A question of terrain

Discuss Daggerfall Unity and Daggerfall Tools for Unity.
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Interkarma
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Interkarma » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:33 am

Jeoshua wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:10 am
Actually, in the latest release its not something we can do quite yet. I was going to wait until I had something finalized to say something about it, but while we do have the ability to replace the TerrainSampler at runtime in a mod, we don't have the ability to replace TerrainTexturing in any way. Hazelnut and BadLuckBurt do have a branch have been toying around with that does add this, but vanilla DFU doesn't. We still need the ability to set tiles before we can make surface water.
My earlier responses were in relation to original topic of terrain elevations rather than texturing. I'm happy to hear Hazelnut is helping with that side of things. :)

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Jammer
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Jammer » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:55 pm

Vanilla DF does something with the heighmap, but the elevation differences are too minor to notice. Here's the tallest point on the map in classic, a single full elevation square SW of The Silver Bird Pub (Tigonus)
thespike.png
thespike.png (69.45 KiB) Viewed 256 times
and here's what it looks like in DFU with the Distant Terrain generator:
20200104115256_1.jpg
20200104115256_1.jpg (75.75 KiB) Viewed 256 times

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jayhova
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by jayhova » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:15 pm

I don't wish to seem obtuse so I'll try to be clear on my thought process here. In classic terrain is not the same as in DFU. It is not clear to me as to why this is the case. Somehow I doubt it was the fact that Julian LeFay was incapable of making the terrain match the heightmap. I could be wrong, that could be exactly the reason. However, it occurs to me that there is a possibility that certain terrain was purposely flattened.

It is perfectly true that there are examples of mountains coming right up to the sea as I indicated in such places as Norway. However, it should be noted that this does not occur in places where mountain ranges are not prevalent. In my country of Texas, we have hill country and the southern end of the Rocky Mountains but we also have coastal plains which are very flat. The whole of the gulf coast is flat. The entire state of Florida is bearly above sea level. About the only place where there is an elevation change is the creeks, rivers and, bayous. I have to consider that the heightmap was generated by an algorithm unsuited to creating coastal plains so it was done by other means.

All that being said, there are certain creative license choices to be made in DFU. Only InterKarma can make such choices. The choices made include how much of DFU shall be conservation, reconstruction, repair, and re-creation. Other recreated games have gone so far as to recreate bugs in the game leaving the play style that results from having to deal with said bugs. So the question is what to leave in and what to remove or change.

The questions that come to my mind are: Was the original terrain in Classic unintentional or purposeful? If it was purposeful why? If not, why? If the attempt is to recreate the game should the original terrain be so very changed? Do we even know why the terrain the classic looked as it did? Can the original terrain be recreated in an upscaled version? Should a game aimed at recreating Daggerfall make a departure from the original?

As a somewhat conservative person on the subject of Daggerfall, my thought is the game should be as much like the original as possible minus bugs and exploits and with some new optional features that make the game a bit better by removing items that do not add to roleplay. Even so, I differ from some in that I think that the character exploit should be an option to maintain backward compatibility with classic.

Now, when all the dust clears we should have a fairly stable terrain picture. Hills, mountains, valleys, lakes, etc. are where they are. We'll call this DFU official terrain. Of course to install roads, bridges, rivers, etc the terrain must be changed. However, you would not just decide that all the roads should be straight and then move all the hills, etc. out of the way. That would be crazy. You would need to use the existing terrain as a baseline and alter it just enough to make your road. In fact, the more you alter the terrain the more unrealistic your road is likely to be, so again a baseline is needed. Will the baseline be terrain as it currently is or terrain that is more like the terrain in classic? If I had to, I would guess that the terrain is as it is in classic in order to better match the terrain in Arena as many of the cites existed in both games.
Remember always 'What would Julian Do?'.
Windows 10 Pro 64 bit. DFU Ver. Alpha 0.10.7

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Interkarma
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Interkarma » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:50 pm

jayhova wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:15 pm
The questions that come to my mind are: Was the original terrain in Classic unintentional or purposeful?
I answered this earlier, even linking directly to Julian's comments on the subject of terrain. The short answer is it's the best they could do at the time with the hardware available.

As I've explained several times now, there's nothing stopping users from creating a mod to generate flat terrain similar to classic. As nobody has made such a mod yet, this would seem to indicate that a majority of people are happy with the default terrain in Daggerfall Unity. Indeed, I've received overwhelming praise for this over the last several years and I stand by this decision.

I don't feel that you're engaging with me in good faith on this subject, and you aren't receptive to information that doesn't fit what you want to hear. I can't see that my input is useful to you, so you won't receive any more of my time.

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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Lokkrin Zhataros » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:03 pm

I think what Interkarma has been trying to explain is that DFU is using the exact-original-unmodified-classic-Daggerfall heightmap from the original files. It was classic Daggerfall's rendering of that heightmap that reduced the quality and height of the terrain because of the limited technology of the time. In the 90s they simply couldn't use Daggerfalls heightmap the way it was intended like DFU does. So yes, according to what I'm gathering from Interkarma, all those big Hills and Mountains you see in DFU terrain are exactly from the original-classic Daggerfall files, but properly rendered as they were intended.

They are supposed to be there. It's canon. I really like the DFU terrain as it is!

Also like I said, it's not just Norway that has Mountains and Hills right next to the ocean, this occurs in many-many places on most major continents that have oceans. Google it.
Last edited by Lokkrin Zhataros on Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Using Dagerfall Unity alpha 0.10.17

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Interkarma
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Interkarma » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:34 pm

Lokkrin Zhataros wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:03 pm
I think what Interkarma has been trying to explain is that DFU IS using the exact-original-unmodified-classic-Daggerfall heightmap from the original files. It was classic Daggerfall's rendering of that heightmap that reduced the quality and height of the terrain because of the limited technology of the time. They simply couldn't use Daggerfalls heightmap the way it was intended like DFU does. So yes, according to what I'm gathering from Interkarma, all those big Hills and Mountains you see in DFU terrain are exactly from the original-classic Daggerfall files, but properly rendered as they were intended.

They are supposed to be there. It's canon. I like this!

Also like I said, it's not just Norway that has Mountains and Hills right next to the ocean, this occurs in many-many places on most major continents that have oceans. Google it.
Correct, I'm using the original unmodified heightmap directly from the game files as input, and I am trying to show the terrain as I understand it was originally intended. Obviously some creative license is still required in the technical execution of this, but I looked at a any pre-release screenshots I could find and did the best I could with the data present. Old screenshots like the below were my guide.

185088-the-elder-scrolls-chapter-ii-daggerfall-screenshot.jpg
185088-the-elder-scrolls-chapter-ii-daggerfall-screenshot.jpg (20.02 KiB) Viewed 189 times
Daggerfall-1994shot3.png
Daggerfall-1994shot3.png (123.32 KiB) Viewed 187 times

Also comments like this one.
The overworld map has barely any fluctuation to it in the final game, being mainly flat ground with some bumps here and there. However, the game's world map data indicates that it was supposed to be much more detailed, with mountains and waterfalls being present.
And I remember reading many years back one of the developers discussing terrain for Daggerfall's sequel (this was long before Morrowind was announced) would use an updated terrain system that was cut from Daggerfall. I can't source this comment unfortunately.

What actually took place during my development process is a far cry from what jayhova seems to believe. This was all done in a very thoughtful manner to not only recreate Daggerfall, but to give some sense of what classic Daggerfall could have been using nothing but the data available in the game files and more modern methods.

The overall fidelity of the terrain in the game files is much higher than apparent in classic. And both comments from developers and early screenshots show that terrain was also intended to be more detailed. While I probably didn't get things exactly right, I did the best I could with what I had on the table.

Lokkrin Zhataros
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Lokkrin Zhataros » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:48 pm

Well Interkarma, you really did a good job! The work you did in DFU for the terrain is really close to what the Daggerfall developers had originally intended but couldn't very well achieve at the time. Personally I'm satisfied with it.

Of course like you said, modders of DFU could change it to a more flat "Texas like" terrain or whatever they want. ;)
Last edited by Lokkrin Zhataros on Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Using Dagerfall Unity alpha 0.10.17

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Interkarma
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Interkarma » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:52 pm

Thank you Lokkrin Zhataros. :)


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Ralzar
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Re: A question of terrain

Post by Ralzar » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:42 pm

I guess the difference in opinion boils down to:

«Daggerfall, as it was intended to be back then.»

or

«Daggerfall, as it was back then.»
My released mods

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