Today is Day V!
Virtual-O has been released on Steam Early Access
Here is an interesting info about upcoming map. I would like to emphasize that it will be first scandinavian map!
To make it little thrilling I wouldn’t be posting map pictures yet, so you can try to find it by yourself…
Kudos to Sven Granfors. Here are few words from him:
Landvetter is a village about 20 km east of Gothenburg. The local club and map-owner is OK Landehof and the map has been produced by members of the club. OK Landehof is an orienteering club with main focus on youth, but has also fostered WM-medalists and even a world master in the 1970’s. Apart from orienteering, OK Landehof is also active in nordic skiing and biathlon.
The terrain around Landvetter is quite typical for the region and parts of it is similar to the area where Tiomila will be held in 2017. It’s rather hilly, for being in the south of Sweden and dominated by pine trees, however part of the area is a nature reserve, with large oak trees. Due to the active forestry in the region, there are also areas with denser forest and deforestation areas. The rather large amount of marshes are easily crossed during spring and early summer, whereas they can be very hard to cross late summer or fall, due to the high grass growing there.
While preparing new maps some time has passed while Virtual-O game engine wasn’t updated. (because latest version of game engine has some issues with performance related to trees count)
Well this isn’t yet fixed in the Unity. But raising compatibility problems of used assets has forced me to upgrade the engine nevertheless. This update will start its life at first only in beta branch.
On the positive side we get an access to some new features of game engine so Virtual-O can use new terrain rendering asset that allows us to render 256 textures in one pass and tessellation.
Here is little comparison of disabled vs enabled tessellation for rock faces. Tessellation will be used for new map.
And here is little preview of new feature called Screen Space Shadows. It provides screen-space raytraced shadows for directional lights for sharp, detailed contact shadows.
It’s relative cheap image effect which can add a lot of depth to grass fields.
Well you can check it by yourself. First images from pairs are without this effect. Ignore slight color differences. They are not result of this effect. Effect just add shadows.
For new map I plan to use new terrain rendering asset.
It supports usage of 256 textures rendered in single pass with height map based blending. (Till now texture count was limited to 8)
That brings interesting possibilities for more realistic ground rendering with comparable performance.
And what is most exciting it supports tessellation too. That’s technique that I want to use for better cliffs, rock faces representation. Without using ton of 3D rock objects.
Tessellation is not an cheap technique and you need to have shader model 4.6 support on your GPU. But it can switch to fallback shader if needed.
Well video is worth a thousand words
Many things happened in last two months.
I got in contact with many people that would like to share maps for Virtual-O.
This activity resulted in one Australian map with interesting difficulty ranging from intermediate with some difficult secions. (which is something that Virtual-O needs for future)
So I have started to convert this map. But after short time I have started to experience most busy weeks in my work in entire life, so work on Virtual-O was reduced.
Still in this busy time I was contacted by more map owners. And one contact has brought an holy grail for conversion. An really really huge OCAD in scandinavian terrain.
Why it is an holy grail? Because you can prepare symbol conversion map once and than use it for whole huge OCAD while creating map by map from this area.
So this option can bring relative easily bunch of maps after first costly conversion.
Stay tuned for more info about map in next posts. And of course here is at least one photo.