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 Post subject: Graphics facelift?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:57 am 
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Will URU's graphics be updated when the source code is released (they look good, but they're starting show signs of aging)? I don't really mean modeling/textures, but more along the lines of shaders and image effects. I've seen a lot of games now which have lens glare, reflective/refractive shaders, and depth of field. Lens glare (in bright, sunny areas like the Cleft and Er'Cana) would add quite a bit, and reflective/refractive shading would improve water (It already looks pretty good, but the ground beneath it doesn't distort). DOF, I would guess, would be used sparingly if at all.*


I don't know what sort technical stuff this would include (it all depends what the game engine can support), if it wouldn't work under the licensing (I know that models/textures aren't going to be open-source), or if it is just too difficult to do with the existing code.

Edit: also, by doing a little research on Plasma, it seems that v. 2.0 was used t make URU, and v. 3.0 (which includes some of these effects I think) was used to make Osmo. It sounds like (but I am uninformed and out of the loop), in order to do this stuff, you may have change out the game engine for a newer version.

*please note that these observations are based on URU:CC, and I have no idea if any of these ideas were implemented in MOUL or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Graphics facelift?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:32 am 
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MegalomaniacalBahro wrote:
Lens glare (in bright, sunny areas like the Cleft and Er'Cana) would add quite a bit

Just a quick comment that admittedly cherry picks one issue: lens flare. In URU, it's you. U-R-U. How often do you get a lens flare effect in your own living eyes? Immersion breaks if you suddenly become aware that the images you see are arriving through a mechanical iris. Just saying. Lens flare seems to be all the rage, including an excessive amount of it in Star Trek XI, an otherwise "stellar" movie. Overuse of any artistic style quickly becomes cliché. Complete this sentence: Just because you can do a thing...

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:39 am 
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Sorry, let me clarify: "Lens glare", in my book is I believe what is known as the "bloom" effect ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom_%28shader_effect%29 )*

Lens flares occur through camera optics, which, like you said, shouldn't be in URU (and yes, ST overused the blue, anamorphic lens flare to the point of distraction).

Blooming is also an optical effect, but less blatantly so. It can occur, just a little bit, in real life too...

A little bit of it is seen in the glow off of the lamps Bevin, Kirel, and anywhere else you can find similar lamps to the ones there (although I believe the effect was faked by using a 2d texture for the glow--something commonly done).

Edit: I think this is one of the least important ones actually, things like improved water shading is more important in my mind.

*this is because I use Vue a lot, which calls it "lens glare"

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:13 am 
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Bloom effect is something that could possibly be added, but to do it properly would require changing the lamp values of all the existing Ages.

I will not be pleased with anyone who thinks that they are making Uru look better by simply taking everything white and blurring it across the screen. :P Real bloom requires lamp values greater than 1.0, which bleed out and onto neighbouring pixels.

As an example:
[spoiler=Good Bloom]Image[/spoiler]
[spoiler=Bad Bloom]Image[/spoiler]


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:24 am 
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Yeah, I thought bloom might take some doing...

Bloom is support in plasma 30...I don't know what plans there are regarding plasma though.

Another thing to be careful about is that excessive bloom, although cool, looks like there's a cheesecloth over the player's eyes--like your "bad bloom" example. That one in particular is beyond what's realistic.

A good example of realistic blooming and reflective/refractive shading can be seen here: http://unity3d.com/gallery/live-demos/i ... l-paradise

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:15 pm 
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I'd like to see new textures on most of the ages, many are too low res and blurry (The Library Courtyard in particular.) I don't agree on the idea of a lens flare though I'd like to see more weather improvements.

While I'm not sure how many people have thought or agreed about this, I would really like to see Uru on Valve's Source Engine. While it is not as graphically breathtaking as Crytek's CryEngine, the Source Engine has always been a favorite of mine, mainly it feels similar to the Plasma engine in look, but also because it is completely moddable (though the skill to completely convert the source code lets say Left 4 Dead 2 from shooter to 1st/3rd Person adventure game is probably extremely difficult and time consuming). I've already formed how a source version of Uru would look like and work in my head, ready to written down on paper.

Some may prefer to use the Plasma engine, but until we get the source code, we may not be able to change it (though that may still be likely). Even if it could be changed, this would be very time consuming. So, it is however likely though, that while the Source Engine and Plasma engine both have the potential to be modded, the process may be time consuming. So I'm gonna try and learn how to mod:D

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:50 pm 
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Licenses are the big hold up.

As you seem to gather, to change the textures in Uru for open source would require the original Photoshop (?) files and 3DMax materials and UVMaps. I doubt we are going to get those for use with open source. Cyan wants to provide the ...compiled... age files and limit changes to their IP, with a few exceptions.

I'm not sure how much improving shaders and render engine can help Uru. When one starts to change lamp settings the shadows and lighting effects baked into textures start to conflict and look odd. Everything was created to work together. To a big measure that pushes one to change everything when one change is made... or limit how far one can take a change.

Changing the render engine creates other problems too. Second Life is currently facing a similar challenge. The coming new viewer uses dynamic shadows. Existing textures made by more professional modelers have shadows baked in. With the new dynamic shadows turned on one will see double shadows, one set fixed and another set moving with the sun. What a change in Uru will mean is complex.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:10 pm 
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@Nalates: A fair amount of Uru's lighting is baked into seperate "lightmaps", not so much the textures themselves.

For example, altering the lighting in the city prp files, will yield interesting results. Note, lightmaps are not all there is to it, but, ambient lighting values, etc, etc. I'm only just beginning to understand how Uru does this, but, its a concept I'm fairly familiar with. But, yes, while I'm sure some fan ages might directly paint on shadows directly onto textures, i've not really seen too many examples in Cyan's ages. And, yes, I've looked pretty closely at the texture files, its an interest of mine. =P There are some textures that are shadows, and are layered on top of the "standard" textures.

As for the licenses, no one can comment on that, as no one knows the licenses.

Changing the textures of uru in its open source incarnation definitely does NOT require the original photoshop files and the 3dsmax materials. I could do this right now with the existing uru content, with the tools we have now. We already have the UVMaps, anyways. That data is easily available. Hint: its contained in any model of Uru, and we can already extract them from the PRP files.

Shader improvements would be very nice indeed. It *would* require updates to the ages for any real benefit, but, to be honest, this should be one of those things that we should be doing, in my opinion. I also agree on Paradox' "good and bad bloom" lets not overdo it, people.

But, all in all, a graphical facelift would certainly be very, very nice indeed.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:40 am 
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Kaelisebonrai, I’m used to projecting meshes to make a UVMap. It lets me control which areas get the most detail/pixels. The projected maps give a work product that looks like:
Image
This has the UVMap layout overlaid on the planned texture. This is then baked into a texture to use on the mesh. The one below is warped for oddities of SL sculpty meshes.

Image
It is the latter type of textures I find in the MOUL files. I see no way to recover the projected UVMaps from the meshes in the MOUL files. That seems to make it more complex to re-texture MOUL, even if Cyan permits it. While I agree it is possible to use the ‘resultant’ textures found in the MOUL files to make new textures, I think having the source files would make it much easier and better looking.

That the source for the original texture file is not available would seem to make even more work. Some of the shading is handled with bump maps, which simplifies the process some. Lightmaps are complex enough that I’m not sure how changing the shaders will affect them. I suspect they would need to be done over, but I guess it is possible they could be reused.

Whether this is accurate or not, Cyan’s statements so far seem to indicate that such changes won’t be allowed. After all it is easier to say ‘no change’ than to define how much one can change a texture without changing the look and feel. It gets really difficult when one has to legally define concepts like what is an improvement in MOUL for a license. So, while we won’t know until we see the license I doubt we will get to re-texture Ae’gura.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:32 pm 
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@Nalates: I can assure you, that the first form is definitely accessable right now, if you understand how it works. I have been using it heavily these last few weeks/months. We certainly *do* have the UVMaps. If you mean the source texture files, no, we do not have those. We do definitely have the UVMaps. The textures we have in MOUL, and TPOTS, are used over and over and over for many different UVMaps that are used in many different models. Some textures are used for very different things to what you'd expect. As I said, I've been experiementing with them. The textures we see in MOUL and TPOTS, the standard textures, are usually not baked to specific textures for each object. They're more often general textures that are used for many different purposes and objects via each object's UVMap. To bake a texture for each individual model would be /highly/ inefficient, and that's definitely not how its done in Uru.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Thanks... I'll have to do some experimenting next time I open a MOUL age. I haven't seen the UVMaps I expected, but I also haven't updated my pyprp import scripts for about a year.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Nalates wrote:
Thanks... I'll have to do some experimenting next time I open a MOUL age. I haven't seen the UVMaps I expected, but I also haven't updated my pyprp import scripts for about a year.


Now would be a good time to do so. I Finally got around the other day to updating the link at the GoW wiki. You can also find a thread about it in the PyPRP section of the forum.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:15 am 
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One effect I would like to see that's relatively simple to implement is parallax mapping.

Parallax mapping uses a normal map or a bump map to shift the position of the pixels in a texture relative to the position of the viewer. This simulates the effect of surfaces having extra 3D features and depth, greatly increasing apparent quality with a very minimal impact on performance.

Here's an example of parallax mapping in use. The two walls here are completely flat (only two polygons make up each wall), yet parallax mapping makes it appear as though every brick and crevice is part of the 3D model.
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:59 pm 
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Parallax Mapping sounds like a good idea, something I would love to see be implemented in existing and new ages. However there are quite alot of problems:
*Plasma 2.05 (I think the designation for the MOUL version of Plasma) cannot support parallax mapping and it is unlikely Cyan will give us the ability to tweak the Plasma engine to include newer features like PM and HDR (which is featured in Plasma 3 for Hex Isle).

*If we were to use PM on existing textures (which are mostly blurry and stretched in most areas), I think the results would be horrendous. We would have to replace the majority of the textures in the game in with Higher-Res textures, which while would be satisfying would need a lot of manpower and time.

*Parallax Mapping has not yet been implemented much (or not at all) into online games due to the vast amount of Bandwidth needed to generate the 3d graphics of the PM.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:48 am 
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sarpedon2 wrote:
*If we were to use PM on existing textures (which are mostly blurry and stretched in most areas), I think the results would be horrendous. We would have to replace the majority of the textures in the game in with Higher-Res textures, which while would be satisfying would need a lot of manpower and time.

High resolution textures might not be as important as you think.

Doom 3 had parallax mapping added to as a user-made modification. The parallax mapping mod uses Doom 3's original textures, most of which are only 256x256 resolution.

sarpedon2 wrote:
*Parallax Mapping has not yet been implemented much (or not at all) into online games due to the vast amount of Bandwidth needed to generate the 3d graphics of the PM.

Sorry, but that's hugely inaccurate. For starters, plenty of online games use parallax mapping; everything based on either the Unreal 3 engine or the IDTech4 engine has it for sure.

There's also no extra bandwidth required to enable parallax mapping. All of the textures, bump maps, and normal maps needed to make parallax mapping work are already part of URU. All that's required to enable parallax mapping is a pixel shader that uses these resources.

There's also nothing "3D" being generated with parallax mapping, it's merely a very convincing optical illusion. The parallax mapping shader shifts the pixels of a texture based on its associated bump map, relative to the position of the camera. This creates the illusion of walking around geometry, when in fact it's just the pixels on a flat surface eclipsing one another to make it look that way. Once again, this is all handled client-side, with no extra bandwidth required.

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