Outerra forum

Outerra Engine => FAQ => Topic started by: cameni on January 24, 2011, 11:55:30 am

Title: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on January 24, 2011, 11:55:30 am
1. What are the system requirements to run this engine?
The engine is GPU-centric and requires a DX10-class graphics card with OpenGL3.3 drivers and 512MB of GPU memory.
As the minimum should be considered an Nvidia 8800GT. Although the engine can run on lesser cards, it can affect the overall smoothness. Alpha builds don't contain all optimizations yet so this recommendation will likely change for finished product.

2. How does Outerra engine work?
It takes elevation data with arbitrary and optionally also varying resolution, that it further dynamically refines using fractal algorithms. The fractals try to mimic natural processes, generating fine, believable terrain with high resolution. The world is also being dynamically textured and populated with vegetation using predefined land type material sets and the computed terrain attributes.

3. What is the format for in-game models?  Can I use Maya/Lightwave/3dMax to create models and import them within the engine?
Engine uses its own format optimized for the rendering, but Collada files can be converted to it using a separate tool.

4. What physics are employed by the engine?
The engine currently integrates Bullet physics (http://bulletphysics.org) library for general physics and JSBSim (http://www.jsbsim.org/) library for flight dynamics modeling.
Practically any library can be used as long as it's able to cope with spherical worlds and huge terrains and has an interface capable to handle dynamically generated terrain in an effective manner.

5. What about water? Rivers, lakes and oceans.
In development. Vector data will be used for rivers and lakes.
...

6. Will there be weather? Clouds ..
In development.
...

7. Will there be particle effects?
In development.
...

8. Will terrain be destructible?
Destructible terrain is possible; dirt roads can be seen as an example of this too. Heavier modifications are not a problem as well. We have been thinking also about having destructible trees, this may be possible too once all other more significant issues are resolved.

9. Will there be artificial planets, asteroids or moons and other star systems
Support for artificial planets will be added later after maturing the Earth and close bodies - Moon and Mars.
The process will work by employing a generator in place of the external planetary data. The generator will mimic the characteristic patterns of topographic features on a planet - continents, mountain ranges, water drainage networks, volcanoes etc. generating them randomly but keeping them believable and natural for given planet type.

It will be also possible to combine this approach with the data-driven planet creation. With procedurally generated planets you could still want to influence the shapes of the continents or to place/move the mountains or to define the climates so that it all lines up with the game setting. You should be able to mod specific locations by smaller height field patches as well.

10. Will interplanetary travel be possible?
Yes, the engine is designed to allow this.

11. Will underground caverns and tunnels be supported?
Underground caverns will be supported by employing a tunnel/cavern generator, that will be using vector data to generate the geometry and blend it into existing terrain.

Note: members can post replies to this topic, these will be later deleted and answered or used to refine the existing answers if deemed worthy.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: Morcrist on March 27, 2012, 10:39:58 pm
Has any consideration been given to converting terrain data to voxels? I'd imagine it would greatly enhance/ease the creation of underground cave systems and/or terrain deformations. Would this not give the "best of both worlds"? Terrain as voxels with poly models on top? One could imagine an entire planet being blown up/carved away if it was composed of voxels.

Thanks for your time.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on March 28, 2012, 01:26:44 am
Voxels would take enormous space. Use of voxels is problematic even on "normal" game levels, on a planetary scale (with full visibility) it would be insane. While they would definitely ease the creation of complex underground caves, they would complicate pretty much everything else ...
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: shinseitom on March 28, 2012, 07:16:29 pm
Since it hasn't appeared to be mentioned in a while, will there eventually be support for non-spherical planetary shapes, such as a ringworld or other oddities?
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on March 29, 2012, 03:13:34 am
It is possible, though I guess it will only come into a planet creator based on OT engine, which will have a different focus than the Anteworld game (which is centered around Earth).
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: A7M16 on April 18, 2012, 02:55:35 am
Will there be terrain destructibility like when I'm flying In my space ship and I drop a bomb or accidentally crash my plane into the ground or what ever will there be a Crater?   YES/NO ?
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: ZeosPantera on April 18, 2012, 03:03:02 am
Will there be terrain destructibility like when I'm flying In my space ship and I drop a bomb or accidentally crash my plane into the ground or what ever will there be a Crater?   YES/NO ?

I can answer this one. Yes. It is planned to have all sorts of things affect the ground. Even to the point that vehicles driving over soft ground can leave physical tracks behind only to be worn away by time and weather.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: A7M16 on April 23, 2012, 05:37:07 pm
Does the engine support wildlife like bears, cows, horses, dogs, wolves, snakes, fish, sharks ETC.   and if it did would that be something default like trees in the engine or would that be up to a game developer to add that.

Also Not that i would really care to much but how would biome specific plants like cactus or palm trees be handled. Basically will there be different specie of plants or just one tree re-textured to fit where its at?       example:  Say one tree textured for a Snowy place and then re-textured for non-snowy place.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on April 24, 2012, 10:54:52 am
Not sure about the wildlife and the extent of its support directly within the engine. Many games won't need it, and it would be a lot of work to add animals and realistic models of behavior and all that. But it may be covered by another developer who would make it as an addon.

There will be different tree types to fit the environments and also to fit various conditions, i.e. the same tree type inside forest looks different than a tree standing alone, or at the forest border.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: ChookWantan on May 07, 2012, 03:56:41 pm
I have a question about multiplayer. How many people could populate one Outerra server at a time? I know you are ironing other things out, but even a rough guess would be appreciated!
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on May 07, 2012, 04:18:32 pm
There's no Outerra networking server. Networking is something that's independent of the rendering engine and will also depend on the type of the game.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: ChookWantan on May 07, 2012, 04:31:55 pm
Ah, that makes much more sense  :P
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: Klugschwätzer on June 01, 2012, 05:00:10 am
Don't get me wrong. The idea for an engine that mirrors an entire planet is splendid. I really hate those 50m wide levels where I feel kind of trapped all the time.

But the engine atm looks very sterile somehow. Probably because everything is procedural and cloned.

Do you plan to change that? By overlaying an additional layer with random noise (like in a field of gras there are patches of flowers here that are missing over there, or patches of deep green gras at the bottom of a valley where there is more water than on a steep climb, or undergrowth in the forrests, or random pools, streams and so fort). The engine sure is great and looks great, but only from far away so far.

Thanks for your time.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on June 01, 2012, 05:31:38 am
Well it's not fault of it being procedural, but of it not being procedural enough :)

At the moment there are several detail levels that are missing, and biomes and variety within the biomes (at 500-1000m scale) are missing more than the ground level detail you speak of. But yes, eventually there will be more detail at that scale as well. Vegetation, but also things like rocks and terrain fault lines etc. It will derive from the biome data, so that's why these must come first.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: Klugschwätzer on June 01, 2012, 05:47:29 am
Splendid. Looking forward to seeing it in action.
Then all we need are some physics like seen here: CryEngine 3 - Soft Body Physics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmaHj6mpT0k#ws)
.. and then we have the perfect sandbox game.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: ZeosPantera on June 01, 2012, 01:31:39 pm
Then all we need are some physics .. and then we have the perfect sandbox game.

Outerra currently employs the BULLET open source physics engine which is pretty damn capable.

3000 KEVA planks in slow motion (Updated) - Bullet Physics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ilojin4vQ8#)

Just no way to see it quite yet. Plus it may need to be "tweaked" for vehicle tire and track interactions.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: Klugschwätzer on June 01, 2012, 02:40:55 pm
Well my video was focused more on deformation physics (softbody or whatever). I have no idea if BULLET can compete with that. Anyway: I LOVE physics sandboxes. Used to blow up hundreds of stacked cars and barrels in the Crysis editor. :-)
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: Midviki on August 03, 2012, 12:27:00 am
Hello, I have read all this topic, and I have a question cause it seems I did not understood clearly.

- Will I will be able to remove a continent? or all the continents and leave the planet empty... just with the oceans?

- Or modify the ground under the ocean so I can build cities there, algae, ocean animals(dolphins,whales,sharks,all sorts of fish) and other high-tech things that a city could have under water(mostly if I would want to have some kind of jelly fish kind of animal submarine to transport me... how would that behave under water?) , or castles, and make my own from scratch? Or if players would have their own buildings and modify the terrain, would it make a major impact on the other players conquering their caster or even destroying it? (ofc all the models / materials for building, behavior or movement of the animals in cause to simulate an realistic movement under water would be imported, but the rest?(like under water light, whirlpools,tsunamis?)).

And I'm not saying maybe all these features will probably come at the release, but do you have in mind or planing to after the release?(At least the major ones)
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on August 03, 2012, 05:04:45 am
It's important to distinguish between the engine itself, which just renders a pre-compiled planet and allows for small-scale real-time modifications of the terrain, and a planet-creator software that would use the engine for the rendering. Removing a continent would certainly fall into the latter category, since it's not something you could attain with normal energy levels during gameplay.

Small scale terrain modifications (small in comparison to continent or planet size) are possible, and it's up to the game mechanics whether it will require you to collect the energy needed to move hundred tons of dirt and rock while leveling or preparing the terrain, or if it would downplay it. But all such decisions would have impact on the gameplay.

As far as Anteworld goes, it will try to be more realistic with energy spending. Also, given that you have all the landmass of Earth available, it won't focus on undersea settlements and water physics beyond what ships and submarines are going to need. Of course that doesn't mean that there can't be a game based on OT that does, in the future.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: Midviki on August 04, 2012, 04:44:57 pm

Small scale terrain modifications (small in comparison to continent or planet size) are possible, and it's up to the game mechanics whether it will require you to collect the energy needed to move hundred tons of dirt and rock while leveling or preparing the terrain, or if it would downplay it. But all such decisions would have impact on the gameplay.

As far as Anteworld goes, it will try to be more realistic with energy spending. Also, given that you have all the landmass of Earth available, it won't focus on undersea settlements and water physics beyond what ships and submarines are going to need. Of course that doesn't mean that there can't be a game based on OT that does, in the future.

- Small scale terrain modification, I can work with that! Modifying islands like Sicily in like 1-2 days working on it and managing to cut it in half not to look the same.
That would be great!

- I was more afraid of the fact that I'm writing a book for my future game, and I have maps and places that don't need to look like Earth major land masses.(so like 3-4 months of work it will do the job on lets say Africa even with little power of modeling small place, slow but good!

But for starters if it is possible to modify small islands or create new small islands that is great!

- But the part with the underwater or swimming?For now the lighting underwater seems dark, but that will be probably solved.The part where swimming under water may seem distant.Do you think till the release of the engine will be possible like with my human / wild life 3D models to be Flagged, so it could recognize the swimming animations once they get more deeper in the water or under it?But I did saw some video on youtube where ships where involved, so they where floating, so I may assume that options is already implemented?
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: cameni on August 05, 2012, 04:29:45 am
Anteworld's not meant for that. It's a demo game designed so that it can showcase the engine in its early state and as it's being developed. The sandbox mode will allow you to perform some of those actions, but it will be your local copy. Anteworld is also helping to develop the Outerra engine, so when it's finished it's likely that OT will be made available too, with a wider range of options and tools, like designing your own planets etc.

Swimming animations should be fairly easy to handle.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: FreeUser on November 15, 2013, 08:10:11 am
Hello, some more questions

1) is it possible to use this engin for hybride fps/rts ?
2) What about IA ?
3) Will we be able to generat our own map, planets ?
4) What about gravity and Newton physiques ?
 
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: PytonPago on November 15, 2013, 12:47:45 pm
3) Will we be able to generat our own map, planets ?

They plan to make a Planet-creator, doe, it is a lot of time to wait for it, cause first Earth should be finished properly with all its sparkles.

4) What about gravity and Newton physiques ?

Bullet physics takes that sort of things sorted out. Some stuff will be added to use it in more interesting ways ... still, biomes and clouds need to come first. Just hang on from month to month. :D

As for AI, i know there was talk about some low-wildlife to be put in OT a long time ago, but im not sure of the depth Cameni and AngryPig plans it for Antenworld. Doe, this needs animations done finito first too.

I dont think there should be much problem to do a FPS/RTS combined game using OT. It surely has not only the potential ... just have to wait for some nice-plan motivated developers to make it come true.
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: jokoon on June 02, 2016, 12:15:39 pm
Could you expand a bit about the fractal part ?

I don't have a degree in math, but I can't the relationship between fractal and terrain geometry. I guess that makes me twice as ignorant, but I think I understand a little what a fractal is in general when I read a wikipedia article.

When you mean fractal, do you mean you use some kind of recursive function to load different data geometry, to dynamically adjust the LOD ? Does that mean it continuously transfers geometry data on the GPU memory if I fly very fast ?
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: KW71 on June 02, 2016, 12:19:14 pm
Could you expand a bit about the fractal part ?

I don't have a degree in math, but I can't the relationship between fractal and terrain geometry. I guess that makes me twice as ignorant, but I think I understand a little what a fractal is in general when I read a wikipedia article.

When you mean fractal, do you mean you use some kind of recursive function to load different data geometry, to dynamically adjust the LOD ? Does that mean it continuously transfers geometry data on the GPU memory if I fly very fast ?

This may help:


http://forum.outerra.com/FMX/presentation/
Title: Re: Engine Specifics
Post by: jokoon on June 03, 2016, 11:51:19 am
Thanks, I'll definitely go through this!

I quickly browsed the blog, outerra have been in development for 8 years now, that's pretty impressive, I hope the efforts are paying.

I've read that outerra is mostly used for a military simulator, but this sort of engine have a really big potential for gaming application, or am I mistaken?

I don't really know what the dev team thinks about gaming, and if there were offers at some point, but as a developer this engine makes me dream. I'm curious to think what a game designer would think about this engine, and what would be possible to do with this.

I always had this idea that p2p networking/clustered game servers with a very large world like anteworld could really bring a lot of new possibilities for online gaming. For example the multiplayer experience of GTA 5 seems like it's popular, but with anteworld it would really be something else... but maybe I have illusions of grandeur.

I hope OSM data with cities will happen soon!