There likely will not be a public release of any kind of design document during the development & launch of Infinity Battlescape. The current plan, I:B development will consist of in-house art only for the initial product. However, after launch I’d like to have MOD tools as well as guideline (CDD) for the modding community. Those who desire getting art into the official game and on our virtual marketplace would need to follow said guidelines. For the rest who want to MOD your own servers, anything goes really. As far as tri-counts, if you have the old CDD, you can basically increase tri-counts by roughly 4X.
What about all the contributions submitted to Infinity thus far? Are you going to contact the original creators and ask for permission to use and modify them for Battlescape? Or is getting the permission and modifying another creators works too much of a hustle to even bother?
We will use a few older assets as NPC backdrops for the Kickstarter video due to being pressed for time (we have already asked and received permission, and those assets have already been updated to our PBL system), but other than that, we will only be using art developed by our team for development of Battlescape. Past contributors are free to update their work as desired in preparation for the modding scene. Even if the MOD tools stretch goal is not reached in our crowd funding campaign, we do realize it will be an important component to the long term viability of the project, so ultimately it is still a goal for our team.
Whoa! Did you increase the efficiency of the engine by that much or did you just decide on increased hardware requirements?
Regardless, I think I’m going to dust off that old design that I was using to learn blender on and add some detail. I never really felt like it was finished because I was getting close to the tri-wall and it didn’t feel detailed enough.
I’ve just never seen the need for such seemingly gratuitously excessive tri-counts. There gets to be a point where you’re not adding anything to the shape of the model, just the tri-count. I get the need for HP models, but isn’t the point of normal mapping to display all that detail in an easier to process and render form?
I assure you higher geometric complexity makes a big difference - particularly for organics. Geometric complexity and ray tracing are why movies look so much better than games. Normal map resolution and precision is limited by available memory and it’s generally quite easy to see aliasing if you’re up close to an object. The whole reason we use normal maps is because of the way GPU’s are designed. Specifically, GPU’s are optimized for large triangles, not small ones. Tons of small triangles, which is what you get in a highly tessellated mesh, cause huge amounts of pixel overdraw which can be quite expensive. Therefore we use high frequency normal maps so that we can convert a mesh into a lower polygon form that has fewer, larger triangles as an optimization.
Of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that any modeler who is trying to squeeze as much detail out of that HP mesh as possible could always use more triangles to increase fidelity.
When I was modeling the Hellion LP mesh (after the completion of the HP), these new tri-counts were not yet in effect. I convinced Flavien to let me increase the tri-counts from the old CDD by about 50%. The Hellion should have come in at around 8550 triangles using CDD+50%. All said and done, I ended up with a very bare minimum of 11,500 tri’s to pull, what I considered the bare minimum detail out of the HP mesh to the LP via the normal map, which was just over a 100% increase from the CDD. It simply is what I needed, I even had to remove some of the detail to get there, and still there are areas that I wish I used more triangles.
Future Corvette’s will have an allowable tri-count in the 25k range, and it is very welcomed from a HP/LP modeling standpoint. Normal maps are not magic, you still need a certain LP tri-count to support the desired detail level. Our meshes are very optimized, we go through them quite extensively making sure we’re not just throwing more triangles than needed at our assets.