F: Splice

Hi all,

This is very much a rickety proof of concept/toy at this stage. You are given a flat, empty world. You have a kind of camera that shows you a view of a parallel world full of trees, mountains, and (later) other stuff. Take a picture of the parallel world, and splice that view anywhere in your world. It's a little tricky to explain, so here's a video:


Current build (0.2): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cd2yfa83v07zzn5/AAA_MX-ApT8crRBeDPohg_4Ga?dl=0

Previous builds:
0.1 - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mdlklsz8599efsz/AADz-5DO3m0Y8aexAw6twQ1Aa?dl=0

WASD, space to jump
E to toggle your special camera on and off

When camera is active:
Right click to switch between the camera modes
Left click takes a picture when in shoot mode
Left click splices a picture when in splice mode
In shoot mode, the mouse wheel adjusts to focus of the camera to capture particular objects
In paste mode, the mouse wheel scrolls between stored shots

Things I want to work on next:
- A goal of some kind for the player
- Add a few more simple objects, like rocks, clouds, and maybe birds. Or anything with some kind of simulation involved.
- Make the worlds bigger, and put emphasis on exploring to find different objects or "views" to splice in the other world
- Optimize. It runs pretty horrendously at the moment :P
- Make the controls a little more streamlined

As far as giving it some more gameplay depth, I don't want to get carried away it this stage. It would be ideal if this could remain more or less goalless for now and be fun. However, I might add some simple goals that the player can go for (like create 100 trees, make a mountain 50m high, or whatever).

Feedback would be awesome. Thanks!


  • Quite a unique idea!

    I have no idea what that line was supposed to represent that you can move up and down the picture...

    And what happens when you splice one hill on top of another, do they get added together?

  • Very interesting idea with lots of potential. Have you thought about what the endgame aim will be yet?

    I`m imagining a game where you have powers to see into the past, how things used to look, to find clues to solve mysteries.
  • This looks super interesting, but also I don't understand how it works, I see the tree gets duped, I see the hill gets placed, but I don't see how a hill would work on another, or if everything "in view" gets replicated (that means that on the one shot an existing hill would be "cut off" by the new shot?

    And yeah the leveller thing didn't make sense yet.

    Very interesting idea, lots of potential, it could be one of those puzzlers type things, if you can communicate a solid set of rules to the player. Cooool :)
  • @Tuism @Nitrogen Thanks guys. This is the sort of feedback I was of expecting, in that it seems pretty confusing to work out what splicing a photo of terrain should do, and what's actually happening when you do so. I barely understand what it should do at the moment :P
    The sort of brief I gave myself was that a photo, pasted anywhere, should show that exact view in your world after pasting it (or as close as technically possible). I wasn't really sure of what that would look like when you pitched a photo of a mountain up or down and pasted it, or pasted against a cliff face or something, so I was experimenting with all of that in this build. I think the problem is twofold: it's tricky to work out what it should be doing and so even more confusing for the player, and it's also difficult to implement technically.
    What I might do for the next build is try and have object based terrain sitting on a flat ground plane. So like a tree, a section of mountain is just an object that can be photographed and pasted at any angle. Like trees, you could photograph mountains and paste them up in the sky and have them fall. It's a little less exciting to me than smooth undulating terrain, but I think it'll make more sense, and I'll keep my sanity. I can always revisit the terrain thing again later.

    @vintar Thanks for the feedback! That's a really awesome idea. @Rigormortis actually had something similar, in that different cameras/lenses could let you see into the past and future, and you could capture items that change along a timeline (eg. trees that grow over time) and paste them into a different timeline to see other results. There's a lot to play with there.
    Not sure about an end game, but puzzles could form a good part of the gameplay. Take a photo of a broken tree trunk at the right angle, and you can paste it over a ravine in your world. Stuff like that. I've also had thoughts about lenses that show you worlds with different objects or physical properties, though that'll probably be out of the scope of the competition.

    Thanks for the feedback so far guys.
  • Your object-based approach may be very interesting if you applied it to something a bit easier to work with than mountains and landscapes - like say you had a view of a room and you took a picture and cloned that into the "real world", then you could have half of the brick wall, plus the shelves and toys, bed etc. appear. Depending on how modular you go with the objects, you could have random chair legs or individual bricks being brought into the world which sounds pretty cool!
  • edited
    @Nitrogen That's actually pretty rad! I'm not sure why I've been thinking exclusively about creating landscapes and whatnot... probably just had my head set on the outdoor, open-world style found in many sandbox games.

    I may well add some of that smaller, room-like content (time permitting) and make it pretty modular, as you mentioned. That might also be good stuff for combination-style puzzles.
  • Different lenses could also allow you to "focus" on different elements in a scene. Maybe the organics lens would let you copy the trees on a hill, but not the hill, so the trees would fall down and shatter into planks?
  • @dislekcia Cool idea, that's definitely something I'd like to play with. If anything, I'm kinda running the risk of having too many different options for this concept of lenses: lenses which copy different elements, different physical properties, and objects in different time lines. I'd like to wittle this down a bit.
    Re: the trees breaking into planks example - I like this. It's a part of the aspects of world simulation I need to start thinking about next.
  • Phwoar. It's a neat idea, and the others have already made better gameplay suggestions than I could. To be honest, all I *really* want to know is how you've pulled off that terrain copy/paste system, imperfect or not. That's friggin' rad. O_O
  • Hi all, I've updated the OP with a new build: https://dropbox.com/sh/cd2yfa83v07zzn5/AAA_MX-ApT8crRBeDPohg_4Ga?dl=0

    I've done away with the funky terrain deformation stuff in favour of big chunky rock objects that get duplicated like trees. I've also added the ability to adjust your camera's depth of field. Only the objects that are in focus get captured in a snapshot.
    It's still basically an aimless toy, but I wanted to keep updating and get some feedback on whether this makes more sense than the previous system.

    @Gazza_N Thanks man! To be honest, it was pulled off in possibly the most brutish way possible :P I just spawn a bunch of tiny quads that act as visibility nodes for the camera's viewing frustum. If the camera sees a node, it records it's world position when the snapshot is taken, then clumsily tries to map it back to the vertex array, with your current rotation taken into account. It's kind of a mess XD
    Anyway, the effect is still kinda cool, but I think the new object based system is just more understandable for now. I'd still love to return to that terrain morphing stuff later.
  • Lots of potential. I could imagine a version of it with the Oculus and a Leap Motion device to play god and create worlds.
  • @Manikin I made something for you!

    I played around with some sound fx and wanted to create the feeling that the switch between camera world and real world is very apparent so i put a hi-cut/low-pass filter on the music when it switches to the Video mode. There is also some wind and nature ambience in that mode which I thought could be cool in creating a different feel -> the real world feel has clear music but no ambience and the video mode has ambience but the music drops more to the background...

    I felt really inspired by the concept which is why I thought it would be nice to add a little spice.

    Feel free to give any sort of feedback please! :)
    Thanked by 2Manikin Gibbo
  • @Mexicanopiumdog Wow! That's really fantastic man, brilliant stuff! Both the music and sound suit it so well. They really imbue the environment with a sense of magic and tranquility. I like the idea that more ambient sounds like the bird chirps and tree rustling could be layered on based on how much the player has pasted in the world. I was originally thinking of a bit more of a heavy, mechanical sound when pasting a picture, but I prefer yours.

    Thanks :)
    Thanked by 1Mexicanopiumdog
  • it was pulled off in possibly the most brutish way possible :P I just spawn a bunch of tiny quads that act as visibility nodes for the camera's viewing frustum. If the camera sees a node, it records it's world position when the snapshot is taken, then clumsily tries to map it back to the vertex array, with your current rotation taken into account. It's kind of a mess XD
    No idea what this means, but this is amazing as a proof of concept. I agree with @SebastianS that this would be great as a VR project.
  • edited
    Unfortunately I haven't really put any more work into this. I still like the idea, but I've realized that I've definitely overscoped here, massively! I had too many ideas that relied on content for expanding the depth of the game.
    Thanks a ton for all your crits and ideas though, and extra thanks to @Mexicanopiumdog for using this for his awesome sound and music entry!
    Thanked by 1Mexicanopiumdog
  • This maybe a stupid question, but how do you get your trees to look like that?
  • @Fengol you can control the smoothing angle in blender quite nicely with the edge Split modifier, then click your model and in the inspector under the model tab, set your normals to be imported.
    Alternatively if you want all edges to be hard you can just set the normals to none which will give all the faces a hard faceted look. Unity also has control over the smoothing angle which does a similar job to the edge split modifier.
  • @Pomb I think I understand that but I have no idea how to apply to make the trees like @Manikin has :(
  • edited
    @Fengol What @Pomb said: There are explicit ways to set hard and soft edges in Blender, which can create some very cool definition in the model. For this, I didn't use any modifiers in Blender though, but I think the default setting is flat shaded, so I just exported the model like that.
    As far as the modeling, it's just a bunch of those cone shapes that I stacked on top of each other. Quick and dirty :P
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