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EasyRoads3D v3 - the upcoming new road system

Discussion in 'Works In Progress' started by raoul, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    I think you're misunderstanding me a little - the reason i'd want a mesh for the river bed, would be so i could export it out of unity entirely for manipulatio in 3rd party programs, that can achieve things unity cannot and reach a very high quality apearance to the river. If you make other objects you have scattered along the river as subobjects to the river mesh, when you export you will export the riverbed AND the subobjects.

    When you have these you can make adjustments to the riverbed using standard modelling tools or something like 3dsmax's displace modifier to roughen the floor of the riverbed. You can bake ambient occlusion into the scene, for use as another map. You could take the heightof each part of the model as a greyscale texture and use it to simulate the river water running over stones that go over the river surface but not by much, and when you have the river surface you can load the surface, riverbed and objects you added and houdini can run a simulation starting at the river source and calculate flowmaps including flowing around any obstacles there were on the riverbed. When you've edited the riverbed as you like, you can make normalmaps to store the differences and use that on your original riverbed mesh to get lots of surface detail. Just a few examples, gotta sleep now
     
  2. raoul

    raoul

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    In that case, to how far do you want the river bed mesh to extend? At some point it must fluently connect with the terrain. For roads that is easy as these are flat surfaces. The riverbed won't be flat cartainly not after modifying it.

    The only way I can see to achieve this is by snapping the river bed on the sides to the nearest terrain grid points to avoid visible holes. We used to do this with other tools we made (the old cave demo on our website also uses that approach), so it can certainly be done and it will look good especially when using mesh terrain shaders that come with shader tools like RTP and I belief the ats color map shaders can do that as well. Or did you have something else in mind?

    This could be added as an option but I think deforming the terrain to the riverbed shape should still be supported.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  3. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    I had RTP exactly in mind for blending but if ats can do it too i'd be very happy with that as they are both great systems. In my imagination I had deforming the terrain already in mind, so making a river would involve deforming the terrain to the width and depth needed and creating a mesh (The complexity/subdivision could be set by the user I would imagine) that followed the shape of the channel you made by deforming the terrain and up the banks until it could have an, again user definable flattened side that conformed to flat ground, so the mesh in profile would look in basic like a u but with horizontal surfaces at the height of the sides of the u - this being a very simplistic example.

    Using the easyroads style system, being able to control subdivision between markers would mean you could control when you had complex banks or dramatic changes in river shape. The mesh you would use for the surface would itself be a seperate mesh that neednt be too subdivided, just enough to be finely tessellated if needed, and follow the course of the river - the reason I say it should be slightly wider than the channel is to account for varying water levels if you wanted to simulate weather or suchlike - a faster flow would mean the water level riding up the banks - maybe there's a smarter way of doing this however

    Having the river mesh have these flanking flat sides would mean that it should be easier to blend into the surrounding terrain, but on a further note, provide a surface upon which to run procedural shapes like fences, paths, outcroppings and so on much like the road system, as well as further scattering of procedural objects and prefabs in general as rivers close to urban rivers tend to have mooring spots for boats, paths, signs and so on, areas where human interference is low have rivers with a lot of vegetation and trees along their banks, roots and debris near the water surface and so on. Being able to attach the objects as subobjects when exporting for outside editing would be great as you could do a lot of very nice detailing, create your own UVs for areas and so on, even go as far as using the river you exported to sculpt very intricate detail and use the original and the sculpt to bake out normal and height maps for normal bumped shaders or parallax occlusion mapping (Although if I do it i might try out quadtree displacement mapping if possible/can get my head round it, as it looked like a good technique), or indeed tessellation. But there's options for all platforms there

    On thinking about it, there are probably great tools you can already get from the asset store for use in-editor to help here, but having the option to take everything into professional modelling software would be appreciated

    One useful tool to provide for this would be something that I suggested earlier that could split up the length of the river into segments and place them side by side in uv space so you can get as much uv space as possible to create higher resolution maps for the river objects (For flow and heightmaps). This is something a 3D artist should be able to do themselves on an almost trivial basis really but it would speed work up a bit

    A lot of the above refers to a workflow involving exporting in some 3d format for external tools but i've just found a very cool looking asset on the asset store https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/#/content/10509 that would be great for doing a lot of this in-editor (especially if you're using unity pro), i think i'll grab a copy when money comes, in fact. Maybe you could talk to the dev of that tool if these river ideas pan out for some cross-promotion or something.

    In the end, the whole river mesh generation could be disabled and the river tool simply deform the terrain which was how it currently works right? But adding a mesh that follows this deformation that offers finer editing control, texture application and support for prefabs (anything from trees to swans nests) and easyroads procedural meshes that can be controlled through central parameters would be great - would add a lot of flexibility. Also it should be fairly straightforward to define different areas of the mesh into 'zones' based on the angle or height of a face for example, or wether it counts as the river bed, the banks or the 'wings', or even the world height, and use these values to blend between textures

    Compared to the river mesh, the river surface is much simpler and in terms of mesh generation would be a decent resolution mesh that followed the course of the river at some specified height. You could have a variety of shaders for this depending on platform, with the dx11 version being able to enjoy controllable tessellation that i *think* could be manipulated by both a heightmap of the features of the river and any flowmap - assuming the surface is at first displaced by a water ripple texture, depending on the speed of the water flow (i'd connect this to weather usually but in the case of your work, it could maybe just be a parameter) the river surface would be increasingly displaced by objects in the water (Increase the influence of the heightmap) and then some manual adjustment of the influence of the flowmap vs the heightmap to create 3D eddies and things like that.

    That last stuff would mostly be shader based and shouldn't be too hard given the information it needs.

    This river thing has gotten me thinking really, if you've already got the knowledge youve gained from making easyroads there, there's no reason you cant make very impressive rivers with too many problems. And i dont mind having a go at the shaders needed for various aspects of it, if you're convinced it's a good idea. As this kind of river generation is something i'd find pretty useful myself I could try modelling an example but i've got a bunch on and would rather just do the shaders for it as the day's work is all shader based anyway - if nothing else, after i've done the things i told people i'd do to stop getting buried in things, i'll try cook up a dx11 shader for the water surface that will serve as an example of what i'm describing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  4. SubZeroGaming

    SubZeroGaming

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    Well done! This looks fantastic!
     
  5. raoul

    raoul

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    @lazygunn, So what you are saying is, the terrain should be deformed according the river shape, the river mesh should go slightly “inside”the terrains river bed somewhere near the sides and let the shaders do the nice blending. We ourselves found this was not optimal and chose for snapping to nearest terrain grid points but we use hi res terrains, on lower resolution terrains it could work fine.

    Yes, I think you are asking some very specific functionality, it can all be implemented but I think the most import feature is that it provides you with a system that you yourself can expand on (riverbed, river surface). Once that is done, it can be further developed, v3.1 etc. I have seen the flowmap creator as well, I like that sort of functionality.

    Also, yes, as mentioned before, including additional shaders would be great. Regarding getting v3 out I have to focus on roads now but rivers can be discussed and if there is anything you like to show, regarding shaders or ideas you have in mind, I am very interested.
     
  6. raoul

    raoul

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    Thank you very much, glad you like it!
     
  7. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    When I get chance i'll try to put together an example scene demonstrating the shader for the water surface and river bed involving what i was proposing, hopefully that chance will come along, ive given myself too much to do!
     
  8. raoul

    raoul

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    That would be very helpful especially regarding how you want the river bed to connect with the terrain but also the triangulation of the river surface in specific situations like when rivers become wider etc. Just let me know when you had the chance to look at this!
     
  9. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    The triangulaton i hadnt even considered a great deal, perhaps not good of me, i'm not very aquainted with creating meshes procedurally. Wether this would make sense or not I don't know but i suppose it depends on how drastic the change is between widths. I was imagining the river surface to be made of quads, so evenly as a grid of quads that the user can specify, if it was possible to subdivide or merge cleanly between sections of river then at least the amount of detail could be controlled that way. I've been using the radial grid for the ocean i'm doing stuff with initially done by scrawk, and the grid uses a bias value to control how closely the center vertices of the grid are pulled towards you, controlling how much detail you want at that spot, quite a nice LOD system. Would being able to control the bias of the lengthways vertices/poly edges of a river section towards the center or away towards the bank help in evening out the distribution of vertices and keep the surface quads equally matched in size, less tension, or balanced towards where you would prefer tessellation detail?

    Also it shouldnt matter too much if the river surface were to clip into the bank either, the shader would blend out the edges of the river somewhat to transparency where it intersects with other geometry, so if it's acceptable to do that to avoid stress in the mesh then it should be possible to keep the surface fairly even even if it means a bit of clipping here and there, i guess i would have to try and emulate this a bit and see what the results are. As i'll be up tonight although possibly merrymaking i'll make a start on this hopefully. I'll try to use easyroad's features as much as possible to maintain the context and things I have to model i'll try to model as if it were being extruded programatically and snapping to terrain topology (I have a terrain to mesh tool so this shouldnt be too hard to pull off in max) and i'll try to create examples of various sections of river to give an idea of variation.

    I'm hoping it wont take more than a few days - a week to get things together, ive just got a few things to do at the moment so i'm trying to delegate time properly. If you find any problems with what I said above or you just dont think it would work, let me know and maybe even suggest ideas of your own, i can mess around in max and see what works
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  10. raoul

    raoul

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    That is why I was asking, do you want the number of quads match over width changes or should vertices distances be fixed meaning the number of quads change on with changes. An example would make that clear.

    I think you cannot avoid a little bit of clipping certainly on higher heightmap resolutions unless you snap the river surface exactly to terrain points / edges.
     
  11. Jes28

    Jes28

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    Hi.

    Can I use EaseyRoads 3.0 on mesh not on terrain?
    So when I create road it raycast down and lie down to my mesh.
     
  12. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi Jes28,

    Usually the reason for mesh type terrains is the triangulation (optimization). It will not have the the same gridded nature of the terrain object, it can have any arbitrary shape. I don't know the nature of your terrain mesh but in a lot of cases snapping the road to this shape will most likely not look so good.

    However, you could cut the shape of the road object out of the terrain and retriangulate the terrain to exactly connect to these objects. We do that in our own projects which also use a mesh for the terrain. V3 is also developed for our own project and will be optimized to be integrated in this terrain system. We are planning to release a public version of that mesh terrain system at some point in time, but if there is demand for that we could give that more priority...

    Another option would be to use an additional terrain mesh surrounding the road, on top and blended with the terrain mesh itself, something very similar as being discussed in Lazygunn's river bed suggestions. This is a little more performance heavy but fairly easy to implement. Depending on your mesh terrain texturing (splat maps?), it will also require additional blend shaders like the RTP and ATM Color shaders.

    Or let me know if you had something else in mind!

    Raoul
     
  13. Jes28

    Jes28

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    The reason of my wish is that we do not have terrain we have mesh and use your system for forest route.
    We want the road turned to the mesh and not vice versa.

    Will your 3.0 system can do that?
     
  14. janpec

    janpec

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    Raoul is v3 update free if i bought v2?
     
  15. raoul

    raoul

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    @ Jes28, It is fairly simple to add that feature. But in my previous reply I tried to explain that the end result very much depends on the nature of the terrain mesh. I also mentioned two options on how that could be dealt with.

    If you want a more precise answer for you situation you could send me a PM or email with more details / screenshots of your terrain meses. This will give me a better idea of what could work for you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  16. raoul

    raoul

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    @janpec, could you send me a pm with your email address so I can check?
     
  17. ciorbyn

    ciorbyn

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    I wanted to share an idea (do not know if someone has already tried it):D ...
    I created the partial mesh of buildings, and I put this as a side objects and I got a procedural city!

    I think with a few tweaks it could better implement this feature ( Ex: more materials ) ... for now.. I look forward to be able to put the crossings!;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  18. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    The clipping really wouldn't matter thanks to the shader so if something would be easier (not sure what) if it involved clipping then no problem. With river width changes and if you wouldnt particularly find it a problem, and with tessellation being in mind, it would probably make most sense to keep constant size quads right along the river and increase/decrease their number to fill the river channel. With clipping not being a problem it doesnt have to be particularly exact anyways with a few extra quads at the side possibly being pretty useful if you wanted to change the water level of the river dynamically. Same size quads means the surface will be tessellated evenly, and predictably, and LoD styles will be consistent. I know it's probably pretty annoying not having a decent example to go by at the moment but I do intend to have an example soon, i guess i'll try to get at least an example of the geometry shown first but hopefully have shaders for the river surface and bed done soon enough too. Ideas keep popping up, such as how to accomodate a whole range of different conditions of a river but i'll keep it simple for now.

    I'm figuring the geometry for the river bed would be based entirely on the underlying terrain and my idea for a shader for it was to use POM, tessellation or if i can implement it, quadtree displacement for several textures you could distribute around the mesh based on bank steepness and suchlike.

    I think i'll have to play with easyroads a bit before saying that much more but I do consider it possibly a nice idea to have the option to subdivide the riverbed mesh in-editor mainly for vertex painting because while detailing the river bed of a river intricately hasnt traditionally been noticable in games i've played, i think i'd make a point of making an example of it myself because it might well suit the mechanics of some games, or give people he ability to paint in some variation across the river bed and banks without relying on external tools

    My ideas for blending the river mesh with the terrain are much based on the blending tools supplied with the more popular terrain shader assets but perhaps it would be possible to generate the edge of a riverbank (like a muddy overhang) procedurally itself. Ahh, i think it would be a lot easier to just produce an example for you then it should give a good basis for the discussion. I'll try get something together soon
     
  19. raoul

    raoul

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    Yes, never thought of that. For simple cities (mobile) you could actually do that and use several side objects to shape the buildings. You could then export the side objects, add more materials and reimport in Unity. In v3 side objects wll have layers so you can add additional shapes to a single side bject all with their own material. You could also put buildings in a prefab and assign the prefab as a side object. But, in case you want the buildings to line up, that wll probably require reasonably straight roads.
     
  20. raoul

    raoul

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    @lazygunn, exactly, when we tested animated water against a curved river bed the water will float above the ground without a little bit of clipping that is why right now the river surface extends a little bit to inside the ground.

    We are currently very busy with the roads so from our side no hurry… But yes, you want some very specific behavior so an example would help.

    For our project we created a two layered river bank shaping tool where you can control the angle and distance for both layers. The first layer is sand / mud, the second grass or anything else (splatmap based shader ). So you can for example extend the mud layer fairly flat outwards then smoothly curve it with a spline shape towards the river itself and control the second ground layer angle to add height variations. If that makes sense. This is all mesh terrain related but since we are talking about generating a mesh riverbed….
     
  21. lazygunn

    lazygunn

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    I see depending on a terrain texture, when theyre a limited resource anyways would be a bad idea, while being creative with your terrain textures can get good results, having to consider two at least of your usual 8 (in rtp lets say) for your rivers is making things very hard to anticipate, this was the main reason I thought having a riverbed mesh and then that have its own shader with its own 4 textures (In various extrusion flavours) would make artistic consierations much less of a headache, plus with an option to control the detail (ie vertex level) giving some nice control for vertex painting that a widely used terrain shader wouldnt really offer, and again in-shader thats more options.

    I'd like to get an example soon just so you can think about it even if implementation didnt come for ages - one thing I will say is im not really looking for specific behaviour, id like to provide an example that accounted for a wide range of rivers from broad shallow pebbled rivers to the usual turbid reasonably wide rivers in england with a great deal of vegetation and plant matter on the banks right along to a typical english canal (No surprise im english hey) with, when i get a look at it, an idea in using easyroads to generate convincing towpaths and moorings and a perfectly calm surface. Actually i'd also like to provide a river example using a 'normal' river as a template but show a very turbulent flow of water, such as in heavy rainfall when rivers can feasibly get quite violent.

    Id like to provide you, basically, with a flexible seeming system that you might hopefully be able to integrate and it be a really strong feature because there's no decent river generators as far as I know in the asset store and i think being able to generate them to a high quality entirely procedurally would be great. I wont really nag about it though, ill supply scenes if im up to it that demonstrate my ideas for implementation with example shaders and within a unity scene, with examples of how easyroads provided features that helped, and where diferent features might behelpful, and you can assess it yourself. I dont expect anything back I'd just find the system useful and maybe others would too, and it really would be good to see a river in unity that actually looked good (or up to my own personal standards) - this is something I have never seen

    Ive got it penned in as first task to do tomorrow after i recover from my hangover, so hopefully I can get something useful out for you soon
     
  22. philwinkel

    philwinkel

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    Thanks a ton for this asset, this is really great. Just got it a few mins ago, can't believe it was only $45. This is a perfect example of how great the unity asset store is. This asset will save a ridiculous amount of time and works great. Easy to figure out.

    Can't wait for the next version! How's that beta coming along?
     
  23. raoul

    raoul

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    @Lazygunn, Yes, I understand, I was just giving some info on something we already have. Instead of providing a "basic" riverbed mesh shape option, also include additional shaping tools. Regardless of that, you will always be able to export and tweak it anyway.

    Ok, looking forward to see the example, thank you...!
     
  24. raoul

    raoul

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    @philwinkel, Glad you like it! We are currently working on the Terrain Deformation implementation. Regarding the beta, I think I have to be a bit cautious providing something too soon. It depends on what you guys would expect from it and prefer? A fully featured version but perhaps not entirely bug free yet? Beta releases after each new feature implementation? But, in general, we are working hard on it, also on additional content / scripts...
     
  25. Meceka

    Meceka

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    I can't download side objects package from your website. I have purchased the asset.
     
  26. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi Meceka,

    For Asset Store purchases and downloading from our website, please have a look at the "_readme" file in the root directory of the imported package!
     
  27. philwinkel

    philwinkel

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    some random errors, posting in case this can be of any help..
    $ezroads.PNG
     
  28. philwinkel

    philwinkel

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    Hey mate,

    question - any chance we could configure (or you could change) the default way EasyRoads will create a directory in your project root? For example, my unity project root directory contains these directories:

    Assets/
    Library/

    I have noticed, there is also now a EasyRoads3D directory in the root of my project. I guess that's okay, I just like to have all my assets in the assets folder (for source control reasons etc).

    I notice there is also this "j" file (it has no extension whatsoever), it's just in the root directory of my project. I can tell it's part of easyroads3d because there's some "RoadObject01" at the top with a bunch of road coordinates and stuff in the file. Is there any chance these files could just go into the easyroads3d folder? I'm kinda OCD when it comes to random files and folders popping up all over, that j file is driving me crazy. "What's that? Oh, that's the j file. It's for easyroads."

    Just a thought :D
     
  29. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi, Regarding error messages, it is hard to tell more about it without knowing what causes the error or when it exactly appears. Error messages are a result of a sequence of actions. It looks like the the second is related to the Inspector and most likely the result of the first error. Can you remember when that happened, after which action? And how did it it affect the workflow / end result?

    The folder outside the Assets folder is used for backup reasons, splatmap textures, exported objects, etc. You can store them inside the assets folder, have a look at "General Settings" > "Backup Location".

    I am not sure about the "j" file. I did a quick test, I do not see such a file. Can you send it to me (PM or Email) so I can have a look at it?

    Thanks,
    Raoul
     
  30. sheshu

    sheshu

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    When can i expect easyroad3d v3 version. Can you tell me exact date?
     
  31. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi sheshu, looking at your name, have we been in touch the last couple of days by email? In that case, with respect to the nature of your business we can discuss this further here or by email. If you let me know more details I can be more precise about when that will be available.

    Thanks,
    Raoul
     
  32. bizilux1

    bizilux1

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    will v3 be low poly? for mobile use?
     
  33. raoul

    raoul

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    Hello bizilux1, yes, just like in v2 you will be able to control the geometry resolution and optimize the roads for mobile.

    Raoul
     
  34. JoshuaK

    JoshuaK

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    Thank you for this great plugin, it works great for this city we are creating. Could we be part of the beta for the next update to get road merging?
     
  35. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi JoshuaK, thank you! I will put you on the list, can you send me a PM or email with your email address?
     
  36. Marduker

    Marduker

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    Hello Raoul, is v3 beta already out ? if not when it approximately will be?
     
  37. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi Marduker, not yet, our intention was to release betas step by step. We have decided to wait with this until about 95% of the new road system is fully functional. Most of the "hard" work is done but we are not there yet. If you want you can sign up for the betas and you will automatically receive it. We are doing our best to make this happen as soon as possible.

    Raoul
     
  38. zKici

    zKici

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    We are all very anxious in getting the beta release :)
     
  39. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi zKici,

    All the main functionality of the new system is done and seems to be working well apart from a few glitches. Right now we are polishing everything and expanding the feature list. Doing our best to get the first beta out...
     
  40. ballboy_gray

    ballboy_gray

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    How can I sign up for the beta? Junctions/Crossroads are important to my current project so am hanging for the new version.
     
  41. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi ballboy_gray, can you send me a PM or an email with your email address?
     
  42. mkgame

    mkgame

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    Hello,

    this is a really amazing work. I develop an RTS game, which is based on an uneven terrain. Building levels with single road component prefabs is possible, but time consuming. The addvantage is, that i can add scripts, animations and i can instantiate them in game (instantiating rood components is not so important for me). However, instantiating road prefabs on an uneven terrain is (Sim-City-Like) challanging, because the terrain must be adapted under the road, and after the road is placed, the terrain changes which influence the terrain under the road must be considered too...

    How can your product help me?

    1. Are all the roads one GameObject, or is it separated by the nodes. I need seperated GameObjects, because they have to interact (they must be destroyable). I saw that it is also possible to build fences and more with this tool, and at the fences it is more important to have each fence component in one GameObject. Can i assigne them all (for all at the same time) a layer or tag?

    2. Can i assigne the road components a script and animation?

    3. Do you support in game road building? (not so important for me)
     
  43. raoul

    raoul

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    Hi mkgame,

    Thank you! EasyRoads3D does take care of flatteing the terrain to match the road shape.

    1) All roads are a single GameObject. But just like in v2 I can add the option to Split the road in seperate GameObjects. Yes, you will be able to build fences and fence components are all individual GameObjects, just like in v2. But you also have the option to combine elements by matching materials.

    2) You can assign scripts to roads. I am not entirely sure regarding the animation. How exactly should this work?

    3) V3 is designed to work at runtime as well. The first releases will probbly not yet have an API. But this will be part of the final release.

    Let me know if you have further questions...

    Raoul
     
  44. Brendo Vdm

    Brendo Vdm

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Posts:
    19
    We are excited - When will the beta be released?
     
  45. goat

    goat

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Posts:
    5,168
    I have a question. If you use Unity Terrain sometimes terrain can have many polygons creating slowness. Can Easy Roads smooth out the terrain to make it more mobile friendly before putting trees, roads, rivers on it?
     
  46. raoul

    raoul

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Posts:
    2,764
    Hi Brendo VDm, I can't give an exact release date of the public release but we are currently alpha testing the new system. There are still some things to to add and improve. After that the first beta will be released. The first public release will depend on the final v3.0 feature set. But the betas will already be fairly stable as it looks now.

    Raoul
     
  47. raoul

    raoul

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Posts:
    2,764
    The Unity terrain object is grid based, we cannot change that. What you could do is create your terrains roads, rivers, export the terrain to .obj, and optimize it it in a modelling App. The other option is to use a smaller heightmap resolution on your terrain but the terrain will look less detailed.

    Raoul
     
  48. goat

    goat

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Posts:
    5,168
    I thought as much. Thanks.
     
  49. xandeck

    xandeck

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Posts:
    565
    Also, waiting for a Beta or something. Following, good work.
     
  50. raoul

    raoul

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Posts:
    2,764
    Hi xandeck,my apologies for keeping you waiting. This is an entirely new tool which invloves a lot of work to get it stable and ready. It is partially being alpha tested at the moment. A first beta will probably be released before announcing it here to get feedback from a bigger group, so if you want early access and if you have not already done so, please sign up for the beta by emailing me.

    Raoul