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DanStory
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:58 pm    Post subject: Roads Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

I'm looking to buy Grome 3 for game development, and will be extensively using the roads feature as a major part.

I will also be using a engine not listed apart of the currently supported and will need to develop my own support via using the standard exporters or a custom one using the Grome SDK.

That said, what kind of data can be exported for roads? Are they applied to the terrain textures, only give spline node information? etc.

Can you give a sample export of terrain with a road system?

Thanks,
Daniel.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hello,

All the roads data can be exported via the SDK. This means:
- splines control points
- information from the spline points (road width, banking)
- geometry information: how the road is tessellated, normals, uv etc.
- texturing and materials information.

Grome comes with a sample exporter that shows how to save all these into a simple to parse XML format. I will provide a sample once I am back to the office.

There are two methods to save the roads:
1 - save the splines and their information and then re-assemble the roads into your application. This may be more complex since you need to know how to tessellate the splines, apply cross-roads etc.
2 - save the final geometry of the roads (vertices, uv, textures etc). This will be the result of the road splines processing Grome is doing.

The above mentioned exporter saves in first mode. Graphite exporter (another exporter we have here and which I can provide for you) saves the data already baked (the final result Grome can provide), that is mode 2. Of course we can make a hybrid. Export both the final geometry for rendering and splines for pathfinding, units movement etc.

Kind Regards,
Adrian L.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

The second method of export will definitely be the best for rendering, to match grome's internal rendering as close as possible. Though the extra spline data would be great as you say for pathfinding 'n etc. If possible sample exports of both methods would be great.

The hybrid export plugin, would that be considered custom development? And are those two exporters both provide their source code?

Thanks again,
Daniel


Last edited by DanStory on Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ALicu
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

Currently I am not in the office. But once I am back (tomorrow morning) I will send you the source code for both exporters, details about the code and some export samples. If you know a little C++ it is easy to adapt the code to your own exporter.

Kind Regards,
Adrian L.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

Sounds great, and I appreciate the time taken to answer my questions.

Daniel.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi Daniel,

I've sent on your site registration email some source code examples how to save and load roads. Let me know if you receive them.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

I've received them, thank you. I'll be able to look them through later in the day.

Daniel.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

Thank you for the import/exporter sources and samples.

Looking through the code, and sdk docs it looks rather simplistic to get the data (other than having to deal with my little knowledge of C++ Wink). My guess is you guys don't have a .NET/C# wrapper to speed development of plugins?


After watching some of the video tutorials and fooling around with the road tools in the Grome demo, I've concluded that the Grome 3 road tools just aren't powerful enough for my requirements. I have been using another tool that is more direct with building roads/tracks with more options of modifying the road's materials, surface, and camber/banking; though the tool is rather outdated and not actively developed or supported. What limits this tool is it's horrible terrain editing capabilities, and I have been looking for something to replace it (or extend).

That said, Grome is probably one of the best terrain (with level editing/object placement) editors that I have found and would still love to use it. After some thought and from the video tutorials, I came up with the idea that I could export the tracks alone (from the separate tool) into model/mesh data (.X format) and import them as objects into the Grome editor and use the object leveling features to have the terrain create a footprint underneath the track to create a seamless edge between the road and terrain.

I'll be trying this through the demo, to see how easy it will be accomplish and be able to modify terrain features with out effecting the footprint areas. If you have any tips or other ideas, please I'd like to hear.


Thank you,
Daniel Story.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi Daniel,

Please indicate the exact features do you need from the road tools. The in-editor help may not provide full view of the tools capabilities. For additional details you can refer to this video tutorial:
www.quadsoftware.com/storage/RoadIntroduction.mov
And even this doesn't cover all the tools features.

Also, indeed you can use ObjectLevel to level the terrain underneath your tracks. One problem though is that you will not have a smooth transition between track flat land and the other non affected land (the object will affect only the terrain directly underneath and not on a certain radius around).

But this is easily addressed in the next Grome version which will allow you to create selection masks based on the object footprints. Then these selection masks you can blur, expand, shrink etc and not only apply leveling brushes and so on but you can also apply texturing (so for example you can texture the terrain so it has a certain colour around roads).

I will send you more details in an email.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

Thanks for the video, that cleared up a few issues, and showed the features in action better.

Really the number one feature that is really only missing is being able to modify the road's surface/profile.



Other features just surround object placement/generation, that use the spline data of the roads. i.g. guard rails, ripple/rumble strips, and walls that follow the contour of the road's outer edge(s). These however are not necessary.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi,

Yes, road profile is one thing that is in our to-do list (but I cannot give you certain release date). It is a very handy feature. Of course you can modify the roads geometry upon export to create your own profile. For example, during export, take the flat profile Grome provides and add various height variations based on some export options (you can have that mini profile editor inside the exporter UI). But there is also the problem of the terrain not following the new profile. But as long as the new profile adds only positive biases (upward) then the terrain will be underneath the roads.

Kind Regards,
Adrian L.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

Hey,

Yes, it comes in quite handy especially for creating rough, uneven, and eroded roads and trails.

A note on this feature with the track builder tool, you are able to create additional control points to each surface profile as well as multiple profiles on a single track/road. On that screenshot you see three surface profiles, the first and last (blue lines) are level/flat while the middle one is the one I was modifying, where I added two more control points. It then transitions/blends them of the length between the profiles. I figure that would give you an idea of implementation on that to-do list Wink

Daniel.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi Daniel,

Very interesting. Let me know if you can share the name of the tool (you can send it by email). I will very much like to study it.

This kind of profile will very handy for us. Also it would not affect road adjustment speed. I don't know if you noticed but you can adjust the road in real time and the terrain is adjusted with it (if you have a road terrain layer assigned for this link). We are using the video card GPU for the computations and so it is very fast. And the profile of the road will not affect this since we can render lots of roads polygons through our method and still have the terrain follow it.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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DanStory
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 8

Of course, it is publicly available; but as I said it hasn't been actively in developed for some time now, actually it seems the developer(s) pretty much have dropped off the face of the earth. Which becomes problematic especially with the license scheme they use; I have had times where I can't use the software for a month or so as it requires a license renewal which I'm at the mercy of the server being up and responsive to the manual license renewal operation.

Anyway, I use Bob's Track Builder Pro (http://bobstrackbuilder.net/btbpro.aspx) they offer a trial that I believe is fully functional (+export).

It's completely designed around modding (adding custom tracks) to third-party racing games. It was the only software I could find that had lots of power in the road/track builder department problem is it lacks everything else (including the UI, and workflow Razz)

I ended up using one of the third-party game exports and reverse engineered the formats to be able to use it to most of it's extent, as the directx export is very limited.

I've been using it for maybe over a year now, and I just keep hitting limits with it, and it creates a painful and tedious process; I'd just like to replace it.

If you go to the videos page (http://bobstrackbuilder.net/videos.aspx) you can view a lot of the features (though it's on older releases) in motion.
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Great, thanks. I will have a look.
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