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Blog and Progress Updates
3D lineside vegetation with wind and turbulence effects, animated butterflies, new Autumn textures and leaf fallPosted by Anthony Bowden on 7th January 2009 at 10:00 pm
I’ve been working on some more animated objects for Cross-City South v1.4 and » openBVE «; this time, I’ve tried something I’d wished I could have achieved ever since I created the grassy embankments for the Watford Junction to Rugby route, and hence even long before the openBVE project was started; namely animated lineside vegetation which sways in the wind, and responds to the turbulence created by the passage of the player’s train. One criticism pointed out to me in my routes is the use of 2D lineside trees, which becomes a problem when viewed side-on as is now possible with openBVE’s camera views. Rotating the trees appropriately is one way to reduce this problem and is ideal where performance is important, but I wanted to try using 3D trees just to see how well they worked; so I’ve now created largely 3D trees, which include trunks and branches, as well as foliage clusters, with each component animated appropriately to create quite a nice effect, hopefully bringing some of the beauty of nature to life in the route.
I was originally planning to release the new scenery as part of the Watford Junction to Rugby project, however I’ve now decided to include this in Cross-City South v1.4 instead, which will be released sooner than the aforementioned route. The Cross-City update is proving to be a far more significant upgrade than I originally planned, which does mean Watford to Rugby will be delayed again (I had said privately, that by April I might be closer to finishing it, but this is unlikely now–sorry), so I thought it might be better to have some of it’s features brought forward and included as part of the next Cross-City release instead.
The newest preview video includes photo-realistic Summer and Autumn objects, textures, and higher resolution backdrops, and features grass, foliage, flowers and bushes which sway gently in the breeze, but which as mentioned above, also appear to be disturbed by turbulence caused by the passage of the player’s train, achieved easily by using the Distance variable (which currently provides the distance from the player’s train to the animated object), along with an additional rotation function with associated damping. I’ve also created some animated butterflies (which are simply adapted from the flashing level crossing light available in Michelle’s » DemoRoute1 «, with different objects, a faster refresh rate and extra translation functions applied), which complement the new plant life and animated birds in the Summer routes. The Autumn trees also include falling leaves which gently sway back and forth in the breeze as they float to the ground, which adds a little more fun to wheelslip scenarios.
These animated vegetation objects are loaded via Ground and Dike commands so can be cycled and repeated respectively, and a reasonably fast PC will likely be needed for full enjoyment; however to keep framerates higher, the use of animated vegetation will probably be limited to maybe 300m lengths of route at locations like station areas, signals which could be held at red whilst enroute, and various points of interest (see below for more information). Waiting for departure at a station, or for a signal to clear from red, needn’t be so dull in future. In between these selected locations, static, but nevertheless 3D trees will be used, probably along with static versions of the grassy embankments although using animated versions may be possible performance wise; I’m not sure about this yet. You can’t easily appreciate the animation from the cab when travelling at speed anyway, so it’s not really a problem. Further away from the track, simple, non-animated 2D trees will be retained (but rotated and placed carefully to minimise the 2D appearance), as openBVE is primarily a cab-view simulator of course.
Video: Demonstration of 3D animated vegetation and turbulence on passage of player’s train, animated butterflies, new Summer and Autumn textures, and Autumn leaf fall effects. Also includes the swinging cables and flying birds » previously demonstrated «.
Note: This video is now included as part of a compilation on YouTube.