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Weather and environmental visual effects


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Hello! This post is not a request. The KSP2 team has complete creative control. This is not a post about wind or floods or heavy snow or other gameplay changing related features.

This is just a list of videos created using Unity that show how beautiful and immersive a celestial body can be if it has weather and other environmental visual effects in addition to clouds and atmospheric scattering / lighting (things that have already been confirmed).

I think visually simulating alien climates / seasons / weather .. even vegetation .. would be revolutionary in gaming (weather caused by a different atmospheric chemistry and different physical properties like temperature and pressure).

Rain Storm and Lightning

Spoiler

 

Snow storm

Spoiler

 

Vegetation

Spoiler

 

Volumetric Lighting and Flowing Fog

Spoiler

 

Volumetric Clouds

Spoiler

 

Tornado and whirlwind

Spoiler

 

Sandstorm

Spoiler

 

Avalanche (could be with snow, dirt, mud & rocks)

Spoiler

 

Lava, melting ice, mud slides (could not find examples for all)

Spoiler

 

Snow / sand / dust footprints

Spoiler

 

Snow / ice environment

Spoiler

 

Oceanic and flowing river water, dynamic waves

Spoiler

 

Just thinking about how all this would look like on exotic celestial bodies is beyond imagination. I repeat, it's not a request, it's just something I dream of seeing - on alien planets - someday. Weather, climate, seasons.. they are part of the planet with atmosphere as much as the terrain and lighting.

Edited by Vl3d
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1 hour ago, Vl3d said:

I repeat, it's not a request

And yet you put this in the subforum for suggestions and development, and constantly bring these sorts of things up. I'd rather the devs spend their polish time focusing on making actually important aspects of the game better. I don't need anything more than some clouds and wind in the weather aspect - I do want things like radiation and life support, building megastructures and gathering resources to be fun and well balanced, without feeling grindy and overly complicated, and I want behind-the-scenes systems like repeated shipping routes and resource transfer to be as bug-free as possible. I don't care all that much about a few bells and whistles I.E. complex weather, though. We only need some basic wind and atmospheric temperature simulation to make piloting aircraft less boring, and to add another dimension of challenge to planets like Eve and Ovin, and make diving into Jool more intense. Complex simulation and graphics as you've repeatedly brought up would be unnecessary, nor would it add much more than basic wind and temperature alone.

Edited by Bej Kerman
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2 hours ago, Bej Kerman said:

I'd rather the devs spend their polish time focusing on making actually important aspects of the game better.

I don't think any of us have to worry; assuming they have experience in game development, and are definitely targetting an early 2023 release, then they'd know how to organise their development and not introduce things that are too big. If anything, they're likely using this forum to get much smaller suggestions right now, then use it in the future for more suggestions once the game has released and people can make suggestions directly related to the game's current content.

As an example, let's say rotation is still cut off in time warp. Someone could present their case for why it should be in, citing examples like Juno and other space probes. I believe they implemented some simple rotation without applying physics to parts, but maybe they didn't. We'd have to see.

As another example, I recently made a post on axial tilts in KSP 2. Axial tilts are a very important part of planets and space. Uranus is entirely tilted on its side because of this, instead of facing "directly up", as all the other planets are in KSP 1.

Edited by intelliCom
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I just wanted to show the community what has already been done in Unity (most of it is not even the latest version) and how beautiful KSP2 can be. Sure, you would probably need high end PCs, but it's worth it for the immersive experience. I hope we get some kind of weather visuals..

On the other hand, 2023 visuals should be outstanding in general.. considering the revolutionary progress that has been made in the graphics field. Just look here and here.

Also look at what RDR2 accomplished:

Or MFS:

Or Days Gone:

Or Snowrunner, especially for the terrain physics:

Just imagine how landing during a storm on Eve would look like...

Or crash landing at dusk in a muddy and snowy forest, while raining, with volumetric mist and lighting, setting the trees on fire, destroying the terrain when slowing down, with deformable craft physics. :( Don't get me started..

Edited by Vl3d
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4 hours ago, Vl3d said:

I just wanted to show the community what has already been done in Unity (most of it is not even the latest version) and how beautiful KSP2 can be. Sure, you would probably need high end PCs, but it's worth it for the immersive experience. I hope we get some kind of weather visuals..

Comparing KSP 2 to bigger games that can afford to have these pointless bells and whistles serves no point, and only risks leading to disappointment when KSP 2 reveals itself to be a space game with simulator elements and not a weather simulator. I'm not sure what good you expect to come by repeatedly posting links to other barely related games.

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34 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

Comparing KSP 2 to bigger games that can afford to have these pointless bells and whistles

KSP2 is a AAA title with a ~40+ person team and a 4 years development effort, that also has one of the biggest game holding companies in the industry financing it. It's a BIG game.

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1 minute ago, Vl3d said:
46 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

Comparing KSP 2 to bigger games that can afford to have these pointless bells and whistles

KSP2 is a AAA title with a ~40+ person team and a 4 years development effort, that also has one of the biggest game holding companies in the industry financing it. It's a BIG game.

And? It's a space game. Not a weather simulator. Fantasies of KSP 2 having the ability to simulate fluid dynamics and weather patterns will only be fantasies. So far I've only seen KSP fans that want KSP to be a space game front and foremost, not a weather analytics program.

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11 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

Not a weather simulator. Fantasies of KSP 2 having the ability to simulate fluid dynamics and weather patterns will only be fantasies. So far I've only seen KSP fans that want KSP to be a space game front and foremost, not a weather analytics program.

I have no idea what you're talking about, the original post is related to weather visuals.

And remember KSP sold over 5 million units by itself, with all it's limitations. It just makes sense to invest in KSP2.

So don't tell me that during the design meetings someone said "yeah our budget is $50-70 mil. but we're not going to have weather on our planets".

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7 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

So don't tell me that during the design meetings someone said "yeah our budget is $50-70 mil. but we're not going to have weather on our planets".

I think you should stop making attempts to ramp expectations up for weather simulation. Don't forget this is a space game. Literally all we need is some basic fx and wind at the most. There's no need for some of that 5-70 mil to be wasted on things other than fleshing out the game's more important features.

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I think that what you meant by that (hilarious) image that is that expressing weather effects is fairly simple.  I would disagree, because a lot of these effects are very complicated to create.

Wet during rain- Does this mean everything gets darker?  More shiny?  Both?

Dry and Shadow On Ground- pretty much already exist.

White on top- I don't think that making every upward-facing surface white will look like snow.   To look realistic it would probably need some depth, at least a few centimeters, and then you start getting into the physics of driving through the stuff.

Can't See Stone- Fairly simple I guess, just blur and whiten more and more as the object gets farther away.

Swinging Stone- now you're getting into the complex realm of fluid dynamics.

Stone Gone- Like above but more so.

I think that implementing all of this would definitely take enough resources that it would detract from other parts of the game.  The question is is it worth it, which people seem to think is a "no".

Edited by Ember12
Added missing “that”
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I'll chip in. One, I think weather having an effect on craft in atmosphere would be nice.  Winds, visibility, rain/snow/hail.  I'd LOVE to see this...AS A TOGGLE.  On/off, or a slider for maximum severity.  Weather is not a bell and whistle if it has an effect on gameplay.

I design a lot of rovers and flyers in KSP1.  I don't post pictures or videos, albeit here, have a fun rotorcraft:

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The Mk 1 and 2 Dragonflyer.

Now imagine if the OPTION is there to try or have to fly these in inclement weather.  Some people like that sort of challenge, and it's not a 'waste of resources' to consider adding elements that people might want.  Especially since resources are already available.  A lot of these weather packages are plug-in, and can be tweaked and worked on by artists.  Yes, it requires some programmer time to integrate.

Please stop calling weather and effects that affect in-atmo flying or driving a 'waste of resources'.  Thanks.

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15 minutes ago, Defenestrator47 said:

Please stop calling weather and effects that affect in-atmo flying or driving a 'waste of resources'.  Thanks.

Simple wind and temperature isn't a waste of resources. Weather simulation that would revolutionize gaming and the simulation industry, though...

17 hours ago, Vl3d said:

would be revolutionary in gaming

That is a waste of resources. It's a game about space. The physics of radiation, collisions, temperature in a small closed system, engine exhaust hitting the exterior of a vessel or even a ground structure, centrifugal forces, et cetera will all play a bigger role in KSP 2 than some rocks on the ground going shiny when the weather is right.

Edited by Bej Kerman
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18 hours ago, Vl3d said:

I think visually simulating alien climates / seasons / weather .. even vegetation .. would be revolutionary in gaming (weather caused by a different atmospheric chemistry and different physical properties like temperature and pressure).

I'll ignore the fact you quoted me out of context. That's not nice. I put the full quote above.

I emphasized that a visual representation of weather on other planets has not really been done in any game and it would be very interesting.

Edited by Vl3d
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1 hour ago, Bej Kerman said:

Simple wind and temperature isn't a waste of resources. Weather simulation that would revolutionize gaming and the simulation industry, though...

That is a waste of resources. It's a game about space. The physics of radiation, collisions, temperature in a small closed system, engine exhaust hitting the exterior of a vessel or even a ground structure, centrifugal forces, et cetera will all play a bigger role in KSP 2 than some rocks on the ground going shiny when the weather is right.

So, these systems do exist, sometimes as plug and play code modules that can be added to existing games to fulfill that functionality.  Graphics wise, what is shown in Vl3d's original post is just that.  Adjusting variables for different planets, and atmo pressures is basically just tuning and dial turning, which is not NOTHING, but it's a far cry from having to code up an entire atmospheric/flight model system from scratch.  Especially as KSP2 team said, I believe early on, that the flight modeling would be more or less like what's in KSP1 (hopefully moddable, as I won't play without FAR).

If Intercept had to create weather systems from scratch, and have not been working on them from the start, in order to fully integrate that into part interactions and everything else it implies, I would not want them to start now.  However, they already have systems for atmospheres, to enable flying craft and friction/resistance during explosive vehicle flinging events.  Creating storms (high velocity wind), ice (some textures, friction changes, changes to engine performance), rain and lightning, can be done alongside existing systems.  Now, if they haven't already worked them into KSP2's core code?  THAT would be a lot of additional working person-hours, and this late in the game, I'd rather the game get out the door than add a new feature.

So IF they already have it coded, and haven't revealed it yet, bliss.  If they HAVEN'T yet added it, then the focus should be on polishing up what's there.  (I'm all for delays to polish and tweak and make gooder anything already in place, if it's needed.)

I DO hope some sort of weather system beyond clouds and "graphical effects only wind" is in place.  I understand that KSP2 might support native joystick controls, and you can believe I'll spend on a quality HOTAS for this game, to have fun with flyers and rotors and VTOL jet lifts.  I'm already researching and planning my purchase list for the machine to play it on.  The current abacas is past its prime, kept limping on by swaps and replacements, but the processor and mobo are 11+ years old, and it's time.

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18 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

I'll ignore the fact you quoted me out of context. That's not nice. I put the full quote above.

I emphasized that a visual representation of weather on other planets has not really been done in any game and it would be very interesting.

I completely agree that weather on other planets would be very interesting. What differentiates Venus from Mars, both balls of rock of different colors, is the difference in the atmosphere, how it behaves, and how it looks. A rocky promontory overlooking a plain of rock is not the only way to set a visual tone for a planet, the shapes, colors, sizes, and distribution of clouds can also have a major impact, as well as weather events. 

I think that for each person, the threshold of what graphical effects are "worth it" compared to the work and performance impact is different. Would I want heat distortion coming off of my ship's hull and off in the distance, with mirages accurately traced out? Absolutely, and I even think it would be a great visual indicator of how hot something is. However, it could easily be replaced by a less high-fidelity and less processing intensive system, and I probably wouldn't notice it if it wasn't there, and I am not at all sure I want the devs working out the math on heat distortion like that (yes, I know you can do it with a shader on jet engine trails, I'm talking about actual distortion, where something offscreen would appear in some cases). It is the same with weather; would I like to step out onto a launchpad on Laythe, looking like that one scene in Star Wars on the water planet? (I don't know too much about that series) Absolutely! But having accurately simulated rivulets of water flowing off of the side of the pad and splashing into the ocean below is not a feature I would notice if it was never there, and I think my computer would kill me if I did that to it. However, that's just my thresholds. Everyone has different ones, and that's fine. 

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10 minutes ago, t_v said:

Would I want heat distortion coming off of my ship's hull and off in the distance, with mirages accurately traced out? Absolutely, and I even think it would be a great visual indicator of how hot something is.

What a great idea! The simple jet engine effect could be applied to other hot materials.

I'm all for simple graphical effects, visual details, like windshield liquid dripping, condensation, freezing effects. I would also prefer having actually working wipes that clear the liquid, not the fake ones in MFS.

That's what we're talking about here. Gameplay changing physics elements like wind, liquid corrosion, lightning, sand, mud and snow depth, snow mass, heat, terrain destruction and material deformation are a separate discussion.

Edited by Vl3d
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39 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

I'm all for simple graphical effects, visual details, like windshield liquid dripping, condensation, freezing effects. I would also prefer having actually working wipes that clear the liquid, not the fake ones in MFS.

 

What I think you are missing here is that effects like windshield dripping that is wipeable is a very, very complex effect. In computer programming, telling a computer to draw a bird on the screen can be fine, telling it to make that bird take a step is almost impossible. Things might seem "simple" but are actually complex and very intense to program, and telling the difference is very important. 

Here's what you can do for liquid condensing, dripping, or freezing on a surface: make a texture that is applied as a mask onto that surface, with some logic like frosting should follow edges (we saw that in the simulation shader), or dripping (really flowing droplets) should be opposite to the direction of travel and have an animated texture. simple, albeit it would take up more RAM, but oh well. 

Then, you want to add windshield wiping. You now need to create logic for deforming the animated texture as the wiper crosses it, and then logic for slowly replacing the empty space with that texture as water flows down. Next, you need to create a separate flow for the mass of water that has been moved by the wiper, which is not going to follow the same path as the little droplets. You cannot just pre-generate this, as different rain and wind conditions will generate vastly different results. Even after all of these steps, you are left with a really ugly looking system that still needs a lot of fixing in edge cases and more work and more processing power to make realistic. That's where I draw my threshold because I think that the amount of effort that the devs and my computer would have to put in compared to the absolutely minuscule benefit are not enough, and I can recognize when a system is complex or simple and that system is complex. 

I hope this clarified a few things from earlier in the thread, where a lot of what you are suggesting could be done with a few simple shaders and easy math, but then the next logical step that you take brings the simulation into dangerously intense territory. Rivers? sure! Easy moving texture. Rain on those rivers? sure! Easy masking with the little expanding rings. Flooding due to rain? Now you have to calculate the volume of water that is passing by any given point along the river and change that value as the river increases its size, and run this recursively as each segment you do affects segments in front and behind it... And of course you can't simply raise the water level universally, because that would look completely wrong in a lot of places and generate problems. 

45 minutes ago, shdwlrd said:

I thought this FX was already shown off in the exhaust dev diary? 

Yes, that effect exactly, but I was making an example where that effect was put on top of hot rocket parts in the atmosphere or in hot areas like deserts or molten planets. 

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14 minutes ago, t_v said:

Then, you want to add windshield wiping. You now need to create logic for deforming the animated texture as the wiper crosses it, and then logic for slowly replacing the empty space with that texture as water flows down. Next, you need to create a separate flow for the mass of water that has been moved by the wiper, which is not going to follow the same path as the little droplets. You cannot just pre-generate this, as different rain and wind conditions will generate vastly different results. Even after all of these steps, you are left with a really ugly looking system that still needs a lot of fixing in edge cases and more work and more processing power to make realistic. That's where I draw my threshold because I think that the amount of effort that the devs and my computer would have to put in compared to the absolutely minuscule benefit are not enough, and I can recognize when a system is complex or simple and that system is complex. 

You're over-complicating it. Look at the first seconds of this video - that's the wrong way to do it, the water-on-glass texture is static. It should just have an area of clear glass where the wiper clears it. They should just delete an area of the texture.

Alternatively look at the Forza Horizon 5 implementation @ 0:35 - the texture density changes for half a second and there are some water lines created by the wipers. It's nice!

Also look at this for a nice wind effect on the liquid:

 

Edited by Vl3d
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5 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

You're over-complicating it. Look at the first seconds of this video - that's the wrong way to do it, the water-on-glass texture is static. It should just have an area of clear glass where the wiper clears it. They should just delete an area of the texture.

The static vs. moving textures part isn't the complex part, nor is the clearing of the water. The complex part comes when you have to eventually replace that water. What Forza is doing is pretty much what I detailed, and as you can see, it isn't close to how it works in reality. If you think that the system Forza demonstrated and I talked about is over-complicated, then you are pretty much stuck with MSFS windshield wiping.

edit: look at the part where the plane takes off in MSFS. The texture isn't static, and there is even logic to make the water form streams while moving. That sort of stuff is another level of realism that could be added but I wouldn't want because I wouldn't notice it, just like you didn't. 

Edited by t_v
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1 minute ago, t_v said:

The static vs. moving textures part isn't the complex part, nor is the clearing of the water. The complex part come when you have to eventually replace that water. What Forza is doing is pretty much what I detailed, and as you can see, it isn't close to how it works in reality. If you think that the system Forza demonstrated and I talked about is over-complicated, then you are pretty much stuck with MSFS windshield wiping.

Are you talking about replacing the H2O with another chemical with a different surface tension and viscosity?

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no, I'm talking about putting the water back on the windshield. Forza does it by just adding more water particles back, but if you want to keep your GPU from going kaput, you don't want to have each water droplet as an individual texture to be applied and manipulated. It might work better with a lower density of raindrops, but there are always limitations and having that effect as opposed to  just having a few larger moving textures is much more processing-intensive and not very recognizable. 

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