Monday, August 22, 2016

Pyramid Scene in UE4

Here you can see a video of the Pyramid scene from the previous post:

There are many improvements in this new engine version. Aside the new features like textured voxels and procedural materials, we invested a big deal of time in the quality of the experience. There is still some pop-in, which is coming from a little bug in the meta-material layer. Aside from that the LOD changes are pretty stable and unnoticeable for the most part. The use of UV-mapped voxels also helps minimize the pop-in.

Another old problem area was the replanting of procedural flora (and other objects) every time there was an edit. The new instancing system provides a stable representation that is able to transfer the flora planting into the new geometry. Only edits that really affect the planted instances result in a visual change.

The destruction and building shown here is controlled by blueprints inside UE4. You could easily switch the bombs by a pickax or by rockets.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

System Integration

Here is a scene that combines all the recent developments in Voxel Farm:

This integration is subtle. There are no giant turtle mountains here, but the same system we used for the giant turtle is applied here to produce the natural rock pillars that are connected by the bridges, also the platform where the pyramid rests:

These natural structures are defined by a low resolution mesh that captures the basic shape. This is expanded in realtime into detailed features like rocks, sand and dirt using procedural materials that we call Meta-materials.

The large terrain around the pillars and the pyramid's base is using Voxel Farm's standard procedural terrain.

This scene also uses UV-mapped voxels. This is a different method to apply textures to voxels. It allows much finer control. The entire pyramid is using them:

There is also the new instancing system, which is responsible for all the trees plants and rocks you see scattered around. You cannot see this in just screenshots, but this new system is able to preserve existing instances even in the event of user edits and destruction. This avoid the visible "replanting" of vegetation and rocks around edits.

And all this is running in Unreal Engine 4. I would say the UE4 integration is the last of the systems than went into taking these shots.