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VOXEL COMPLEXITY AND THE VERTEX PRECISION TOOL


NQ-Deckard
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Voxels make up almost everything you see in the world of Dual Universe. Currently, most creations are made using the basic tools we provide with standard shapes such as cubes, spheres, cylinders, wedges, and tetrahedrons. 

 

More intricate designs can be achieved through the art of ‘voxelmancy’ where players customize the shapes of voxels using a variety of methods and techniques based on how voxels react to each other when placed. This very advanced technique allows voxelmancers to place each corner of a voxel exactly where they want it. To do that, they use what is called a ‘voxel reactor’.

 

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Voxel reactors, as amazingly useful as they are, have three major drawbacks:

  • They are time consuming to use.
  • They are not very intuitive for beginners.
  • They are laid out in a checkered pattern in all three dimensions.

 

The last item on that list poses some technical problems. 


VOXEL COMPLEXITY

When we are effectively applying a checkered pattern of voxels of different colors or even air, it creates a relatively large amount of small surfaces. This doesn’t really pose a problem for a single reactor, but can be a performance burden for some voxel libraries that consist of thousands of reactors.
 
With more and more detailed constructs of complex design being built, it’s become problematic for the ‘mesh service’ system that generates the shapes that you see when not in build mode. On a few rare occasions, highly-detailed constructs may not render at all or their honeycomb will disappear. 

 

To prevent this from happening, we will gradually implement a limitation to the complexity that can be created in a single chunk of voxels. It will start with a simple complexity gauge in Demeter:

  1. With the launch of Demeter, you will start by seeing a new feedback gauge while building which highlights the region you’re actively working on and will appear as a bar in the HUD that indicates the complexity level of that region as a percentage. 
  2. In a future update (exact update number still to be discussed), we will introduce the eagerly-awaited vertex precision tool (Known to many of you as the fabled vertex editor) as a way to ensure that the limitation to voxel reactors doesn’t hinder players’ ability to create amazing constructs in the game. (More on that below.)
  3. In a subsequent future (and yet undefined) update, we will enforce the complexity value limit to be 100% for any new voxel operations. As such, old constructs and blueprints will not be altered by this but may become unalterable if they are above the limit in a region. Rest assured that if you have an existing construct that’s above the limitation, you will still be able to use it as is.

 

With all that out of the way, let’s get to the fun part!


THE VERTEX PRECISION TOOL

There is currently a bit of a gap between learning how to build using the basic tools and more advanced voxelmancy techniques, something we’ve wanted to address for a long time. The introduction of the vertex precision tool in a future update will allow you to take any vertex (a corner of a voxel) and move it to a new location on any of its three axes inside the vertex's moveable area at different resolutions. This will provide an intuitive way that fills that crucial gap between basic building and advanced voxelmancy to fine-tune your builds.

 

See the video below for a demonstration of how this works. Please keep in mind that the video only shows an early prototype, but we think it’s already promising enough to make you as excited as we are about the possibilities of this tool.
 

 

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VENI, VIDI, VOXIED

I came, I saw, I voxeled 

 

We hope that these voxelmancy changes, along with all of the great new Lua functions added in the Selene update, will inspire and encourage you to make even more amazing things than you already are. 

 

Check out our Tutorials page for even more ideas and tips on using voxels to bring your creativity to life in Dual Universe. 

 

As always, we’d love to hear your comments and answer your questions on the forum
 

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