Terrain Tunneling/Arching

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Mistahtokyo
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by Mistahtokyo » 09 Jan 2014, 22:12

TBH, the only thing that is really needed for complex shapes is terrain holes/tears. You create a hole, create a mesh that looks like some cave going underground, voila. Same with cliffs, tears with a mesh to cover up the seam. Wouldn't that be more practical/backwards compatible/LOD friendly (when statics are implemented in distant land)?

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Greendogo
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by Greendogo » 09 Jan 2014, 23:19

I think I understand the desire, though, to have the ability to create tunneling/overhang using the CS.

Here are some links to Ogre discussions about just this topic:
  1. GSoC 2012 project called "Volume Rendering with LOD aimed at terrain":
  2. Ogre Showcase project called "Overhang Terrain Scene Manager" (outdated since 1.8):

SquireNed
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by SquireNed » 09 Jan 2014, 23:54

Speaking from a 3d guy perspective, terrain tunneling and arching is the enemy of heightmaps. If we're going to use heightmaps, we typically don't want to bother with overhangs or the like. When we want something like that, we're usually better off just going with a mesh anyway. As someone who's only ever worried about them in an animation context, I've always felt heightmaps really have two advantages; they're easy to make and they're small in size. However, adding in special methods to add caves and overhangs and the like just really seems redundant. Except for things that could theoretically be done with geometry much more easily, such as caves, there's not a huge application "market" for having heightmap based tunneling or arching that I can think of.

Converting the heightmap to a .nif and then editing is likely the way to go, though I'm personally also a fan of just adding in your items as .nif. One interesting thing would be boolean geometry modifications for terrain, however, which provide both of these; once the heightmap is parsed into three-dimensional scene information by the game it's further modified to include another model inside. However, this is probably both too error-prone and too resource intensive to work well.

Though, that said, it might allow for something like Open Cities for Oblivion/Skyrim, only for the whole darn world of Morrowind. Of course, one would have to limit those interiors which don't actually fit into the world space (and I'm not sure how many of those there are).

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PeterBitt
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by PeterBitt » 11 Jan 2014, 00:20

silentthief wrote:
PeterBitt wrote:I have another idea:
Would it be possible to export the world mesh of a single cell into a nif file, edit it and import it back to the game?
Its already possible to do this, using the Morrowind utility, CellToNIF (ask on beth forum, fliggerty, or google it, you'll find it). This program works for any land, whether its from vanilla esm or user created content.
But can I import these Nifs in the game properly alligned to each other? I havent tried anything like that yet, but I assumed that that would need a engine feature or a tool to bring those meshes into the exact position, remove the heightmap terrain and handle LOD.
Yes they would definitely need LODs I guess. In Gothic 3 they have, in Gothic 1 & 2 not I think.
silentthief wrote:
PeterBitt wrote:I have another idea:
Would it be possible to export the world mesh...to have terrain fully created by hand...
If you make a world map using NIFs instead of the terrain, you'll probably have a huge lag/FPS hit because more NIFs = more resources than land heightmap...
But compared to heightmap terrain that is cluttered with hundreds of rock meshes? In Gothic series I felt that this system works just great and performance wasnt any worse than the TES games of that time.
Biont wrote:I'd probably prefer if OpenCS allowed for more sophisticated terrain sculpting instead of moving the terrain entirely into 3d modeling applications.
But it would need to be a very powerful terrain editor. Texture painting and decals are definitely needed, how about baking ambient occulsion?
The terrain one could make in ZBrush, it would be amazing.
wheybags wrote:I do think it's a bad idea though, would kill landmass modding
Thats something I would ignore completely. They could adapt that new aproach in terrain modelling or simply ignore such mod.

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Rhys
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by Rhys » 11 Jan 2014, 01:06

IMO If you want fancy terrain shapes you need to model them correctly. Unless you have a fixed static world (no mods) and features like mega texturing.

There is nothing wrong with placing models of cliffs etc ontop of the heightmap terrain, 99% of games do this and for a reason.
You can make a MUCH better looking cliff or overhang in a proper 3d application with proper texturing tools than you could ever achieve with some poor voxel terrain thing with cube mapped textures.

The heightmap terrain is just a base.

The best thing you should do with terrain is increase its density 2 or 3 times the subdivisions per meter and implement generic terrain forming tools like erosion and decals (for things like path/roads that bend around corners). Also as others have said - the ability to make a hole in the terrain say via painting a special texture (for tunnels or cave meshes to be inserted).

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Mistahtokyo
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by Mistahtokyo » 11 Jan 2014, 01:57

Rhys wrote:The best thing you should do with terrain is increase its density 2 or 3 times the subdivisions per meter and implement generic terrain forming tools like erosion and decals (for things like path/roads that bend around corners). Also as others have said - the ability to make a hole in the terrain say via painting a special texture (for tunnels or cave meshes to be inserted).
I've been asking about increasing the density several times now. That would certainly help in making hills look better. I remember a screenshot comparison for Oblivion and Morrowind that showed how poor the terrain mesh in Morrowind is. It needn't be ridiculously dense, but having at least Oblivion level density (the terrain is visually much smoother in that game) would be nice. I'm sure some program could be used to convert the current heightmap to said heightmap (some tessellation thing, I think, I don't know much about it) into the newer format with little clipping.

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Okulo
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by Okulo » 11 Jan 2014, 09:07

Can OpenMW do that without violating any licenses? After all, the terrain is Bethesda's as well. It would have to be a mod, right?

wheybags
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by wheybags » 11 Jan 2014, 13:34

If the engine just di it transparently as it loaded the terrain from the esm file, there would be no legal issues.

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Rhys
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by Rhys » 12 Jan 2014, 00:27

That is just technical issue of handling and interpolating old/low resolution heightmap data and merging with mods with higher resolution data.

SquireNed
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Re: Terrain Tunneling/Arching

Post by SquireNed » 12 Jan 2014, 02:57

If Bethesda were to get mad about something the engine does at runtime, they'd probably get after modders using the same information in mods.

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