Author Topic: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3  (Read 5646 times)

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Offline Captain Indigo

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2008, 01:58:41 pm »
T3's don't change at all, T2's do a bit, T1's do quite a lot, and T0's absolutely tonnes.

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Offline Crowster

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2008, 02:24:08 pm »
Honestly, my problem with the planet sculpting is how the tools work. Really, this missile system is a pain to use. It's great for putting down some of the unique shapes that you find, but what ever happened to the beam that you could sculpt with? Were they not able to get that to work right with the orbit view or something? I'm hoping they improve on it in an expansion.

I also have a T3 planet that still looks like it did when it was T0 in the orbit view. It's a beautiful, lush green world, but when I zoom out to system view, it becomes a flying ball of magma. Also, some planets seem to lose all their water when I leave and come back. I can get the water to show up again by flashing my heat ray, but it's kind of annoying, especially when it happened to my zoo planet and I had NO WAY of getting the water back. =/

But those two are bugs that I assume will be fixed, and don't bother me TOO much. The randomness of the missile-like sculpting tools is my only real beef. Maybe if you could see exactly what they were going to do before you fire 'em. Like when you go to make a canyon ... it would be nice to see exactly how far it will stretch instead of just getting that arrow telling it which way to run. Maybe with a "drag farther to make it run farther" and the mousewheel could change the actual size. They don't need to be the precise beam tools we saw in 2005 for me to be happy, just give us a little more control over what the end result is. Also, I wish the tools didn't have a cooldown timer. What's the point of that anyway?  ???

Don't get me wrong, though. Sculpting is still way fun. I just think there is plenty of room for improvement.

On a side note, why do the planet coloring tools count as "harmful tools" when used on another empire's planet? I just wanted to make their planet reflect their personality a bit better, and they got all huffy at me and tried to shoot me down.   :(

Offline Techleo

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2008, 02:58:48 pm »
  Well I don't have any problem with sculpting so far. Each time I sculpt I fly out. Save. Log off. Log back on. The planet stays the way it was. For some reason this is necessary and always works for me.  :)

 As for the sculpting. I tend to agree. A beam tool would be sooooo much better! Oh and by the way someone said, the number of tools, no its not the number of tools. The number of adjustments does. Meaning to many moutains is to much info. Although if it was to many tools, perhaps each tool assigns a set of data and to many sets is just to much due to a innate storage limit.. its all theory at this point for me.

Offline SL

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2008, 05:08:23 pm »
That's stupid. Why should the number of tools you've used on it affect the game's ability to remember the planet? I need it to remember what the planet looks like, not a list of the things I've done to it.

Because Spore very likely applies the deformations procedurally to the terrain heightmap (and whatever other maps the terrain has that they affect) when you zoom into the planet, to save on storage space - as opposed to storing the terrain maps on your hard drive for all the planets that any empire has modified the terrain of (which might include building cities or colonies on the planet since those flatten some of the terrain, yes?). You could see how this could get expensive. (Of course, the unmodified terrain maps themselves were almost certainly procedurally generated as well)

So, what I'm saying is: Applying these deformations takes CPU time. If you make 23874 deformations, it will take a long time to zoom into that planet. That's probably why it's capped.

Offline TDKenyon

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2008, 08:01:16 pm »
But at the same time the history of your tool use on a planet should not, logically, be stored. That is a waste of space and memory. Rather, as you said, the heightmap and other maps should be saved. As such, your history is not, and it doesn't matter if you make 1 change of a million, the end result is all that matters.

Offline Arachoid

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2008, 08:10:23 pm »
I'm pretty... Miffed with this to put it politely. I mean, terraforming and planet sculpting I find very relaxing, but seeing hours of my life revert to procedurally generated planets? Not very relaxing. At all.
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Unfortunately, I don't think we're far enough into the Civ stage to have deveoped into the 'Infinite-ghz processing' research tree yet...

Offline TDKenyon

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2008, 08:16:38 pm »
I've never cared to be honest. I've only used the sculpting tools to unlock badges and more tools. Maybe I should leave this thread  :P?

Offline SL

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2008, 10:08:38 pm »
But at the same time the history of your tool use on a planet should not, logically, be stored. That is a waste of space and memory. Rather, as you said, the heightmap and other maps should be saved. As such, your history is not, and it doesn't matter if you make 1 change of a million, the end result is all that matters.

Each tool use could be stored as (this isn't necessarily how they do it, this is just one possible way it COULD be done):
4 bytes for longitude where tool was used
4 bytes for latitude where tool was used
4 bytes for additional parameters, if any exist for the tool. (If any tools need more data this might need a bit more space)
16 bytes for the tool key (this tells Spore what tool you used)

That's 28 bytes per tool use. With 50 tool uses that's 1400 bytes (1.37 KB). Even if you could do 1000 tool uses per planet it would still only be 27.34 KB. These structure sizes are so small that I'm sure my numbers are off, too, because I'm certain to have not guessed exactly the same as what the devs may have done.

A map of the planet's terrain height, on the other hand, would take much more space. If you want it to have a good amount of detail, it would take a rather substantial amount of space (on the order of megabytes per planet). Think about a picture you took with your digital camera. Think about Spore keeping a file that big for every planet you've modified. (Of course, the devs could spend a lot of time trying to improve this method to reduce the size it takes, but it's all just wasted effort when there's a much simpler and more efficient method)

And my vagueness about the size of the terrain height map is because as you double the width and height to increase the detail, you quadruple the file size, and I have no idea how big the terrain height maps are (they're probably different sizes depending on your settings in the options menu):
If it's 1024x1024, it would take 1 MB (I just multiplied them. 1 MB is 1024 KB, which is 1024 bytes. The 'FooxBar' figures are in pixels, each pixel is presumed to take up only one byte (it's a height, why do we need more than that? (Well, it could need more detail)) to save space.)
If it's 2048x2048, it would take 4 MB
If it's 4096x4096, it would take 16 MB
If it's 8192x8192, it would take 64 MB
If it's 16384x16384, it would take 256 MB

If you wanted to see how big a 1.37 KB terrain heightmap could be, that would be approximately 38x38 (we're splurging a bit. That really takes up 1.41 KB, but 37x37 is 1.34 KB).

Does that sound acceptable to you? :P

That said, it would be nice if Spore compromised:
It could use the procedural-only system ordinarily, but use a hybrid system for worlds that players choose to heavily modify. Basically, on planets that hit the max-number-of-procedural-transformations cap, Spore could start storing a heightmap on the hard drive for them when you leave the planet, and load it when you fly down to the planet. It would still store the procedural tool usage data, but it would need to remove the limit on the number of times you can use the tools on the planet, and because the heightmap would be stored for these planets, it wouldn't need to recompute the massive number of tool uses when you fly in (but could still do so on the planets where few or no tools have been used and no heightmap is stored).

« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 10:10:26 pm by SL »

Offline TDKenyon

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2008, 10:18:56 pm »
Yup, I stand corrected. Though I was thinking more about the random tools, like rivers. Those sort of things are traced randomly and would have a lot more variables, I would imagine.

Offline Enoch

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2008, 02:55:24 am »
a whole bunch of stuff

Well the planet existed before I found it, right? Where was all the original data stored? Seems to me like new landscape data could replace the old data, instead of piling new tool-use data on top of what was already there.

BTW, I just terraformed a planet up to T3, filled out the plant and animal populations just for the hell of it, and sculpted my little heart out. I actually made the planet 100% covered in water. I zoom out, I zoom back in, and bam, there's my T3, fully inhabited planet, now with what looks like completely random continents covering at least 50% of it.

God DAMN it.

Offline Necrox

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2008, 07:51:57 am »
This is just guessing, but my guess would be that the planets are generated with a seed rather than a geological mesh. The seed would take up little data in itself.
By applying arbitrary changes the way you suggest, you'd have to render the seeded object and save it as data rather than a seed, and apply the changes and save that data. Cumulatively, with all the planets in the game, that's a lot of data.
I think SL is proposing making a different seed overlay to the existing seed, rather than rendering the seed, altering the result and saving that.

I may be talking out of my behind here (I do feel slightly concussed today), but this is how I understand it at time of writing.

Offline Tr0n

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2008, 07:52:52 am »
If you covered it with water, wouldn't that kill all of the wildlife and destabilize the planet again?

At that point, the distance from the star would take effect, evaporating the water and leaving land behind?

Btw, the default planet scripts are optimized and not tailor made.  They're random and random takes less time to process than specifics.  Now once the planet is generated, it's saved and my guess is that its T Score is calculated form that and doesn't change so someone can come back to the same random planet and it will still be the same.

If one mucks around with the terraforming tools on a planet, you have to apply custom scripts to the procedural generation.  Not onl does this take longer, but if the ecosystem unlocks again, then the planet will destabilize and morph to something it can maintain.

At least that's my experience.
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Offline Pietoro

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2008, 01:28:34 pm »
If there is SUPPOSED to be a limit to tool use, after which the planet gets reset, you'd think a message would appear, or we'd be told that would happen. =/

I wonder if it's a bug?
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Offline immortius

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2008, 01:59:09 pm »
Yup, I stand corrected. Though I was thinking more about the random tools, like rivers. Those sort of things are traced randomly and would have a lot more variables, I would imagine.

Start Position, Direction, Random Seed Number.

The Random Seed would be fed into the random number generator which is used to determine the river's shape.

Offline Parkaboy

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Re: Terraforming? More like, Terrible-forming! :3
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2008, 06:03:23 am »
Our prayers were answered! Check the "Planet Sculpting" thread or the SporeTips Blog (link in my sig).