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 FROM DUST: A nature simulator.

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Noitulove
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PostSubject: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:37 am

Ah, first topic.

I recently stumbled across an awe-inspiring game in the works called Dust (working title, but I like it). Most of it is about simulating and terraforming the world dynamically with such materials as rock, soil, lava and water in a much more realistic matter than Spore tried at years ago. You can also put flora and some tribes on it, which will colonize the island on its own.

I put this here mainly to show that it is possible to simulate a large environment dynamically and, perhaps even a planet. However, this game is more about geological features than the evolution of fauna itself, but it's amazing how fast it can be simulated. You can watch new bodies of water form in a matter of seconds, volcanoes erupt, mountains erode;

And here's the tech demo video to prove it.



The game is due 2011, for the XBox 360 and PS3.
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Commander Keen
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:27 pm

What? It's not going to be on PC? Belgium them.
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Noitulove
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:44 pm

Dunno, just taking it from the official website. Hopefully they'll change their minds or something. I myself don't have a console, just wishing the best for those that do and get to try it out.

I'll bet you're surprised that I'm not not angry, eh.
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The Uteen
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:39 pm

So hopefully this will be in Thrive eventually.




Such wishful thinking... We'd need to become at least as popular as Spore to get this...
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Invader
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:00 pm

Really cool looking!
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koiboi59
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:33 am

it looks awesome. though i havent seen any critters in there which disappoints me.
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YourBreakfast
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:52 pm

I think it looks meh. Just a planet simulator. It would be boring, especially for console people.
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Loner
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:19 pm

Looks too realistic and good but there are no animals
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~sciocont
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:20 pm

we can definitely keep tabs on their terraforming method and technology, it'll probably help us conceptualize our own God tools and how they will work.

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Bashinerox
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:28 pm

This is all easier to recreate than it looks, by the way.

I've done something like this before on an old computer, and hopefully have the code lying around somewhere, but I think I lost it in a HDD crash. I've had that kind of idea in my head for years. The "eroding sand" is essentially an averaging algorithm, as is heat. The hardest part of creating a dynamic looking landscape is the water calculations. I never got it quite right. I got pressure/flow calculations in,
but sometimes the waves exploded for no reason..

All that i know is left of the code i was trying out is this screenshot from 2009, before water pressure calculations, but after volume calculations.
At this point the water was moving in the same way as the sand in that video (but obviously flattened out instead of stopping at a hill. (the sand moving about is accomplished with a limiting variable to stop sand from averaging across cells below a certain angle.)) I'll have to look to see if it survived in backups.

Spoiler:
 

water flowed properly past walls and cliffs etc. and and heat distribution worked properly as well. Water pressure and flow worked, as i said, but had a weird bug I couldn't track down. Sometimes the velocity of a cell of water would go through the roof, and spike a huge wave that throttled everything :/ I think it had something to do with the calculation i had to increase pressure when water is being forced up a hill.
There was a console opened with the tilde key, that you could add water or heat to the various cells for debugging, or even by clicking with the mouse.


My point is, is that even though something looks realistic to the untrained eye, it is more or less always a simple system rendered in such a way to look real. My code pretty much did (or could be modified slightly to do) everything shown in that video (Minus the plants. But that's a simple "creep" algorithm by the looks of it anyway.)
Of course theirs looks better, but they are using much higher polygon counts for the terrain (My computer I was running my code on was slow, so i couldn't make the polygon count too high) and much better textures and shaders. (I'm no artist so i cant do this without help)


I did have shaders to render the waves of the water moving about, and distortion of the view due to heat. You obviously can't see it in the still screenshot though.


When i finally get the creature editor done, ill recreate this, while we are working on the core game concepts. (By core game concepts, i mean things like creating a player object, assigning keys to move it around, creating a world to actually move about in, stuff every game has.)

I'm the technology guy. I'm good at getting the "crazy" stuff to work.
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Commander Keen
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:11 am

Sounds great. I have always wondered how one or two men can create something as good looking as Outerra or World Machine (something about fractal algorithms, but I'm not sure what).
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~sciocont
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:13 am

That's really, really cool, bashi, i think our main use for that type of system is erosion mapping and running water.
I can probably work on whatever textures/maps you might need when we get there.

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Noitulove
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:08 pm

So you've done this before, interesting. No longer will we have to watch our creatures stand on a blank, static slate!

...In time, that is.

But I'm wondering, will we have to have supercomputers to simulate this along with evolving creatures (I presume the probability method by El_Noumo might be easier and less taxing than the active mutations method), or just your average gaming computer with a decent, up-to-date graphics card and GPU (such as mine?)
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Commander Keen
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:20 pm

Noitulove wrote:
But I'm wondering, will we have to have supercomputers to simulate this along with evolving creatures (I presume the probability method by El_Noumo might be easier and less taxing than the active mutations method), or just your average gaming computer with a decent, up-to-date graphics card and GPU (such as mine?)

On my really old computer (wasn't upgraded since 2004, and even then it was pretty average), World Machine takes a few seconds to calculate normal+heat+sea+snow erosion and texturing on 80km x 80km landscape, so I guess on modern computers it should run fine (if done every 60 seconds or so).
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Bashinerox
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:32 pm

The processing power required depends on two things. Scale, and precision. And that applies to everything in the game. We aren't, of course, going to have molecular precision i.e. moving about each atom individually, that wouldnt run even on a computer the size of the universe. (A universe cannot be simulated inside itself, sorry. You'd need eery atom of the universe available to simulate every atom in the universe.) anyway, back on topic, we find a happy medium of precision, that allows us to run realtime at the scale we want.
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~sciocont
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:58 pm

We'll be able to find that happy medium through playtesting.

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Noitulove
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:23 am

This just in!
Taken from the official game website, a piece of (concept?) art.



Wether or not these are simply domestic animals (I think so) or bits of the environment is to be announced. Even then, I don't think they'll be evolving, as simulating that would be pretty complex as opposed to simply the environment itself.

And @ Bashinerox; in terms of scale, I mean a planet (and pherhaps its moon as well as surrounding, visible planets and their moon). Other planets would only be simulated when you discover them. When far away enough they'll become "invisible", basically, and be reduced to code running in the background. At least- that's what other people agreed on some time ago, but they're not programmers. I wouldn't know if that would be any less easy, and if the framerate would drop or, even, the computer crash upon loading multiple planets into their visual form.


Last edited by Noitulove on Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bashinerox
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:07 am

Any planet not currently being focused on, (with the possible excption moon to planet relationships) would essentially be paused entirely.

You cache the planet to disk, reduce it to a few variables where relevant (such as it's general military strength during stages where planetary war exists or w/e), and when you get back to it, and approximate it's new state when you next look at it (weither it is some sort of direct reduced precision fast-forward, or some form of heuristics, some way to make the planet different from when you last looked at it is needed)

Simulating an entire planet's surface, such as erosion and waves, feasbile or not? it really, really does depend. Like I said, scale and precision. Just thinking about it now, I might even be able to write a version that uses a quadtree instead of a linear grid, to scale precision depending on camera position and landmass complexity or something to that effect. Hell, with the latest shader specifications being able to return values back down the pci-e bus, people with fast or dual video cards would be able to run something like that as a shader on their card, drastically enhancing performance. But i digress. We'll perform stress tests when we get to it.
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Waap
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:51 am

Just looking at that video, the game certainly looks fun. Good advertising? Probably.
This reminds me of how much fun you can have with a hose and a tray of sand. It is actually more fun than it looks.
This is the sort of thing we need in our game.
The way they were changing the environment...
Would this(Or something similar) be able to be acheived with the god tools, or would it be just with the planet editor, or.... What?
-Waap.
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The Uteen
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:20 am

Waap wrote:
Just looking at that video, the game certainly looks fun. Good advertising? Probably.
This reminds me of how much fun you can have with a hose and a tray of sand. It is actually more fun than it looks.
This is the sort of thing we need in our game.
The way they were changing the environment...
Would this(Or something similar) be able to be acheived with the god tools, or would it be just with the planet editor, or.... What?
-Waap.

God tools should be able to do that. And more...

But if you want to see the entire planet and make bigger, more noticeable changes, then an editor will also be available.
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zotobom
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PostSubject: Re: FROM DUST: A nature simulator.   Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:51 am

Noitulove wrote:
Ah, first topic.

I recently stumbled across an awe-inspiring game in the works called Dust (working title, but I like it). Most of it is about simulating and terraforming the world dynamically with such materials as rock, soil, lava and water in a much more realistic matter than Spore tried at years ago. You can also put flora and some tribes on it, which will colonize the island on its own.

I put this here mainly to show that it is possible to simulate a large environment dynamically and, perhaps even a planet. However, this game is more about geological features than the evolution of fauna itself, but it's amazing how fast it can be simulated. You can watch new bodies of water form in a matter of seconds, volcanoes erupt, mountains erode;

And here's the tech demo video to prove it.



The game is due 2011, for the XBox 360 and PS3.
There also is a free online web game called Dust,that also sorta simulates....things.

http://dan-ball.jp/en/javagame/dust/

Pretty fun also
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