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Speed Tree

Discussion in 'Unity 5 Pre-order Beta' started by topofsteel, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. topofsteel

    topofsteel

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    Has anyone invested in SpeedTree and/or subscribed to the editor subscription? There is a sample download for Unity5 that i'm playing with. They are good but they seem insanely expensive, a single tree is $50. What is the reason for the cost, am I missing something? Thanks.
     
  2. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    You can do the subscription and make your own trees which is pretty straightforward after a day or so of messing with the system. There are some basic trees and textures included but you can also use your own textures and such.

    After you make a few trees with custom textures, good node systems, variants and wind support, you'll probably feel a lot more comfortable with the $50 price tag.
     
  3. mgear

    mgear

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    Last time I asked them if its allowed to sell trees made with that editor (in unity asset store or outside) and the answer was no.. so I guess there isnt much price competition in the market..?
     
  4. pluhn

    pluhn

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    I used SpeedTree modeler to create my own top-down billboards, since those are missing from Unity 5 thus far. Since it's a monthly subscription, I can cancel it until I need it again for another project.

    The tree packs for Unity are a little easier to swallow price-wise, you get 9 trees for $130/$160.
     
  5. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    I thought you could sell trees made with it - how else would new speed trees get into the store ?

    I have their desktop trees pack.. $159 and it has 9 trees, and with variations that's 33 trees. Just installed my copy of modeller as well and am about to have a play with them - that allows you to make as many more variations of those trees as you want :)

    Here's some screen shots of stuff i have created with their assets.

    Grab 2015-01-27 071613 - More chrissy.jpg Loving it :)
    Grab 2015-02-23 082048 0.jpg Grab 2014-12-27 090715 Chrissy.jpg
    Grab 2015-02-23 082048 0.jpg
     
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  6. DanSuperGP

    DanSuperGP

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  7. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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  8. DanSuperGP

    DanSuperGP

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    That's awesome. Makes me wish I had a use case for it.
     
  9. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    They're really nice and prompt from my interactions with them.

    I just asked if anything had changed in regards to selling models since I had inquired last Aug and it hasn't, but they just got onto the Asset Store so we'll see how things evolve. It's entirely possible they'll lift that restriction later but simply want to be the ones publishing the first few assets to ensure high quality and end user satisfaction. Maybe even to set the stage for publishers down the line, who knows.

    Congrats on the feature, btw. Looks really nice! =)
     
  10. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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    Thanks Lane :) Yeah I asked them as well and they confirmed your comment.
     
  11. christoph_r

    christoph_r

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    Yep, congrats on the feature Adam! You also had a feature somewhere else, right? Either way, pretty sweet scene you got there!

    I know it's been talked about in quite a few threads around here, and apparently it's mostly just image effects but Koola's shots in UE4 look actually photo-realistic in their preview-size. I can't really put my finger on what exactly it is, though. Is it really just image effects paired with skilled scene compositing?

     
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  12. elbows

    elbows

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    Trees still get into the store because the Speedtree company make and sell them themselves.

    I can imagine a number of commercial reasons why they don't allow people to resell trees at the moment. Their modeller subscription is so cheap, and the trees they sell are not insanely cheap, that a lot of their revenue stream could be undermined if people start churning out trees at very low prices.

    Perhaps one day they will allow people to resell trees, but with Speedtree taking a cut of the profits, and perhaps also setting a minimum price people can sell them for.

    If they don't go down that route, they probably need to ensure that at least they keep making and selling new varieties of trees and other suitable vegetation themselves on a fairly regular basis.
     
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  13. elbows

    elbows

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    Personally, I did try the modeller as soon as I got my hands on the Unity 5 pre-order beta, but I didn't have time to learn it properly, and I didn't have a texture artist or sutable tree knowledge to craft my own convincing new varieties of tree, just tweak the existing ones.

    I live how Speedtrees look in Unity, although there are presently a few shortcomings which have been discussed on other threads. They made the scene we are working on look amazing, I love how they respond to wind, and as a result I don't think they are overpriced.

    The only thing to keep in mind if getting great value by buying one of their packs, rather than individual trees, is that I believe you only get the hero resolution ones if you buy them individually. As a result I've yet to evaluate quite how much better the hero ones look, or whether it is actually practical to use even just one or two of them in a game, even a game that targets higher end hardware.
     
  14. elbows

    elbows

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    I think a lot in that one has to do with choosing a snow scene. Because I'm sure the shading of leaves and the way they respond to light would be one of the major hurdles in making trees appear realistic. A lot of potential pitfalls in these areas have been avoiding by choosing a scene like that one where leaves are obscured by snow and the snow also changes the nature of any general lighting challenges for the scene.

    Having said that, the quality of SpeedTrees in general means I'd not be surprised to see a variety of other scenes looking pretty damn good at that resolution. Definitely not what I'd call photo-realistic in all scenarios though, no matter how many image effects are thrown at it.
     
  15. elbows

    elbows

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    Speaking of image effects, has anyone else noticed quite how much difference the SSAO standard asset effect has on leaves of trees? Again I suspect its a positive for some scenarios but maybe not the look thats being sought under certain lighting conditions.
     
  16. Cascho01

    Cascho01

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    @AdamGoodrich
    Your shots look awesome!
    What happens to your trees when your camera is far away and looking from upside vertically down?
    Do you have billboards working then?
     
  17. topofsteel

    topofsteel

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    Did you mean in the packages? Good catch, it does look that way. I was planning on jumping in with the 3 desktop packages. Does the modeler have an easy way of making the lower resolutions? I was planing on trying it to at least randomize the ones I had. I dont think I would be great at modeling new varieties either.

    And are there different LOD's associated with each of the resolution, thats the way i'm seeing it? If so, is the Hero LOD 2 still higher the Desktop LOD0?

    What about GI, I did a quick test and they didn't respond. It wasn't the focus of my test so I didn't look into it. But they did not bake. I saw a recent post about a GI forest using light probs. I'll need to look into that.

    Has anyone pushed performance, a couple of hundred trees to see how it does? Trees, especially with real-time shadows have always been a huge performance drain in my scenes. I use mesh terrains so billboards haven't been an option. I usually include an option where users can turn off the tree shadows.

    Thanks everyone for your responses!
     
  18. christoph_r

    christoph_r

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    If I recall correctly, botumys got around 160 FPS with a 980 GT in this speedtree test. So while that's not really fast, it definitely could be worse.
     
  19. Dannyoakes

    Dannyoakes

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    Hey guys,

    Just an FYI we're having a sale that ends tomorrow! Check it out and spread the word :)

    We're constantly working on adding new trees to the store, a lot if it is in response to what people are looking for, so if you want something specific hop over to our forums and let us know!
     
  20. elbows

    elbows

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    Thanks, thats excellent to hear. I'm not ready to make any requests just yet, but when I do it may well be for Horse Chestnut.
     
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  21. elbows

    elbows

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    And blimey I can't believe I nearly missed that voucher code-based sale. White Oak duly purchased :)
     
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  22. christoph_r

    christoph_r

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    The selection is pretty good already, but some useful additions would be willows, alders and apple trees, I'd say. More variation in ground plants and bushes would probably find many buyers, too.

    I have to admit I feel the prices are a bit steep, especially in contrast to vegetation packages available on the asset store. While those of course don't have many of those sweet speedtree features, you can get some pretty good-looking packs that are just a bit more expensive than a single speedtree type pack. While these are still a pretty good deal for developers with some funds, many unity developers work on a minimum budget. And I'm pretty sure those would rather settle for less expensive trees and use the money saved on e.g. gameplay related assets. As an example: the desktop packages for trees and ground plants are around 240€, whereas another very good looking and well selling nature package is less than 60€. The latter also contains rocks and more ground plants, making it more versatile. For quite a few, that ratio of 400% won't make sense. Additionally, low-budget devs usually don't have the spare man-power to have someone figure out and work with the tree editor; meaning in many cases that won't be an option, either.
    All in all, even if it's just more or less regular sales or some more packages with betters deals, I think lower prices would really help SpeedTree out with the low-budget devs. And those are most likely still the bulk of unity users.
     
  23. camel82106

    camel82106

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    Aaah You forced me to buy many many trees... :)
    With modeler and nearly endless variants so easily creatable, it's nearly steal.

    Personally I'm missing mostly ground plants shrubs, brushes. There is a great space to grow.

    Regards
    Peter
     
  24. SomerenV

    SomerenV

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    I stumbled upon this thread yesterday and was absolutely blown away by the stuff from Koola and AdamGoodrich so I decided to try something myself. Behold, my mighty forest:



    SpeedTree models, but the trees and grass have custom textures (made from my own photographs) and the grass is a custom texture. I completely disabled LOD's and billboarding to get the maximum amount of detail on screen. The result is a whopping 5,4 million verts running at ~100fps on a i5-2500k, 8GB DDR and a Radeon 280x 3GB. Effects used: Deferred Rendering, Linear color space, Continuous Baking, Tonemapping, SSAO, Contrast Enhance, Color Correction Curves, DoF (DX11), Vignette and CA and Global Fog.

    Creating this scene took me about 45 minutes so I can't imagine what it would look like with better lighting, particle effects, models, birds, stones, water, etc. But there one thing I know for sure: this is beyond impossible with Unity 4! One thing I still really (REALLY) hate is the way Unity handles AA.

    Edit: Here's a video :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  25. topofsteel

    topofsteel

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    I was surprised by the price too, though after working with them for a bit, I definitely see the value. But they are still an investment. I use mesh terrains and have never been able to take advantage of billboards. Not that I love billboards, but my clients aren't looking over there and I need framerate. And I don't know that speed tree is marketing to budget developers. Like everything else on the asset store, some assets cost more, some less. Everyone is developing for different markets. I've spent 100's on the different tree packages available to date on the asset store, and I've never been really happy with them. They did the job, thats it. And they NEVER look as good in my scene as the demo scene. The popular package you are talking about has several trees that won't lightmap, and one crashed Unity every time. The developer couldn't care less, years now i've been after him to fix it. And his trees are just generic trees, I had a landscape architect be overly critical about the genus species. Now I can market to that. Another guy does sell specific trees, and they are good quality, but the selection is limited. And he does not sell much underbrush or ground cover. Unless you want banana trees everywhere :0. Plus he's gotten to shaders and whatever else. All these guys do is trees.

    I had about $300 in my cart when I learned about the sale. I had already decided to spend that so dont I just top it off with additional trees back up to $300. They are expensive, so it's a good deal.

    @SomerenV very nice! But even YouTube is having framerate issues. :) I'd love to know your workflow for making your own textures. resolution, format, sequence, all of that.

    @Dannyoakes In addition to a larger variety trees, Ground cover and undergrowth! whatever you can think of, moss, vines, freekin poison ivy and daisies, I don't care. Canopies are easy, but It's always been a problem making a treeline look natural.
     
  26. AdamGoodrich

    AdamGoodrich

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  27. Teila

    Teila

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    Thanks for the sale! I bought some trees, the wheat and the elderberry bush. Good stuff!

    I would love to see more herbs and fruit trees. I need those for my game. I do plan on a subscription to the modeler to try my hand at a few less common plants but it is always nice to find them done for me. :)

    The price for the trees is a bit limiting though but you do get a lot for your money. All depends on how important trees are in your project I guess. I am going to be frugal...very hard though.
     
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  28. christoph_r

    christoph_r

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    Good point. You're right in saying that there aren't many assets that are on the same quality level. But as Teila pointed out, I suppose it really comes down to the importance on trees, and I suppose for most games, it's not that high on their priority list. So this either means people going for the free package or legacy vegetation, as long as there aren't any alternatives to modelling trees yourself or buying SpeedTree packages. I'm thinking it would be beneficial to both SpeedTree and the Unity community though if SpeedTree managed to establish itself as the actual standard for vegetation. Simply because it would mean more profit and a bigger market share for SpeedTree and more know-how and better support for the users in the community.
    That said, though, I of course have not the slightest clue about how SpeedTree is getting its revenues or what their general financial plans as to unity are. If SpeedTree doesn't really care about widening its customer base and reaching out to low-budget devs in unity, then most of my points are definitely moot.

    And you're talking about lars, I suppose. Quite honestly, I'm glad he's working at shaders because he's pretty damn good at it and he's cranking out some kick-ass hair, eye and skin shaders for U5.

    Also: Holy S***. SpeedTree, can you implement this as a standard and make sure it works like that in Unity, too? Pretty please? ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
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  29. Teila

    Teila

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    I will buy a handful of Speedtree plants on sale, mix it with legacy grasses, and use the free packs. I wish I could get more because personally, I love trees. :) But I also need other assets in the game that I cannot make so have to spread out the funds. I think most people will be in that boat.

    And there are a lot of nice legacy trees, too. I bet some of the creators will be making some great shaders for them.
     
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  30. topofsteel

    topofsteel

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    Agreed, I hadn't thought about that, more users is always better.
     
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