Kexikus

[WIP] High quality skyboxes

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10 hours ago, Jorak Uln said:

cant see it clearly on the screen, but do you have rainfall included? Now, animated rain would be awesome😀

Dxun has some light rain in vanilla already and that's of course still present.

 

On 4/14/2020 at 7:34 AM, Salk said:

I played TSL only once some years ago so forgive me for asking but did you add the bird flock? If that is the case, I think it's very well done.

Those are from the vanilla game.

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@KexikusDxun has some light rain in vanilla already and that's of course still present.

Eh, i meant:  animated rain in your custom skybox...

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5 hours ago, Jorak Uln said:

Eh, i meant:  animated rain in your custom skybox...

No. For two reasons: There is no way I could animate that properly.

Second: If it rains, you don't actually see raindrops falling further away than maybe a few 10 meters. Everything behind that becomes more of a haze or is simply not visible at all if the rainfall is weak. So you shouldn't see animated rain on the skybox anyway.

Also, the rain on Dxun is very weak. The one exception is at the jungle tomb later in the game. There the weather is closer to a full blown storm and I do want to have large downpourings visible in the distance for that skybox. You should be able to find some early tests for that in this thread somewhere.

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Try to set "m_bIsBackgroundGeometry" to 1 in this nodes: trimesh Top, trimesh Side04, trimesh Side02, trimesh Side01, trimesh Side03. And then compile. Should help with visible fire, smoke and npc's in the distance

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12 hours ago, DerpyDash said:

Try to set "m_bIsBackgroundGeometry" to 1 in this nodes: trimesh Top, trimesh Side04, trimesh Side02, trimesh Side01, trimesh Side03. And then compile. Should help with visible fire, smoke and npc's in the distance

That has indeed fixed the issue. Could you explain why it did that?

Or in general what that setting does? Thank you!

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On 4/22/2020 at 9:33 PM, Kexikus said:

That has indeed fixed the issue. Could you explain why it did that?

Or in general what that setting does? Thank you!

I don't really know, i just compared your and original files and thought that changing this variable might make sense

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As I mentioned last time, I was going to tweak the Tatooine skybox some more even though I had considered it almost done quite some time ago.

The reason for that was that I had never been able to really match the skybox lighting and sand color to the ingame terrain. I had come closer with V2 than in my initial release but I wasn't really happy with it yet, so it had been on my agenda to go back and fix that. You can see that in the following image.

CoBHYwzh.jpg

As you can see the shadow parts of the dunes are way too dark so they don't blend with the foreground terrain at all. So I set out to fix that and now, approximately a hundred iterations later I finally arrived at a result I'm happy with.

The lighting in the game is very cheaty with several different light sources creating that yellow-orange-ish light, making it impossible to replicate that with two suns and a uniform sandcolor as I had it in the skybox. I considered changing the ingame lighting for a while but that didn't turn out any good so in the end I just cheated myself. I added a third sun that lights only the ground and recolored individual parts of the sand dunes to get the correct colors in every direction. It took a lot of iterations but now I'm really happy with the result.

While doing so I also realised that the skybox terrain didn't match the ingame one either. You can kinda see that on the screenshot above although it was more obvious in other places that the skybox dunes were just too small. So I widened those as well. That cause issues with the overcomplicated and unflexible way the terrain was set up. This was after all the very first terrain I ever created in Terragen and hasn't really changed much since then. So I basically rebuilt the terrain. You don't see that in the end result but it's working much better now.

But I guess that's enough talk from me and you want to see some screenshots. So here you go:

0LJYmfRh.jpg

It's the same perspective as before but the terrain and skybox blend much better. And just for fun, here's another screenshot:

hp9MJsLh.png

That's another skybox checked off and thus almost finishing K1. Only Manaan underwater and a few fixes here and there remain.

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Real good there, Kekikus!

Looking forward to replacing the older version of your K1 HQ Skyboxes with the new ones. :cheers:

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That last screenshot is beautiful; it really has an OG 1977 Star Wars feel to it. I can't decide whether I like this one or v2 Dantooine more.

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Here's another one: Manaan underwater

The biggest change compared to V1 is that there is no longer a ceiling where my texture doesn't work at all. So you can use the free camera all you want and it will look good.

I also changed the blending of the lightrays as well as their animation so they work better now. The rotation is now slower than in vanilla, there's less color banding than in V1 and the blue background has a very subtle animation as well. The latter is hard to see on the texture, harder to see ingame and probably impossible to see with Youtube compression. But it's there and makes the background less static.

Please let me know what you think. If any changes are necessary I have to make them this week before my After Effects trial license expires.

I also rendered some more lightning textures for Telos to test this idea with some more variation. I'm honestly undecided on whether or not I like it, so please let me know what you think.

 

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Ooh, Telos looks very impressive. Well done. My only possible critique is that the brighter flashes (around 3 to 4 seconds, 18 to 20 seconds, 43 to 45 seconds, 1min to 1min 3 seconds) might be a little on the bright side, but maybe that's the look you're going for. Manaan looks great as well - I don't think I'd change much of anything.

Slightly off-topic: I've always had animation issues with v1 underwater Manaan and thus have used the static variant. At times the animations would appear to play 'backwards' or in a really choppy fashion. Maybe I should use that software @Jorak Uln recommends to install his overhauls?

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1 hour ago, Kexikus said:

Youtube compression

Man that video got slammed with that. Even at 1080 there are huge compression blocks. But I'm glad you've sorted that skybox though.

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Having just recently played Manaan and experienced the issue with the Underwater Manaan ceiling I must say I'm very happy with the new version.

I can't unfortunately say I have noticed a very big difference with V2 just watching the YouTube video though.

 

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Over the last days I created a detailed spreadsheet of all modules in both games and their skybox and backdrop textures in order to get a clearer overview of all the files needed in the final mod. While doing so I also went though all modules again, double checking that I have not missed any skybox. And to no surprise, I had missed quite a few. No new textures are necessary for those but they needed the improved skybox model I created for this project so they all got it.

There's one module that still needs some fixes and that's the Nar Shadaa swoop track but apart from that the models are all done.

I also found another backdrop texture that I had not known about before which is used in the Taris Undercity. So I'm currently working on updating that one as well although the vanilla one is pretty good already.

Apart from that I continued working on the final skybox: Dxun Jungle Tomb. Here's what I currently have. Note however, that I'm still tweaking pretty much everything about that skybox, the general look should stay about the same however.

dAO7UrCh.png

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9 minutes ago, DarthParametric said:

Does Terragen have the ability to create trees? Something that I've always hated is those terrible planes that border the edges of the Dxun map.

No. It can just distribute models (e.g. trees) on a terrain. The only software that auto-generates trees that I know of is SpeedTrees but I have never used that.

I agree though. Those ugly planes should be replaced... Not sure how to go about that without adding thousands of polys to the area models.

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Well I was thinking still using planes, but maybe just some better ones. But it still would probably look extremely fake even if the textures themselves were high quality given how close to the player the planes are.

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Dxun is done! It turned out to be more complex than expected to get both sky and terrain right.

I increased the overall contrast to get a better storm sky but then the terrain did no longer blend with the ingame terrain at all and adding more fog only washed out the nice storm clouds. So in the end I went with a composite of two (kinda three actually) layers that overall give a nicer blend for everything.

Euxb8qCh.png M4wRWHXh.png

I'm very happy with the end result and that leaves only some model edits for the Nar Shadda swoop track and for the Taris Undercity before the vanilla part of this project is ready for rendering :)

On 5/20/2020 at 1:59 PM, DarthParametric said:

Well I was thinking still using planes, but maybe just some better ones. But it still would probably look extremely fake even if the textures themselves were high quality given how close to the player the planes are.

Probably, yeah. I wonder if it would be possible to replace them with low poly 3d models though. Could the game handle that?

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It's entity count that it really chokes on, so static meshes shouldn't burden it too much. What you'd want to do though would be to combine as many of them into single meshes as possible (you'd need to do that per-room though, so they can be dropped out by the VIS separately).

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It's exciting to see your new version is almost completed.

I'm curious about the rendering itself though: how much time does it actually take to render all the vanilla skyboxes?

I suppose it takes quite some graphic power to pull it in a reasonable amount of time.

Cheers!

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48 minutes ago, Salk said:

It's exciting to see your new version is almost completed.

I'm curious about the rendering itself though: how much time does it actually take to render all the vanilla skyboxes?

I suppose it takes quite some graphic power to pull it in a reasonable amount of time.

Cheers!

I don't know but my guess is forever. Some simple ones like Tatooine are probably done in about an hour but the Dxun skybox above is probably more in the range of 10+ hours per texture at least if not more than 20.

That's why I'll be using a render farm instead of my computer as I would really like to be able to use it for something else than rendering over the coming months.

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And that's a wrap!
(Or at least almost)

So I started the final renders in full quality. The results are amazing if I may say so myself, but check for yourself (click on the images to see them in full size):

9sKH44jl.png iJ1dezCl.jpg wFx1HKPl.png

Apart from doing all the render work, there are still some small things to fix and Telos to finish. For the latter I need to decide whether to go with the lightning or not and I also want to tweak the clouds some more.

And then there are the mod skyboxes I want to create. Most of those should be pretty straightforward but a few will need more work. Among those is M4-78 which is also the one I started with. Here's what it currently looks like. The sky is working pretty well already but the buildings are obviously still missing. Let me know what you think.

xb0K1E3h.png

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