First of all, the development of EcoLife didn’t really start already. Currently we are developing prototypes to get used to the engine and test if our thought can be implemented as we would like to. So you pretty much missed nothing. Although we are just prototyping at the moment, we still want to share our current work with you to already give you the chance to interact with us in order to improve EcoLife. At no time is it easier to try out suggestions for improvement than during prototyping.
FadePixels is currently working on models for trees, rocks to fill the generated landscape. Additionally we are working on a mountain template for world generation. This template is needed in the beginning, because the algorithm for the generated Lanscape does not yet meet our requirements regarding the generation of mountains.
But how to model trees, stones, animals, plants and mountains at all. We use the free software Blender. With a little training, instructions and tutorials you can create low-poly models in Blender within a few steps. The time costs are also kept within limits, so I need about 10-15 minutes for a new tree species, for example.
A detailed description and demonstration of the modelling process will follow in a separate DevBlog.
AMC2000 is currently working on a prototype for the world generation. A trivial task but due to the nature of EcoLife and its simulation of an eco system, the world itself needs to be generated in a realistic mannor. Currently I am working on threading the generation, both to make it faster and possible to create larger worlds for the player to discover and settle. As unity has a limit on meshes can be, threading is needed to create a world larger than 241 units squared.
But what is a mesh and what are units… The mesh is the visible part of the map, consisting of vertices (a vertex is a point in space). Vertices are connected to create triangles, so called faces of a mesh. A unit simply describes the distance between two vertices and might be implemented as millimeter, centimeter or meter. Lets say one unit is roughly 25cm, in this case the max terrain size without threading would be just shy of 60 meters. Not that large for a simulation with plenty of foliage, animals and of course the player and his buildings…
As some of the basic terms of world/mesh generation have been treated, what parts does the map consist of?
Currently we are aiming to provide the same ‘biomes’ on every map. forests, mountains, rivers and plains. With these biomes the player is able to gether all resources he needs to survive. This of course does not mean, that there wont be more in the future and we are happy to read suggestions for more features regarding world generation from you.
As already mentioned, I’m already able to create a mesh with some hills, textured with the basic way of texturing such terrain… creating a texture based on the values of the height map. The heightmap is an ‘image’ with each pixel having a value between 0 and 1, represented as white or black. Of course these are decimal values and many different shades of gray are inbetween. This generation, paired with a so called ‘Perlin Noise’ doesn’t produce the realistic terrain we are aiming to tho, so other methods need to be tested before finally starting to implement it into the main EcoLife-project. Espacially rivers are problematic and will need quiet a bit more work before i am satisfied with the result and willing to implement it in the big project.