1. #1

    Question Neocron Terrain Map Size? (recreating for nostalgia and fun)

    Hello,
    I am looking to recreate some aspects of Neocron for a free recreation project that I am working on with a few friends. My task is the outworld terrain. We are recreating the nostalgic representation of Neocron in the Unreal Engine 4 and it is not a commercial project (to get that bit out of the way). I wish to be as faithful to the original design as possible, in terms of terrain map layout (as the rest of the team is doing the same with the city and interior levels). I want to master scale and placement of the different terrain types, and would obviously prefer to shape the whole outworld into one large seamless map, although I have considered using the streaming capabilities of the engine and making the terrain sector by sector. Either way, I will be sculpting it firstly in mudbox and then using world machine to give it its features. At the end, I am hoping to recreate the terrain of Neocron, faithfully but with much higher detail and better looks.

    With that all being said, my few biggest hurdles are as follows:
    1- I need to know the sector size (preferably in KM) as well as the world map size, in KM.
    2- I need to figure the best way to recreate the pathing and layout as close to the original as possible.
    3- I need to figure the best way to lay it out in the unreal engine 4 and match the scaling.


    Now, ideally it would be great to be able to get my hands on the height-map that they used to create the terrain itself, but I am not holding my breath for that. If it is possible and the developers are feeling generous and trusting, it would be greatly appreciated, but I don't expect it.

    So all I really need from some kind soul in this community is help with the sector and map size, so that I can begin with the proper foundation. Any of my other issues, I will address on the unreal forums or other game development forums. I will say though, on the odd chance that there are people with talent here, help is always welcome with my other two hurdles and/or any other assistance possible. If you want to help out, please feel free to PM me here or in game at the same name.

    Thanks and have a blessed day!

  2. #2
    Xpertz William Antrim's Avatar
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    There was a fan project doing a similar thing a while ago although they stuck with the city maps (p1 and 2 etc). I dont know how you would be able to accurately measure the wastelands as the navray is a bit naff at the best of times.

    In terms of measuring metres travelled I think theoretically the only way you can do it with a regular client account would be fairly boring and inaccurate. The navray does give a value of how many metres the objective is away (although not sure if it takes into account the Z axis) in a zone. If you set that and then listen for the footstep sounds and measure say ten steps and see how many metres you travel in that time you might well get a value to measure the size of one zone at least in the X,Y axes. I guess from there you could extrapolate that to all zones and assume theyre all the same size (measuring would be a complete pain the arse).

    As for Z axis measurements - honestly no idea outside of guessing and using char height and pointing at the screen or using bluetack if you cant get terrain elevation data from the server which is probably a massive no no.

    However asking someone else to do this is probably also a massive non-starter.

    The whole thing is based around assumptions and guesswork but do you REALLY need it to be an accurate distance to the CM or M or do you mind having an approximation as long as the terrain looks right? Thats a question you need to ask yourself i guess and then build it how you see fit. At the end of the day youre the one building the terrain in UED so I would assume that you need to walk the same terrain in NC to get a feel for it for yourself.

    i am far from a maths brain but i work alongside people who do this sort of thing for real life programming so i have picked up a bit of knowledge along the way. however what youre asking is a pretty thankless task if im honest. That said I do hope you get people to pitch in because I would love to see some proper UED stuff for NC.

    Id love to learn it myself but i have no idea where to even start.
    "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Antrim View Post
    There was a fan project doing a similar thing a while ago although they stuck with the city maps (p1 and 2 etc). I dont know how you would be able to accurately measure the wastelands as the navray is a bit naff at the best of times.

    In terms of measuring metres travelled I think theoretically the only way you can do it with a regular client account would be fairly boring and inaccurate. The navray does give a value of how many metres the objective is away (although not sure if it takes into account the Z axis) in a zone. If you set that and then listen for the footstep sounds and measure say ten steps and see how many metres you travel in that time you might well get a value to measure the size of one zone at least in the X,Y axes. I guess from there you could extrapolate that to all zones and assume theyre all the same size (measuring would be a complete pain the arse).

    As for Z axis measurements - honestly no idea outside of guessing and using char height and pointing at the screen or using bluetack if you cant get terrain elevation data from the server which is probably a massive no no.

    However asking someone else to do this is probably also a massive non-starter.

    The whole thing is based around assumptions and guesswork but do you REALLY need it to be an accurate distance to the CM or M or do you mind having an approximation as long as the terrain looks right? Thats a question you need to ask yourself i guess and then build it how you see fit. At the end of the day youre the one building the terrain in UED so I would assume that you need to walk the same terrain in NC to get a feel for it for yourself.

    i am far from a maths brain but i work alongside people who do this sort of thing for real life programming so i have picked up a bit of knowledge along the way. however what youre asking is a pretty thankless task if im honest. That said I do hope you get people to pitch in because I would love to see some proper UED stuff for NC.

    Id love to learn it myself but i have no idea where to even start.
    You could for example take a drone and measure with navray how far is 1% of "distance to runner", then use it to approximately measure dimensions and height. Scout, laser, gatling and ion drones tend to bounce very high when use properly. Measure of terrains and ahead views could be taken using glider or flying troopcarrier. Its just tremendous work.

  4. #4

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    Thanks guys, still looking for a better way though. Somebody has to know the answer over there at reakktor, I'm sure! Hopefully I can get an answer soon, as I'm pretty much done sculpting the terrain in mudbox and need to know a proper scale to move forward.

    To scale the heightmap in world machine and then bring it into unreal engine 4, I need to have as close to the right size as possible. The fine details and z axis are not really important, just the size of the whole landscape and each zone. I plan to chop the terrain up into zone sized instances for the engines infinite world size feature, but need to know the whole area to bring it into world-machine first. Exporting it from world machine is what needs zone size figured, so when I split them they all match right.

  5. #5

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    Once I get a new development machine, I want to return to this project. I will post screenshots then. Hopefully it will then spark some actual interest in this topic? Hopefully!

  6. #6

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    Not going to buy a new machine just yet, ram prices and graphics card prices are horrible currently! However, I am still planning to get this done once I have a good machine (my current laptop is for work only, and runs mudbox and Unreal Engine too poorly for my tastes).

    Obviously I would still ideally want to get my hands on the world heightmap if at all possible, or at least tells me a scale size to work with. So here's to hopingg that someone from the development team see's this thread and gives me some good news!

  7. #7
    Xpertz William Antrim's Avatar
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    If all you want is an altitude value isnt it best to just make up an arbitrary one and go from there. If all you are creating is the terrain and you arent bothered about how people interact with it then does it honestly matter how high it is?
    "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

  8. #8

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    Well no, I want to be as close to the original as possible. It's not just the height, I want to have the zone size and preferably the actual heightmap/s that were used to create the outside terrain. Recreating the city and interiors with BSP brushes is easy enough, and getting that scale is not too hard, especially while playing the game alongside developing the copy, but the terrain is impossible to make properly without some sort of guide.

    I plan to sculpt the terrain better with World Machine after I get the proper layout and scaling down, which is the fun part I am looking forward to, but until I have a basic heightmap that follows the same paths of the original game, it just isn't possible.

  9. #9
    Xpertz William Antrim's Avatar
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    I see. Perhaps it is my ignorance/lack of knowledge that stops me from seeing the level of authenticity youre aiming for but it just seems with no answer after almost 2 years I would be inclined to improvise in your shoes.
    "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by William Antrim View Post
    I see. Perhaps it is my ignorance/lack of knowledge that stops me from seeing the level of authenticity youre aiming for but it just seems with no answer after almost 2 years I would be inclined to improvise in your shoes.
    Well, I appreciate your view, it would indeed be a logical choice. However, I am in no real rush, as I have a lot of pay work ahead of messing with this full-time, so I am ultra patient. Not to mention I have had this idea since Neocron started on it's downward spiral many years ago. I have always loved the atmosphere of this game and its concept, and want to recreate a visual representation of it as true to the original as possible.

    I am not trying to create the same game, I am looking to make something 'slightly' different in terms of game-play and purpose. An obsession perhaps? A longing life goal (or at least a minor pleasure based one), but a concrete goal none the less. As a very last resort, I will indeed just improvise the terrain, but I will keep trying to get a response from someone who has access to the original height-map/s, and who is willing to help me in that regard. Until then, I can keep quite busy developing the structure of the cities; NC, TH, MB, TG, and DoY.

    Currently I decided to bite the bullet and just use my current laptop with a GTX 960, for the Unreal Engine development, and continue my work on the cities, because I miss doing it. Also because GPU prices are going up due to this damn RAM manufacturing crisis currently plaguing the PC world. So I see no sense in buying a new PC for at least another 6 to 8 months, and I don't want to wait that long to work on this!

    I may also have a breakthrough, that I am actually working on right this minute. I am going to use this tool I found "watto game extractor", to look into the files and see if there is anything that can help me speed up the process. Setting it up on an old laptop now (as it got 2 virus results in a virustotal scan, and I'm very careful with things I run on my more important computers).

    Alongside re-installing the Unreal Engine onto this laptop and starting to work again, I will be grabbing some images and video from my saved project. Hopefully some people will be interested in it and follow my development, but I figured it is a long time past due, since I like to keep to my word. I don't like coming off as some blowhard with no work behind them. Even it the audience is like 3 people, lol!

  11. #11
    Xpertz William Antrim's Avatar
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    Commendable words. Have you tried poking any of them (NST bods) on discord?
    "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zabach View Post
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    http://youtu.be/qw1h0FTExC0
    Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.
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