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Monday, February 25, 2013

This one is a talkie!

Here are two new videos showing some new features.

I finally decided to add an audio track to a video. It does help describing what is new as it appears on screen:



Let me know if you like this format. I think I could do one of these every month.

The second video is some sort of fast steady-cam flyover:


59 comments:

  1. I love that you found the courage to do a voice-over! It makes the video so much more interesting and it's a lot easier to understand exactly what improvements you've made. Keep it up and it will just get easier with time.

    Great work as usual!

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  2. Are you god? Cause im pretty sure i saw heaven.

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  3. Now THAT is a good lookin' valley.

    I really enjoyed the voiced-over video, my only feedback for now would be to introduce just a little bit of noise "behind" what you are saying. As an example, a looped sound of wind going through leaves makes a good filler noise, that way you don't get an abrupt silence, but the sentence isn't overwhelmed either.

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  4. Much nicer with the voiceover. Looking good indeed!

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  5. Loving how the terrain is looking now!

    One question: it looks like the underbrush is being laid down on the fly - when you change the landscape, it kept regenerating. Do you plan on having underbrush be more "locked down" and permanent/interactive later on? Or do are you thinking of it as just a cool visual effect to make the forests look nice?

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    1. It should be locked down. This is silly right now.

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  6. Besides the rocks looking rather a lot like volcanic rock, brilliant! I am not sure if the undergrowth overlay idea we talked about is now such a good idea, after seeing the actual undergrowth in action.

    The voice really made it even more interesting, it also allows you to point out exact things, which having a video, and then text doesnt do, and a lot more personal as well.

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    1. Oh, I forgot to mention (which is probably a good sign =3): The Level of Detail transition was perfect! (Except with the fast fly over, but that was exactly that, fast, so that is not much of a problem) It might have been the fact that you were talking, so I was more focussed on that, but I could not notice the level of detail transition.

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  7. The voice over commentary was really interesting. I think it's worth continuing. The features were awesome to see as always.

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  8. Yep, the talkie format is great! Two other ideas:

    1) looking at the same feature from different angles, e.g. when moving down the new rocks at the end it would be nice to turn and look back up at them from below as well.

    2) Just showing off the view! At the end of both videos you're in areas with amazing views into the distance, but you never look out directly so the viewer doesn't get a good look at it. This is just pandering to the visitors, of course, but if it pulls a few more people to the site that's only a good thing.

    One thing I noticed: the grass and trees were moving with the wind, but the undergrowth didn't seem to be. Did I just miss it or is that currently the case?

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    1. Those are good suggestions.

      I need to animate undergrowth, wind does not affect it yet.

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  9. The voiceover was great! Does your undergrowth engine support sprites at all or is it all 3d?

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    1. Small grass blades and tree leaves are sprites (billboards).

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    2. Thought so. I've been applying same kind of code for seagrass in my own work and after some experimenting got to the conclusion that using billboards doesn't really stand out and it saves lot's of resources. Yours blends in really nicely.

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  10. Great work! It's all really coming together.

    I appreciate the audio track, please do more of them.

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  11. I still don't know why this hasn't got more viewer than it has.
    Your videos are all amazing, the only thing whats lacks is advertisement.

    Some points i found out that may increasing your view count:
    * Using short names with small amount of words will increase your amount of displaying a searchlist.
    * "video", "game", "world" are keywords that has a large search value.
    * Add the name to your thumbnail picture so you get recognized from previous viewers.

    As most people are "gamers" and not developers they often search around for gameplay video or other kinds of videos which already is based on an existing game.

    and the most secure thing, but im pretty sure you want to avoid it, Since the large community of minecraft has alot of video.
    The tag "Minecraft" is pretty much your player group.
    But of course this would trigger the normal "youtube hate conversations.".
    This can be avoided by disabling the comments but keep the likes up.
    And use a link on the description to this blog instead so only serious people would care to comment.

    I hope you find any of this any useful. This game and you deserve to be seen, cause this really is outstanding in this area. And i've pretty much looked up everything around the internet.
    Keep up the good work and make the future volumetric!

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions. They are very helpful and certainly will apply them at some point.

      At the moment I'm targeting game developers and I don't mind the lack of exposure to the "general public". I am also avoiding angering the minetards too early. At least I should announce some real game mechanics before basking in their hate :)

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    2. I believe Notch started pretty much the same, just a blog where he showed his little experiment, then at some point, I think just before it went into beta, it exploded and people all over the world suddenly knew minecraft, it went quite fast at one point... Anyway, word of mouth is powerful too =3.

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  12. Some thoughts, thanks for an interesting technology. Not everyone has good monitor, so the woods can be very dark and hard to see. The texture seems to be quite repetive, how hard it is it use bigger textures across many voxels?

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  13. these are great videos - and the commentary is a big plus point - much better with the audio descriptions. Your accent is perfectly understandable :-) it's looking a lot richer now, the undergrowth instancing works very well. How many undergrowth plant types are you aiming for? I recall from a previous comment that you had just the two types at the moment.

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    1. Only three models so far: the fern, a bush and one stone. There is no limit on how many different ones. There is only one copy of the mesh in memory so there is little overhead. When the instance data is sewed into the graphic buffers it does not really matter if they are different objects or the same, as long as the polygon counts are similar.

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  14. Nice progress being made! I appreciate the new terrain generation system you got going now.

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  15. Awesome video as usual. The voiceover was great and much appreciated.

    Couple questions:

    1) I've never seen you "dig" into a tree/leaves. Is that even possible?

    2) If you dig deep enough or down and then start to do a horizontal shaft under the surface, will the light in the shaft gradually fade to pitch black? Or will the ambient keep it lit up no matter how far underground you are?

    Not a question, but ...

    3) In future videos if you happen to come across a panoramic vista...please STOP and let us enjoy it for a few seconds!

    :P

    Take care and look forward to your next update.

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  16. Hi Miguel, nice to see that your "diamond" gets beter and beter.
    I have two questions:

    1) Do you plan to include multiplayer ? It's possible to sculpt using little brushes, but what about saving file size ?
    2) there will be undergound vegetation (mushrooms in caves, roots..)

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    1. Well, he seemed to insinuate(?) that you could theoretically put vegetation, or anything else, on any tile you want....
      This raises a question with my though: Does it support vegetation on the sides of walls/cliffs? (Like climbing plants)

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  17. Very nice. Just a quick question -- why did you decide to use a CPU AO implementation? Wouldn't something like SSAO be able to utilize GPU resources better? I imagine the procedural generation must use a lot of CPU resources, so this could free some of that up.

    I really liked the procedural generation for those volcanic style rocks at the end.

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    1. The main reason is I do not have a deferred rendering system yet. I plan to move to deferred rendering in the future, at this point I will use SSAO or maybe some form for screen space radiosity.

      GPU resources are limited too. Computing this in the CPU is very fast, and the GPU is free to do other stuff. The real advantage of SSAO is that it would be updated in realtime, if there are moving objects for instance.

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  18. Please put up a donation link. Please!

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  19. Looks amazing! Please keep doing these regularly. And I wish there was a way to donate money to support development and maybe in turn get an Alpha to test by myself or something. Either way, keep up the great work!

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  20. Really liked the addition of your commentary in the video - it adds a lot when you are explicitly pointing out the things to be looking at, rather then reading and then viewing (which is also fine for other kinds of videos and comments).

    Also, to echo what so many others have already said, but I have to as well, wow, does this look great. The LOD transitions are really a lot better, and in the fast fly-over video i kept saying "stop, go back, i want to look around more!".

    Very exciting work, thanks for sharing it.

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  21. Awesome job! Sign me up for any testing ;)

    I believe you now are in a position strong enough to gain investment from tech savvy brokers if you need the money/people to expand your enterprise... either that or get bought up!

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  22. Just stopped here to tell you, that your work has incredible potential. I am neither a game developert nor an avid gamer (I have more a writing background with a strong interest in storytelling and presentation of fictious worlds in different medias), but I caught my self checking your blog nearly every day for updates. It's kinda addictive! Well done!

    Only negative thing that chatched my eye in the latest videos: the mountains and rocks look really realistic in shape, but it's bugging me, that the mountains don't have any or only few grass/trees on their sides. Do you aim to change that? I ask because I am quite often on tour in the German alps, where the mountains look quite differently. But maybe I neglect that mountains in other countries (Norway, Scotland) have that more rocky appearance...

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    1. Yes, it is a good suggestion. It is not really a problem with the engine, more with the biome definitions I have in this demo.

      You guys should be tired by now of looking at the same type of terrain. I know I am.

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  23. How did you get the LOD transitions to smooth out so much?

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    1. They continue to happen at the same level. I am caching most of the generated vegetation so there are no transitions near the camera.

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    2. Even the land itself seems to transition smoother, maybe it's just me!

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  24. I don't know if you go on reddit, but this video was posted on /r/games and /r/gaming yesterday and got some attention. I posted a link back to the blog in the comments so that people could get more information, but there were a lot of questions about the project and what your plans were. In the future you might consider posting the videos yourself so that you can clarify things and answer questions, or just to get easy access to the feedback and reactions. In particular, /r/games usually has some pretty good discussions in the comments, and a lot of the subscribers are developers or stay current on new game development techniques, so you might get something out of it.

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    1. Yes thanks. I noticed early today when the blog's traffic jumped by 200%.

      In general I avoid any form of self-promotion in user forums, especially in reddit. But this thread is interesting, so I decided to show up. Let's see...

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  25. Awesome work. I've just recently stumbled upon your blog, now I check it regularly. Don't worry about future voice overs being a problem, your accent was perfectly understandable and it did make the video much more enjoyable. I do agree that a light background audio track would make the silence less jarring, but other than that keep up the good work. I'm always amazed at what people can develop on their own. I've toyed with writing a game engine, but quickly lost in poor performance from not understanding the engineering specifics of engines since they are not my specialty. Looking forward to future posts and will certainly be an early adopter if you decide to go to a paid alpha/beta.

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  26. Saw this on pcgamer, I came to the source because I'm interested to see where this is going. Amazing work. If we could have some sort of sandbox mmo, this looks like the first step towards that.

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    1. Or any sandbox game for that matter XD.

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  27. when will you release this game! i realy want to try it!

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  28. Please release some demo. I would love to see this on my rig.

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  29. olekillo pisha que graficos mástoguapos oletuasento inglis

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  30. I know it's been a while since you posted this but I have to say "WOW!" So many new things to love!

    - Added Ambient Occlution... Love what it adds!
    - The smoothed LOD transtions... Great job!
    - Undergrowth, with Shadows!... wow! looks living!
    - The terrain generation re-write (non-height map)... Outstanding improvement!
    - Your voice narration... adds SO much, keep doing them!
    - Terrain colorization... Adds so much variety beyond the textures!

    It is looking so... so good!!!!


    Looking forward to:

    - Ambient/locational sound, ahh... the crunch of a boot, and wind in our hair.
    - Sky, clouds, weather effects ( can't wait to see the realism you create in terrain, applied to this area as well. The upper right of your blog background image tantalizes me, even though I remember you 'shopped it)
    - Water stuff :)
    - Wild-life/NPC's :)

    I always have to throw in a few far reaching goals!
    Great work, I second people's request for a donation conduit.

    Jonathan

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    1. Thanks, this is pretty much the roadmap I have.

      As for donations, I want to have some real gameplay. Once I am past the engine demo stage I will consider it.

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    2. Hear hear to the donation conduit. I'd be happy to contribute to this project. Very inspirational!

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    3. Indeed. Being able to roam around and do some of what was shown in this demo would already be enough of a game for me to warrant an investment.

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    4. I do think that the... game, is not at the same level as when Minecraft started to be public.

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  31. With you commenting all this interesting info - it's even nicier

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  32. Wow i now in live with this engine! you will sell this engine or we could get it for free?

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  33. I've been following this project since 2010, and I have to say your progress looks great. I also enjoyed the talkie. You say you want to wait to release this until you reach a more finished product, but consider the community you would gain behind this project if you let people play with your engine now. In your position, I would sell licences to the engine in alpha form and let people start tinkering with it and making their own games (which they can distribute to other people who own a license to the engine). Sure, these games would become outdated and become superseded by whatever you create, but people love to try things for themselves. Personally, I'd purchase a licence for $50.

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  34. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. It's like Skyrim and Minecraft had a baby, and that baby is SOOOOOO much prettier.

    Great job. I hope you reap all the rewards you deserve.

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  35. The world is so beautiful! Great work! Looking forward to see more progress!

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  36. I stumbled upon this blog today and though about your project :
    http://outerra.blogspot.sk/2012/05/procedural-grass-rendering.html

    I found the way they implemented grass to be interesting and it looks quite nice from up close (although it lacks a proper texture to my taste). What do you think ?

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    1. Its simplicity is nice, without being just a billboard or something (And hey, I actually know what they are talking about for a change! Guess this software engineering course is working its magic =3), but the algorithms to make anything other than grass might be... problematic.

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  37. Questions: What are your plans to do with this engine, License it out to developers or produce your own game title with it? When will you start releasing this engine for testing/tinkering?

    Suggestion: Feed off the Minecraft train. Sure you might be called a clone but it would be a lie to say that wouldn't gain attention and money. Develop your own RPG survival like Minecraft and gain a massive internet following. Even if this game doesn't become successful you have at least gained a large audience and can begin licensing out for bigger dollars and continue updating your own game. Once the game or the engine has lost there popularity work on a "VoxelFarm 2" while working with Next Gen technology.

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  38. Have you considered using voxel cone tracing for lighting? Could make the lighting a lot better... if it doesn't tax the gpu too much.

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  39. Really looks amazing! I was wondering will there be any water generation like lakes, rivers or ponds? Also how about a weather system with rain showers T-storms? That would be amazing!

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