SkyX 0.4 [0.4 version released - Over-cloud rendering!]

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SkyX 0.4 [0.4 version released - Over-cloud rendering!]

Post by Xavyiy » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:07 pm

[youtube]sLX4Rit8-ug[/youtube]
[youtube]T1DShKkWm_A[/youtube]
[youtube]wjo6KOdnO08[/youtube]
[youtube]aUlYHHhP-XI[/youtube]

First of all, I really want to thank you all. Really, it's been a terrific 2 year journey since I've started the Hydrax / SkyX. Back then, when I was starting to think about how cool it would be to have a realistic ocean system created into Ogre – or a Sky system too for that matter –, I could not foresee what a wonderful time I had been having, watching my children growing and being accepted, and more important, being useful to so many people. From small to big projects, it is a joy every time I open a screenshot or video of someone else's project and find my work helping others to achieve higher grounds on their visions.
This is, for sure, the most important evidence that I've been making right decisions about how to lead the project thus far. From the amount of – free – time I committed to it to the license model that I had in mind; one that would be the most appropriate to something that I wish can always grows to help others in their tasks.

Although the past and present are good so far, the time has come to make new decisions for the future.

The truth is that I must come up to my financial needs, and this cannot be postponed any longer. Servers, developer licenses, hardware, personal obligations; it's all in the mix that builds up my monthly costs. I do have a wide range of options on how to deal with the situation, but my wish is to keep doing what is making me happy for the last couple of years: developing the tools that I believe are, and will be, valuable to others.

Most of you know that I'm working on an ambitious and wonderful project: the Paradise Engine; a well-designed and highly optimized Game Engine focused in outdoor scenes that comes with a all-in-one Editor, the Paradise Editor Sandbox. That is what I'm investing my time now and what I do hope will get me the financial support that I need. The problem is that it is a long term project and will not be ready to a “selling product” point any time soon.

That leaves me with the option to charge for HydraX/SkyX new versions – with the pros and cons that this will bring to me –, or to think in some other solution.

Well, I thought about another solution. :)

In order to keep both free and open, I will experiment with some sort of crowd-funding / donation system to further develop SkyX.

How does it work? Well, each version of SkyX will be split in donation slots of 200€, and as soon as donations reaches the desired amount for a feature, I’ll start to work on that. Once it reaches the total amount for that slot, I'll work onto a release build of everything that far, polishing the code and testing for release.

How is this good for you? Maybe some of you have a higher interest in further development of SkyX than the future of Paradise Engine, so I'm giving the opportunity for those of you to “buy” my coding time to make a better and bigger SkyX right now, with no further ado.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN I WILL NOT BE WORKING ON SKYX IF I DID NOT GET PAID. This does mean that I can make things faster for those of you that need things faster. Otherwise I will invest my time in what I forecast will have a better financial result for me in the future. SkyX is part of that for sure, but it is not a priority right now, and in the future it will be more important for me to ensure it work nicely inside the Paradise Engine framework than to develop a stand alone version, though there might be mutual benefits.

All that for a almost bargain price: you donate how much you think my time is worth for you, and how badly you want what I am proposing below in the timetable.

How is this good for me? I get the financial support that I need right now selling the time I would be investing in something for the future, for a “discounted” price. Really simple.

“But there’re no news of SkyX since two years ago”, you may say! Well, there are! You've just to watch the SkyX 0.2 preview video there's at the top =)

Image
If you're excited for the future of SkyX highlighted in the steps below – as we are! –, consider donating and support the project futhermore. I think it is a fair way to get both of us what we want. For you to understand what I’m asking and what you will get for, take a look in the time/cost table at this link:
http://www.paradise-studios.net/?page_id=270

Image

10/18/2011 update:
SkyX 0.2 has been already funded and its development is now active, it'll be released in 3-5 weeks.
11/19/2011 update:
SkyX 0.2 has been released! Downlaod links are available at: http://www.paradise-studios.net/?page_id=270
12/03/2011 update:
SkyX 0.2.1 maintenance release is out! Downlaod links are available at: http://www.paradise-studios.net/?page_id=270
1/19/2012 update:
SkyX 0.3 has been already funded and its development is now active, it'll be released in 4-6 weeks.
03/12/2012 update:
SkyX 0.3 has been released! Downlaod links are available at: http://www.paradise-studios.net/?page_id=270
10/13/2012 update:
SkyX 0.3.1 maintenance version has been released! Also a Z-up version funded by the OSRF Foundation (http://osrfoundation.org/) is available (Downlaod links are available at: http://www.paradise-studios.net/?page_id=270
02/23/2013 update:
SkyX 0.4 has been released, now with over-cloud rendering support! Downlaod links are available at: http://www.paradise-studios.net/?page_id=270

Xavier
Last edited by Xavyiy on Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:21 am, edited 26 times in total.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by spacegaier » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:31 pm

I like the crowd sourcing idea!

One note thought regarding your price tables: They can be confusing and might make someone believe that each milestone costs the price written next to it, when in fact that is the total sum needed to reach that plus all previous milestones. Not sure how to make it clearer though, perhaps by adding a second column indicating the price for one particular feature.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:47 pm

@spacegaier

Hi! Glad to see you've liked the idea =)

And, just to make it clear to all people: these prices are the total amount, not the price-per-feature!
That's why I've added the ruler at the bottom of the page, but if needed I'll add a little note in the website.

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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by maylivios » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:08 am

Xaviyiv, SkyX has been very useful for my projects and I really want to say thank you!

I think that Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/) could be a good solution for crowd funding SkyX 0.2. You set a funding goal and everyone can see the progress until the project reach the goal.

I personally believe that many ogre users will contribute. That includes me. :wink:

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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by boyamer » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:47 am

Me too, SkyX and Hydrax are both beautiful projects, i'll contribute too.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:58 am

Thanks for the kind of words =)

@maylivios
Initially, I've been thinking in using Kickstarter for crowd funding SkyX 0.2, but after some thoughts I've finally decided that it was not the proper system because of:
- My idea is not to set a limit date, since even if I don't get support I'll still work on SkyX, but maybe in one or two years.
- Also, in something like SkyX, I cannot exactly know how many coding hours could something advanced take me. Of course, one time donations reach the price for a new feature I'll be fully working on it, but in order to make an excelent product maybe I'll need one more week of testing.
- If some people donate and the donation amount get stucked for some time(~one or two months) near a release price, maybe I'll decide to finish&release that version "to say thanks" to this people even if the release price is not exactly reached =), which I think is very positive for donators, since the goal and what they want by donating is new and better SkyX versions.
- POST EDITED: Kickstarter is only for UUSS residents. So it's not an option for me.

This is why I've decided to use a more personal approach, since at the end, most SkyX users are people which I've been reading and talking with for some long time now =)
Also, I'll keep updated the SkyX website, so all of you are going to be able to check the latest updates and current donation amount.

@boyamer
Thanks a lot =)
Last edited by Xavyiy on Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by boyamer » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:15 am

Both SkyX and Hydrax are part of Alimer engine, maybe some changes and fix i report i can gladly send to you.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:19 am

boyamer wrote:Both SkyX and Hydrax are part of Alimer engine, maybe some changes and fix i report i can gladly send to you.
At the moment I think I've fixed all known(and some ones that seems to be hidden :P) SkyX bugs, but if you think it can be good for SkyX/Hydrax, just send me an email to: xavyiy at gmail dot com. =)
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Zonder » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:48 am

Yeah the totalling on the tables is confusing I would put the cost for each item.

I would also do a road map for hydrax as well :)
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Zonder » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:53 am

oh I would check the link in my post on paypal donations

http://www.ogre3d.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=60929
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:08 pm

@Zonder
Okey, due to the confusion that tables seem to be making, I've added a clarifying note. Hope now it's clear.

About PayPal, yes, it's not perfect, but I think it's the easiest way for people to make donations(since almost all people, specially developers, have a Paypal account) and also it's easy for me.

About Hydrax, I'll be working on it a in a middle-future(next summer), so for the moment only SkyX. About that, I want just to say that I've in mind very big changes for Hydrax, specially regarding visual quality and performance. Note: water hardware tessellation is not out of the scope =)
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Zonder » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:08 pm

Yeah I do agree paypal is easiest it's just so your aware they might freeze your account like they did to the guy who runs tortoise svn
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:22 pm

Zonder wrote:Yeah I do agree paypal is easiest it's just so your aware they might freeze your account like they did to the guy who runs tortoise svn
Well, as the tortoise developer has pointed at the end of the post(last update), finally PayPal has rectified and now all seems to be Ok.
Btw, there is a big number of open-source projects which are using Paypal for donations, like Blender, Tortoise Svn, Geeknet... so, let's hope Paypal will work as expected.

But thanks for warning me about the past of Paypal!
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Zonder » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:24 pm

yeah I just saw that update as well so looks all good for tools for developers

just didn't want you getting the same issue :)
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by kuafu » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:46 pm

It's a good idea.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by DiThi » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:20 pm

I'll gladly donate regularly once I start earning some money with my first game. Alternatively (or in addition to that) I could contribute by integrating your work into gamekit (ogrekit), using CMake, adding GLSL ES support and/or python bindings.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:35 pm

@DiThi
Great to hear that. =)

About alternative contributions, I think current SkyX released version(v0.1) is still in a very early state and future versions are going to be almost rewritten(in fact, my dev version is very different from v0.1).
So I think the best contribution for the moment is integrating it into ogrekit, or just considering to integrate future SkyX versions(since, for example, them are going to have out-of-the-box GLSL shaders).
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by DiThi » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:47 pm

I just had an idea: in cell phones it may be slow realtime, but can be used to generate enviroment maps every X seconds, every minute or every time you go indoors. Is it possible to modify it to render a bit of an env map every frame?
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by LBDude » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:50 pm

I can donate a little right now, more later.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:30 pm

@DiThi
At the moment you can do it with two different approaches:
1. Render each side of a cube-skybox with only SkyX in the scene. The problem here is that the "smaller amount of work" is to render an entire RTT. (So, you'll be able split the whole process into 6 different frames, each one for each cube side)
2. Manually filling each side of the cube-skybox by using SkyX::AtmosphereManager::getColorAt(...). This way you'll not get clouds, only the sky color. But you'll be able to manually filling a little amount of pixels of each cube side texture per frame, which is a very expensive process but a good solution if you split the work over several frames.

@LBDude
Thanks =)

Btw: my idea with this crowd funding system is to release a new SkyX version each ~2 months(I think it's an aceptable time period for ~10 donations, considering that there could be some little studios interested in a robust Sky system -different from Caelum- for a very little price, appart individual users donations), adding new features and - if needed - fixing existing bugs.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by DiThi » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:11 pm

Are the clouds volumetric? Can we see a fly-through or see them from above? In my bigger projects I'll want to be able to fly :)
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:20 pm

DiThi wrote:Are the clouds volumetric? Can we see a fly-through or see them from above? In my bigger projects I'll want to be able to fly :)
Yes, clouds are fully volumetric. (You can download the SkyX 0.1 demos or watch the SkyX 0.2 preview video to see how the enhanced volumetric cloud system will look in SkyX 0.2)

But fly-through and above rendering are not yet implemented(visual result are not quite good at the moment).
These features are going to be implemented in SkyX 0.2.2, as you can see in the last table here: http://www.paradise-studios.net/downloads/hydrax_skyx/

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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Mind Calamity » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:41 pm

Damn, I was hoping to at least get my hands on the bug-fixed version of SkyX, and the currently finished features, but it's still your choice to release it once all the features assigned per version are done.


Great work on the video, it looks absolutely stunning, sadly I'm unable to donate anything (or do anything with money on the net for that matter).
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Xavyiy » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:51 pm

Mind Calamity wrote:Damn, I was hoping to at least get my hands on the bug-fixed version of SkyX, and the currently finished features, but it's still your choice to release it once all the features assigned per version are done.
First of all, I want to say that I respect every people's opinions.
But I really think I do not deserve that kind of criticism here, at Ogre forums.

It's true that old bugs have been fixed(or almost all known bugs), but new features are not yet finished, them are still in development and a lot of testing, code clean and optimizations are still required. Also, I want to improve some parts of the volumetric cloud system.
One time I'll have done all this, updating sample projects(currently I'm testing it in the Paradise Engine) and adding another one (the multi-camera sample), I'll be able to offer you a robust and stable product.

That's the reason of not to release my current dev version at the moment, because it potentially has even more bugs than the v0.1, since some features are still experimental.
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Re: SkyX 0.2

Post by Mind Calamity » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:18 pm

I understand, I apologize if my post was confusing, I didn't mean to criticize you or your work, I love SkyX and Hydrax, I was just expressing how much I anticipated the new version of SkyX, and when I saw your thread I literally jumped off my chair, after the video I was even more excited, but then when I realized it was not released I felt a little disappointed (not in/by you in any way), but by the fact that this wasn't a release thread, well it is my fault for assuming that every thread in the Showcase forum is about a release. :D

Don't get me wrong the least I want to do is offend you, even in the slightest.

Well, keep up the good work Xavyiy, supporting you with praise is probably the only thing I can do to help you, though. :)
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