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GAIA - AAA terrain generator, procedural texturing, planting and scene creation

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by AdamGoodrich, May 21, 2015.

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Would you pay an upgrade fee for Gaia 2 so that we can hire to accelerate its development?

Poll closed Sep 3, 2018.
  1. Yeah super cool - I would pay a $15 upgrade fee to get it faster!

    83 vote(s)
    80.6%
  2. No way - you promised free and i am happy to wait!

    20 vote(s)
    19.4%
  1. BackwoodsGaming

    BackwoodsGaming

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    @AdamGoodrich - Is this the error caused by the terrain not being centered? (center point at 0,0 and instead 0,0 is the bottom corner) I can't remember but I don't believe Nathaniel centers the TC/WC terrains.
     
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  2. tapticc

    tapticc

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    Was busy applying detail to the terrain and got a blue screen of death, now I can't get into my Unity project argh! Unity.exe caused an Access Violation (0xc0000005) just reimporting everything to try resolve :( Clearly not a Gaia thing of course!
     
  3. tapticc

    tapticc

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    Although it was my terrain which was messed up in the end, got back in now though and can rebuild the scene thankfully!
     
  4. BackwoodsGaming

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    Cool! I always freak out when Unity crashes in the middle of me working... All I can think while it is rebuilding is wondering how much of I did I am going to lose because I can't remember last time I saved.... lol
     
  5. tapticc

    tapticc

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    It's when it rebuilds and still crashes, that's when it's scary!
     
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  6. UnLogick

    UnLogick

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    Oh it looks like Europe is there, but if you zoom too far it just gives me blanks on the area selector
     
  7. BackwoodsGaming

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    Yup.. Satellites don't have authorization to get in as close over those areas. I'm sure they do go in closer but probably something about legalities of making it publicly available or something.
     
  8. dogmachris

    dogmachris

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    @DarkXess don't wanna go too much off-topic here, I was using the full version of AQUAS, but for calm lakes without a backface, the free version will do just fine too. And since it's flat water without physical waves (yet), it's easy to set up with gaia: place the water at the water level, you defined with Gaia, and it should work out of the box. :)

    Yeah, tested it, it was avalable on github and still is - it looks pretty neat, I have to say, but the settings are kinda hardwired and grip into one another, so I had serious trouble customizing it.
     
  9. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    There are per lod wind settings.

    Been ages since I used it - but that sounds a great alternative to Terrain.party. Depends on where he gets his info from as to how good the data will be - I think the free NASA data ranges from 30 - 100m accurracy. Its been awhile since i looked maybe they even make the 10m data available now. In some places I think its even accurate to 5m.

    Use with existing terrains - Yes.

    Runtime support - sort of but not what I would call production ready yet. Focus on initial releases is more editor focussed.

    I will update this to latest with the next version. The ones in the original were the ones that were released with Unity 5.1. Will need to test that latest works with 5.1 :)
     
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  10. Wavinator

    Wavinator

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    Is there any instruction on how to do this? I don't see a way of telling Gaia to use a given terrain.
     
  11. Dannyoakes

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    Man, I think Shawn pretty much covered everything... :p

    In terms of the SpeedTrees in the Standard Assets, they've been updated in our free packs on the Asset Store as well as our store, but they have not made it into the latest build.

    The colliders are a good way to cut down the costs. We include them because we'd rather provide you with more than you need than to be found lacking. No asset is ever going to fit the wide variety of devs needs so we try to hit a balance.

    In terms of price, we're planning to do a lot more in terms of sales and promotions, in fact we had a 20% off coupon this weekend "Treehugs". (I extended the sale till midnight EST in case anyone wants to take advantage). This also stacks with the 15% discount you get as a subscriber to the modeler.

    We'll be doing some more in the coming months so keep an eye on our twitter, facebook, and blog (Shameless social media plug).

    Anyway, we're love seeing what you guys are making with Unity+Gaia+SpeedTree.

    You guys are awesome.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
  12. BackwoodsGaming

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    Last time I used it was a few months back, maybe August time frame. At that point he was still using Bing for maps so the detail is limited by whatever source Bing is using. I found I was getting better heightmaps, at that point, using terrain.party.
     
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  13. magique

    magique

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    Thanks for all the discounts. I took advantage of it and got the subscription and a mobile tree pack for our upcoming game. With various tweaks to everything, the trees are performing very well for us.
     
  14. BackwoodsGaming

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    Gaia uses whatever terrain is in the scene. (If you have more than one, you need to disable all but the ones you want to use.) In Gaia 1.0, you also need to move the terrain to make sure 0.0 is in the center. If you click on the terrain and the transform positions X Z are 0s, it wont work. divide the the width by 2, make it negative and that number should be in the X and Z. For example, for 2048 width, the X and Z should be -1024. Gaia 1.5 will adjust for this but 1.0 doesn't.

    You will then need to make sure that your numbers for terrain height and resolutions match in your Gaia Defaults file and sea level is set to whatever level your water on the old terrain is set for. If it didn't have water, set sea level to 0. Sea Level and Height are in both GaiaDefaults and GaiaResources. Make sure you make the changes in both. One thing to note, Gaia does terrain width on a calculation of power by 2. If your old terrain isn't a power of 2 then it will keep replacing this number. But I didn't have issues with it when I used this process on the Isle_01 terrain in Big Environment Pack 1.5 back in September with Gaia 1.0 release candidates at the end of initial beta.
     
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  15. kerrmedia

    kerrmedia

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    Anyone know why TOD would be casting these odd shadows? If I turn the sky box off it goes away?
    Wondering if Gaia's scale is an issue? This is a new project, worked before...

    TOD_Square.jpg
     
  16. kerrmedia

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    OK, these appear to be cast by the houses and rocks.
    3dforge_on_gaia1.jpg
     
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  17. BackwoodsGaming

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    looks like you may have multiple light sources maybe? Did you take out the directional light before installing ToD's skybox into your scene? Also, in the Unity Lighting window, uncheck the auto build. Pretty sure you don't need that with ToD.
     
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  18. kerrmedia

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    Oh well, just used the TOD prefabs after deleting the first TOD and that works now.

    Yeah, I had deleted the directional light. Just following Adam's tutorial to make sure I have the creation process understood.

    Took off the auto build, see how that works.
     
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  19. tapticc

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    May also be just needs the lighting built again!
     
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  20. TheSeawolf

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    At this mention, I moved the terrain to x=-1024, y=0, z=-1024 as per Gaia1.0 and it works.

    2 gold stars for you today, well done Shawn67 :)
     
  21. tapticc

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    Hi, has anybody used Mesh Materialiser with a terrain, and more specifically do you know if it can assign materials to the OBJ file based on the texture used?
     
  22. wood333

    wood333

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    This is really an amazing forum and community. I posted a comment on SpeedTree a couple days ago and about 10 experienced users answered and discussed the issues, really wringing them out, including Adam, @Dannyoakes and @Shawn67. Kudos to all who commented! Really, well done!
     
  23. elbows

    elbows

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    It's an amazing thread that, as time goes on, will start to suffer from its own brilliance a little - eg its not so easy to find specific things in the thread because its so large and moves on so quickly.

    The thread does inspire me to dream of some entire new Unity subforum that covers the likes of 'environmental assets'. But even if that happened there is of course no guarantee that the amazing ethos, knowledge and spirit of this thread can be maintained if spread well beyond this single thread.
     
  24. florianbepunkt

    florianbepunkt

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    Maybe some wiki or a simple google docs sheet would be helpful where we can gather troubleshooting/common pitfalls like the shadow flicker for example and also some basic optimization tips like the thing about tree colliders or duplicating terrain for water performance.
     
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  25. S4G4N

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    I like the idea, like a FAQ with sub catagories
     
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  26. Dannyoakes

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    Awesome! Good to hear.
     
  27. magique

    magique

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    Are there going to be any improvements to how tree and detail spawning works? Right now, I find it a bit cumbersome to have to keep the terrain object in sync with the Gaia tree spawner. Is there any way for Gaia to automatically add the trees and detail objects to the terrain object so I don't have to keep them in sync manually?
     
  28. BackwoodsGaming

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    ;
    This is something that Adam and I talked about a week or two ago. I think he said he was planning to do some updates to the website after he got the 1.5 update released.
     
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  29. BackwoodsGaming

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    In 1.5 if the trees/details aren't in your terrain object, Gaia warns you and asks if you want to add them. I can't remember the exact button text, but you essentially have the option to add or cancel, if I recall correctly.
     
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  30. magique

    magique

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    Excellent. That will save a lot of headaches.
     
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  31. dogmachris

    dogmachris

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    Hey folks,

    I've been busy prototyping an arctic lake environment using the "randomize stamps" functionality of Gaia. Gotta say I love that feature, even though it takes a bit to get used to how to set the parameters to get good results. I think though, that the randomize stamps feature is better suited for environments that are surrounded by water.

    For me it was a bit tricky at first, to get a terrain, that is actually surrounded by mountains. Eventually I randomized the stamps and masked out the center to get some nice borders with a less defined terrain in the middle. Then I went ahead and added some stamps to define the center a bit more, but not tooo strong. I think once one get used to it, the randomize stamps feature is pure gold!!

    About the environment itself:
    Even though arctic environments usually don't have trees and grasses, I found it suprisingly difficult to make it look believable. Maybe someone has more experience creating those kinds of environments and could show her/his results?






    For this scene, I also used Tenkoku and AQUAS Lite.
     
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  32. BackwoodsGaming

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    Looks great, Chris! I would add winter variants of whatever SpeedTree models you have. I also have the Big Environment Pack that has winter type models, trees with snow, houses and props with snow, and even ice pack pieces. That might be something cool to add to Aquas as an extras type thing, if not already there.. Some sort of buoyancy script for things like the ice pack pieces, boats, or anything else that would need to float on the surface.
     
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  33. AdamGoodrich

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    This is one of the features of v1.5.

    I still have to do some final tweaking of this feature to make the perspective more believable.. but i love it too - its another very cool part of v1.5.

    Yep - this will happen on the web site... I need to devote more time to the web site but have been so busy focusing on the new release, and when that comes out there will be different sorts of questions I am sure.

    It would be nice if the unity forums had some sort of capability like this as well as I typically answer the same questions over and over.
     
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  34. magique

    magique

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    Excellent. I look forward to the update.
     
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  35. Goodgulf

    Goodgulf

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    A Wiki would be great. I'm wondering why Unity sticks mostly to forums for the assets developing and supporting community. With the amount of knowledge locked away in the forums making it accessible through a Wiki would be a great benefit for all Unity users. Forums are great but they are not very efficient as long term knowledge stores due to the lack of tagging, pruning/culling of articles and the not so ease of use of updating information without duplicating it.

    Many games have wikis where a lot of information from a variety of forums is made accessible by the players themselves. I think it is a safe bet that it would work for many of the assets developers and their user base too.

    So I also add my vote to a Gaia Wiki! After the 1.5 update though :)

    Disclaimer: Knowledge Sharing/Management is my "hobby horse" in my professional life and I see opportunities everywhere. Feel free to ignore my ramble.
     
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  36. magique

    magique

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    I have an issue with terrain tree performance. I posted this in another forum, but since this is related to Gaia use, I thought maybe someone here might know something. Here is what I posted elsewhere:

    I've noticed something very strange that I think might be a bug, but maybe I'm doing something wrong. I've been working on getting SpeedTrees to work in my Wii U game so that I can have the best balance of quality versus performance. I'm using entirely mobile versions of the SpeedTrees and have the settings optimized to the point where I can run at nearly a steady 60 fps with a decent amount of trees in view around my character. So far so good.

    However, this testing involves me simply manually painting down batches of trees around my character within about a 128 meter radius or so. With that test working great, I then proceed to have a tool like Gaia to then place down trees on the entire 4096x4096 terrain. Before doing that, I clear out all the manually painted trees. After a single spawn iteration, I end up with trees on the entire terrain, but actually far less within the area my character is at. Despite this, the frame rate drops from 60 fps to about 28-30 fps. So, somehow, just because there are tree instances mapped to the entire terrain, rendering fewer trees in range causes my frame rate to plummet to half.

    To me this seems to be a bug in Unity where it is unable to efficiently determine what trees need to be rendered within my viewing range. Or is there something I can do to fix this?

    Anyone have any ideas?
     
  37. tapticc

    tapticc

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    I know I had trouble with a previous game with lots of trees, with the billboarding checks it seemed.
     
  38. magique

    magique

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    I know there is some sort of SpeedTree billboarding issue that will be fixed with instancing in 5.4, but I think that refers to actually batching/instancing SpeedTree billboards. But in my case, this is all about just rendering a few trees within range and completely culling out everything else beyond that. And since I know I can render even more trees in the vicinity at 60 fps, this appears to be something to do with the efficiency at which Unity determines what and what not to render from within the data set of all terrain trees.
     
  39. BackwoodsGaming

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    I'm not really sure what Unity does with colliders on far trees.. If they remove them or not. If not, Unity is still trying to deal with all the colliders. The asset I've mentioned in the past by @ElroyUnity, Trees Manager System (forum thread) does a great job of optimization. You may want to give it a shot. From your post, it sounds like it does exactly what you are looking for.
     
  40. magique

    magique

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    That asset looks interesting. I actually stumbled across it the other day when I was looking for terrain tree solutions, but the video seemed to only be interested in showing how you could coordinate chopping a tree across network devices. I was very confused by what it was supposed to do for me. It seems to have some sort of terrain tree management system, but it also seems to be heavily tied to networking, which I don't need. Does it add all the networking overhead even if you don't need it? It's quite vague on exactly what it does and how it works.

    EDIT: I went to their forum thread and my questions were answered there. It looks like exactly what I need. Thanks for the tip!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  41. TheSeawolf

    TheSeawolf

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    Yes I would agree height map quality is better with terrain.party, especially for creating stamps of particular terrain areas. However, if you need real life terrain areas covering at least 200-800km2, then I think there are two things that makes having the lack of height accuracy in World Composer win over terrain.party is that it comes with a grid that you simply move to and never have to guesstimate where one height data grid starts and finishes; and WC creates a Unity Terrain that can be used by Gaia to spawn

    Actually, tonight I will add screenshots side by side for those interested in comparing WC and TP. Whatever the case, both of these options is farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr more user friendly, convenient and streamlined then registering with the USGS and using their satellite imagery! :)

    Eventually, I decided upon 4 stars for this reason. If near is enough is good enough, then WC is great. However, if height accuracy is paramount then terrain.party wins. This is based on height data of the UK.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  42. TheSeawolf

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    Hey dogmachris, these screenshots look great anyway. I purchased this Winter Ground Pack Texture pack the other day for $5 and the textures are really good.

    Regarding your question about believable, this comes down to your own critical thinking...as it does mine as well, as it does everyone. :) They look good, however using minimal amounts of foliage can transform baroness into interesting. Take a look at this Alaskan photo, it has minimal trees in the foreground, and shorter foliage on the opposite bank. The depth of field is altered by minimal changes in foliage. Why I think you might not be feeling 100% confident about is that there may be too many small peaks, and not enough of a contrast between hillocks and mountains :)

    Anyway, just a thought. You can also open up games like Skyrim or Witcher and have a look at how the devs formed their landscapes. I did this with Witcher 3 yesterday, and observed how many (perceived flaws and unreal landscape) faults even a AAA quality game has the potential to include. I think the Witcher 3 is awesome by the way :)
     
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  43. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    This is an interesting comment - I now pay close attention to environments - and when you start to look closely you see flaws, pops and other approximations all over the place in even the block buster games :)
     
  44. S4G4N

    S4G4N

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    Very true,

    Go open Crysis or any other game like Skyrim, Oblivion, that we all love and stand still and carefully look at each item individually.
    Many cases of BAD extremely visible texture seams, blurred, stretched textures and such kind of technical flaws.

    At the end, it is the mix, of how they put together to provide a good looking, believable scene.

    Cheers
    Cobus
     
  45. magique

    magique

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    Agreed. I'm studying games all the time so I can see how they do things. I've been studying Xenoblade Chronicles X this past week. What I find funny is that my daughters will play games like Dragon's Dogma and Skyrim and never say a single thing about any flaws, but if I show them something I made then they seem to suddenly notice every defect and flaw there is even if their favorite AAA game does the same thing. Go figure. lol
     
  46. TheSeawolf

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    Wow....Oh come on guys, I thought I was the only strange one here, I thought I was an individual :)

    I once (in this thread) read that Adam created his terrains and deleted them once he was finished with them...and I thought, no way I'll never do that; and now I'm so overly critical of every lump and bump that my delete rate is nearly 1:1.

    With reference to lower resolution landscapes created by WC or TP, what would be the best was to add additional noise to the terrain so that the texture stamper performs the same as it does with a Gaia created terrain?

    The glacial valleys of the Scottish Highlands (Glens) are relatively smooth anyway, but with low res sat data, they lack enough lumps and bumps for the texture spawner to assign textures with angles.

    How do others overcome this?
     
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  47. AdamGoodrich

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    I shared a 2km x 2km terrain that was stored in a session file (about 200kb in total) with @Shawn67 today - it was as simple as dragging and dropping from Unity into Skype. He then replayed it at his end...

    To find that I had messed up the water levels so that what he spawned was not quite what I had generated... but that will be fixed by tomorrow.

    This is going to be one of the killer features of the next release. Every terrain and scene you do in Gaia will be automatically recorded in a session file - including all the defaults and resources - and stored - to be shared or to be tweaked. You can even enable or disable steps in the playback process so trying new things is never a risk.

    This means you need never lose another environment you generate again - as it can easily be recreated from scratch from the session file.

    And you can share with your team mates.. and they can tweak and send back.. a 200k file that may represent tens of megabytes of assets. This has so much potential!

    As long as they have the assets in their scene then the session file will enable them to recreate the scene from scratch within a few minutes.

    V1.5 will be released within the next week! Am very much looking forward to seeing what every one does with it :)
     
  48. AdamGoodrich

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    V1.5 release has a flowmap generator. This will allow you detect even minor slopes - and then to texture your environment accordingly. If also has various noise generators that can be applied rule by rule in the spawners... so you can use a combination of both of them to inject additional interest.
     
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  49. tapticc

    tapticc

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    A feature I saw recently was to reuse a texture in a terrain but to scale it to different sizes to reduce the grid-like appearance fron long distances. The asset is https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/4722 and the technique is called Multi UV Mixing (the 4th picture in their store shows the technique in action).

    Just thought I would put it out there as a future option (I don't remember seeing this in GAIA) :)
     
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  50. BackwoodsGaming

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    That is because that is a shader package and Adam doesn't do anything with shaders. @NemoKrad is in our beta group and he just submitted Distingo which does this same type of functionality. My guess would be Adam will leave the shader stuff to him and others to work on so he can keep working on stuff he knows and already has planned. Hopefully Distingo will be available in asset store in next couple of days.
     
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