Kaivian

So, I'm a big fan of survival games, like 7 days to die, and have made several small games in Unity3D (approximately 500 hours).  I'm also a professional programmer.  "The Dream" is to work on a project on the side, attract some interest, and maybe build a team to accomplish something as big as that.  

 

Anyways, I'm still trying to figure out how "much" functionality I get out of the binaries?  Like, can I randomly generate worlds and alter biomes and create "prefab" buildings, as a user experience?   Or am I just limited to creating a world, importing it into unity, and it's just that one "map?"  

 

Likewise,  I'm wondering about bugs and how they present themselves.  It's been 3 or 4 years since I played 7dtd, but I remember them having issues with their world generation, like roads and biomes creating sheer cliffs, as an example.  If I'm using voxel studios, and some kind of bug presents itself, am I going to be "out of luck" until I can get the SDKs? 

 

My third and final question is, I saw that "unity doesn't support voxels."  Does this mean in the rendering pipeline?  Does this mean that unity is much less performant than Unreal Engine? 

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Brent R Mantel
Hey Kaivian, welcome to the forums!

I'm more amateur than you are by a stretch, I do have a Multimedia degree where much of my formal schooling was targeted at Game Design, such as graphics and coding, but I have only kept up with my programming as a hobbyist since 2005. A lot has changed since then.

I already invested my first year into Voxel Farm Indie, and while I haven't accomplished much with the software in that time, I have been using some of the features regularly in my game prototypes.

In hindsight, I should have not bought Voxel Farm until much later in the development process, as I don't have the programming expertise required to easily make use of VF's potential, even just the Indie version.

I have made numerous large terrain systems with my own custom rules, and spent a fair amount of time adjusting and perfecting them, in an effort to familiarize myself with what all can be done.

The Unity plugin for Voxel Farm works... annoyingly well. Like, I get mad that of all the stuff I can't get to work, the transition from Voxel Farm's own app, to getting fully interactive/destructible terrain to appear in Unity, is super, super easy. I'm at less than 500 hours in Unity, probably, before I began work on a project using the Voxel Farm plugin, and I had terrain imported within the first 2 hours, and probably had a projectile that can be fired by the player that 'blows up' a chunk of terrain, in 20 more or less. Sometimes I do see artifacts created when I 'carve' terrain back to back really quickly, but they are temporary, as soon as an update is called they render normally, so usually only a fraction of a second.

Prefab buildings doesn't seem too awfully complex, though you'll want to be doing that across all 3 apps to some degree, once in a general art software such as MAX, Maya, Blender, Even CAD or Photoshop for drawn references. Then into Voxel Farm to convert the meshes into voxel instances, or to use the Voxel Farm's built in tools to construct the meshes yourself, and create voxel instances that way.

From there, you can use the 'Planting Rules' to place those voxel instances across the terrain inside VF, and when you transport it into Unity, the instances will be made of the same voxels, fully interactive and destructible/carveable/buildable, as the terrain beneath them.

There's also a feature where objects placed via Planting Rules can be saved and transformed into a GameObject as a component of being imported into Unity, so you can just place cubes in Voxel Farm, and they will be automatically replaced in Unity with a GameObject of your choosing, allowing you to place buildings, trees, characters, etc, based on your planting rules declared in VF.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get the planting rules to place a voxel instance, and replace it with a GameObject in Unity, which includes the same Voxel Instance, but ties scripts and lights and other such things (required for a functioning house for instance) to said object, while maintaining its function as a destructible voxel formation. I think it's possible, but my level of skill can't get me there right now, I've hit a wall here.

There is included 'Caves' feature, which allows you to layer empty spaces and different material types beneath your surface layer terrain, which suspiciously, is snow from the surface, infinitely into the underground, anywhere where snow is placed. I haven't even BEGUN to understand how to use this feature though, as documentation is unclear/scarced and the VF devs have an awful lot going on developing the new Cloud features.

If the Caves feature becomes iterated upon, it could be used in the future to place snow, sand, dirt, stone, and even different rock layers throughout the 3d terrain.

On my own, I have been testing importing multiple VF terrains at once, and layering them on top of one another to create the effect of snow on top of dirt, and dirt on top of stone, and while it does sometimes work this way, it chugs resources and my machine is getting a little dated for all that.

VF is absolutely worth the buy if you are at a skill level at or above my own, I can only imagine than a senior programmer could get this software to do all KINDS of things that I cannot.


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