Cloud System

Discussion in 'Assets and Asset Store' started by Dantus, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    The Cloud System is available in the Unity Asset Store. It is an artist friendly and time saving tool to create billboard based volumetric clouds in Unity.





    You find more information and web players on our webpage. If you have any question, suggestion, feedback, criticism or bug report about the Cloud System, feel free to post them here. We are happy to reply to every post!
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  2. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

    Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Messages:
    5,420
    Screen shots, video and/or webplayer would help people decide if your product was worth the $150 (ouch!) you're asking.
  3. 95KillerZ95

    95KillerZ95

    New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Messages:
    253
    He's right.... Show us some stuff about it, but from the asset store link I see that it has cool features :)
  4. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    As I already wrote, I am going to post videos and webplayers. I know that $150 is expensive, so you can be sure to get a well documented and tested product. And in the next few days there will be enough material for you to get a impression about the Cloud System.
    Sorry, I just didn't expect that the Cloud System would be accepted within a few hours :).
  5. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Added a link to the page with the Cloud System Reference.
  6. mrbdrm

    mrbdrm

    Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    472
    150 for a cloud system ?
    that's way to much .
  7. fghajhe

    fghajhe

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    145
    I think this is too pricey to buy without some examples. However I am still interested in it.

    Do the clouds collide with objects? Like if I had an airplane that was to fly through the clouds, would they collide?

    How do the clouds look in 3D (not a 2D platformer) and handle a moving camera. I would like to see a webplayer or video of some sort.

    Other than that it looks great!
  8. 3dDude

    3dDude

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,042
    I would be interested to know how many particles you used in that demo. For my WIP system I managed to get the particle count down to 20 per cloud.

    Cheers!
  9. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    mrbdrm, the cloud code itself is not very complex. But it was extremly time consuming to create the editor scripts and make a usable workflow. That's what makes the price.

    fghajhe, I am not sure what you mean with collision. At the end every cloud is just a particle system. Something can fly through a cloud just like it would through a particle system.
    As I already wrote, I am preparing web players and videos, sorry about the delay.

    3dDude, which demo do you mean? I will make a video, in which all the particle counts are going to be mentioned. But if you tell me which one you mean, I will tell you the exact count.
    The particle count always depends on what you would like to do with the cloud. Even if the Cloud System has a few cloud prefabs, its advantage is, that you get cloud modeling tools to create whatever shape you want, with the particles you want and also the shading you want.
  10. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Updated the first post. Now you find the demos on the web page (for download only so far).
  11. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Updated the first post. Now there is a short demonstration video! We are working on a tutorial, about how to use the Cloud System in Unity. Stay tuned!
  12. kerters

    kerters

    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Wow, your clouds looking great! also well done presentation.

    Does this support collision with for instance a car, plane or person ?

    if so could you show it in a demo or movie ?
  13. I am da bawss

    I am da bawss

    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,314
    Cloud looks nice, but $150 for something anyone can do easily in Unity, seems pretty expensive.
    What exceptional advantages does this offer to warrant such price? Does it work exceptionally well in iOS/Android? Does it solve the problem of particle plane artifacts when geometry fly through it?

    Particle artifacts
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  14. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    kerters, I am not sure if you mean physical collision or how graphical collisions look. The Cloud System does not have any physical simulation. For geometry collision, the picture that I am da Bawss has posted shows exatcly the result you can expect. If you have Unity Pro and are using Deferred Rendering, you may use a soft particle shader. Like this you may get the result from the right picture. Otherwise you get the one from the left picture. Even if the Cloud System comes with a soft particle shader, I can not offer support for it, as I don't own Unity Pro.

    I am da Bawss, the exceptional advantage is the editor script. You may have a look at the reference (the link is the first post). I am working on a video, that shows, how you can create the clouds. That's where the $150 are. I understand you. So far it is not possible to see, why it is so expensive!
  15. RandAlThor

    RandAlThor

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    750
    So this has so less drawcals i hear in the video.
    Is this working on ios in good performance or in general?
  16. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    M_Stolley, yes, the Cloud System has very few drawcalls. At most 1 per cloud.
    It has not been tested on mobiles so far. From a technical point of view, I see no reason, why it should not work. Everything that happens in the code at runtime, is not very special. But I can't give you any guarantee about that.
    It is impossible for me to make any prediction about the performance on mobiles. What I can say in general is, that the fastest renderer that comes with the Cloud System is the one, that is using Unity's particle system. You may easily test the performance for that one on any platform. Use a transparent shader for a particle system - you have to use SortedBillboard - and emit the amount of particles that you may use for the cloud. That nearly matches the performance you are going to get with the Cloud System.
    There are two more custom renderers. The slowest one gives by far the best result, as the color is not calculated per particle - as it happens with Unity's particle system -, but for each vertex (have a look at the last scene in the video to see the difference). This renderer can also be used on low end machines, if neither the camera, nor the cloud is rotated (and no effects are applied). For that case you may also test the performance. Just place a mesh in the scene with a transparent shader. Each particle in the cloud consists of two triangles and four vertices. Just take care that the mesh has enough faces, such that you get an impression of the performance.

    Long answer for a simple question :). It is not that simple to make reliable predictions. Just ask if you have further questions or need some clarification!
  17. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Updated the first post with a Cloud System Tutorial Video. Now you can see the true strenght of the Cloud System! Feel free to leave comments!
  18. runner

    runner

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    850
    I watched the Tutorial more in depth but find the product pricey
    at the price that is set now i wouldn't buy on impulse just cause of the wow factor.

    I would buy if i absolutely required it and had no other recourse after experimenting with other solutions or finding something else on the asset store. Still i do like the fluffy clouds and the layer effects and the vetex coloring is nice.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  19. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    runner, I see your point. I have sent you a pm, as I would like to avoid a price discussion in this thread..
  20. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Updated to version 1.1:
    - Reverse compatibility with Unity 3.3
    - Price is now $75!
  21. parkerdc

    parkerdc

    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    I dig the new pirce and just bought the package.
  22. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    That's nice to hear :). Feel free to contact me if you have any problems with it or if you have questions.
  23. pkid

    pkid

    Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Messages:
    195
    I was thinking of buying this but I don't see much feedback from anyone who has bought it. Can someone who has bought this provide any thoughts on whether or not it worked well for them?
  24. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    This message is for everyone who bought the Cloud System.
    If you find anything that does not work or you find something that you think should be improved, please contact me. You may post it here or you can contact me directly. I am very open for productive ideas. Thanks
  25. runonthespot

    runonthespot

    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    300
    re working on a mobile, someone should test it. I'd not expect it to run well, as mobiles, esp iPad / iPhone4 struggle with transparency overdraw as they are fill rate limited. This makes multiple layers of semitransparent stuff potentially slow, even if only a single draw call.
  26. blackant

    blackant

    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Messages:
    325
    looks really nice,
    will buy it soon
  27. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    @runonthespot, I will see what I can do in that direction. I definitely can't work on that in the next few weeks, but afterwards, I will do my best.

    @Blackant, nice to hear. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Cloud System or if you have ideas about how it could be improved. Feedback is always welcome :)
  28. ugur

    ugur

    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    645
    So i got the cloud system a few hours ago and played around with it some.
    I'll start with the good sides:
    After watching your usage tutorial video from this thread the editor functionality for setting up clouds is pretty smooth and the resulting clouds look great, really liking the achieved look.
    Besides my one nitpicking point below i´d say its well worth the money =)

    The one thing i didn´t like at all is something i´m not sure whether its by design or my fault due to not knowing the system well yet:
    -So i created a nice clouds setup in a scene and saved that. Next up i copied the game object containing the cloud system prefab instance and my sun transform gameObject and pasted it into a new scene. Then i edited the clouds groups boxes there happily, but then afterwards noticed that that had also lead to the boxes in my other scene being edited in the same way.
    I thought that was highly unintuive: When i place a prefab into a scene i expect it to inherit the properties/their values from the base prefab but then when i make changes to that prefab instance it would not automatically affect other instances of that prefab unless i press apply changes. With your setup, well, i couldn´t just copy and paste the cloud system prefab instance with all the clouds setup as before and then edit the instance without affecting the other instances automatically.
    What´s your suggested way of doing something like that, i mean using several cloud system instances in the same or different scenes? Would it be about always creating and setting up a new cloud system from the ground up?
  29. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    ugur, thanks for the first feedback :)

    There is a very simple solution for your problem: You need to copy the prefab itself, meaning the one from the Project view, instead of the one from the Hierarchy view. Now you can create instances of that copied prefab and make modifications that will not influence your original prefab and it's instances. You are right that this is unintuitive, but it was the best option in my opinion.
    When I had to decide what data is stored in the prefab and what in the game objects; it became clear, that there is no solution that was 100% intuitive. After several tries, I decided to go with a solution that is very close to the one used for Unity Trees. As far as I know, the trees have the same problem.

    Please tell me, if that works for you, even if it is not the most intuitive solution. Otherwise, we will find another solution.
  30. U2

    U2

    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    208
    If Im understanding this correctly I could make custom clouds based on your box tool then save them as prefabs to be brought into my scenes at runtime if I wanted? For instances used for weather I could bring in an instance of a thunder head for a storm..

    A feature request I have would be to created animated clouds by putting a list of say 2-6 cloud prefabs of the same particle count and have it change one to the other using the particle positions as sort of key frames. I guess with a particle system the best way to achieve something like this would be to fade out one cloud while slowly fading in the next in the list. You could add an option to set the speed. This would allow for some nice effects such as clouds changing as they blow by or just shifting in the scene. Would also help quiet some of the complainers about price etc..

    Thanks!
  31. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    rutecht, exactly, you can instantiate any cloud prefab at runtime.

    Cloud animation is certainly a very important extension that has to be added. At the moment it looks, as if key framing the individual particles is not the best solution, especially because I don't know how I could create a user friendly interface for that. But I have some other ideas :). It will take quite some time to develop such a solution. The highest priority for now is to listen to the feedback I am getting, to improve the Cloud System where needed.
    As a side note: For scripters it is already possible to create animated clouds, as the api for that already exists and is extensively documented (in CS_Cloud.cs).

    Thanks for your interest!
  32. ugur

    ugur

    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    645
    Thanks for your feedback Dantus =) For me personally i´d prefer it if the clouds setup was always stored per instance unless one presses apply changes to apply it to the prefab itself but for now i´ll just use it as it is because the look of the resulting clouds clearly outweighs that one side i don´t like about the setup =)
  33. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    ugur, after you reported that usability issue, I couldn't understand, why I implemented it like that, because you are totally right about it. So I had a closer look at my implementation notes and then remembered, that it was the only practical and acceptable solution! The short explanation is, that the Unity Editor is not designed for prefabs that have a huge amount of data. If you are working with a prefab that has a huge amount of data, it lags during every small change you are performing, which is simply not acceptable. That's the reason, why you can't modify clouds on a per instance basis. That just doesn't work in Unity at the moment.

    WARNING: Detailed explanation, very technical!
    According to the asset store guidelines, editor extensions - such as the Cloud System - have to support undo. The only way to do that in Unity is to rely on SerializedObjects. That works pretty well for everything that has not too many data that needs to be stored. But the Cloud System as well as Unity Trees have a lot of data that needs to be stored. And all that data is stored after each change. There is no way around it. Let's say you are modeling the cloud's shape and you are dragging a box. Even if you only change that box, the editor saves all the cloud data, including all particles, which means that the editor lags during every change you are performing. So this solution was just not acceptable.
    The only way to prevent the Unity Editor from storing all the data from the cloud is to use SciptableObjetcs. Like it became possible to model clouds without lag. It came with the problem that those scriptable objects store the data per prefab and not per instance.
  34. Airship

    Airship

    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Messages:
    218
    This looks awesome! I am going to be working on a project that takes place in the sky and I have been looking for something like this to create nice clouds. I have a few questions:

    Does the cloud's particle material have a Main Color attribute? I am using a night day system that adjusts the main color of all materials to simulate Night/ Day?

    My project has moving airships where the player is inside the airship as it's moving. Can these clouds be setup to be pushed out of the way? I dont want the clouds to be intersecting with the airship cuase it will look very weird from the inside of the ship to see a cloud cutting through the wall. Do these particles have a collide option? If not will they work with the World Particle Collider component?


    Can the clouds be animated to blend into different shapes over time? If not can they be moved (translated xyz)?


    Again this looks like an awesome cloud system, thanks for any info!
  35. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Airship, the cloud's color is not changed in the material, but in the inspector, or at runtime via script. You may even change more than one color. The whole shading may be changed to take e.g. the moving sun into account.

    There is no support for any kind of collision. The World Particle Collider will probably not work, or give you weird results from a shading point of view.
    At the moment, there are two ways to move a cloud. The simpler one is to move the whole cloud (translated xyz). The trickier one is to move each particle using a script.

    I am working on cloud animations. One of the targets is to get collision support with it, too. But can't give you any guarantees about when it will be finished.

    Hope you got all information you needed. As you see, it works very well and is easy to set up, if the cloud's shape doesn't have to be changed. Otherwise, you need workarounds that are not optimal.
  36. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Update: Cloud System 1.1.1

    I would like to thank for all the feedback I got so far! I received several PMs and emails. They also pointed me to an annoying issue, that could be resolved just by adding a warning.

    That is just a minor update from a coding point of view. But I am working on some new features that are very time consuming, but will heavily improve the Cloud System. Stay tuned :D
  37. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Added a performance test in the first post. Check what performance you may expect, without buying the Cloud System.
  38. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Just found an amazing video in the forums that is using the Cloud System. At 3:00 there is even a fly through. Very nice :)
    Forum post
  39. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    We will release version 1.2 in a few days. It will have better performance thanks to multithreading! Here is the official announcement.
  40. Demostenes

    Demostenes

    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,107
    URLs does not work..

    Btw, it is important to keep in mind, that author has cca 1/2 of product price on the asset store. It makes much more sense to buy directly from author via pay pal etc.....
  41. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Demonstenes, which URL does not work?

    Authors get 70% and Unity 30%. Anyone is welcome to buy directly, but only for the same price. That is required due to the agreement with Unity. Thanks for pointing that out.
  42. U2

    U2

    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    208
  43. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    rutecht, no idea what it going on at the moment. I made no changes and could also not access the web page. Now, a few minutes later it seems to work again?! At least I hope so. No idea what happend...
  44. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Version 1.2 with multithreading for the custom renderers is now under review.
  45. garyhaus

    garyhaus

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Messages:
    511
    Dantus,

    Great product, love what I can do with it!

    Please help. How can I get my trees(billboards) to render in front of the clouds? I am using the CustomVertical material and it looks great. Just doesn't render properly. It renders 'over' or in front of the billboarded versions of the trees. Any help would be greatly appreciated.(Using the terrain engine for mac and win builds)

    Thank you,

    Gary Haus
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  46. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    Hi Gary Haus

    I just added some billboard trees to one of the scenes and I can unfortunately confirm your issue. It is known, that Unity has a problem with transparent shaders in the rendering pipeline. For all situations so far there was a workaround. One could just change the scale of one of the involved game object by a very small amount and the issue was solved. But that hasn't worked in the 5 minutes I have tested it. I will further try to find a workaround.
    I will also contact Unity and ask them about the status of this bug. I hope it is going to get a higher priority, as there doesn't seem to be a workaround anymore. As you know Unite is taking place, so it will probably take some time to get an answer. They will (probably) release a new version of Unity, but I don't expect that this bug is solved, as I got no mail about it, which happend for other bugs in the past.

    You can be sure that I will do my very best to resolve this annoying bug!
  47. garyhaus

    garyhaus

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Messages:
    511
    Thank you for your response and effort... Seems like that's a pretty big bug. It basically means I cannot use the system as that is why I purchased it...
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  48. Dantus

    Dantus

    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,633
    I just updated the bug report and pointed out that there is no workaround for billboard trees. Further I wrote an email to the support. That's all I can offer for now.
  49. garyhaus

    garyhaus

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Messages:
    511
    Of course. I wasn't blaming you at all. I appreciate your help and hopefully this will get resolved for everyone.

    Regards,

    Gary
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  50. U2

    U2

    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    208
    I wonder if this is the same problem people get with the water4 asset? I believe the work around for that was changing the render mode to deferred or something. If so though good luck on a fix.. we have been complaining about that bug for a year now.