Devlog Update 138
Gordon finished a new song! It’s really catchy, give it a listen:https://soundcloud.com/ashellinthepit/clouds
Improving terrain textures has been an open task for a very long time. The reason is that we have a list of requirements/wishes for them, and figuing out a technique that fulfills them all took a while
-we wanted to not be severly limited in the amount of different terrain textures we can use (~8 at least)
-hard straight edges between textures don’t look nice, there should be some sort of transition. This can clash with the first requirement; for example -Texture Splatting is usually only done with up to 4 different textures, or requires lots of big splat textures, which leads us to the next requirement…
-it shouldn’t increase savegame sizes too much
-it should play nicely with our terrain. The old textures looked particularly bad around hills
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since the Christmas Holidays break last year and did a bunch of research and prototyping, and we’ve finally arrived at a method that we like
First of all, here’s what it looks like:
You can change the texture for quarter tiles now instead of for the whole tile, so it’s more fine-grained than before. Actually, it’s even more fine-grained than that, because each quater tile is further divided up into 4 triangles so you can paint around hills nicely:
As you can see, transitions between tiles aren’t exactly smooth but it’s better than straight edges, and I think our art style allows us to get away with the hard cuts.
We can theoretically use up to 256 different terrain textures, and savegame size shouldn’t be increased by more than a couple hundred kilobytes in most cases.
So, we’re pretty happy with that!
On the downside, we’ll have to drop DirectX 9 support for it. DirectX 10 is available since ~10 years by now, but we still wanted to know how many people would be affected by this change.
So we ran some analytics over the last couple months and found that less than 2% of our players use DirectX 9. Doesn’t sound too bad, but that’s still uncomfortably many! Digging into this further though it turns out that ~90% of these people use DirectX 10-capable graphics cards, so we assume they just don’t have the proper drivers or DirectX version installed. In addition, a good amount of the remaining people is still running Windows XP, which we never officially supported.
So I think we can justify changing our minimum requirements to a DirectX 10-capable graphics card. If you’re still affected by this and can do absolutely nothing about it, please let us know.
Just for fun, here’s a dump of screenshots of the (sometimes weird) things we tried for terrain textures