Feedback Required V1.3 - DECALS

Discussion in 'FAQ & Feedback' started by Hummel-o-War, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
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    Global info
    Q: What are DECALS?
    A: Decals are basically custom pictures and videos* that can be brought in game and used in a POI. If no link (from a file service) is used, the decal file is saved to a specific folder and there is a configuration file for the decal itself (width, transparency etc pp)

    Example: A wallpaper.
    Wallpaper-Decal.jpg
    *Videos work the same way. See point E at the end of this howto.

    Note: Please only use with ADMINCOREs (CoreAdmin, CoreNPCAdmin, etc ) for now, as decals do NOT work with Structural Integrity and cannot be removed or destroyed in Survival. The will remain floating.

    How do I add decals for a POI?
    (applies to decals as local files, both for pictures and videos!)

    Note: the example below is made for a picture file. Using a video works similar.

    A. The Decal setting file
    1. Find a blueprint file on your scenarios prefabs folder, for example:
    BAO_CreativeLibrarySpace_Tut.epb
    2. Open Notepad or Editor and create a new file with the name: BAO_CreativeLibrarySpace_Tut.decals

    Note:
    - The Filenames needs to be IDENTICAL except the extention! This file is then used for settings and such.
    - Both files need to be in the scenarios prefabs folder, for example: ..\Empyrion - Galactic Survival\Content\Scenarios\Default Creative\Prefabs

    B. The Picture file
    1. Find a suitable picture file on your PC (extention *.png or *.jpg are allowed), for example
    empyrion-logo.png
    2. Copy the picture file to the the following folder in your game directory: ..\Empyrion - Galactic Survival\Content\Scenarios\Default Creative\SharedData\Content\Prefabs

    Note:
    - Swap 'Default Creative' in the example with your scenario name of course.
    - If the sub-folder (marked yellow) is not available in your scenario, you need to create it at first.

    C. Set the decal position (ingame)
    For using the picture as an ingame decal, you need to first get the decals placement position:

    1. Open the game and load Creative Mode
    2. Spawn the blueprint you want to add the decal to (remember step A1+2! )
    3. Find the spot you want to place the decal in.
    4. Point the mouse cursor to its approximate position. (= this will be the center of the decal position)
    5. Open the console and execute the following command: 'decals clip'

    This will copy the coordinates to the clipboard!

    6. Exit the game and open the .decal file, for example: BAO_CreativeLibrarySpace_Tut.decals
    7. Paste the content of the clipboard (CTRL + V)

    You then get something like this
    Code:
    [DecalName]
    -Pos=-3.293293,141.0327,-36.46106
    -Rot=333.4349,180,0
    -Size=1,1
    -Diffuse=file.png
    Note: This is only a suggested workflow. Theoretically you do not need to use 'decals clip' ingame, as you can also use the aformentioned data and place it in the .decals file of your blueprint. BUT in this case, the decals anchor ingame might be "somewhere".

    You can of course find a blocks position ingame, using the console command 'di' The position of the block your cursor is pointing at, is noted box. This coordinates can then be used with the decal setting. So you could add all your decals in the *.decals file and then add the coordinates later. Whatever fits your workflow.
    View attachment 84354

    D. Merge your picture with the blueprints decals file.

    After you have copied the code to the .decals file, you STILL need to tie your picture to this decals config to be shown ingame.

    1. In the decals file, find the line that says: 'Diffuse=file.png'
    2. Rename it to your own filename: 'Diffuse=empyrion-logo.png'
    3. Tab back in the game (the savegame you are currently using with step C1 and following) , open the console and execute: 'decals'

    Now, it is rinse and repeat: change the positon, logo or decal settings and reload the scene until you are satisfied.

    E. Additional decal settings.
    In addition to the basic position, rotation and size, you can use the following parameters.

    NOTE:
    - You can also specify a web url to download the decals from. Works for pictures (png / jpg) AND videos (mp4)
    - If there is a .epb file available Decals on structures get now saved into ../<gamename>/Shared/<structid>/decals.txt to be able to change existing decals manually using a text editor in a running savegame! (player must have "Save to Template" active for that structure)

    Code:
    [Caution]                           # define a custom name here
    -Pos=0.88,14.0125,1.14              # position of your decal in your POI.
    -Rot=90,128,1                       # rotation of your decal.
    -Size=8,8                           # dimension of your projected image; it is possible to use float numbers
    -Diffuse=CautionLowTemp.png         # diffuse image that can be jpg or png (with alpha channel). Make sure to keep your dimensions as small as possible due performance.
    -Normal=CautionLowTemp_n.png        # set a normal map of your image to give your image more depth
    -Emissive=CautionLowTemp_e.png      # set a different image to highlight the emissive parts of your image
    -EmissiveColor=5,0,0                # set r, g, b colors that should be emit color. Set > 1 to increase the bloom / emissive effect.
    -Mode=Transparent                   # [Transparent, Opaque, Cutout, Fade] Decal will be projected in the given size, slightly transparent.
    -Cull=false                         # default true. Set to false if you want the backside of the decal shown - vertically flipped
    -Color=1,0,0,1                      # r, g, b,a : set tint color/transparency; Example: 1,0,0,1 = red + 100% transparency
    -ColliderMode=NoCollision           # NoCollision|Collision|Off : optional colliders to the decal.
    -Video=VideoName.mp4                # Show a mp4 video instead of a texture. Please use responsible as this can affect performance!
    -Specular=image                     # png file to control the specular shader
    -Glossiness: [0-1]
    -Video=VideoName.mp4                # Show a mp4 video instead of a texture. Please use responsible as this can affect performance!
    [email protected]/objectname      # Allowing to add Unity GameObjects as decals (models, particle effects, etc)
    -Audio=<filename>                   # ogg and wav supported
    -AudioVolume=<0 - 1>
    -AudioMinMaxDistance=<min>,<max>
    -AudioPlayMode=Single|Loop
    -AudioDoppler=true|false            # Switch off the doppler level on a decal (default true) to avoid any pitch change when approaching an audio decal with speed.
    
    DecalGun
    tba
     
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  2. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
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    Q: Is there a limit for the amount of decals per POI?
    A: Currently there is no hard limit, but the more decals, the higher the performance drain of the POI.

    Q: Is there a limit for the size of the decal?
    A. No, but same here: The larger, the more performance drain!

    Q: Can decals be used in moving POI (freighters, OPV) as well?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Do decals work in MP as well?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Can players place decals in their Blueprints and spawn them (on servers)?
    A. No.

    Q: Is there an easier way to move the position of the decal? (f.ex. ingame with Build Helper menu?)
    A: No, there is currently no other way, due to the nature of the addition.
     
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  3. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
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    Examples:



     
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  4. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    I worked on a way to position the decals "visually" in Blender 3d, then use the coordinates to place/ rotate the decals very precisely in Empyrion. It allows to make very cool things with bigger images, while not requiring lots of flying around in Empyrion, and still making trial/ errors in placement. Maybe I will post a tutorial with nice images for this, to help players not familiar with Blender or Decals. :)
     
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  5. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    Here is my WIP "cheat sheet" that I use as a wallpaper on my 2nd monitor. This shows most of what I have to keep in mind when working with decals, but I added some extra info knowing that I would share this at some point :

    Boss.jpg

    I set up Blender's units system to "none" and use a grid subdivision of 8. This allows me to work in powers of 2 measures/ dimensions, and that is the reason for the list of numbers at the right side of the image ( quick reference). The text in the white square (top left corner) is the procedure to get the precise location and rotation of planes in the 3d space. There coordinates can then be used in the decals file, with adjustments following indications in this "cheat sheet" (axis and coordinates conversion).

    In 3d space, I tend not to rely too much on maths (ex. to get a radius) because floating number generate aberrations at large scaling values. Much better to try things visually and fine-tune afterwards.


    Feel free to downlad/ use this image, and comments are welcomed. ;)

    .
     
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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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  6. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    Here is a ... thing that I made using decals, 2 or 3 textures taken from the game (cropped screenshots) and a simple 36 x 36 blocks "cross" made of steel blocks to serve as anchor for the POIs core + gravity generator + gen + fuel. If I had made this with blocks, my computer would have fried not even halfway through building this, it would have been unplayable and glitchy. But this is very light to render even for my potato laptop, and I even cranked up the graphics settings for the first time that I have been playing Empyrion, with no noticeable impact on performance.

    NewGame_2020-12-21_05-02-11.png

    The small thing on the right "arm" of the station is the UCH Titan. The station is made of an array of POIs ( as described above ) placed around a central one. Each has its own gravity "axis" and player can walk "normally" all the way around inside the outer ring. This thing is made from 4 very simple blueprints (just different names).

    Here is a shot from the interior of one of the arm's outer ends, with the steel blocks cross (36 x 36 ) at the bottom. The green circle decal shows the radius of the one gravity generator in the center of each POI :

    NewGame_2020-12-21_05-38-03.png

    Now I can work on textures to make this come alive. To edit blocks, I can simply delete all decals from the file ( backed up of course) and make the edits, then just paste back all content of the decals file "live" and use the console to update. This is a very cool and powerful feature, and we only scratched the surface. This station is 1800 meters across, is lightweight to render, and doing this with regular blocks would have killed a beefy computer. The only real "blocks" are the crosses as seen here with the green circle, all other volumes were made with decals.

    Now, I did all this only using squares. I would kill a shark with a spoon to get triangles now. Pleeeaaaasseee ! :D

    .
     
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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  7. Dragon

    Dragon Captain

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    Awesome work!

    Great idea for future updates, too. I can already imagine coming across massive structures like these as I travel through the galaxy.
     
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  8. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    I have lots of plans. This was just a "practice shot" to get a reliable workflow... ;)
     
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  9. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    That is really epic.
     
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  10. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    This means that we can now make any kind of fixed structures we want, and use the usual methods to design questlines. No need to fill all that with voxel blocks, in fact I can fill this with 95% "decals" architecture, and then place cores/ mini-POIs anywhere in there.

    As for Ships, that will be my next test. We can't do the same trick, but I have ideas to make something as cool and big, giving the perfect illusion.

    Lots of volumes can be "sealed off" from player access, just like normal design for levels in most big games, that use only parts of huge "decors" in a very detailed fashion. Since these are dungeons/ admin POIs and "indestructible", we can make destructible only the story-relevant parts inside the bigger setup. I made lots of screenshots of the game textures on a huge wall, for better integration between decals and normal voxel builds in projects like this.

    Players can now explore space stations/ Motherships in a ship, and only get on foot for specific sections, where there will be no "corridor shooting" if avoidable. Players may focus on something else than trying to salvage the whole thing, and try instead to solve puzzles, explore, fight and maybe salvage some small parts if the setup allows for it.

    Edit : with a "maxstructures" of 200 in the gameoptions.yaml, we can easily take some of these to make cool looking gigantic POIs. If a section is too far from the main POI core, then just place another one precisely with coordinates, and use it as anchor for devices/ lights/ turrets/ doors etc. :)

    Edit : here, I couldn't resist to show another picture to illustrate the scale :

    station.png
     
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  11. zaphodikus

    zaphodikus Captain

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    So, this new feature - works in multiplayer games for prefabs only. Is there any intent to tie it to logic circuits? A few things in circuits are not really working yet, but this would make up.
     
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  12. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    This also works in single player and with signals using the decal control blocks (forget exact name). :D
     
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  13. Foofaspoon

    Foofaspoon Commander

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    @Kassonnade can I say how amazing what you are doing with decals - when they were added I just thought how cool to be able to add pictures / video to POIs, but wow you immediately saw the potential for stretching them way beyond what they were designed for. I am so excited to see what you come up with - and hopefully getting to experience it in the game!
     
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  14. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    The funny part is that in the instructions posts there is a warning about "performance" in relation to the number of decals used. Depending on how we use them (like I did here) they have the other effect : I cranked the graphics settings and pushed shadows to max on my potato laptop, and flew around in a big CV (the Titan) and never saw a drop in FPS like I usually experience in most of the vanilla game in any playfield with a bit of stuff. In fact water and POI clusters are far more performance demanding than this.

    Counting the total numbers of triangles in this "station" : it is made of 829 decals, x2 = 1658 triangles. This is like a 40 x 40 platform regarding the amount of geometry. There are 36 cores around a central "hub", each having some blocks to hold devices. There are 4 total blueprint models, and I edited them by removing the central hub and place the one I want to edit at its place. I can then work on each part's decals, save the file, restart the creative game and see where it needs adjustments.

    It took me 2 days to make, so that's not very different than making a normal POI. I was thinking that maybe some players would like to try this, so I may share it on the forum. It's a mini scenario about 1.6 mb in size, just have to dump it in the "scenarios" folder of the game to use it. It's still very "basic" but it is more a proof-of-concept than anything.

    .
     
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  15. stacalkas

    stacalkas Ensign

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    A few questions:

    Is the client upload system that was mentioned in the patch notes working? Just curious didn't see it mentioned above.

    Are the .decals files going to be the decal base for the blueprint for uploading to the workshop? Trying to figure out the difference between the .decal file and the decals.txt.

    Will the decals be tied to an in-game hand tool for easier placement?

    Thanks!
     
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  16. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    Decals are currently specified either in the scenario, or in the save game. They aren't, as far as I'm aware, uploaded to steam with a Blueprint.

    The upload system is working. Servers upload the shared data folder to clients when they connect. This gives clients all the custom decals and item icons in use on the server.
     
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  17. stacalkas

    stacalkas Ensign

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    Thanks
     
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  18. Taelyn

    Taelyn Administrator
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    Added new options to the Decal Post

    TODO
    DecalGun Explanation
     
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