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kernelkode
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:44 pm    Post subject: Noob Questions: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi,

I have watched a few of the tutorial videos and have installed the demo. I am doing indie xna game dev and looking for a terrain tool that will help generate the terrain and ease the texture splatting/shadowing/baking/etc.

Can you please give an overview or point me to a page that covers the process of exporting the heightmap, textures, and everything else and importing them to my project? Shader directives? How is this going to help speed up my dev time?

Thanks
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:26 am    Post subject: Demo Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

I have been looking at the demo for a couple hours, but panning the camera is extremely awkward. The pan moves way too fast and is uncontrollable. Control + scroll speed has no effect on panning speed. I'm not understanding the choice of panning based on distance from the center of the viewport. Very unintuitive.

Is there a way to make the camera behave like an fps shooter? I'm not seeing it in preferences.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

About the export:

The actual export is quite simple. There are various default out-of-the-box exporters (like raw exporter, text exporter, dt etc). Usually the best approach is to export the heightmap as 16bit raw files since most engines know how to import from this. The layer images can be exported either:
- as a baked texture (the import into engine is much simpler but you loose some resolution)
- separated textures (the tiled images and also the layer masks). For this you need to implement the proper splatting in your engine.

Another possibility is to write your own exporter plugin using the Grome SDK. The SDK is in C++ and comes with lots of documentation and examples (all the default plugins source code is provided).

How to actually render the terrain (heightmap LOD, splatting of textures etc) is a large domain and there is plenty of documentation on the internet about it.

For more specific information about the exporting please don't hesitate to contact me (via forums or personally at licu at quadsoftware.com).


About the controls:

To panning I'm assuming your are referring to middle mouse + drag. The speed of the panning should be affected by Control + scroll (just press control and then scroll multiple times to adjust the speed, which is shown in the viewport info text). There should not be too fast and uncontrollable. It should be an issue for your particular configuration. Do you have any input devices attached?

To move the camera as in a FPS, just press (and keep pressed) right mouse and you can look around with the mouse. You can also use WASD or the arrow keys for movement.

To orbit around one point you can press ALT and after than use the middle mouse and mouse drag.

While SHIFT is pressed the movement should double.

All these controls should be affected by the current camera speed (mouse + wheel).

Left mouse click is not used for camera movement since it is used in the tools operations (brushes etc) as for most editors.

Oh, and you can also change the camera to walk on terrain mode by pressing "O" (by default). You can exit from walk mode by panning. To setup the walking distance (from terrain surface) go to the left panel, at first tab (Workspace), second subtab (Scene) and right click on Camera Settings and choose "Modify Global Camera Settings...". From that dialog you can change Walking height.

All the controls are documented in the help file at (from menu Help -> Contents and then choose Editor Framework -> User Preferences -> Default input controls from the help file).

Let me know if you still have problems with the movement. Maybe you can post a small video capture of your problem.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject: I will retest when i get back to the office Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian, thanks for the response. Your video tutorials really drew my attention, that's why i was surprised at the camera behavior.

I was testing the demo under VMWare, which is where I do development. This may have something to do with it, but I have no issues with any other software (except for opengl not working under 6.5). It's fairly important for me that the application run under vmware. World Maker, L3DT, TerraNoise, TerrainGenerator all run fine.

I will retest this and let you know the results.

As for the export process, thanks for the explaination. I also read another thread where you went over some of this. If I can get past the camera issue, the options sound reasonable for automated export/importing.

I'll reply back after I get a chance to retest, I need to sleep now.

Thanks.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

I didn't worked under VMWare. What is the underlying Operating System you are using? Are there any options at mouse/keyboard input?

Can you try the demo on a native Windows OS and see if this is still happening?

We have other clients using virtual machines on Mac OS without any problems (except some slowdowns).

Waiting for your results.

Regards,
Adrian
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian,

I have retested. Here is the configuration:

VMWare 6.5.3 Running on WinXP host, T4400, 3GB ram, GF 8600
WinXP guest w/ 2 virtual processors and 1GB of ram

I have disabled the skybox, as the performance is very poor with it on. Less than 5 fps.

In perspective or walking mode the keys move the camera around fine at about 25fps with an empty scene. Is this poor performance? Not running the application maximized at 1920x1200 gives a higher fps.

It would be nice to be able to assign keys to change the pitch and yaw of the camera (rotate around the up and the current right/left vectors).

Now to the camera: In perspective mode, if I right click above the center of the viewport and wiggle the mouse left or right, the camera rotates up (as any movement of mouse translates to a movement in the direction of a vector out from the center of the viewport toward the current/moved mouse location). So, if I right click at the top of the screen and pull down, the camera still rotates up (until the mouse finally travels below the center of the viewport). Also, the I have noticed that the mouse distance from the center of the viewport when right clicking affects the camera rotation amount. The closer the mouse is to the center of the screen, the slower and more controllable the rotation is. This is what makes the panning feel awkward.

Here is another 2d example:



In top-down mode, if I right click at the circle and then slightly wiggle the mouse, the zone will move across the screen in the direction of the arrow. Is this the correct behavior? I would expect it to be a drag operation (and therefore wiggle the zone in the viewport).

Maybe this is the intended behavior, but to me this is unintuitive.

I don't have a non-vmware machine to test the demo on yet, but I will update you when I get a chance to compare the result.
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian, I have just tried the demo on a real machine and it works as expected. None of the strange issues observed above.

I will take another look at the vmware environment and let you know if I get the behavior corrected. I will probably upgrade to vmware 7 soon and that may help.

Thanks again for your time.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

The poor performance is certainly caused by the fact that the virtualization doesn't include video hardware acceleration. So you are running all the rendering is software.

As for the mouse controls there may be multiple causes (or a combination of it):
- poor and variable FPS cause the mouse to act erratically and jump in different positions
- there may be different settings at the mouse you need to tweak to make it work normal
- the mouse is somehow captured by the vmware and its event messages are treated differently than in a normal environment

Let me know your findings. But from what I know there is no good acceleration for video rendering under vmware. Grome is an editing application dealing with large amounts of data. It cannot optimized data at maximum since it works with multiple layers of textures, multiple heightmaps and all the data can change at any time. You would need large amounts of RAM and fast CPU compared with other applications. Plus it renders all in real-time using the video card. So running it through a virtualization machine would slow things to unpractical level.

Why do you need the virtualization? We may be able to find other solution since I really thing you should consider a native environment especially if you want to deal with large scenes.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian, actually there is hardware acceleration for DX9 in vmware 6.5 and vmware 7 now has opengl acceleration. Obviously it is not as optimized as running directly on the hardware, but the abstraction is usable enough for me with most things.

There are too many reasons for using vmware to list, but mainly it is able to maintain the integrity of the environment. Snaphots / save-states are invaluable. The same can be achieved through backup software, but it is not nearly as convenient or flexible(at least the products i have tested).

Also, changing hardware mostly goes unnoticed by the guest OS.

Again, I will look more into this over the next few days.

Thanks.
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian, to follow up:

The vmware client mouse driver seems to be the issue for the camera. Removing that driver fixed the camera issue, but makes the mouse generally less reliable. Rendering wirefame works great full screen, but with texturing it suffers from slow downs (but still usable). I read a bit more on the vmware acceleration and the vertex and pixel shaders are not accelerated yet.

I have a few more questions:

Would Grome take advantage of a 6 core processor over a 2 core? If so where would the performance increases be?

I like that the demo does not require administrative rights to install, is the same true for the full installer?

Can the demo load/preview workspaces created by the full version?

Thanks.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

Rendering wireframe is usually slow (a intentional driver limitation by Nvidia/ATI to justify buying professional cards, Quadro and FireGL).

If the shaders are not accelerated you may encounter slowdowns for some types of layers but not the important ones.

Demo version loads the full version maps. For now Grome uses a single processor.

And should be able to run the full version as non admin as long as you use the same user. I will send you a special program later today to test the licensing code.

Regard,
Adrian
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian,

I have purchased Grome 2 indie license yesterday using paypal. I am awaiting a confirmation.

Thanks for your responses to my previous questions.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

On what name did you purchase Grome (what email address)? We've never received a confirmation by email. Now, I've checked the paypal account and there are no pending commands (all the yesterday commands were activated). I am sure we can resolve this quickly.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

It seems that there was a problem with PayPal (don't know if it is globally or only for our account). There are other purchases that showed late in the PayPal balance yesterday and we never received any confirmation email from them. Let me know the exact id (Name, email) you've made the purchase and I will to send you the licensing information as quick as possible.

Best Regards,
Adrian L.
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kernelkode
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Jun 2010
Posts: 12

Hi Adrian,

I sent you a PM and also an email to sales.

Thanks.
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