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Dev Diary - Ground Clutter

By Tony_Hilliam, October 27 2017

clutter
(/'klʌtə/)
noun
1. a collection of things lying about in an untidy state.

In Trainz "Next" (official name still to be announced) it will be possible to use a modified "Paint brush" to scatter detailed "Clutter layers" onto the terrain. This system will provide several advantages over the current methods.

To date in Trainz you would need to place each object one by one around your route or use copy/paste with the obvious limitations of a rectangular tool and a repetitive pattern as the outcome.

With the new Clutter layers you add one or more objects to your Clutter layer and start painting wherever you need it. 

The items are placed based upon adjustable configuration parameters such as density and random rotation. 

Clutter layers take advantage of a new material type called m.clutter. This material type has the special property where meshes fade in and out at distances you specify, thereby avoiding any "popping".

The following sneak peek video shows a Clutter layer with a several m.clutter assets in use (apologies for the visual quality of this video - Youtube has decided to output a rather blurry version which looks nothing like our original).
 

Here is a screenshot showing many different assets used in multiple clutter layers to give maximum detail up close to the camera.

Click to enlarge

To ensure the full benefits of this system, it will require your clutter objects to have LOD and share materials in a texture atlas. We'll be providing some fairly tight guidelines to ensure the best possible performance outcome - and as you can see, some spectacular results as well!

More to come on clutter soon."
* information is also subject to change as we continue to develop this new system.