On Monday I made 2 more textures which I emailed Ross to get modeled, they included a long grass texture containing two different strands & the other was a smallshrub type texture.
After that ross emailed me 5 models, in which I imported into UDK, setup materials and static meshes. I then started experimenting on the "World Position Offset" node which can be accessed in the materials. This node gives the ability to manipulate geometry on a per verticy bases, this may not sound great but imagine the possibilities! Some example:
- Water & ground level fog can actually move with real ripples.
- Wind can be hooked up to interact with static meshes, hence creating moving/swaying foliage.
- An interactive static mesh with a certain material can take advantage of touch functions, hence static meshes can sway/move/anything when touched.
- Static meshes can be adjusted/moved along the X,Y,Z to get perfect positions.
- One of the most exciting features is the ability to use vertex colours to blend different materials together, then using the offset to actually create depth which will create interesting walls/floors/cielings you name it!
- All the above can be combined and a lot more.
The great thing about this is it can all be utilized with nearly no performance impact as they are treated just like static meshes and the only downside is that its all visual based only (Collisions do not get moved). Heres a link of a guy using vertex colours to blend materials and the world position offset to change the hight of the sand texture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V6bit8PrZo
So I managed to setup interactive static meshes and wind effects using a windactor and the offset node, however iv run into a few problems. For one im not great at vector math lol, it is proving difficult to mix a lot of these nodes without getting errors. However I know its possible and will keep trying.
The second problem, I can not vertex paint terrain meshes that are placed using terrain layers which means no vertex painting and no smooth swaying for terrain related foliage. However I think it is possible to bake vertex colour information into static meshes from Maya, so I wont need to paint the meshs in UDK.
The third problem, I can get interactive static meshes to work (with amazing results) however I would need to place them individually in the level (Which isn't practical), possible solutions; Decrease the map size but increase quality, get rid of interactive foliage or like before find a way to bake the vertex colour information into static meshes from Maya.
Later today I'll post up a screenshot of all the results, and hopefully some fixes.
I am also thinking about re-designing the level, currently I am not happy with the level design. I have come up with some new ideas which im hoping will make for some interesting gameplay.