Gauges, Snow & Cube Maps

Hello again!

To start off we’re trying a new approach to our devlogs!
Previously we’ve been publishing devlogs at the end every sprint, but we’ll from now on aim to have a new one every week!

But instead of the devlogs being a summary of everything we’ve achieved during the sprint, we’ll narrow it down to focus more specific subjects and areas. Having each devlog being written by only one of us instead of all. This will hopefully allow for more in-depth discussions and presentations, while at the same time giving us more time to write & produce new stuff!

That being said, let’s talk a bit about what I’ve been working on the latest week. I’ll be talking a bit about a Houdini tool we can use for easy generation of snow covers, presenting some new gauges, and discuss the technique of interior cubemapping and its use cases!

Devlog 8

Lukas “Gås” Rabhi Hallner

Stone Cold

Gauges & Meters

Gauges is of course something that’s key in the puzzles for the visualisation of values. And has been in a more or less placeholder state for way too long. This week they finally got some touch up.

Going from displays that didn’t provide much information to more detailed gauges based real gauges for pressure, volt, ampere, etc..

A collection of mechanical gauges
A collection of gauges.

Interior/Exterior Cube maps

I’ve also been looking into the concept of interior cubemapping. Interior cubemapping is a shader technique used to fake interiors on building windows. It uses the camera position to create a parallax effect on flat geometry, giving the effect of a room or environment.

The effect is achieved by manipulating the UVs for a cubemap texture, and by combining it with normal UVs for textures for roughness we can give the illusion of a glass plane in front of the room in the same material.

A window viewed from the inside with light reflecting in the window
A window viewed from outside

This can be very useful for creating the illusion of both interiors & exteriors while not having to create or load any geometry or lighting!

Our plan is also to use this in combination with machine like greeble and meshes to create the effect and feeling of really being inside a large complex machine.

Snow & Icicle Tools

Lastly I’ve worked on a snow-covering tool. I wanted a way to generate snow on meshes, other than just tweaking the material or using photo scanned assets. In many games you often have material variations for assets that appear in both non-snowy and snowy areas, this however doesn’t add volume to geometry. While it is possible to offset vertices to give the effect of snow and ice on meshes, I don’t find it very consistent as the topology of meshes varies and I want it to work on all meshes.

Snow covering a steel platform and truss bars
A snow covered platform.

The tool is made with houdini and uses Houdini Engine to be able to utilize it in Unreal.

By selecting meshes in the Unreal scene the tool will calculate a bounding box and from that box it will scatter and ray cast points downward onto the meshes. The points are then used to generate a volume which resembles snow. By marking points I can also make areas where the points are removed, resulting in a melting effect on desired locations. There’s also support for scattering icicles either randomly or in specific areas.

A snow covered steel balcony with some snow removed around the door

However as mentioned earlier, I will probably have to combine this with a snow material to get rid of the harsh transition between the snow and concrete.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading and I hope you look forward to the next update! If you have any questions, comments or feedback, just let us know. Until next time!

Be safe during the snowpocalypse and to keep your soul warm remember to…

Remember, yellow snow might be beer, you won’t know until you taste it.

~ The Gumlin

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