DaggerXL FarTerrain

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CM August
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DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by CM August » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:17 pm

It's a shame that the development of DaggerXL has seemingly halted for good. Some of the unique features its developer Lucius was working on, like the rendering of distant terrain, looked very impressive.


https://web.archive.org/web/20170502140 ... -revisited

This implementation seems very sophisticated. Would anybody know if Lucius talked about his methods in more detail than this video and blog post - and whether the particulars would be useful stepping stones for an equivalent in Daggerfall Unity? Or is this particular approach already well understood, and relatively straightforward to implement in Unity?

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Interkarma
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Re: DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by Interkarma » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:22 pm

It looks like a geo clip map setup, ROAM, or something similar. I don't find it particularly interesting - there are no locations or world streaming in there. It's just a flyover of a monolithic heightmap with progressive LOD.

Nystul's distant terrain mod is easily equivalent to this in terms of draw distance. Terrain sampler mods like Uncanny_Valley's mountains & hills can change how the heightmap is generated with fine control. And this is all within the framework of an actual game world, which is honestly far more sophisticated than a standalone terrain demo. :)

For the base game, I'm mostly happy with the default terrain. I was aiming for something rather specific based on some early screenshots I once saw of Daggerfall with an improved terrain system compared to what shipped. I no longer have those screens and might need one of our historians (paging MrFlibble) to help dig them out.

In any case, I'm more likely to pare back the default look closer to classic than implement something like the above video. Anyone who wants upgraded terrain just needs to install a mod suiting their preferences.

CM August
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Re: DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by CM August » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:15 pm

I was impressed that the far terrain appears to retain a lot of fine geographical detail even at vast distances - something I haven't seen in other terrain implementations. To be sure, in no way did I mean to deny Daggerfall Unity's manifest achievement, or that this was something necessary to incorporate into core; and like you, I also adore vanilla's retro aesthetic. I'll take it as given this can be easily done as a mod. Sorry if I caused any offense.

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Interkarma
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Re: DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by Interkarma » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:10 pm

No offense taken. :)

It could seem there's a lot of detail in the distance if terrain isn't truly matching Daggerfall's huge horizontal scale. It's really hard to say without locations in the mix for comparison.

This video sort-of reminds of the overhead world map in Skyrim where you're looking at a condensed version of the world, rather than the world itself. It's much larger than that of course, but it doesn't quite look 1:1 with classic either.

Something I can say for sure is that Unity's terrain system could do with a serious upgrade. It's definitely not great at huge worlds and a lot of heavy lifting is needed to compensate. I've started plotting out my next game in the back of my mind, and something I'd love to build next time around is a better streaming world.

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Nystul
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Re: DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by Nystul » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:19 pm

I hope that unity's new job system (which will have an interface for Transforms) will reduce hickups coming from floating origin position update. It should be possible to change transform components in a threaded way and I hope it will be possible to change all the terrains' transforms asynchronous and concurrently instead of the current serial processing.

btw, this video was my initial motivation for the distant terrain mod. ;)

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Interkarma
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Re: DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by Interkarma » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:29 pm

Nystul wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:19 pm
btw, this video was my initial motivation for the distant terrain mod. ;)
And the outcome is very impressive, both aesthetically and from an engineering standpoint. You had to work around strong limitations to hit that target.

It would be fascinating to see DFU with a more uniform terrain setup once Unity get around to improving this. It's been on their roadmap for years, I can only assume they're planning a major refresh when it happens.

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Nystul
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Re: DaggerXL FarTerrain

Post by Nystul » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:04 am

thank you for the compliment :)

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