Normal Maps - Is There Some Sort of Formula To Get Things Looking Right..?

I just ran through the rusty diamond-plate metal surface tutorial with Substance Designer and it looked great on my telly, but when I tried it in VR the normal and height maps made the material way too flat.

Is there some sort of way of getting these things to look right in VR without a load of trial and error? Like having X% more Intensity or something…?

You won’t get a 3D effect from normals in VR. It will only look good from a distance or for really small surface details. You will need to add the macro surface structure as geometry.

Aw ******. Thanks for that. Looks like I wasted $199 on the Indie Substance Pack then lol

So to make something like diamond-plate metal look 3D I’d need to do that using something like Zbrush or Mudbox to add that as actual surface detail…? And the same for srews and bolts etc?

I’m in the process of creating simple modular corridor pieces and each piece is under 1000 polys I think so I guess it wouldn’t be a big deal to add more polys as surface detail. Any idea what should be a maximum poly count for each piece for everything to run at 90fps or does it depend on the draw calls more…?

Sorry for all the stupid n00b questions, I’m completely new to all of this development (or rather, completely old, because I haven’t developed a game since I was a kid in the 80s lol) malarky. :smiley:

You will have to experiment with the poly count, but you can go pretty high if the materials used are relatively simple.

Brilliant, thanks for the help. Do you have any experience using Substances with the Unreal Engine? Am just wondering how the draw calls work out with things like rust, dirt and grunge. If I have a Substance with adjustable grunge type effects and a couple of different Substances in one Substance (such as rust and grunge etc) would that be several draw calls depending on whether you had the rust etc turned on?

So in general, the substance is used to generate textures during design time that feed a material.

So there is 0 affect on draw calls - you can even use the Substance Player outside of UE, generate them, and import them to UE.

You can also generate them at runtime, but this is much less common.

You could try and use bump offset.

Would that be in Substance Designer or the Unreal Engine? I’m a complete n00b at all of this stuff so I would be REALLY grateful if you could ELI5 lol

+1 for bump offset. Just use the height channel out of Substance and follow the instructions here: Using Bump Offset | Unreal Engine Documentation

Brilliant, thanks a lot for the help! I’ll have a look into that and see how I go. There’s also a Bump Offset node in Substance Designer too so I’ll have a play around with things during the next few weeks and see what I can come up with. Thanks again! :smiley: