I have been following this incredible project for many years, regularly checking the blog for updates and am finally thinking it's time to buy it to have a poke around now that I have a little more free time. I do however have some questions that maybe others on the forum may be able to answer.

  • If I purchase the Voxel Farm editor, will I still be able to get a 30 day trial of Voxel Farm Indie at a later date? It makes sense to me to familiarize myself with the editor so that I can make better use of the 30 days to look at Unreal integration etc.
  • Is this engine only really suited to more basic/cartoon like visuals at the moment, and not really capable of AAA visuals? Most totally polygon based engines rely on carefully sculpted and baked assets, where a high res mesh is built and the normals are baked onto a low res mesh that matches the high res one. At this point the normals match the low poly object and quality wise its undesirable to change polygons on the low poly model as the normals become incorrect. Am I correct in assuming that if I for example make a cliff wall asset, and use the texture baked onto that asset when importing, voxel farm will jumble the polygons when it converts it to voxels and fidelity will be lost?
  • Related to the point above, if you wanted to create high detail visuals how practical is it to integrate static meshes with the voxels. For example you built a house and want to use static meshes for the doors/windows/roof line etc so you can get details like hinges/handles/window framing etc where voxels won't provide enough detail. Are the Voxels likely to be exact enough that there won't be gaps etc? Are there options in the grammers to place standard static meshes without voxelisation?

  • Voxel Studio Extensions. This section on the help docs looks quite interesting, I programmed a fairly basic dungeon generator a while ago. Is this the sort of thing that extensions are intended for? So you can create your own algorithms for generating voxel content? Do extensions let you place prefabs etc?
Thanks to anyone who has a go at answering these questions!
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1) You can purchase Voxel Studio and then get the INDIE 30-day free trial. 

2) The engine is capable of AAA visuals, which can be cartoonish or realistic. In our experience, a cartoonish look (like Overwatch's) is harder to achieve because any imperfection will be more noticeable. The limitation regarding baked normal maps is the same you have with polygonal engines. As long as you maintain the original proportions of the model, the baking will hold. Your cliff asset will look alright unless you distort the mesh proportions before voxelizing the mesh. Also, like with traditional polygonal assets, there is some wiggle room for you to alter the model's proportions before the distortion becomes noticeable.

3) Voxels are guaranteed to be exact. It is a fairly common practice to place static, non-voxel assets in connection with voxel content.

4) Extensions allow you to create custom voxel layers. Prefabs are not voxel layers, so it is not something you can place from an extension.
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I only recently started using it about 40 days ago. 

I bought the Indie version and got the first 30 trial before the transaction occurred, in which I could have canceled if I wanted too. 

I really see no real limitations on the visuals. VF really doesn't limit any visuals and you are capable of doing whatever you want.  Take a quick look at some of the player creations here 
Though with that said, there are some things you'd do in the voxel space, mostly terrain and buildings usually; Perhaps some trees, but basically the broad/medium strokes of the world. However for the smaller high fidelity objects, you'd probably want to just have an actual static mesh there for those.  

In my short time using it, I see no problem having close interaction from voxel generated meshes to specific meshes for things like doors for things dynamic or high fidelity.  Most if not all games out there are not 100% voxel based for everything. You are definitely going to be mixing the 2. 

There is some built in standard capabilities for static meshes generation. e.g. There is a planting rule that you can have it generated instanced meshes for trees/grass for where cases voxel meshes don't make as much sense.  

VS Extensions are neat but the super powerful are writing custom VoxelLayers available in the Indie and above licenses with the extendability on per engine basis(Unity/UE4) is amazingly powerful.  When I started to dig into that, I really felt like I had no limitations.  
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Wow, thanks for the fast response, time to purchase by the looks of it [smile]

With 4, is this something that may be added at some point? Or am I misunderstanding the intention of extensions. I am very interested in automating as much content creation as possible and I found the early work on Voxel Farm particularly interesting in that regard. Focus seems to have become a bit more aimed at artistic creation now, but in worlds as large as Voxel farm seems capable of, manually building things as seen in the citadel video seems too inefficient, even though the result looked quite incredible.

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Thanks for the purchase! If you decide to go from trial to paid subscription, it will be better if you just cancel the trial and upgrade the Voxel Studio license. This way, the amount of today's purchase will be deducted from the INDIE's price.
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