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DIGGER - Caves & overhangs for Unity terrains

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by Amandin-E, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Hi there!

    I've been developing a new product in parallel of Ultimate Terrains and now it's time to release it. I'm glad to introduce DIGGER, a simple tool to dig in your Unity terrains just like if it was a smooth voxel terrain.

    With Ultimate Terrains, I realized that many people don't want to switch to a full voxel-based terrain engine, but still want to create caves and gentle overhangs in their terrain. This is why I made Digger.


    Join the Discrod server: https://discord.gg/C2X6C6s
    See documentation.

    facebook.jpg

    More and more AAA games add gentle overhangs and caves to their environment to make it more realistic, more interesting and more diversified.
    A common way to do this is to create 3D models with an external modeling tool, and then place them manually over the terrain and blend them with it. This is tedious, unpractical and inefficient unless you have an army of 3D artists and level designers... and even in that case, you'd probably want them to focus on more valuable work.
    This is where Digger comes to action. No more external tool required, no more loss of time, no more headache. It lets you create caves and overhangs on your terrain directly within the scene view, in a few clicks.

    It will make you feel like you have a voxel terrain in your hands, without the downsides. It actually keeps the new, fast and reliable Unity's terrain system and creates seamless cave/overhangs meshes just where you need. Internally, Digger uses voxels and Marching Cubes to create meshes, but instead of replacing the entire terrain with a voxel terrain, it creates a mix of them and gives you the best of both worlds.

    With this tool, you will be able to:
    - Dig in your Unity terrain just like if it was a smooth voxel terrain.
    - Create overhangs (the opposite of digging).
    - Apply different textures on the overhangs, in the caves, etc.

    However, you won't be able to:
    - Dig in real-time and at runtime.
    - Generate caves procedurally.
    If you need these features, you should get a full voxel-based terrain solution, like Ultimate Terrains.


    « Wait! I heard that Unity 2019 will have caves built-in, so why should I buy this? »
    As things stand, Unity plans to give a clean way to cut holes in the terrain, that's all. A hole is not a cave, it's just about cutting a piece of terrain so you can, for example create the entrance of a tunnel. Actually, when this feature will be available, Digger may become even more powerful as it should be an excellent companion for terrain holes feature.

    And a video to show quickly how it looks like in Unity:
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  2. Mark_01

    Mark_01

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    Will this be able to Use CTS for textures and I am curious as to what price about ?
    Thanks, this looks good for sure
     
  3. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thanks! Yes, this is compatible with CTS, but with the current version of CTS it is not possible to change texture on cave meshes, which is quite limiting. I’m in discussion with the dev of CTS to change that in their next version (I hope).

    Price should be around $30 for the launch offer and around $50 after.
     
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  4. hoodoo

    hoodoo

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    Really looking forward to this, especially if it is all implemented using the Unity Terrain System! So there shouldn't be any performance penalty then for creating caves and overhangs?

    EDIT - I see that a voxel terrain is generated in combination with Unity Terrain - what kind of performance do you get out of it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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  5. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Unity terrains are based on heightmaps, so you will never be able to make cave just with it. You will always need something else. That something else can be meshes created with your favorite modeling software, or meshes created directly from Unity with... Digger :)

    Internally, Digger uses voxels to let you create cave/overhangs meshes, but you shouldn't care about that. In the end, all you get is the Unity terrain + some meshes generated by Digger.
    There can be some performance penalty because Digger has to generate bigger meshes for collision. Once Unity will release the official terrain hole feature (expected to be in 2019.2), Digger won't have to generate bigger-than-needed meshes, which will solve the issue.
    Also, the v1 doesn't have LOD groups yet so if you put overhangs and caves everywhere there could be some performance penalty in rendering too. But adding LODs is at the top of the roadmap.

    Finally, note that if you are using the default terrain shader, it will be replaced by a triplanar-mapping equivalent shader (I modified the default shader to add triplanar mapping).
     
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  6. hoodoo

    hoodoo

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    Sounds great, especially with LOD groups. Looking forward to seeing this asset! I'm looking for a simple way to dig out a cave system, like a series of caverns with tunnels in between. I have tried other assets with cave prefab pieces, but using these limits how unique I can make the cave look.
     
  7. Mark_01

    Mark_01

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    Opps yes I forgot CTS not for meshes yet. :( Still hopefully that will come, it was on the road map AFAIK ..
    I am looking forward to your release of this system :)
     
  8. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thanks! That's the idea: not being limited to cave prefab pieces.

    Thanks! I'm discussing with CTS dev to make it possible. I hope this will be in their next update.
     
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  9. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  10. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Just another screenshot in the mean time...

    digger-unity-terrain-dig.jpeg
     
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  11. Mark_01

    Mark_01

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  12. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

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    Looks nice, I'm thinking perhaps there could be other uses as well.
     
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  13. Mark_01

    Mark_01

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    Will there be a possibility of exporting the mesh as well ?
     
  14. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thanks! What other uses are you thinking about?


    It creates meshes in the scene so you can do whatever you want with it. There is even a “Show debug data” toggle on DiggerSystem inspector that reveals all chunks and underlying objects.
     
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  15. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Pending for review :)

    BTW, just so you know, demo scene (from which I made the screenshots) has been made with Digger + Gaia + AQUAS. Nothing more.
     
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  16. hoodoo

    hoodoo

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    Sounds cool - I own Gaia and Aquas already!
     
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  17. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Hey,
    Just a word to say there was a little issue during package review so I had to upload it again.

    Sorry for the delay, but you’ll be happy to learn that I took this as an opportunity to add automatic LOD generation ;)
     
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  18. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Hi there!

    DIGGER IS NOW AVAILABLE ;)

    Don't miss the special LAUNCH OFFER (almost 50% off)!

    I really hope you'll enjoy it :)
     
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  19. LukeDawn

    LukeDawn

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    Will this work seemlessly with Vegetation Studio Pro and/or MicroSplat?
     
  20. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    MicroSplat is not supported. It may be partially supported (by allowing seamless transitions but no custom texturing on caves), but will probably never be fully supported.

    I have not tested it with vegetation studio, but I don’t see why it would conflict. If you question is: “is it possible to place vegetation in caves with vegetation studio?” then the answer is no.
     
  21. Teila

    Teila

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    Oh, too bad. This looked great. Have you talked to the developer of Microsplat or are you making a decision to not do so? If this looks good, I might see if he can support it. Not worth changing all my terrain shaders.
     
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  22. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    I would really like to make it compatible, it’s just that from what I know, MicroSplat cannot control which texture goes where based on vertex data (like vertex color or UVs). Am I wrong?
    MegaSplat could be supported however.
     
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  23. MrG

    MrG

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    Can you explain what would prevent VS Pro from adding vegetation in caves? Have you talked to Lennart about it?

    I'm choosing to ignore for the moment the appropriateness of trees in caves, but it occurs to me that the entrance area might be your voxel mesh but should have the grass of the surrounding area run into the entrance a bit before it thins out to none.

    Also if you have a vertical shaft that tapers (think funnel shape) it wouldn't be unheard of for a few plants to sprout out of the sides or for vines to creep in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  24. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    I think VS would still detect terrain surface where it is invisible (for the holes) so it would probably add trees in the air. But making it compatible should not be a big deal. I will test it.
     
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  25. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    BTW, I forgot to mention that normal raycast still detects terrains surface on holes. To solve this, you can use DiggerPhysics.Raycast instead.
     
  26. hoodoo

    hoodoo

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    Just purchased! I'm also interested in using VS Pro with Digger. Thanks!
     
  27. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thank you very much for buying!
    Don’t hesitate to give some feedback!
    I have a lot of demands for testing VS and MicroSplat, so I’ll do it.
     
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  28. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    I’m discussing with the author of MicroSplat and it looks like it should be possible to integrate it. I’ll give you some news when we have something working.
     
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  29. Teila

    Teila

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    Yay!!! Thank you!

    Thanks for looking into VS pro too! :) Awesome!
     
  30. anton88pro

    anton88pro

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    After one day of playing with Digger, here's my short verdict
    pro:
    + very easy to use
    + digging and adding terrain is fun!
    + budget friendly
    con:
    - shape and texture after digging/adding look rather rough and sometimes bluntly ugly.
    - there is only sphere shape for digging/adding (so no cubes or costume shapes)
    - seems like its not possible to do very precise digging/adding even with the smallest brush size.

    However, I'm new to Unity, so take my verdict with grain of salt.

    Ugly resulted shapes and textures is very big minus for me. I hope the developer will digg in and resolve the issue in a future.
    for the price of 28$ I would give 4stars for now. but I want to wait and see what dev can come up with, so I could give all 5.
     
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  31. Teila

    Teila

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    Yeah, ugly is not good. Will keep watching to see if there are improvements.
     
  32. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thanks for this feedback, Digger mesh resolution is based on height map resolution so maybe you’d want to increase it to have better results.
    Could you send me some screenshots showing what’s wrong exactly so I can figure out a way to improve it?
     
  33. SonGoku10c

    SonGoku10c

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    Can you make the Meshresolution independent from the Heightmap resolution? Maybe if we can choose the Meshresolution. So we can maybe make low poly caves or high poly caves. ^^
     
  34. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    I cannot make it totally independent because it has to fit terrain mesh near hole borders to be seamless. However, I could give the possibility to make it exactly 2x or 4x heightmap resolution for example. This setting would probably be global in a scene.
    This looks like a good idea, thanks!
     
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  35. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Another way to see this is that currently Digger meshes are just as ugly/beautiful as terrain is (depends on heightmap resolution, textures used, shader, etc.).
    If I give the possibility to create meshes that are finer than terrain mesh, then it will allow to make meshes that look better than terrain mesh, which is definitely a good thing.
     
  36. anton88pro

    anton88pro

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    I played with changing terrain height map resolution (originally I had 513 and made it 1025) and here are my results:
    1. Digging/adding does look better,smooth now.
    2. After changing the resolution, I tried "sync and refresh" digger, but it only resulted in disappearance of modified terrain. Later I found it moved to a corner of the terrain.
    3. Texture still looks rough sometime. I'll give links to screenshots below.

    I've also noticed there is only sphere paint, which transition from one texture to another could look better.

    Ugly/rough shapes and textures with 513 height map resolution
    - pic1
    - pic2

    Rough textures with 1025 height map resolution
    - pic3
     
  37. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thanks for these details.

    So it would be cool to be able to set mesh resolution to 2x or 4x heightmap resolution, even if I’m most cases 1x should be enough.

    About texture blending, I should be able to improve that.
     
  38. spinaLcord

    spinaLcord

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    Looks very promising.
     
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  39. anton88pro

    anton88pro

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    Thank you for the responses :) I'm greatly enjoying Digger so far and I'll be watching for its updates.
     
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  40. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Good news!
    In the next update, you will able to set Digger-resolution to the heightmap-resolution multiplied by 1 (default), 2, 4 or 8, allowing you to create meshes with finer details than the terrain mesh itself.
    Changing this setting will require to clear all modifications previously made with Digger.

    digger-resolution.jpg
     
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  41. RonnyDance

    RonnyDance

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    The asset looks really promising.
    VS Pro should hopefully work because it supports Vegetation on Meshes. Anyway there could be the spawn on terrain Issue like you mentioned.

    After taking a look to your YT video I am asking me two things:
    - Are caves "below" the terrain possible? I mean not a cave in a terrain mountain like in your video. More a big hole / cave that goes below the terrain itself. (Below Y=0 coordinate)?
    - When creating some caves the sphere drawing really looks ugly because you are not deforming the terrain naturally using erosion and stuff like that. What about draw effects like erosion, sediment, weathering etc. (see Erosion Brush) to make the caves / entries more natural?

    Cheers
    Ronny
     
  42. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Yes this is totally possible. No restriction related to this.

    Such thing is not planned, it would over-complicate the product. Also, Digger never affects terrain height and I’d like to keep it this way (no side effect except for details objects that are automatically removed).
    The workflow is to use a smaller brush to sculpt the entrance so it doesn’t look too spherical. In other words you can sculpt whatever you want but you have to do it manually.
    Also, I will add some other brush shapes (cube, triangle...) to make it easier to create sharp edges.
     
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  43. MrG

    MrG

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    The obvious followup question to this is, "How are you handling terrain see-through and collision pass-through?"
     
  44. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Just like everywhere else on the terrain: see through is handled in the shader (transparency) and pass through is handled with triggers that disable/enable collision between terrain and objects when and where needed (and collision inside caves is handled by a mesh collider).
    It’s important to note that this should be improved with the upcoming official terrain holes feature (no more shader trick, no more collision trick, at least I guess).
     
  45. PyroStudios

    PyroStudios

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    This looks amazing. I'm sure the answer is 'yes' but I just want to be sure... can I use a terrain generator like Gaia / Map Magic ... and then use your tool on the completed terrain.
     
  46. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Thanks! Sure! The scene for the screenshots has been made with Gaia for example.
     
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  47. modler2

    modler2

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    Hi this looks awesome and I'd love to buy it but I have a question, I'm working on a game for android, we are creating levels using unity terrain and then converting them to mesh .obj models, if I use this and create a terrain with a cave and then convert it, will it convert and keep the cave in the .obj or will there be issues? Thanks in advance!
     
  48. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    No, cave meshes won’t be part of your .obj.
    However, theoretically, you should be able to export your terrain as usual and just keep cave meshes in the scene. If there is no visual difference between the normal terrain and the obj terrain, then the caves meshes should still look fine.
     
  49. Willbkool_FPCS

    Willbkool_FPCS

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    Hi, I've been watching this asset since it was announced. I don't really need caves, what I need is trenches and foxholes. It seems like Digger is capable of doing that. I've tried using Unity's terrain tools, even added square and rectangle brushes, but wasn't happy with the results. I would think that it would be easy to make these with Digger, what do y'all think?
     
  50. Amandin-E

    Amandin-E

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    Well, maybe you want to get other customers opinion, but to my mind this would certainly suit your needs, especially if you want to have truly vertical slopes (or gentle overhangs).
     
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