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EasyRoads3D v3 - the upcoming new road system

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by raoul, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. VDTruck

    VDTruck

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    When it will be released? :D
     
  2. raoul

    raoul

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    The purpose of the very first EasyRoads release was to have the terrain adapt to the road shape, not the other way around. You can snap markers to the terrain to preserve the original shape but the terrain will adapt to the left and right side of the road. The initial v3 reléase will work the same way, the road will not automatically adapt to terrain changes afterwards although this could be added as an option.

    That is indeed the recommended current workflow, create your terrain, then create your roads and after that optionally make manual terrain changes.

    Yes, a snapshot of the road network with the purpose to embed it in a colormap could be implemented. definitely for Unity Pro, I have to check if there are ways to do that for Unity free as well. And you could indeed use layer cull distances to only have the roads render nearby. But that will probably mean you cannot use the colormap at nearby distance although I still have to look into all the new features of RTP v3.
     
  3. raoul

    raoul

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    The public release or the first beta? The public release depends on the final feature set of the first public release. As mentioned in a post above, I hope to have a first beta ready somewhere in March.
     
  4. zKici

    zKici

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    Hey raoul, not sure if this is possible yet, or if it ever will be.

    I'm hoping that it is or it can be in the future. What I am needing is, for example; marker 1 - 3 to have the same texture, but marker 4 - 5 to have a different texture, and than go back to normal marker 6 - 10... I realize I could do this with 2 different road objects, but it would be very awesome to have this possible.

    Unless you all disagree :), but who wouldnt want to be able to change the texture between markers as they please? lol ;p

    Thanks
     
  5. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi ZKici,

    It will be posible to add things like crosswalks to a road, so support for multiple materials is required anyway. I can add the option to change materials per marker.
     
  6. zKici

    zKici

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    That would be amazing thanks raoul, but don't let these add-ons slow you down for the March release, I need that release badly :)

    Thanks
     
  7. Rastar

    Rastar

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    I think that shpuld be OK for most use cases, since typically you would use splatted textures for close distances anyway. Also, though I haven't tried it, my guess would be that the cull distance for the roads could be pretty close as long as the roads do not stand out to high over the terrain.
     
  8. raoul

    raoul

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    @zKici,working hard on it ;)

    @Raster, Yes, if the colormap is not active nearby it should work just fine. We use some shaders Tomaszek made for use which use the same colormap idea and we also use a low blend level at nearby distance which is not what you want in this case.

    I guess the cull distance is project specific, cam positions etc. It will probably be a matter of experimenting to get the right combination of cull distance, colormap fade distance.
     
  9. zKici

    zKici

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    hi raoul, its almost march 10th :)

    I wanted to ask, if I needed to make an "infinity" shape road, basically one side to = the same as the other... how could I do that? do I have to do it manually is there an option you could add perhaps ? I don't mind doing it, just exploring the options.

    I hope you can still release the new version before you go away.

    Thanks
     
  10. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi zKici, I am not sure what you mean with "one side to = the same ast the other".

    I have been adding more features to the crossing options then intitially intended, so there is a little bit of a delay but I will be posting more videos soon. This bit is the most time consuming part.

    Raoul
     
  11. s3an

    s3an

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    EasyRoads is one of those "must have" tools. It should be included with Unity! Thanks for a great tool!
     
  12. raoul

    raoul

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    Thank you s3an! Glad you like it...

    @zKici, we won't be going away as mentioned earlier so I can spend a bit more time on this
     
  13. zKici

    zKici

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    What I meant by that is I want an "infinity" road like the sign basically an 8 .

    Thanks for all the hard work I know I appreciate it, nevermind the videos hopefully the release of this awesome upgrade is sooner than that :)

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  14. SimStm

    SimStm

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    Different materials per marker will be nice.
    I mean, I don't know what is the laws in another countries (maybe it's the same), but here in Brazil we have different "mid lines", for example where is allowed/not allowed to 'overtake' another car in a single lane road. This happens in different places of the road (mostly before uphill parts, downhill parts or long plain parts where you can see the coming vehicles at the distance)

    $800px-BR-174_Sul.jpg
    (Example: Where is the "entire line" is where is not allowed to overtake, and where is the "drawn line" is where is allowed to overtake)
     
    ZenMicro likes this.
  15. jeffmorris1956

    jeffmorris1956

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  16. zKici

    zKici

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    It looks neat but I couldn't use that one to create what I need, raoul's version is much more flexible and I can achieve what I need with it, on a side note raoul even more reason why you need to hurry up on that new release :)
    competition is good, you will strive for better both of you.

    I think you have a really great asset and its much more flexible
     
  17. raoul

    raoul

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    Do you mean an 8 with a crossing in the middle or do you mean an 8 with the current v2 where they cross on top of each other like a bridge segment? For v2 it would be a simple closed track and create bridge segments in the middle for the road that is on top of the other road.
     
  18. raoul

    raoul

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    That is posible SimSâ by changing the material. The package comes with a set of ready to use materials and textures but you can change them and make your own road textures.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  19. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi Jeff, I saw that yesterday. I thought of leaving a comment and congratulate the autor but I thought it might come across as a bit intrusive. The crossings system looks like the previous version I was working on regarding the workflow, connecting markers etc. It definitely looks nice with all the traffic lights and signs (something on the list over here as well), but I decided to go another more flexible root. which is what we need for our own projects. So what is better? But thanks for letting me know and bringing it up, I feel more confortable commenting on it from EasyRoads3D related threads!
     
  20. raoul

    raoul

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    Competition is good, and I expected more road tools to become available already 2 years ago. I will continue with it...
     
  21. Ecocide

    Ecocide

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    Well, I am sure that this road tool is well designed and it has a really clean workflow with some cool features. But after watching the video I have the feeling that it's way too limited when it comes to intersections. I had this wow effect when I was watching their website and feature lists, but after watching the videos it was rather disappointing.

    I will definitely choose EasyRoads over this road tool mainly because of the flexibility. And I'm sure as raoul did the new version pretty much from scratch it is going to be designed as well as the other road tool.
     
  22. raoul

    raoul

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    There are indeed a couple of reasons why I decided to go into another direction then the "snapping markers" workflow and a couple of other things but of course I don’t know the tool in detail. So I don’t know how flexible it is. The overall videos do look nice.

    My goal with EasyRoads3D always was to provide a tool set that can be used in a creative way and that also allows you to create something that looks different. V2 was developed in that way, the possibilities extend roads only by far. Also for v3 the main focus will be on realistic roads but it will continue to offer more features for other purposes. As said things like traffic lights etc. are planned, I have been discussing this over the last 2 weeks with someone here on the forum. And if you guys like to see more presets for things such as bridges I can add that too just let me know.

    Obviously I should put a little bit less focus on progress movies and showing new features ,and focus on getting it out, but I will keep you informed anyway.
     
  23. zephren

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  24. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi Zephren, you can send me a PM or email if you want to try this out once the beta is available.
     
  25. zKici

    zKici

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    hi raoul, sorry to write back here but your Inbox is full.
    (response to the p.m)
    I'm not sure if you do, it is *removed* that is the email I used to purchase it, thanks I appreciate that - ... the rest I'll include in the P.M when you clear your inbox :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  26. raoul

    raoul

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    Yes, sorry about that, I received notification of Unity as well. Anyway, it is sorted out now
     
  27. Groovehshoes

    Groovehshoes

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    This looks like a fantastic asset. Making roads and paths has been so difficult for me. I can't wait till i can afford it. Great Raul.
    :D
     
  28. zKici

    zKici

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    When you do, do not feel bad to purchase this tool, I was a skeptic too but this asset is much more worth than what he sells it for + free updates...
     
  29. ValrikRobot

    ValrikRobot

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    and don't forget, there's a free version to get you going for now :D
     
  30. ArcticLancer

    ArcticLancer

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    I cannot wait for this next update. I've been getting familiar with V2 in the meantime and this tool is incredibly solid. Even if you don't get into the wonderful world of side objects, it's worth it for the roads/rivers portion. Raoul has put together a really awesome tool here, and it's a purchase I would happily make again.
     
  31. raoul

    raoul

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    Thank you guys! Just a note, instead of putting more progress videos on I am focussing on getting v3 out, but I will keep you informed. And PM me if you want early access to the first beta build!
     
  32. Brucas

    Brucas

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    I haven't tried either tool yet, but I have seen people talking about your system having increased flexibility than the other system. Trying to make a decision between the two- what exactly is the increased flexibility that this tool provides over the other one?
     
  33. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi Brucas,

    EasyRoads3D exists since 2009, it was one of the very, very first third party tools available for Unity. V2 was released about 2 and a half years ago or maybe 3. We started working on v3 about 2 and a half years ago because we need this for our own project as well. We have tried several things, if you look around you will still be able to find videos of that which actually did look quite promising at the time. But it didn't gave us the flexibility we needed, that is why we continued looking into finding a better solution.

    In the two years this is on the schedule I myself only posted about this once or twice, I haven't posted more to push it I only announced new beta availability. Some peole got impatient and with reason I guess, but if you look around (you don't have to look too far) there are more software tools for which development of a certain feature takes a bit more time then expected to get it right . We did release betas supporting crossings to get feedback. It is only since two weeks that I posted again regarding this, simply because this is the system that will be the final system.

    I started this thread to show progress videos, also for those who became a bit impatient to see that I am on it. The fact that we are so close now and the timing of the other tool is actually quite funny...

    Anyway, I cannot reveal too much at this moment. If you look at reviews of people or go through the several EasyRoads3D threads, you will see that v2 is not just a road tool. It is designed for people to use in a flexible way, the end result, you can make your game look different, stand out. You are in full control of the end product and it also has many other purposes then roads only. V3 will extend on that and not only regarding roads,



    Apologies for the poor quality, better quality movies will follow...
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  34. lazygunn

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    I think both products have their place! Genuinely! The other thing looks great but is all kinds of overkill for me at the moment, EasyRoads on having it been explained to me, gives you plenty of options for creating roadside details, and not even roads but anything you can consider organising themselves in a line (pylons, fences etc), and make these from any number of objects you can define easily in the easyroads editror. And from what I was told, scattering objects along the side and within the road should be easy, which to me is very important cause nothing i need right now involves motorways, it in fact needs a lot of procedurally generated and placed 'character'

    The one thing, which I was told may be dropped form the new easyroads is the river tool, cause to me that would be a terrible loss - if you could take the rvertool, have it work well enough with say, RTP to give a good measure of the riverbed, and then its banks, and populate the banks with appropriate objects and flora (Trees, bushes, reeds and so on, fairly densely if need be) scatter rocks, plants, debris procedurally, be able to control the depth and width (And even bank height and steepness) intuitively and to ME important thing - to NOT supply a shader for the river, simply a decently res mesh o the river surface along the river's length that can be tweaked as needed and if possible a UV packer to pack as much of that rivermesh into a 1-1 space with minimal distortion, along with a wireframe or shaded guide texture for the entire river for flowmap and heightmap generation. The river making aspect was already there in 2, there are a S***load of rivers on the planet, there are no way that I know of, of making a river that actually looks like a real river (Google images thar) that isnt a complete pain in the arse, when this could use tools already existing in the road maker to populate a very realistic river. I say don't supply the shader or make sure the shader is meant to be replaced.

    I'd like to supply my own shaders as a rule for my own things, and packing as many uvs into a pot layout, provide an image based on this with some necessary information in a texture (r and b blank for use for flowmaps, g used for overall elevation and a used for height calculated AFTER placing objects on the river bed perhaps (I guess this could be a little utility that runs the length of the river judging depth with raycasts pervertex or maybe fractions depending on the detail you want, and storing it as a greyscale) and then THAT would be a perfect way to create rivers procedurally that you could touch up by hand when needed.

    As a pro feature, the alpha channel then lets you tesselate and displace for ripples, the river surface can follow the contours of the river bed (Sometimes flowing over objects sometimes higher than the river surface), and then you can easily change the rapidity of the river, wether it's flooding based on the weather and so on

    Sorry for ranting btw. Anyways if you want a shader as I described above for both pro and not pro, just ask, it's worth it if you can make a river system that awesome

    If anyone can tell me theres something that already does this, let me know. I dont see why a tool that lets you make great roads, fences and pylons cant make great rivers too, and when you're talking covering a lot of land, I reckon being able to cook up rivers so conveniently would be amazing, and maybe could suggest a rebrand from not so much easy roads as er.. something that makes everything that tends to be long and thin as easy to generate to a very pleasing level

    Just a few thoughts there anyways
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  35. Brucas

    Brucas

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    That looks very cool! Will this have a more residential style of power poles that would work the same way? And are these meshes going to be included with the package?

    And lazygunn is absolutely right that both of these tools have their place. The other package might have some advantages specifically for road generation, but the river, fence, powerline generation thing is definitely something that is worth having as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  36. raoul

    raoul

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    @lazygunn, Rivers was indeed disabled so far in the v3 betas but with this new system it will be far easier to actually also include it on the river tool. The river tool itself was always intended as a bonus and more as a river “shaping” tool using the default Unity water shaders or third part shaders. But if you can provide an additional shader that will work well with it, that would be very much appreciated. I can indeed design it in a way that will also fit your liking if you want.

    Yes, looking at what it can be used for, a rebrand would probably make sense. But over the years, I belief EasyRoads has become reasonably well known as “EasyRoads” and at the end it is also my little baby :), though decision…
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  37. raoul

    raoul

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    @Brucas, what you see is generated all procedurally, for the power pole I used the prefab from the bootcamp or car tutorial project. All this can also be created with the current v2 but will be more streamlined in v3. If there is interest in more power pole options it can be done.

    So, to summarize the tool, with v2 you already have roads, rivers, additional procedural side objects (including a scattering tool) that can be used either aligned with the road or separately on its own path. With v3 all this gets better and it includes an extensive crossings system for road networks and cities, demonstrated in this thread.
     
  38. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Well, if you work on the principle of the river functionality leaving a configurable imprint in the terrain, via width and height, retexture the length of the river with, i suppose chosen textures if the terrain is regular shader and maybe a more considered choice if RTP or something (I underline RTP because its extremely popular) and be able to populate it with various stones and plants inside (even fallen logs?), for the length of it, and trees, river plants, fences, even bridal paths along it (Thats somewhat a mix of procedural generation and instantiating gameobjects), if it can do that, i'll happily write some shaders for it, shaderforge doesnt make it too hard, i'd know how to make an all-singing, all-dancing tesselation shader for the ripples and water surface, and all i'd really need from all of that is the river UVs split into strips so you can get all the river detail in as few textures as possible (given rivers are long and thin).

    If you make the river entirely its own mesh, i suppose this is what you could have meant, like you make an impression in the ground but you fit the river shape into it and extrude, much like your roads, that would be even better, the artist could save out their own meshes (Including any meshes lying on the riverbed, not combined into one! and keeping texture references and giving the entire object a common root), do their own uvs and texturing then paint their flowmaps very easily (Or use Houdini to generate them with a simulation), get heightmaps (height in a very local sense to control how to dsplace a teselated river surface so it flows over rocks if possible, and if not, flowmap has the water flow round them) and elevation(The height of the river from its origin to its mouth) really easily to specify any particular 'zones' needed and influence flow speed, even bake ambient occlusion in software of choice. I like this idea!

    If you want to/are capable of giving me a river-only version, that might be impossible or weird but i'd like to prove the concept, i can make a few shaders for you, and assuming i can scatter and distribute procedural constructions and gameobjects as I wish i'll make a very pretty river. Think about it and specify what youd like if you might have several looks in mind and wether you think it's worth the effort and you'll be doing me a favour by giving me a river system that i'd enjoy (Im sure others would appreciate it too) and you'd give your product quite a strength there - rivers seem to be bizarrely overlooked in unity asset store stuff

    This would actually give me an opportunity to check out the new rtp beta and lars' pbr foliage, which would be great
     
  39. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Oh I can do all that in 2?

    Right i'm gonna have a look at that, pronto

    Is it alright if I give feature requests?
     
  40. raoul

    raoul

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    Yes, you can do all that in v2. v3 will have additional features such as instantiating single objects. The side objects example package on our website download page (http://unityterraintools.com/downloads.php) includes rock and fence side objects. You can quickly see how they are setup and how they appear in the scene. Use "Sideways Position" in the Inspector (after selecting a marker) to position the fence per marker to the wanted position relative to the river. Support for flowmaps etc, definitely sounds interesting!
     
  41. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    There's a flowmap shader available as an example in the Shader Forge thread so that's no black art anymore, actually painting flowmaps is a bit more involved as you have to paint them, a-la Mari or a some other tool, although they can be generated via fluid simulation in Houdini, which is why being able to export the entire thing as a 3D object would be brilliant. Could simulate the course of the river to the mouth and then use that to drive all your other textures including the tessellation displacements for Pro users, resulting in very nice effects. Assuming the flowmaps made by houdini aren't normalised they could have velocity information meaning automating placement for splashing particle effects against rocks and wot not. I keep telling people i'm going to do something helpful tonight but end up completely unproductive because i'm still waiting for shaders to compile

    As I cant use my desktop to check currently, does the river tool actually add its own river mesh along the channel or is it just dug into the ground? I'm sure I can find a way round it if the latter but the former would be far more useful (Wouldnt be tied to terrain textures, would be usable for fluid simulations and so on. Might be time to find a terrain to mesh thingummy
     
  42. ValrikRobot

    ValrikRobot

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    @lazygun hey thats awesome. I've been playing around trying to get a good flow map enabled shader for a while but couldn't quite get my head around it.

    Never have really got the hang of writing shaders. I use rtp which is great, but a decent shader is hard to find. Especially when im using unity free. best ive got is using substance designer but thats just texture generation.

    My idea for water on the river so far was to use one texture spread over the whole of the river, with a basic flow map generated with something like waterplus or similar, then simply tiling a normal map across it. Quite ineffective to say the least.

    The rivers made with this are awesome. Its just my lack of shader knowledge that lets ME down. I just can't wrap my head around shaders
     
  43. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    I'm hardly mr genius shader and always get the impression im pretty hopeless at it, but shader forge is pretty great for this kind of thing and theres a flowmap shader on the first few pages of the assets forum thread
     
  44. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi guys,

    It digs into the ground and also creates the water surface. The water surface is at the markers Y position, you can set how deep the river should be per marker and you can create smooth irregular shapes tweaking the left / right indent values in the markers Inspector.
     
  45. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    My desktop really is struggling with this compile atm so I never got a chance to try this out but hopefully will be able to after some sleep along with RTP

    Should I have suggestions of feature requests, is there any point in giving them to you if the river system is to be discontinued for v3? I can already predict workflow issues cropping up making river generation a lot harder than it need be (and, in fact, could be made extremely versatile using features already available in easyroads for roads)

    It seems if you are set on removing the feature for 3 rather than completing it, thats a good opening for a new and powerful product there
     
  46. recursive

    recursive

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    (your pm box was full, raoul, sorry about posting this in the thread)
    Hello raoul,
    My artists and I were looking for an alternative to Mega-Shapes to handle road editing for our upcoming game, which takes place in a city environment with lots of intersections. We saw the intersections demo video and the art director told me to ask if we can get into the beta for v3. We are willing to pay for pro seats up front, as we feel that EasyRoads3D will meet all of our road needs.

    If you want to PM me, we can talk the details.
    -recursive
     
  47. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi recursive, yes, sorry about that, Unity notified me of that as well. I will delete some extra pages, I have the habit of always keeping the history for future reference...

    I will free up some additional space and send you a PM so you can pass your email and talk further about your project if you want.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  48. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi lazygunn, as mentioned in a previous post the river tool was only disabled in previous v3 betas because in v2 it was sharing the same code as the road system, the changes for v3 were conflicting with the river object. That is why it was disabled. One way or another it will still be available in v3. In v2 it was more a bonus tool not 100% optimized. It works well but especially when using a high heightmap scale (heigthmap resolution vs terrain size) some twekaing of the river back height or carefully positioning the markers just beliow the terrain is required for optimal results. I can optimize everthing further and release it as an add on or seperate tool, but it will probably be part of EasyRoads anyway.

    Raoul
     
  49. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    Well, while I obvously havent seen your river system for 3 yet, may I offer some suggestions as to how it is applied, because I think it could be quite important regarding workflow, especially if you have a great many rivers of many characteristics on your map

    The following ideas mainly refer to tesselation found in Unity Pro, but i'm sure similar results can be achieved with a regular vertex fragment shader, just without the fine detail in river surface

    The most important thng that occurs to me is that I really do think rivers should have their own mesh for both the river bed/bank and the surface, the river bed conforming to the terrain and the surface being subdivided enough to get very fine tessellation if needed and to some degree, slightly wider than the river model that confines it. These objects should be able to be exported in a format that can contain subobjects and preserve all UV and texture information

    Here's my reasoning: If the river tool simply deforms the terrain, it will have to use the terrains textures, if you want the river to have its own set of texture that are more relevant for a river then that's going to negatively affect the impression it makes. The generated river mesh could have a number of it's own textures that could be distributed in fairly expected ways, like rock for steep elevated edges, variations on grass and mud for banks and river floor, pebbles or murky underwater vegetation, allsorts really, that could be kept seperate from the terrain shader but RTP has its own geom blend feature making the blend between the river edge and general terrain seamless.

    If you have the option to scatter gameobjects and procedural objects along the river floor and banks, these should be linked as subobjects (Not combined) when they are exported along with the river

    The bonus of allowing the export of the river like this is as I expained above, you can generate flowmaps, heightmaps (In 3rd party packages), to act in concert with the flowmaps depending on the river height and energy (If it's stormy, the river surface will be higher and flow faster, it will conform to the heightmap but now flow over objects with bumps in the water rather than flow round them).

    You can generate flowmaps all kinds of ways but if you can get hold of Houdini, it will run a simulation along the entire mesh, creating accurate flow behaviour based on obstacles it finds in its way (Which is why the river objects are saved out with their contents. You can even bake ambient occlusion and any other little bits of data you might fancy extracting - In fact you could use some simple noise like perlin to displace a copy of your river ever so slightly to give it an uneven surface (Easy to do in a well featured 3D app), create normals with xnormal and your riverbed would be very subtly and attractively featured

    I've just talked my head off and need a break, but there are other things too i'd considerimportant

    Raoul if I'm just repeating your intentions anyways, let me know so I dont keep going on about it. However if there are some new ideas in there that you think might be useful, might be worth thinking about. I've got a lot to do lately but i wonder if it's possible to scetch p a quick proof of conceppt in unity to explain things visually
     
  50. raoul

    raoul

    Joined:
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    I think almost everything already works like that in v2. When I write about raising the riverbank, I mean adjusting the terrain so the water is not floating on top of the terrain in areas where the terrain is below the water surface. There is no separate mesh for the riverbed and if there was it would indeed never be part of the river surface itself. This is the way you would like to see it work, right?

    The only thing that perhaps needs to be tweaked. regarding tesselation, is the water surface triangulation. We can certainly work that out.

    Also regarding, subobjects, you may want to try what I suggested regarding the example side object package, the rocks and fences and especially check the side object Inspector where you have full control over rotations, random placement, combining / not combining, etc. So you know how it works now in v2, which will also make it easier to tell if there is something that you like to see handled in a different way in v3.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014