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Advanced foliage shader [released]

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by larsbertram1, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. janpec

    janpec

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    Oh right, i thought its only possible for trees and such not part of grass system.
     
  2. feracon

    feracon

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    I'm fairly sure switching to the tree creator leaves resolves the errors. I'll double check in a few hours when I'm home. The only shader in my scene that throws this error is the AFS.
     
  3. feracon

    feracon

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    The error is on the tree creator leaves shaders as well. However these do run fine (animate with the wind) on all my test devices.

    If your shader worked for mobile it might open you up to a larger audience for more sales. I'm more than happy to QA for you if you decide you want to reach for that.

    Do you know what model data the tree creator leaves shader uses to control amplitude? The tree leaf planes are anchored and move moderately, while my grass planes all verts move uniformly and much further, back and forth.
     
  4. Baldinoboy

    Baldinoboy

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    I do not know if this is a mistake on my part or just the how the shader works. The normal mapping is not working right.

    Here is an image with the Bumped Diffuse shader

    $Tree_Bump_Normal.png


    Here is an image with the AFS Simple Terrain Tree shader

    $Tree_Bump_AFS.png

    I remade the textures to make sure there was not any problems there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  5. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi there,

    the "low" bump mapping is caused by the fact that the simple terrain tree shader uses just one material for bark and leafs sharing the same lighting function which is "wrapped around diffuse". that makes lighting and bump mapping smoother.
    (it is mentioned in "documentation TreeShaders and shaded Billboards v2.04" --> " "Place foliage as 'simple tree' within the terrain engine" --> "1.3. Cons")

    have you already tried to raise the "bumpiness" of you normal texture?

    lars
     
  6. Baldinoboy

    Baldinoboy

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    That helps.

    Thanks lars
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  7. feracon

    feracon

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    Lars , give up on me? :)
     
  8. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    sorry, i haven’t seen your last post.

    but the error on the tree creator shaders plus the fact that the plants show up (and are not pink) should be a clear sign that the afs shaders just work.
    so i guess that they are missing the wind as input.
    have you checked the setup script? does it get exported correctly?
    and does it work on all your devices?

    to get deeper into your problem i have to know exactly about your setup:
    - which shader do you use? and which one does not work?
    - where do you use it? inside the terrain engine or outside?
    - do you use the "combine children afs" script?
    - have you set up the "setup advanced foliage shader" script?
    - what is about windzones?

    the movement of the grass planes sounds pretty strange – and a bit as if not the afs shader are in charge there…
    so please make sure that it gets exported (in this case probably the "atsV3.4.WavingGrass vertexAlpha" shader, which is the one for the terrain engine).
    you can either add it to your built manually or force unity to include it by manually assigning it to any game object in your scene.

    the absolutely last explanation would be that vertex colors are not supported by some platforms or do not get exported correctly to some devices.

    lars
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  9. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    and please just check the free ats mobile foliage shaders from the asset store on the devices that make all the trouble.
    may be this will help to isolate the problem.

    lars
     
  10. feracon

    feracon

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    Lars,

    That free ATS mobile foliage shader is perfect for what I need. The test scenes it comes with work on my test devices just fine.

    atsGrass-unlit-wind works perfectly for what I need, however, one problem. Everything I put that shader on in my scene disappears when the scene is played. However in the work view all the assets are in their place. Although mine are not animating, only the prefabs I've dragged in from the ATS package do.

    If I remove the setup script from the gameobject I put it on this doesnt happen, but obviously the verts dont animate. I've checked building and pushing to the test devices and the scene does show up empty of all objects with the ats shader on them.

    Do you have any idea what could be causing the script to do this? All default values.

    Screenshot with labeling attached.
    $Capture.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  11. feracon

    feracon

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    Lars please dont waste time trying to help me with this just yet, I may have found the issue with the scene camera of all things.

    I'll let you know if I run out of ideas :). Thanks.
     
  12. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    fine. if the demo scenes work on your devices the shaders are just ok.
    and as the ats mobile foliage shaders use a similar function to animate the vertices those of afs package should do too…

    which models do disappear? prefabs from the ats package or your own models?
    have you set up the vertex colors properly?
    have you checked the culling layers?
    and please note: you can not use any "combine children" script in conjunction with static batching: it is either or.

    lars
     
  13. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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    Lars, I'm something of an amateur at photoshop. Would you be willing to add more detail to the documentation, in the page where you show texture generation for the normals, translucency and gloss?
     
  14. kerryenfinger

    kerryenfinger

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    That would definitely be helpful to me, too.
     
  15. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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    Also, I was wondering if anyone had much luck with vertex painting the meshes, with Blender. More often than not, it "mispaints" the vertices, and they end up fragmenting in the wind once you get them into Unity.
    I tried using Vertex groups, but painting using those paints the entire face. This separates the vertices, and causes the faces to fragment. I can't figure out how to use that to assign colors to the vertices, and not the faces.

    So, with Blender, my best approach so far has been:

    1. Create one side of the leaf mesh.
    2. Paint its vertices using the vertex paint brush.
    3. Duplicate it and flip the normals.

    It's weird that vertex groups only work for entire faces, when you try to use vertex painting.

    That seems to give me the most reliable results. I wish I could just select the vertices from edit mode, and assign a color to them. The selection is lost when you switch to Vertex paint mode.
    Tips and suggestions would be appreciated :)

    Found a question on answers here, but I don't see an answer yet:

    http://answers.unity3d.com/questions/578866/need-help-with-vertex-painting-in-blender.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  16. Baldinoboy

    Baldinoboy

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    This is a problem I'm having too. My solution- no wind. I cannot find a way to do reliable vertex painting in blender. I would love to be able to select the vertices in edit mode and make them one color and then make the color blend.

    I have asked on Blender Forums and Unity Answers and have not had a response. Really frustrating.
     
  17. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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    Yes, if I could simply assign a vertex color in edit mode, instead of having to paint it, it would be a snap. My vertex count is pretty low.

    So, since Blender vertex painting is so weird (or maybe I just don't know how but then I'll blame it on Blender's chronically unintuitive workflow), the best approach for me seems to be what I outlined above. Create one side of the leaf as its own object. Vertex paint that. Duplicate the sides, flip normals. And just place it wherever. It seems like trying to vertex paint it afterwards just causes pain.

    $temp.jpg

    Here I just painted the lower vertex in full blue, next ring up a little less blue, and so on.
     
  18. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi there,

    blender
    although i am not really familiar with blender i happen to know that there was a vertex color gradient tool in blender version 2.49b.
    i think it has been removed from the current release but you should be able to still get the old version.

    following the path described by jc_lvngstn (coloring the single sided mesh) should make it much easier too.

    and please keep in mind that the foliage tool let’s you fine adjust the vertex colors – or even set them up from scratch (only blue = primary and secondary bending).

    photoshop
    manually combining the normal, gloss and translucency texture into one is pretty straight forward in photoshop.

    1. open normal map
    2. open the channels window, activate red channel.
    3. select all and copy.
    4. create a new file.
    5. go to channels, and a new channel (alpha) and paste the content from the clipboard.
    6. go back to the normal texture and choose the green channel.
    7. select and copy all.
    8. switch to your new texture, select the green channel and paste the content from the clipboard.
    -
    9. open the translucency texture (grayscale), select all and copy it.
    10. switch to your new texture, select the red channel and paste the content from the clipboard.
    -
    11. open your gloss map (grayscale), select all and copy.
    12. switch to your new texture, select the blue channel and paste the content from the clipboard.

    done.

    i hope this helps,


    lars
     
  19. Seith

    Seith

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    Hi Lars! I don't know if it's been reported before but after updating to the latest AFS version I noticed my console is now spitting new warnings:



    Should I attempt to fix them myself? Cheers...
     
  20. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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    Thanks Lars. For some reason, I can paste to the Alpha channel in my new texture, but not the red/green/blue. Not sure what is going on there.

    Just a suggestion...you already added the ability to modify mesh colors, it might be possible to create a normal map conversion script that would take a normal map texture and output one in the best format for AFS.
     
  21. Baldinoboy

    Baldinoboy

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    I used this and it works great with plants but I can't get it to work good with trees.
     
  22. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi seith,

    those are just warnings and no errors.
    the script simply works fine – and usually does not make any use of the "GetTriangleStrip' function anyway.

    lars
     
  23. Seith

    Seith

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    Hey Lars, I ended up fixing those myself. Could you please maybe include that tweak in the next release? I'm just one of those people who don't like seeing unrelated warnings popping up each time I save a script... :wink:
     
  24. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi Baldinoboy,
    most trees will look best using the built in or afs tree shaders – as the foliage shaders only have one shared value for primary and secondary bending.
    but almost all smaller trees (may be up to 3m) or bushes should look convincing as far as bending is concerned even using the foliage shaders (or the simple terrain tree shader).
    please note that the lighting on the bark will be "wrapped around diffuse" just like the lighting on the leaves ending up in smoother edges and less bump mapping.

    lars
     
  25. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hey seith,
    i will completely skip the "trianglestrip" functionality and provide a version for unity 3.x and 4.x.
    ;-)

    lars
     
  26. Baldinoboy

    Baldinoboy

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    No I got the trees looking good. It was just the wind I was talking about. Not your shaders problem just my frustration trying to get Blender to work.
     
  27. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi there,

    finally i have submitted version 2.042 to the asset store and updated some of the demos:

    Tree and billboard shaders featuring billboards casting real time shadows:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u...ding/afs_v2_treeShader/afs_v2_treeShader.html

    All foliage shaders:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2322017/afs_v2/afs_v2_touchbending/afs_v2_demoscene.unity3d



    Changelog 2.042

    Reposition Trees AFS
    - This script lets you place terrain trees on top of any other geometry while you will still benefit from billboarding

    Advanced Billboard Shader
    - Billboards can cast real time shadows

    Advanced Tree Creator Shaders
    - Adjust the contrast of the generated billboard textures globally and/or per leaf material using the "BillboardContrast" parameter of the "AfsTreeCreatorLeafsOptimized (_ShadowFade) shaders

    Advanced Grass Shader
    - Choose between the classical color animation (waving tint like in the terrain engine) and lighting effected by the bending factor

    SetupAdvancedFoliageShader script
    - Refactored and converted to c#

    Foliage Tool
    - Lets you easily merge meshes of Tree Creator Trees to make them fit the needs of the foliage shaders or simple terrain tree shader

    Shaded Billboards AFS
    - Better memory management, less garbage collector calls

    setupAdvancedFoliageShader script
    - refactored and converted to c#
    - new features included

    lars
     
  28. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Hey lars, ive been bugging people all over the forum regarding ideas that come to me a while creating and entirely new grass system is a bit beyond the scope of this, I wonder if you had any thoughts on a massive bugbear of mine with terrain grass that i've put to others but seems like you might be able to address it, except in cases where one might wish to use a texture to define the coversage of a whole area

    And this is that i've not seen any grass implementation, on well, just about anything that has areas of flattened/tilted/displaced grass. Like if a boulder rolled over a patch of grass in a circle, the grass underneath would be crushed towards the floor, possibly folllowing the direction of the boulders path. Flattened grass shows up everywhere irl, including well trodden route through fields and even just wear over time, and its a nice variation on the apearance of large areas of grass and i'd consider a great contribution to realism

    If this is already a part of your shader then apologies, i should look closer! But if not i think i'd like to put the idea forward as a feature request if you think it's a sensible idea. It might end up looking terrible and a bad idea but i do wonder why, in game terrain grass, it always points up!
     
  29. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi lazygunn,

    well – a fully automatic and dynamic grass system is out of my scope at the moment. but let’s have a look at the currently present possibilities to place grass:

    terrain egine
    unfortunately we do not have any chance to change the way the terrain engine creates the grass meshes: so grass will always point directly upwards…
    but in order to have at least some variety you could add several slightly different rotated grass meshes to the terrain and mix those while painting.

    manually placed grass
    when using the advanced grass shaders from the afs package you are able to simply paint grass on top of any geometry using the free geometry brush which lets you add a random rotation to each instance and choose whether the placed mesh should be aligned to the underlying normal or not.
    next to that you can reposition, rotate and scale each single instance manually. so it is already possible to create areas of "flattened" grass – although it might be a pretty demanding task.

    dynamic grass
    as you usually have a lot of grass meshes (--> huge number of vertices) in your scene, rendering dynamic grass which reacts to any collision will become very expensive… nevertheless you can already add dynamic grass using touch bending.

    lars
     
  30. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Ahh yep, definitely knew it was not the intention of this asset to change everything, obv option one is out, option 2 seems very frustrating as it would be nice to simply paint the tilting onto the grass although i like the idea of using pre-tilted grass as a stop-gap, bit fiddly though maybe. I indeed feel that have ALL your grass dynamic is way too much, and the tilting be placed at editing time to add character and 'fuzzy up' repetitive grass. For some reason i have some version of your shader but not this one in the asset store - This will be rectified soon I hope to be getting the things i consider important to outdoor scenes altogether.

    I'm not going t ask you for support right now as I havent bought your shader, but when I do, do you mind me having a root about with mind to me being able to to paint in tilting in an intuitive manner for my own soon oncoming terrain works? The task may be out of my league but its something i'm keen on, if you think its impossible however i can leave it -randomising the direction of flattened grass seems quite useful but a little more control over direction would be very handy
     
  31. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi lazygunn,

    well – right know this asset changes pretty much everything in the terrain engine: grass rendering, tree and billboard rendering, rendering of detail meshes… ;-)

    i am not sure if i get you right. but using pre tilted prefabs on the terrain will just work.
    as well as using the geometry brush and manually placing grass (tilting can be adjusted within the brush settings).

    that’s no problem. and as i have written before: the geometry brush should already be able to handle your request.

    lars
     
  32. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Not trying to belabour you with opposition! Certainly no criticisms of system in place. Its just a sentiment ive been discussing cause i'd like to generate everything from an rgba texture map, the source of my nagging in the first place. I'd like to be able to automate placement a bunch ising maps, i dont think thats the scope of your tool but it sorta spilled into here cause you're the vegetation guy so i took an interest in your shader (tom recommended it to)
     
  33. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi lazygunn,

    no problem.
    driving the placement of grass on top of the terrain by textures is ok – for all geometry is generated procedurally anyway driven by some kind of "coverage mask".
    i guess "toms terrain tools" or "terrain composer" already offer something like importing your own coverage masks.

    but simple distribution maps do not fit the manually placement as it allows absolutely precise placement of any detail anywhere.
    how should we map the mask to an overhang whose uv layout might look like ...?

    lars
     
  34. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Well, my perspective on it would be it'd take less time to thin out bad areas than make it all from scratch with the paint tools - map would be applied to the terrain only, i figure using something like terrain composer could be fine for generating these maps, and if you can paint in the scruffiness of your grass in decently you could get some nice effects, certainly if your landscape is 'lived in'. Tilted grass i suppose just does as it does when in waving wind, its just an offset

    Thhinking about it, if you have areas where you DO want dynamic grass, id be nice to have the option (I imaagine a car sliding down a riverbank into the water
     
  35. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    if you just do want to place tilted grass onto the terrain then terrain composer might be the solution for this task.
    but if you want to have dynamic grass you can not place it within the terrain engine, so you will have to add and place it manually.

    i would suppose you get the shaders first ;-)
    then let’s go on in this discussion.

    lars
     
  36. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Thats a fair point! Feeling like a support leech atm haha

    Well, i got of list of stuff i deffo want and stuff that would be nice (Funny, all i want for xmas folks is money to get unity stuff) and your shader's on the 'deffo' list
     
  37. Rastar

    Rastar

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    Wow, with the perspectively aligned real-time billboards and the real-time shadows this is getting pretty close to C4's impostors (which I really do like). Two quick questions:

    1) Am I getting this right: For the shader to work including billboarding etc, there simply has to be a Unity terrain in the scene, but the trees can be placed anywhere? So, I could for example use a very large low-poly Unity terrain as the far viewing distance, low-level LOD (in the extreme just a flat plane) and build the fine-detail terrain on top of it? I need pretty large terrains (like 100x100km) which are however viewed from an FPS perspective, so I need a approach like Chunked LOD or Geo Clipmapping for the terrain.

    2) Any experience on the number of trees that can be rendered with your shaders? With C4's impostors I can get many thousands which still cast real-time shadows (which is pretty impressive) - would this perform similarly?

    Thanks for your great work!
     
  38. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    theoretically: yes. you just have to make sure that the unity terrain covers the whole area of your manually modeled one.

    i guess you will need a streaming solution…

    i am pretty sure that your are not limited by the shaders but by the terrain engine: sorting 10000 trees, creating the meshes for the billboards, checking the colliders and doing all that kind of stuff will probably slow down your game, but i get decent frame rates on my old mac book pro.
    most expensive to render are still the mesh trees: it is 6 draw calls per tree when using real time shadows.
    you could cut this into half using the "simple terrain tree" shader, which will give you slightly different lighting and bending though.
    so this shader might not fit for any kind of "tree".


    lars
     
  39. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    btw: version 2.042 is available.
     
  40. Rastar

    Rastar

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    Yes, I will have to stream both the terrain and the objects. Quick follow-up: Is the placement of trees on other geometry using your shader constrained by the resolution of the terrain engine's control maps?
     
  41. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    nope: neither trees nor manually placed plants rely on control maps.
    only grass or detail meshes placed within the terrain engine.
     
  42. kerryenfinger

    kerryenfinger

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    I am trying to reduce drawcalls as much as possible while retaining as much environmental fidelity as I can. What is your suggestion for the best shaders to use with the terrain engine trees and detail meshes? Can I maintain the same number of drawcalls without using the Combine Children and/or Setup Foliage scripts? I just need to know the best procedure to use for drawcall minimization and performance while maintaining a realistic look.
     
  43. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    hi there,

    trees
    only the number of visible mesh trees will effect the number of draw calls. each "regular" mesh tree will force 6 draw calls when using real time shadows no matter if you use the built in or afs tree shaders.
    so it is most important to keep the number of visible mesh trees to a low value – which i think should be much easier now that you can benefit from enhanced billboarding.

    simple trees
    as "regular" trees consists of 2 materials it is 6 draw calls per tree (regular pass + shadow caster pass + shadow receiver pass) * 2 materials = 6.
    simple trees only have one material so they force only 3 draw calls. but on the other hand they use only one lighting function (the one from the leaves) so trunks are lit much softer and do not offer as accurate bending as "regular trees". however when talking about bushes or small trees this will probably not be noticeable at all, so using the simple tree shader on models like this will save you a lot of draw calls.

    billboards
    using the camera aligned billboards does not raise the number of draw calls at all. using billboards casting real time shadows will raise the number of draw calls by 1 or may be 2 all together depending on the number of billboards that are visible (up to 16000 billboards can be drawn within one daw call).

    detail meshes and grass
    the number of draw calls caused by detail meshes and grass placed within the terrain engine depends on the number of patches unity has to draw.
    each patch forces 2 draw calls (with real time shadows enabled).
    the number of patches unity has to draw is determined by:
    * the resolution of your detail map
    * the detail resolution per patch
    * the detail distance

    the higher the resolution of your detail map and the lower the detail resolution per patch the smaller the patches will be and the more of them have to be drawn.
    small patches give you high density and a very high number of draw calls – but less wasted triangles because probably most of the patch will be within the viewing frustum. whereas large patches give you less density and a lower number of draw calls – but more wasted triangles as huge parts of the patches might simply be culled.

    nevertheless i would never go with high resolution detail maps as those simply let explode the number of draw calls.
    an accuracy of 1 by 1 meter or even 2 by 2 meters should be enough. so if you have a terrain of 1000 x 1000 meters a detail resolution of 1024 or even 512 should be reasonable.
    in case you need to place some grass or detail meshes very exactly i would always recommend to add those manually using the combine children script to manually create patches. those patches might be streamed in and destroyed if not needed anymore.

    and please keep in mind that grass and detail meshes placed within the terrain engine:
    * do not cast shadows
    * are always oriented upright (and do not climb slopes)
    * do not support slope aware lighting

    lars
     
  44. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

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    Hey Lars, great update!
    Also, I noticed in the Asset Store Update Window the Advance Foliage Shader is listed as "Advance Foliage Shader v2.042 v2.042", not sure if its because Asset Store is screwing up again or maybe you accidentally added the version number too many times.

    Another thing, one of the directory might not be correctly named :
    Scripts > Combine Cildren AFS v2.042
     
  45. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

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    thanks.
    but i do not know about how it is listed in the update window, it is displayed correctly in the asset store window though.
    anyway – i am sorry about misspelling the folder… it will be fixed with the next update ;-)

    lars
     
  46. kerryenfinger

    kerryenfinger

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Posts:
    14
    Thank you very much for the detailed explanation.
     
  47. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Posts:
    6,927
    you are welcome.
    but would you mind to tell us how you will consider these information?

    lars
     
  48. botumys

    botumys

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Posts:
    707
    Just bought this asset, and it's great! I'm a happy user tweaking sliders. I'm like a kid in front of a new toy :)
    This tool combined with RTP 3 is a "must have".

    Shadow fading, new billboard lighting+ transition, details shader and nice waving animation.. The visual impact
    in my project has reached a new level.

    I must admit that tweaking all values and modifying maps and vertex take time, but it is worth!
    thx again :)

    ps: In next update, do you will include billboard casting shadows?

    Olivier.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  49. lazygunn

    lazygunn

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Posts:
    2,749
    Funny you should say, i'm currently going through the asset store with the budget given to get some stuff I feel i'l need as i go into getting things made. This is the first thing in my shopping cart
     
  50. larsbertram1

    larsbertram1

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Posts:
    6,927
    hi olivier,

    i am glad that you like it.
    but version 2.042 already includes billboards casting real time shadows…
    it was published 2 days ago.

    lars