Speedtrees and 2d grass

Doc and Bloo are having problems with the beta server, so I had to take a quick time out to build a beta client and update my data. I missed a step, so while I was in the world I got a strange view of the road-side with both of the old 2d grass lines (which appear to do crude alpha blending) and the new speed-tree bushes…

lines1.jpg  lines2.jpg  lines3.jpg

IMHO the new hedgerow lines look ok from on-high, but when you drop down to them as an infantry they’re kinda overwhelming – like bocage all over the place but not quite as dense as actual bocage.

Having the old (tall) grasslines there actually gives you a sense of how much denser/taller they’ve grown, and how tall the original grasslines were (the old 2d ‘xbushes’ were only crouch-high).

22 Comments

Agreed x100.

The elephant grass and freakishly huge bushes have always driven me batty. Everything else in the game is realistically scaled, except for these, and because of them, line of sight in the north is a joke.

I do wish these could get reduced in size. Not every bush should be capable of hiding a tank, nor every grass line capable of hiding a standing infantryman. If the infantryman wants to hide, make him go prone, or at least crouch.

In lieu of Granik, I’ll post the details behind getting the bushes reduced: “We’re not going to change the bushes as with the way speedtree works to change even one tree object you have to recompile the entire tree library. It’s not worth the time right now. The work on the new graphic engine is top priority at the moment. With it comes SpeedTree 4 which will require a new tree library. We’ll have to revisit all the trees not just the bushes at that time, and I’ll look into making the bushes shorter then. I’ve got too many things to get done to remake the tree library now and then have to turn around and do it again in a few months.”

The bush-complaints seem to me to be much the same as the fog-complaints…offered not out of a knowledge of actual Belgian conditions and therefore a valid knowledge that the tall bushes are unrealistic, but instead a preference for a particular set of conditions that are felt to be best for gameplay.

Certainly in the Eben Emael area, the bushes between fields are old, and tall enough to merge into the treelines. The boundaries of farm fields in the southwest, close to France, are punctuated here and there by similarly sized bushes. Ditto for the southern Meuse area, and at least some parts of the Ardennes.

Probably the relevant factor in the size of bushes is the age of the land divisions and therefore the vegetation itself.

The bushes are not faulty size-wise…or at least, not all of them should be smaller. The faults are:

1. Too *many* bushes in many areas.

2. The general ground-cover textures, representing both crops and meadow/roadside grasses and weeds, are zero height instead of some sort of year-round average of maybe a foot or so.

3. No field-stone walls between fields.

4. No secondary roads/farm lanes.

I have complained about the three meters long elephant grass for years now and was very unhappy to see that the new bushes were actually higher not shorther than the old ones. Vietnam style jungle makes for boring battles because visility is low and you cant groom the bushes. In RL (unless we want close combat) we would destroy (stamp on it/cut it down) vietnam style elephant grasses to make zones of control (i.e for LMGs). You cant do that in ww2ol though.

Its good that CRS is finally starting to see the light.

I keep meaning to ask Martini about this; when I fly around in the buzzard I’ve often noticed certain trees starting below the ground. Doc tells me that they are probably in a berm or something, but I thought it might be possible to have the client replicate this bug or feature to lower some of the tree-line items so that they *appear* a bit shorter.

I realize that Belgium has its tall bushes, but along the roadside they’re intended to fill in for the stone-wall/hedgerow that flank many fields.

IMHO every time you crank up the detail/realism of a particular graphics set, the more it can emphasise the unrealism of the setting; any given hedgerow does look far more immersive of itself now, but when you see a scene full of them their sameness stands out – to my eye – more than the crappy xbushes did :)

Maybe with the new render pipeline (into which significant work is now going to try and nix the time being sunk into trying to teach the old dog new tricks) Martini will be able to do something with the base of some of them to make them a little more varied.

Here’s a really stupid and probably completely impractical question. before you flame me remember I have 0 programming knowledge/training.

How hard would it be to make a second “ground”?

duplicate the current game map but offset it a few feet under what is currently there. Then attach some trees/bushes to it.

– put the rifle away kfsone (at least quit pointing it my direction)

b2k I guess this would also mean to load 2 game maps each time…which would result in bigger memory usage right?

Ok just guessing, also just have VERY limited coding knowledge but I wanted to look like I knew what I was talking about ;-)
Did it work?

I’m really disliking the new bushes. The north of the map (which was much less fun than the south to begin with) is now just hopeless.

The bushes are EVERYWHERE and block vision completely for tanks, atgs, and infantry. Its more or less impossible to secure a tactical advantage – you can track ETs by audio but you’ll get zero chance of a shot even when they’re well in range because you’ll never see them. For infantry it’s just as much of a lottery – no longer is there a gamble involved in running behind a hedgerow, sacrificing concealment for speed.

I’m not someone who jumps on every new feature and declares it sucky because its not what i’m used to and ‘OMG u made it hollywood!’

Its genuinely infuriating how this game can be so good and so awful at the same time. Its merits always win out in the end, but its become a closer and closer race since I joined.

While I’m certainly not insane enough to claim that the x-bushes looked better, they were certainly more condusive to better gameplay – and that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.

Oh, and the new bushes eat way more of my fps.

Love the new bushes unconditionally.

you would say that horse, fanboi :P

nice pics, and the 2 layer map idea would make the game unplayerble on even more peoples systems

The fact that the game has finally reached a stage where there is “too much” cover is both ironic and reasuring. Everybody who see’s the bush whines should remember that for every 1 of them there are 4 or 5 people who have sighed and said “Finally!” and then stopped posting comments.

Now, If you don’t have line of sight, get someone in a tower with binoculars. If you don’t have a tower, get someone in a plane. Or use the cover to your advantage since you’re obviously the attacker. Or, you know, find something legitmate to whine about.

[quote]Everybody who see’s the bush whines should remember that for every 1 of them there are 4 or 5 people who have sighed and said “Finally!” and then stopped posting comments.[/quote]

Are you saying that before last patch forums were full of people whining to get bigger bushes? I have no such recollection..

My guess is that Granik’s two posts on this subject in the Forums have had as a subtext that his intent when he next rebuilds the SpeedBush library, post-TEII, is to have much more variety of bush heights.

A world with both tall bushes and bushes the same height as the old stuff, and everything in between, sounds pretty much ideal to me gameplay-wise.

The xbush replacements are done with a single world object. When the game engine sees that, it knows to place speed trees at various points relative to the “xbush marker”.

I’ve spoken to Martini, Gophur and Granik about the idea I’d previously had denied in the forums, which was just to vary the ‘z’ of the tree instances.

My suggestion is when the code is populating the xbush with actual tree instances, to do something like:


// all values in milimetres
function calcTreeZ(x,y,realZ) {
var seed = x + y - realZ;
// Randomize it within the range 0-2.5m
// by using a prime number
seed = seed % 2477 ;
// If its > 1.1m ignore it
if ( seed > 1100 ) return realZ ;
return realZ - seed ;
}

So each individual bush-tree would be varied (or not) independently, and the apparent sizes of some of them would be reduced by upto 3.6 feet (since they seem to be nearly 8ft tall that’d mean you’d get a good variety without them being uselessly short at any time).

Hello. Does anyone want FPS?

The use of trees and bushlines should funnel attackers and defenders into smaller spaces that take less FPS to display – since you don’t have to show 1, 2 or 3km distances and movement. It also cuts out ‘sky’ which reduces planes to draw, or should.

Take a huge MMPOLG, and try to compete against shoebox game and graphics =-> how? By taking fights into shoeboxes of landscape.

WW II soldiers, any soldiers, would *LOVE* to have a 2kmx2km view – but 25 yards is about it. Soldiers keep their heads down, or they die. We are sacrificing realism for HEROIC gameplay.

I say Bah to that. Keep your head down and learn to be a grunt, when you play grunt. And the FPS will stay up.

I know WWIIOL doesn’t utilize the above to the max for FPS, but with someday having TE II, and more ripples in the landscape, there will be fewer long-distance sightlines. Or should be.

What’s the argument against adoption of the Z-variation approach?

None as yet, it’s not been evaluated, and I’m not read to drop it into the queue just yet – the client guys are looking at a spike in memory usage on some systems — I’ve seen some complaints of FPS drop 1.24.1->1.24.2 for players with systems that are using ~940Mb of ram with 1.24.2; I suspect they were already close and the addition of a new vehicle pushed them over a threshold. My system at work uses 390-550mbs, my machine at home uses 890-960mbs, but I have 2Gb so I get 40-50fps with only 50% cpu usage, lol.

New games are allready crossing the 1GB line and going for 1,5GB and 2,0GB memory requirements. So it might be okay for ww2ol too to make the jump in the coming year if necessery. Many players allready seem to have 1,5GB or more.

It’d be “ok” if it was intended – the client should be using around 400-500Mb not 940 :)  The really odd part being is that none of the machines here – including my desktop system – use more than 550mb, most use around 390-420. But my machine at home, from the first spawn, is using 890Mb+

Ok umm that sounds weeird. Like 400mb of extra somthing floating in the memory of playrs version of ww2ol client.

Perhaps the heated discussions from the playskool have moved into the bitspace of the gameclient itself and are slowly growing into a self-aware lifebeing. Or then its just the original working version of ww2ol physics engine but the on-switch was lost and noone was ever able to turn it on. Or then the chaotic launch of ww2ol created somthing sinister to the game through chaos theory and it has been growing ever since all these years.

(har har)

Heres few good comments from playskool on the subject of gigantic vegetation:

[quote]I thought “Rambo” spent most of his time creeping around in the Jungle, so surely our current game is more, rather than less “Ramboesque”?? Allthough even Rambo couldn’t sprint through 12 foot high hedges without at least grunting a bit![/quote]

[quote]Just the other day I got to witness what the infantry game is these days, this happened inside one single bushline (Haybes, Wed, if someone of you was there): squadie runs through a bushline, EI shoots him in the back, EI runs forward, other squadie shoots him in the back, that squadie continues forward, other EI shoots him in the back, I go kill that EI, then run forward looking very carefully both sides of the bushlines and down: EI shoots me in the back, other squadie comes and kills that EI. Great fun.[/quote]

[quote]as for infantry play, its kinda farcical the way there are several stealth avenues into every town/ab/fb. hedges you can run right down the middle of without being seen (no way you could run through the middle of a hedge like that in rl). what army in its right mind would leave so much cover around somewhere its trying to stop the enemy getting to?[/quote]

[quote] * They don’t look like hedges in northern France or Belgium.
* They allow infantry, wheeled vehicles and tanks to move through them without either movement or sound penalty.
* They’ve made defenses overly porous to EI, almost completely precluding any kind of linear defense with mixed infantry and ATG’s
* They’ve caused – with the bill-boards – asymetric viewing problems, the defending player can see from, but cannot be seen in, the bush, over open sights! (FFS!)
* All battles have EI approaching towns, from all directions, making all defenses all-around defenses.[/quote]

Threads:
http://forums.battlegroundeurope.com/showthread.php?t=134280
http://forums.battlegroundeurope.com/showthread.php?t=134372

Per Doc today, presumably Z axis goodness coming right up. So to speak. 8^)

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