Tag Archives: trees

EXPERIMENTAL BUILD 0.04.E4 …AND SHINY THINGS

The latest experimental build 0.04.E4 is now live. See the patch notes here —
http://steamcommunity.com/games/313120/announcements/detail/79161486321144821

This will hopefully be the last update before pushing it out to the stable branch, so if you have any issues, let us know on the forums here —
http://steamcommunity.com/app/313120/discussions/7/

 

Here’s what’s been happening lately ūüôā

Crafting

I mentioned a while back, before the upgrade to Unity 5, that we would be coming back to the crafting system.¬†With the existing crafting and building system, we’d been getting concerned that we were reaching almost a saturation point or limit to the physical dragging mechanic – basically ending up in players just piling crap into a pile and crossing their fingers that the right combination would appear… It became apparent that this problem would only get worse with any content that we added. We needed to rethink…
So in between things, we’d been brainstorming and came up with a new crafting and building system concept. We’re pretty pumped about it as it should allow a lot of¬†freedom and best of all, it’s¬†essentially an evolution of the mechanics that exist now and what make Stranded Deep unique.¬†The best way to describe the new building system is free and open building. You will be building your tools and building components now. You won’t be necessarily limited to a “foundation” or “wall” prefab. With our proposed system, if you want a foundation, you’ll have to build it from pieces. If you want to place walls, you’ll have to prop it up and fix it so it won’t fall down. It will be a universal system that will carry through from the building¬†system to the crafting system. You will be able to choose your blades, handles and fixings, all affecting the properties of the final crafted piece. ¬†The goal being to¬†diversify the appearance and functionality of the unique structures and tools you create.

 

Terrain and Vegetation

The new terrain system is also coming along. We’ve been mocking up test islands, playing with different methods of authoring all the maps needed (height, splat, normals, etc) and nailing down the features we need in the shaders to render it all. It’s all highly a work in progress at this stage —

Large_Islands

We’ve got a lot of assets for the environment being worked on at the moment so¬†it will start to take better shape once they come back and get placed in the world.

Proper PBR¬†terrain textures are also in the works —

RockScreen2

…along with new trees and foliage being worked on¬†too. Here’s an example concept spreadsheet of potential vegetation for Stranded Deep that is then modelled in SpeedTree —

wSD_sketches_trees a01v1-1

 

Ceto

We’ve made mention that we’re looking into a new ocean system as well. A Unity forum member by the name of ‘scrawk’ is creating an ocean asset called ‘Ceto’ (named after a Greek sea goddess) for the Unity community —

Ocean29

Please note that the terrain pictured in this screenshot is not from Stranded Deep! It’s from Unity’s ‘Blacksmith’ technical demo.

It’s still early in development but we can’t wait to get our hands on it when¬†it’s ready for beta, and we’ll be implementing it on our experimental branch as soon as we can. As you can see, it’s looking fantastic, and best of all it lets us focus on other aspects of the game.

 

Other Bits

There’s always lots of smaller¬†things we’re working on in between the bigger features… Unity 5 has a nice new feature called ‘reflection probes’. Reflection probes render and store the environment around them in a cubemap which can be used by reflective¬†materials. If you combine reflection probes with a screen-space reflections post-effect it really adds a nice bit of eye-candy —

SSR Preview 2

When the new terrain system is finshed we will be able to create a nice system to bake multiple probes around the world for high quality reflections at a minimal cost, with the screen-space reflections filling in the gaps. It’s all a work in progress at the moment, but there is a basic reflection probe for the sky implemented in 0.04.E4. Screen space reflections aren’t ready for release yet, but these features will be worked on, improved and implemented as time allows.

We do¬†understand that it’s hard to visualise the progress when so much is happening behind the curtains,¬†so hopefully this blog post helps a bit! ūüôā
That’s it for this update ūüôā

 

Stay Alive!
:: Beam Team

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Lumberjack

Whoa! This year is just flying past us, i think its time we post a little update.

In the past we’ve talked about our procedural¬†content¬†and how its used to create¬†the world’s environment.¬†This time¬†we would also like to show off other features that use a similar, yet simplistic approach.
As the title implies i’m talking about trees.¬†Trees play a big role in Stranded Deep, they’re your protection from the sun and rain, a supplier of natural foods, your lookout upon the endless ocean,¬†you might even form a bond.¬†Unfortunately for them, you’re going to need wood..and alot of it!

We don’t want player’s to hack mindlessly at a trunk until it disappears and logs fall from the sky, creating realistic ‘tree chopping’ is no easy task¬†and we’ve¬†looked into many different approaches; animation, mesh deformation, masking and splitting, etc, etc. All of these approaches were surprisingly time consuming and performance heavy.. not to mention out of place.
After much trial and error we decided that we would use predefined log segments that are randomly generated onto a trees foundation, similar to a pipe system.

First a stump is placed and is then followed by an array of  seamlessly joined unique trunk segments with the final vegetation piece placed on top. This allows us to create much more interesting segments with bends and curves in the future that will create much more interesting combinations.
TreeGeneration_1
When interacting with a tree, the segments retrieve their required components and rely on the physics engine. This procedural approach allows us to easily create a variety of trees during runtime and makes it much easier to balance out the distribution of wood to a player per island, you find yourself contemplating over each trees life and end up scheduling their sacrifice in your survivals development. Its awesome!

Heres us having¬†some fun with the generation parameters, i’m sure modders will love creating their very own Hollywood island ūüôā

TreeGeneration_2
..and i bet you’re wondering if you can cut them down..(Things get¬†a bit crazy)

TreeGeneration_3
Hope this gives you more insight into¬†our development, we’re currently in the process of switching lighting and getting everything looking fine but i’m sure you’l hear more of that in the future. We’ve had many questions regarding the release and our lack of updates… the truth is we’re both super busy and working harder than ever on getting this out for all the hardcore survivors.

Stay tuned!
-Ben

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