Farming Simulator 19 will release on the 20th of November, later this year. We already know quite a bit about some of the many and exciting gameplay features that will be implemented. But what about modding? Any news on that?
Yes, it is.
Most of the Sunday sessions of this year’s FarmCon was dedicated to modding. And modding for FS19 in particular.
Two of the lectures that day:
- Presentation: Textures in FS19
- Workshop: Modding for FS19. Engine, features, changes, tips
There’s really not much information available on what was discussed during these sessions. One reason may be that Giants is selling video recordings of those lectures… But not everything is kept in the dark. Some screenshots and tidbits have reached the public.
This is what I’m hearing:
New texture system
The way things have to be textured, has changed. The reason is that Giants Engine will incorporate Physically Based Rendering (PBR) for Farming Simulator 19.
Take the image of the Fendt Ideal combine above. Can you see how the darker parts look more metallic?
This is thanks to Physically Based Rendering. In short, PBR makes in-game materials and surfaces look more realistic.
I’ll try to explain:
- Say you point a flashlight at a rubber surface (in real life).
- Then you point it to a metal surface.
- The light reflection will differ significantly from one material to another.
With PBR you get much of the same effect in games. With any light and surface. It’s highly likely modders have to consider this when creating textures for FS19 mods.
One of the benefits of using PBR texturing is that you’ll get great results without adding more materials and texture sets. And this is good for performance.
Let’s take a chainsaw. Real life chains saws are made from metal, plastic and perhaps rubber. PBR makes it possible to create photo-realistic metal, rubber and plastic textures with only one material and one texture set.
We’ll have to wait for more information on how this technique is incorporated in the Giants Engine.
Global Textures for Tools and Vehicles
I’ve watched Virtual Farmer’s great FarmCon 18 summary video many times now, trying to understand how the new texture system works.
This is my understanding:
(I could be wrong – Do you wanna correct me or add something? Pleas use this form) 😊
- There will be a global database of 8 predefined materials/textures, including metal, leather and plastic.
- When you import a model into Giants Editor, you’ll be able to add textures to it from the global database, using UDIM.
UDIM stands for U-Dimension. UDIM makes it possible to spread UV islands over equally sized patches on the UV grid, using offsets. This is done in the 3D software, like Maya or Blender (Blender 2.8 is said to support UDIM).
Giants has assigned those pre-defined materials mentioned above, to each of those UV grid patches inside Giants Editor. So, when you export your model (with the UDIM data) to GE, the game engine will know what material each UV island should have based on which patch it’s placed on. The result will come alive once you apply the vehicle shader to your model.
Further, you’ll be able to add pre-defined Brand specific colors in GE or the XML file.
All of this will eliminate the need for creating diffuse textures in external software. Giants says the UDIM technique is only used on vehicles and equipment.
If I’m right, this is truly revolutionary for model makers. There’s less stuff to worry about.
It’s also great for players. Because more shared textures mean less use of Vram. And more detailed models! It will be interesting to se the updated Modhub guidelines on acceptable polycount numbers.
0>0|0 Nodes Gone?
If you’re familiar to FS modding or editing, you’ve most certainly encountered nodes. Like
0>0|0. Or even worse:
If you’re not familiar with in-gaming, those numbers, found in XML files, are identifying different parts of a model. Or a map. When you pair those numbers with commands in the XML file, you actually tell the game engine to do something. Like mowing a crane. Or lowering a mower.
On several images from the FarmCon modding talks, those node numbers are replaced with names of model parts. Instead of
0>0|1 for instance, there’s now
Does this mean that Giants will move from numbered nodes to named nodes? That whatever you call a part of a model in Giants Editor also is the name you’ll use in the XML-file? If that’s the case, modding sure will get easier.
This post in the LS Modcompany forum affirms my beliefs that something is going on with the nodes.
Indexe Gibt es nicht mehr sonder ein System Namens „i3D Mapping“, dadurch wird der Name der TG oder des Objekts abgefragt. Soll wohl mehr Übersicht bieten.
fillVolume Testing in Giants Editor
The fillVolume can be a hassle to get right. (A fillVolume is a shape that determines how a trailer or a bucket, for instance, is being filled in the game.)
If you don’t get it right, you’re faced with a loop of going in and out of the game, tweaking and testing, until you get it to work.
In Farming Simulator 19? Probably not.
It now looks like you’ll be able to test your fillVolume shapes inside GE. This will definitely save some time.
No more Coronas
Vehicle modders of previous FS games have used Coronas to bring glow to a vehicle’s lights. Those coronas are not present in FS19. Instead, the game engine will generate that bloom effect.
Also, FS19 lights will be self-illuminating shapes. This could allow for more intricate and exciting lighting shapes.
Global Lights Database
Experienced modders know that tires are a shared asset in Farming Simulator 17. Model creators don’t have to make tires if they don’t want to. Instead, they just call for a tire set (or sets) from an in-game database made by Giants. (
In Farming Simulator 19, Giants seems to be expanding on this. Modders can now use the same method for putting lights on their creations.
This is great, if true!
Many times, modders can forget all about making lights and use Giant’s pre-made versions instead.
But, but, but: I guess, in some cases, the model maker must make its own lights when none of the prefab models doesn’t fit.
Hoses, Lights, and Animations
Hoses are now part of the base game. Hydraulic hoses. Hoses between seed tanks and seeders. And probably more. Although they are attached automatically, this new feature should open for even more modding possibilities.
Cabin and dashboard lights. Tired of driving around in darkness? The base FS19 game will allow for illuminated dashboard and in-cab controls. The cabin itself may also be equipped with (working) lights (I guess, from Giants’ lights database).
Animated cabins. Much more of what’s going on inside a vehicle’s cabin can now be animated. You don’t have to rely on external scripts, or XML and model hacks. Many cabin animations are now part of the base game.
How to get it to work?
Most modders start out by picking Giant’s models apart. And by “dissecting” the corresponding XML files. This is still a valid method.
No Farming Simulator 19 models are available to the public. Yet.
Hopefully, Giants will do as they did with FS17: Releasing a new version of Giants Editor and a sample mod ahead of the FS19 release.
Anyway, the best way to learn how something works in-game is still to study in-game models.
Better map making in Farming Simulator 19
If you’ve ever built a Farming Simulator map, you’ve most likely run into irritating patch texture limitations.
- Until now, FS maps have been divided into patches.
- Each patch has room for 4 textures.
- A patch of mud, mountain rock, gravel, and grass, is ok.
- But the game engine won’t allow a fifth texture inside this patch.
Why? Game performance could suffer.
Those pesky 4-textures-per-patch limitations are gone in FS19, allowing map makers to create even more realistic looking maps. Yey! (This was btw confirmed by Giants own Stegei in the official forum.)
The foliageLayer is separated
Foliage layers are what map makers use to put crops and plants (not trees) onto their maps. Those layers used to part of the main I3D file. But according to LS Modcompany, FS19 layers are separated into its own XML file.
This should make a map maker’s life a bit easier.
Great Sound Options
There will be many more sound options in Giants Editor for Farming Simulator 19. The points below should interest map makers in particular:
- You have much more control over when a sound is played
- As an example, you can tell the engine to play a particular sound only at night.
- Or during certain weather conditions.
- Also, there are more sounds to choose from.
Exporting to Giants Editor
Blender enthusiasts have longed for an updated Blender exporter for almost 2 years now. During FarmCon 18, Giants revealed that they will work on a new exporter. This is great news. And important news.
- Blender is very popular among many FS modders.
- The highly anticipated Blender 2.8 has tentative release date in October 2018.
FS19 will also get an exporter for Maya. But not 3ds Max…
Easier. And More Difficult
A release of a new Farming Simulator game is followed by a stream of complaints from parts of the modding community:
“Noooooo! I don’t wanna relearn everything!”, “Damnit! I wasted two years trying to learn this shit!”, and so on…
Yes, modding for Farming Simulator 19 will be different. And for some: More difficult. But only in the beginning. Because modding for FS19 will really be nothing more than building upon existing knowledge and experience. At least, for the most of us…