Planetside Software Forums

General => Open Discussion => Topic started by: reck on November 11, 2007, 07:22:26 am

Title: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: reck on November 11, 2007, 07:22:26 am
Can I hear what peoples thoughts are on these two pieces of software and how they compare with each other. They both seem able to produce very nice terrains but I don't know enough about either of them to know which is best. I've downloaded both but haven't played with them enough to know what they can and can't do. If I was going to purchase either of these which would you recommend and why?

Also do you think that eventually TG will be able to generate terrains like these, maybe after TG2? This would mean I could generate terrains like this on a planetary basis and not just an imported heightfield.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: dhavalmistry on November 11, 2007, 09:02:28 am
I dont think any of them are out yet...so its kinda hard to say which one of them is better.....

but you can certainly compare GC and WM....

I own a copy of WM and I must say...it is a very powerful software but it is very hard to learn on your own, just like functions in TG2...you are going no where unless you know what you are doing.....

where as GC (I have a demo) is I think way easier to learn and in some cases....its just a matter of tweaking settings....load the presets and check the layers used to create that terrain and try to mimic it.....

also I think GC can build terrain much faster than WM....

there is no node network in GC where as WM is all about nodes and conecting them to proper input and output.....

GC also has brush modeling where as WM dont...

I personally prefer GC...and I am looking forward to GC2....
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: reck on November 11, 2007, 09:23:06 am
I thought the demo you could download was GeoControl 2 but maybe it's version 1. Also World machine have uploaded a page listing features for version 2.

I struggle with the nodes in Terragen so GeoControl is sounding better. But can world machine do anything that GeoControl can't?

As you have World Machine and used GC can you tell me why the terrains they produce are superior  to the terrains in Terragen? Is it all to do with better control over the look of the landscape or is it that you have more effects like water/wind erosion?
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: dhavalmistry on November 11, 2007, 09:40:11 am
I have seen people produce terrain in TG2 that are better than WM or GC in some cases (aside from extra displacements and surfacing) but I think WM is more versatile and robust than GC.....WM certainly seem to have more control over terrain...

Although in the given presets in demo of GC...I havent seen any examples of stratas or angled stratas....
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 11, 2007, 01:24:47 pm
GeoControl does have Strata/or Terraces but not Angled Strata at least not yet. This is something it needs if one is to create Mountainous uplifts and the illusion of clashing continental plates/mass land shifts.

As far as comparisons/features honestly they both can compliment one another. Both programs have there advantages and dis-advantages. Both have unique work flows. I do not think one is better then the other. I will probably be working off of both GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2 when they are officially released.

I do not want to list a huge list of what i like and dis-like about the two as i like them both each with there large array of nice features.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: BPauba on November 11, 2007, 02:12:03 pm
http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=1655.0
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: reck on November 12, 2007, 08:08:27 am
Thanks BPauba, i'll take a look. It's probably worth coming back to this once version 2 comes out for both software, in the meantime i'm going to play around some more with the demos.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 16, 2007, 11:33:29 am
I've used Worldmachine and you can get some beautiful terrains from that. I never tried Geocontrol. I would use these apps if for some reason I specifically wanted an effect that I couldn't get on a planetary scale in TG2 like erosion for example but since I mostly work on a planetary scale I might never use them. I find the loss of realistic terrain effect by working on planet scale procedurals is generally outweighed by the fact that you you have limitless POVs. When you get a good planet you can explore POVs for literally years. The other advantage is that procedural terrains can be endlessly edited until you have another planet. Terrain built in Worldmachine or Geocontrol tends to be a one off render project then you are back to square one again. It depends on your style of work but I can say that Worldmachine is a great app.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 16, 2007, 01:31:01 pm
It is unfortunate that neither of these programs could be linked as Plugins to Terragen 2 to provide additional planetary/continental scale procedural data as both have many unique types of terrain shapes and patterns in there arsenal. World Machine has it's Displacement possibilities, Macros and Nodes for a whole slew of possibilities where GeoControl has many different forms of Erosion that can be uniquely stacked/blended , a top notch Shader System and River/Lake plus Road Vector Tools. Both new versions will have tiled outputs as well.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 16, 2007, 01:43:28 pm
There is a problem with that. You may notice how long it takes Worldmachine to build the terrain. Imagine that at planetary scale. That's why these complex systems can't be used on a planet. Eventually we'll have better procedural techniques for this kind of thing with planets but it will still be very system sapping.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 16, 2007, 01:59:15 pm
The alpine fractal in TG2 is good if you want more eroded style terrains. It takes longer to render than the power fractal but you've got the planetary scale. You can tweak it about, distort it etc. It's very versatile.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 16, 2007, 02:54:08 pm
Should not be a problem overall. How is it any different from layering stacks of other terrain procedurals within Terragen 2. A plug-in would work in a similar fashion, in this case there is just many more procedurals at work here. It would be semi-hard coded into Terragen working code taking advantage of Terragen's code. Were just adding more to the table in terms of terrain variety. I have no doubt that we will have better procedural techniques in the future but these third party solutions have a lot to offer in terms of realism. For example i can mix several erosion styles by altitude, slope, roughness within GeoControl like you see in nature or i can go into World Machine and create fairly convincing faulting were the terrain looks as if it were shifted by many earth quakes.

I am not saying building a planet size heightfield within these programs then importing it into Terragen 2, that is insane. What i am saying is building these procedurally within Terragen 2 while the plug-in shares itself with Terragen's code.

It is true that more complex calculations will take longer to process but computers are getting faster and newer cpu chips, video cards and ram is becoming cheaper every few months. A heavy sediment erosion would probably be the most heavy to calculate out.

The Alpine Fractal is limited in terms of basic fluvial/water erosion were as in the third party programs there is thermal, glacial, high sediment, inverse, terraced, wide flows, think flows, deep-cut, hard and soft erosions.

Imagine having a full blown river tool inside Terragen 2. I mean MojoWorld has a River Plug-in for a planet but GeoControls blows it away entirely.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 17, 2007, 02:12:54 am
I'm not sure the Mojoworld rivers plugin actually covered a whole planet but I never used it anyway because it sapped my system to extreme so it's not easy to implement these things. The best I saw was an erosion plugin made by Dmytry Lavrov for Mojoworld but he never released it.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 17, 2007, 02:18:15 am
Huh, perhaps it was limited to continents only.  ???   Something in the realm of around 5,000 Kilometers or so that the river plugin would fit into but i don't recall anything larger. Yes, i do remember that nifty erosion plug-in. It seems Dmytry is rather inactive nowadays.    :-\
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 17, 2007, 02:24:26 am
Maybe he feels like the rest of the Mojo users since Mojo is now frozen and never any word from Pandromeda. I can't see any other reason why he would not release that plugin. He might as well keep the idea to himself and use it in his own app.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 17, 2007, 02:31:35 am
I tend to agree there.

He should team up with Fairclough and throw that plug-in into Terragen. One can dream i guess.    ;D
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Oshyan on November 18, 2007, 01:07:53 am
Making erosion work procedurally is a *lot* harder than anyone realizes. The normal erosion processes that World Machine, Geocontrol, and other systems do operates on raster data, at a pixel level. Procedural data (as in TG2's procedural terrains) would need to be rasterized before applying such an effect. Rasterizing an entire planet to even a low resolution would be tremendously CPU and memory intensive. This is why *nobody* does it. Localized rasterizing is a possibility, but is extremely tricky to implement. You can rest assured that the reason these things are not being done isn't for lack of desire. Procedural and massive scale erosion is one of the hardest things to tackle in landscape modeling.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 18, 2007, 01:24:57 am
That makes a lot more sense now. We will have to wait for faster computers then, that or some genius coding work.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: cajomi on November 18, 2007, 02:26:41 am
That will not help. As a "raster" developer I would say, that with faster pcs the algortihm could be more accurate, use more informations. And so, a raster erosion will always be faster.
Also: What sense does it make to apply one erosion to a complete planet? This would only be interesting, if you would develope a "total" erosion, which takes into account climatic zones, the material at different places and the vegetation (which has great influence to erosion).
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: latego on November 18, 2007, 07:10:19 am
I don't see the point for planet wide erosion. Erosion is a very local process so, as soon as you are considering areas larger than, let's say, 100km, what you see is the general structure of the terrain and not the erosion effects. Just have a look at pictures taken from astronauts in low earth orbit.

As Cajomi wrote, modelling planet wide erosion would be a dreadfully complex task and then you would not be able to see the effects from long distances.

The scale factor is fundamental in computer graphics: if you are modelling the whole Enterprise, can easily omit to create Kirk's coffee cup...

Bye!!!
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Cyber-Angel on November 18, 2007, 07:46:56 am
I am no programmer so tell me if this is not possible could you not have the rasterization divide the planet into tiles then each tile could be assigned a grid that would be the resolution of the terrain then each grid square would be broken down into points and the rasterization would average these points not only per each grid square but also across boundaries and look at its nearest neighbors looking vertically [In The Up Direction] (Look At some thing say a numeric keypad to help visualize) ( Number Combinations: 147, 258 and 369) [the down direction] (Number Combinations: 741, 852 and 963, ) [Horozontal Direction] (Number Combinations: 456 and the reverse 654) and the [diagonal direction] (Number Combinations: 159, 951 and 753 and 357) and calculate the erosion that way, how this would work with micro-triangle displacement I do not know since like I stated I am not a programmer.

_____________________________________________________

Note: Just so that people do not get confused, the numeric keypad idea is just so people have some frame of reference for how to theoretical operation of what I had I mind might search across grid boundaries: nothing complicated inferred or intended.

Regards to you.

Cyber-Angel           
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: latego on November 18, 2007, 12:44:25 pm
Quote from: Cyber-Angel on November 18, 2007, 07:46:56 am
I am no programmer so tell me if this is not possible could you not have the rasterization divide the planet into tiles then each tile....


That is the way programs like Mojoworld work: you can surely create a whole planet that way. I have seen on the internet tools for role playing games which can start from a whole galaxy down to a single star system, down to a planet down to the terrain at 1ft/square scale! If you want to dwelve into this field of generalized terrain generation, you will find something so vast that it is a hobby by itself!

My doubts start when you finalize your work for rendering: provided that when we render the image we have to "cram" everything into 1000-4000 (or a bit more) pixels on each side, we have no possibility to display anything outside (at most) 4 orders of magnitude of size.

Bye!!!

P.S.: GeoControl and WM are not competitors for TG2, they integrate it as much as the 3D modelling program you use to create meshes to render in it.

Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 18, 2007, 05:01:05 pm
Quote from: latego on November 18, 2007, 07:10:19 am
I don't see the point for planet wide erosion. Erosion is a very local process so, as soon as you are considering areas larger than, let's say, 100km, what you see is the general structure of the terrain and not the erosion effects. Just have a look at pictures taken from astronauts in low earth orbit.

As Cajomi wrote, modelling planet wide erosion would be a dreadfully complex task and then you would not be able to see the effects from long distances.

The scale factor is fundamental in computer graphics: if you are modelling the whole Enterprise, can easily omit to create Kirk's coffee cup...

Bye!!!


Well, if there is no point for planet-wide erosions then why bother with planets at all. Even ancient glacial erosion is visible from high orbit. Is this not the level of realism that some of us hard-core realists want to have some day. I am not saying it will happen over night but say 10, 15, or 20 years from now when we have the more powerful hardware and evolved software to achieve such terrains then some like myself would find use for such details. So i happen to be a person that likes fine details and i am sure there are others out there like me as well, obviously. I have seen plenty of photos from low orbit and fluvial, sedimentary and all sorts of erosion is clearly visible from high mountain ranges to the deep deserts. Obviously it is a dreadfully complex task, that is why we wait until the power is there some day in the future. I will wait because in the meantime there are plenty of local-terrains to be challenged.

It is true that much of the larger terrain structures would mask smaller scale erosions to a certain degree. These larger structures are shaped by glacial erosion from eons back, then you have plate tectonics that distort and stretch the terrain which could be achieved with certain displacement and turbulence functions, not only in Terragen but in World Machine and GeoControl. I have done this already but on a local scale for now. All of these larger scale structures can be seen from high orbit easily. This is the stuff that shapes continents and our oceans.

I don't think no one here ever said that GeoControl and World Machine are competitors for Terragen 2. I myself had said they compliment Terragen's work flow.

Back in 2004 i had spoken to Fairclough about glacial planet/continent wide erosion. He said he was aiming for the idea at some point and i thought that was a great idea and it is a wonderful way of realistically shaping continents. Now does that sound crazy?
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Cyber-Angel on November 18, 2007, 05:34:33 pm
I shouldn't think that it would be more than 10-15 years before desk top computers have the processor capability to do many of the things people want in CGI, in that timescale desktop Terra-scale computing should be available, earlier this year Intel(TM) showed an eighty-core experimental wafer which shows potentiality where things are heading for the next generation of computers. There are many challenges ahead in terms of cooling and so on but these in time can be over come.

Yes scale is important in terrain visualization, but any decent terrain visualization software would have the necessary metrics in place to deal with it; scale falls off (De cresses from a viewers perspective) relativistically proportional to distance, this should be easily handled by the Level of Detail system.

If one single method dose not work then a combination of methods might, should current methods and techniques fail then new ones should be devised that is how after all progress and advancement are made.

Regards to you.

Cyber-Angel                   
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 18, 2007, 06:15:47 pm
Yeah, i think i was thinking a bit to far ahead. That 80 core sounds fantastic, this should bring the expensive processors out now way down in there price range in due time. Cooling is definately an issue here but someone will likely solve that sooner then later like you said.

LOD, yes a level of detail system would work well for this. Say you are out in orbit and you want to see large scale erosion, well the camera will only see so much of the planet details per pixel but this system can render out the large scale effects only and not the small scale as is only has to calculate what is visible from the camera's point of view. So when you zoom in closer, the LOD and the camera will just have to account for picking up the smaller scale details as they show up but again only with what is visible as the rest concerning the tiny non-visible stuff is ignored in the rendering process.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 18, 2007, 07:14:12 pm
You can have a fractal that has different basis functions at different octaves of scale. Mojoworld actually has this.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 18, 2007, 07:57:46 pm
Quote from: efflux on November 18, 2007, 07:14:12 pm
You can have a fractal that has different basis functions at different octaves of scale. Mojoworld actually has this.


Huh, that is interesting.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: efflux on November 18, 2007, 08:00:48 pm
However, I don't remember actually using it much. It think it might be quite system hungry but it's certainly something that TG2 could have in future.
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Cyber-Angel on November 18, 2007, 08:23:38 pm
The Eighty Core I mentioned was only intended to be a proof of concept and is not intended to be taken into the development stage that would be needed to make a production chip, as it is right now todays software barely makes use of the computing power with dual and quad-core processors let alone eighty; with that many cores you are getting into the realm of parallelism which is in the super-computing domain.

At the Terra-Scale for desk-top computing Applications (T.D.C.A.) there would be a para dine shift in the desktop computing space proving there is also the allied memory increase (My preference would be memory in the Petra-Byte range) then theoretically with the right pedigrees you could take Terrain Visualization to places that have not yet been realized (3D Animations of Two Ice Bergs Colliding with chunks of ice braking off automatically, with real time calculation of mass, kinetic energy and other forces by way of example).

This new age of computing will herald new possibilities that aren't on anyones horizon yet.

Regards to you.

Cyber-Angel             
Title: Re: GeoControl 2 and World Machine 2
Post by: Sethren on November 18, 2007, 08:34:20 pm
I think i do recall hearing about that 80 core being only a proof of concept. It was in some article i had read a few weeks back. It is true most software does have to play catchup with the quad core systems out there.