NDunes: an alternative to UE5?

Started by zaxxon, October 07, 2022, 10:24:47 AM

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I've been reluctant to show work outside of TG on this Forum while waiting for Planetside to let us know what's up with current and future development.  This seems an appropriate time to share a few things.  I'm fortunate to have a number of apps that use the GPU for viewport set up and render. One of them is NDunes (free), still in beta, but very capable and very fast with a good level of quality. It's not a gaming engine, and doesn't have all the features of an Unreal or Unity, but (at least for me) has a much more approachable learning curve.  It's not  a 'content creation app' and uses 3rd party heightfield and imported objects and textures.  It has native displacement and atmospheric controls, a wind system, limited water with 'refraction' and surface displacement, and a rule based snow system.  And it's fast, very fast. The set up environment is in full color with textures and displacements along with atmosphere and water movements and are adjustable in near real time. My 2K frames render between 12 to 20 per minute (RTX 3060 12GB and RTX 3090 24GB). Here's a link to a compilation of small fragments of larger animations done in the last 9-10 months. 



Wow! Great work! I wanted to beta test it when it was still closed testing, but didn't get in. I don't think my GPU was powerful enough for good results.

This is a really cool show of it, though. The video looks great, and I don't notice any artefacts in the motion.

Is that the Terragen default scene in the flyby at about 0:27?


I'm not sure what's going on with Terragen. The updates always seem like patches with *maybe* a new feature here or there sprinkled in. Doesn't seem to be worth the maintenance price. And I don't feel this is an opinion, but really just the worth of the updates. Most of the time, they are just fixing stuff that dev should be honouring upon report, and rolling out patches quickly. Can't imagine the bug report list is even really approachable at this point. :O

I know Matt is spending a lot of time with this Terragen Sky thing, which I still think is a absolutely terrible business idea. It doesn't exist for a reason, because people need more than just a sky HDRI. Any 3D DCC can do HDRI's, many with art-directed clouds. So what would Terragen Sky offer? Especially with no GPU support?

Not only is the idea inherently flawed, but it's detracting from Terragen that we are mainly unsatisfied with, and want improvement, and then people buy, and themselves, are not satisfied, and move on. Or never buy to begin with.

My TG wind has been killed. I've spent years supporting this community with free stuff and help, and really, for what? I ain't going to achieve my goals with this software hitching a ride on Matt's back. It's just not going to happen. I can't even compete with gigs these days when people are posting demos to catch productions eyes (literally) in a day or two with real-time software. Lol


Thanks Jordan.  No, not TG, it's a terrain I made with Gaea. I've exported terrain objects from TG but never any heightfields, but I'm open to any suggestions as to how to do so.  :)


Heightfields can be made with an orthographic camera over the terrain pointing down. Set camera height to like 500-1000 and ortho width to 1000.

Then with your renderer you want to disable all optimizations and stuff. Disable the atmosphere, and apply either a surface layer with height based mask, or convert the terrain to a heightmap and use it's shade by heigt feature which would be more accurate.

Matt shared an example here: https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,26640.msg268069.html#msg268069
I have shared one here: https://planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,29576.msg289874.html#msg289874