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Texturing the Terrain

Find out what we're doing and thinking as we develop WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition and the Tower Fall expansion!

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Texturing the Terrain

Postby loboLoco » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:11 pm


Video link: https://youtu.be/LnW_ZO0GESM

As with everything else in WolfQuest 3, the maps are all new, bigger and better than before. We want these new terrains to be as accurate as we can make them, both in terms of ground cover (what kinds of vegetation appears where) and the appearance of the ground itself. For the first task, we worked with satellite imagery to create a dozen control maps — these are special utility textures that indicate where certain types of vegetation should appear. Using a tool called Terrain Composer, we assign specific textures (green grass, dry grass, dirt, forest floor, etc.) to each control map, with various filters like noise, blur, and angle, and then the tool paints the textures onto the terrain.

The next step is making the ground surface look as realistic as possible. We’ve experimented with several new terrain shaders (they’re called “shaders” because they determine how the textures reflect light) and settled on MicroSplat, created by shader wizard Jason Booth. It offers some amazing features: from basics like normal maps and heightmap blending to new techniques for reducing texture tiling, to exciting new features like wetness and snow. The video shows how MicroSplat transforms the terrain from a simple, flat surface to a highly-detailed and realistic environment.

This whole process can take quite awhile, as it requires a lot of trial and error to figure out what settings and filters best recreate the actual environment. I’ve been working on it since October, and in fact, I’m still tinkering with it today — this morning I swapped in a couple different grass textures, tweaked some colors, and it’s even better than when I recorded the video, so I added a shot of that at the end of the video. There is nothing more satisfying than that moment when it all comes together and really looks like the terrain we hiked in Yellowstone National Park.

And this is just for the terrain itself. We’ve got new grass, bush, and tree models in the works, and I can’t wait to get everything put together and show off the complete terrain. (And then start the whole process over again with Slough Creek….and then, at some point, with Lost River, though we don’t expect to have that done for WQ3’s initial release.)
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Black Burn » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:43 pm

Wow! It's so realistic. There will be no game to top WolfQuest when it's released!
It almost seem's like it's getting closer to release, but take your time WQ Team, i understand that this take's a long time to make the graphic's look real and work with player action's. Keep up the amazing work WolfQuest Team!
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby chickiefoo » Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:59 pm

With all these new amazing upgrades to the map, vegetation, and wildlife; how well will the game run on mobile/lower-end PCs?
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby loboLoco » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:08 pm

chickiefoo wrote:With all these new amazing upgrades to the map, vegetation, and wildlife; how well will the game run on mobile/lower-end PCs?


We haven't gotten far enough to do much with optimizations or testing on various hardware. We'll do our best, but certainly will have quality levels that reduce the visual quality to run better on lower spec hardware.
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Silverheart98 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:09 pm

Ooh this is amazing <3 great to see how the game is coming along x3 and how realistic is looks like, it totally surprises me :o I also had the worry of how it will run on older laptops

Anyways, keep up the great job x3 You are doing more than great!
Last edited by Silverheart98 on Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Bettagirl150 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:10 pm

This all looks really nice! I just hope that WolfQuest 3 will be able to run on my laptop, which can only smoothly run the current WolfQuest on fast graphics.
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby duskypack » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:20 pm

Wow, it certainly seems like a while until both maps will be complete in scenery and textures alone, but I’m delighted to see the time and effort put into them being rich and lifelike. At this rate I’ll likely challenge myself to plant identification when the game is released. I can see even more numerous educational possibilities in classrooms and the like than ever before for any teachers (especially with the animals interacting with each other - students observing in-game and taking notes like a field biologist for an assignment, anyone?) It will be especially exciting to see all of this from the unusual perspective of a wolf.
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Gillato » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:49 pm

Wow.. Guys your doing an amazing job. i mean like Wow.. The grass and the rocks! and the Dirt! Dude that's so much detail, and The Tree's! Oh my GOSH
There so beautiful! and the special effect's are outstanding!.

Keep up the Good work guys..
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby SolitaryHowl » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:49 pm

Wow

Looks really good! Can't wait to see the new terrain & textures with the new vegetation! :tree:
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Windstrider » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:10 pm

duskypack wrote:Wow, it certainly seems like a while until both maps will be complete in scenery and textures alone, but I’m delighted to see the time and effort put into them being rich and lifelike. At this rate I’ll likely challenge myself to plant identification when the game is released. I can see even more numerous educational possibilities in classrooms and the like than ever before for any teachers (especially with the animals interacting with each other - students observing in-game and taking notes like a field biologist for an assignment, anyone?) It will be especially exciting to see all of this from the unusual perspective of a wolf.

Yass, that would be so cool! I'm considering telling my environmental science teacher about WQ since we're doing a project on national parks right now, and we did some stuff on food chains etc earlier in the year.

I can't wait to see what it looks like with the vegetation! WQ3 will be well worth the wait.
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Frodo1 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:06 pm

Holy cow, that's absolutely incredible! The terrain is gorgeous-- it has so much more life than the current maps!
Seriously-- every time I think this game can't get cooler, you guys completely outdo yourselves!
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby loboLoco » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:51 pm

duskypack wrote:[color=#80BFFF]Wow, it certainly seems like a while until both maps will be complete in scenery and textures alone


Well, Amethyst took a long time partly because I was working out the tool chain, and partly because of some bugs in some of the tools. Vegetation models have been coming slowly for other reasons. Slough Creek should go much much faster. But yeah, WQ3 release is not imminent...
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Isela » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:03 pm

The new terrain looks fantastic! The part about the grid effect was intriguing. I've noticed that same pattern before in game design and was wondering how that could be rectified. All the little details really add up, and I'm looking forward to the final product with the new terrain and vegetation put together!
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby Keyyva » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:37 pm

I am astounded at the amount of detail you guys have put into the terrain so far!
I'm very impressed on how well the height blending looks! It's amazing how much of a difference shaders and normal maps make; Unreal Engine has some crazy ones of stone walls.
The receding snow is a very cool effect! Is that done by creating a control map for snow and adjusting the sensitivity?
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Re: Texturing the Terrain

Postby WolfDragonPlasma » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:02 am

Okay, can I just say that my mind was stinking blown when you used all those tools to create such a dynamic landscape? That's stinking incredible the amount of detail that's in there.

I just hope that my gaming laptop doesn't become obsolete when this update is released. That would make me a very sad individual XD
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