Long life to Embark studio and its fabulous procedural artists dream team !
truly excellent and inspiring to read. Would have loved to read some on the texturing since that is top-notch.
great environment with a lovely serene sense. Thanks for the write-up!
The talented guys from VEA Games talked a little about the new tool for UE4, which helps to build impressive natural landscapes.
Ultimate River Tool
As a designer, I know the worth of various assets in production. Some of them you can use only once, but some others you able to use very often and they will make your scenes really perfect. The same goes for tools. When you are a professional level creator – you need to do work quickly, efficiently and spectacularly. Well-designed tools allow you to significantly boost the work on your game levels.
Currently, VEA Games is developing several game projects. In this projects, we are using our special development tools.The most recent of them is Ultimate River Tool (URT) which was improved for the public release. Landscape Auto Material is made for optimization in production of outdoor locations and allows designers to focus on creating an interesting game level, rather than solving technical art problems. The Ultimate River Tool complements this functionality and can be used in conjunction with LAM, allowing fast and high-quality creation of rivers and river cascades.
- Spline based River Tool
- Spline based Cascade River Tool
- Linear \ Turbulent flow visualization
- Angle based flow material
- Automatic UV warping with object detection
- Interactions with physical objects (buoyancy)
- Automatic and custom foam and opacity painting
- Realistic water shader (distortion, reflection, caustics)
- Customizable for any type of river (slow, fast, wide, narrow, etc)
- Different shaders variations (opaque\transclucent\tessellated\nondistancefield)
- Parametric Wet Stones
- Smart edge blending with objects and landscape
- Customizable edge and obstacle foam
- Automatic flow displacement animation and height shifts based on obstacles and river angle
- High quality photo scanned forest setting assets
In order to make a river, it’s enough just to configure a spline. Adjust the width, determine the trajectory, and the river is ready!
Next, you put the created river in the compositions realized by the landscape and/or objects. The component will automatically detect obstacles and tilt angles, creating flow, foam, and cascade effects. In order to interact with physics objects – just check this option in URT Blueprint.
Spline-based Cascade River Tool – a unique tool that allows you to create realistic and picturesque cascades of streams and river compositions. For example, you can to create different tiers of water ponds and connect them with this tool.
Ultimate River Tool allows you to create complex and visually interesting river configurations. You can make complex systems of rivers (deltas) – by connecting their segments through the manual painting of transparency using Vertex Painting or using the Cascade River Tool in the transition areas. The rivers can be wide and narrow, fast and slow, foamy and calm – all the important parameters are in the main component of the tool. The tool is suitable both for use in large open spaces, and for compact scenes. A user can adjust the detail/speed, depending on his project. Flexible settings of the shader make it possible to achieve realistic quality, (architectural visualization or AAA looking games), as well as a more stylized look.
There is a master-shader in URT and user can use its predefined material instances for different situations.
The river is divided into turbulent and laminar areas. In places without near obstacles and where the angle of inclination of the water surface is close to the horizontal – the water is animated as quieter and less foamy, while in narrow sections the speed of water movement accelerates, the amount of foam increases, and distortion of the water texture UV is much more strong.
Also modifying the basic shader URT you can achieve the effect of the acid and lava flow. In the next update, we plan to include a demo scene with these fluid options.
We are trying to provide content that will look cool out of the box without the need for modification or manual rework. But importantly, URT is a universal tool. Users can use their own textures of foam, streams, waves, and models of falling water for the Cascade River Tool, which will allow giving your own content a unique and remarkable look.
It is important that the tool gives not only a beautiful picture but also be optimized for live projects.
In this regard, we give the user the freedom to achieve an acceptable compromise of quality/speed.
For example, for the cutscenes it effectively uses the shader instance with full maximum features enabled – transparency, tessellation, Distance Fields. For projects where maximum performance is important, you can use an opaque shader and without tessellation.
In the included demo scene we’ve used baked light and the highest-quality mode of the river shader, which in general allows the scene to work fast even with the Cinematic quality mode turned on. There is 95 fps with GeForce GTX 970, Intel Core i7-6700, 32 GB ram.
Do you plan to release RAM for any other engines?
There is a possibility that, as in the case of LAM, we will prepare a Unity version. We have already received requests from users, but currently, our Unity programmers are fully engaged in improving LAM for Unity. In this month we are planning to publish a large update of LAM Unity package. In the case of URT, it depends on the users. If the package will be demanded on this platform, we will probably implement it.
You can buy Ultimate River Tool for $149 here.