Project Viz

Water Shaders & Mobile Compatibility - Project Viz - Dev Blog

Project Viz is a bit tricky as not only should everything look the best it can, but it needs to run smoothly and be compatible with mobile and tablet devices. This has not been more difficult than on the water shader.

 Fig 1: Mobile Compatible Open Ocean World

Fig 1: Mobile Compatible Open Ocean World

Typically, a water shader might make use of planar reflections coupled with tesselation to give a nice moving water effect. However for mobile this simply is not an option, working within the limitations of mobile can be difficult at times but nonetheless, perseverance pays off.

 Fig 2: Water Shader UE4 Blueprint

Fig 2: Water Shader UE4 Blueprint

The final result is fairly small in size, this is to reduce the total number of instructions for the device to compute. We make use of cheaper alternatives to Fresnel effects and tiling.

It is also important to note that on a mobile device the number of texture samples is much lower than what you might find on a desktop machine, so it was important to make multiple uses of the textures wherever possible. For example, the roughness channel is entirely calculated from the normal texture and fresnel effects, removing the need for a dedicated texture channel.

 Fig 3: Water Shader Colour, Roughness & Normal Map

Fig 3: Water Shader Colour, Roughness & Normal Map

The bulk of the work takes place above in the colour, roughness and normal calculations, this is what determines the colour of the water as well as the surface reflections and the height of the waves.

The secondary work takes place in the vertex tiling section of the shader, this efficiently tiles the textures using the meshes vertices instead of the pixels, massively improving the shaders performance across all platforms.

 Fig4: Water Shader Vertex Tiling

Fig4: Water Shader Vertex Tiling

Overall we are happy with the final result and we have discovered a large amount of limitations and information on mobile compatibility that we can take forward within the remainder of the project and ofcourse any techniques developed during the course of this project can be used in future releases of Project Viz.

 

Project Viz - A Big Nasty Sales Tool - Dev Blog #1

It’s been a busy year for us since becoming incorporated last year, and we have attended and given many sales pitches. It has quickly become apparent that there are aspects of sales and promotion materials that are somewhat lacking.

We’ve met companies who were looking to show off their products, but these have been too large to carry around and show to their prospects exactly what they would wish to demonstrate. We’ve met companies with high-value products; companies with products that have a high level of customisation; and companies with products that are really difficult to “get” even through an informative PowerPoint presentation. We’ve also met companies that make products or provide services that are simply stunning in their design, and their true majesty simply can’t be realized through images alone.
This is why we’re developing our first sales tool “Project Viz” (Figure 1). Viz is a core application for Android, iOS and PC that will become equal to, if not exceed the best weapons in any salesman or marketer’s arsenal.

 Figure 1

Figure 1

“That’s a big sell, guys,” you say, and we agree, but that just shows our belief in this product, and here’s why:
Project Viz is a showcasing, interactive app that enables the display of 3-dimensional files of your products. You are able to zoom in, zoom out, rotate and pan around your products to your heart’s content. It acts as an interactive catalog, enabling you to cycle through products simply with a touch of a screen or the movement of a cursor (Figure 2).
We create bespoke environments to display your products in the environment and lighting of your choice: in a warehouse, at home, in a simple lit studio or even in outer space. It’s entirely up to you (Figure 3).

 Figure 2

Figure 2

 Figure 3

Figure 3

You can tap on any of the data points related to the product model you are demonstrating, and a little bubble will pop up that can explain or inform – whatever information you would like your customer to know. If you need to show individual components in closer detail, we can “blow apart” your product and focus on the individual aspects and the specs (Figure 4).
Need to demonstrate how it actually works? We can create simple animations to explain or show different functionalities at the tap of a button. Imagine a new table that also collapses into a chair – the animation could demonstrate the ease of use and dual functionality (Figure 5).

 Figure 4

Figure 4

 Figure 5

Figure 5

Do you provide your products in a range of colours or materials? A simple gesture on the screen will cycle through the options available. We specialize in bespoke photo-realistic material creation, ensuring that the lighting bounces from the materials as they would in reality.

 

AnimControl.gif

There’s one more thing that we’re really excited about. We’re also building the app to allow us to customise the interface with your branding. We can ensure that the combination of your product, your brand and our app will set you apart from your competitors and give a massive boost to your sales.
Sounds brilliant right? You can use it to make direct sales in person or you can stream it to a projector or a screen for a larger audience, you can take it to trade shows and other exhibitions. The apps easy to use interface will enable your customers to play with your products on the spot.

Currently we are working with some exciting companies to build a demo version of the app, so sign up to our mailing list for a free code as soon as it becomes available.
Furthermore, we will also be selling this as an integrated product as well as in standalone form. You can purchase a tablet and a variety of optional stands pre-installed with your branded and ready version of the app. We’ll remove all the stock apps you don’t want as well as personalise the tablet’s operating system so that your branding shows through. Now we are a while away from making this aspect of our product a reality and are looking to set up our supply chain, please get in contact if your business can facilitate this.

A few things that we are still developing and will release footage of in the near future include:

-Dynamic Materials

-Application Brand Implementation

-UI/UX Polish

-Multi-Asset Scenes

-Environment Toolset

-Dynamic Lighting

Well that’s all from us about Project Viz. Please get in touch if there are any questions or you require further information

– The Big Nasty Team!