Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

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testman
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by testman » 02 Apr 2019, 23:12

Could this be used to generate the landmass for the rest of Tamriel that is not yet covered by TR / PT ?

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Husaco
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by Husaco » 03 Apr 2019, 07:22

Chris wrote:
02 Apr 2019, 18:52
For me, it's about creating the perception of a large world. Unlike later games where people don't seem to recognize things that happen 5 feet outside of town (or worse, when two warring "cities" are a few minutes' walk down the main road), in Daggerfall places feel appropriately separated. It also helps with the representation of time; Daggerfall's able to have a more realistic day/night cycle where inns and such matter because you can't just stand around for a couple minutes to pass through an entire night (cities would also close at night, making you either camp out or break in by climbing over the walls).

Diseases can have more progressive effects that start negligible and get worse over time, whereas trying to do that in later games would require making them super-viruses or something since you're never more than a couple minutes away from some place with healing. Daggerfall's fast travel was also unique in that it required deciding whether you wanted to go recklessly, getting to some place a few days earlier but without healing and possibly at night (when the shops, if not the whole city, are closed), or cautiously but get there more rested and during the day (when places are open). Plus it would cost money, since you'd be staying at inns along the way. Timed quests are also a thing, giving the sense that the world doesn't revolve around you (if you don't do it, they'll assume you died or gave up, and write it off as a loss or send someone else), you can't dawdle since it takes you time to get places. You can fail almost any quest this way, which plays into the regional and faction reputation system, creating more dynamic interactions between you and the NPCs.

There's also the fatigue system, where instead of measuring how winded you are like the newer games (and where everybody seems to be out of shape), in Daggerfall the time scale allowed it to represent how tired you are throughout the day (and without giving you narcolepsy like mods for the later games do). More strenuous activities, like running and fighting, wear you out and make you a bit more tired the normal. If you run out of stamina, you pass out, and if you pass out in an enemy-filled dungeon, you die.
For the most part I can suspend my disbelief about the distances (stupidities such as there being a smugglers' cave 3 metres from Seyda Neen notwithstanding), but I don't disagree that locations could be spaced out a fair bit more (not orders of magnitudes more, mind).

The day/night cycle was completely inconsequential in Morrowind but Daggerfall's wasn't actually harsher than Oblivion's: the only difference in waiting around was that you had to wait in consecutive 4 hour periods (so just more menuing), and you could make it morning with fast travel anyway. Choosing to travel recklessly/cautiously might have been interesting if you could be ambushed by random encounters as with sleeping outside of towns in Morrowind, but as it was in Daggerfall it didn't add much to the game. Ditto for staying at inns, whose cost is negligible past the first hour of play.

The timed quest mechanic was reasonably lenient and essentially just meant that you only did one quest at a time in Daggerfall, which wasn't a problem, as there was no reason to ever juggle multiple quests. It would be rather different in a game like Morrowind where you stumble into quests in the process of doing other ones, and I imagine it would be both interesting and frustrating.

In any case, I don't think any of Daggerfall's systems necessitate or are even enhanced by a gargantuan overworld.
Chris wrote:
02 Apr 2019, 18:52
I feel the opposite. When I walk from one place to another in Morrowind (or Oblivion or Skryim), it shows how much of a theme park it's designed as. I don't get a sense of scale or the same sense of adventure when it takes a minute or less to walk to my destination.

In contrast, I get a sense of a more personalized adventure when I get to decide where I go and what quests to take on, because there's literally hundreds of towns and hamlets, and a few dozen cities, in several regions, and each place having a bunch of potential quest givers (excluding guilds). Or even when there's a fixed quest (i.e. the main quest), several stages can have the target location be randomized, still giving it a personal touch. Skyrim plainly shows how that kind of personalized randomization doesn't work with a smaller game world, as you're often sent to a place you've already been (discouraging exploration).
I have to balk at the phrase "personal touch" being used in relation to Daggerfall's quests and quest givers. There is nothing personal about walking into a randomly named tavern, talking to a randomly named publican with absolutely no unique dialogue, personality or any distinguishing features whatsoever, and being given one of two dozen cookie-cutter quests telling me to fetch a random item from a random dungeon for his randomly named paramour. As you mentioned, guild quests are even direr. I might have been the only person to receive this particular permutation of this quest in history, but that's about as personal as receiving spam mail addressing me by name.
And in reality it wouldn't have mattered one iota if there were only one region in Daggerfall instead of 20 or whatever. Most players never visit any province they don't need to in the story, and there's absolutely no reason to, as there's nothing that distinguishes one from another apart from some being grassy and others being desertous. The "personalisation" would be magnitudes greater if they created these towns and dungeons at runtime instead and it wouldn't need anything like Daggerfall's area.

IMO, Skyrim's procedural quests fail more in that they're extremely bare-bones even in comparison to Daggerfall quests, and that the challenges required of you are inherently dull. Daggerfall lives and dies on its dungeon-crawling; the whole game is centred around it, and the rest of the game would be irredeemable without it. On the other hand, Morrowind and later titles never captured the thrill Daggerfall has—the level design particularly—but exceed in other respects: the lore, the quests, the atmosphere, the landscape, the exploration. etc. None of these are leveraged when your quest is, with no further elaboration, to activate a book at some tavern in one of the cities.
Chris wrote:
02 Apr 2019, 18:52
Daggerfall's biggest drawback was the available technology. The low resolution and view distance made trekking across the wilderness all but impossible, but those things have long been overcome in game engines. While increasing the view distance in a game like Morrowind can show you just how small and fake the world actually is, in Daggerfall it can instead let you see its grandeur. Better terrain generation algorithms can also create prettier scenery and vistas, encouraging exploration even if you don't run into a dungeon or something.
I can't agree. You could give Daggerfall the prettiest scenery graphics can afford you, and it wouldn't be explorable in the same way Morrowind is. My enjoyment in games like Bethesda's is being able to walk in any given direction and find something interesting, be it a pilgrim, a shrine, a highwayman, a tomb, a shipwreck or whatever else. Daggerfall is barren not just because most places seem to be placed in the middle of an unending, featureless expanse, but because there's absolutely nothing of interest outside of the blip you travelled to on your map until the next blip. Combine that with a land scale vast to the point of it being so laborious to travel between the closest locations that most players never even attempt it and the exploration really is as shallow as a guided tour.

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Br0ken
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by Br0ken » 03 Apr 2019, 14:40

It would be great to see a possibility to use a mesh (.obj, .dae, etc) or TIFF heightmap as terrain in OpenCS.
Then we could use some 3DCC apps (Blender, World Machine) to create a mesh or heightmap and adjust it as terrain in OpenCS afterwards.

Chris
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by Chris » 03 Apr 2019, 20:43

Husaco wrote:
03 Apr 2019, 07:22
For the most part I can suspend my disbelief about the distances (stupidities such as there being a smugglers' cave 3 metres from Seyda Neen notwithstanding)
I can too, to a point. I still like these games, after all. But if given the choice, I'd much prefer a larger world for what else it can offer.
The day/night cycle was completely inconsequential in Morrowind but Daggerfall's wasn't actually harsher than Oblivion's: the only difference in waiting around was that you had to wait in consecutive 4 hour periods (so just more menuing)
Except with Daggerfall you don't heal or rest by waiting (your stamina still slowly drains, and diseases progress). And Oblivion didn't have open cities or anything. Try waiting around in a town you're wanted in, or in Daggerfall City prior to a certain point in the MQ. I believe in towns and hamlets there's also a risk of wilderness spawns at night (though I may be wrong).
Choosing to travel recklessly/cautiously might have been interesting if you could be ambushed by random encounters as with sleeping outside of towns in Morrowind, but as it was in Daggerfall it didn't add much to the game. Ditto for staying at inns, whose cost is negligible past the first hour of play.
It still added to the sense of being in a world. It took time to get between places, and that time implied cost. Also, there were blessings and guild perks you could get that affected travel time and cost (get the blessing of Akatosh, the god of time, and travel time is reduced). It could be better, sure, but it was better than not being a thing at all, IMO.
The timed quest mechanic was reasonably lenient and essentially just meant that you only did one quest at a time in Daggerfall, which wasn't a problem, as there was no reason to ever juggle multiple quests. It would be rather different in a game like Morrowind where you stumble into quests in the process of doing other ones, and I imagine it would be both interesting and frustrating.

In any case, I don't think any of Daggerfall's systems necessitate or are even enhanced by a gargantuan overworld.
Without the large world, the travel mechanics and timed quests would feel out of place. Having to spend money to stay at inns doesn't make sense if it takes you less than an in-game day to get somewhere, and timed quests become ridiculous if you have to do them in a couple hours.
I have to balk at the phrase "personal touch" being used in relation to Daggerfall's quests and quest givers. There is nothing personal about walking into a randomly named tavern, talking to a randomly named publican with absolutely no unique dialogue, personality or any distinguishing features whatsoever, and being given one of two dozen cookie-cutter quests telling me to fetch a random item from a random dungeon for his randomly named paramour.
It becomes personal when it's a choice you get to make. Don't like the Daggerfall region? Do quests in Alcaire instead. Don't like Wayrest? Live in Sentinel and avoid doing anything for anyone in Wayrest. Quest givers' personality and dialog may not be unique, but it is varied. In one instance they may not like you and not give you a quest (depending on your reputation with the area). In another, they may never have had a quest to begin with. In another, they may have had a quest but gave it to someone else by the time you asked. And in another, they may give you a quest... one of several dozen types. The quest itself may or may not even be possible for you to complete as you are depending on where it sends you, creating a different outcome which has a different effect on your reputation affecting how others in the area react to you (and if your reputation gets bad enough you become infamous throughout the entire region, no one will talk to you, and you'll get regularly attacked by bounty hunters). It's a different experience creating a different story for your character.

I remember one game where I took on what seemed to be a delivery quest from a merchant, but unbeknownst to me it was contraband which put me on the wrong side of the law. Through happenstance, I didn't get it to where it belonged, so I failed the quest and my reputation tanked. No one would talk to me and give me quests so I couldn't even get my good name restored, and bounty hunters and knights would regularly attack me. I was run out of the region and had to go somewhere else where people didn't recognize me, though I would still run into an NPC here or there that had heard of me and refused to deal with me. Mechanically, sure, very little actually changed; I was just in a different region doing the same things as before. But the experience was unlike anything I had before or ever expected to have, my character changed as a result, and just as importantly I didn't feel like I was cheated out of the game's content because of things that were out of my control.

In later games, with each quest tied to a specific NPC who was in a specific part of the world, if you don't go to that part of the world you cut yourself off from that content. Or if you do go there, it's the same quest from the same person every time. At most, an NPC may refuse to talk to you because their specific disposition level is low -- however, just give them a few hundred gold and they'll be golden with you, no matter who they are or why they don't like you.
And in reality it wouldn't have mattered one iota if there were only one region in Daggerfall instead of 20 or whatever. Most players never visit any province they don't need to in the story, and there's absolutely no reason to, as there's nothing that distinguishes one from another apart from some being grassy and others being desertous.
Different regions are different factions, which you can have different reputations with. Different regions also favor different gods, so if you go to the Glenumbra Moors, for example, and aren't a follower of Mara, you may have a harder time finding a temple or knightly order devoted to your patron deity.
On the other hand, Morrowind and later titles never captured the thrill Daggerfall has—the level design particularly—but exceed in other respects: the lore, the quests, the atmosphere, the landscape, the exploration. etc.
Subjective. While I agree on the exploration bit, that wasn't an insurmountable problem. Like I said, what was holding Daggerfall back the most was the available technology; the short view distance and wilderness generation would've improved with time and greatly helped that. As it is, I don't feel Morrowind really capitalized on exploration anyway because it too suffered from a short view distance, plus many things were hidden such that you can't find them if you didn't already know where to look for them, and the things you could find on accident were of little consequence because they had little to offer and weren't attached to anything.

The landscape really only improved with Oblivion, which incidentally reminds me quite a bit of Daggerfall. Same with the atmosphere... IMO, Daggerfall completely outshines Morrowind in atmosphere (all the dungeon-, time-, and even weather-appropriate music Daggerfall has blows Morrowind's 7 tracks on repeat out of the water, and the various weather effects and dungeon soundscapes were better than Morrowind too).

The lore is something that will get me skinned alive, but I really don't care for most of the lore Morrowind pushes at you. Certain details and background stuff, sure I can get behind some of it, but much of what Morrowind presents often feels weird for weirdness' sake, which actively harms my suspension of disbelief. Not to mention the various retcons it made. I'm a fan of classic fantasy (vs the more modern gritty dark stuff like Game of Thrones, Dragon Age, and even Morrowind/Skyrim to a degree), but regardless of how derivative the earlier games' setting may have been, the developers were working on differentiating it until Morrowind/Redguard took it and went off the deep end.
My enjoyment in games like Bethesda's is being able to walk in any given direction and find something interesting, be it a pilgrim, a shrine, a highwayman, a tomb, a shipwreck or whatever else. Daggerfall is barren not just because most places seem to be placed in the middle of an unending, featureless expanse, but because there's absolutely nothing of interest outside of the blip you travelled to on your map until the next blip.
Again, not an insurmountable problem. Directly comparing Daggerfall and Morrowind like that is apples to oranges given that Morrowind was 6 years after Daggerfall. If someone took Daggerfall, adhered to its design principles and added another 6 years of development, it would make progress. Give another 4 years of development (Morrowind to Oblivion), then another 5 (Oblivion to Skyrim), and you won't end up with the same '96 Daggerfall, it will be greatly improved.

unelsson
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by unelsson » 03 Apr 2019, 20:45

testman wrote:
02 Apr 2019, 23:12
Could this be used to generate the landmass for the rest of Tamriel that is not yet covered by TR / PT ?
This doesn't generate landmass, just places object instances. I haven't given much thought for procedural land shape generation or textures generation. Having also land shape and texture map generation is a nice idea though.

Someone linked me this - https://bitbucket.org/auralgeek/morrogen/overview . I haven't tried it, but maybe it could generate land shapes, and you could then add more precise object generation settings with OpenCS.
Br0ken wrote:
03 Apr 2019, 14:40
It would be great to see a possibility to use a mesh (.obj, .dae, etc) or TIFF heightmap as terrain in OpenCS.
Then we could use some 3DCC apps (Blender, World Machine) to create a mesh or heightmap and adjust it as terrain in OpenCS afterwards.
I was also thinking of image to heightmap, and image to texture map importing. This would be a great feature! Using 3d meshes sounds quite a bit more complex, but maybe it also could be done somehow... Maybe casting a grid of rays to query heights and converting them to heights? Still, parsing through bitmaps is likely a lot faster.

silentthief
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by silentthief » 03 Apr 2019, 21:17

I am looking forward to trying this out. I have been toying around with land generation and have had some success - but once that is done I would have the daunting task of populating the land with everything. I don't expect it to do ALL of the work, but I do look forward to trying your utility for assisting with this.

ST
"Hurry, hurry! Last boat to Solstheim! Until the next one. Hah-ha-hah."

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Br0ken
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by Br0ken » 04 Apr 2019, 00:13

unelsson wrote:
03 Apr 2019, 20:45
I was also thinking of image to heightmap, and image to texture map importing. This would be a great feature!
Few years ago I heard about plans to integrate TESAnnwyn utility into OpenCS, but there is no any progress, as I know.
https://github.com/psi29a/tesannwyn
http://www.oceanlightwave.com/morrowind/TESAnnwyn.html

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psi29a
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by psi29a » 04 Apr 2019, 08:33

The question was, do we integrate something like tesannwyn directly, link against it (using it as a library) or do we wrap it in python and have OpenMW-CS using python plugin system like blender.

unelsson
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by unelsson » 04 Apr 2019, 16:55

Regarding Tesanwynn's features, I kind of like the approach of having them somehow incorporated directly in the master branch, instead of python plugins or such. Developing UI is something to think of though, should there be an extra menu? How do you access the features? I've now taken the approach that I just make a simple separate window for each extra tool (scaling, cell edge fixer, proc. generation of instances), just for the sake that it can be changed easily later.

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psi29a
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Re: Procedural generation based on land terrain texture grid

Post by psi29a » 04 Apr 2019, 17:06

If you, or anyone, wants to integrate my fork/version of tesanwynn into OpenMW-CS, please do. That was the intention.

My version is a very TES3 specific version from Lightwave himself. He might open up the rest of work later (tes4/tes5) if he sees it finally be integrated.

The idea is to be able to support raw (8, 16, 32-bit signed and unsigned), PNG 8/16-bit greyscale and BMP (8, 32-bit) and converting that into a usable heightmap. It would be great to also dump the heightmap back out... maybe time to look at GDAL integration as well? GDAL supports way more formats.

https://gdal.org/

With that, we could import datasets/heighmaps from scientific sources.

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