.
  • Trainz Dev Diary - Height-Mapped Ground Textures and Geometry (sneak peek)

    Our recent Dev Diaries introduced you to height-mapped textures - a trick that makes a 2D texture appear to have height. This week we take a look at how the new height-mapped ground textures and PBR height-map shaders are able to intersect with other height-maps and geometry such as the flat plane of water in the video below.

    There are two obvious benefits here:
    * Individual mounds poke through the water surface, and
    * The overall border between the water and the ground is no longer a hard edge, but appears much more natural.



    For more details and images, you can check out the full Dev Diary here.

    All content creators wanting to start to look into the technique will find more information on the Trainz wiki.
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. Shortline2's Avatar
      Shortline2 -
      Looks very interesting, but your link above [full Dev Diary here.] is not working, had to look at the page source text to find a working link.

      Linda
    1. Tony_Hilliam's Avatar
      Tony_Hilliam -
      Thanks Linda - fixed.
    1. ATSF854's Avatar
      ATSF854 -
      Impressive stuff guys. Looking forward to messing with this
    1. pcas1986's Avatar
      pcas1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ATSF854 View Post
      Impressive stuff guys. Looking forward to messing with this
      I agree. Very nice indeed.
    1. ARhian7's Avatar
      ARhian7 -
      Wow, now that looks great!
    1. TrainzPlayer14's Avatar
      TrainzPlayer14 -
      Very nice work N3V

      For the longest time Trainz has been in need of more natural looking water/ground transition, this is really a leap in Trainz!
    1. logybear's Avatar
      logybear -
      I think having a temp folder for multiplayer settings would be cool. Then you can play with 3rd party content.
    1. ish6's Avatar
      ish6 -
      Hi,

      Wow, I am impressive -- However, would we need a powerful video card to see such effects come alive?

      Ish
    1. Dinorius_Redundicus's Avatar
      Dinorius_Redundicus -
      Quote Originally Posted by ish6 View Post
      Hi,

      Wow, I am impressive --

      Ish
      You should run for President.
    1. Pomme's Avatar
      Pomme -
      This is really great and will result in some terrific screen shots. Can water levels be changed locally without affecting other areas? pomme
    1. WindWalkr's Avatar
      WindWalkr -
      Quote Originally Posted by ish6 View Post
      ...would we need a powerful video card to see such effects come alive?
      Hi Ishy

      To be blunt: yes. A low-end GPU won't cut it for this kind of effect. You can of course disable the texture heightmapping if you have an older computer, and still benefit from PBR etc., but the really cool stuff needs a fairly decent (high end from the last few years, or mid range current) GPU. We'll release detailed hardware specs when the next product is closer to release, but that should hopefully give you a decent ballpark of what to expect.

      kind regards,

      chris
    1. pcas1986's Avatar
      pcas1986 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WindWalkr View Post
      ... You can of course disable the texture heightmapping if you have an older computer, and still benefit from PBR etc., ...
      Is that going to be a TANE-NEXT video setting? I cannot see anything in my NVidia video driver for that.

      Just curious.
    1. ish6's Avatar
      ish6 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WindWalkr View Post
      Hi Ishy

      To be blunt: yes. A low-end GPU won't cut it for this kind of effect. You can of course disable the texture heightmapping if you have an older computer, and still benefit from PBR etc., but the really cool stuff needs a fairly decent (high end from the last few years, or mid range current) GPU. We'll release detailed hardware specs when the next product is closer to release, but that should hopefully give you a decent ballpark of what to expect.

      kind regards,

      chris
      Hi Chris,

      Thank you, sir for that explanation!
      Looking forward to seeing all of these new features play-out on my computer on the next version of trainz!

      Take Care
      Ishy
    1. Morten16c's Avatar
      Morten16c -
      Great, but I rather saw that your efforts were target to fix all the minor issues with the current version.
    1. Tony_Hilliam's Avatar
      Tony_Hilliam -
      We've been fixing lots of issues, and we're still doing so. With a small team, a complex program, a massive amount of legacy content and unlimited ways of combining various items, the result is that there will always be more things to fix.
    1. Vern's Avatar
      Vern -
      Looks encouraging. As a fan of routes in and through the mountains, it can be quite difficult to get the right effect with the current flat textures, even the more recent iterations.
    1. valbridge's Avatar
      valbridge -
      I have learned just how texture detail improves the overall appeal of a route...this development will greatly enhance route aesthetics ... congrats.
    1. trainzrule2's Avatar
      trainzrule2 -
      Looks good, but I'd love to see what that looks like on slopes. I'd also love to see some new topology tools.
    1. Vern's Avatar
      Vern -
      Quote Originally Posted by trainzrule2 View Post
      Looks good, but I'd love to see what that looks like on slopes. I'd also love to see some new topology tools.
      And indeed on vertical slopes. One of the massive shortcomings with the Jet engine or "new" (ahem) engine derived from Jet is that it doesn't render textures on vertical or near vertical slopes at all well. Even the finest most up to date high-res texture just looks stretched out.
    1. clam1952's Avatar
      clam1952 -
      That's due to the grid being stretched, the textures effectively are mapped to a square, distort the square and it distorts the texture, that's given me an idea that perhaps you could create a texture that looked correct when stretched, might look a bit odd when not stretched though?
      The problem is less on a 5m grid, if the grid was say 1m which is not likely to happen, it probably wouldn't be that much of an issue.