This topic acts as an overview. It merely exists to explain why we're redesigning the factories and it provides you with links to topics where you can discuss a factory category (land/air/naval) of a faction.
Links to discussion topics
All screenshots are taken on the map
Seton's Clutch - FAF version as made by @svenni_badbwoi . The lighting settings of a map determine are a large factor in how factories are perceived.
All feedback is welcome, but do make sure it is useful. If you have never read about how to give feedback than I can recommend you this guide along with two good examples of constructive feedback:
Want to help out?
Find us on the official Discord server and introduce yourself in the #pbr-development channel. There is no need for any previous experience, but it does help if you're familiar with tools such as Blender and are not afraid to learn about how the graphics in the game work.
Reasoning of redesigning the factories
There are a lot of visual issues with the current HQ factories. They originate from a mod, as described on the wikipedia article about integrated mods.
I'm unsure whether there were intentions to improve them but that did not quite happen. As a result we've been looking at the same HQ factories for a long time and a lot of us have become well acquainted with them.
The factories look bad
All factories have one or more of the following issues:
- (1) There are no proper upgrade animation
All the 'HQ bits' just pop into view as the upgrade animation is finished. This is fine for a mod, but it breaks immersion when it is part of the base game.
- (2) A lot of 'HQ bits' have stretched textures
Once seen you can not un-see it. It simply looks bad - no model that we ship with the base repository should have stretched textures. Sadly fixing this is hard, if not impossible because of lack of texture space on the existing textures to do it properly.
- (3) A lot of 'HQ bits' have baked in ambient lighting at the wrong places
Baked-in ambient lighting is a common technique to give your game more of a 'wow' factor. But they are static, and when the mesh changes they usually need to be recomputed. This is not the case, causing all sorts of strange lighting artifacts all over the 'HQ bits' of the factories. The easiest example to see this is the UEF Land HQ, where bits and pieces are darker while it doesn't make any sense for them to be so.
- (4) A lot of 'HQ bits' have bad normal maps
This is more less trivial to visualize for those that are unaware of how these properties work. But as a result of them the lighting looks off and so do additional properties such as specular lighting and reflections. One clear example is the tips of the 'HQ bits' of the Aeon land factory, which suddenly get darker and the reflection is distorted around that area:
The factories look even worse with PBR shaders
You can find more information about what 'PBR' means and what the project involves in the dedicated topic. With these new shaders we can significantly improve the visual fidelity of the game, which improves the ease of immersion.
These new shaders rely on the assets to be well-defined. This means there should be no missing channels, no sketchy normal maps, no stretching, no weird albedo maps with (bad) baked in albedo lighting. The old HQ factories have all of the forementioned issues, and PBR shaders only amplify those issues:
Left and right are both the new shader, which amplify the issues with improperly baked albedo lighting on the 'HQ bits'
As an example, this is how a mesh looks like that has well-defined assets:
Left is the old shader, right is the new shader
This entire project is still very much in development and there's still a lot of work to be done before it can be introduced to the player base of FAF.