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Voxel Farm

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Don-Gray, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    Anyone here have some tips on starting a project in Voxel Farm?
    I just bought it yesterday and though there are a lot of videos of using it, a starting from scratch video seems to have eluded me. They have example projects to look at, but I have yet to create a working project on my own.
    If you haven't checked it out, they have a reasonable pricing plan for indies.

    Any feedback from anyone?
     
  2. guyal

    guyal

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  3. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    I picked up the $19/year license to experiment around with their tools, but I haven't actually spent more than about half an hour with them altogether. While I liked how the editor could convert a model into voxels, I simply didn't care for them and they felt unintuitive.
     
  4. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    Thanks guyal, will have to check out the link.
    I've not found some of the tools intuitive either, but I do like the right click options menu.
     
  5. malkere

    malkere

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    Any new developments for people that have had VoxelFarm a while now?
    I just got an indie license but the demos wont load in VS 2013 or outside of it for me =[
    The Unity plugin works great, but I bought it to input voxel math and tackling this script from zero is not going to be easy... I don't have any interesting in the voxel studio... for now anyway, looks like it will be good for adding meshes to randomly place with the engine later.

    I am starting to see the steps being taken from dat files into the voxel engine but... ya there's still really no tutorial on the web that I can find or people talking about their experiences with it...
     
  6. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    The only real info I've found is on their blog, which of course is very limited.
    Actually, I've never even learned how to create my own scene in the program.
    My main purpose at this point is to wait until the developer tools are mature in the program,
    then I was told by them they will be moving all of it's capabilities into Unity.
    As for anything else, I have no idea.
    If you haven't already, I recommend you write them at - support at voxelfarm dot com - they always follow up,
    I'm sure they will be helpful.
     
  7. malkere

    malkere

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I did write them before buying and they replied right away. I have mailed my specific question just before the weekend, so hopefully I will get a reply early Monday!

    I haven't from zero to product fully tried to make my own scene, but I think I could if I tried using VoxelStudio. That portion of it I have a partial understanding of.... even just that though there are still a lot of unknowns... I was hoping to bypass VoxelStudio altogether for now though.... maybe I should pay it more attention when I get home today.

    There's only so much you can do with heightmaps though. A lot of levels in my game cannot be generated with heightmaps.

    I'll continue to post here if/when I learn more. They need a community site for licensees... I wonder how many they have?
     
  8. malkere

    malkere

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    I got a simple scene working.
    Problem 1: I had to use their example files as export RAWs from Photoshop CS5 are not properly registering with VoxelStudio. ie: their size doesn't automatically show up like it should, though the image itself appears....?
    Problem 2: mesh does not seem to be transferring to collision detection though I spent a total of zero seconds trying to figure out why. Player camera just falls through it.

    Biome -> Layer -> heightmap+mask+mats.

    it seems that it is using the input user data to create a world and then throwing the camera at a random location (x20,000,z10,000) in other words I assume I could run and run through this and the engine would continue to build off of it... so that's a good start. I'll try to play from there.

    Hopefully will have an answer from support in a few hours (off to bed for me - Japan). Then I'll ask them about the RAWs not importing properly.

     
  9. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    Thanks for keeping this updated.
    I wrote them on June 10th about the RAW from Photoshop failing in VoxelFarm.
    Haven't heard anything back. From my experience this means they are working on it now and will probably show up in the next update.
     
  10. darkhog

    darkhog

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    About going through mesh thing: Are you sure terrain and your character has mesh collider and you're not doing things like e.g. modifying character's transform directly and instead using say, rigidbody?
     
  11. malkere

    malkere

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    This is all using the VoxelFarm SDK, so I can't actually select and look at the mesh.
    I made a quick box and it fell right through it... their player camera is a little weird now that I look at it.... but it is the mesh that's lacking colliders. I just threw the scene together following their tutorial, there are no doubt many steps I'm missing still.

    Just had a HUGE thunderstorm though, got some on cam, I'm gonna take a bath.
     
  12. malkere

    malkere

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    Still waiting on a reply... can't really play around with VoxelStudio 2 with the RAW imports not working.
     
  13. HellSinker

    HellSinker

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    Just a sanity check which I got caught out on, when importing the RAWs - look at the left hand side of your filenames...

    Some RAWs ***MUST*** be 16-bits while others ***MUST*** be 8-bits, if that is out, they just won't go in - and you get the exact problem you are describing...

    Anyway - hope this helps, as I've had little problem importing my own RAWs so far...

    As for the first person camera in the toolset - yeah - the collisions are atrocious for me also....

    EDIT: and when I say left hand side of the filename - I mean in Voxel Studio 2 - where you load them in - it will say something like "FileName (8-bit)" or similar - I don't have it on this pc - so I'm not exactly sure what it is...

    EDIT 2: Looking through the documentation it seems Hieghtmaps are 16-bits per pixel, Masks and Displacements are 8-bits per pixel, I can't think of other instances, except materials which are all RGB or RGBA...http://docs.voxelfarm.com/heightmap and the following desribe this...

    Final Edit: Perhaps someone should startup a wikia site for VoxelFarm or something - I mean that might even help out some - I'd be willing to contribute what I've found - the documentation covers everything - sure - but its all so glossed over it makes my eyes bleed...
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  14. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    Problem here is PS 2015 only outputs an 8bit version, even if the settings in the image are 16 bit,
    of maybe I don't know what I am doing.

     
  15. malkere

    malkere

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    there should be the option for 16 versus 8bit under the mode settings.
    the full listed requirements also clearly state no headers, image dimensions in a power of two and square, IBM format.

    I tried 256x256 and 512x512 in both 8bit/grayscale and 16bit/grayscale.
    in my case the images are previewing properly in VoxelStudio so.... it's reading them without any headers. but it doesn't auto-recognize the dimensions and so won't let me use them.

    on my way home with some RAWs from CS2 I made at work. I have CS5 at home that was not working for me.
     
  16. malkere

    malkere

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    well all my files seem to be working now. those that did not work last week, and the new ones I created today. ??

    I'm also getting the error now that heightmaps and masks need to be the same size, so that will have to become a common rule. I'll try to get a basic scene setup with it now.

    will have to try restarting the program or maybe even the comp next time the problem crops up.

    Again I'm using Photoshop CS5 (CS2 which is free online worked too) Grayscale (1 channel: black), 16bit, dimension are a power of two and square. Exporting as Photoshop RAW, IBM format, headers: 0
     
  17. boyd600

    boyd600

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    Hi, I have a question for anyone using voxel farm, does it allocate gc every frame?
    this is an issue I've not been able to solve wondering if the voxel farm people have
    Thanks :)
     
  18. malkere

    malkere

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    that's a pretty deep question. access to the main engine costs 1,000$ and not its sub-componants. I'm not sure where I would look for that to begin with, but anyone can read their documentation here:

    http://docs.voxelfarm.com/get-voxel-farm

    under programmers -> SDK -> reference
     
  19. siblingrivalry

    siblingrivalry

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    Hi,

    sily question, but is it worth that price tag compared to the voxel solutions on the unity asset store?

    cheers
     
  20. malkere

    malkere

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    not at all if you aren't a pretty advanced user.
    The main benefit of the indie license is not just the engine but the VoxelStudio which comes with capabilities for turning any 3d object into the voxel world, as well as their own noise/tiling algorithms. If you're looking for something that can get a decent world loading with speed there are some fine options for much cheaper on the asset store.

    What I'm trying to do doesn't work with any of the other engines and not even VoxelFarm yet, so I trying to bend it to my will as the most powerful of the choices. Ultimately it is still pretty young and pretty difficult to use. If you just want random beautiful landscapes that are fully voxel based and deformable then yes VoxelFarm is an awesome tool. But getting deep into it has been pretty hard for most of us it seems, me included.

    depends on what you're trying to accomplish.
     
    siblingrivalry likes this.
  21. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    Hmm, missed the notifications here.
    "there should be the option for 16 versus 8bit under the mode settings.
    the full listed requirements also clearly state no headers, image dimensions in a power of two and square, IBM format."
    Actually, I did mention that I had the bit level at 16 bit, but still the RAW file was reading it still as 8 bit as in the image.
    Not sure why this is happening, could be some sort of regressing in PS 2015.
     
  22. malkere

    malkere

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    it didn't work at all for me and now it does... and I really haven't changed anything... so I'm not sure... I did update all my drivers with driver booster lately that found I had over 20 drivers out of date... I don't think that would be the source of my fix though....
     
  23. malkere

    malkere

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    I haven't figured out how to make water bodies show up yet, but I got the basic concepts of voxel instances and prefabs figured out. I also figured out their grammar system though I don't think I'll be able to use it for what I'm aiming at....

    at this point I'm thinking about getting more into the code to "pre-alter" a world the way I want it before a player gets in.... pretty crappy temporary result, but... I had a busy weekend... lots to think about still.
     
  24. Don-Gray

    Don-Gray

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    Well, you got something!
    :)
    I'm not really spending any time on it, too many other things to do, but looking forward to it's continued development.
    I have a driver update program too but for the most part mine are kept up to date.
     
  25. mittense

    mittense

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    I'd say it's pretty difficult regardless of your experience level. And updates are *way* too far and few between. I've gotten annoyed enough lately that I just bought Ultimate Terrains off the Asset Store and am experimenting with it and seeing what kind of stuff it offers. I've just spent too many days mucking about with Voxelfarm and I want to actually work on a game again some day.
     
  26. mittense

    mittense

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    That said, Ultimate Terrains and Voxeland can't really compare to to the visual fidelity/view distances of Voxelfarm by a long shot, it appears.
     
  27. malkere

    malkere

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    ya, that was one of the two main factors for me. view distance
    ....trying to study up compiling c++ dlls for unity input so I can get my custom layers going...
     
  28. malkere

    malkere

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    well I'm working with their support, but I still haven't gotten over this first giant hurdle... getting closer and closer though, it'll soon be all downhill once I figure this out...

    I'm working on implementing custom layers directly into the engine via code.
    for one, the engine is in C++ though I learned C# with unity. Very similar but not the same. For two, the engine is huge and takes time to soak in.

    One important thing I learned so far is that the world starts at 0,0,0 and grows positively from there. All the voxel engines I worked started at zero and went in all directions, but voxelfarm does not go negative. so it's normal to start 3,000,000x, 3,000,000z, 40,000y. This is all taken in with the bundle exported from VoxelStudio using 0,0,0 in Unity space as whatever the camera position (in the render tab of VoxelStudio) is currently at when the bundle is exported.

    I started out putting code into the engine using 0,0,0 hoping it would draw at that location in Unity but I was actually 300,000 units in. Also always remembering that their units are decimeters where unities are meters.

    That's all purely for touching the engine and/or working with the world in real time. Objects in unity don't have to worry about those numbers in general, depending on what you are doing.

    Also, @boyd600 it does look like voxelfarm is doing garbage collection every frame, though I do not understand it. There is a comment in the main loop saying that's what it's doing.
     
  29. malkere

    malkere

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    I got direct engine input through code working.
    Let me know if anyone is having troubles with anything, I -might- be able to help.
    I still have a LOT to learn.
     
    Taezel Merzolas likes this.
  30. boyd600

    boyd600

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  31. malkere

    malkere

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    it's a bit embarrassing but my system only has 4G of RAM, and rendering 20km in all directions has proven too much for it XD

    I just order 8G which will still leave two slots that I can leave two of my 1s in so I'll have 10G, that'll help a lot. Playing Evolve with only 4G was really bad too! lol

    I've got lots of if statements controlling lots of noises and layers and things making for fun levels! It's all just one material at the moment though. I hope to figure out instances and biome control soon... the code be thick with questions...

    I set mine up to cycle through 3 different levels with my alpha keys for easy testing, pretty easy to expand on the system once you get it under control... still haven't figure out how to manually remove voxels and things like that either... the hit position is programmed to the mouse location in the engine and I haven't bothered to look at it closely... differentiating between materials/types of voxels will be super important later too... hope support doesn't get sick of me =D


    @boyd600
    looking at it again it looks like it's not a by frame thing, rather when the system is idle it runs. I'm not sure what that's all about though.
     
  32. mittense

    mittense

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    yeah, my machine has 8GB of RAM and it's not nearly enough for a 4096x4096+ height field with the Unity plugin. If I was to use the standalone code, I think I'd be in a better position.
     
  33. malkere

    malkere

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    you're a member of the Crowfall team mittense?

    I'm a full time diecast mold designer squeezing hours in whenever possible, haha. my cats are pretty needy too.

    slowly wrestling VoxelFarm into my grip... was trying to mess with the octree no success today though... see if I can start to understand manual biome definition now that it's Friday night, woo hoo, praise the weekends.
     
  34. mittense

    mittense

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    I was messing around with biomes a bit earlier; I'm not entirely sure I understand the benefit of more than one biome, but then one of the examples has some interesting procedural biomes with unique texture sets? I don't know how all that works together.
     
  35. malkere

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    I was wondering that myself... just another way to divide the overall scenes I suppose. you could keep everything the same but just change the planting rules, or the water level, etc.

    I guess rather that trying to better understand biomes I'm really just trying to get instancing and planting rules to work via manual code. my worlds are all code based, but I of course need to be able to plant billboards/instances/big prefabs all over... I'm still not sure what the ultimate decider for that is... what end variable alteration will flip that switch...
     
  36. malkere

    malkere

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    I also get cellrender.frag float4 parse error with most of the exe demos =[
    I added #version 440 to the file and that fixed all the other errors on my system, but the float4 line on 168 doesn't look like it has any context errors =[ I'm not familiar with shader programming, but.... there's nothin wrong that line XD

    by one of the examples do you mean the example voxelstudio terrain kits or one of the demos? I'd love to get those working >_<
     
  37. mittense

    mittense

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    One of the demos in the SDK. That's what I'm going to be basing my instancing/billboarding off of. It's kind of broken for me (big black/red/blue area around the camera) but in the distance everything looks fine.

    What's broken for you?
     
  38. malkere

    malkere

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    the programs won't even start, except for the dos only text outputs.
    it's always that the cellrender.frag has an error...
    I'm on an ATI card and they update yesterday is talking about ATI cards... so I'm try n download that, hope it works!
     
  39. mittense

    mittense

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    If you're running on a laptop with an integrated card on top of the ATI card, make sure you're launching with the good graphics card.

    Also, I've been actually having success with Voxelfarm lately
     
    Taezel Merzolas likes this.
  40. Taezel Merzolas

    Taezel Merzolas

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    Definitely. The example projects don't even run with integrated Intel graphics
     
  41. malkere

    malkere

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    I'm running an ATI Radeon HD 5700. I get several errors on the cellrender.frag shader file.
    When I add #version 440, to the top of that file they all go away, but one new one crops up
    "Error: 0:168 error(#132) Syntax error: "float4" parse error.
    line 168 starting here:

    Code (csharp):
    1. float4 sampleAtlas (vec2 uv, float index)
    2. {
    3.    return texture2DArray(textures, vec3(uv, index));    
    4. }
    but I certainly don't see anything wrong with the syntax....?? almost all of them throw the same error... I'll try on my labtop... it's 32bit so I haven't even put any voxelfarm stuff on it, I just use it for coding on my lunch break.

    @mittense that water looks great! I haven't messed with that yet. Have you figured out your trees yet? It looks like you have rocks going. Can't you just restrict the rotation/movement of the trees and put them in with the same placement rules?

    edit: maybe my gfx card is too old ? =[ looks like it only supports OpenGL up to 3.2.. maybe that's the issue?....
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  42. mittense

    mittense

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    Have yet to figure out a good solution for trees. I'm going to try and get the Speedtree modeler and export a bunch of variants as FBXs and import them as VRLEs into voxelfarm and see how that goes.
     
  43. malkere

    malkere

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    can't get this damn smoothing to work XD
    The vectors of voxels that are being set to zero are still getting used making little pointy bits all over my other smooth surface! grr!! how do I use this VOXEL_HAS_VECTOR dealy XD
     
  44. Guerrilla

    Guerrilla

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    Guys, I know this may be out of your scope but, looking at the official videos and reading about its features, I still don't know how the workflow goes. For example, do you start by setting the cube size? How does the terrain size translates into real world meters/kilometers, and is there a measurement reference to help you sculpt the terrain? What are your thoughts about the tree editor, can you draw with it, or you exclusively rely on sliders for creating the shapes? Generally, are you satisfied with your experience?

    Have fun.
     
  45. malkere

    malkere

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    Scale is of course dependant on a lot of things. By default one unit is 10cm (a decimeter) in unity. You can of course change that depending on your access level/ how you are using the tools. I don't think you can in VoxelStudio, but I don't use it much yet. General view distance is set to around 20km. That too is just a setting, but again I don't think basic users can change that in VoxelStudio. I haven't used the tree editor yet either.

    I'm enjoying the engine very much, but I think I'm the only one using it the way I am so... I dunno.

    I figured out my vector problem too! yay
     
  46. mittense

    mittense

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    I switched over to TerrainEngine after a couple months of Voxelfarm. It's amazing to work with something made specifically for unity.
     
  47. malkere

    malkere

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    looks good mittense, keep us up to date =]
     
  48. mittense

    mittense

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    I'm back to Voxelfarm. :)

    I emailed support today about a parallax shader (since we're already providing height maps for everything), as my attempts to make a parallax shader all failed horribly. I also asked what their road map looks like going forward. I'll report back when I hear.
     
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  49. Taezel Merzolas

    Taezel Merzolas

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    Mittense, when I spoke with TerrainEngine's creator, he said the license was over $5000. How much did you pay?
     
  50. malkere

    malkere

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    I've heard 7,000 before I seem to remember.

    I've been thick in coding lately, and lost a couple days to installing/dealing with windows 10. Looking forward to getting back into VoxelFarm though... I'm looking forward to trying to get material IDs to return in Unity for harvesting/voxel interaction with unity script. Have tried programming with it much Mittense? You had meteors carving out chunks didn't you? I've managed to get the cursor location to pull out stuff, haven't figured out how to code in a specific location though I hope too soon.