Factory models

7

What happened to the factory models? They (HQ and non-HQ) look almost identical now. The easy to spot Aeon land t3 HQ is gone, so is the Cybran t3 land HQ.
The changes, as far as I could see, were barely communicated to the community. I found this in the change log:
"We're slowly but surely preparing the game for a significant visual improvement. [...] (#4456) Re-create the Cybran land factories. [...]

I have no idea if this is an intermediary step or the final result. Cybran air fac animation sometimes looks out of whack when having engineers roll out (transformer mode with factory elements moving rapidly).

I found those changes to be a massive downgrade in terms of visibility (forced to zoom out) and user experience.

If someone could explain if this can be reverted (mod?), why it was implemented and if it is the final stage of the "significant visual improvement" it would be great.

You have 2 s in battle - find the HQ without zooming out.
hq.jpg

HQs and non-HQ (incl. Aeon t1 and t3 HQ) is hard to differentiate.
3.jpg "

Also, the list of units in the cheat menu looks blurry:
e0e60893-9f94-4c9c-b1cd-450aa81122ef-image.png

Clipping (bottom element):
ae3305db-ff42-4131-92d4-89ff33baec56-image.png
1d80d7a9-667e-4726-b1c3-d002f9431fe0-image.png

2

Here some comparisons:

old land:
oldLand.png

new land:
newLand.png

old air:
oldAir.png

new air:
newAir.png

old navy:
oldNaval.png

new navy:
newNaval.png

4

Definitely harder to distinguish between HQ and normal factories now.

I also do not really like the new faction colored arms on the T1 Cybran land factories and how bright they are at the lowest LOD.

0

The previous hq models were a bit excessive in size in my opinion, but the new ones seem too far into the opposite. Perhaps the best would be to keep the normal model for support factories and just add something obvious but not as over the top as it was to the hqs.

Another possible solution is to use the same model but add a obvious different texture to hq to differentiate the 2.

11

Tbh, comparing those old and new pics, I prefer the old overall.

waiting for a mapgen-only TMM queue and Godot

1

I prefer the old better. Like the cybran t3 land hq and the aeon one looked pretty badass before.

1

@FemtoZetta

thanks for the pictures!

yes the old models are better then the new ones.
first i thought the HQ factory models are gone since they are so similar to the support factories.

I mean, it's a headquarters and should look like one (impressive)

1

I like old models better too. New ones are not doing it. It is a downgrade in terms of visuals not an improvement.

4

The new models are terrible. They look like they were deliberately mutilated by haters of aeon and cybran.

1

There are several reasons we're looking into the HQ / support factory models, I'll list them here. Before I start: note that we'll also be tackling the UEF and Seraphim factories. We just didn't find the time to do them yet.

  • (1) The old HQs have no upgrade animations

Simple as that, they use the upgrade animation of the support factory and the HQ-bits just pop into vision as the factory is finished. That breaks with what other structures do and it breaks immersion for those that notice it.

  • (2) The old HQs are poorly made

A lot of the assets of the base game have baked in normals and baked in ambient occlusion. If you're unaware what these are, read through these articles:

Note that the game does not have dynamic ambient occlusion, it is baked into the albedo texture. If you're unaware of what that is, read through this article:

The HQs were made by improperly re-using bits of texture and mesh and as a result they look bad. We'll look closely at a few factories for a comparison.

As an example, note the light direction (in yellow) and the shadow. The light should fully lit the blue marked areas, but they're ... not quite fully lit. There's dark spots and specular lighting where it doesn't make any sense
6e9c4f69-d943-4ec2-a8df-74d2af1d0bcd-image.png

The same applies to the side of the factory, see the blue marked areas. These should be equally lit, but there's all sorts of dark areas, light areas and again specular lighting where it doesn't make sense
5833b499-3dc4-4f4e-b958-4f09fab000f8-image.png

The dark bits are skewed because the normals are
edfd3cc0-dbf2-491a-a4fd-71467b887573-image.png

The reflection at the top is all skewed, because the normals are skewed too
1bc24bd2-345e-442f-86b9-36041e80a944-image.png

Let alone the back of this mesh, which is stretched up
49f0eedc-b70e-4937-9d5c-69b874d630aa-image.png

And the albedo / normals are skewed here
56548e2a-da32-4302-9eed-7ebac36e3884-image.png

And we can't fix any of these issues because they re-use bits and pieces of the texture, fixing it here would make the model look bad at another location. All of the factories have issues such as these, which will be made a lot more prominent as we migrate towards PBR shaders.

  • (3) The old HQs are not compatible with our intention to introduce PBR shaders

See also:

We've asked people, a lot has shown interest, not many turned up. And I'm not blaming them: you'd be working with old tech with no easy to understand workflow. This is an example of how a unit would look like with PBR shaders:

Left is current shaders, right is new shaders
a1c1d88a-7c1d-44f3-97cc-6f5f2429c846-image.png

I think that it looks a lot better, and this topic is the proof that people look at the game up close. The old HQs would outright prevent us from being able to push this as they'd look bad-bad, see also:

0914bdf3-886c-4fbc-9ca8-9dd064b2557c-image.png

Where the same shading issues apply but they're a lot more noticeable using PBR shaders.

With all of that said - I'm not against better alternatives for factories that are compatible with PBR shaders. But it involves quite some work:

  • (a) Make meshes for individual factories
  • (b) Make textures for individual factories
  • (c) Make build animations for individual factories
  • (d) Make upgrade animations between the factories

Which can take up dozen(s) of hours to get right. Therefore we choose to take the 'normal' factory that ships with Steam FA and trim it down slightly. Not all factories have a lot to work with though. In my opinion the Cybran naval factory and all of the Aeon factories are quite good, people just need to get used to them.

And we're open to improvements. For example I agree that the Cybran air factory lost a bit too much on average. You're welcome to step up and see if you can do better.

@Ninrai

The changes, as far as I could see, were barely communicated to the community. I found this in the change log:

"We're slowly but surely preparing the game for a significant visual improvement. [...] (#4456) Re-create the Cybran land factories. [...]

48ae1782-41cf-4f58-92c6-5e2cf255196f-image.png

Only 16K people that looked at the topic. It was also promoted in the news hub and by Gyle.

We also have a separate discord section:

04fc084f-e489-4f08-9b0a-19da1b68aa01-image.png

Where the forum has over a thousand posts at the moment.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

0

@Ninrai it appears in your first screenshot that the support factory and the hq factory have the same mesh, that is of course not intended 🙂

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

3

https://forum.faforever.com/topic/5061/looking-for-help-to-edit-textures-for-pbr-shaders

This thread does not mention anywhere that the factories needed to be redesigned, only retextured. The only place I could find it was an initial idea in modding general which was complaining about the models (nothing about actual plans to change them) and then in the pbr-development (which as I assumed was about shaders development I didn't have any interest or technical skill in)

In addition, the animations on these new factories is by far worse then the old ones. Especially look at the animation for engineers rolling off the cybran t3 air support factory.
https://clipchamp.com/watch/NywNfsXUZiV

2

I agree the new HQ factories are harder to differentiate from the standard factories now

However i have a solution for you, check out my HQ factory Icon mod.Untitledghh.jpg

It only changes the icons of the HQ factories by highlighting in white the T2 HQs and also gives a white Highlighted crown to T3 factories.

0

@angelofd347h

This thread does not mention anywhere that the factories needed to be redesigned, only retextured. The only place I could find it was an initial idea in modding general which was complaining about the models (nothing about actual plans to change them)

Initially we thought just fixing the textures would resolve it, but:

And we can't fix any of these issues because they re-use bits and pieces of the texture, fixing it here would make the model look bad at another location.

We ran into this issue, so we had to make a decision. Which we did: we're going to need to re-think how we tackle the HQs / support factories. The models have been on FAF Develop for months and we received no feedback on the factories during that time.

and then in the pbr-development (which as I assumed was about shaders development I didn't have any interest or technical skill in)

The shaders are already complete, it is just a matter of adjusting the assets by fixing all sorts of weird issues with them. That is also the purpose of that channel

In addition, the animations on these new factories is by far worse then the old ones. Especially look at the animation for engineers rolling off the cybran t3 air support factory.

a179382e-e096-448e-a754-592d0a110c04-image.png

You're correct - it escaped our attention. Luckily we are already on it:

https://github.com/FAForever/fa/pull/4713

Which is the same bug that causes all the factories to look like an HQ as in the screenshot of Ninrai.

And as a side note - stating that they are 'far worse' than the old ones (while they had no proper* upgrade animations at all) and then nit picking just one example while they are 'all far worse' is ... odd 🙂 . If they're all that much worse, then show an example of how bad each animation is right now. And don't forget to include the HQs we did not touch yet.

All factories now have proper upgrade animations, as far as I am aware at this point they all work fine except for this one build animation.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

6

@Jip
I understand the desire for more lighting realism and matching upgrade animations, but it seems like the new result is less desirable than the old result for general users in normal use. There are many other cases in FAF where we forego increased realism for a better gameplay experience. I think I'd rather have the old factory versions (with or without the pbr shading) than have the new ones. I'm not inherently opposed to new factory designs, but I think this should be reverted and potential changes such as this presented more publicly in the future. If you initially set out to change the textures and tell the community that, but end up wanting to change the models as well, I think that should be shared with the community too in time for feedback.

PS: A subtle problem can easily be on FAF Develop for months yet noticed very quickly on regular FAF. I think FAF Develop is played about 1% as much as regular FAF. So, while it certainly can be useful for testing and noticing things, it would theoretically take something like 300 days on FAF Develop to get the same amount of player-game exposure that something would get in like 3 days on regular FAF.

waiting for a mapgen-only TMM queue and Godot

5

People are insane if they’re blaming Jip for some lack of proper communication. He went above and beyond what basically any change would do for communication as it is. The reality of FAF is that nobody cares until it’s dumped on them and even if 3 people did care, the change would get pushed anyway and assume it was just a biased sample of feedback.

0

this is a bit spewing yeah? how about you actually advertise this change and make an effort to reach out for community input. I hate to be the one to tell it to ya but most people have no interest in playing faf develop or joining the faf develop discord and that's a you issue unfortunately. However, the team needs to find better ways to survey community opinion in a way that doesn't force their preference on everybody else. You's need to remember you were voted into a position by like 10 people and have the power to upset thousands of players so how about instead of having a moan about nobody giving you direct feedback, revert the fac models, figure out better ways to reach out to the community, then go from there. Try the news page? try more regular posting in main chat in official discord?, try promoting in Aeolus? lets be honest you guys didnt make much of an effort to get feedback on the models you's just like it personally, right?

0

Funny you mention "promoting in aeolus" and "more regular posting in the official discord (that's where the development discord you think exists is)"

I actually tested out all the feedback methods available to FAF and both of these are resoundingly terrible for reaching anybody that is not a 1500+ regular user of these mechanisms. So really what you mean is "use the communication things I pay attention to and assume everyone else on FAF actually uses."

Jip went to the extent of getting it promoted on Gyle's channel. The only possible way to do a BETTER form of communication is to do a public broadcast that sends a message out to everyone on the client that they need to close out of. Doing that for a change to a model? Yeah, right.

2

Iirc Gyle told the community Jip was looking for volunteers - I don't remember him mentioning a remodeling of factories though. I did not see it having been advertized anywhere either. I did read about shaders, but I don't think that is the same as remodeling.
I appreciate the work of developers. These changes just make it an overall worse game experience imo. Identifying the HQ by quickly looking at them is much harder now - forcing the player to zoom out more often in order to see the icons.
Improving shaders only to end up forcing players to zoom out more (and hence not look at the facs in detail) seems non-sensical to me.
Not a fan of the "they'll get used to it" attitude in this case. Overall, the changes feel like a net-loss to me.

0

I mean I think they're worse in terms of recognizability, but I pretty much never use the visual queues besides icons to identify HQs in games so I personally just don't care either way.

My problem is more people expecting 10x the effort in communicating than what the change actually does to the game. If this was applied to every single change we would lose a ton of motivation because there are changes put in monthly to FAF that are a bigger deal, in my opinion anyway. It's just the typical thing people always say when anything remotely controversial happens on FAF, of course people are going to be unaware of things, FAF internal communication sucks because there is no centralized platform to reach everybody that everybody pays attention to. There was even a news post about this thing that was up for a month IIRC and that still isn't enough, apparently.

Like honestly, this change is less relevant to the game than the change that was shipped with it to make terrain deforming less present, but that didn't require a weekly discord ping, a month long news post, a gyle shoutout, and some FAFLive in depth interview that was posted on the Twitter, Facebook, and aeolus did it?