IDV has released Speedtree 8.4 for Games on Mac & Windows platforms. That includes updates for the various game engine flavors – even Unity. Users can grab that from the Downloads page once they log into their account.
In case you missed my previous posts (here and here), Speedtree 8 is compatible with Unity 2018.3 and later. It will also work with SineSpace in the next major release (you need a client app newer than version 2019.1b7). You can see trees I made in Speedtree 8 in my MicroSplat tutorial, check out a video of that below.
Speedtree 8.4 Features
Speedtree 8.4 amounts to a relatively minor update (over version 8.3). There are a few bug fixes (always good to see) and also a handful of features that affect Speedtree for Unity users. Click here to check out the full list. Improvements to wind, opacity, ambient occlusion, atlas handling, and a bit more. The bug fixes will come in handy, as I had experienced a few occasional crashes when using Speedtree 8.3 for extended periods of time.
Unity Collider Issue
There is one key issue with Speedtree 8 in Unity 2018.3 and 2018.4 – trees don’t have any colliders. I’ve double-checked my settings in the app and I made sure that my trees had them, but for some reason I was able to walk right through them once they were in Unity and uploaded to SineSpace.
With a little further investigation, I learned that this is an issue on Unity’s end. Subsequently, that means that a fix is out of IDV’s control and it can’t be fixed with a Speedtree update. Unity fixed the issue in 2019.1, but that means that users will need to manually add colliders to their trees after they import them into the Unity Editor. It’s a minor hassle, but not a dealbreaker.
Taking A Closer Look
I plan on doing a more in-depth tutorial on using Speedtree for Unity and SineSpace in the future. In the meantime, you can check out the tutorial above from Speedtree showing how to model a tree. I want to give you a closer look at the application. After logging into the Speedtree 8.4 Modeler, the New Tree dialog gives you plenty of options out of the gate.
As you’ll see in the image above, there are a number of templates to choose from, as well as a row showing the recent models you’ve opened. Once you open up a tree model, you can immediately start clicking on, well, anything.
In the screen shot above, you’ll see the upper left panel shows the various nodes, the lower right has all the various sliders you can tweak, and then the main window shows the tree model itself. It’s easy to pan and zoom around to focus on one specific area.
You can either work on generators as a group or switch modes to work on individual nodes. That way you can change the settings on all your branches, or like in the image above you can select a single branch and fine-tune to get it exactly the way you want.
It’s A Breeze
Speedtree 8.4 is a breeze… literally. Sort of. You can fine-tune all the settings for how a tree behaves in the wind, or you can use the handy Wind Wizard as shown below. You make a few choices about the type of tree you’re making, and whether it’s got leaves, fronds, fruit, etc, and it will do all the heavy lifting for you.
A new feature in Speedtree 8 is support for seasonality. The stock broadleaf and palm tree models have them built into the design, as do the trees you could buy from the Speedtree store. You can also create seasonal variation options in your own custom trees. Unfortunately it doesn’t give you a single model that you can animate or change in Unity at runtime, but it does give you further control over the model you create and then export to Unity.
Exporting To Unity
Once you create, tweak, or change your model simply save it and then export to Unity. The Export window will give you a few options, then it will handle all the tedious work of generating models, baking atlases and texture maps, creating LOD groups, and so on. Check out the video above for a walk-through of the process, and the screen shot below o see the Export dialog box in greater detail.
Once you’re back in the Unity Editor and have imported your tree, you can drag it into the Scene Hierarchy to get a look at it. From there you can manually add a collider and save a new prefab, manually place in your scene, or use in the Unity terrain as you would any other tree.
That covers my walk-through of Speedtree 8.4. As I mentioned above, I do plan on doing a more in-depth tutorial, but that will come at some point after SineSpace has gotten new client apps and Editor Packs out. Right now the region creation and user experiences have a number of issues, and I think giving it a little time will help a lot.
If you’re brand new to SineSpace and need help with the basics, check out this tutorial article. You can also check out these tutorial videos. It will help you get set up to use the Unity Editor to prepare and upload your creations to the SineSpace servers. I also recommend checking the SineSpace Youtube channel for tutorials. Watch this space for more tutorials in the future!
If you have questions or comments, then please post in the comments below! If you want personal help or private training, please see this post. Good luck with your projects!