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Weather and environmental visual effects


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the AirCar gameplay has a static texture (which they could make moving easily if they want) and a few individual particles, but that is the easy part. If you added windshield wiping, repopulating those droplets using just that big texture would take computational power, and of course, if you want to avoid Forza's weird clump of droplets that appears, you'll have to have logic to turn those droplets into a solid stream of water.

Just now, Vl3d said:

I think it's just one texture that's as big as the windshield and it's animated and looped.

The thing then would be that whether you are moving at 1 m/s or 1500m/s, the rain would slide off at the same rate, and if you slowed up down or sped it up, the wiper would wipe really slowly across the windshield and wouldn't look right. So, you cannot use a looped texture, even if Forza does. 

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Just now, t_v said:

AirCar gameplay has a static texture

That's not a texture, that's a shader for 3D effect. I've seen it in VR, it has light diffraction.

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Just now, Vl3d said:

That's not a texture, that's a shader for 3D effect. I've seen it in VR, it has light diffraction.

sure, a shader, but that is still easy to implement, because shaders are essentially mathematical operations applied to textures (or pixels or what have you). The point that I am trying to get across is that some systems are very hard to implement even though they might seem very similar to easy systems, and it is important to ask yourself if those systems are worth it. 

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2012. Rain on a windshield that is probably not a simple texture because a) it moves downwards seemingly randomly when the vehicle is stationary, and b) wipers actually move separate droplets to the side where they slide to the edge of the windshield and probably disappear. I repeat, game from 2012. It's not 2020 MSFS or Forza 5 or whatever the hell that third thing was.

Back to complex weather effects and many examples - cool, but none of them have to work on a scale of KSP. In many cases the weather is global, and it's a flat world, so it's much easier to implement than around a sphere - and as it turns out, more than one at the same time. The only exception is MSFS but then I've read countless complains on how the weather system is super basic and not exactly realistic. I mean I've seen similar effects in my Flight Sim from 2002. And still, it doesn't affect the player too much aside from wind effects and visibility. You don't get puddles on the ground or waves on the sea.

Budget doesn't matter when you're constrained by time, so you have to draw the line somewhere. I think your line doesn't exist.

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ETS effect is beautiful. It's like transparent snow that's actually getting moved around.

3 minutes ago, The Aziz said:

Budget doesn't matter when you're constrained by time, so you have to draw the line somewhere. I think your line doesn't exist.

I'm only interested in the ideas that would make KSP the ideal game. It's up to the devs what they choose to implement.

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7 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

I'm only interested in the ideas that would make KSP the ideal game

It's a space game and the ideal space game will have put more effort into effects pertaining to space than weather.

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I think a weather system would be great, but not a complicated one.  Wind that blow planes around, fog that impairs visibility, and rain that makes ground slippery.  I don't think any of those would need anything too hard.

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51 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

OMG.. just found this video. Look at the radstorms, the nuke lightning and the quantum storm rain..

Imagine KSP2 looking like this.

Once the systems are in place, tweaking parameters such as cloud size, distribution, and color is easy and for this one, I can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that the views on other planets have the potential to look even more alien than fallout 76's. Although probably not with names such as "quantum rain."

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1 hour ago, Vl3d said:

I really think KSP2 can do a better job than this..

When you say better job, do you mean aesthetically or with realism? Because all of the clips you have posted here are utterly and completely unrealistic for the sake of aesthetics. Also, the effects presented there are pretty intense already, and making a higher fidelity version would be very bad for performance. 

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4 hours ago, t_v said:

utterly and completely unrealistic for the sake of aesthetics

Well it's all digital art, games, entertainment. I have no idea how realistic weather on alien worlds looks like. But if any game could show something closer to a scientifically valid version, it's KSP. Anyway, like I said, weather is part of a planet's identity.

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I mean, we already have seen true volumetric clouds in KSP 2 feature videos, and personally, I'm just happy with that. I mean, think of all the things you can do with just clouds- anything from obscuring vision for a landing, to having beautiful formations for people to fly through. All of which can add to a planet's unique identity. I don't mean to sound to harsh saying this, but the thing about KSP 2, when compared to some of the videos that have been shown off, is that in a game like KSP, these things are much more ambitious and difficult to pull off. And this all comes do to the simple nature of the game, being that there has to be seamless transitions between being on the surface of planets, to being in orbit of said planet, to being around a completely different planet. Many of the things shown off here are simple scenes with most likely not even props behind the camera, or games that take place on a flat world with a good looking skybox. As it is, these were probably quite difficult to pull off, now imagine trying to do that across many solar systems without making any significant performance hit, have it perform well with an advanced physics system, and have it be all seamless. My point: don't let your expectations of people's good looking weather assets ruin KSP 2 for you. That being said, I'm sure the very talented devs of KSP 2 will make something very impressive.

Edited by Benzo Kerman
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3 minutes ago, Benzo Kerman said:

My point: don't let your expectations of people's good looking weather assets ruin KSP 2 for you.

Extra emphasis on this. If you're disappointed that KSP 2 isn't looking to have weather, then KSP probably isn't the game for you nor is it the game you want - you should be looking at games like No Man's Sky and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (or Microsoft Flight Simulator X if your system can't handle the former). Those games have weather, vegetation, etc.  Stuff that KSP 2 isn't looking to have, because it doesn't need them.

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On 6/24/2022 at 9:39 AM, Bej Kerman said:

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.

On 6/24/2022 at 9:09 AM, Bej Kerman said:

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.

You could use those arguments to also suggest the devs not invest in beautifying a planets terrain as terrain != space. I don't believe there are many who would say upgrading the terrain would be pointless effort and I would argue similar effort should be put toward atmospheric phenomenon as well. KSP is a space game so far as one wishes  to move through it to get to another planet with terrain and possibly an atmosphere. Why not emphasize beauty to encourage going through space to seek it? Who wouldn't like to experience what a Martian dust storm may look like, or see planetary sized hurricanes like Jupiter's Great Red Spot or the blue hexagon of Saturn's pole. I'd certainly consider these phenomenon and other's like them very characteristic of a "space game".

On another note, I think calling KSP an aerospace game would be more accurate than simply a space game, the game ships stock with a plethora of aircraft parts, parachutes, heat shields, and so on after all and we spend a fair amount of time travelling through atmospheres while playing.

This all said, the OP specifically stated a desire to see weather visuals and you've here argued against having CFD weather simulations, something that was not brought up in this thread, nor alluded to, until you spoke against it.  I believe this is the quintessential definition of strawmanning.

Edited by mcwaffles2003
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2 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

Who wouldn't like to experience what a Martian dust storm may look like, or see planetary sized hurricanes like Jupiter's Great Red Spot or the blue hexagon of Saturn's pole.

It should say a lot that SpaceEngine team, developing a program now capable of visualizing the Kerr-Newman metric, considers the volumetric rendering systems needed to create proper gas giants a whole other beast.

2 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

This all said, the OP specifically stated a desire to see weather visuals and you've here argued against having CFD weather simulations, something that was not brought up in this thread, nor alluded to, until you spoke against it.  I believe this is the quintessential definition of strawmanning.

Weather visuals as elaborate as OP is wanting might as well be just as out of reach as CFD weather simulations. They are setting themselves up for disappointment.

Edited by Bej Kerman
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On 6/25/2022 at 5:02 AM, t_v said:

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. 

To simulate individual particles AND their fluid interactions you dont actually need to store each individual particles, compute their interactions on a thread and push it to the gpu rendering queue (which is expensive obvs, as KSP is already somewhat cpu bottlenecked due to physics). An approach i would use with my experience in making shaders is to just do it all on the gpu with a double-buffered FBO, and a special shader designed to compute the next (timestep?) based on the previous state. The state will be stored as a kind of 'water heightmap' on the FBOs. This also allows the surface normals for rendering the droplets to be cheap (as it is just a simple convolution of the heightmap) as well. The shader is relatively inexpensive I think esp if we make some concessions to improve performance over realism by introducing redneck implementations of basic fluid dynamics (basically a series of convolutions with neighboring pixels that approximate surface tension and diffusion as necessary). The shader will be given a few parameters like wind, gravity and whatnot to allow the water to react to the airflow relative to the craft and etc. (the draw call is just this texture being rendered onto its buffer and its performance impact is probably negligible )
This implementation would also allow the windscreen clearing to be very easy if its just erasing the texture, as the texture directly represents the water of the surface. If the windshield is actively pushing the water then a different shader will have to be used to 'push' the heightmap, but it may be relatively inexpensive given that we can probably fudge it by just erasing the water as normal and adding a bit of water at the end of the wiper.
However there's an important assumption that this effect is only used in limited conditions e.g. only the cockpit view as simulating this over every surface in the craft would destroy the GPU memory budget (maybe)
Here's a supporting paper from 2007
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240945705_Rendering_of_Water_Drops_in_Real-Time
In the scope of things it may probably be a week's worth of work to implement a presentable version, ignoring bugs and maintenance that may come later on from parts having their windshield misconfigured and tweaking of the simulation run by the shader in different environments on planets.
Honestly a nice polish detail but I wont really care about it being missing from the game on release. This is like post-release patch territory prolly.

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20 minutes ago, Xelo said:

Honestly a nice polish detail but I wont really care about it being missing from the game on release. This is like post-release patch territory prolly.

Like this?

 

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50 minutes ago, Vl3d said:

Like this?

Ye! To be honest, i have not entered the cockpit mode more then once in KSP1, I cant pilot any rocket from there, it seems like a side thing that is just cool to have for cinematic shots and role play. The windshield water being like a side-visual on that side mechanic would probably put it in that 'later nice to have patch feature' realm for me. 
Though comparing it to lack of feedback when you shoot water in a F/TPS game is a bit dishonest. You'd expect bullets to elicit reactions from terrain as its bullets, they destroy things, a gun that damages nothing feels bad.  The game features fast paced action and powerful weapons. The water always splashes when you throw things in it and everyone knows that because its easily reproducible. Most games put that feedback in for shooting, giving you an expectation. Hence it is obvious when its missing.
The water on a windshield is more subtle and occurs only in specific conditions, especially in bad weather conditions where visibility is low and you'd hardly be flying well from a cockpit in the first place. The game spends the majority of its time in space and on barren rocks with no liquid-based weather. The camera in the cockpit is by far not the main camera you'd use when piloting the rocket. Even if other distantly related games have this feature, their systems do not have to deal with the wide range of conditions KSP has. If its only on kerbin, that would be even less justifiable in a time sensitive environment.  So like others have said, its difficult to justify a niche effect for a niche viewpoint in a set of niche conditions as something important to be done before the time-limited release.
Tldr:
Comparing bullet water splashes to windshield rain in KSP2 is like comparing the importance of death animations for over-watch vs the fact that itd be cool for characters to make footprints on metal surfaces after stepping on dusty surfaces in the same game. 
 

Edited by Xelo
tldr
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Visuals only would just be a matter of GPU mostly.  Actual weather is so hard to model well. Just look at how quickly weather forecast accuracy falls off.  Maybe a central simulation super computer  with only rough sim results being consumed by the client game.  Or even leverage existing  Earth historical weather data to inform Kerbin weather as a hack; no sim required.

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On 6/29/2022 at 5:38 AM, darthgently said:

Visuals only would just be a matter of GPU mostly.  Actual weather is so hard to model well. Just look at how quickly weather forecast accuracy falls off.  Maybe a central simulation super computer  with only rough sim results being consumed by the client game.  Or even leverage existing  Earth historical weather data to inform Kerbin weather as a hack; no sim required.

I don't think full on weather sims with accurate storm systems and consistency are required. Why not just have storms act like large scale atmospheric scatter? They can randomly appear at any location based on a criteria focusing on planet/latitude, have a timeline where it starts from something akin to no storm, build to storm, include weather animation, then fade out back to no storm. No need for an actual weather sim.

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50 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

I don't think full on weather sims with accurate storm systems and consistency are required. Why not just have storms act like large scale atmospheric scatter? They can randomly appear at any location based on a criteria focusing on planet/latitude, have a timeline where it starts from something akin to no storm, build to storm, include weather animation, then fade out back to no storm. No need for an actual weather sim.

Doesn't this get a little weird because your flights are modeled continuously to the surface? I think it would be a problem if you're looking down from orbit and see a hurricane swirling but when you descend into it disappears to a randomized clear day (or worse, the opposite). Seems like if you're gonna do it you gotta go all the way.

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