AuthorTopic: Blackbox Voxel Tool  (Read 26999 times)

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #10 on: December 27, 2015, 11:55:18 pm
Download Hotfix version 0.1e

This version has none of these issues for me on Ubuntu Wine anymore.

Also some other minor fixes.

I know a bunch of you are into Linux, so even though I don't offer native versions right now, I did what I could to have it run there fairly well.

Sorry about the spam, but it's hot on the heels of the release, and I want the situation cleared asap.

I think though that it got to a point nothing's critical. I'll do bigger and less frequent updates now.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:48:16 pm by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #11 on: December 28, 2015, 04:11:11 pm
Naw, we keep going a while longer for the holidays. =p

Download hotfix version 0.1f

Done some minor fixes.

New features:

Mini cams can swap places now.
Keep holding any of F1 to F4,
then press another cam of F1 to F4.

Press key b to set your main view back to its default status.
while holding shift sets the currently selected mini cam back to its default status.
while holding ctrl sets all mini cams back to their default status.

Changed control:

For quick scrolling the palette, both key combinations work: ctrl + mousewheel and shift + mousewheel.

While capslock still is a permanent shift +, it does not affect mousewheel for palette scroll.
You still need to press shift for palette scroll while in capslock.

Explaining this might sound confusing at first, but in practical use I found this the most sensible and convenient.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:48:26 pm by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #12 on: December 29, 2015, 09:21:13 am
Download hotfix version 0.1g

Fixed Capslock behaviour with rest of the controls.

Capslock permanently activates the alternate functionality of only the mouse buttons, like holding Shift would.
But Capslock no longer interferes with any other hotkey like holding Shift would.

Changed control:

You can use Swap mini cams now without changing your mainview,
As long as you hold a F1 - F4 key, the main cam does not immediately jump, but select the new mini cam.
Only when you release the key does it actually jump to the newly selected mini cam.

This allows for swapping cams without jump of main view,
because when you press another F cam key while holding the first,
it will know to swap cams but not jump main view upon releasing keys.

But this scheme also allows other operations on mini cams.

While holding any of F1 to F4 for selecting mini cam,
and then pressing key b, sets that mini cam back to default status,
without a need to jump mainview to it for selection either.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:48:36 pm by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #13 on: January 01, 2016, 06:39:29 am
Download hotfix version 0.1h

Added changelog.txt to distribution.

You can toggle on/off grid view of any mini cam
by the same method discussed above.
Keep holding any of F1 to F4,
and press the Tab key.
won't switch main view.

Colour control for Hue, Saturation, Luminance.

The keys used for RGB modification are now by default HSL controls.
If you still want RGB control, hold Shift while using them.

As before, the HSL controls can be used on several colours at once,
by first Marking them, and then holding ctrl while using modifier keys.
Again, shift + ctrl now for RGB modification on several colours, as before.

Quote from: RAV
Press key Enter to Mark current colour in the palette.
while ctrl, marks entire block of active colours beneath.

More specifically, key Enter toggles the mark,
and ctrl + enter toggles mark for entire block;
unmarked colours become marked,
marked colours become unmarked.

The mark is remembered when moving colours
and on transfer between different palettes.

When using ctrl with the RGB colour component modifier keys,
the change now affects only all the marked colours in the palette.

This allows more effective colour palette management.

And also remember:
-- colours are indexed.
-- the scene updates realtime as you change colours.
-- the palette colours keep integrity while on mass modification, allowing to play with extreme effects (HDR).
-- but first and last colour in palette are system fixed and not modifiable.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:48:46 pm by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #14 on: January 05, 2016, 06:12:16 am
Download hotfix version 0.1i

Page-wise colour palette quick scrolling with ctrl + mousewheel.

Slowed down colour modifier bar speed, framerate independent.

Toned down RGB colour bar indicators, so they are not visually distracting.

Moving around colours in palette no longer messes up a finished scene, as colours no longer "move out of their slot" to which the cubes would still be tied. That means you can at any point of your work arbitrarily reorganize your palette without messing things up. This is a very significant fix.

Some other minor fixes.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:48:57 pm by RAV »

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #15 on: January 07, 2016, 01:22:18 am
The Problems of Blackbox

So far I have been mostly discussing interesting abilities and advantages of Blackbox. They are its reason for existence, after all. And the possibilities are exciting.

However, it is just as important to discuss the problems that come with that. For all its promise, Blackbox is not short of problems either. And to use this tool to its best, we need a good understanding of them, in general and in detail. We will discuss how we can make Blackbox work regardless. Hopefully this can also give some interesting insight into problems of art at large. We will start out with a first Article of this series.

Image Quality

You should have noticed soon in your tests that image quality may be the single biggest concern in working Blackbox. The issues of image quality are a form of restriction to your art. You have this amazing power in scale, but it takes much careful design to make it work well on the eye.

In the beginnings of 3d graphics, image quality was not the primary concern. It was making the illusion of reality work to begin with. And in a sort of greed, drunk with possibility, the art of these titles aimed for more than is aesthetically sane. And the audience of the time, amazed by this new age, was able to ignore the visual problems in a suspension of disbelief. But ever since times have changed. 3d is ubiquitous, and the expectations and standards have been drastically raised.

Image quality has become one of the most important measures. Many new technologies have been invented to improve it. All of graphics and display products contest in it and advertise its importance. And our eyes have been incredibly spoiled by it. Look an old CRT today, watch VHS video cassette, play Doom in its most original rendering code, and you will find all that extremely difficult on the eyes, it almost literally hurts. So it didn't take long before 3d entirely abandoned pixel art in favour of much filtering. Strict Pixel Art has the smallest margin of mistakes in readability, and a dynamic view breaks that very quickly. The goal was not to find an art that makes 3d work as is, but to find a tech that makes realism in 3d work.

In its raw approach to the artistic rendering, Blackbox faces many of the same challenges the first 3d games had. But the difference we have today is, we better understand the art to deal with it. Pixel art itself as an art form and theory, transitioned to a more image quality oriented approach in the meantime. In 2d, it is the utmost polished impression of pixel art that set it apart from competing art forms. And drawing from a better understanding of pixel art today, we reinvestigate the raw rendering in the 3d of the past. We focus on studying the range of values in which it works by smart design of the content. And we attempt to turn its crisp visuals from a liability into a proud and pleasing quality within these bounds.

Appropriate art techniques aside, the level design, view ranges and perspectives in relation to cube sizes, are also of great interest to us in working around that. Isometric worlds may be the most straightforward to look good, but a clever room and vista layout too can set the bounds for good image quality even in First Person View. Also consider on the technical side, that advanced system work such as an intrinsic level of detail system can also improve upon the situation across the board.

However, do take note: new display technologies, like ultra HD displays, which will become market standard in just a few years, will ease our problems and expand the ranges and use cases. Even our normal HD displays today give us a huge leg up compared to what people of the past had to deal with. Altogether, raw rendering is a much more feasible approach than it has been. But make no mistake, image quality will always stay the maybe biggest concern of Blackbox compared to other tools.

Another thing to consider is, that we can try further ease it up with fullscreen anti-aliasing on top of that. Though this might sound heretical at first, it would be simply an equivalent to the quirks of older display tech like CRT. But this has the lowest priority of interest to this project. To learn most in our study here, we make our case tougher by dealing as is, and will later benefit ever so more from a better understanding in improved conditions, may things come as they do. Laziness is learned quick, discipline must be achieved.

« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 02:07:37 am by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #16 on: January 21, 2016, 12:32:20 am
Download hotfix version 0.1j

Render System Upgrade: Stage 2. Improved runtime performance and memory footprint.

Maximum number of cubes tripled, from 100k to 300k.

Fixed occasionally vanishing scene.

Fixed Shift and Ctrl not working on mini cam after mini cam key is already on hold down select.

Mini cam default size adjusts to screen size on bootup.

Capslock no longer affects the Pick colour tool. That was too annoying in most use cases.
Always hold Shift if you want to assign a cube's colour to a slot. Tip: you can use this to copy slot colours.

Some Operating System versions seem to intercept the key combinations Ctrl + Enter and Ctrl + Backspace.
If these don't work for you, there are now alternative keys: Use the punctuation keys,
Comma for Backspace, Period for Enter, and each in combination with Ctrl.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:49:09 pm by RAV »

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #17 on: January 25, 2016, 08:31:39 pm
Download hotfix version 0.1k

Further optimizations and improvements to the rendering.

Increased cube limit from 300k to 600k.

Fixed an issue with windowing on smaller screens.

Fixed an issue with auto-resize on mini cams.

Reduced render faults on mini-cams; some machines had it especially bad.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 05:49:19 pm by RAV »

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #18 on: April 28, 2016, 10:51:27 am
>>> BVT_v01l -- March 6, 2016 <<<

Increased cube limit from 600k to 900k

Fixed Line tool (holding Ctrl key).
While the Line tool worked fine on Ubuntu Wine,
for actual Windows users it disappeared after
about one second upon still holding the Ctrl key.
The Line tool now stays active as long as you hold the Ctrl key.

Fixed block colour palette Marking (Ctrl+Enter)and Deactivation(Ctrl+Backspace) for Win10 users.

Added Copy&Paste, for a first take on tiling.
This transforms the workflow of Blackbox into Pattern Orientation.

Whenever you have selected more than one cube,
the Pick tool marks that for Copy&Paste, instead of colour.
Remember, you Pick either by pressing key "r",
or by default Right Click Mouse in Paint Mode (key "2").


Be sure to give this new feature a lot of attention.
Experiment with patterns of beauty, construct fractals.
This feature is very powerful, remember the second half of
the Natural Selection video for some examples on usage.

Always look out for picking reusable patterns in micro or macro,
similar to how you would pick colour.

As you should expect, you can easily resize the copy upon paste
simply by changing selection size with mousewheel.
There are various uses for that:
-- prepare your tileset at a comfortable work size,
and then miniaturize it upon actual use,
to fully leverage world scale.
-- hide your tileset as "micro film" within world.
-- fractal construct mass and shape very quickly.

This current copy is a straight location copy, instead of instanced.
That's probably going to change later, but in the meantime this enables
some interesting fractal tricks, like "infinite mirror"-esque effects.
It happens when you try to paste within the area you picked for copy.

Hard copy is very expensive, both in processing and memory usage.
This will be circumvented when referenced soft copy from tile palette comes later.

When a tile has holes through which you can see other tiles behind,
this may be problematic to paint with, since it may shoot-through.
Until this is fixed, remember that you have alternate Selection modes.
Use key "g" to toggle default Smart Select. Turning it off can avoid the problem.

Rotation and flipping still missing. Comes later.

>>> BVT_v01m -- March 7, 2016 <<<

Non-public dummy version.

>>> BVT_v01n -- March 8, 2016 <<<

Improved performance of operations on model for mass modification.
(Deleting or copying large numbers of cubes should be noticably faster)

Fixed crash in extremely complex scenes.
(too many unique vertices tracked; connected
cubes/triangles in Blackbox can share their vertices,
for reduced memory and coherent mesh deformation.)

>>> BVT_v01o -- March 30, 2016 <<<

Fixed performance breakdown after picking a Tile with large amount of cubes.

Fixed recurring issue with the new Pick while in capslock.

Fixed crash on close.

Reduced aggressiveness of Input Interpolation upon drawing.

Added marker graphic on picked tile.

whenever your current selection leaves
the area you Picked, a marker shows
the location you will copy&paste.

Added Rotation.

Copy&Paste now auto-rotates tile.

This depends on:
The side you were picking the tile at,
and the side you are pasting to.

This is useful for both,
intuitively painting tiles on different walls,
and rotating a tile on the same spot.

Holding key Shift while Picking a tile,
deactivates auto-rotation for that tile upon paste.
The sides of picking and pasting then don't matter.

This feature plays to an advantage in workflow of 3d.
You can reduce the minimum amount of tiles required for a full set,
and greatly enhance visual variety at little to no extra work.
Further takes advantage in fractal mass construction methods.

More manual rotation and flipping come later.

>>> BVT_v01p -- April 1, 2016 <<<

Fixed crash when trying to copy&paste in some odd situations.

Fixed various problems when changing side of same selection.

Adjusted behaviour of the visual Marker for tiles.

Added manual rotation and Flipping:

When holding key Alt, the movement keys w, a, s, d, q, e
flip and rotate the currently selected side of cube or tile.

ALT + q, e: counter-clockwise and clockwise side rotation.
ALT + w, a, s, d: Flipping of side, up, left, down, right.

Use this to further adjust the normal auto-rotation of pasting.

>>> BVT_v01q -- April 22, 2016 <<<

Fixed all keys for all platforms, a possible crash and some minor issues.

Blackbox should perform the same on all platforms now.

Increased max number of cubes from 900k to 950k.

Decreased minimum movement speed,
alongside other adjustments to cam,
slightly more convenient for details.

>>> BVT_v01r -- April 24, 2016 <<<

Fixed an issue in which mouse buttons in free mouse mode
would only execute function when holding button and moving mouse.

Added improved line tool preview,
with actual wireframe cubes lined instead of just a simple line;
only reverts back to simple line if line is very long with too many cubes.

Increased max number of cubes from 950 thousand to 2 million.

>>> BVT_v01s -- April 28, 2016 <<<

Fixed total performance breakdown on colour changes in massive scenes.
Scene updates after you're done changing colours with slider movement.

Increased max number of cubes from 2 million to 2.4 million.

Note: Blackbox is currently on greedy settings for tests.
Gaming-grade machine required, with recent drivers,
and no other expensive programs running for resources.
If these conditions are not met, you see no starting cube.
Restarting Blackbox or your computer may help clear it out,
otherwise upgrade your graphics card, with 2gb vram recommended.

Offline RAV

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Re: Blackbox Voxel Tool

Reply #19 on: April 28, 2016, 10:52:08 am
See accumulated changelog above.

A lot has happened since my last activity here. Although much remains yet to be done.
Several updates have fixed and upgraded Blackbox into a different nature of creativity.
I would hope you have familiarized yourself enough with the first basics of the principle.
The new mechanics invite much experimentation and exploration of a depth unique to this tool.

Download Blackbox v01s and find out yourself.

These videos give a little hint:

« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 11:04:02 am by RAV »