☠- Cool Clouds, but…

I was messing around with the art, which is something that really shouldn’t be being focused on right now, but it’s hard not to want to play around with it every now and again.  I had always intended on having the starting area smaller and giving the player the ability to expand later.  I wasn’t sure how I exactly I was going to set about doing this, as there were a number of ways I considered.  At first, I was thinking of a standard fog of war.  But in playing around, I managed to create an interesting bunch of clouds that do a fine job of obscuring the sprawling skyscape.

It took longer than I wanted to spend on it to figure out how to get the transparency and movement that I wanted while pairing it with an opacity mask that makes sure that the camera isn’t being bombarded with objects (clouds) constantly.  Since it was a bit of a pain for me, and just in case anyone was wondering how I did it, here was my fix:

MaskBP

All of that is plugged into the opacity.  I set the location off of my camera actor’s event tick so that way, where ever the player is looking, there will be a clearing of these clouds.  As the player unlocks areas, I might have these clouds disappear permanently or maybe just move them to the horizon to keep the world from looking like it just ends.

Again, this is not permanent or finished art, just sort-of mood or concept art.  Also, as much as I’m liking the look of this, it is killing my frame rate.  And that’s on my dev-level computer.  So, if I want to continue with this type of thing, I’m going to need to find a way to optimize it.

I don’t think it’s the code above slowing things down, at least, not that much.  There are a lot of surfaces, and they all have tesselation/noise/world displacement, panners, hue-shifts… Maybe this can be fixed by making new meshes? (I’ve been cheating and just putting new materials on my trees and then using them for non-tree things.)  Most likely, I’ll have to simplify the material.  But, at least I’ve got a proof of concept for now.

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