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Author Topic: [Resolved] heightmaps not at same hieght  (Read 6390 times)

HE-JAY

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #15 on: Oct 18, 11, 10:35:43 PM »

Have you tried checking 'selected node only' in the terrain panel to only edit one of the stacked height maps?
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Valion310

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #16 on: Oct 19, 11, 09:55:02 AM »

if your working in one area, easiest thing is just to make a huge heightmap, then slice it up later.

Cooper, this is something my team has been looking at.  For visualization and discussional value, I'll reference New Mexico where its fairly flat terrain with large mountain ranges.  What is considered a "huge heightmap"?  Is this something that is uploaded after working in Photoshop?  Or is this manipulating size values on heightmaps in Hero?  At present we're using 32x32 standard heightmaps (custom maps are inwork...)


I would only worry about rooms once you get to the content phase of your project. And as recommended I wouldn't begin with seamless functionality until familiar with the layout of your world and the load you plan on putting on the server. I also see alot of groups just stitching together hundreds of area of flat terrain right out of the gate and I do not recommend this, its going to hurt gameplay later and most likely shoot you in the foot in any number of ways. Plan out your play areas, think about how they intersect and overlap. For examples I would recommend looking very closely at Fallout 3 and World of Warcraft. Both are seamless worlds but both disguise their sub areas well, while wow does it with large "zones" with pathways, and fallout does it with physical barriers and various empty travel areas. But the important note is both feel vast and diverse without actually having thousands of square kilos.

Thought this was really interesting advice.  We're really looked at the terrain of WOW, SWG, Fallen Earth and a couple others.  At the moment the zone we're working in is approximatly 10mi x 10mi using the 32mx32m heightmaps, needless to say its turning into a lot of maps.  This zone I'm references is a planned military facility, with 8 - 10 neighboring zones.  And that is just one zone, we're using buildings, fences and gates as features to control traffic  between rooms and areas within the zone.
We are being diliberate in designing layout as we progress rather then just slapping down 300 heighmaps.  So I believe we're taking the right approach, it seems daunting thinking about how big the zone will be ....

I was curious if you could go a little more into what I've quoted above?  Perhaps what you've seen work really well in Hero vs. what hasn't worked out so well?


Well, off to the Caribbean for a week!  In the great words of Jack Sparrow, "Why is the rum always gone?" ... :)  Catch everyone when I get back.
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Valion
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HE-Cooper

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #17 on: Oct 19, 11, 10:48:09 AM »

remember, the 32 by 32 heightmap that starts in an area is just an arbitrary landing pad. You could duplicate it and stitch, use the grid panel to make a mile by mile heightmap, import a heightmap, whatever. A ten mile by ten mile zone is most likely a terrible idea to start with, unless you have seriously experienced world builders that have decided on that space for specific reasons. Most inexperienced teams start with world building, since that's the easiest thing to do, and doesn't require technical resources, but truthfully, world building comes in very late in the development process compared to art and engineering in most successful projects. Now, what's great about our engine is that on day one you can start building worlds, but I would focus solely on prototyping areas and zones while you get your systems and art hammered out. Art and engineering and system design should be driving world building and content creation, not the otherway around, of course some will cry havoc here, but I'll stand by that statement. I've shipped too much product and watched too many projects fail to think otherwise.

I say think small and fun and tightly polished first, then expand when it makes sense. No one has ever bought a game, or invested in a game because it was huge. World of Warcraft has effectively a 6 man dedicated team for each zone creation process, and even then, some clearly succeeded in look and feel and gameplay, and some still failed miserably.
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Valion310

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #18 on: Oct 19, 11, 12:58:59 PM »

I think we've got another zone concept in design that I think can fit just that.  Thanks a ton for the advice, I'll pass that onto the team.  :D
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Valion
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shadowfire

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #19 on: Oct 19, 11, 06:38:38 PM »

Cooper is right.  While I advocate building a world from the ground up and believe that a true success comes not from pretty graphics, long cut scenes or huge areas... it comes from the mechanics, the options and the storyline that drives it...  So build from the ground up...  First of all have a great story and background... know your target audience and focus on them... never try to make a game for "everyone" but instead make a game for those who want that one style.  Then I believe in literally building from the ground up... start the mapping process...

However this is where I agree with cooper entirely... my own game is going to have an entirely seemless world... no tricks to limit movement and what not.  I mean come on what good is an impassable mountain range when a character can fly?

However to try and make the entire world every inch of it prior to release is rather insane.  Especially since you wanna drive the world creation based on your player base.  So instead I opted for a "slight" trick to world building... in my case an particularly deadly kind of storm that will allow more or less the ability to enter the storm a short distance... however you'd never reach "world's end" because entering is guaranteed death... if ya run back out of the storm fast enough you might live but if ya press on you are gonna die and in all likelihood nobody is gonna be dumb enough to go into the storm and get your sorry corpse out of it... and since in my game your items stay where your corpse was... ALL items then you really dont wanna be stupid.

This in essence means we can make a smaller starting area that will occupy characters to begin with and let us refine the mechanics.  After all the further from Falcon's Reach you get the more dangerous it is and no starting character would survive much further off anyways... so rather than having vast empty land that hasnt been textured it will have a barrier with incentive not to enter.  Bit by bit the storms will subside.  Now as a result of this if and when we make a second playable server in the game what of the world is built will already be built and the storms will pull back much faster than before... however due to the storms being part of the storyline they must still exist for continuity.

I forget who's game has a shield that protects some small town from the apocalypse but this shield can used as a control method like my storms... grant the players a method for boosting the shield's power... say when you are ready to you reveal via some quest plot or rumor a place where one of the shield generators exist... have more than one in theory each one capable of expanding the shield... but reveal em in spots... when they find it said player can tinker with it either repairing it to it's old function or boosting it's power... this person would also then gain some prestige for being responsible for the expansion on that server provided you decide to have more than one server... on other servers you could use sealed cave entrances and change where and what is needed on each server for each expansion to keep it fresh so players who expand on one server cant cheat on the other....  Then you already have the caves or areas built but inaccessable and choose randomly which on each server opens for which expansion  or use a prebuilt cave then randomly attach it somewhere to the ground...  the exact process would be up to the dev of said game but doing so would allow for controlled world expansion without disrupting the storyline or game play.
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DragonFist

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #20 on: Oct 19, 11, 07:26:28 PM »

Yep, that was the basic idea (though the energy barrier isn't so much protecting them from the apocalypse as it is Isolating them from the rest of the world which may or may not be experiencing the apocalypse, they don't know.  Hence the game's name, Isolation).  But it part of a planned expansion of the the game world while live and lessons are learned and party of the story that will be revealed over time and quests, etc., even as to why the barrier exists in the first place and its relation to the conflicts the player base finds themselves in.
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shadowfire

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #21 on: Oct 19, 11, 08:57:40 PM »

dragonfist... given your game style... just an idea... instance it like guild wars... not necessarily everything but storyline related things perhaps?  If ya havent payed guild wars, monster hunter, phantasy star online, phantasy star universe... all of these use basicly lobby like areas... players meet trade etc... basicly a city but the wide open areas are instanced to the player and thier team and how the world looks outside the city is based on how far in the story the leader of the team is.    Though here is the major drawback to this style game... eventually ya reach the end and it becomes a grind fest unless ya can constantly deliver new stories.
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DragonFist

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Re: heightmaps not at same hieght
« Reply #22 on: Oct 19, 11, 09:05:09 PM »

Yeah, I've played Guild Wars.  Not a pattern I wish to follow.  I do have a pretty set plan in place already though.  Mostly chiming in because (aside from the reference to my energy barrier) I am in agreement with starting small and creating a fun play experience and expanding it from there.
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