Kexikus

[WIP] High quality skyboxes

388 posts in this topic

A beautiful work so far! Just one observation though: I think the blank backdrop for Telos academy´s hangar is to show that snow has covered the forcefield (this is even seen in the take off cutscene), so I don´t think you have to change that. Otherwise very good work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Spectrometer said:

A beautiful work so far! Just one observation though: I think the blank backdrop for Telos academy´s hangar is to show that snow has covered the forcefield (this is even seen in the take off cutscene), so I don´t think you have to change that. Otherwise very good work.

I know that this was Obsidians intention but I honestly think that it looks terrible, which is why I changed it. But if you don't like it, you'll be able to easily change it back by removing a few files from the Override.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More progress:

I was originally going to do Nar Shaddaa next but my idea of getting the buildings from SWTOR proved more complicated than expected/hoped.

So instead I worked some more on Dxun. I remade big parts of its landscape, added bushes etc. There's still a lot to do but here's what I have:

H5FT3X0l.jpg

Then I also started working on Malachor. That one turned out really well so far. The clouds are still very much a placeholder but the terrain is pretty close to being done.

X8LiQYph.jpg

The green glow on the ground comes from my attempts of having a low fog that's lit from below. That's partially working but the ground glowing green is an unintended sideeffect that's maybe impossible to get rid of. In that case I'll have to find another solution or just skip the green glow from below *insert spooky music here*

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still alive:

vtfoqMvh.png

Not very impressive, I know but at least it's something^^

The models for Malachor are done as is the terrain pretty much. The clouds are still the same placeholders as before but with a different sun position which makes them look even worse. Next up is finishing the sky and then tune the terrain color. But I like where this is going already.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/5/2019 at 10:47 PM, Kainzorus Prime said:

Perhaps Quanon's old work would give you some ideas?

It already did. I had at some point in the distant past even made some clouds for an updated version of Quanons reskin, but I'm not sure if he ever finished that update.

In any case, I've been playing around with the Malachor clouds for some weeks now and never got a result that I was really happy with. It wasn't bad but it never looked like a proper storm.

But that changed this morning. For this latest version I created a huge cloud vortex and also learned some new stuff that allowed me to have a more interesting cloud underside while having a fully covered sky. Here's what it looked like after a first ingame test:

vwXwCZUh.png

I have since recolored the clouds green and changed some of the twisting in the clouds as well. Now I just want to get a little more contrast, i.e. darker dark parts of the clouds and then the sky might actually be finished.

Oh, and I also created a new lightning texture that I wanted to show here but it didn't end up on the screenshot... I'll try to do better next time.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now for an interesting question - would it be possible to have an ANIMATED skybox? You know, in the same way we have animated Holocron textures and such, using proceduralcycle argument in the TXI file. Would look really nice with a vortex if it worked properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Kainzorus Prime said:

Now for an interesting question - would it be possible to have an ANIMATED skybox? You know, in the same way we have animated Holocron textures and such, using proceduralcycle argument in the TXI file. Would look really nice with a vortex if it worked properly.

Yeah, that'd work just the same but it's just not feasible. An animation like that would probably need 20+ frames and considering that each frame is already 2048x2048 you can imagine how big of a file that would give.

I have however thought about using a model animation to get a similar result. I might play around with that but I'm not sure if it'll be worth the effort considering that the Malachor skybox is rarely visible anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Kexikus said:

Yeah, that'd work just the same but it's just not feasible. An animation like that would probably need 20+ frames and considering that each frame is already 2048x2048 you can imagine how big of a file that would give.

I have however thought about using a model animation to get a similar result. I might play around with that but I'm not sure if it'll be worth the effort considering that the Malachor skybox is rarely visible anyway.

Kex, please let me know of your findings as it may make possible a project I've been trying to finish for nearly a decade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This turned out better than I expected:

The video shows a test for an animated Malachor skybox and surprisingly it actually looks good.

What you see are basically three layers: A skybox that has only terrain. A second skybox that shows the closest clouds including the "ceiling" and rotates around its axis. And a cylinder that has the distant clouds and rotates slower than the close clouds.

And the video also shows my new lightning animation.

The skybox is still not done though. I want to have more cloud contrast (all attempts for that were unsuccessful so far) which should also help with distinguishing the two cloud layers, the terrain color is not quite right and it needs to be lowered a bit as well. And then there are the lightning strikes coming directly from mountains that I need to move somewhere else. Oh and there's a rendering error where part of the terrain is cut off for some reason. Also not quite sure about the animation speed. I might have to make that faster.

I might work on another skybox first though just to get a fresh perspective on Malachor afterwards.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is looking intimidatingly beautiful, Kexikus! I'm a fan of how the animated clouds rendered behind the terrain; everything blends really well with the game and hard to tell if this actually an additional content as if supposed to be there in the first place. Would love to see for more improvement - keep us updated! :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is the best skybox you have ever created, Kexikus.

So astonishing that will make me look at all those other ones being sad that they won't all be as beautifully animated as this one.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MOVING LAYERS!! Mind-blowing. Also looking back at your super sunset-y Taris skylines and just getting real nostalgic. Amazing work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/25/2019 at 10:21 PM, Kexikus said:

This turned out better than I expected:

The video shows a test for an animated Malachor skybox and surprisingly it actually looks good.

What you see are basically three layers: A skybox that has only terrain. A second skybox that shows the closest clouds including the "ceiling" and rotates around its axis. And a cylinder that has the distant clouds and rotates slower than the close clouds.

And the video also shows my new lightning animation.

The skybox is still not done though. I want to have more cloud contrast (all attempts for that were unsuccessful so far) which should also help with distinguishing the two cloud layers, the terrain color is not quite right and it needs to be lowered a bit as well. And then there are the lightning strikes coming directly from mountains that I need to move somewhere else. Oh and there's a rendering error where part of the terrain is cut off for some reason. Also not quite sure about the animation speed. I might have to make that faster.

I might work on another skybox first though just to get a fresh perspective on Malachor afterwards.

FANTASTIC work my friend! I wasnt aware that it was possible to cancel out the huge filesize though.

Btw, if going even further, the end-all-be-all would be a day night cycle simulated by linking different skyboxes to major events of the main quest...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Jorak Uln said:

FANTASTIC work my friend! I wasnt aware that it was possible to cancel out the huge filesize though.

Btw, if going even further, the end-all-be-all would be a day night cycle simulated by linking different skyboxes to major events of the main quest...

Just quickly off the top of my head, I swear there was a WIP that did that a few years ago. Can't remember if it was on DS though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Jorak Uln said:

FANTASTIC work my friend! I wasnt aware that it was possible to cancel out the huge filesize though.

Btw, if going even further, the end-all-be-all would be a day night cycle simulated by linking different skyboxes to major events of the main quest...

Thanks you very much!

1 hour ago, Mutilator57 said:

Just quickly off the top of my head, I swear there was a WIP that did that a few years ago. Can't remember if it was on DS though.

There was and I think it was based on Joraks ideas. But again, it's not feasible with texture animation. One could probably have a system where there are four or so times of day and then for certain quests or after a certain time and when you change module, the next skybox would be used. But a seamless day night cycle is just not possible.

6 hours ago, Kainzorus Prime said:

When we say "huge filesize", what's the estimate?

The compressed 2k tgas in my first skybox mod were between 10 and 15 MB per texture and I think that won't change much. I don't know how much I can lower the filesize by using tpc but not too much I would assume. And going from there, an animated skybox with let's say 16 frames would already be at 160MB per texture or 500MB for one skybox. And 16 frames isn't even close to being enough for a proper sky animation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
 
 
 
3
1 hour ago, Kexikus said:

The compressed 2k tgas in my first skybox mod were between 10 and 15 MB per texture and I think that won't change much. I don't know how much I can lower the filesize by using tpc but not too much I would assume. And going from there, an animated skybox with let's say 16 frames would already be at 160MB per texture or 500MB for one skybox. And 16 frames isn't even close to being enough for a proper sky animation.

Would textures worth 500MB, and the fact they are skyboxes, cause any severe lag during gameplay and/or increased loading times?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kexikus said:

Thanks you very much!

There was and I think it was based on Joraks ideas. But again, it's not feasible with texture animation. One could probably have a system where there are four or so times of day and then for certain quests or after a certain time and when you change module, the next skybox would be used. But a seamless day night cycle is just not possible.

 

Actually its not needed - as you said, a system which is linked to some parts of the main quest with 2-3 times of day/night would be more than enough to create the illusion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, N-DReW25 said:

Would textures worth 500MB, and the fact they are skyboxes, cause any severe lag during gameplay and/or increased loading times?

It would increase loading times, yes. There is already a noticeable increase with the non animated skyboxes I made although it's no big deal yet.

Otherwise 500MB would be no problem for any modern GPU but consider that this is only for 16 frames. At a (low) animation framerate of 10fps that wouldn't even be 2 seconds which is just waaaay too short for a good sky animation. You'd probably want an animation that takes at least one minute. At 30fps that would be 1800 frames, at 10fps 300 frames and even with only one frame per second you'd have 60 frames. So even that would give you 2GB of skybox textures. That's something most modern GPUs could handle but not by a big margin. A typical higher end GPU has around 8 GB of VRAM today so that's only four times more than what you'd need for those skyboxes alone. KotOR won't take much more VRAM beside that but you can probably see the problem by now.

So as I said, that's just not possible.

But as Jorak Uln said, it would be possible to create different times of day at least from the skybox side. I don't know if it's possible to switch the lightmaps, light positions and all that stuff with scripts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I said I'd work on another skybox next (and I actually did for a very short time) but I just couldn't leave Malachor yet.

So I've made some tweaks and I'm very close to calling it final but first I need some opinions. The thing I can't decide on is the sky color. I have two options. One is closer to the vanilla sky color and one is more green. Just let me know which one you prefer and maybe also why you prefer it.

TSRK39il.png ahAModfl.png

For comparison, you can find a screenshot of the vanilla sky here.

Once that's decided on, I need to tweak the terrain color some more, apply the animation to all Malachor modules and the skybox will be done.

The next one after that (which I worked on briefly before I returned to Malachor) will be the Unknown World. It won't have many changes compared to V1 though.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They both look good, honestly 😁 but I'd prefer the one that's closer to stock, maybe with the saturation reduced slightly. Idk how much you could improve the v1 Unknown World skybox lol, I'm guessing the clouds are going to be the most noticeable difference? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now