Interview with Voxel Farm: The Secrets of Working With Volumetric Data
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Interview with Voxel Farm: The Secrets of Working With Volumetric Data
24 March, 2015
Interview

Voxel Farm is one of those vendors that are not so well known among the indie-crowd. However this company produces some incredible volumetric tools that are now available for a wider audience. This year at GDC 2015 Voxel Farm finally announced independent private licensing. 80.lv was there to talk about it.

What kind of tools are you showcasing today at GDC 2015?

voxelfarm-80lv-logo This is the first time we’ve had independent private licensing. This is our big opening reveal for GDC. We have an indie license, a pro license, and a AAA license. Our product allows you to make incredible things in real-time with your virtual worl. Essentially if you integrate our solution into the game, what you get is the ability to real-time deform, build, modify, and change the world you’ve created by your artist. Plus you get a whole bunch of tools that you want. (You can read about it in more detail over here – ed. note). 

How does it work? Do you just enter some data and the world is created, or is there some parameters that you have to enter?

voxelfarm-80lv

Voxel Farm Features © Voxel Farm, 2015

At the most basic level, Voxel Studio Suite can generate a world on the fly.  You give us let’s say, a map and we can build up with this. You give us something more complex like a point cloud scan or some kind of 3D data, and we can generate either just that fixed amount or something that tiles from this. Basically the content creation is completely open-ended. We do everything from meshes, to point clouds, to completely math-based procedures.

Does your technology work with Unity and other engines?

Yes, because we are middleware we are very used to adapting to other engines. We have a complete Unity SDK available for source that comes with any of our purchases. If you have a game in Unity, you can download the SDK and integrate all the technologies into your game. Nothing will change from a Unity perspective.

Do you provide physics as well with your world-building tool?

voxelfarm-80lv

Cloud Farm © Voxel Farm, 2015

We also much like the renderer, integrated to third party tools. We have SDK’s for Havok and Bullet. Those being the two we’ve had most actively requested. So all of our in-house demos are running on Bullet. Your physics engine can send us back the information of positions. We can revoxelize this so that we can persist your physics information. Essentially if I create a big cutout of this building and I exited the application but I wanted to persist, I will voxelize this information and then it’s back when I start again.

Who is your main audience?

vocelfarm-80lv

Voxel Farm © Voxel Farm, 2015

The biggest requests we get are for the artists. So basically how can we get this content into the engine? How can I get my repeated instances? How can I get my meshes? How can I design the toolset? For this we have developed an application called Voxel Studio, which essentially takes whatever kind of medium you want be it a point cloud or 3D Max object or whatever. You can assign your textures and your properties here and then you can import it into the engine without having to write a single line of code. To use this at the most basic level, you can change sliders and buttons much like Unity and you can manipulate the entry to create the assets and all of the world flow.

It is generated and then you can mess with it and then you can import it in your game?

Right, that is the beauty of it.

How much do you charge for the license?

Indie license is $300. It is a permanent license and you can buy a support pack for updates for a very low amount, it’s something like $20 a month. With the support pack you get all of our updates as we push them and support, but that is completely optional and you can take it just for a month or you can take it for a specific number of months; you can start, stop, resume because it’s completely flexible.

voxelfarm-80lv-prices

Voxel Farm Prices © Voxel Farm, 2015

The indie license which is sort of our intro. You get full source to all of our demo applications and all of our Unity plugins, and the only thing that’s closed is the core engine. We have a professional license for $1,000 and this includes everything like the indie license plus full engine source. More information about pricing could be found on our official website.

michael-coates-80lv 

Michael Coates, Senior Software Developer, Voxel Farm

  P.S. If you’re interested in Voxel Farm and its application have a look at Procedural World Blog. It has some really cool stuff about procedural world building.

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