgotten about the two camera options in the layer state and the bitfield on the UV settings. I don't have any idea how to expose these as meaningful features currently however. One thing that's useful for me is to read about ways that folks are using some of the many features of the engine in ways that Cyan doesn't actually expose--that means we can automate those as one click features in Korman.
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Sirius » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:19 am

Well, the most common use for this is to fade lightbeams (and other similar sprites) - you don't want the lightbeam to clip with your camera when you pass through them.
It is also used to show two different layers according to how far the avatar is - mostly to avoid tiling of smaller textures.
It's quite possible you could find other uses for it - I don't know, maybe the Fresnel effect could be used for giant crystal statues or something...
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby matthornb » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:38 pm

I've got to say thank you so much, Adam Johnson, for such an exciting and outstanding toolset. Korman has enormous potential to revolutionize Uru content creation, and indeed is already starting to.

While I found many of the features of Korman explained well in the docs, and while almost every part of the toolset worked correctly once I understood how to correctly use it, there have been scattered gaps where long stretches of trial and error became necessary for me.

For example, personally, I'd like to be able to use a video file or alternatively an image sequence as a texture.

I found the process for setting the UV mapping texture animation with offsets for Uru: CC tended to mess up frequently and often produced flawed and unexpected results.

Could've used more clear documentation on that, would've saved hours of frustration trying different things in the Graph editor. There are other things that were like that too, where I tried to do stuff - like water effects or different bits of interactivity - that were not fully explained in the Korman documentation.

I guess my main request, really, at the moment is I'm asking everyone here who knows how to use Korman, just keep expanding on the available Korman docs and tutorials so the process of learning to use Korman and all of its features, is more efficient and accessible.

Maybe I'll be posting some tutorials as well at some point. I have kind of gotten the hang of using Korman in Blender by now but I can't help feeling there's more I could still learn here.
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Re: Korman: wanted features

Postby Sirius » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:00 am

While Hoikas is the main developer, I think Deledrius and Paradox should also mentioned since they contribute to Korman too. But yeah, Korman is definitely getting better and better... And from what I see on Github, they are hard at work on version 0.08 with some nice Python-related features 8-)
But the amount of work people poured over the years into the various tools here is really impressive. I've spent countless hours using PrpShop and libHSPlasma, and they are both awesome... I kinda wish the engine improved as much since then, but all in due time...
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