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Are ships made of out of Vectors or Meshes? 
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Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:52 am
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I'm curious about the tech behind Reassembly, specifically the graphical representation of objects.
Everything in Reassembly scales so smoothly no matter how close or far I zoom out. I want to know how that works.

Are ship parts Pure Vectors or are they Triangles meshes?
What about the particles? How are those generated?


Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:50 am
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I seem to remember reading at some point that Reassembly uses vector-based graphics. Could be misremembering on that though.


Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:01 pm
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I'm not Arthur, but since it uses OpenGL which I have also worked with, I'm pretty sure that most of everything is just triangles, which, as long as there isn't a texture on top of it, will be able scale very nicely. The major clue I'm basing this answer on, is that whenever any object is being reconstructed, after the outline gets traced out, it gets filled in one triangle at a time (the outline is probably just a separate chain of lines). I'm not sure exactly how Arthur takes care of overlapping parts, because you would expect to see z fighting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-fighting but he most likely gives a small distance between every part depth-wise since the colors of overlapped parts don't blend together and one is in front of the other and sometimes the ordering is even inconsistent.

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Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:05 pm
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Meshes and lines. You can see the triangles one by one when the parts construct. Some parts like turret barrels are higher up than hull, and the triangles on photosynth blocks are higher at the edge than the centre - you can see this when they're at the edges of the screen.

I'm actually kinda surprised that the game uses a perspective projection at all rather than orthogonal considering its 2d nature.

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Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:44 pm
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Yeah, basically vector-meshes and bloom effects.

I haven't tested it, but I believe you can adjust the bloom, blur, and particle effects using cvar edits. If you check-out your cvars.txt, you'll see all the references.

You can also increase the pixel dimensions of screen captures using the cvar edit kScreenshotResolution = {4096, 2304}
Since Reassembly is vector-based, you can make giant captures and maintain excellent clarity with your raster images.

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Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:41 pm
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Thanks, thats actually suprising to me to hear its based on meshes. Especially so since the shields in this game seems to project a clean circle, which I assume is purely a vector, not a mesh.

If thats the case, would it be theoretically possible to have pixel art repeating textures on top of these meshes?


Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:07 am
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The circles are polygonal too - the number of faces scales with their size in screen space. See the selection tool in the sandbox; same principle but lower edge count.

Also, almost everything in games is dealt with via polygons one way or another these days, even 2d games mostly use quads to draw textures on for sprites, just to take advantage of the dedicated polygon processing hardware that is the GPU.

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Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:30 am
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I feel a lot of disbelief that the circles are polygons, I just spent a few hours ingame staring at the shields on and off but no matter how I try its just... SO smooth.

Is there some sort of debug command that shows everything as a wireframe or something? The thing that blows my mind is that I can have a few hundred shields active on screen at once and they're all so smoothly round that I would never suspect them being made from polygons.

Are you sure they're polygonal? :shock:


Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:15 am
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Reactorcore wrote:
I feel a lot of disbelief that the circles are polygons, I just spent a few hours ingame staring at the shields on and off but no matter how I try its just... SO smooth.


I don't know if he did this or not, but you can always just make a shader for pure circles.

I have a feeling that all the auras are actually a two-tri square. If you ever see a dense colony of spikey plants, the yellow auras sometimes overlap too much, then when it overloads you see weird black corner artifacts. Anyways, when you have a square, you can apply a pixel shader which allows you to have pixel smooth accuracy at any zoom level. Basically in your pixel shader, every pixel on your screen also corresponds to a location on the surface of the square, its in-world coordinate. So in your shader you just say "color me fully transparent if the x,y coordinate falls outside of the circle radius, but make me an additive (add a color on top of what has already been rendered underneath of me) shield color based on the distance to the center of the circle based on my x,y coordinate.

For an interactive online demonstration on shaders, if your computer is powerful enough you can visit https://www.shadertoy.com/ where every example is actually just a 2-triangle rectangular mesh with a pixel shader applied to it.

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Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:32 am
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Number of polygons is hardly a problem for modern hardware. You can push millions, if not billions of polygons without slowdowns - it's the rest that's the problem. In terms of poly count, Reassembly is likely quite low by standards set almost a decade ago. The shading is obviously more modern though, and yeah, it's quite possible that the shields (and definitely the glows) are on quads.

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  • Roiders - Cities and drills
Make your own with the Reassembly Web Development Kit!


Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:44 am
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