RFP: special effects concept art

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RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:35 pm

So... here I was, wondering why combat in VS seems so "symbolic". In that, you see the enemy's shield flash, and you know there was a hit. But that's it. It's too implicit. So I was wondering how to make it more explicit... and then it came:

We need damage special effects. Well, not only damage. Special effects in general.

I'd like to open a Request For Proposals, attach concept drawings of ships blowing up or being hit in fancy ways, and we'll see what we can do about that

:D
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby Deus Siddis » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:10 am

Are you sure concept drawings are what you want? There's tons of material on the internet of things exploding and breaking up, both from reality and entertainment media. You could use any of those as examples.

This is something I found useful from both an aesthetic and technical point of view -- LINK
That's for a generic current generation explosion effect in atmosphere and gravity, but adapting it for a space environment should just be a matter of making it simpler.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:12 am

Deus Siddis wrote:Are you sure concept drawings are what you want? There's tons of material on the internet of things exploding and breaking up, both from reality and entertainment media. You could use any of those as examples.

Yeah, but I prefer originality. I'd like to see what people can come up with, especially when under no restrictions, and whether it's doable.

PS: I'm already working on particle system improvements, since it's quite a given that we'll use them for this.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:04 pm

So much silence...
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby kark88 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:29 pm

One effect I've seen used to good affect in a 2d space sim (http://fractalsoftworks.com/) for hull damage is having the area being hit glow. In Vegastrike I kind of wonder how well this would work since often you are not close enough . . . though seeing it on a capship would be truly awesome. For Shield hits it would be interesting if for energy weapons, it either deflected/reflected the beam/bolt, or defocussed the beam as it passed through. Since I assume not all the energy would be absorbed, some of it should be visible. Just a few thoughts (sorry, no concept art)
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:42 am

The lighting effect is actually implemented, but buggy. I've spent weeks trying to de-bug it to no avail. I could dedicate a few more weeks, but first I have to get some insight into where the bug may lie, otherwise I'll circle around hopelessly as in previous attempts.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby kark88 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:44 am

For the lighting effect, I was thinking something along the lines of this image:
Image
Where an incoming beam as it plays over the shields lights up the shield, sending out a reflected beam, and a much smaller refracted beam -- assuming the shields were starting to fail. I think this would add a lot of dynamic visibility to the hit, instead of the beam just stopping at the shield.

If you wanted to take this into the damage calcs, I think a direct hit on a shield would do more shield damage than a glancing hit. But that's another issue.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:55 pm

Well, shields aren't supposed to be mirror-like like that, so I guess that specific effect wouldn't work. I'd have to dig canon text to figure out the correct effect, but now I get your drift. The shields getting lit side of things is the one that is already supposed to be there (but buggy)
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby Deus Siddis » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:20 am

klauss wrote:The lighting effect is actually implemented, but buggy. I've spent weeks trying to de-bug it to no avail. I could dedicate a few more weeks, but first I have to get some insight into where the bug may lie, otherwise I'll circle around hopelessly as in previous attempts.


When you say lighting effect, are you talking about the shields only? What happens when you hit an unshielded hull, does that create a point light at the point of impact to light up the hull and nearby objects?

Also, this is a more general suggestion, but the engine shoots itself in the foot by using per vertex lighting with per pixel lighting. The vertex stuff badly washes out the pixel lighting. On machines that support pixel shaders, vertex lighting effects should be disabled. That alone would be as valuable as any new special effect.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:32 am

Both, shielded and unshielded. Impacts are supposed to create local lights that light up everything (shields especially), but either coordinates are computed wrongly or sent to the shader in the wrong coordinate space, because they always look all wrong.

The shape of the lighting effect leaves a lot to be desired, but without correct coordinates there's no hope of getting the shape fixed.

I may agree with you about the per-vertex stuff. It may result in very inconsistent lighting when local lights are very close to the hull, but right now that's not the problem, and right now lights won't spawn that close to hulls, because they're (supposed to be) created some distance away from the shield bubble (that could also need some tinkering to get the effect to look right).
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby Deus Siddis » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:54 am

Explosion and lighting effects make weapons and damage dramatically apparent in the immediate term but they don't show lasting or precise results. If you hit another ship's engine pod or cockpit with a heavy weapon there might be a large explosion at that location from the weapon effect, but when it is over that part of the ship will still be there with no visible localized damage.

In the past I have thought about that being overcome by having craft built out of a number of component parts that take and can show damage independently. (As well as affecting the game simulation, like reduction to acceleration rates in the case of a hit to an engine pod or destruction of a weapon in the case of a hit to a weapon pod.)

But I am unsure about the feasibility of this implementation. Would each component model have to be it's own separate batch of data sent to the GPU? Because I understand that is still a major bottleneck on even state of the art systems? If every craft is made up of several models that have unique changes applied to them, and you have very many of these craft being rendered at once, won't that kill performance?
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:00 pm

Deus Siddis wrote:But I am unsure about the feasibility of this implementation. Would each component model have to be it's own separate batch of data sent to the GPU? Because I understand that is still a major bottleneck on even state of the art systems? If every craft is made up of several models that have unique changes applied to them, and you have very many of these craft being rendered at once, won't that kill performance?


Good idea.

Detailed damage visuals like those could be part of top-lod models only, where batch count is less of an issue.

My idea for that kind of damage visuals was to keep a list of at most N clusters of "damaged areas", and have the shader merge damage texture sets dynamically based on those.

I think both ideas could be merged for great detail.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby pheonixstorm » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:59 pm

I've always been partial to the shield hits from Stargate SG1 or Atlantis. Especially the the wraith ships (if memory serves)
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:01 pm

pheonixstorm wrote:I've always been partial to the shield hits from Stargate SG1 or Atlantis. Especially the the wraith ships (if memory serves)


I've tried to get that working, but somehow shield impact locations aren't correctly transmitted to shaders. I couldn't find the bug and gave up a while ago.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby pheonixstorm » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:10 pm

Post or PM the files (cpp and shader) for the collision test, shield code and the shader that handles it if you remember them please. May just need a fresh set of eyes looking at it.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:39 pm

pheonixstorm wrote:Post or PM the files (cpp and shader) for the collision test, shield code and the shader that handles it if you remember them please. May just need a fresh set of eyes looking at it.


Most of the computation happens in Bolt::Collide and Unit::ApplyDamage. Well, there must be a similar one for Beam, but I haven't looked into it yet.

Those create MeshFX entries on the units, special effects objects that are used when drawing stuff in Mesh::ProcessShaderDrawQueue, specifically, impact points are created as FX lights there.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby pheonixstorm » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:43 pm

If you can't get lights to work why not use a semi-transparent texture blend? Or perhaps a radiated particle effect.
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Re: RFP: special effects concept art

Postby klauss » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:45 pm

It's not the lights technique itself, I believe. I think it's the coordinates that are wrong (in which case no alternative technique would look right).
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