GageCornelius

I'm going to give my personal input on all that I've seen and experienced with Voxel Studio and the SDK and Unreal 4.

1) Voxel Studio is a beast that does great things, but in the process it misses a lot of the "along the way" stuff. It goes from Blank project, to project with materials included, to continent generator. Any thoughts on being able to generate an island or islands? Just a thought, I'd like to work with something small that has 1-3 biomes (Rainforest, mountain rainforest, for a larger island, maybe a desert?). The continent generator, even if told to create something 0.5 km instead of the 2,000 km that is defined by default, it doesn't do it. I would also like the ability to choose my biomes for the continent generator. Granted, yes, I'm sure your algorithm is spot on, but I usually have to fight with the temperatures and the wind directions to minimize the footprint of the desert I do not want. Heck, maybe a continent generator, and have the biome generator be an optional step? Like you can click "Generate Biomes" or "Define Biomes" or "Finished" after you choose the landmass shape and size? Just a thought. You know the screen where we have to choose biome properties? If you wanted to, you could make it a simple photoshop-ish type of method where we choose a brush (which will be a biome), and we can color in where we want that particular biome. The mountains and stuff will already be filled in, so if we choose the desert brush, and go over flat land, it'll just be a desert. If we go over mountains, it will be a mountainous desert. And we can still choose the images to define the properties of those biomes!!! This gives us developers more control.

2) The language needs to be changed to be simpler, for as it stands, it isn't very user friendly. You have a Prefab Brush and a Place Prefab button, but they each do what I would imagine the other should do. In my mind, placing something should put it on the surface, like placing a cup on a table. A brush, in my mind, has properties to modify what is there, be it add or subtract in a digital manner. Same goes for fill, carve, and forget. Following the language of Landmark, Add, Remove, and Restore would be better options?

3) I think it might be best to make a conversion tool, or a plugin to fit UE4 to modify fbx files (static or skeletal meshes) into voxels, so that it contains that additional data. It seems quite tedious to export models from Unreal, import them into Voxel Studio, and then export the entire project into UE4 (rinse and repeat for each new fbx I decide I want to use, or buy off the marketplace, or make) so that I could utilize it for UE4. I don't necessarily want a new type of Mesh just for voxels, but maybe a way to click a button, and voxel data will be created in a separate file/format that the mesh can reference. If you delete the reference, it is no longer a voxelized mesh. (This way it will still work with native Unreal features for meshes such as destructible meshes and instanced meshes, and we can still assign sub-materials). Same goes for the Megasphere and waves.

4) Rather than rebuilding the wheel, it would be absolutely great to be able to use Unreal's landscaping tools to create, and manipulate new terrain for voxels. I'm sorry, but as it stands, it seems virtually impossible to go from the continent generator to edit the terrain by smoothing (for example) so I can place a town in a spot that isn't full of hills. That is my biggest problem, I want to create a town in a mountainous area (surrounded by mountains, to be exact), so that I can place buildings in easily, and then make my demo and not have to worry about the near impossibility of a task so simple, nor how frustrating it is to put things down.

5) I know you have the scripts for the generator made, but could you please, for our sake, have something already kind of premade to generate caves? Maybe the same for ores, I know Landmark figured it out, but it's not like just ANYONE can figure this type of thing out. Having at least something there for us to look at, compare, tweak, and learn is better than nothing there at all. We shouldn't each have to reinvent this particular wheel, but we should be able to modify what you present us to suit our needs.

6) Here's a crazy thought: Separate EVERYTHING you offer into 3 types (not including the different levels): Voxel Studio (for voxel generation only), and then UE4 voxels, and Unity Voxels. This way you could potentially have a smaller team working on improving Voxel Studio while there are major teams working on the engine integration. You do that, and you could potentially see a massive increase in profits because, even though you're not the only one offering voxels on the internet, most of the others pretty much require the developers to absolutely know programming because nothing is put together. Some are more primitive and free, but nevertheless, you could get away with charging more if the voxels were better integrated. You allow us to get it into the engines sooner, which is great, but it requires us to do more work, especially rework involving content and work we already have. I bet if you had an Unreal Plugin that allowed Voxel Terrain creation, voxel terrain manipulation, voxel mesh conversion, and voxel mesh sub material definition while still being able to do everything to voxelized mesh that we can do with mesh natively in UE4, you would not be short on money. Same for Unity. Heck, you could probably even sell your work to Epic Games for a lump sum if you managed to integrate it completely, including possibly voxel water, improved voxel destruction (As in you can define voxels to be able to break in certain ways depending on their material (wood splinters usually in the direction of the grain, rocks break with lots of jagged or near-flat surfaces, etc). Maximize your profits by maximizing what you have to offer. As it stands, you offer continent generation, and a jump start in the world of voxels.

7) Have the update button on the Voxel Farm screen not just automatically download the entire thing. I'd like to know if there is even an update to begin with! And then from there choose where to place it, or to override its default location.

8) We are your customers. Keep us in the loop on your progress. There hasn't been News since September 17, and I would like to know what is going on, what is being worked on, what is in the works, and what/when to expect in the next update. Get us hyped, keep us excited. Heck, have us involved a little more and maybe showcase the things that some of us have done, or even have a program where we can get things done in the code where we can submit it to you, and if it will get things moving faster, I'm sure people will pitch in!


Overall, I think making this as easy as it can be for developers would be a big thing. I love what you guys do, and I would love for you to continue to be more successful in your endeavors. As I mentioned before, your main advantage is continent generation/mesh voxelization through Voxel Studio, and the quick integration into the game engine. But when you look at what you have, it would not be beyond the realm of possibility if someone jumped ahead and pulled the rug from under your feet and became the top seller of game-integrated voxels.

Again, this is merely a giant (and possibly over-explained) list of suggestions. What you do in the end will of course be up to you. I hope that this comes across as I intended: constructive criticism that will push you guys ahead, and keep us all in the loop with you.

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voxelfarmtorres
Thank you very much for your suggestions!
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GageCornelius
Another one! In the blueprint of the voxel terrain, I would like to see an option (simple boolean) so that the changes to the voxel will NOT be saved for PIE (Play In Editor), but would actually be saved for the actual published game.
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GageCornelius
Another: Be able to set down meshes with 2 additional options: Original Size, and Keep ratio. I'd like to be able to enlarge something and keep its proportions, or be able to set something down in the size in which it's created in.
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