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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. FractalCore

    FractalCore

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    I'm really liking Gaia. There's just one minor interface criticism I have. I find the bubble help boxes get in the way.

    Hover the mouse over a button for a second, help pops up below pointer, then gets in the way of the button underneath, and doesn't go away until you either move the pointer away from the button then back. Or click on the help box itself. Unfortunately it catches the click and doesn't let you click on what's under it.

    Could there be an option added to let us turn the help off? There's something ironic when the thing that is supposed to help, is in fact hindering the workflow.

    In the attached picture I moved the mouse at a certain speed over the "Ground" button on my way to the "Reset" button and got it's help... Which covered the "Reset" button!
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. smada-luap

    smada-luap

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    I think the only real way to stop this is to literally go through your copy of the code and remove all the tooltip sections and recompile
     
  3. one_one

    one_one

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    Wait, I'm confused, did you create the textures from photographs or high-poly sculpts? Or did you maybe post pictures of somebody else's work in a different engine?

    And that's great news Adam! A project could have hundreds of pre-defined maps/terrains with a minimal memory footprint. Now if there was a way to automate the creation process with other parameters, strategy games could have a huge variety of battle maps realistically embedded in campaign maps à la Total War.
     
  4. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Yep this is really tedious. On the one hand tool tips are great - they are a mini manual on demand - on the other hand they are surprisingly annoying because of the fact that they block clicks.

    I can supply a quick fix for the custom inspectors I have written - but not for all of them as I use the default Unity stuff in some of them. I will look at writing custom editors for everything later - and can help things a little in this release.
     
  5. FractalCore

    FractalCore

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    Yeah, I thought it might be a common Unity UI type of thing. It's just weird I've never noticed it in other assets.

    It might be the amount of times we have to click the "Clear Trees/Detail" - "Reset" - "Spawn" combo of buttons. Maybe simply rearranging them a little would just so happen to make it not happen on these buttons anymore.

    But it's not worth doing that just for this. Like I said it's a minor gripe.

    Something I've been wondering about these buttons actually is, what if there was a "Reset then Spawn" button underneath the "Reset" and "Spawn" buttons? Since, at least the way I work, I never, ever want to leave previous spawned info around before clicking "Spawn". Could still bring up the warning dialog box.

    Seems like a trivial extra button, but the amount of times you end up clicking "Reset" then "Spawn"... Might be handy.
     
  6. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Hehe - the "just one more change" has really dragged this release out :) I am however making the tool tips a global setting that you can switch off which is great for later when you are across Gaia and don't need them.

    The reason you don't see it on lots of assets is that the author didn't go to trouble of creating them - they are actually quite a lot of work to put together.
     
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  7. Quique-Martinez

    Quique-Martinez

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  8. DarkXess

    DarkXess

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    Not GAIA but to do with Terrain & Vegetation so I thought I would but this here... I am in love :D



    Skatter, smart plugin for SketchUp allows developers to render unlimited amount of objects sending all the information directly to engine passing SketchUp. This allows developers to have lightweight and responsive files. Developers are also said to have an ability to edit their work at any time, every step and parameter is saved, so there’s no need to start from the beginning.

    Skatter features:
    • From small carpets in a living room to large scale forests.
    • Through its “Render only” feature, Skatter sends all the scattering information directly to the render engines, bypassing Sketchup. That way, you keep a lightweight and responsive file while still being able to render huge amounts of objects
    • Go back and edit your work at any time. Every option and parameter is saved, so there’s no need to delete everything and restart from scratch
    • Create huge grass fields in just 4 clicks. Expect regular free updates with awesome new content (more vegetation, trees, gravel, carpets, etc)
    At $99 though its quite pricey :p
     
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  9. dogmachris

    dogmachris

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    Isn't Sketchup a tool for architects? If so - as an engineer - I'd have to refuse using it almost by definition... :D
     
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  10. DarkXess

    DarkXess

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    Would love to somehow get this to work in conjunction with Unity though, Imagine making your terrain, then sculpting it more with this tool. I also just noticed that in the Unity asset store there is something similar: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/14954 though I am not sure if this is already built into GAIA or a future thing to be added? will have to wait for Adam to give us an answer :)
     
  11. Daniel-Talis

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    Looks reasonably convincing for distance shots, like a fly over or from a mountain top but the few times that the camera got close to the trees in the video, the quality changed considerably.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  12. S4G4N

    S4G4N

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    I strongly doubt that @AdamGoodrich is going to venture into the hand-sculpting of small areas such as Mega Scatter does. I see Gaia as the heavy lifter, doing what would take days and weeks in just a few minutes, with small focused details to be done by handcrafting it and maybe using tools like Mega Scatter. The POI feature that is coming with the new release does a very good job of delivering very detailed scenes via rule based spawning.
    So hand-crafting small spots will always be done manually or with the use of tools such as Mega Scatter.

    Through the development of any package several other complimentary suggestions and concepts would sure come up that the developer could develop into solid standalone solution instead of a slap on small feature.

    Gaia itself is testament to this and is catering for a gap in the market that was just waited to be filled.

    I am sure that @AdamGoodrich 's aim with Gaia is not to replace ALL existing tools that does something with terrain, just some of them :);)

    Cheers
    Cobus
     
  13. PitHeimes

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    Nailed it. And Gaia does this in an excellent way.
     
  14. FractalCore

    FractalCore

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    I've got Mega Scatter. It's pretty good. You're right about it being similar to that Sketchup Scatter plugin. It allows you to lay out a spline that your objects will scatter within. Intelligently placing them only on certain slopes and altitudes etc.

    But trust me, Gaia's got you covered. I've waited along time for something that works this well in Unity.

    If you're interested, the Sketchup Scatter plugin seems to work exactly like some 3DS Max plugins, Notably the one I'd call the grandfather of all the scatter plugins, Forest Pack Pro.

    http://www.itoosoft.com/forestpack.php

    Before Gaia I was using Forest Pack to scatter tree proxies (boxes) in Max, then render a splatmap of sorts with pixels representing all the trees which I was taking into Terrain Composer and using it to spawn them. It worked, but not worth it in the end.
     
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  15. docsavage

    docsavage

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    I think HorizonOn has something similar to this. Either way the effect is really nice. The developer you linked to also does a free terrain water erosion pack that looks very nice as well.

    Edit: After having a bit more of a look they do seem to be different.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  16. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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  17. FargleBargle

    FargleBargle

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    This is great for flight sims, or for distant views outside your actual playing area, but you can't use it to replace "real" tree models in areas you plan to visit on foot. It's the same problem the drone imaging software mentioned here earlier had: They don't look like trees when viewed up close, just tree shaped lumps on the ground. Still, if used properly they could help fill out the background in areas you don't plan to get too close to, without a huge performance hit.
     
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  18. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Looks pretty nice. Used in same way as horizon could be cool. Wonder if it can take your existing trees and make textures from them.
     
  19. chingwa

    chingwa

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    Yes exactly, in fact I did a similar effect many many years ago in a community flight sim project. As far as I know IL2 Sturmovik was one of the first major games to use this technique. But as mentioned, you would need to do some custom terrain work and asset integration if you wanted to use this technique for a game closer to ground level. I imagine it could be made to look quite seamless with with some creative use of rendertextures...
     
  20. kerrmedia

    kerrmedia

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    sorry, posted too soon. Thank you!
     
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  21. magique

    magique

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    Thanks for the tip on AQUAS. I had filed that asset for later evaluation, but didn't realize there was a free lite version. I tried it today and it looks better and performs better than the Unity Pro Water effect. If it works on Wii U then I'll be adding the full version to my pipeline. As always, this community has great advice for great tools.
     
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  22. dogmachris

    dogmachris

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    Don't know if it works on Wii U, but if the graphics API on it is a modified OpenGL - which I think it is - chances are fairly good.
     
  23. magique

    magique

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    I will try tonight and let you know if lite version works. If it does, I will buy full version and let you know the results there as well.
     
  24. Roni92pl

    Roni92pl

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    You should focus on extending spawners, resources systems(instead of showing of with fancy post fx and lightning in sneak-peak with like 5k drawcalls showing nothing for wasted 15 minutes) and generally more consistent workflow(why there is texture matching in spawn criteria in resources when you can set "area mask" in spawner itself to define texture on which items should be spawned - it's very confusing. All spawn related settings should be in spawner). Also lacks of multi area masks or spawner settings per item(really needed). Especially managing resources is PITA. Also removing details/objects using spawner would be really usefull too. And area masks working as real mask(currently it's not mask- it's area that it spawns items on).
    Generally - more actual functionalities and features, less fancy effects - as it is another topic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  25. dogmachris

    dogmachris

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    @Roni92pl You - yourself a publisher - should know better, than to leave such an unqualified comment on an asset that someone has spent years on developing. I mean criticizing is ok, but the way you do it won't gain you any friends in the community in general.

    Speaking of PITA, maybe you should go bump your own thread rather than this one, it's getting pretty desolate over there...

    "Thumbs Down"
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
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  26. Whippets

    Whippets

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    Amazing work Adam, the scope and quality of Gaia is jaw-dropping. Worth twice the price easily.
     
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  27. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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    Wait...those are Unity screenshots?
    I guess I just don't get it. I've never had vegetation that looked that good in Unity. Forget framerate, I just want to know what it takes to get a scene with grass and such looking that good.

    My grass looks like pixelated garbage next to that. I see SSAO and shadows on the grass, which is not a mystery but...the rest...
    sigh.
     
  28. one_one

    one_one

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    Those are shots in cryengine created most likely by someone completely different.

    Check out the volumetric lighting. It makes vegetation assets really stand out by giving them some perceived depth. There's a volumetric light replacement in the works somewhere on this forum. The shadow map resolution seems to be cranked up all the way too, along with high texture and mesh resolutions, so it's a lot about details that may not be feasible in many projects currently, too. And lastly, a big part of the visual appeal is the coherent and convincing color palette and image composition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
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  29. jc_lvngstn

    jc_lvngstn

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    Oh, ok. I thought DarkXess said those three were from Unity. That makes me feel like less of a complete failure at decent environment composition.
     
  30. magique

    magique

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    I found a couple of nifty assets that I think could work really well for Gaia users. I'm going to be trying them out tonight, but am wondering if anyone else has tried them.

    The first is called Smart LOD:

    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/4204

    What makes this interesting is that it lets you do LOD using distance based parameters instead of screen space height like the Unity way. In addition, it allows you to dynamically load/unload them at runtime as needed. So, you could have quite massive scenes that only load the resources you need. Their tutorial video is a good watch.

    The second is called Real Imposters LOD System:

    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/40188

    This asset automatically generates billboards for your models and switches between 3D and billboard at specified ranges. It even supports shadows and is able to dynamically regenerate the billboards as needed.

    I was thinking if I used the Smart LOD system on my objects and have my final LOD group have the Real Imposters LOD script attached then it would allow me to combine the best of both these assets so I can load/unload things only as needed as well as having automatic billboarding at distance.

    For Gaia, you could build prefabs that could be added to the terrain and the Smart LOD and Imposters would just automatically work. You could even use this for terrain trees and spawn them as game objects to take advantage of it. The only trick would be assigning the camera to these objects. I'll probably modify their script to grab the camera dynamically at runtime.
     
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  31. Roni92pl

    Roni92pl

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    I'm making up for lack of criticism in this thread, everyone is interested only in watching beautifull screenshots and acts like it's perfect tool, I mean it's ok to do from time to time, but I think it misses this thread point, this asset is far from perfect or polished, so you know, just trying to point weaker points. I like this asset work's result also, but as I said earlier there is lot of room for improvements in features, way it works and workflow generally, it's just feels too simple. And by the way, if someone feels offended by criticism that is called being fanboy ;)
    edit: and discussion of post effects, screenies and other third party assets continues... :rolleyes:
     
  32. magique

    magique

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    I think everyone would agree that it can be improved and it certainly doesn't yet have all the features that everyone wants, but it's going to be improving with every version. As far as being too simple all I have to say is that is one of it's biggest selling points. It's simple and yet powerful. And it'll only get more powerful over time.
     
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  33. Roni92pl

    Roni92pl

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    Yes, fully agree on point that simple = good, my mistake, I had in mind something more like "lacks features" - especially spawners system.
     
  34. magique

    magique

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    Can you be more specific on what you think it needs? I'm just getting started with Gaia and really don't have a grasp on the spawning system. I'd be interested in hearing feature ideas to make Gaia a better product. You might have some ideas I haven't even thought of. Btw, I am not affiliated with the Gaia team. I'm just a user.
     
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  35. TeagansDad

    TeagansDad

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    Alright, I got it working, and I was able to get similar coverage of my terrain using the Game Object trees instead of terrain trees.

    Massive performance hit though. Even with significantly fewer trees. When I was using terrain trees, I noticed a huge performance boost when I tested the game after clearing all of the terrain detail. With the Game Object trees, I notice almost no performance difference if I clear all of the terrain detail. This is on a PC with a good CPU and lots of RAM but lame on-board video (not my normal development system, which has a GTX 960M GPU). Haven't tried it on my main dev system yet, so I hope it's a lot better.

    Any tips on how to address the performance issue?
     
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  36. Shawn67

    Shawn67

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    Fancy effects? Not sure what product you have been looking at as Gaia doesn't do any effects. 1.5 does have a very small addition of 4 or 5 default camera setups using built-in Unity standard assets effects, but it isn't anything that much time was spent on. Instead of coming in here coming off as a troll, how about some providing some useful input. With all the issues you have spouted, I really question if you have actually used Gaia and if you have, have you taken the time to read the docs and watch the videos.

    At any rate, the old saying "You can catch more flies with honey" kind of applies here. Instead of posting something that sounds confrontational and attacking, if you are having issues or have suggestions why not post those instead of coming off like an #@%?

    As @dogmachris posted, as an asset developer I would think you would understand that a bit more than just the average customer. Think about the time that you've put into your asset and consider how you would want people to post to you. ;)
     
  37. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    I am not an expert on tweaking Unity to improve performance - there are far more experienced people than me in this forum who could probably offer better advice - but a couple of things come to mind:

    * Turn off water and watch the impact on your framerate - if it is reflecting vegetation then this will be significant
    * Modify your speedtrees to get rid of the excessive colliders they come with by default
    * Go into your speedtrees and tune their LOD settings - this can have a significant impact as well
    * And finally you might want to look into some sort of aggressive culling system
     
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  38. Shawn67

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    As with any scene, even without Gaia, you still need to do your things to improve performance. Too many objects in a scene, you will still want to study and figure out how to setup occlusion, deal with colliders, etc. For trees, Trees Manager System is a great resource as it will deactivate tree colliders that are out of the range you configure. Similar tools like Sectr can also help setup areas and only spawn objects when you are in range of the area. Stuff like object pooling can also help enhance performance.

    Gaia is simply a terrain creator and spawner. You still have to have tools in your toolbox to do the optimization. Think of a regular toolbox. You don't use your hammer to extract a screw, right? :p
     
  39. gothman89

    gothman89

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    I cant see the option to open the Gaia manager in Unity 5. Might be due to the compiler error. Please let me know the fix, Thanks.
     
  40. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    The only thing that causes Gaia to have an error is if project target is set to WebGL due to a Microsoft not including System.ReadAllBytes, SystemWriteAllBytes in that target. Just change target to PC/Mac/Linux and you will be fine.
     
  41. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    A screen shot from a completely randomly generated scene.

    Grab 20160220141811 w1900h1200 x-183y120z327r204.jpg

    What may not be so obvious until you are told is that the grass and the terrain underneath the point of interest has also been modified by the spawner when the POI was placed.
     
  42. KingLlama

    KingLlama

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    I purchased Gaia just now and will post screenshots of what I have created soon!
     
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  43. Shawn67

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    Any time you have a compiler error, most times it will prevent assets from creating the menu options of other assets. Fix the compiler error and the menu option for Gaia should come back under the Windows pull down.

    Like Adam said, the only thing I can think of that was giving compiler errors with Gaia was the WebGL stuff. If it is actually a Gaia error, posting the text of it here would be a big help as well. :)
     
  44. S4G4N

    S4G4N

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    Hi,

    With Top industry people like Sir Richard Garriott posting on his latest and current highly successful game's forums about the usage of Gaia and posting many screenshots of the wonderful results and re-tweeting tweets by the author of Gaia I think says it all.

    Please let me make something VERY clear.
    @AdamGoodrich has not
    1. Re-written the Unity terrain engine or attempted to fix any of its many limitations and bugs
    2. Re-written the grass planting system or attempted to fix any of its many limitations and bugs
    3. Re-written the tree planting system or attempted to fix any of its many limitations and bugs
    4. Re-written the lighting system or attempted to fix any of its many limitations and bugs

    You are criticizing the products on matters that is not it's limitations but that of Unity as a default
    There are loads of optimization tools that solve MANY of the above matters to the best that those authors are able too, but they also within the limitations the the engine allows.

    Gaia is giving you and every other package owner exactly what it has set out to do and promised to do.
    It has already save 1000's of hours for many people.
    It has places kick-ass, good looking terrain creation back as an option into the hands of many people that have given up on ever thinking that there game could look as good as professionals out in the industry.
    Terrain Creation is now fun where it used to be a huge obstacle and a stumbling block for many games developers.

    And this is just the first release.
    Gaia is busy redefining the way people do terrain in Unity and the results speak for itself.

    If you are so unhappy, then please ask for a refund, or better even, pm me with your PayPal details and I will give you back what you paid.
    I do suspect you will be the first person asking for a refund for this product.

    I am a fanboy of anything that makes my life easier and fun and assist me in taking my creativity to the next level.
    But I am also a realist, and that is why I responded to your post.

    No one needs to fight about it, use Gaia and leverage everything out of it you can.
    The community here has always been extremely helpful.
    The 220K views & 4000 replies just goes to show.

    Cheers
    Cobus
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
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  45. S4G4N

    S4G4N

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    Hi everyone,

    Just want to do a shout out for the release of Distingo
    The great new replacement for the standard Unity Terrain shader
    For only $10, it is like FREE

    Cheers
    Cobus
     
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  46. FargleBargle

    FargleBargle

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    True. Let's hope these were isolated incidents that won't lower the generally positive attitude in this thread too much.

    In response to the comment about focusing on features rather than effects and screen shots in this thread, I respectfully disagree. One of the things that drew me to Gaia is the community using it. There's a general willingness to share techniques and results here that helps drive me to achieve better results myself. The synergy between users and developers here has always been tremendous as well. Their efforts to create better looking scenes, as shown in those screen shots, has helped drive the development of not only this product, but several other related products, and can only be seen as a GOOD thing. I think anyone who spends any time here will realize this. @Adam and others: please continue. :)
     
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  47. DarkXess

    DarkXess

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    Finally released then, great news - thanks for informing us :)
     
  48. Daniel-Talis

    Daniel-Talis

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    Two things.. Does Gaia place the copse of trees behind the building by design or randomly by chance? And I doubt that there would be any plants growing at all in the yard of those buildings if they were well used. (Unless of course they are abandoned).
     
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  49. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    It was by design :)

    You can place any prefab into the new POI stuff and get the 'collection' including tree prefabs treated like any other spawned object.

    EDIT: Actually. Apologies. I thought you were referring a POI that had trees included. This one didn't. The copse of trees was injected by a clustered tree spawner. Notice how it avoided the POI :)
     
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  50. TeagansDad

    TeagansDad

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    I have no idea where all of this is coming from.

    I've been using a prerelease version of Gaia 1.5 for a few days now, and I'm extremely impressed with what I can do with the spawning system. This tool allows me to create something in about 15 minutes that would take me dozens of hours to do by hand.

    The texture matching in the spawn criteria allows you to specify which textures individual resources may spawn on -- or prevent them from spawning on certain textures. The texture option in "area mask" on the spawner applies to everything controlled by that spawner. They serve different purposes, and it is not confusing at all.

    Each spawner also has a "Reset" button that will remove all Game Objects spawned by it, and the Terrain Helper allows you to clear terrain trees and terrain details with one click each. What's missing there?

    You're way off the mark with this talk about focusing on "fancy effects" as that is not and has never been the focus of this thread. But topics such as lighting, water systems, dynamic skies, terrain shaders, Speedtrees, etc are all very relevant to any discussion of Gaia, as they're all part of creating a world -- and the company is called "Procedural Worlds" after all. There's more to that than just generating terrain.

    That's awfully presumptuous of you to claim to know what everybody here is interested in. Have you been following this thread since the beginning? Because I certainly remember people suggesting improvements or requesting features. Barging into the conversation accusing Adam of focusing on fancy effects instead of features and the rest of us of being sycophants who only want to look at pretty pictures is hardly constructive criticism.

    You may have noticed that several third parties have been collaborating with Adam -- Gaia 1.5 includes sample packs from half a dozen other people. I first learned about Gaia from images posted by @S4G4N on his "Village Exterior Kit" thread. And in this thread I first heard about Tenkoku, Distingo, and a few other assets.

    Not to mention an average of 5 stars over 190 submitted ratings.

    I absolutely agree, and that is something that drew me here as well. This thread has taught me a lot about how to make a scene look good (lighting, appropriate use of image effects, etc).
     
  51. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Posts:
    3,647
    Agreed - lets keep this forum about helping and learning - and for those that have problems getting their head around how to get the best out of Gaia - I am more than happy to help via Skype :)

    Additionally to this - I would like to thank my beta group and the community as a whole - Gaia is immeasurably better because of the feedback provided - both positive and negative. I listen to all feedback.

    I also get suggestions of how to improve Gaia all the time - and do my best to incorporate them. Everything comes at a cost of time and complexity, and its always a delicate balancing act to try and get it right.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
    Tinjaw, Teila, Goodgulf and 5 others like this.