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Author Topic: Terrain mapping  (Read 2634 times)

creativityheaven

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Terrain mapping
« on: Jul 12, 14, 08:03:35 AM »

Normal maps for terrain tiles only work from above and do not show changes in height when viewed from the side. Are there any plans to change that?
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HE-Cooper

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #1 on: Jul 12, 14, 09:02:41 AM »

I don't know what that means, but normal maps are working correctly as normal maps currently. Maybe there's a different feature or type of tech you're talking about?
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creativityheaven

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #2 on: Jul 12, 14, 12:04:52 PM »

Why no height maps for terrain?
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HE-Cooper

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #3 on: Jul 12, 14, 01:09:19 PM »

I think you're mixing terminology again. A heightmap is either a grayscale image from which nodes or points are scaled to a a plane, or the actual interpolated plane itself. Heightmap  or terrain nodes in the heroengine can be painted with diffuse textures and normal textures (also called bump maps), as well as vertex color. Check out the simple terrain texture tutorial on our YouTube channel for step by step instructions on making and painting terrain textures.
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creativityheaven

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #4 on: Jul 14, 14, 05:23:26 PM »

Normal maps don't work on terrain when viewed below a certain level. The terrain looks flat (2D) instead of 3D. Is that intended?
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HE-Cooper

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #5 on: Jul 14, 14, 05:29:49 PM »

Actually you can still see the normal map in that image, even at that low of angle, if you look at the lighting, but yes, that's what a normal map would do, at parallel, technically you wouldn't see anything. a normal map changes how lighting affects a diffuse texture in order to simulate "bumps" in a 2d texture. wikipedia has a nice simple write up of how normals work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_mapping.

You're also exacerbating your perceived inability to see the normal by using very low resolution textures.
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creativityheaven

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #6 on: Jul 14, 14, 05:47:41 PM »

How hard would it be to implement a form of mapping that does not have this drawback?
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HE-Cooper

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #7 on: Jul 14, 14, 06:10:08 PM »

I don't know what that means, or what the drawback is of a normal map.
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Chromehound

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #8 on: Jul 15, 14, 09:29:00 AM »

Of course it looks flat........cause it is :)

Normal map can only do so much at certain angles of the light so if you don't have any flora (trees/weeds/bushes...etc..etc.), and your players are going to be laying on the ground like that, then there's not much of a way around it.

Add other things to the scene and higher res textures, then play with the uv scale till it's properly set for the look you're going for and you'll be on your way.
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Amanda_Brooks

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #9 on: Jul 15, 14, 10:24:33 AM »

This isn't something specific to the HE - it's just the way that normal maps work - you'll see the same thing if you look at, say, a brick wall at the same angle - the normal map used to define the spaces between the bricks will stop having an effect if you're at it from a straight on or almost straight on angle.

Apart from using higher resolution textures, you could also try adding a few very gentle rises and dips in the height map - that helps to trick the eye about just how flat the height map might really be.

The other alternative, if you really must have every slight change in the level of the ground represented is to model the terrain yourself as 3D meshes.
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keeperofstars

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #10 on: Jul 16, 14, 10:49:43 AM »

apply a slight noise effect to the terrain with the noise brush, on almost minimal settings and it will make it look 100 times better.
As pointed out textures in any engine, look bad when they are flat and rely only on the normal map, and the angle approaches a full 90 degrees.

Challenge is normal just tells light where to be, it doesn't change a flat surface, and anytime you hit 90 degrees light data becomes really thin. As light tends to bounce not roll along a surface.
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[img]http://screencast.com/t/x7btcSSyp3h0[\img]

creativityheaven

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #11 on: Jul 16, 14, 11:40:08 AM »

The noise brush?
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keeperofstars

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Re: Terrain mapping
« Reply #12 on: Jul 16, 14, 08:45:12 PM »

http://hewiki.heroengine.com/wiki/Terrain_panel

Change the fill from solid to noise.

Then turn the strength down, so it's not a huge noise effect.

Can also use any texture you want as a brush pattern, which can make for great effects. Can even take your normal map and work it up to be a brush texture, which is a great way to add natural height variations.
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[img]http://screencast.com/t/x7btcSSyp3h0[\img]