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Voxels vs. Polygons

Discussion in 'Nerd Out Zone' started by Gingy, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. Gingy

    Gingy Back Into Space

    • Member
    What are the pros/cons of games that are voxels based or use polygons instead? Which do you feel is better?
  2. OrionLT

    OrionLT Reinvented The Wheel

    • Member
    Well the best thing is heightmap.

    Pros:
    + It doesn't hurt eyes.
    + Could use LoD.
    + Can be procedural.
    + Easy to work with it.


    Cons:
    - Sometimes it doesn't face to the good direction.
    - You cannot do anything undergroud (like caves).
  3. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    Most, if not all, games nowadays use polygon rendering. Some games used to use voxels to render complex 3D objects. Comanche uses voxels for rendering, but, well... See for yourself. Compare that to running Source engine (Or any modern game, say, Seed of Andromeda) at low resolutions.
    What SoA uses isn't really voxels in the rendering sense. True, everything is made up of blocks. But those blocks are composed of triangles.
    What's really happening behind the scenes is that the little cubes are being made up of triangles; It's still a polygon rendering system.
    I'm not really an expert on this sort of thing. I'm sure Ben can tell you a lot more than I can.
  4. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    Technically, no idea.
    Gameplay wise, here we go:
    Voxels are a super simple way to present the player destruction and construction of a dynamic world.
    Making use of voxels both on the world and creatures, you can add damage to them.
    Unlike minecraft, SOA will have a persistent and progressive damage system, so if you hit a block it will stay at it's cracked state.
    There will be 16 or 32 different persistent damage states (I guess 16), and possibly more temporary damage states which would get rounded and persistently saved when damaging action stops.
    With voxels on the entities, you will be able to take a shot, or a cut and actually see the damage on your body, and actually act on it to heal.
    Also, internals and bones etc, to be both damaged on a batle and harvested from the corpses.
    For building, voxels make things much easier, easy to place, break and interact.
    There are voxel engines that implement them in a way to create huge detail, but they also have their pros and cons.
    Gameplay wise, voxels are fun, you just need to use them right.
    And persistent block damage will make things a lot more interesting than what they are now.

    Also, from what I have heard, the plans are to turn voxels into vehicles, allowing you to build your vehicle using basically the same blocks you are allowed to place on the world.
    Structural integrity could also be a thing, even being complex, if implemented this will be much fun.
    tetryds, Jul 25, 2014
    Last edited by tetryds; at Jul 25, 2014
    #4
  5. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    That too.
  6. adtdeveloping

    adtdeveloping Reinvented The Wheel

    • Member
    Voxels cost lower memory and storage space, they are good with heightmaps. To create the most cool places.
    Aaand. They are cool. lel

    edit:
    "Voxels cost lower memory and storage space, they are good with heightmaps. To create the most cool places."

    Especially when you have cubes. lol
    adtdeveloping, Jul 27, 2014
    Last edited by adtdeveloping; at Jul 27, 2014
    #6
  7. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    Not really when you have to store things like what the blocks are made of. Things also have to be solid.
    Cubes are mostly good for destructible terrain. Ace of Spades, for example.
    With voxels, it's easy to make new models and objects.
    Arctic, Jul 28, 2014
    Last edited by Arctic; at Jul 28, 2014
    #7
  8. adtdeveloping

    adtdeveloping Reinvented The Wheel

    • Member
    WEll, storing that kind if info takes about 1kb / chunk. That is almost nothing. (Depends on how much info you store)
    And ye, voxels are good for models :D
  9. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    Actually no voxels are not big, Arctic.
    Even more that you can use them for procedural generation with very high details and super high resolution textures, aplying them to the blocks.
    You can do that with meshes too, but you will end up getting something like Space Engine, that is super epic but doesn't have player scale features (nor construction/destruction etc).
  10. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    In that case, I stand corrected. But in any case, with voxels (At least, solid voxels) there are many more points that need to be stored. Polygons only store the important bits.
    What I'm saying is that while you can have super high detail, you're either going to need to re-generate them each time or take up lots more memory. If you edit them, a lot more memory is necessary.
    There's kinda a trade-off between space and computing power.
  11. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    But generating chunks is superfast.
    Ben, correct me if I am wrong, but a normal surface chunk seems to take around 3ms to generate.
  12. adtdeveloping

    adtdeveloping Reinvented The Wheel

    • Member
    But generating chunks is superfast.
    Depends on HOW you generate it.

    I know multiple ways to generate chunks. The times lasts from 3-10ms to 1 sec to 10 secs., It is dependent on the optimization, the storage of the cubes. And. The engine ofcourse.
  13. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    Yeah, but I guess SOA is the reference on this case, right?
  14. Gingy

    Gingy Back Into Space

    • Member
    SOA seems like a good example of the potential of voxel based games. Though, I was told that SOA tecnically isn't a voxel based game. I don't really know enough about the subject to really say much more on the matter, though.
  15. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    I think that SOA is a voxel game, without many doubts.
    I'm not sure if it processes the voxels in a bit different manner, but it fits into the definition of voxels very well.
    "A voxel represents a value on a regular grid in three-dimensional space." - Wiki
    Which is what the world is made of.
    And I agree that SOA is a good example, and may not be a representation of an "average" voxel engine.
    But it works very well that way.
    And I guess it will look even better when work is done on the mesh to look smoother and more blocky.
    I also heard something about showing one block in the place of two or more, which would boost the view range.
    tetryds, Aug 1, 2014
    Last edited by tetryds; at Aug 1, 2014
    #15
  16. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Well, SoA is very much a voxel-based game. The LOD - the part that isn't blocky - displays a heightmap of unloaded voxels so that you still get a much greater view distance without needing to keep too many chunks loaded than your PC could handle. On the topic of what is and isn't a voxel-based game: some games may show the cubes clearly, such as SoA and other games like Minecraft, but even games like EverQuest Landmark are voxel-based, even though the terrain is smooth (that game is based on the Voxel Farm Engine, which I recommend everyone checks out, the people working on that are doing awesome work).

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