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SimCity 4 Devotion Custom Content Showcase => Network Addon Mod (NAM) => NAM Creations => Topic started by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 03:38:50 PM

Title: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 03:38:50 PM
OK, today is a good day, after alot of hurried checking of numbers and testing we have something rather tasty for you all... (we being me, buddybud and some help from ripplejet)

EA it seems gave us another tool for making custom content but hid it very well... in a basketball game...[linkie] (http://www.nba-live.com/eagraph/).
What use is this you say, well it allows you to create fsh files direct from photoshop files and will detect the transparency  and create its alpha map automatically. Now so far we have only done overlay textures. But we have learned the limits of what we can do. Zoom 1-4 will only accept standard sized fsh files… ie 64x64, 32x32, 16x16 & 8x8. But for zoom 5 it will accept bigger…. So far we have tested with 256x256, TWICE the resolution of existing overlays….

(http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z124/mightygoose_2007/256ingame.png)

This process can also be used for transit models….

(http://img212.imageshack.us/img212/9407/20974151.jpg)

I believe we are the first to discover this process and an initial tutorial will follow this post, from buddybud.
As a side note, the fact it only works at zoom 5 is a blessing in disguise as it means that your graphics card won’t be eaten alive by rendering all those textures at zooms 1-4.

Oh and for comparison….

HD texture on the left, standard texture on the right….

(http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/1286/72537349.jpg)

Very early stages yet, lots more development to come.
But yeah, Hi def textures, twice the resolution, twice the fun...

Mightygoose...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on March 28, 2009, 03:43:05 PM
HD texture on the left, standard texture on the right….

The difference is rather remarkable! :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: JoeST on March 28, 2009, 03:45:01 PM
thats pretty awesome, well done guys :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 03:49:07 PM
(http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/6050/91438516.jpg)


zoom 3 is a pretty special site...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mike3775 on March 28, 2009, 03:52:55 PM
Damn you guys are making it nearly impossible for me to ever play any other game on my PC  :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on March 28, 2009, 03:55:44 PM
Great find!!

So is it just a 256x256 or is there some mysterious setting that needs to be changed as well?

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Swamper77 on March 28, 2009, 03:58:13 PM
I've known about the use of 256x256 textures on transit/automata models for quite awhile, but I wasn't aware that they could be used for network textures, such as shadows. Most of my models are done with 256x256 skins. Only my older stuff was done with 128x128 skins, which is how Maxis did theirs and I was only doing reskins at that time.

-Swamper
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimNation on March 28, 2009, 04:11:12 PM
Those rail textures look fantastic......I am almost at a loss of words. This will be interesting to see what comes of the tutorial within the next coming months. First Goobers animated props...and now this. Lovely work
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 04:18:27 PM
Quote
but I wasn't aware that they could be used for network textures, such as shadows.

hey swamper we haven't tried with shadows yet but i'm willing to guess at this point :P

Bud.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: TheTeaCat on March 28, 2009, 04:33:54 PM
Oh my word. What an amazing discovery.  &apls &apls
the difference is just amazing :thumbsup:

 :satisfied:
TTC
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Tarkus on March 28, 2009, 04:36:44 PM
This is quite the discovery indeed!  I knew the Graphics Editor could handle importing uncompressed textures, but actual higher resolution textures--this is very impressive!  The improvement is absolutely remarkable--thank you for sharing this great find!

-Alex
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Haljackey on March 28, 2009, 04:41:59 PM
Very impressive!  I'll be following this development to see what else you guys can do with these new HD Textures!

For a 6 year old game, it is amazing to see that the graphics can still be compared to modern games.  Well done!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 04:46:31 PM
(http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z124/mightygoose_2007/roadtest.jpg)

tarkus, i think you'll find your textures need an overhaul.... :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cameron1991 on March 28, 2009, 04:48:39 PM
That's a great discovery!
But with higher resolutions comes larger file sizes right? So will this impact performance much?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on March 28, 2009, 04:49:02 PM
Great findings guys !

I hope dedgren will redo all textures once again to put them in HD :) ( I'm kidding David )

Just so you know, FSH can handle up to 65536x65536 texture , I hope however that no one will make such a big texture

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on March 28, 2009, 04:52:48 PM
I love that road texture btw!!!!
You must make it into a mod

If a texture was made 255x255, would that eliminate the 1 pixel shift bug?

Jonathan

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Andreas on March 28, 2009, 04:54:03 PM
Interesting find. :) However, does it work properly in Software Mode? Quite a few people have to use it because of driver problems and the like, and so far, extra large textures often caused problems (the red-green-blue checkerboard pattern).
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on March 28, 2009, 04:55:28 PM
hoolly crap this is amazing find!!!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 04:58:26 PM
ya i realize there could be all kinds of implications good and bad but it's so easy to do it's worth exploring and letting others experiment

Cheers....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Blue Lightning on March 28, 2009, 04:59:22 PM
Wow, I can't wait to see this implemented into new and maybe existing mods. This is an extrodianry find. :thumbsup:

Wow,
Vince
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Tarkus on March 28, 2009, 05:03:55 PM
tarkus, i think you'll find your textures need an overhaul.... :P

Fine by me if they end up looking that nice!  :o :D

-Alex
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 05:13:43 PM
i tried the network version in software mode and it seemed fine...but ill get some instructions up to so others can tackle and consider the pro's and con's or whatever flaws may exist.

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on March 28, 2009, 05:31:53 PM
If the zoom5 is the only one that can be done, then I think a HD mod can be provided. A file containing only that zoom5 with the same TGI as the 'normal' version can be provided, so the user will be the one who will choose. If he got enough CPU/GPU/RAM power, then he will certainly choose the HD version, while someone with a less powerfull PC will just delete the HD version and so reverting back to normal texture

Another good point, is that as only the zoom 5 texture can be bigger, is that it is the only one texture creators will have to edit :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 05:46:11 PM
tools needed (working knowledege required)

eagraph.exe
sc4tool for other zoom levels.
photoshop or equivalent????????.
reader


Ok here's the gist of it. You want to work initially with a 256x256. The only rule to follow is that, if you want transparent areas for an
overlay, make sure that these areas are completely cut out and have a transparent background set. Otherwise just make it as detailed as possible.
Save a copy as a psd (photoshop format) file (other formats may work??????). Then proceed to reduce the image size down to the regular 128x128 if you need other zoom levels. If you do at this point go into SC4Tool and make your textures as per usual with all zoom levels if needed. We will be replacing the 5th zoom lvl manually after.

now after you save your texture dat in sc4 tool open up your 256x256 psd file in the eagraphics tool. If the texture has no transparency skip to the second step.

step 1  if you have a transparent area note that it now appears white. left click on the paint bucket tool. Right click over the white area and fill it with black which is the default left click color. Do so for all transparent regions. Next click on Colors Button then pick Edit Transparency. Make sure the rgb values are 0,0,0 and the opacity set to 0. click apply and save settings if need be. This will bring you back to your texture again.

Step 2. click file then save as. Pick fsh as the format and give it a name. leave the header alone, pick 32 bit, do not pack data. put none for compression and "use source" for transparency. We will be compressing when we import to reader. press save.

step 3 open your texture dat into reader. simply right click and pick incert and compress file. remove the original zoom 5 and give the new texture the same tgi or give it the tgi you want to overwrite.

test in game.

p.s. We got our first error. though i don't know the details yet...but it's the ugly boxes on a monorail str piece.

below is the road sample.....load last replaces 1x1 plaza... .
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 06:13:14 PM
Interesting find. :) However, does it work properly in Software Mode? Quite a few people have to use it because of driver problems and the like, and so far, extra large textures often caused problems (the red-green-blue checkerboard pattern).

i think i may have steamed straight in, strange though, in the first picture in this thread there is a 256x256 texture on the monorail end piece in the background, but now ive upgraded the main piece, im getting the checkerboard...

(http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z124/mightygoose_2007/firsterror.png)

still looking into it...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Tarkus on March 28, 2009, 06:24:31 PM
still looking into it...

I'd suggest checking the Group ID on the texture.

Here's my first little experiment with the hi-res stuff myself on the RHW-4 textures--I rather like how it turned out! 

(http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/5796/hires032820091.jpg)

I have a hunch that the game is simply using the 256x256 for all view levels as opposed to relying on the farther-out textures, from the looks of things.


-Alex
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 06:27:38 PM
i dont think so as the texture wont appear in the LE unless the other four are present....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Blue Lightning on March 28, 2009, 06:29:02 PM
Wow, the RHW-4 textures look even better in HD!
I like this discovery already :P
And MG, check your GID, I've had that happen to me before.

Vince
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Tarkus on March 28, 2009, 06:33:03 PM
i dont think so as the texture wont appear in the LE unless the other four are present....

Theoretically, if the other four are being used, the texture should look the same as with the standard 128x128 method when you're in Zooms 1-4.  I have a feeling you're right that it still needs the 0-3 textures in place in order to function properly, but the game appears to be rendering everything off the 256x256 texture and ignore the others.

The nice thing about this is that most of my RHW textures were originally done in vector graphics.  I can re-use the vector sources and upsize them to 256x256 without any degradation. ;)

-Alex
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on March 28, 2009, 06:50:55 PM
Alex, maybe it's my eyes, but I can't tell the difference between SD and HD RHW textures.

Could you post a picture of the SD RHW side-by-side, please?

Thanks!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 06:59:11 PM
(http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/2510/24291639.jpg)
just to show the finer resolution carefully compare the tracks.......i could not achieve that with 128x128 pixels
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 07:06:34 PM
back in business....

(http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z124/mightygoose_2007/256straightend1.jpg)

(http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z124/mightygoose_2007/256straightend2.jpg)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Haljackey on March 28, 2009, 07:07:55 PM
Whoa we have rumble strips once again!  Nice work with the model Alex!

And that El-rail.. OMG its amazing!  So much detail!   :'(  Wow!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Nexis4Jersey on March 28, 2009, 07:24:58 PM
one question , can this new discovery be implemented into the whole game as one or more overhaul mods?  you know to completely change the existed textures to HD ? ()what()
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on March 28, 2009, 07:28:40 PM
Oh my....this is very exciting! Too bad I can't find my EA tools that I got a while back(found this link as the link in the first post is dead?)
But you better get it fast since Filefront is closing on the 30th!

http://downloads.soccergaming.com/complete.php?id=00003056 (http://downloads.soccergaming.com/complete.php?id=00003056)


Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: toxicpiano on March 28, 2009, 07:31:06 PM
Interesting discovery indeed! Good job guys.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 07:31:40 PM
Quote
one question , can this new discovery be implemented into the whole game as one or more overhaul mods?  you know to completely change the existed textures to HD ?

so far we have been successful with network textures, base textures and overlays...and also swamper said it can be done with automata.....don't think anything can be done about bats though....

thanx sthlrd98

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Rayden on March 28, 2009, 07:45:01 PM
I've used 256x256 and even 512x512 in rock and water mods.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on March 28, 2009, 07:47:34 PM
This is really a revolutionary discovery, thanks guys!  &apls

1. So maybe we can expect (at last!) an acceptable quality in Zoom 6 (ie the closest, pixelated one)?  ;)
2. This also opens new possibilities for terrain textures.

Adam

Edit: I just read Silvio's reply, great minds think alike  :D
Edit 2: Silvio, if you use 512x512 - what about the area covered by the texture, is it the same as previously 256x256 ie we get more details?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Rayden on March 28, 2009, 07:50:39 PM
This is really a revolutionary discovery, thanks guys!  &apls

1. So maybe we can expect (at last!) an acceptable quality in Zoom 6 (ie the closest, pixelated one)?  ;)
2. This also opens new possibilities for terrain textures.

Adam

Edit: I just read Silvio's reply, great minds think alike  :D
Edit 2: Silvio, if you use 512x512 - what about the area covered by the texture, is it the same as previously 256x256 ie we get more details?

 :thumbsup:

It gives you more detail, like MG said, it looks like the bigger zoom it used for the other zooms and what we used to do by shrinking the fsh by 50% for each zoom, ie. 128, 64, 32 ,16 8, the game graphics dod it for you. What I have noticed is, if you set for instance, a texture of 8x8 or 16x16 for the furthest zoom, the texture is zoomed and it blurs, being the final details completely blured. I'm using now or 256 or 512 for the max zoom and 50% less for all the others. If I have a texture 512x512, I use it for zoom 5, and for 4, 3, 2 and 1, I use hafl of that, 256x256.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on March 28, 2009, 07:53:23 PM
:thumbsup:

OK I go to testing  &dance
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: superhands on March 28, 2009, 07:55:21 PM
buddybud, goose great work.

out of interest, does it take say 200 x 200 pixels? or is it confined to 256. (for non model networks ie road)

dave
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 07:57:57 PM
[linkie] (http://www.easy-share.com/c/1699633947) we are using this link..... buddybud and me tried 512, they work but you get compression errors on the image and it becomes pixelated.... he better go find the picture.....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 08:00:18 PM
(http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/3954/31932520.jpg)

 this is a base texture.....

bud

edit the top of this is 512
(http://img53.imageshack.us/img53/4842/45487483.jpg)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Swamper77 on March 28, 2009, 08:03:12 PM
512x512 images are viewable ONLY to the users that run SC4 with Hardware Rendering. Vester and I learned this the hard way with our automata.

Please keep things compatible for ALL users.

-Swamper
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Rayden on March 28, 2009, 08:05:32 PM
Sorry, what's the eagraph.exe for? &mmm

512x512 images are viewable ONLY to the users that run SC4 with Hardware Rendering. Vester and I learned this the hard way with our automata.

Please keep things compatible for ALL users.

-Swamper

Oops, good to know that before something gets released that way, so far I've used just for myself.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 08:11:16 PM
thanx for the info swamper

good to know. :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 28, 2009, 08:11:54 PM
512x512 images are viewable ONLY to the users that run SC4 with Hardware Rendering. Vester and I learned this the hard way with our automata.

Please keep things compatible for ALL users.

-Swamper

actually we decided against 512, too many compression errors... see all the black & white artefact pixels....

Sorry, what's the eagraph.exe for? &mmm


using it for direct PSD to FSH format conversion... and automatic alpha map creation.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Rayden on March 28, 2009, 08:16:27 PM
How is it used and where is it placed, does it need to be executed or Photoshop will do that when converting to fsh?

Sorry for asking so much?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on March 28, 2009, 08:19:55 PM
using it for direct PSD to FSH format conversion... and automatic alpha map creation.


Can't we use FishMan?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 08:23:35 PM
Can't we use FishMan?

you'd have to try...i have no idea...i found this tool because i wanted to replace some irregular shaped textures in a rock plop mod.....you have to experiment!...but please let us know!! I've only ever used sc4tool before..

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 28, 2009, 08:29:32 PM
How is it used and where is it placed, does it need to be executed or Photoshop will do that when converting to fsh?

Sorry for asking so much?


see page two there is a step by step explanation of the process...cheers


edit sorry for the double post  :(
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimGoober on March 28, 2009, 08:41:59 PM
Hmmm ... I wonder what Cycledogg could do with this information....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Haljackey on March 28, 2009, 08:54:26 PM
Just had a brainfart:

"This is like going from the NES to the Super Nintendo!"

The difference here is we are going from 128x128 to 256x256 pixels, not from 8-bit to 16-bit.  Interesting analogy eh?   ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: nerdly_dood on March 28, 2009, 09:41:38 PM
DUDE. this isn't like going from the NES to the Super Nintendo - thats what Dedgren's texture updates for rail are. If someone makes a full set of those hi-def textures Buddybud has there it's more like going from the NES to a Wii! Those are SHOCKINGLY realistic.  &apls
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: andreharv on March 28, 2009, 09:56:12 PM
Hmm...this will come in handy for new interchanges and puzzle pieces in the future.  I'm getting ideas. ()borg()
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: XiahouDun on March 28, 2009, 10:12:07 PM
Hmmm ... I wonder what Cycledogg could do with this information....
... I think i just drooled some. That be... wow :lmao:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: carkid1998 on March 29, 2009, 02:51:52 AM

All hail the discoverer of this!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on March 29, 2009, 04:43:43 AM
For terran texure, I think there are some properties in the terran examplar that dictate how much tiles a texture will cover.

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on March 29, 2009, 05:25:52 AM
Definitely a wonderful discovery!  &apls   I am sure that a number of texture creators and transit modelers will be modifying their creations to take advantage of this new method.  I'd like to suggest that there be a thread where people can post which textures they've enhanced - maybe call it "High Definition Texture List".  I know that for the RTMT team, such a list would be invaluable, as it would allow us to easily convert our stations to use the higher definition textures when they become available.  And such a list would undoubtedly be used by many other developers as well.

For the list itself, if the textures are contained in released files, then the name of the file, the texture ID, and a short description would be useful.  Or instead of a texture ID, there could be an ID range, or simply the word "All."  This could easily fit on a single line.  If textures have been developed but not formally released, then a link to them could be furnished.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MandelSoft on March 29, 2009, 05:29:49 AM
I've seen 256x256 textures before at the Maxis Highways. They can't be made with the SC4Tool, but maybe with the Vista Compatible FSH-Lib I can make them with FiSHman...

This discovery is definitely pushing the limits of SC4  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on March 29, 2009, 08:38:41 AM
I'm not sure, but would my tool here: http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7127.0 (last post) be able to create HD Textures, it can create any size FSH, and you just select a bitmap and a alpha (I haven't yet worked out how to get pngs with transparency to work) and it creates a FSH.

Forgot to add, I haven't used this version of EA graph, yet so I don't know how it compares to the older one which was a bit complicated (well at least for me)

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 29, 2009, 08:43:17 AM
should do, but i'll just reiterate that eagraph will do direct psd to fsh conversion.. and will generate the alpha...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Tarkus on March 29, 2009, 11:21:02 AM
and will generate the alpha...

That, to me, is the nicest thing about EA Graph--no more manually making Alphas.  It would particularly come in handy on Rail textures, I'd think.

-Alex
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 29, 2009, 11:56:21 AM
lol...Thats exactly what i kept saying to goose all yesterday morning....also i want to explore the different compression, packing and mutiple fsh formats that this tool makes possible. There could be some other goodies lurking within!....

Cheers.

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Toichus Maximus on March 29, 2009, 12:05:24 PM
This is phenomenal! Those rail textures are absolutely excellent! Damn.... just after STR and the first RAM was finished, too...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 29, 2009, 12:18:38 PM
Rather ironic but really it just gives us even more ability to make this game that much more realistic....Since that is the goal of the ram team and most of this community i am sure they will be just as pleased. Also since it's a relatively new thing we may still find there are certain limitations or even reasons not to use this at all...time will tell..
I just a week or so ago finished my textures for my el rail mod....I've playing with 256's now and somewhat dismayed by this myself!!  $%Grinno$%

by the way the rail texture used in the photo's is from turbosquid and is not mine or goose's...but i'm sure someone will come up with something equally impressive

Cheers...
Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: TEG24601 on March 29, 2009, 07:32:41 PM
This is awesome.  I can't wait for what ever sort of patch/add-on that can be made to bring these updated, and realistic graphics to the SC4 Universe.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 30, 2009, 12:34:21 PM
here's what i've been able to come up with...i never could have got that third rail in there. I'm quite pleased with the detail!

(http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/6218/firstattempt03.jpg)

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on March 30, 2009, 12:59:19 PM
Ho-lee macaroni . . . . . roads are never going to look the same again, folks.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on March 30, 2009, 01:28:54 PM
ummm wow!!! This is incredibale here Bud... Could I ask a favor of you and or John is to write up something for me as a overview what you all know of this New High Def Texturing... I want to include it into this next podcast coming out shortly...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 30, 2009, 09:03:43 PM
you know, HD textures don't half make maxis ones look naff....

(http://i193.photobucket.com/albums/z124/mightygoose_2007/HDsidewalkmod.png)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on March 30, 2009, 09:05:35 PM
Naff??? Do I dare ask John lol anywho those look real sweet!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 30, 2009, 09:22:46 PM
a little bit more info. It seems that to make a proper working base texture you have to start with a 256x256 png and bring it into the eagraphic tool then save it as a 24 bit fsh.

heres my go at a sidewalk.

(http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/9894/firstattempt07.jpg)

Pat i'll get something written up by tomorrow night...not much to it really. But i'll write down what we know so far. It's all in this thread really....honest!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on March 30, 2009, 09:37:01 PM
I'm not sure what Naff means , but these textures are looking real good John &Buddy!

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 30, 2009, 09:38:54 PM
naff [linkie] (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/naff)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: nerdly_dood on March 30, 2009, 10:15:58 PM
I agree with MightyGoose, that first set of textures is a bit rough - but Buddybud's set is UH-MAZING.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: TEG24601 on March 31, 2009, 12:05:03 AM
naff [linkie] (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/naff)

Similar to the words, "smeg", "frak", "frack", and "felgercarb".
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on March 31, 2009, 02:31:38 AM
I have a hunch that the game is simply using the 256x256 for all view levels as opposed to relying on the farther-out textures, from the looks of things.
-Alex

I noticed this was never answered.  Really simple process to test it.  Create the zooms as per normal and the replace the 5th zoom with a marked texture (or just a red box or something).  If is shows up at all zooms then you know you are right.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 31, 2009, 04:42:21 AM
I agree with MightyGoose, that first set of textures is a bit rough - but Buddybud's set is UH-MAZING.

*facepalms* i was saying that even basic hi def textures make maxis ones look bad, but yeah i spose they are abit rough...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on March 31, 2009, 11:28:34 AM
a little bit more info. It seems that to make a proper working base texture you have to start with a 256x256 png and bring it into the eagraphic tool then save it as a 24 bit fsh.

Thanks a lot Buddybud and mightygoose ¡¡¡


Zoom 5
(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRText_S.jpg)

Zoom 6
(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRText_B.jpg)


Guys, this is a really great step forward.... Now, if we could have HRes props as well  ::)  --> this opened a new discussion here:  High Definition Props - a revolutionary discovery (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7464.0)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on March 31, 2009, 01:03:37 PM
This discussion started in the High Definition Textures - a revolutionary discovery...   (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7430.0) thread





Guys, this is a really great step forward.... Now, if we could have HRes props as well  ::)

Why not render a model with double size, then shrink its vertices with Reader ? I can do a program for that if it is ok. But beware of the amount of RAM needed in game after that

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: JoeST on March 31, 2009, 01:08:55 PM
a double sized prop would be 8 times the filesize?

Joe
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on March 31, 2009, 01:11:52 PM
Or couldn't a BAT script that takes a better quality render be made?

Jeronij, that is the best picture to compare the two textures, the difference is astounding.!

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on March 31, 2009, 01:14:39 PM
it will depends if the double sized prop will generate more FSH or not
Of course it can be smaller if as HD texture are only for zoom 5/6 the double sized prop can be done for only zoom 5/6, but this will double the render time, and will make the shrinking&merging quite cumbersome to code

Edit while Jonathan wrote:
Of course it could be better if the BAT script can be edited to render at zoom 6 instead of zoom 5
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 31, 2009, 01:23:05 PM
One thing to consider is that the whole of the highway network uses 256x256 textures..What kind of impact does that have. There is obviously some but i think with the advatage of 5+ years of computer performance improvement this could be used in at least some fashion. Just a thought :P

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on March 31, 2009, 01:37:25 PM
A little OT,
if you rendered a prop once as the correct size (to get the right size LOD)
Then doubled it's size, and rerendered. Then applied the textures from the second render to the first render. Would the prop have more detail?

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on March 31, 2009, 01:48:36 PM
I doubt it, because it would cut them up differently.  You might be able to manually edit the originals and reinsert them, but not sure if that would work either.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 31, 2009, 02:03:00 PM
Im 100% certain they will work on 3ds props because i have experimented with props made out of the highway network puzzle pieces, and besides the color shift they worked as per usual....also i replaced a rotation in a rock plop mod with a high rez at the beginning of this and got it to work. Thats how i figured out the alpha...so it works with flora if you want to hand craft each rotation and replace it. actually i am unsure of the results for the 256x256...sorry

i have no examples of this at the moment :P

edit
Here's where i replaced the fsh with the eagraph tool...the texture for this is 128x256 but seems to only use one half of the canvas. And it i did a crappy job at the texture :P
(http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/756/workingrock1.jpg)



Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on March 31, 2009, 02:12:49 PM
Good brainstorm going on here  :thumbsup: ¡¡¡ You are putting some excellent ideas on the table. Perhaps HRes Props should be discussed in a separated thread, so we dont mix things here  ::)  ;)

Btw,for existing props,  I think a solution would be to extract the small 128x128 fsh's, make them 256x256 with the EA tool and export them to be edited in photoshop to give them more definition, import and save them back with the EA tool, and insert them into the dat to replace the small texures... well not sure if is the easiest solution though (4 times per prop)  ::) $%Grinno$%
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on March 31, 2009, 03:49:16 PM
Good brainstorm going on here  :thumbsup: ¡¡¡ You are putting some excellent ideas on the table. Perhaps HRes Props should be discussed in a separated thread, so we dont mix things here  ::)  ;)
Where would be a good place? As I experimented with my idea, and it seems as long as the prop doesn't get bigger than one texture, if you do what my idea is then you can notice the difference in quality very easily: Image linkie (http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa230/warriorST/HiResPropsTest.png) (Note my rubbish BATing skills, Link because don't want to clutter up this awesome thread ;) )
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on March 31, 2009, 04:12:11 PM
I think this is a good place to move the discussion ;)

Excellent test  Jonathan  :thumbsup: . Perfect for new props 

(http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa230/warriorST/HiResPropsTest.png)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 31, 2009, 04:25:20 PM
the results in a streetside mod would be beautiful as the increased resolution allows you to add more details to the overlays... smoother curves and better  curbs...crosswalk textures could look pretty hot now...

EDIT_ and texture based road top bustops.... *drools*
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: JoeST on March 31, 2009, 04:35:04 PM
dont make me dr....too late *gets a cloth for the keyboard*

crazy people ahoy :D

Joe
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on March 31, 2009, 04:35:36 PM
Oh, this is probably the right place to post (I was considering opening a new thread).  :)

Triggered by the " High Definition Textures - a revolutionary discovery... " thread posted recently, I was wondering if it was possible to apply a similar technique for BAT models. BATters have always been complaining about missing details in the models' textures. The problem with BAT lies within the low output resolution. No matter how good the "input" texture is, the low output resolution causes much of the detail to be lost.

For my tests I used a simple model we use in RTMT, the TfL Bus-Sign. The texture used for the render is this one (scaled-down for certain renders):

(http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/6146/bussigntflnewsmall.png)

The shot below shows the results (sorry, the pic is >800px, so pls click on the thumbnail); the image is a .png, so no "lossy" compression or "artifacts" here - it looks excatly how it appears ingame. The back row shows the prop rendered with various texture resolutions; in the front there is the prop rendered using the new technique (requires special modelling and modding the S3D files). Take a look not only on the sign/logo, but on the post too.

(http://img293.imageshack.us/img293/9170/hiresbat.th.png) (http://img293.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hiresbat.png)

EDIT: Pls view the image UNSCALED!!! (click on the image after it is downloaded from ImageShack)

I need to make some more tests before posting a tutorial, and maybe make a special tool too.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on March 31, 2009, 04:40:07 PM
Really impressive Cogeo
 &apls
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 31, 2009, 04:45:35 PM
Cogeo, are you just importing a .3ds file straight into the reader as a 3d prop and using a HD texture as the material, it is smart way of doing things :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on March 31, 2009, 04:57:35 PM
Cogeo, are you just importing a .3ds file straight into the reader as a 3d prop and using a HD texture as the material, it is smart way of doing things :P

Not at all, this method does not involve editing materials (this is done by BAT, as usual), it works completely differently.

It's already April 1st here now, but believe me I'm telling the truth!  :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on March 31, 2009, 04:59:43 PM
 &apls Another awesome find! That sign looks great Coego!

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on March 31, 2009, 05:07:03 PM
I was thinking about some updated walls and walkways sets... man, the possibilities are almost endless  ::)   $%Grinno$%  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 31, 2009, 05:09:11 PM
Ok this is really cool.
I like the looks of this.... $%Grinno$%

so are you doing a double scale render then reducing size in the reader??
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on March 31, 2009, 05:16:00 PM
An speechless icon is going to be needed lately....  Cogeo, how did you do that ???  :o ¡¡¡ The new technique is totally incredible... you can almost read the ticket's price  $%Grinno$%  :D  :D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on March 31, 2009, 05:26:09 PM
I think we will all soon be needing new computers to play on... :D

Is the missing shadow a result of your technique, or just an oversight?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: nerdly_dood on March 31, 2009, 05:40:49 PM
I think I'd just like to bring this up - Would it be more taxing on system resources to use True3D props or these high-def standard props? My automata mods replace the standard police car props with the same True3D model as the police car automata that replaces the Maxis one, and Gizmo has a few prop packs on his website that use True3D models. (They're just True3D props of Maxis automata and the automata available at SimCityCentral.net)

What with these props being a 3D model, they would be more taxing on graphics; however, high-def props with standard modeling would be much less taxing on graphics at the expense of requiring more texture files for all the rotations and zoom levels. (The True3D props have only one texture that is used for all rotations etc)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on March 31, 2009, 05:42:18 PM

Wow
 :o


With an another technics,  I was able to improve the render of props

sorry it's in french

it's an corn field. In the square, you can see the result of the export classic


(http://img3.hostingpics.net/pics/523960Le_vieux_chene_Mais3.jpg) (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=523960Le_vieux_chene_Mais3.jpg)




(http://img3.hostingpics.net/pics/37743Le_vieux_chene_Mais2.jpg) (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=37743Le_vieux_chene_Mais2.jpg)

in the left gmax classic and in the right the reFiSHing result,


Orange
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: bob56 on March 31, 2009, 05:46:14 PM
this is just amazing!!! &apls

WHat are the implications of this?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on March 31, 2009, 05:58:11 PM
Now that I have read the whole thread from the start, I feel that I need to give some explanations:
- The prop was made using exactly the same technique proposed by wouanagaine (double the size in BAT, then divide the vertices coordinates by 2 in the reader - no need to change anything in the UVW map or the materials). The procedure is really tedious, even for box-shaped LODs.
- This might look like taking another's idea, and presenting it as mine, but this was not the case here: a) My message was posted just 3 1/2 hours after this thread was started, so there wouldn't be enough time to make the tests, lots, take shots etc, and b) I had already contacted wou yesterday, talking about a possible tool (I guess he could verify this).
- I would also like to make it clear, that I don't mean the opposite either, actually I didn't tell wou what exactly the tool would be for. There is no doubt to me that we both considered the same solution (for the low-res BAT props), something very expected, as the high-res textures thread was a "hot-topic" in the last few days.

@RippleJet: the missing shadow was indeed an oversight (IsGroundModel = false).

I think there would be no problem using this technique for making high-definition small and very small props, it should just not be used for "normal" bats (houses, shops) and especially large ones (skyscrapers, factories, warehouses). Not only a higher resolution for these would be almost pointless (most other buildings, inc Maxis' would be low-res, and due to their size few players would notice the details), it would also overload the graphics engine, as many members here have warned.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on March 31, 2009, 06:16:26 PM
ok, it's good to know your methods, was very curious, but surely it is entirely down to the hardware as to how big a collection of hi def props a persons game could handle... assuming they were using hardware rendering of course....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on March 31, 2009, 06:30:43 PM
hmmm....could you simply render both at normal size and then double size and simply switch out the textures......that would be easy!! I'll give it a shot!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: dedgren on March 31, 2009, 07:33:21 PM
Quote
Oh, this is probably the right place to post

It doesn't much matter where something like this is posted- it's heartstopping.

No need to worry about who gets credit for what- SC4D has become the Skunk Works [linkie] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk_works) for SC4.  There's a synergy going on these days that's just incredible- it's amazing to be a part of it.

I can't wait to see the first scale road signs produced with this technique.


David
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on March 31, 2009, 08:27:15 PM
EDIT_ and texture based road top bustops.... *drools*

I think you were reading my mind.  ;D

BTW, Jeroni, thanks for the team badges!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on March 31, 2009, 08:39:37 PM
OMG Jeroni that is amazing!!!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on March 31, 2009, 09:25:04 PM
umm wow!!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 01, 2009, 01:39:13 AM
ok, it's good to know your methods, was very curious, but surely it is entirely down to the hardware as to how big a collection of hi def props a persons game could handle... assuming they were using hardware rendering of course....
If the it is only applied to zoom5 props, this won't be too much for the graphic engine ( well don't misread me, you'll need a pretty good PC ), because at zoom5 or 6 you really don't see much of your city

I think I'd just like to bring this up - Would it be more taxing on system resources to use True3D props or these high-def standard props? My automata mods replace the standard police car props with the same True3D model as the police car automata that replaces the Maxis one, and Gizmo has a few prop packs on his website that use True3D models. (They're just True3D props of Maxis automata and the automata available at SimCityCentral.net)

What with these props being a 3D model, they would be more taxing on graphics; however, high-def props with standard modeling would be much less taxing on graphics at the expense of requiring more texture files for all the rotations and zoom levels. (The True3D props have only one texture that is used for all rotations etc)
It will really depends on the number of triangles in True3D ( and it hierachy if they have one ) vs the number of FSH. And I'm guessing the engine is very optimized for normal rendering vs True3D.
And as far as I can tell, I really don't see any technical restriction for a True3D to have only one FSH ( of course there are some performance reasons to limit to one :) )

Now that I have read the whole thread from the start, I feel that I need to give some explanations:
- The prop was made using exactly the same technique proposed by wouanagaine (double the size in BAT, then divide the vertices coordinates by 2 in the reader - no need to change anything in the UVW map or the materials). The procedure is really tedious, even for box-shaped LODs.
- This might look like taking another's idea, and presenting it as mine, but this was not the case here: a) My message was posted just 3 1/2 hours after this thread was started, so there wouldn't be enough time to make the tests, lots, take shots etc, and b) I had already contacted wou yesterday, talking about a possible tool (I guess he could verify this).
- I would also like to make it clear, that I don't mean the opposite either, actually I didn't tell wou what exactly the tool would be for. There is no doubt to me that we both considered the same solution (for the low-res BAT props), something very expected, as the high-res textures thread was a "hot-topic" in the last few days.

Hey great minds etc... :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 01, 2009, 01:44:57 AM
Quote
hmmm....could you simply render both at normal size and then double size and simply switch out the textures......that would be easy!! I'll give it a shot!

That is all I did, Rendered the prop normally, then double size and applied the double size textures to the normal sized model, and surprisingly I didn't have to change any coordinates, UV or XZY. Just changed the IID in the Mats tab.And it took under 5 minutes to take the model and export in a HD.

and the result was:
(http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa230/warriorST/HiResPropsTest.png)

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Swamper77 on April 01, 2009, 01:50:06 AM
That is all I did, Rendered the prop normally, then double size and applied the double size textures to the normal sized model, and surprisingly I didn't have to change any coordinates, UV or XZY. Just changed the IID in the Mats tab.

This makes sense as the UV coordinates are relative to the image. Thus a double sized image and a normal size image will have the same UV map on the same model. I use 512x512 images when making my automata in GMAX and then resize the images to 256x256 for game use.

-Jan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 01, 2009, 02:05:33 AM
Excuse my ignorance, but does the BAT4Max or Gmax script can be edited to force a double FSH size rendering at zoom5 ? I think this would be the easiest way for everyone and it will cover all cases ( especially if rendering a prop double sized will span more FSHs than the normal one )
If it is possible then this should be made optionnal, as Cogeo said, no need to make that for a skyscrapper
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: A200 on April 01, 2009, 02:09:46 AM
What the hell?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on April 01, 2009, 03:37:42 AM
hmmm....could you simply render both at normal size and then double size and simply switch out the textures......that would be easy!! I'll give it a shot!

Unfortunately this is not possible. The different-sized models would result in different UVW maps too; not to mention that the larger model may be split into those "groups", ie using more FSH textures.

That is all I did, Rendered the prop normally, then double size and applied the double size textures to the normal sized model, and surprisingly I didn't have to change any coordinates, UV or XZY. Just changed the IID in the Mats tab.And it took under 5 minutes to take the model and export in a HD.

Warrior, this is not what buddybud was talking about.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 01, 2009, 04:17:28 AM
Warrior, this is not what buddybud was talking about.

I reread both posts and I think that IS what buddybud was talking about.  As long as the larger prop doesn't cover more than 1 FSH file per view then when it's put into the smaller model it should work.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: toxicpiano on April 01, 2009, 05:58:19 AM
The only problem I see with the high res stuff is unless everyone is planning to remake every single texture ever and every single prop ever, high res stuff will look out of place with the old stuff (I know this is a very cynical view but I quite like consistency). This is most definitely a wonderful discovery though.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 01, 2009, 06:33:45 AM
I personally take the optimistic view and prefer to think that as soon as HD textures and props start to become common, people will become motivated to upgrade the remaining ones.  I think that this would be especially true of props and textures that they created themselves.  :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 01, 2009, 07:44:03 AM
Some of the methods suggested here will not work, as they are incompatible with the standard BAT export procedure. Of course there is always the manual way, but that's more of the play in itself then a working solution.

I, just like Wouanagaine  see the realistic way for this through altering Max scripts.
There are few points here I would like to address and I'll do it later tonight when I'll have more time. But it is doable.

I remember I saw somewhere some discussion of 512x512 textures. Could anyone tell me what are the limitations for this method?

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 01, 2009, 08:02:05 AM
I remember I saw somewhere some discussion of 512x512 textures. Could anyone tell me what are the limitations for this method?
It seems that people using software rendering mode in SC4 won't be able to load 512x512 textures
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 01, 2009, 08:14:59 AM
I reread both posts and I think that IS what buddybud was talking about.

correct...

I remember I saw somewhere some discussion of 512x512 textures. Could anyone tell me what are the limitations for this method?

512x512 texture worked but suffered from alot of compression. You start to get pixel pops! However i would add that i don't believe standard sized textures are needed for network models   but i am ASSUMING 256 is optimum for display.

Fell asleep and didn't do any texting myself....keep us informed folks.  We all benefit from whats going on here  ;D .Though toxic is right to a degree, i think like anything it can be tactfully used such as the existing highway etc....somethings will look better than others...Lets face it no matter what the resolution a crappy texture is a crappy texture  :-\

Edit: oh and the earlier picture of flora makes me think it is worth while in atleast those respects for props!!!!

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: metarvo on April 01, 2009, 08:16:42 AM
Finally, SC4 in HD.  :)  I have two questions, though.  What does this mean for those who don't have PhotoShop?  Additionally, is it OK to remake large props in HD?  Some of my props are quite large.  Either way, this is quite a discovery.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: superhands on April 01, 2009, 08:29:03 AM
ok. i had to have a go. ;)   2.5MB for 8 textures (all uncompressed fsh)

(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm50/bighead99999/RHW4A.png)

(http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm50/bighead99999/th_RHW2A.png) (http://s293.photobucket.com/albums/mm50/bighead99999/?action=view&current=RHW2A.png)   (http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm50/bighead99999/th_RHW4.png) (http://s293.photobucket.com/albums/mm50/bighead99999/?action=view&current=RHW4.png)

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 01, 2009, 08:33:04 AM
Finally, SC4 in HD.  :)  I have two questions, though.  What does this mean for those who don't have PhotoShop?  Additionally, is it OK to remake large props in HD?  Some of my props are quite large.  Either way, this is quite a discovery.

question 1 for the hd props no texture editing is done after bating as long as you have a higher resolution texture to use on your moedel it doesn't matter which program it was made in..The resulting model is shrunk afterwards or textures transferred depending on which method is used presently.

for the hd textures thats another story cause we've been using the default photoshop file PSD to generate the alphas. Base textures could be done unsing a regular png file though.

question 2
  Unless you want to experiment i wouldn't actually plan on releasing anything immediately unless as a beta.....we have no idea how the system is going to respond to this at this point...though both solutions look promising!!!


Edit. I still am not 100% on how Orange_o_ accomplished his pic....i do think he used a replacement fsh as i had attemptted....This method would be time consuming though but great for any pixel artist!!! (four rotations need to be hand crafted) Orange_o_ please share your thoughts!!!

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimNation on April 01, 2009, 01:09:06 PM
BigHead is that RHW????? If so then bravo...that looks tons closer to the in-game roads and avenue textures &apls
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on April 01, 2009, 01:47:18 PM
As long as the larger prop doesn't cover more than 1 FSH file per view then when it's put into the smaller model it should work.

This is not the only requirement. All FSH files of the 2nd (large) model should be exactly 2x larger than those of the first one. This generally is the case for 2x sized models, as BAT generates FSH textures sized to the minimum possible power of 2, ie it's somehow "coincidental", and works only if the 2nd model is exactly 2x larger than the original. It might have problems in marginal cases, but this is just (my) speculation. It won't work if the scaling factor is everything else than 2.

As for now, I'm busy making a conversion tool; for everybody interested, I could post/send test/evaluation versions. For the moment I'm trying to (successfully) read the .SC4Model files.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 01, 2009, 01:51:52 PM
I don't see why the scaling must only be 2?
I tired it with 4 in the reader and it worked, but I didn't try this in game.
I also tried it with you London TfL sign, and the writing was about as clear as yours, if not slightly unclearer.
But if you have a tool that will do it for you then that would be much better

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: A200 on April 01, 2009, 04:07:32 PM
April Fools much??  :D :D :D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 01, 2009, 04:26:55 PM
April Fools much??  :D :D :D

Glad to see you were fooled...
but that must have been in another thread on another site... not here ::) :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: A200 on April 01, 2009, 04:34:35 PM
Lol this is a joke  :D :D :D, obviously april fools. This type of thing is impossible  :D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: A200 on April 01, 2009, 04:37:24 PM
All the people replying think this is real  ()what()  :-\  &hlp &hlp so good it's unbelievable :p  :-\
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 01, 2009, 04:40:13 PM
A200 Rest assured this is no joke at all!!! Here at SC4D we take it serously when someone makes a discovery and dont jack the community around with it....

OK so what would be the best overview here of everything that has been learned of the High Def Props??? I am trying to read it but my poor brain just cant wrap around it all.....

BTW trying to piece it together for the Podcast hint hint lol
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 01, 2009, 04:49:18 PM
OK so what would be the best overview here of everything that has been learned of the High Def Props??? I am trying to read it but my poor brain just cant wrap around it all.....

Pat, you would have to add video to your podcast in that case... ::)  ...and show Cogeo's in-game picture.
One picture that says more than 1000 words, when explaining the difference:

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/hiresbat500x400.png)

Normal props on top, HD prop on bottom.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 01, 2009, 05:01:43 PM
why are you not compressing them on reader insert??
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 01, 2009, 05:08:06 PM
uhhhhhhh what??? Tell me its not so!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: nerdly_dood on April 01, 2009, 05:13:13 PM
If this is a joke then i'ts a very  :thumbsdown: joke. Better luck next time.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 01, 2009, 05:15:25 PM
John please tell me this is no joke and that you are now only poking fun at A200 for calling this a joke???
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on April 01, 2009, 05:19:26 PM
Man if this is a joke , I feel real stupid!

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 01, 2009, 06:36:52 PM
well pat to put it concisely as possible we have two methods for pretty much doubling the viewing surface of either textures, props, or 3ds models....so pretty much everything in game. The fact that this happened all at the same time is quite remarkable though both process are pretty much related. For the textures and 3ds models we found that we could make custom high res graphics with a tool called the eagraphics editor. For props we found a method to squish the props but maintain the resolution. Both are pretty much the same as they both come from the realization that higher rez graphics can be handled much easier then previously thought. It's a great moment for all of us!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: superhands on April 01, 2009, 08:56:52 PM
so will i have to get a HD set top box to be able to play sc4 now? $%Grinno$%

great find everyone :thumbsup:

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 01, 2009, 09:11:04 PM
various attempts by me to calm your worries...  :thumbsup:

(http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3395/smurfsigns01.th.png) (http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3395/smurfsigns01.png)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: debutterfly on April 01, 2009, 09:14:39 PM
Here's a beginnig to road overlays (car tracks) that I created that look a little more realistic. Not close to being done but can be used over a variety of surfaces.

(http://img55.imageshack.us/img55/4079/60149542.th.png) (http://img55.imageshack.us/my.php?image=60149542.png)

- Larry (debutterfly)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: nerdly_dood on April 01, 2009, 09:17:04 PM
Well I guess I'm satisfied now. Those textures are marvelous, Buddybud and Larry!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on April 01, 2009, 09:30:31 PM
Yeah,I'm glad this wasn't a joke :thumbsup:

Textures are looking great!

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 01, 2009, 10:01:34 PM
LoL Oiii  :D.... OK so now at least I can go forward with what I am piecing together for the High Def stuff then wheeew....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 01, 2009, 11:11:03 PM
So is this an April Fools'?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wes.janson on April 02, 2009, 12:25:46 AM
I think the getting people to believe it was an April Fool's gag was, in fact, the April Fool's gag.

This one almost got me and that would have been the 2nd of the day.
For a brief moment (Before my morning coffee, I might add) the radio had me believing that Pavel Bure was making a return to the Canucks.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 02, 2009, 02:17:04 AM

Edit. I still am not 100% on how Orange_o_ accomplished his pic....i do think he used a replacement fsh as i had attemptted....This method would be time consuming though but great for any pixel artist!!! (four rotations need to be hand crafted) Orange_o_ please share your thoughts!!!

Bud

Yes my method is a reFiSHing. I replace the original FSH by a new (photoshop). The new FSH is create with a preview x5 of the prop, and worked again with Photoshop then reduced /5.

I already obtains a very good quality, but if instead of reducing it /5, I reduces it only by /2,5. The quality will be surement excellent.

Here is the beginning of the tutoriel in French

(http://ns1.hostingpics.net/pics/912712partie1.jpg)



Here is also a possibility a reFiSHing

(http://img4.hostingpics.net/pics/991134Le_vieux_chene.jpg)

But it's not beautifull



It is with the similar méthod of reFiSHing that I was able to create this:
( But it is not the subject of this thread)

(http://moe.mabul.org/up/moe/2009/02/10/img-002342q3bs0.gif)


Orange

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 02, 2009, 02:44:26 AM
OMG Orange wow!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 02, 2009, 04:27:47 AM
sorry guys, I couldn't let yesterday go without something remotely approaching a prank... don't worry this is all real, which is in fact even more awesome :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 02, 2009, 04:31:38 AM
Ah, yes, nothing like a reverse April Fools prank to really mess with one's mind.  $%Grinno$%
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 05:23:36 AM
Problem with 512pix textures rules out the “hi-def” buildings at least those that are bigger than 1 128x128 slab at zoom5 and that means most buildings not only skyscrapers. So, unless this problem is solved this method would be limited to props only, small ones at that  even some t-ram/GLD stations would be too big.

Another point I would like to make that this will bring improvement ONLY to Zoom6 view and not entirely without the cost. I don’t speak now about hardware load, but about graphics quality at zoom5. Since what we’ll have now is essentially Zoom6 render that will be downsized to the Zoom5 levels. Downsized pretty crudely, I may add. The difference not staggering but it is there. Game doesn’t know, apparently, about Anti Aliasing, for instance…

This isn't an April Fools, but there are a lot of misinformed opinions floating around...
For instance, Orange's tutorial makes not too good thing worse rather than better. It like trying to invent Perpetum Mobile - energy from nothing - doesn't work. All you get is original information distorted and with some nasty fringing...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 02, 2009, 05:30:15 AM
Simfox, have you ever looked at maxis zoom 6,  I'm sorry but I'll sacrifice a bit of crude shrinking for a massively increased zoom 6....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 02, 2009, 06:31:13 AM
For instance, Orange's tutorial makes not to good thing worse rather then better. It like trying to invent Perpetum Mobile - energy from nothing - doesn't work. All you get is original information distorted and with some nasty fringing...

Oh yes,   :D This method is very greedy at time and must be used only for someone prop
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: debutterfly on April 02, 2009, 08:03:48 AM
I am wanting to create a whole set of overlaying textures for tire markings, just need a lot of time i guess.  ;) Thanks nerdly_dood for the comment.  :)

-Larry (debutterfly)

Edit:

Here's my first go at it...EVER...  ()stsfd()

(http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/3858/fayettesep2701123870741.png)

(http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/3858/fayettesep2701123870741.png)

I have vista so i cannot upload the rest of the images on SCTool and how do i get the blackness to go away?

-Larry(debutterfly)

Edit:

I just manually replaced the files in the reader for the other zooms.

Zoom 6
(http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1682/fayettesep2701123871147.png)

Zoom 5
(http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1682/fayettesep2701123871147.png)

Zoom 4
(http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/5056/fayettesep2701123871146.png)

-Larry (debutterfly)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 09:15:48 AM
Mightygoose, don't get me wrong... I'm not against better Zoom6, although this alone wouldn't really change it. Few better props here and there in the sea of badly pixelated stuff...
I wish there wouldn't be any limitations on 512 pix textures so that buildings also be made better at zoom6.

Orange:
My main objection wasn't just the time it takes, but the techniques used...

Unfortunately I don't speak French so I can't read your handwritten notes. Would they be provided as normal text rather then picture hot only bandwidth would be saved but they could have been translated by some on-line service...
Now after taking a second look at it I've noticed that you scale your models to 500%. Am I correct in assuming that you first do that and then render preview, right?

This sort of understandable, but the figure itself - 500% where did it come from and why?
After that you bring the resulting image to Photoshop, right? I mean it is difficult to understand exact step order given that you write left, right top, bottom...
Once in Photoshop you effectively scale it back to 100% (by doing Image size and putting 20% fro height and width. Right? May I ask why?
After that mystery thickens some more... Next illustration shows you scaling the image (I assume same one) back to 400%. Again same question why? What does it achieve, apart of farther degrading the information that you had in the original image. Or is it a way to get mistake in selection to the minimum?
 next step shows your way of getting Alpha... Again very perplexing... the alpha is there right from the start. it is generated at the same time your preview is. And if I may add much more precise alpha than one you are getting. Setting tolerance to 3 will result in nasty black outline.

At the end, given you scaling up and down (if I correctly understood the order of things) you are left with image of worse quality that your original would have been.
this is exactly why I say that this is a waste of time.

Please correct me if I've got something wrong, or have missed something...


Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 02, 2009, 09:39:41 AM
Simfox:

You very well understood the explained principle &apls , I have to inform you that I use Gmax and not 3dsmax.
The result which I obtains with this technique is visible on the corn field, previous page.
It is probably a waste of time for you, but for me it allows me to obtain a superior quality on someone props.
I did not post this technique so that everybody says " amen "  but because we asked me how I proceeded.


I regrettably have no your long experiment but I learning little by little


Orange

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Fabian93 on April 02, 2009, 09:50:25 AM
I know, I do have nothing to say, but can somebody compare the file size, please?
What will be the size of "HD"-props?
As long as I don't know this, I suppose they will be pretty big (in comparison with normal, classic props).
I can say for sure, that most of the old props won't get "revisited". A mix of HD props and classic props would look pretty unreal to me.
And if the file size is too big, some people's computers could not handle it anymore.
It's a great discovery yes, but we also have to think about the detriments.
(I hope, I was not totally off-topic.)

Fabian
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 10:31:16 AM
Orange:
please, don't get me wrong... I just want to understand what do you mean by superior quality. I mean in words... just saying that something is superiopr doesn't really make it so. I was looking at these:

(http://img3.hostingpics.net/pics/37743Le_vieux_chene_Mais2.jpg)
... and to be just can't figure it out... May be I'm missing something

Using GMAX doesn't preclude you from getting Alpha... it is right there!! and always is:

(http://s49.radikal.ru/i125/0904/1b/9b10e7963ec0.jpg)

My problem was because I couldn't read the texts and had only to guess what is going on... but then I had to use some logic as to the directions and steps... and that was eluding me...

Fabian:
depending on how it is implemented.
at worse it would increase the file size by about 4 times, but if done sensibly filesize would increase only about 2 times.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 02, 2009, 10:38:10 AM
Orange_o_ thanks for sharing. Please do keep up the encouraging experimentation, i am also going to try some things out. Please keep reporting back!! .

Fabian... in the latest road sign i tried to make the image size increased from 16x32 to 32x64. from 1562 to 1823 bits. All that extra black area accounts for little.
(http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3395/smurfsigns01.th.png) (http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3395/smurfsigns01.png)

still looks crappy but thats like a 20 min attempt. (middle sign default size) also note i replaced only the one rotation. Again note i did this by not altering the original file but adding an overriding texture dat that is independent.

As for SimFox.....i would just say that with talent you can effectively blend anything with anything and make it look good. Also with ingenuity you can build larger buildings out of smaller parts. If this is all not easy enough for the masses, please don't think that some of will still not explore this and apply it however we can. You critique and we try, thats the only problem here :P
As for orange_0_'s reasons for increasing the size it's quite simple. First it gives you the exact positioning of the mat at an increased zoom. Now doing that just gives you a bigger file size and nothing in way of detail. You could work here but as orange_0_'s does it's even better to increase the size again. At this point you would edit and add detail. When reduced to wanted size afterwards it will blend and look much smoother and believable. It's a old photoshop trick for blending photos....

Bud.


Highly Pixelated Bud  :satisfied:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 10:44:34 AM
Here I've tried to sum my thoughts about application of larger textures/FSHs to props:

Hi-Res Props
What works what doesn’t…

I. What works.
1. Zoom6
this is a blowup of Zoom5. s3d models are scaled 2x (or any amount) and so are FSH textures. This is done in a crude method leaving us with badly pixilated result. Of course what should be mentioned here is that original Z5  is often not of stellar quality to begin with. Enlarging it only magnifies the problem. Leaving “workmanship” aside GMAX doesn’t apply any AA during the export, unlike the preview which AA-sed. This has probably me done in order to ensure that rendered images are not Anti-Aliased against background in order to prevent black fringing. Whatever the reason may be result is bad distortion of small objects and texture elements.
New method is effectively switching Zoom 5 FSHs with Zoom6 ones. this eliminates need to scale up textures when  model is scaled 200%. But this wonder isn’t applicable to all FSHs:
2. Small Stuff
Only small stuff, whatever it may be – props, flora, buildings - doesn’t really matter, will benefit from this approach. The passing condition being that the larges FSH (one of any Zoom5 ones) doesn’t exceed 128 pixels on any side.

II What doesn’t
1.  Any other zoom than 6. In fact we’ll get some deterioration for any “scaled down” zooms, albeit not as drustic as in case of scale up.
This is on its own a reason strong enough on it’s own why any devised procedure should ONLY alter Zoom5 FSHs.
All zooms 1-5 show you exactly what is there to show. If you want to better them you should do it in BAT. Naturally I leave at this stage compression occurring during the conversion of BMPs to FSH out of this discussion. However it would be interesting to research if game could handle something better…
2.  Anything large enough to have any side of any FSHs at Zoom5 exceeding 128 pixels. Reason for this isn’t really that some new FSH/Slab cutting may ensue – this process could be controlled and game fooled. Real problem is that in that case next step in size is 256 pixels. All textures in game are sized on the power of 2. 128 = 2^5, next would be 2^6 and that is 256. And Zoom6 is, incidentally, but unrelatedly, is 2x the Zoom5. So we would need 512 pix FSH. This as I’ve mentioned earlier roles out not only skyscrapers, but even some props like T-Ram shelters. I really hope that the way to get though this 512 barrier be found.

III How it could be done.
As I have stated already there are a lot of misguided opinions floating around. Most typical mistake is that we could take what ever we have in Zoom 5 FSH to Photshop and somehow enhance (read enlarge) it. This wouldn’t really work, or let’s say it is a least preferable way. You just can’t enhance-in something that isn’t there in the first place. Also you should remember that when you taking something from FSH you are working with data that has been through very rough and lossy compression.

On the other hand idea in 2W proposal (Wouanagaine and Warrior) is very solid. Despite different procedures the core – generation of new higher resolution image applied to the same sized 3d shell is a right one. When at zoom6 shell/LOD is scaled up 200% the texture is shown at 100% and then it's scaled down to 50 % for zoom5. This scale-down reduces quality somewhat. Magnitude, or noticeablity of this reduction depends on nature of texture and its original quality. Well, nothing in this world is free.
So, with this approach we get the core benefit – more data in the FSH. The exact procedure, though, should be considered.

Idea of rendering the whole thing at twice the size and then reducing value of all vertecies coordinates is apart from tediousity (that could, naturally be helped by programming the task) has other problem spots. First one be the method how that doubling of the render size is achieved.

One way would be to scale model 200%. This may appear easy and quick solution. But it isn’t. Scaling should really be used only on sub-object level, and even then there are problems with some modifiers.
 
Another way is to model everything twice the size. Apart of oddity it, as a previous method as well, will double the size of all 5 renders not only zoom5. This will result at lowering quality of all 5 zooms and 4 times the file size.

Another drawback is that would model exceed 256 pix slab size it would be cut, and we don’t want that. On the other hand we can’t afford it (see the 512 pix problem) anyway, so such a render is faulty to begin with.

Better methods would be to work with purely rendering setting. This way we can target selective zoom/view renders and also automate the whole process.
I’ve already tested first altered script that takes us few steps in the right direction, and I believe special prop exported with failsafe check for 512 limit could be created.

All-ln-all this is a very exciting development!

Please feel free to add you comments and opinions and suggestions. And please speak your mind, no need for niceties, if you think that some or all that I suggest is a load of bullock just say it, but please provide some explanation.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 02, 2009, 10:49:10 AM
the only thing misguided is your attempt to direct things from the back seat....lets see what we can do before you dictate the rules shall we!.

Let me put it this way so i don't come across as to harsh. Sometimes a good technique is good in very few instances. That is it may be invalid, or crap, across the board but still work really, really well in one certain instance. That does not make it unworthy or wrong. Just limited.

For instance my highway walls have painted on shadows. The reason for this is because the game engine won't throw shadows on overhanging props, Both overhanging props and painted on shadows make them all but useless outside of my highway wall bat. But should i have ignored using these features. Get it. We may not be able to upgrade the whole game.....obviously...but we may be able to vastly improve many little bits. Remember there are already 256x256 textures in game that are in use already. It's a matter of taste, innovation, and the will to accomplish. oh and some possible heavy tweaking. But it doesn't mean it shouldn't be as thoroughly researched as possible.


Bud.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 10:58:39 AM

As for orange_0_'s reasons for increasing the size it's quite simple. First it gives you the exact positioning of the mat at an increased zoom.
Sorry, I still don't get it... What "the exact positioning of the mat at an increased zoom" means?? why would you need that position?

Now doing that just gives you a bigger file size and nothing in way of detail.
I agree with that and actually see it as problem...

You could work here but as orange_0_'s does it's even better to increase the size again.
and why is that better? didn't you just said that all it does increase file size without any increase in detail?

At this point you would edit and add detail. When reduced to wanted size afterwards it will blend and look much smoother and believable. It's a old photoshop trick for blending photos....
how exactly you add that that detail? You have to remember that you are not working with photographs here, even then such a procedure is a bit dubious one something along the lines of "digital zoom" on pocket cameras.

important point that I 'm still not clear, does Orange reduces the size(dimensions) of the (I assume) original screen grab of the 500% scaled preview to 20% right after bringing it to Photoshop?

Buddybud:
I'm not directing from back or any other seat.
All I did is presented my views with explanations. I did it specifically that someone who disagree or knows something different or more could present information to all to see and take it farther. If you have something that you disagree, or feel I stated wrong just name it.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 02, 2009, 11:07:24 AM
I don't really understand your post Simfox, it's confusing to me.

Quote
Problem with 512pix textures rules out the “hi-def” buildings at least those that are bigger than 1 128x128 slab at zoom5 and that means most buildings not only skyscrapers. So, unless this problem is solved this method would be limited to props only, small ones at that  even some t-ram/GLD stations would be too big.

I'm pretty sure it was discussed the limit was 256x256px, not 512. Over 256 and the people who use the game in software rendering have problems.
Also a simple way to do this would be to make the BAT slice up bigger buildings more and into smaller sections.

Quote
New method is effectively switching Zoom 5 FSHs with Zoom6 ones

You said just above this quote in your post, that the zoom 6 models/textures are just blow ups of Zoom 5 done by the game it self, there are no zoom 6 textures/models. So how can you switch the Zoom 5 with Zoom 6 (which don't exist)

And if we start making HD props after this discovery has been fully made, then eventually all the props will be HD, and by that time the technology would have advanced enough so the computers can handle a probably small increase in file size.

What my method is is,
Make a model,
Export
Make the model twice as big (200%)
Export
Apply the bigger textures to the smaller model (this can be done for all zooms)

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 02, 2009, 11:16:58 AM
Simfox...

ok first understand that what Orange_o_ is doing is distinctly different process then what the others are doing. He is essentially making hand crafted highres fsh textures. Where as Cogeo and wou are using bat to produce their textures. In doing so Orange_o_ has to make sure his larger textures have the exact mat as the original but double the size. The way Orange_o_  enlarges the original gives him the mat. Now you would cut out the object and fill it in with your own or simply edit the existing picture to add details....it's called "PIXEL ART". Now why he would increase it beyond that is again something someone very familiar photoshop would know. That in order to get believable lines that fade and have highlights and look real you can't just draw them....however a trick is to do a good job at a higher resolution first......then Shrink the file down and let the computer blend things a bit....The resulting detail is something you couldn't have drawn yourself. It's a photoshop trick for producing realism.....trust me it works. There is nothing he is doing here also that will increase the filesize beyond what the others are doing with bat. Infact he has more control because he can manipulate the pallet.

etc.

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 11:51:03 AM
Not to be driving from back seat here are examples to illustrate my points. I chosen narrow subway entrance (as those used of RTMT stops) as I believe it is a prime candidate to benefit from such an update.

some basic info.
model is exactly same. Exports are different in the way they handle zoom5.  New one double the render size and create FSHs accordingly. At the moment this is half manual procedure. But there is no need to do anything to the model.


"hi_Def" subway entrance on the left
Zoom 5 South
Zoom 6 South
(http://s48.radikal.ru/i119/0904/9b/2d7665790921.jpg)
(http://i080.radikal.ru/0904/89/396cb1ebcd39.jpg)

the small deterioration I've been mentioning could be seen on the farther top rail. It about 1/3 to 1/2 width as compared to the regular export.
Floating effect is more obvious in the "Hi_def" model. Not because it is bigger, just because all the lines are cleaner. I believe it comes from the routine similar to one used in Max that offsets shadow-map type shadows a bit in order to prevent possibility of the showing before model. I bet ther is a property in some exemplar that controls this number. It would be great to find it so this could be fine tuned.
Apart form that at zoom5 both models appear pretty much the same. At zoom 6 difference is obvious.

"hi_Def" subway entrance is a lower one.
Zoom 5 East
Zoom 6 East
(http://s54.radikal.ru/i145/0904/69/f6ab5cc961ea.jpg)
(http://s60.radikal.ru/i170/0904/8b/0e9fb4ee8a1c.jpg)

these pictures don't really show the problem (although small one) that manifested itself on previous ones - thinking of the at the top :D... rail. Small problem here is a higher contrast in the internal (to model) shadows. it is visible at both zoom5 and 6 on the "hi_def" model.

All-in-all, problems do seem insignificant and benefit is obvious.
PS
comparative file sizes:
18kb for standard model
29kb for "hi_def" one.
in this case it is well under 2x ration. Since the FSHs are small and they relative part of the overall File size is smaller too. With large FSH the difference will grow. But should never exceed 2x if only Zoom5 is affected.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 12:35:15 PM
2.  Anything large enough to have any side of any FSHs at Zoom5 exceeding 128 pixels. Reason for this isn’t really that some new FSH/Slab cutting may ensue – this process could be controlled and game fooled. Real problem is that in that case next step in size is 256 pixels. All textures in game are sized on the power of 2. 128 = 2^5, next would be 2^6 and that is 256. And Zoom6 is, incidentally, but unrelatedly, is 2x the Zoom5. So we would need 512 pix FSH. This as I’ve mentioned earlier roles out not only skyscrapers, but even some props like T-Ram shelters. I really hope that the way to get though this 512 barrier be found.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the maximum size of the FSH textures mapped onto S3D models is 256×256 for all zooms (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). It is if the size of the texture to be mapped on the S3D model exceeds 256 pixels either direction (x or z), that it is cut into slabs sized no more than 256×256 pixels. This might happen already on zoom 1 for really tall skyscrapers, and certainly happens on zoom 2 for most skyscrapers.


Another drawback is that would model exceed 256 pix slab size it would be cut, and we don’t want that.

Why not? This normally occurs on zoom 5 for anything larger than a tree or a garage.
I'm sure there are lots of props out there that already are big enough to be cut into more than one slab at zoom 5.


On the other hand we can’t afford it (see the 512 pix problem) anyway, so such a render is faulty to begin with.

I wouldn't say a S3D model consisting of more than one FSH texture, sized 256×256 pixels, is faulty... $%Grinno$%
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 12:45:59 PM
I don't really understand your post Simfox, it's confusing to me.

I'm pretty sure it was discussed the limit was 256x256px, not 512. Over 256 and the people who use the game in software rendering have problems.
Also a simple way to do this would be to make the BAT slice up bigger buildings more and into smaller sections.

Well sorry if some of my wording was confusing, but I'll happy to clarify.
what I meant by 512pix limit is that such a texture/FSH couldn't be used, hence 256x256 is a maximum size possible.

As for suggestion to slice buildings more often, this wouldn't work overall. Even if game would accept unit smaller then 256 - the size of maximum slab this approach would reduce maximum size of building by 2. This is a same reason why you can't render huge building. It isn't memory issue as people think. It all linked to the maximum number of slabs allowed. Actually,originally this number was half of what it is today - 16 slabs (by the virtue of Hex numbering system) then a work-around had been introduced by a team responsible for then creation of the original content. What should probably be investigated is if it would be possible to make the same once more. I may be mistaken about actual numbers but the principle is solid. I have run into this when I was writing preview script and though of re-writing when whole export script for Bat4Max simplifying it. I'll be getting back to this task after the easter when my work load will get lighter and new version of Max will arrive.

You said just above this quote in your post, that the zoom 6 models/textures are just blow ups of Zoom 5 done by the game it self, there are no zoom 6 textures/models. So how can you switch the Zoom 5 with Zoom 6 (which don't exist)
I'm not quite sure what part you're referring to but I'll try just to explain as I see it, if something remain unclear feel free to ask.
So, I said taht Zoom6 doesn't exist. That's true Zooms are the fixed camera/texture resolution levels existing in game. There 5 of these. At the appropriate Zoom level you are presented with per pixel accurate rendition of FSHs -same as ones you see during export/preview. The relationships between different zoom levels isn't equal. Even Zoom 5 is almost 2x the zoom4, other than that they are same, but other zooms differ from each other by various magnification factor and also different point of view/position of the camera.
Zoom 6, or what we refer to as zoom6 is different as it has no special export is done for it. It appears to be simple 2x magnification of the zoom5. point of view remaining the same. So as you see itis there in game, but not there in BAT. Game is built out of LOD shells textured onto which FSHs ate mapped or projected along camera Z axis. When we move into zoom 6 all 3d geometry is getting losslessly (as it just numbers) bigger by a factor of 2.  This however alters the pixel (of FSH) to pixel on screen ratio (it is 1:1 at "native" zoom level). Now same amount of FSH pixels are stretched to comer more screen pixels. So they are simply doubled. Given that this isn't a pro graphics application and that it is 6+ years old this is done by rather crude method. But even the best methods can't create out of thin air missing pixels. At zoom6 only every 4th of the pixel you see is actually caring authentic and meaningful information. this is very much same issue as watching regular standard definition broadcast on HiDef TV. picture isn't better then on standard def TV, it is worse.

But back to the game. What we can do is to created double-sized texture for Zoom5 then (at zoom5 display we will see only quarter of the actual pixels in the FSH in question. this is a reason for some degradation, because this effective resize down is also done in not the most sophisticated way. Still this is far less noticeable problem then sizing up. What it means is that some small details may be resized out of display all together remember you are only seing 1/4 of all pixels that are there. However very similar procedure was sed to be real working alternative early days in 3D to get AA. People would simple render 2x sized images and then scale them back. Those days AA algorithms were so slow that this would offer time saving especially when rendering was done on expensive hired render farms and all the post processing could be handled by individual PC.

However when you switch to zoom 6 now you'll have same 1 pixel of FSH to 1 pixel of screen ration we have with all 1-5 zooms at the default. (except of the now sized down zoom5 of course.)

And if we start making HD props after this discovery has been fully made, then eventually all the props will be HD, and by that time the technology would have advanced enough so the computers can handle a probably small increase in file size.

I'll drink to that! :thumbsup:

What my method is is,
Make a model,
Export
Make the model twice as big (200%)
Export
Apply the bigger textures to the smaller model (this can be done for all zooms)

Jonathan

well this method although technically correct, have problems I'm noted in my message earlier on this page. Scaling up has bad effect on some modifiers (say like extrude).
you do unnecessary rendering (for all zooms other then zoom5).
Applying bigger textures to all zoomes is totally counterproductive. As I've explained above you end up with larger than necessary file size, and , what is more important, only 1 pixel in 4 displayed in game for all zooms 1 to 5.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 02, 2009, 12:59:19 PM
Quote
well this method although technically correct, have problems I'm noted in my message earlier on this page. Scaling up has bad effect on some modifiers (say like extrude).
I wouldn't know about how it effects certain parts of modeling like extruding, as I don't BAT. So I'll take your word for it :)
Quote
you do unnecessary rendering (for all zooms other then zoom5).
If it has to be under one slab of 128x128, then generally this will not take much time at all. (This is my instinct talking, not knowledge)
Quote
Applying bigger textures to all zoomes is totally counterproductive. As I've explained above you end up with larger than necessary file size, and , what is more important, only 1 pixel in 4 displayed in game for all zooms 1 to 5.
You don't have apply to all the zooms, but it's there if you need to for more than 5.

Quote
As for suggestion to slice buildings more often, this wouldn't work overall. Even if game would accept unit smaller then 256 - the size of maximum slab this approach would reduce maximum size of building by 2. This is a same reason why you can't render huge building. It isn't memory issue as people think. It all linked to the maximum number of slabs allowed. Actually,originally this number was half of what it is today - 16 slabs (by the virtue of Hex numbering system) then a work-around had been introduced by a team responsible for then creation of the original content. What should probably be investigated is if it would be possible to make the same once more. I may be mistaken about actual numbers but the principle is solid. I have run into this when I was writing preview script and though of re-writing when whole export script for Bat4Max simplifying it. I'll be getting back to this task after the easter when my work load will get lighter and new version of Max will arrive.
I'm pretty sure, but what you referring to as "slabs" are just 'groups'(as the reader calls them) in the S3D file, each with their own FSH.
In which case I have seen models with about 47 groups/slabs/different FSHes. So I don't think there is a limit (well a small one anyway)

One example I can think of off the top of my head is the Highway over Avenue Roundabout puzzle piece preview in the NAM.
There are 16 different groups for the actaul roundabout, and then I think 16 more for the highway?


And I know I understand what you mean in the middle part of your last post.

Jonathan



Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 02, 2009, 01:29:03 PM
anyways this is ugly but i managed to apply an alpha to a bat rather then a mat. I made a tiny railing to see if it would work. Seems fine. I wonder if this is less resource hungry then high detail lodding?

(http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/9554/transparentbat.jpg)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 01:39:16 PM
Warrior, Ripple since you are raising similar questions I'll answer you jointly, If some details are missed let me know and I'll return to them.

Slabs.
What I and scripts call slabs are pieces of the 3d geometry (LODs) that are sliced at given intervals - representing 256 pixels of screen at given zoom level. I believe that this relationship (size to screen pixels) is a hardcoded into game's 3 d engine and can't be changed. But may be I'm wrong. I'm not all that familiar with game coding...
I guess this is done to fit to the 256pix textures that were a mainstream at the day (again I believe it is a hardcoded into game's 3d engine).

Link have to be maintained between these slabs and FSHs. This is done through TGI. I here is that linked particular FSH withing the given SC4Modle to it's Slab.
Let's take a look at Instance ID:
00030xyz
the "0" after3 is for day FSH, 8 is for Night one. that leaves us with last 3 digits.
x reserved for Zoom - where 0 is zoom1 and 4 is zoom5
y represent rotation where 0 is South, 1 is East, 2 is North and 3 is West.
and last one z was left to represent number of the FSH in given day/night, zoom level and view.
The whole Instance ID is a Hex number. That gives us 0 to F eg altogether 16 unique numbers.

Team developing The Game had run into this issue and devised workaround Y - rotation number has been allowed one more number - 4 to represent second tire of FSHs of given Zoom/View. This discussion could be seen in the notes inside of the scripts. so now we have maximum of 32 256 pixel slabs to cover the entire view of the model.
More then that, should this number be exceeded the message is suppose to pop up and tell user - "You model is too large", but this piece of code left unfinished. So all you get when you try to export something too large is Error code 6...

This workaround I believe requires some alteration of the game engine. I may be wrong , but (as in Monk) I don't think so...

Warrior, could you point me to this bat that had 47 groups? I would really love to examine it...

as for you example with NAM you are still within the 32 slabs.

anyways this is ugly but i managed to apply an alpha to a bat rather then a mat. I made a tiny railing to see if it would work. Seems fine. I wonder if this is less resource hungry then high detail lodding?

(http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/9554/transparentbat.jpg)
I'm not sure I follow you...
what do you mean apply ALPHA to BAT Could you may be post somewhere this SC4Modle file?

High poly LODs are definitely not good for game performance. No matter how faster todays cards are games ancient 3d engine wouldn't necessarily be able to take full or even significant advantage of their power.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 02, 2009, 01:41:49 PM
well this method although technically correct, have problems I'm noted in my message earlier on this page. Scaling up has bad effect on some modifiers (say like extrude).
you do unnecessary rendering (for all zooms other then zoom5).

Not if you group everything and use an Xform modifier  ::) 

Instead of dissecting everything and telling them that they are wrong, why don't you just leave them to develop this in their own way?  Better still, come up with your own method of creating HD props and textures and demonstrate why yours is (bound to be) superior.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 02, 2009, 01:53:51 PM

I'm not sure I follow you...
what do you mean apply ALPHA to BAT Could you may be post somewhere this SC4Modle file?

High poly LODs are definitely not good for game performance. No matter how faster todays cards are games ancient 3d engine wouldn't necessarily be able to take full or even significant advantage of their power.

heres a zip of the desc, model and psd i created it from. Normal bats use mats, mine is truely transparent . you can see the other props through the bat even though the lods cover it. Check out the mats tab for the texture. I only changed fsh 7AB50E44,B970086C,00030430   , just the one rotation and zoom. 

Edit...In order to get the same results you usually need to make lods that conform to the model exactly. This lod is one big square but allows transparency!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 02:05:07 PM
Warrior, could you point me to this bat that had 47 groups? I would really love to examine it...

I don't think there are any models having more than 32 slabs/groups in one view.
I concur with your explanation of the maximum number of FSH files per view.
The biggest number seen in the game is the south and north rendering of the Empire State Building, which at zoom 5 has 29 slabs (materials/FSH textures).

That still wouldn't restrict people from rendering HD props where zoom 5/6 has more than one slab/group though. :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on April 02, 2009, 02:12:31 PM
I don't see why the scaling must only be 2?
I tired it with 4 in the reader and it worked, but I didn't try this in game.

Actually scaling the model by a factor that's a power of 2 should work, as long as BAT will export the same number of FSH textures (they should all be equally scaled). The "problem" with 4 is that splitting the textures is more likely. Scaling by any other factor (non power of 2) shouldn't work, as UVW maps would be affected too (according to my guess, of course  ::)).

Leaving “workmanship” aside GMAX doesn’t apply any AA during the export, unlike the preview which AA-sed. This has probably me done in order to ensure that rendered images are not Anti-Aliased against background in order to prevent black fringing. Whatever the reason may be result is bad distortion of small objects and texture elements.

Looks like gmax does some sort of antialiasing. The problem lies in the alphas exported: all pixels at the edge of the model become 100% opaque. The game then attempts some AA at runtime, which interferes with the black backgorund, and that's why you get those ugly dark pixels at the model's edges.

Things in 3dsmax are different, it allows to set AA on, and this generates an alpha with grayshades too (not just black and white), that is the alpha is AA-ed too! This is how AA is usually implemented. Still, this doesn't work ingame, unless the blending parameters are set (in the same way as for the semitransparent models). This method was proposed by Autovino on ST. I would also lik to add my own recommendation, which is change the background colour to that of the material's, eg for the model above it should be steel blue. If the objects at the model's edges are textured with different materials, the background can be set to a colour that matches most of them, or to gray (128,128,128) - this is much more "neutral" than the default black. Check the models in my "Spirulina Farms" lots (the tubs) to see what I mean.

There is a trick to force gmax generate an alpha, you just need to have an object with a material of less than 100% opacity. If you don't have such a material in your model you can add a (dummy) object with an opacity of 1% (this doesn't affect the BAT at all). The alpha generated won't be AA-ed though. It would also be nice if the background could be adjusted. This is not possible in gmax itself, but by tweaking something in the .INI files or the scripts maybe?

The utility I was talking about is now in the making. I can read datfiles now, and identify all S3D models (it worked even with simcity_1.dat), but I'm not sure if I can successfully tweak them. If this finally works, it will contain basically two functions, scaling model(s) and setting/removing transparency (a tedious procedure too).
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 02, 2009, 03:18:34 PM
SimFox,
The NAM doesn't use the same IID scheme as the BATs, so it is not a limit of the IID scheme in the NAM that prevents us from having more than 16 or 32 slabs.

I can't remember which model was 47 (it might have been on one of the occassions when I mucked up importing another S3D file into one.)
But There is one with 36, which would be over the 32 limit:
In NetworkAddonMod_Roundabouts_Avenues_Plugin.dat
the model with IID: 0x584ADFF0

Also then saved the S3D, raised it be 20 higher, and imported the model again (so there was the model on top of the other model) making 72 slabs, and there was no problem in game. But that might be because it is a preview of a transit item, not a BAT.

BuddyBud, what version of the reader is that, it looks different to mine?

Jonathan

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 03:27:55 PM
But There is one with 35, which would be over the 32 limit:
In NetworkAddonMod_Roundabouts_Avenues_Plugin.dat
the model with IID: 0x584ADFF0

Indeed! But the material numbering scheme of that model is indeed far from that implemented by BAT.
I guess you manually add the materials in Reader for puzzle pieces?
The layout of the materials on a puzzle piece is also quite different from that on building and prop models.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 02, 2009, 03:33:37 PM
Indeed! But the material numbering scheme of that model is indeed far from that implemented by BAT.
I guess you manually add the materials in Reader for puzzle pieces?
The layout of the materials on a puzzle piece is also quite different from that on building and prop models.

Not quite sure what you mean? A S3D for puzzle pieces and BATs are identical in the inside, they are not a different format.

And when adding a texture to a puzzle you do add it in the mats tab in the reader. But the UV coordinates can be done either in the reader or 3ds max.

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 03:43:25 PM
Not quite sure what you mean? A S3D for puzzle pieces and BATs are identical in the inside, they are not a different format.

I've never made a puzzle piece, and I've never batted a building either, so I might be completely on a sidetrack here... $%Grinno$%

However, the textures applied on puzzle pieces seem to be planar, viewed from above (in the negative Y axis), whereas textures for building and prop models are isometric, and thus e.g. cannot be scaled between the zooms, since the viewing angle (above horizon) is different for each zoom (with the exception of zoom 6, which has the same angle as zoom 5).
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 02, 2009, 03:49:44 PM
Puzzle piece models are True3D, they aren't isometric, and there is only one model for all rotations, and on several only one model for all zooms.

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 03:53:48 PM
Puzzle piece models are True3D, they aren't isometric, and there is only one model for all rotations, and on several only one model for all zooms.

Of course, and I probably knew that as well... ::)
Thanks for explaining the basics of puzzling to me! :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 04:08:38 PM
Not quite sure what you mean? A S3D for puzzle pieces and BATs are identical in the inside, they are not a different format.

And when adding a texture to a puzzle you do add it in the mats tab in the reader. But the UV coordinates can be done either in the reader or 3ds max.

Jonathan
Sorry but you are not right.
I took a look at the model and it is nothing like BAT.
Nothing like BAT exactly on the inside.

I'll try to formulate this in more detail a bit later. But the "verdict" would stay. The model you are referring to is radically different than BAT and I believe is controlled by different rules in game engine.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 02, 2009, 04:20:31 PM
Sorry but you are not right.
I took a look at the model and it is nothing like BAT.
Nothing like BAT exactly on the inside.

I'll try to formulate this in more detail a bit later. But the "verdict" would stay. The model you are referring to is radically different than BAT and I believe is controlled by different rules in game engine.

Puzzle piece models are True3D, they aren't isometric, and there is only one model for all rotations, and on several only one model for all zooms.

Jonathan

 ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Chrisim on April 02, 2009, 04:31:05 PM
... the viewing angle (above horizon) is different for each zoom ...
Does somebody know the exact values of these angles?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 02, 2009, 04:34:30 PM
Does somebody know the exact values of these angles?

simfox i'm sure will be able to tell you
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 02, 2009, 04:48:20 PM
As I already said ( or was it in a PM ? ), being a S3D from BAT or S3D for puzzle piece ( called True3D ) are stored in S3D format. There is nothing format-wise different between both. This is just a collection of vertices, triangles, uvs, materials, textures etc... for both
And for your knowledge, the number of texture is stored as a 8bits number, ie you can have up to 255 ( 127 if it signed ) material in a S3D ( this is of course a purely theorical number )

Does somebody know the exact values of these angles?
I have them somewhere on PIMX source code,need to dig a bit
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 04:58:22 PM
Does somebody know the exact values of these angles?

If I recall correctly (don't quote me on that):

Edit : Yes you're right ~Wouanagaine~
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 04:59:11 PM
I see you have already started to formulated it (the differences between BATs and Puzzle pieces - is that a right term for that model of roundabout?):
Puzzle piece models are True3D, they aren't isometric, and there is only one model for all rotations, and on several only one model for all zooms.

Jonathan

Basically right there you have the answer. But there is some term confusion going on there as well.

First of all model can not be isometric or non-isometric. It is a view, or camera (as a proxy of view) that could be isometric, and even then not quite isometric but orthographic.

Second. About true 3d... all models in game are true 3d. these puzzle pieces and LODs as well.

About being one model things here are a bit more complicated. In theory LODs could be dependent on zoom. EG higher Zoom Level Lods could be have more complex geometry. I remember even seeing somewhere the recommended face count. However in practice all (or at least LOD3,4 and 5) are same. LODs1 and 2 ... these are a bit of a mystery to me at this point. I may speculate that at that zoom levels a Bounding Box is used as a LOD, or may be solution similar to that plug-in for Max (don't remember it's name) but basically what it does it maps 2d images with Alpha on a planes which are aligned and link to camera in the MAX so that the boards are kept at the constant angle (usually perpendicular but not always) to the camera z axis (line of view).

This cleared let's look at what makes these models (Puzzles) and Bats radically different.

And the answer is the way they are textured - Puzzle pieces have only 1 group per actual model or like in the case of that round about only one texture per one segment. their link is fixed. Actually you can consider that Roundabout not to be a single model but a collection of such where each group is representing one individual indivisible piece and the 2 most important points of all
1. with a only one texture once and for all fixed to
2. with geometry same for all zooms (that is if you compare not to the entire model of BAT e.g. LOD, but rather to Slabs withing a BAT model)

What, on the other hand we have in case of BAT model?
First of all there is no "eternal link between any geometry and any one single texture. Depending on the zoom the geometry is cut in suitable slabs to fit texture size that being maximum of 256 pixel (as I said I believe this is a part of 3d engine)
Because of that entirely different "database" should be built (and that what it is actually is a mini database) one that allow for fluid, yet unique links to exist.
This create a need not for a multilayered, if you will referral system - eg special link for zoom level, special link for rotation and then for a particular slab. In a way you can compare a slab to your puzzle piece. each are uniquely identified with unique texture. but while puzzle piece is a permanent the slab is zoom and (!) view related - same model may be cut into different number of slabs (and hence require different number of textures in different view of the same zoom level.
As you see BAT models are far more complex (as a database) then puzzle pieces.
So, on the inside they are very different.

As i have already mentioned originally only one number had been reserved to link any slab withing a given zoom/rotation to a unique texture. But I guess at some point during the development process it become clear that this is insufficient and a workaround have been added.

Now, how exactly it has been implemented? did they just added "4" as a unique key allowing/recognised, or did they simply opened all the numbers greater than 3 at the 2 position from the end of Instance ID in succession allowing next tire (eg all together extra12 tires) may be debated. But I believe (based on the notes in the script) that this a former.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 02, 2009, 05:13:00 PM
Now, how exactly it has been implemented? did they just added "4" as a unique key allowing/recognised, or did they simply opened all the numbers greater than 3 at the 2 position from the end of Instance ID in succession allowing next tire (eg all together extra12 tires) may be debated. But I believe (based on the notes in the script) that this a former.

Since that second digit (from the right) includes the rotation, you couldn't have more than 4 sets.
However, I think only two sets are available:

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 02, 2009, 05:44:29 PM
Ripple, you can totally be quoted on the camera angles!

as for the second tire... stupid me... How I forgot that am actually preaching... 
 
Well I've decided to back to the "horse" and here is info directly from it's mouth:


Quote
fn TextureOutputIDStr texIndex:0 =
   (
      local highSwizzle = 0
      -- awful kludge to be able to handle more than 16 textures per view
      -- sharing the second digit between rot & the high bit of the texture index
      local digit2 = (texIndex as integer)/16
      texIndex = (mod texIndex 16) as integer
      if (digit2 > 3) then
      (
         DoMessage ("This building is huge! It's just not going to work!")
      )
      else
      (
         highSwizzle = digit2 * 4
      )
      
      return guidStr =  (ModelID())+((zoom-1) as string)+(bit.intAsHex (highSwizzle + (rot-1)))+(bit.intAsHex texIndex)
      )

So what does it tell us?
first of all that size of the bat is limited by the number of slabs/FSHs per each view. And that I was wrong about actual number. It is not 32 but 64. - meaning that the whole set of HEX numbers :


are available
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 02, 2009, 06:03:45 PM

I have to experiment the HD method and I associated it with the reFiSHing.

The result is not blatant because I do not have chooses the model check :thumbsdown: , I would redo a try when I shall have a little more time with a more adapted model.

We can see slightly that with the reFiSHing outlines are more net. &mmm

(http://img5.hostingpics.net/pics/307453HD.jpg) (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=307453HD.jpg)


I am sorry Simfox I did not understand everything your questions and your remarks, my English is limited

Orange

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 02, 2009, 06:56:16 PM
here's a railing i did using shrinking. note the jagged edges are the game attempting to shrink the bigger texture i think or actually the resolution limit of my screen :P . It still better then the resolution i could get otherwise.

(http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/9764/hrrailing02.jpg)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 02, 2009, 08:24:14 PM
hey guys, here is a HD asphalt universal sidewalk replacement mod, very similar to the standard resolution one on the stex that loads of people use.  It may well need to go into a candidacy thread once more testing has been done but i invite you all to have a play with it...

(the texture is one of my creation)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: allan_kuan1992 on April 02, 2009, 09:14:25 PM
ah... debutterfly... have you heard of the Vista bugfix for SC4Tool and FiSHman? Or am i misreading the problem? xD

- Allan Kuan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 03, 2009, 01:38:10 AM
What we call True3D is when you can rotate the model in any angle and it will still look correct, whereas the BATed models if you rotate them at any angle they will look different, because they are only boxes.

By isometric I mean the model only works in 'isometric'(or whatever view SC4 has) view, and same as above.


Quote
Actually you can consider that Roundabout not to be a single model but a collection of such where each group is representing one individual indivisible piece and the 2 most important points of all

It doesn't matter what it looks like to a human, to the game it is the same as a skyscraper that has been cut up.
In the reader, it calls each slab a group, each group can have it's own texture. A diced BAT is a BAT with more than one group. They are the same format as wouanagaine said (and I attempted to say)

Quote
or like in the case of that round about only one texture per one segment.
By segment, you mean what the reader calls a group?
In the S3D file it is only possible to have one texture per group.

What you are saying, is the limit of 64 slabs, is only because of the IID scheme of the Textures.
Not because there is some technical limitation in the S3D files or SC4.

In the NAM we don't follow the BAT IID scheme for textures, so then there is no limit.

Also to get more slabs, just break into another IID range, but then you'd have to add them manually in the reader.

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Gwail on April 03, 2009, 02:32:08 AM
however a trick is to do a good job at a higher resolution first......then Shrink the file down and let the computer blend things a bit....The resulting detail is something you couldn't have drawn yourself. It's a photoshop trick for producing realism.....trust me it works.
Very good and often used method, of course. I can't figure it too, why Orange first shrinks files down and next enlarges it back (yes, less, but always). Downsampling at such dimensions degrades small details irretrievably, even best interpolation won't restore them. Why not downsample image once, using most suitable Adobe's bicubic resampling? You can obtain your "blending" without losing details.

The best solution for Orange's way would be to produce oversized model without compression (no cruel artifacts) and then let PSD make the rest, I think. I'm using similiar method trying to get new airport bidirectional lights (although I "refish" the whole dummy BAT with PSD file and next alter model file with Reader for transparency). It's good to know, that I'll be able to make experiments with HD textures :thumbsup:!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 03, 2009, 03:10:42 AM
As I can understand the point which require an explanation is the increase of the model:

With Gmax (I do not know 3dsmax). The preview is more beautiful than the export which is too much pixelated. I thus proceed as it:

1. I export my model normally
2. With Gmax, me resize my model of 200, 400 500 (variable according to the model)
3. I make a preview North South West East with a screen shot
4. On Photoshop I recreate the Apha whith more detail, if I would some more of detail I resize again the pics
5. Before I reduced the image to find the initial size of the 1st export. But now that I know the HD technique , I would reduce until x2
6. I create the FSH and I replace the original FSH


It is necessary to keep in memory that the principle is: the preview is more beautiful than the FSH to export

Orange
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 06:20:05 AM
Very good and often used method, of course. I can't figure it too, why Orange first shrinks files down and next enlarges it back (yes, less, but always). Downsampling at such dimensions degrades small details irretrievably, even best interpolation won't restore them. Why not downsample image once, using most suitable Adobe's bicubic resampling? You can obtain your "blending" without losing details.

This is exactly what I was wondering about. He has a large file from the screen grab of the preview (500% normal size). Then he downsize it to what would be normal size (20% of that 500%) and then enlarge again (to 400%).
And I had not idea what he does with it since from picture only action I saw was making the mask...

Warrior:
It's kind of funny ... this discussion we have... Basically we say same thing, only with different title...
I say they are different on inside, you say same , however when we describe this "inside" we basically write the same thing...
I think it all boils down to "liberal" use of terms... I mean you can say that something looking different from different angle because it is a box... just because it's not really not true, it's just irrelevant. There is nothing in specific boxy properties that would even start to explain this. Same like Isometric model is irrelevant term, it's like saying that milk is spacious... Not really untrue because it's not a property milk has...


As per suggestion of bypassing the BAT naming limit by manually adding and naming stuff... Well if you would lay out the plan how to do it I'm willing to try..

Orange:
It's not the point that got me and I believe Enedi wondering...

What we are wondering is:
1. After you have get you "magnified" preview rendered in GMAX (btw as I've mentioned the preview looks better because it uses anti-aliasing which is turned off for the export), you make a screen grab. Right?

2. Then you paste it into Photoshop (into new file there). Right?

3.what do you do right after that? From the tutorial you have posted it looks like you imediatelly reduce it size to when would be original (not magnified) preview render. Is that correct?

4. why don't you use alpha generated by GMAX? Why do you think that alpha you recreate in Photoshop has more detail? Do you manually add it?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 03, 2009, 06:26:17 AM
4. why don't you use alpha generated by GMAX? Why do you think that alpha you recreate in Photoshop has more detail? Do you manually add it?

I'm confused about this question.  The alpha generated by GMAX would be for the smaller,  crappier, un AA'd render.  If Orange is using a screen capture from GMAX preview then there is no alpha available and he would have to create his own.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 06:34:10 AM
If Orange is using a screen capture from GMAX preview then there is no alpha available and he would have to create his own.

Why is that?

Alpha is always available!

So if he is doing preview of blown-up model the alpha for this very preview is generate at same very time. and it is right there on the screen! All that it requires to see it just one mouse click!

there!

(http://s49.radikal.ru/i125/0904/1b/9b10e7963ec0.jpg)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 03, 2009, 06:37:23 AM
Aye? I knew it was with Max, but not in GMAX, thats good news then.  ;)  I would assume that orange didn't know about it.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 03, 2009, 07:03:59 AM
Orange:
It's not the point that got me and I believe Enedi wondering...

What we are wondering is:
1. After you have get you "magnified" preview rendered in GMAX (btw as I've mentioned the preview looks better because it uses anti-aliasing which is turned off for the export), you make a screen grab. Right?

2. Then you paste it into Photoshop (into new file there). Right?

3.what do you do right after that? From the tutorial you have posted it looks like you imediatelly reduce it size to when would be original (not magnified) preview render. Is that correct?

4. why don't you use alpha generated by GMAX? Why do you think that alpha you recreate in Photoshop has more detail? Do you manually add it?

1. right
2. right
3. Effectively I reduced directecment in the size of origin because I did not want to go into the detail of the modification which I could bring it. It's a simply tuto.
4. Most part of time I use the apha generated by Gmax, but sometimes as it is the case for the vegetable, I prefer to make him I even to add details or to adapt. It is subjective
As we can see on the tractor, wheels are more round for example... it is small  ;D

It is the technique which I use recently of time, and it allows me to improve the depiction of prop very cut.
I use it especially to modify quickly Bat that I could not make with Gmax. I would show you an example this evening.

Orange
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 07:19:52 AM
yeah especially given that it has text RGB Alpha right there staring you into en eye :D

(http://s54.radikal.ru/i145/0904/c4/c2a1155e295b.jpg)

(http://i050.radikal.ru/0904/82/fc7da9620800.jpg)

you know this is one of the main reason I couldn't understand the whole point of that procedure...


But I need a help now..
 I have decided to follow suggestion posted here by few members of simply going for slabbed s3d in the place of single slab one...
And run myself into the impass.

What I did.
1. I exported model as usual.
2. scaled it to 200% (thanx Callagrafx, I've finlally started to use Xref)
3. exported new bigger LODs Exported them and then exported the model itself.
4. deleted from first SC4Modle file all Zoom5 S3d's and FSHs
5. copy/pasted relevant files from second SC4Model
6. fixed Group ID to match target file one.
7. and... still have total mess.

Somehow the Group ID in the material (in s3d) either shows something entirely irrelevant, or if it is correct still slab is simply white - sign of missing FSH, rather then properly textured.
What do I do next?
I tried:
Set Texture
Replace Texture
Change Instance/Name
to no result what so ever.
Remove texture removes it alright, but None of the command seem able to place anything back!

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Gwail on April 03, 2009, 07:27:03 AM
This is exactly what I was wondering about. He has a large file from the screen grab of the preview (500% normal size). Then he downsize it to what would be normal size (20% of that 500%) and then enlarge again (to 400%).
And I had not idea what he does with it since from picture only action I saw was making the mask...
You have answered our question, SimFox, I've just figured it out. Orange downscales to 20% one file (for texture) and enlarges another copy for making own alpha. Take a look at the calculated file sizes at the top of PSD dialog boxes in both cases.

Somehow the Group ID in the material (in s3d) either shows something entirely irrelevant, or if it is correct still slab is simply white - sign of missing FSH, rather then properly textured.
What do I do next?
You're doing this with Reader, right? Have you tried to reload file? Sometimes Reader still refers to the deleted fsh, loaded previously into the memory at opening the file. Or crashes, when the fsh has been replaced by another one.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 07:59:58 AM
Thanx a bunch! that did the trick!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 03, 2009, 08:31:46 AM
yeah especially given that it has text RGB Alpha right there staring you into en eye :D

Never stared me in the eye mate... haven't done preview renders in gmax at all.  ;)  Makes sense though, just I knew the rendering in GMAX was limited so didn't know the preview had those options.

Looking good though guys.  When using Max, would it not be easy enough to do a render from the default cameras using a higher resolution to cut the images up?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 03, 2009, 09:21:28 AM
Well since i caused such confusion with my quote let me explain what i was under the impression Orange_o_ was doing and what i was trying to explain.

In any illustration you can have multiple approaches. The ones that concern me for sc4d are technical and photo realistic (as much as possible). Technical drawings depend heavily on crisp clear line weight that clearly delineates one surface from another. This is a well defined approach and makes things quite easy to understand. However in reality there actually very few crisp clean lines. In order to get something realistic you have to have a more believable chaotic line system.... especially for things like flora. So in order to get something not look like clear crisp and painted on, you can simply draw at a higher resolution and add all the detail you want and then reduce it.

Sounds crazy but i'm telling ya it works.:P

Bud

Edit think of it as producing a surface with slight color variations as opposed to a solid color surface.....same sort of thing!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 03, 2009, 09:57:10 AM
Looking good though guys.  When using Max, would it not be easy enough to do a render from the default cameras using a higher resolution to cut the images up?

Finally something that starts to sound good  ::)  :thumbsup: ¡¡¡ ... SF... what do you think about this way for one slab models??
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 03, 2009, 10:40:15 AM
I dunno,
I'm going to stop posting here now :)

SimFox, if the IID is right and it still shows white in the reader, then you need to save the dat, close it and reopen it.
That is how I do this.
But reindexing and then rebuilding the DIR file might work as well.

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 10:47:15 AM
OK
I have a good news to report!

Slabbing things down DOES work! just as Ripple predicted... I guess by now he has to be awarded the title or Oracle! Since he is NEVER wrong.
Given that I, think I know how to implement it in the export scripts so that we would effectively have a Zoom 6 render in stead of zoom 5. Now that I had tested it on my new GLR stops and seen that it works (although manually editing every vertex was a pain in you know what...) I'll certainly try

Warrior:
re-indexing and rebuilding didn't work, but closing and re-opening, luckily, did
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 03, 2009, 11:00:47 AM
If I understood well (sorry) Simfox, you want to replace the FSH and the S3D...
Why the S3D?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 11:24:08 AM
because it is S3d's what you actually see in game... FSHs are just textures applied to them...

I'm right now running test export. It it will be successful, we'll have new fully automated HiDef exporter already tonight! :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 11:34:39 AM
(although manually editing every vertex was a pain in you know what...)

You can always copy the vertices from the S3D file into an Excel spreadsheet.
Then perform the division by 2 in there and copy the new values back from Excel to the S3D file.

Check Chrisim's Tutorial: MODding rendered SC4Models (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=4093.0) for more information. ;)

That won't of course be needed, once you get that done within the BAT script!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 03, 2009, 11:45:47 AM
because it is S3d's what you actually see in game... FSHs are just textures applied to them...

But with the 1st export you already have the S3D it is just enough to replace the FSH &mmm
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 11:59:02 AM
But with the 1st export you already have the S3D it is just enough to replace the FSH &mmm

When doubling the size of the bat, you're effectively making an export for zoom 6.
After that you reduce the size of the model (the LOD box) by halving the vertices in the S3D file.
The textures will remain unchanged though, at 256×256 pixels.

Thus, the FSH textures are now mapped onto a smaller model.
As SimFox showed with the subway prop above, the result can be both better and worse,
compared to the zoom 5 rendered in an ordinary way.
Normally the result seems to be at least on the same level though.

The advantage comes when looking at zoom 6 in the game. In that case, the zoom 5 model is simply doubled in size (both horisontally and vertically), which means the 256×256 textures would be mapped on a much larger area (512×512 pixels, 4 times in number of pixels), increasing the dot size on the screen (to be 2×2 pixels instead of 1×1).

By doing HD props this way, we already have FSH files that are made for zoom 6 though,
and the dot size will remain the same (1×1 pixel) as in zoom 5.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 12:01:17 PM
You can always copy the vertices from the S3D file into an Excel spreadsheet.
Then perform the division by 2 in there and copy the new values back from Excel to the S3D file.

Check Chrisim's Tutorial: MODding rendered SC4Models (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=4093.0) for more information. ;)

That won't of course be needed, once you get that done within the BAT script!

Yeah I should have...
But now there is no need anymore.
All be totally automatic, no need for any manipulation!
No need to scale model, no need to copy/paste anything, adjust any numbers, etc.
Just press Render BAT and all shall be done for you!

Orange:
what firt export are you talking?
The thing is s3d modles are slies into slabs given camera point of view so as to fit 256x256pix textures. If your want to have hi-def textures/FSH (basically double the size of what suppose to be you would need to adjust not only FSHs but also slabs.  
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 12:11:02 PM
Just a wild thought... $%Grinno$%

I don't suppose the game engine would realize there is a zoom 6 render, if this render which was done with a doubled model size, would be added into the SC4Model file as extra S3D (after the division by 2) and FSH files, with a "5" (instead of a "4") in the third digit (from the right)?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 12:13:26 PM
I'm not sure i follow you...
 what do you mean? To ADD the zoom6 to already existing 5 zom? of just replace zoom5 (with number 4) by Zoom 6 with number 5??
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 12:22:42 PM
I'm not sure i follow you...
 what do you mean? To ADD the zoom6 to already existing 5 zom? of just replace zoom5 (with number 4) by Zoom 6 with number 5??

Keep the old, normally rendered model with zooms 1-5 (numbers 0-4).

Then double the size of the model and re-render it.
Take the newly rendered zoom 5 and divide the S3D vertices by 2.
Then change the 4 to 5 in all S3D and FSH files, and correct the material addresses accordingly.

Change all Group ID 's to the same as in the normally rendered model.
Then import these files into that first SC4Model file.

Since the other zooms (1-5) are recognized by the zoom digit (0-4),
just maybe the game would also recognize zoom 6 from the digit being 5.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 12:26:16 PM
OK here are the results:

Zoom 5:

(http://s53.radikal.ru/i140/0904/5f/c4e7b79fa3ac.jpg)

and...


Zoom 6:

(http://s61.radikal.ru/i172/0904/7b/2219d6629d9a.jpg)

everything seem to work fine. Including transparencies and proper shadowing from transparencies.

As you can see even at zoom5 all the details are pretty decently preserved and at some way it is even better than traditional Zoom5. Particularly at the ground level. The traditional seesaw we are quite familiar and bored with is virtually gone. So displaying only 1/4 of the actual pixels may be a good idea with source does have enough info in it.
My initial concern was about how one should model than in this age of HD. Should One look for best picture at zoom5 level (like frames, lattice etc) or should those be geared to New Zoom6. Of course the discussion will only commence when this script become public, but I sort of think we should stay with conventions of Zoom5, as long as those weren't exaggerated - like 30cm thick frames,  keep them at 15 max 20 cm and those will be great for both z6 and z5.

PS
the file size , just as I've predicted (for only Zoom6 HD) twice the normal (186Kb for HD vs 97Kb for SD version)

PS
Ripple I'll try if that will work...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 03, 2009, 12:34:41 PM
That's amazing,
Really much better detail, especially when you compare it to the buildings above it  :thumbsup:

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 03, 2009, 12:40:24 PM
wow...so we just add a new set of rotations alocated to 0x-----5--? Thats quite awsome and makes things a lot easier....Another thing i gotta try! I'll check to see if you can add a rep to a network model first to do the same sort of thing!....Ok i tried to add a 5th rep to the network model and a 5th s3d with a unique texture. The game didn't crash but it didn't use the the model or texture. But it was just a quick test. :thumbsdown:

Bud

Edit fixed thanks to below.....just so i don't confuse others !!! THanx
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 12:41:50 PM
0x-------5?

0x-----5-- in that case. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 12:57:29 PM
Hold your horses!!!

What is shown here:

(http://s61.radikal.ru/i172/0904/7b/2219d6629d9a.jpg)

is a proper zoom6 masquerading as zoom5. Meaning that model is sliced into 128x128 pixels slabs rather then 256x256 pixel slabs. While the FSHs are 256x256 pixels. In picture above (Zoom6) you see the entire FSH texture pixel per pixel.


When on the other hand same 256x256pix FSHs are mapped onto LOD slabs at zoom 5 they are effectively halved in resolution e.g. you see only 1/4 of the all pixels available in the texture and you get this:

(http://s53.radikal.ru/i140/0904/5f/c4e7b79fa3ac.jpg)

So at this stage there are only 5 Zooms in the SC4Modle File. But this model has been created without ANY manual work! With No single extra mouse move or click as compared to the normal SD model with new modified BAT scripts (in this case for both GMAX and MAX). This is a huge plus of this solution. It doesn't require any additional effort or special experience by users - anyone who can bat could star making HD models right away.

The idea to include one more zoom level - unique Zoom6 level just came up few minutes ago... And at this time it is unclear if that could be done at all, meaning if game would accept extra code. Even if it will automatic creation of such models would demand very serious re-writing, not mere editing of the BAT Scripts. So even if this will prove to be working theory the practical tool would take some time, as I don't have much time to dive head down into scripting...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 01:10:02 PM
I quite agree. ;)
If zoom 5, based on zoom 6, looks better than a traditional zoom 5, then there's no need to keep the traditional zoom 5 at all.

In other words, we'd get the same result that Cogeo accomplished with his bus sign, but directly through the BAT script.

It needs to be optional though, and not set as default.
Otherwise, we'd get skyscrapers rendered for zoom 6 as well... $%Grinno$%


EDIT:
Ok i tried to add a 5th rep to the network model and a 5th s3d with a unique texture. The game didn't crash but it didn't use the the model or texture. But it was just a quick test. :thumbsdown:

Thanks for checking that out, Bud! :thumbsup:
At least we know that won't be possible now.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 01:13:54 PM

Otherwise, we'd get skyscrapers rendered for zoom 6 as well... $%Grinno$%

and what would be harm in that?   ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 03, 2009, 01:14:26 PM
and what would be harm in that?   ::)

More than 64 slabs? ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: debutterfly on April 03, 2009, 03:31:38 PM
Got it fixed thanks Allan.

-Larry (debutterfly)

Edit:
Here's Some more action
(http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/5522/riversidenov30012387911.png)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on April 03, 2009, 03:36:42 PM

(http://s61.radikal.ru/i172/0904/7b/2219d6629d9a.jpg)

Excellent model SimFox!  &apls

I have some questions:
- So this is now done by the script! Does this mean that the (same) model can be exported in either HD or normal mode (no prob if this requires manually replacing a script file, this is not an issue at all).
- Have you considered applying HD export for zoom level 4 (0x----03##) as well?
- Which script (filename pls?) have you changed? (don't want to see the changes, or tell me what the changes are, just take at look at the original). I didn't know that we had access to this part of BAT, I always thought this was a Maxis (?) "black box", with very few, if any, things that can be changed. It might be possible to improve more things then, eg the way alphas are made, the background colour etc.
- I see you have set the transparency too. Was this done in the script as well? Then I should rather consider stop working on my utility (its functions would be resizing of models, and set/remove transparency). In such a case you should make three scripts though, so that all combinations of HD and transparency become available.
- And (a little off-topic, sorry), as far as I can see the model has no problems with the shadows or "grille" lines on the platforms. Was some special technique employed here, or this is just a result a carefull application of standard techniques (a single-piece model, maybe some 0.05 or 0.10m above ground, and the platform being at least 0.45m tall)? Just curious! Did rendering in HD improved this too? Would it be too much to ask you send it to me to take a deeper look? (my email is public).

Congrats again!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 03, 2009, 04:01:34 PM
I am really very impressed Simfox, you are able to making very big things.  :o


I have ridiculous with my small bush, but I post it all the same

(http://img5.hostingpics.net/pics/156640HD2.jpg) (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=156640HD2.jpg)

Normal export :
It's a normal export ;D

HD :
I have enlarges the first model to 200, reLOD and export.
With the Reader I have save the 4 FSH (30400,30410,30420,30430)
Then I imported this 4 FSH in the "normal export" to replace 4 initial
Only the FSH I don't understand why you import the S3D ???

HD+reFiSHing :
I have enlarges the first model to 200, make preview N,S,W,E,
Capture screen colour and the Alpha ;)
Reworking with photoshop and create the FSH
Then I imported this 4 FSH in the "normal export" to replace 4 initial


Orange



Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 03, 2009, 04:51:01 PM
Shall we guess that once the new script is distributed,  we can simply re-render our old models to get the new HD ones ???.  Usually I use high res textures for all my models, so this would be a real "speedway" to update existing content  ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mattb325 on April 03, 2009, 05:46:55 PM
Shall we guess that once the new script is distributed,  we can simply re-render our old models to get the new HD ones ???.  Usually I use high res textures for all my models, so this would be a real "speedway" to update existing content  ::)

This is my hope too. I still have almost all my model files (a couple are corrupt) but if this script works for gmax and simply enables a re-render of existing Bats without serious lag on the computer, then wow!  &apls
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Yoder7652 on April 03, 2009, 07:57:46 PM
ditto to what the two above said...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 03, 2009, 08:17:17 PM
Cogeo:

- yes this is all done by script, and currently switching between HD and normal export will require switching of two versions of script and a restart of MAX/GMAX. But that option/switch could be brought into the UI as well and I’ll look into it when I’ll get more time to continue work on new export script that would be compatible with MR3.6+

- yes it could also be easily accomplished, but I don’t think be of any benefit at anyone. Ideally we always should see maximum information – eg have 1:1 ration between data in the texture and data displayed on screen. This HD export remedies situation of Zoom6 that isn’t a real zoom – more like a digital zoom on pocket cameras or phones – just taking existing picture and blowing it up. And it comes at some cost to the Zoom5 since you see a reduced image. But doing it for other zooms would mean quadrupling size of the texture and file size and seeing only one quarter of it, I see no logic in it although I know some may find it more appealing cause it may appear “sharper”. But I if it would be possible would still prefer the solution we were discussing with RippleJet – each Zoom level (including 5  and 6) having its own per pixel accurate textures. I couldn’t check this possibility tonight but I’ll try tomorrow morning.

- which script… well, more on this with an explanation how it works and why later… As far as alphas go… they are anyway made anyway at most efficient, best and as far as I can say only practical way – by alpha splitting TGA. Background color could be set via UI in Max so I see no point to do it in script, just as I’m very much against creation of new buttons and pull down menus that simply duplicate Max basic features. I think people should lean the tool they are using rather than rely on bells and whistles… But if you want to do same to GMAX it may be more complicated. GMAX export by default doesn’t necessarily create alpha, but rather rely on black background to be an alpha of sorts. I haven’t been with a fine comb through GMAX scripts, but I have a feeling that choice (as for background, alpha and so on) are in as you called it Maxis Black box.

- transparency wasn’t set by the script. You’ll see how simple the “scripting” was later on. It was done manually in iLive Reader. I don’t think that thing like that could be accomplished with Max script since manipulation of data outside of Max is required. So, if you are making some sort of utility that would automate these sort of things that would be great! What are you writing it in?

- nope, no problem with grill… No special technique either. Just regular modeling to the real world sizes. I do follow overall rule of 1,3 vertical dimensions, but never scale my models. Instead I simply take that coefficient into account when modeling. I also don’t apply it to everything, only major and meaningful elements. For instance for windows, but not to window frames.
This particular model is a single piece prop. The thickness of the platform is 30cm (which is about the real world size (about 20cm at least here in Helsinki) *1,3 give or take couple of cm… Anywhat at zoom 5 1 pixel is equal to 20,25 cm in vertical and 14,5 in other dimensions. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make things smaller than that, at least in Max just need goo AA applied.
But, of course, the grill is caused by game internal workings. LODs just can’t be too thin I guess. In this respect I wonder how Puzzle pieces work…
As far as this “HD” rendering concerned, I can’t say yet if it does improve or otherwise something… there isn’t yet enough evidence to make such a speculation. I can say one thing though… that degradation I saw on my subway entrance That I shown on my manually HD-d model wasn’t there when export was done with a script… but then a rather nasty seesaw appeared… so…

Do you want to get this GLR model? In what format? SC4Modle or max?


Ok and now a little description and explanation on how this script works.

I got the idea on how to realize desired effect – effectively doubling texture size and, if necessary, cutting additional slabs only at zoom5 without any need to do manual work in Reader, while I was arguing with Warrior about similarities/differences between Puzzle piece models and BAT models. Idea evolved around 3 sets of measurements/coordinate systems we have there.
- Real and absolute with infinite resolution– size of the 3d model. After all 1 meter is 1 meter no matter how close you zoom on it, or out of it dimensions are represented by floats.
- Real but relative – bitmaps, textures, FSHs and abstract, relative and constant – UV space.

Properties of UV space mean that we don’t need to bother with it. But other two need some consideration.
Scaling model 200% would give us our desired 2x resolution in textures. But it would also make a model twice the size. And we would need to go and manually reduce coordinates of s3d vertecies in reader –not a most pleasant task… and, most importantly absolutely pointless.
What we need is bigger textures without any increase in model size. So, whatever we do must be relative, not absolute. After arriving to this simple conclusion it was obvious what have to be done – we have to zoom into the model. This wouldn’t make it bigger, it will make it appear bigger, make it bigger not absolutely, but relatively. This would also take care of any needed slab cutting, since it’s also done not in absolute units (meters) but relative – pixels at given resolution/zoom level.

After that, it was a mere technicality, and since I’ve spent fare bit of time with scripts while making preview for Max, and later truNite exporter and Bat4Max 2.5 I just knew where to look to…

As a result altering only 3(!) characters had enabled HD export.
It’s that simple!

For those who only use GMAX you would need this:
Ziped script file (Updated April 5th)  (http://rapidshare.com/files/217780695/CameraRig.zip)
(replace with it one in your GMAX BAT script folder)

Those who use 3ds Max would also need this:
Ziped script file (Updated April 5th)  (http://rapidshare.com/files/217780530/CPCameraRig.zip)
Also replace with it one that you currently have in your Bat4Max Scripts folder.

In order to revert to the original export just restore original scripts, or change 292 to 146 in array of values for zoomSizes in stViewportCameraRig Struct (you’ll find it on line 63)

Preview:
In GMAX as long as you use modified script your zoom5 preview will be, in fact, zoom6 preview.
In Max to get Zoom6 preview you would need do same alteration as described above in ShortBatPreview03.ms, but naturally in reverse order.

For those who have problem with accessing files on Rapidshare they are attached to this message.
CameraRig.zip  is a file for GMAX
CPCameraRig.zip is for Max

Remember, if you use MAX you'll need BOTH!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mattb325 on April 04, 2009, 03:33:41 AM
The Gmax script file certainly does what it says it does.

Attached to this post is a re-rendered prop of a deodara tree which I released in the W2W prop pack. the original is on the left; the HD on the right. The difference is remarkable.

The size of the tree is basically 17mx17mx37m. The old SC4.model file was 79KB - this new one is 206KB; more than double...but I never thought I would ever see such clarity from gmax  :)

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 04, 2009, 03:46:08 AM
Outstanding render Matt :thumbsup:  (<-- you readed my mind about trees ;D)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 04, 2009, 04:25:53 AM
I can see a number of prop packs needing some updating... ::)


I have enlarges the first model to 200, reLOD and export.
With the Reader I have save the 4 FSH (30400,30410,30420,30430)
Then I imported this 4 FSH in the "normal export" to replace 4 initial
Only the FSH I don't understand why you import the S3D ???

David, you were the smart one in here! &idea

Of course, dividing the vertices of the doubled sized model is unnecessary,
as you already have the original, unscaled zoom 5 render...

With the new scripts, the question is academic...
I just needed you to know that I noticed it though. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 04, 2009, 05:08:47 AM
Regarding this question:


- I see you have set the transparency too. Was this done in the script as well? Then I should rather consider stop working on my utility (its functions would be resizing of models, and set/remove transparency). In such a case you should make three scripts though, so that all combinations of HD and transparency become available.


and the answer:

Cogeo:
- transparency wasn’t set by the script. You’ll see how simple the “scripting” was later on. It was done manually in iLive Reader. I don’t think that thing like that could be accomplished with Max script since manipulation of data outside of Max is required. So, if you are making some sort of utility that would automate these sort of things that would be great! What are you writing it in?


I just can second SF's words, and express my interest in such a tool as well  ;D  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 04, 2009, 05:13:18 AM
The Gmax script file certainly does what it says it does.

Attached to this post is a re-rendered prop of a deodara tree which I released in the W2W prop pack. the original is on the left; the HD on the right. The difference is remarkable.

The size of the tree is basically 17mx17mx37m. The old SC4.model file was 79KB - this new one is 206KB; more than double...but I never thought I would ever see such clarity from gmax  :)



I could get banned for the first word out my mouth when I saw that!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 04, 2009, 05:32:46 AM
Thank you very much Simfox, you are the best  :thumbsup:

mattb325 : you're tree is beautifull  &apls

Ripple : It is sure that the export machine is overheating this weekend
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 04, 2009, 05:33:28 AM
I can see a number of prop packs needing some updating... ::)

We need to be extremely cautious with this, as the increased overhead in filesize will be an issue for mega prop packs and distributing them, both in terms of space and bandwidth.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 04, 2009, 05:36:22 AM
We need to be extremely cautious with this, as the increased overhead in filesize will be an issue for mega prop packs and distributing them, both in terms of space and bandwidth.

Added to the fact that we have no idea what effect this will have on the game engine.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 04, 2009, 05:56:04 AM
In french we say : "killjoy" :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 04, 2009, 05:58:38 AM
In English we say "Overkill"  :P :P :P  :D :D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 04, 2009, 06:01:11 AM
I guess updates to old prop packs could be optional add-ons, by distributing only the FSH files for zoom 5...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 04, 2009, 06:04:18 AM
In french we say : "killjoy" :P

Untill you grind the engine to a halt because it can't handle the strain in which case you are killing the joy.  :P

I think this is an increadible development and love the result, but we do need to be cautious. ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 04, 2009, 06:14:36 AM
We need to be extremely cautious with this, as the increased overhead in filesize will be an issue for mega prop packs and distributing them, both in terms of space and bandwidth.

One thing we can do is use better compression software, which addresses both issues.  For example, there's the free 7-zip (http://7-zip) program.  Although it creates regular zip files, it also creates files in its own 7z format, which are supposedly 30% to 70% smaller than standard zip format.  And since it's free, access is not a problem.

Other people may know of even better solutions.  But something along these lines would help a lot.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: BarbyW on April 04, 2009, 06:38:48 AM
I agree with Diggis and Cal that extreme caution should be exercised in how this is approached. It isn't the compression for distributing that concerns me so much as the effect on the game engine and graphics. I know that when I put a lot of CP trees in God Mode it slows the graphics down enormously. This is a superb discovery but I think we should hold back a bit from deciding that all prop packs need updating. This needs to be tested in game for a time before any final decisions are taken about updating. To my knowledge this has been tested with one or two items in plugins in game. It needs longer testing and with many more HD props first.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 04, 2009, 06:48:02 AM
Yes it is sure that it must be before tested


I experimented different zoomsize by modifying the script, it's the results for the aspect and for the size of the SC4model :

(http://img5.hostingpics.net/pics/925122Untitled_1.jpg) (http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=925122Untitled_1.jpg)

For the fun (2) I use a complexe LOD to compare with the normal LOD


Orange
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 04, 2009, 06:51:26 AM
I agree with Diggis and Cal that extreme caution should be exercised in how this is approached. It isn't the compression for distributing that concerns me so much as the effect on the game engine and graphics. I know that when I put a lot of CP trees in God Mode it slows the graphics down enormously. This is a superb discovery but I think we should hold back a bit from deciding that all prop packs need updating. This needs to be tested in game for a time before any final decisions are taken about updating. To my knowledge this has been tested with one or two items in plugins in game. It needs longer testing and with many more HD props first.

I couldn't agree with you more, Barby.  I think some actual performance numbers here would be invaluable in assessing the impact of these changes.  I think one saving grace here is that only zooms 5 and 6 are affected, which means that only a relatively small portion of the city is displayed.  But again, tests are necessary to fully understand the impact.

The other thing to consider is that the impact will also vary depending on what kind of computer and graphics the player is using.  Some may be able to use the new format with ease, others may need to stick with the old format.  Again, hard numbers should be useful guidance in this area.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 04, 2009, 06:53:51 AM
I think one saving grace here is that only zooms 5 and 6 are affected, which means that only a relatively small portion of the city is displayed.

My thought as well. :)
Initially I think we should restrict ourselves to HD'fying only smaller props though... and, indeed David, only such that have a simple LOD box, and test the performance in the game after that.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 04, 2009, 07:09:28 AM
I would not recommend to substitute the existing prop/textures packs. I'd suggest new HD packs, only with the needed textures as Tage said  ;), which would override the existing ones, if the player wish to do so, and his/her system specs can support it  ::)  ;D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 04, 2009, 08:31:38 AM
Couple of thought aloud…

1 replacing…
well even if it is done (and I bet it will take some time) I what to enquire how “over-writes” work…Original is loaded into memory, when program while loading comes to the over-ride what does it do? discard the already loaded file/files and replace it with a over-ride, or does it keep both?
This situation may be made worse/more complicated when we are talking of BAT packs and over-rides that cover only part of such a dat. How is data structured in memory? as individual exemplar, FSH, S3d files or as a DAT block. Cause if it is a second case creating over-rides will effectively put greater strain on memory system More data would have to be kept loaded and performance of graphics every time game would need check for over-rides and select ten for display hence putting extra burden on game (may be not graphic engine, but memory management and database), anyway increasing overall

2. strain
I might be wrong but I think that the size of the textures as such doesn’t create any additional burden for graphic engine. That is when they are shown as is. Screen has fixed (for a given system) number of pixels that are managed by graphics engine. Increasing/ decreasing the resolutions of Textures doesn’t affect this number and as such doesn’t affect engine. But manipulating those textures will certainly create extra work for it. Manipulating like scaling up (for Zoom6 in the original) or scaling down (for zoom5 in HD version). This is second reason (apart from fidelity) I would prefer to stay with 1:1 ration, rather than do any scaling

2. Bandwidth and compression.
Some material in files may be compressible and some may not be such. You can only 8as a rule) compress uncompressed data eg BMP could be compressed, PNG couldn’t
More then that, at least sometimes compressing compressed data will result in much smaller compression ration and larger archives as compared to compressing uncompressed data.
I made a little experiment using identical image files one saved as 24 bit BMP and another as interlaced PNG (bigger than normal PNG). And compressed those with best (strongest) compression in WinRAR, WinZip and 7Zip
here are results

Compressor
BMP

PNG

none
288 056 bytes
137 022 bytes
WinRAR
88 343 bytes
137 094 bytes
ZIP
131 115 bytes
137 095 bytes
7Zip
111 555 bytes
137 779 bytes
            
As you can see PNG doesn’t compress at all, and 7Zip has biggest overhead!

As far as Bandwidth is concerned, one solution may be to keep files off site. In place like www.rapidshare.com not only it doesn’t charge for bandwidth, but it also gives bonuses for greater bandwidth use.
BTW this new export affects ONLY zoom5 Zoom6 is a virtual construct, which brings me to the next topic/news and this isn’t a good one.
I’ve tested this morning the idea we have been mentioning with Tage – creation of independent Zoom6 by adding appropriately named/coded S3d and FSH files to the SC4Modle with normal 5 zooms in it.

Unfortunately this test had failed – zoom 6 was not picked by game. Instead of it displayed scaled up Zoom5.

I wouldn’t dismiss this idea altogether, at least not till somebody (preferably at least a couple of people will replicate said result.
SC4Modle File I used/created for this test could be had here (http://rapidshare.com/files/217335237/AllZooms-0x5ad0e817_0xd972c85b_0x30000.SC4Model).
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 04, 2009, 09:35:50 AM
SF, I am using MAX7 and I am getting an error when I try to run the modified script. Is there an easy way to fix that?. I cant afford a new MAX version atm  ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 04, 2009, 10:49:23 AM
As far as Bandwidth is concerned, one solution may be to keep files off site. In place like www.rapidshare.com not only it doesn’t charge for bandwidth, but it also gives bonuses for greater bandwidth use.

No way Bubba...Rapidshare makes you wait at least 30 secs for a download and that's if there is little or no burden on it's servers, because it's a marketing ploy to make you pay for their service.  The LEX is fine as a distribution medium, as it's under our control and downloads are tracked.  At the moment, most megapacks come in at around 6-8MB...imagine if they were converted to HD, the file size would be approaching 20MB and would simply bloat out your hard drive.  To be honest, I really can't see the point if we've survived this long with the status quo....Fine create new props and small buildings, but don't go mad.  This site and LEX sit on a dedicated server that costs a lot of money per month to maintain, the last thing needed is a strain on resources.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 04, 2009, 12:00:09 PM
SF, I am using MAX7 and I am getting an error when I try to run the modified script. Is there an easy way to fix that?. I cant afford a new MAX version atm  ::)

My oh My! how did that get there?!

Somehow part of HTML code got itself into the MS file. Most probably this was caused by the way you have downloaded/saved the file. I bet you didn't really downloaded it but rather displayed it in the browser window and then some how saved from there... It may be so that you some how associated .ms file type with browser... Normally solution would be right click and choose save link as... but in case of Rapidshare it doesn't work cause it isn't really a link there but a button (with probably some code) behind it.

I'm attaching it to this message in ZIP archive
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Xyloxadoria on April 04, 2009, 12:08:44 PM
Quote from: jeronij link=topic=7464.msg236280#msg236280 date=1238839727
I just can second SF's words, and express my interest in such a tool as well  ;D  ;)
[/quote

Until the tool is done, i have made a tutorial here.
http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7495.msg236317#new (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7495.msg236317#new)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 04, 2009, 12:30:18 PM
my two cents.
   Caution is obvious because most of this is only a couple days old. As for bandwidth i suggest you just leave space allocated and scrutinneering at present levels and force individuals to choose what they want to upgrade. There is no need to upgrade everything in the game. Put the onus on the creator to justify the use of larger files. If it's seen as not improving things or just far to large reject it.....

  Besides i predict that with every good hd texture or prop there will be two that are no different in low res or just plain horrible! If someone insists on uploading something there are many alternatives.......in other words no different then now.

now if someone has another 98 cents so i could get a coffee :P

Bud

I also want to thank SimFox for those scripts....That is an awesome set of tools regardless of where this goes...Thank you very much :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 04, 2009, 12:46:56 PM
I think a very important thing to be HD, is traffic lights. Because the rest of the networks are HD(because they aren't rendered by BAT) and then you get these pixelated poles(that seem way too tall btw).

Also [generic]signs(ie speed limits) would be great because you could actually read them as well.

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 04, 2009, 04:07:43 PM
I'm drooling over the thought of my signals in HD.  I will be looking forward to further development!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 05, 2009, 04:20:00 AM
I have been trying to create my first HD Prop, but after some hours already, I cant get it to work. I tried with existing MAX scenes. I tried with fresh scenes. I tried with different renders... no luck. The HD prop does not work for me/my model  &mmm

After searching a little bit with the Reader, I figured out what is wrong, however, I cant find a solution to fix that myself.

I'll try to explain.

It seems that the export process is creating extra fsh (slabs?) for this model. Every s3d file has now two fsh textures but only one material applied:

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_01.jpg)


I tried to manually add the extra material to the s3d:

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_02.jpg)

However it is not fully recognized by the s3d.... and anyway, it would be a tedious work to manually add the material and re-skin the models  ::)

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_03.jpg)


These are the fsh for that model:

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_04a.jpg)

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_04b.jpg)


Oh, if I render the model with the previous CPCameraRig.ms it renders fine.

At this point, some help would be really welcome  ;D


EDIT: The LODs are simple boxes.

2ND EDIT: I installed the modified script for MAX only.... shall I install it for BAT as well? .... probably because I am rendering the s3d's with it.... I'll give it a try later ;)

LAST EDIT: This was of course the problem  ::) $%Grinno$% ¡¡¡  The modified scripts must be installed for both tools  :P



Btw, Simfox, everytime I try to download your scripts from rapidshare (direct link) they get corrupted because they are being saved as html files, regardless of how i name them... could you provide zipped files links for both scripts instead?. It would make things easier  ;D .And thanks for the one for MAX  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 05, 2009, 07:58:23 AM
your tyre wearlines look great but i think they stand out to much from the surface, a subtler look would greatly improve the overall feel to the textures, just my 0.02c
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Xyloxadoria on April 05, 2009, 08:04:39 AM
I did a experiment where i render out a model normally and then in HD Here are my results

(http://i40.tinypic.com/34edk3o.jpg)



Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 05, 2009, 08:27:56 AM
holy cow, thats a real dramatic improvement, truly superb, how does it look at zoom 5 though?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: debutterfly on April 05, 2009, 09:34:00 AM
How about this?

(http://img151.imageshack.us/img151/944/owrstreet256.png)

-Larry (debutterfly)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 05, 2009, 09:56:22 AM
From you pictures below, in game the textures look a bit bright,
And in the texture you just posted The curb looks a bit clean, and the place where the street touches the road,
other than that it looks good, the colour is good, and the tire marking are much better. :thumbsup:

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 12:10:43 PM
I agree with Warrior it looks too clean to CG. It need some slight irregularities here and there, particularly given that this isn't on-next-to-another tile thing
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 12:17:34 PM
I have been trying to create my first HD Prop, but after some hours already, I cant get it to work. I tried with existing MAX scenes. I tried with fresh scenes. I tried with different renders... no luck. The HD prop does not work for me/my model  &mmm

After searching a little bit with the Reader, I figured out what is wrong, however, I cant find a solution to fix that myself.

I'll try to explain.

It seems that the export process is creating extra fsh (slabs?) for this model. Every s3d file has now two fsh textures but only one material applied:

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_01.jpg)


I tried to manually add the extra material to the s3d:

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_02.jpg)

However it is not fully recognized by the s3d.... and anyway, it would be a tedious work to manually add the material and re-skin the models  ::)

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_03.jpg)


These are the fsh for that model:

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_04a.jpg)

(http://www.sc4devotion.com/multimedia/_images/HRes_Props_Error/exp_err_04b.jpg)


Oh, if I render the model with the previous CPCameraRig.ms it renders fine.

At this point, some help would be really welcome  ;D


EDIT: The LODs are simple boxes.

2ND EDIT: I installed the modified script for MAX only.... shall I install it for BAT as well? .... probably because I am rendering the s3d's with it.... I'll give it a try later ;)

LAST EDIT: This was of course the problem  ::) $%Grinno$% ¡¡¡  The modified scripts must be installed for both tools  :P



Btw, Simfox, everytime I try to download your scripts from rapidshare (direct link) they get corrupted because they are being saved as html files, regardless of how i name them... could you provide zipped files links for both scripts instead?. It would make things easier  ;D .And thanks for the one for MAX  :thumbsup:

I'll do that - put Zips on Rapidshare.

May i ask how you do your export form the look of your FSHs  something is very wrong with it.
BTW Slab - is a piece of S3d file, FSH is, well FSH... a texture that is applied to Slab.

Also Do get it correct you've ONLY replaced script file in MAX? Right?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Andreas on April 05, 2009, 12:21:46 PM
@SimFox: You should test the compression levels with a FSH file (or a bunch of them), not with BMP and PNG. BMP isn't even used in the game, and PNGs mainly for icons and UI graphics, which do not contribute to the HD prop idea. I noticed that the Nullsoft Installer (used for the NAM etc.) is able to compress FSH textures a whole lot better than a standard ZIP file (that's why the Mac versions are always much larger). I'm using the LZMA compression algorithm, which seems to be the best one so far. I'm not sure what RAR and 7ZIP are using, but even RAR is not as effective as the LZMA algorithm.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 12:32:41 PM
Andreas:
You are very right, of course... anyway my example was just to illustrate eh fact that already compressed files will not be compressed more... I choose PNG because of its lossless compression.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: JoeST on April 05, 2009, 12:36:57 PM
simfox you should upload your scripts .zip to a forum post, would mean no need for rapidshare waiting
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: debutterfly on April 05, 2009, 12:53:13 PM
how bout this?

(http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/3021/owrstraight256.png)

(http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/504/09aa0304s256.png)

(http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/944/owrstreet256.png)

-Larry (debutterfly)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 12:57:50 PM
Do you mean to attach them to the message, right? then which one... the one where links to Rapidshare were or somewhere else?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: JoeST on April 05, 2009, 12:59:07 PM
any of them, makes sense to put it in the one with the link tho :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: JoeST on April 05, 2009, 12:59:59 PM
you should consider a slightly less straight blead from the dark road surface to the street... tis a tad straight atm
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 01:00:38 PM
well...
same thing here... it it absolutely "clean" and regular...
Same problem is with RHW textures - they look totally alien in the game. I don't use them for this very reason. I just hope that with this drive to upscale the textures people will take notice of such things...

You should open any of the Maxis textures and study it... see all the nuances, variations, imperfections.
Otherwise what point in going Hi Def if your texture has less detail than a low def one...

In no way I pretend that this is a ready one but just an illustration of what I have been talking:
(http://i062.radikal.ru/0904/a4/de3d656b62ad.png)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: debutterfly on April 05, 2009, 01:44:50 PM
I'm new at doing this so thanks for the advice.  ;) I literally just started doing this on Thursday.  ;D

Does this look a little more realistic?  :-\

(http://img151.imageshack.us/img151/6452/teststraight.png)

(http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/1314/teststraighttostreet2.png)

(http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/4254/testowrstreet2.png)



-Larry (debutterfly)

Edit: I made the tire markings and the inconsistencies tileable.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 01:47:08 PM
Done! Scripts in ZOPs are attached to teh original message with download links.

A word of Caution, though!

If you use MAX you would need to update both GMAX and MAX scripts. This is absolutely essential! You need GMAX to create proper SC4Modle file with right Slads. Max doesn't cut slabs itself, only FSHs to match slabs cut by GMAX.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 01:48:55 PM
It certainly does!
One thing that you'll have to remember is that it have to be tilable!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Haljackey on April 05, 2009, 01:51:44 PM
Sweet.

I'm loving this development.  Keep at it!   :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 05, 2009, 01:52:42 PM
Aye, that is much better :thumbsup:
Keep up the good work!

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 02:06:52 PM
one thing, Debutterfly, don't post links! just files and at full resolution!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on April 05, 2009, 02:36:40 PM
Don't want to ruin the party here, but I do have some doubts:
- Has anybody really tested if making textures 256x256 indeed improves the quality? What we were presented in this thread was a special GLR texture (a very good one, I have to admit) next to the standard el-rail texture. The former of course is much more attractive, but it's too different. The same with the road textures above.
- The game's resolution is ca 11 px/m, which is quite close to 8 px/m, ie the resolution of standard textures (128px/16 m). I seriously doubt if the textures' resolution is indeed a limiting factor. For 256x256 the resolution becomes 16px/m, which still has to be scaled to fit in the game. Sincerely, I never found the textures' resolution to cause any problem (not the case with BATs). I can post some close pics to show you what I mean, but I don't think this is necessary.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 02:42:41 PM
I'm with Cogeo on this one...
I think the quality is a bigger issue than resolution...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 05, 2009, 03:15:00 PM
(http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/1482/testmeplease01.jpg)

well this text shows that it does show the extra detail. above is 256 with a single pixel red line below is a 128 with a single pixel red line. The 128 appears twice as wide in game.....

The picture below is a zoomed in picture of the one above. It happens to be twice as big.

(http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/3756/testmeplease02.jpg)

 :satisfied:

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on April 05, 2009, 03:41:52 PM
Very expected, as in both resolutions the fuchsia stripe is 1 pixel wide. There is a simple texturing technique to tone it down in lo-res, just put the stripe on a separate layer (above the background) and play with the opacity, this gives a similar effect.

There are very minor differences otherwise, and the 128x128 texture is very acceptable to my opinion, esp if compared to models, which in comparison look both pixelated and blurred (?!) in close views (I'm not talking about yours, I mean models in general). The 128x128 texture is really very good, and differences with the 256x256 one are only noticable if both are shown next to each other. That is the higher (double) resolution didn't improve the end result as much, as then there is the game's resolution that becomes the limiting factor.

EDIT: sorry, but the "x2 Zoom" doesn't really apply ingame.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 03:45:00 PM
yes it does... but this is a zoom6 ONLY thing.
at zoom6  game tile has side of about 212 pixels. meaning that normal 128 pix texture would need to be stretched (doesn't have enough pixels so upward interpolation occurs) With 256 pix downsizing occurs - texture has excess of pixels.

At zoom 5, however normal 128 pix texture is sufficient since game tile is half the size of  zoom 6.
Of course the textures aren't applied to the top-down view, so some distortions always occur, so some excess data may be instrumental.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 05, 2009, 03:54:10 PM
well all i know is that at the closest zoom a single pixel at 256 appears clearly. There is little to no distortion as my pictures show. I don't see the issue. I'm concerned with detail and that is what i mod for. For me this is quite useful.

Bud


um sorry my logic dictated that an image zoomed in twice as much as the original is zoomed twice as much  :P surely you understand what i meant???..the picture is zoomed in double from the above one.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 05, 2009, 04:15:50 PM
@SimFox: You should test the compression levels with a FSH file (or a bunch of them), not with BMP and PNG. BMP isn't even used in the game, and PNGs mainly for icons and UI graphics, which do not contribute to the HD prop idea. I noticed that the Nullsoft Installer (used for the NAM etc.) is able to compress FSH textures a whole lot better than a standard ZIP file (that's why the Mac versions are always much larger). I'm using the LZMA compression algorithm, which seems to be the best one so far. I'm not sure what RAR and 7ZIP are using, but even RAR is not as effective as the LZMA algorithm.

Yes, that was my feeling when I made the post.  If you really wanted to, you could compress PNG files with the program crushpng.  But for overall compression, the PAQ8P program is the best I've found.  I tried it on a real-life example:  BSC Mega Props - JES Vol03.dat.  It produced a file 25% smaller than the compressed one distributed in the zip file, and 50% smaller than the original.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 04:23:23 PM
You picture isn't zoomed in 2x . It is magnified 2x or stretched 2x...
Zooming is reducing view angle it maintains th resolution. You, on the other hand made picture bigger but halved it resolution. In a way it is pointless as you don't actually see more...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 05, 2009, 04:25:22 PM
the freaking point is that a single pixel appears in a 256 texture.....get it....do ya get. it.....please get it please
 :thumbsup:


my apologies i need some time off :P

Slightly burnt Bud  :(
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 05, 2009, 06:18:43 PM
I'll do that - put Zips on Rapidshare.

May i ask how you do your export form the look of your FSHs  something is very wrong with it.
BTW Slab - is a piece of S3d file, FSH is, well FSH... a texture that is applied to Slab.

Also Do get it correct you've ONLY replaced script file in MAX? Right?

Thanks for replying. I discovered the hard way that both scripts must be installed if you are using MAX ::)  $%Grinno$%

I have been able to create some HD props after that, but nothing really worth showing it yet ;D

The fsh's are rudely cutted from a print screen so dont alarm about that. Now I have everything running perfectly.

Btw, why dont upload the scipts to the LEX, or elsewhere, so they are easily accessible for many more users?. Of course once the scripts have been tested a little bit more... but from my own I have no problems to report so far  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 05, 2009, 06:33:48 PM
Well, I think that uploading them to some place like LEX is a bit premature. Not that I believe that there are some bugs as far as functionality is concerned. But the whole thing is rather user unfriendly as of yet. I mean the need to go and change scripts manually etc.
I have an idea how to integrate it all into the existing interface (both GMAX and MAX) so that it will be something like check box (x)SD or (x)HD. Still even then it for people using Max there will be need to remember that both should be set the same.
I'll try to get it made sometimes after the Easter if I'll get some work projects ready before then.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Gwail on April 06, 2009, 01:34:16 AM
One thing that you'll have to remember is that it have to be tilable!
That's why all the "imperfections and nuances" should be gentle. Otherwise they will look as odd repeatable pattern, unless you don't use multitextured FSHs.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 06, 2009, 02:42:05 AM
jeronij :
The main problem is that this script works for all the exports, now I disadvise it for big Bat, only the prop.
One would need that effectively an interface which allows to choose the script SD or HD, I think that it maybe possible but I do not master these modifications
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 06, 2009, 02:44:44 AM
On the previous page, Barby expressed concern about the effect on performance HD props would have, and I agreed with her.  So I did some basic testing.  First, here's a picture of my test setup:

(http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/7015/stationtesttn.jpg)

It may be a bit hard to recognize, but this is SimFox's new GLR shelter, displayed here a little while ago.  I put it on a T-RAM platform, and then filled a 1920x1200 screen at Zoom 5 with these.  I compared a standard definition model against a high definition model, and I tried each in both software and hardware mode.  I cycled through the various zoom levels, went from Zooms 5 and 6 to subway level (i.e., an empty screen) and back, and did the same thing with the zones view.  The results were consistent across all tests.

In software mode, there was no detectable difference between display times for standard definition models and high definition models.

In hardware mode, Zoom 6 actually displayed slightly faster with the high definition model than with the standard definition model.  Display times for all other zooms were equivalent for the two models.

What was especially interesting was that Zoom 6 was always the fastest level to display in any of my tests.  If I started at Zoom 6 and kept zooming out to Zoom 1, each level took a little longer to display than the previous one.  As expected, when I zoomed back in, the reverse was true.

My explanation for these results is the obvious one:  You've got a fixed number of elements to display at any given zoom level, and that number is no different regardless if you're starting from a standard definition file or a high definition file.  Why that number increases as you zoom out is hard for me to say, but I've noticed that effect for a long time.

As for why the high definition display at Zoom 6 was displayed slightly faster in hardware mode than the standard definition display, I would assume it's due to the fact that the high definition model provides all the data points that are needed for the display, while with the standard definition model, additional data points need to be generated, which takes additional time.

So my conclusion is this:  In software mode, high definition models have no effect on display times, while in hardware mode, they actual shorten them slightly.  In other words, in hardware mode, high definition models improve the game's performance slightly in Zoom 6, and have no effect at other zooms.

I think it's safe to assume that the same would apply to HD textures.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 06, 2009, 02:58:59 AM
I think it's safe to assume that the same would apply to HD textures.

False premise, as you tested it without other game assets in play, such as an operating transit network, growing buildings, animations, Sims, etc etc etc...  HD Props need to be tested on developed cities otherwise the test is useless.  I would suspect the display was faster was because there were no other processor hungry assets in use.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 06, 2009, 03:10:05 AM
False premise, as you tested it without other game assets in play, such as an operating transit network, growing buildings, animations, Sims, etc etc etc... 

This was intentional, as I wanted to properly isolate the prop display time from all those other factors.  Otherwise, you have no idea as to what's causing what.

Quote
HD Props need to be tested on developed cities otherwise the test is useless.

Absolute display times may certainly increase in developed and running cities, but why would the relationship between different types of displays change dramatically?  To the contrary, the fact that display times for lower zoom levels increased in the same way I have observed them increasing in fully developed cities is evidence supporting the claim that the relationship between display times is independent of city content.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 06, 2009, 03:16:27 AM
I wouldn't say it's useless...i'd say it's a good start! thanks for taking the time to start testing z.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 06, 2009, 05:52:30 AM
False premise, as you tested it without other game assets in play, such as an operating transit network, growing buildings, animations, Sims, etc etc etc...  HD Props need to be tested on developed cities otherwise the test is useless.  I would suspect the display was faster was because there were no other processor hungry assets in use.

False premise, you say? Would you care to elaborate as to exact link between the tested feature and other things you've mentioned? And relevance of such a connection? What happened to the "keeping all other things being equal" principal?

Z had made a scientific test, you, on the other hand suggest something that would prove to be totally irrelevant since it introduce such a huge number of uncontrollable variables into equation that distinguishing the exact effect of proposed alteration would be impossible.

and this quote:
I would suspect the display was faster was because there were no other processor hungry assets in use.
suggests that you haven't really read the whole of Z message, may be just glanced it diagonally. Nothing wrong with this method as long as you get what is written, or don't start to comment on it.

Z:
These finding are very much in line to what I have been predicting.

Fast zoom6
Simply displaying 2d data should be faster then generating new (Zoom6) although this process is so fast anyway that the difference wouldn't necessarily be noticeable - think of scrolling photo on your screen, or watching video. HD props display textures in 1.1 ration at zoom6 so no additional manipulation of data is called for (as compared to non-HD props). So there is already some time advantage, however this is (imho) a minuscule one. Generally zoom6 as any higher zoom may be faster because the game is still 3d at is' basic core. This means that the higher the zoom the less of 3d models it needs to display. To support this logic I can call on the help file that comes with bat that calls for the simplifications of the LODs for smaller zooms - again to reduce strain on 3d engine at smaller zooms.

The only strain HD models/textures may create would be on memory subsystem. At this experiment you have had entire city filled with one and same model, It was cached and from the point of games/computer memory was just an one model. so the difference was a mere 100kb (or so) - beyond inconsequential for memory subsystem not only of today systems but even for a 20 years old one...
But the strain will rise as more unique models are used. Game, no doubt have some algorithms on saving memory space and bandwidth. One such method would be certain subsetting done by the game - have you noticed that in a given city you don't all your buildings to pop up, rather you see same one growing here and there. If you have 20 St Ritzies in your city only one is sitting in the memory. For this reason the HD Textures would mean very little increase in overall memory usage since these are heavily instanced. I also believe that different zooms are loaded as needed. So use of the HD props will put a strain only at the time zoom utilizing them is used.

All this means that impact of the use of "HD" props and textures on the overall game performance would be minuscule, or, in certain situations, possibly even positive.

Specific of HD textures, or any other terrain/network/puzzle piece textures is that they are never displayed as is (unlike BAT FSHs). they are always manipulated to one degree or another. And in case of Network Puzzle pieces most work is required. So if you want to lighten things for your computer (especially in software mode) uninstall the NAM or at least don't use any of the puzzle pieces). Sounds silly , doesn't it? I mean the point of game is for us to enjoy it not to make it as easy for computer as possible...


Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 06, 2009, 05:54:16 AM
Yep!
That's why Maxis textures should be studied carefully to see how such an effect has been created there...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 06, 2009, 06:14:16 AM
Z had made a scientific test, you, on the other hand suggest something that would prove to be totally irrelevant since it introduce such a huge number of uncontrollable variables into equation that distinguishing the exact effect of proposed alteration would be impossible.
How is testing something out of context a scientific test?  No-one knows the impact a lot of HD props will make to people who play the game as it's intended, not just plop the same thing over and over again.  There are more things going on under the hood and a finite amount of VRAM to display them with...now when you add in that at zooms 5 and 6 there is a lot more animation going on (cars, people etc etc etc etc etc etc) then logically there will be an impact.  It's the same principle with the level of detail settings in game...those with lesser processors/cards set to medium or below because their cards can't cope with high detail.  If it has to load in an FSH file that's twice the size of normal into it's cache, that cache will fill up much quicker causing more spools to disk.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 06, 2009, 06:21:46 AM
Ok that test isn't the best to do, oh well lets test it in better way, instead of getting into the details of how that test wasn't good.

So a better test would be to take an existing city with neither the HD or SD GLR shelter, measure what you need to(I'm guessing speed, RAM, CPU and maybe FPS?),
put in the SD shelters, measure,
put in the HD shelter and measure again.?

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 06, 2009, 06:28:51 AM
Ok that test isn't the best to do, oh well lets test it in better way, instead of getting into the details of how that test wasn't good.

So a better test would be to take an existing city with neither the HD or SD GLR shelter, measure what you need to(I'm guessing speed, RAM, CPU and maybe FPS?),
put in the SD shelters, measure,
put in the HD shelter and measure again.?

Jonathan

preferably completed repeatedly over a spectrum of computer power....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 06, 2009, 06:30:04 AM
they do look good though, your efforts are most appreciated....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Xyloxadoria on April 06, 2009, 08:53:19 AM
preferably completed repeatedly over a spectrum of computer power....

I can do the test, but before we do it, there has to be an agreement on which city we will use to do the testing, or at least something similar to keep this consistent.

What i suggest is to use the "Big City Tutorial" city that comes with the game. It should be be the same for everyone, and if its not, you can reset it in the options.

Another thing that will need to be agreed on is the number of props that we will use, and how the lot they are on will look like (i could make default testing lots if they are needed) which should keep everything about the same, as varying these results could make one type of computer preform differently from another.

Of course these are just my suggestions, and you're free to do whatever you want. If we do want to set a default for the test, then feel free to post what you think they should be.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 06, 2009, 09:07:43 AM
xylo i totally agree with the big city tutorial idea, i think it should be tried with a range of plugins too, so some running maxis only and some running no maxis 5gb+ plugins. a set of test lots would also be a good idea i think.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Xyloxadoria on April 06, 2009, 10:09:25 AM
I have made lots for the high and standard definition renders of the station i showed in my test earlier. They are just a building on a blank 3x1 lot, heres what they look like
(http://i43.tinypic.com/idazns.jpg)
and heres where you can get them
 HD and SD Lots (http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=5eb5c403d786585d7f7ec40ada4772a6e04e75f6e8ebb871)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: TheTeaCat on April 06, 2009, 12:51:39 PM
hey guys, here is a HD asphalt universal sidewalk replacement mod, very similar to the standard resolution one on the stex that loads of people use.  It may well need to go into a candidacy thread once more testing has been done but i invite you all to have a play with it...

(the texture is one of my creation)

I dl'd your mod MG and have no probs so far, admittedly its only in a small tile without many residents but it looks great  &apls
and has caused no effects that I can see at the mo.

Will keep you informed if anything untoward  happens:thumbsup:
In fact you can see bits of it in my last update in Tales at TeaTime (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=1346.msg236712#msg236712)

 :satisfied:
TTC
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 06, 2009, 03:36:23 PM
I have some further results that may be of interest.

When I originally said that the HD display was "slightly faster" in hardware mode, I didn't quantify this because the display times were so fast that it was difficult to get a very accurate measurement.  The SD display took about half a second; the HD display was noticeably faster.  A principle of human perception says that the brain can normally perceive time differences down to about 200 msec; this would imply about a 40% increase in speed.  For obvious reasons, I didn't want to make that claim based on that little data.

However, I have found an experiment that is much better at quantifying this time difference.  This involved positioning the display right above the massed stations, and then scrolling through them.  At Zoom 5, this took a consistent seven seconds for both SD and HD models, in both software and hardware modes.  At Zoom 6, this took a consistent seven seconds for SD models in both modes.  It took a consistent five seconds for HD models in hardware mode, and a consistent seven seconds for HD models in software mode.  So the SD models took 40% longer to display in hardware mode at Zoom 6 - completely consistent with my previous results.  In software mode, display times were equal, again completely consistent with previous results.

The tests I did had about 40 stations being displayed at a time at Zoom 6.  In my normal cities, I have about four stations displayed in the same area.  I can't see how any tests that use a normal distribution of stations for that area are going to give measurable results.  If such an area were filled with lots of different props, first SD and then HD, you might see something.  But again, although absolute display times might well increase, I can't see any scenario which would make the shorter method (and significantly shorter at that) turn into the longer method.  As SimFox pointed out, the size of the props isn't big enough to make a difference.

We can also get hints from the way the game is designed.  The display options panel is set up to naturally show more and more detail at the higher zoom levels.  This implies that the total game, and not just the block of stations I have tested, has increasingly better display capabilities as the zoom level is increased.  This is consistent with all my measurements.

The computer I used for these tests is a 5-year-old machine with an Opteron 256 CPU and an ATI 9600 XT graphics card.  For people with more modern hardware, especially more modern graphics, I think that it is very possible that even bigger performance increases would show up when using HD models.

To me, all of these things put together is enough to tell me that HD props are good for your game performance in hardware mode, and neutral in software mode.  For those people who disagree, I would suggest holding off on calling these tests "not good," "useless," etc., unless and  until better tests are run that produce significantly different results.  Personally, I don't think that's going to happen.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 07, 2009, 04:37:43 AM
How is testing something out of context a scientific test?  No-one knows the impact a lot of HD props will make to people who play the game as it's intended, not just plop the same thing over and over again.  There are more things going on under the hood and a finite amount of VRAM to display them with...now when you add in that at zooms 5 and 6 there is a lot more animation going on (cars, people etc etc etc etc etc etc) then logically there will be an impact.  It's the same principle with the level of detail settings in game...those with lesser processors/cards set to medium or below because their cards can't cope with high detail.  If it has to load in an FSH file that's twice the size of normal into it's cache, that cache will fill up much quicker causing more spools to disk.

wee… more words than meaning. Let’s take a closer look at them.

"How is testing something out of context a scientific test?"
This is exactly the core of scientific method - isolation of cause -effect link, along with modeling (system modeling not BAT modeling, naturally). Naturally this should be done based on some theory, better still hypothesis. BTW all you have written isn't, but more on that later.
"No-one knows the impact a lot of HD props will make to people who play the game as its intended, not just plop the same thing over and over again."
This line cares emotion, but hardly any meaning. What is that suppose to mean, apart from that thinly veiled admition that you yourself don't know what is going one and have not idea or suggestion?  Also HD props will not have any effect on people... Also what is your evidence, or theoretical framework for suggesting that plopping different HD props will have any significantly different impact that plopping different normal props? Mind you I’m not saying that they don’t. I just want to know what causal effects you expect so that Z could create an experiment to test for them?
This you concern is particularly surprising given how strong proponent of a Skintight load button in Bat4Max “3” you are…

"There are more things going on under the hood and a finite amount of VRAM to display them with...now when you add in that at zooms 5 and 6 there is a lot more animation going on (cars, people etc etc etc etc etc etc) then logically there will be an impact."
Would you care to name some of those "things going on under the hood" that need VRAM to "display them with"? Also, how exactly do you suggest adding animations would alter the results that Z had demonstrated in his experiment. I mean some explanations, not just "the end is nay" type of things. BTW, simply adding word "logically" doesn't make it logical. If you think it logical - present the logic so other can examine it in order to agree or disagree.

"It's the same principle with the level of detail settings in game...those with lesser processors/cards set to medium or below because their cards can't cope with high detail."
I don’t think so. Again, instead of just dropping some statement you should have at least tried to explain it. If you do so you may have come to the conclusion that there are some significant differences. But since you didn't it just a "panic attack" - "Something" "may" happen. Very bad premise for an experiment - looking for something somewhere... Again would be interesting to hear explanation why the experiment by Z had failed in this respect. To hear with explanation not just "False assumptions". Also "detail" is to broad of the term here. What details? How do they affect what part of computer system, at least to hear some speculation/idea...

"If it has to load in an FSH file that's twice the size of normal into it's cache, that cache will fill up much quicker causing more spools to disk"
This is very slippery slope.  But first let me ask do you know how and what is loaded to the cache? Where that cache is located?
But at least this line does have some technicality. However what are the merits of it, apart for being alarmist. At it’s very, very reduced core it is true, sort of, if you add and add something to some container it will eventually get full.
Question remains WHAT exactly is added, to WHAT container. You say FSH file… Well, what FSH file?
This is interesting and important point and it has to be discussed. The rest of it… It pseudo scientific yada-yada-yada about context and VRAM and “a lot under the hood” does nothing but saws confusion. And the discussion that followed

Yes, lets’ do a test on a range of hardware, with empty and 5+ gb pluging folder, at day and at night, at full moon and at new mood, during monsoon season and Bengal tiger mating season and while tilting head to the left and another while tilting it to the right… what else have I missed?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: BarbyW on April 07, 2009, 05:00:39 AM
Can we keep this thread to a discussion about the HD props and not start sniping at each other?
I would like to see testing being done in a variety of situations as I do fear the result if lots of these HD props are used. I may be totally wrong and will be happy to say so but although these will be good for some they could be research hoggers and slow the game down to a crawl.
Let's have some more tests. z, whilst I appreciate your comments I still feel that multiple plopping of one single prop  without any thing else is not a truly representative test.
We should have learned by now that extensive testing is vital for anything new no matter how desirable it may be.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on April 07, 2009, 05:07:31 AM
My god this battle between the pair of you is getting old.  Give it a rest already.

While Z's test was useful, I do think that there is a point that it needs to be tested trying to load multiple files, not just one instanced copy, that is most likely to be a larger drain on the processor.

Additionally, it needs to be tested in regular usage.  IE with the computer working on a transit network, animation and additional props and automata running.  Given that only Zooms 5 and 6 are affected this may not have a large effect, but we do need to test this.

Another thing to consider is load times, this appears to make a file 4 times larger.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 07, 2009, 05:54:08 AM
Anyway to make a representative test, would be needed an important number of different HD props ...
Today there is no or little.

And even if this test showed itself positive, it would not maybe prevent a crash when a more important number of HD prop will be used

Thus the utility of a test is pointless because in quite way we cannot reproduce an ultimate situation.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 07, 2009, 06:04:32 AM
Earlier, Callagrafx made the following statement:

If it has to load in an FSH file that's twice the size of normal into it's cache, that cache will fill up much quicker causing more spools to disk.

It is true that the cache will fill up quicker, but what effect does this have on performance?  To answer this question, as well as the questions raised by Barby, Diggis, and Orange_o_, I did more experiments.  I don't have a large number of HD files to work with, but actually I don't need that.  All I need is a lot of buildings with a lot of large FSH files.  For example, an area full of large skyscrapers will have much more storage area devoted to FSH files than any set of HD props possibly could.  Fortunately, I have such an area already built - Downtown Chicago:

(http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/1567/downtowntn.jpg)

As you can tell, there's a wide variety of large buildings, and they all have lots of large FSH files, requiring lots of storage space.  What is the impact on performance?  I repeated the exact same tests I used for HD props, although this time I used only hardware mode.  Surprisingly enough, the results were virtually identical to the results I obtained for SD props.  Going from Zoom 5 to Zoom 6 took the same half second as with the props, while going the other way took a bit longer, as it did with the props as well.  There was no measurable difference.

Scrolling through a full screen of skyscrapers also took about the same time it did for scrolling through a screen full of props, although it might have been a fraction of a second longer than for the props.  There was one significant difference here, though.  Whereas the props scrolled fairly smoothly, the skyscrapers scrolled more in jumps.  It seemed that the game wanted to maintain performance, and did so by reducing the number of times it had to repaint the screen.

But these are huge skyscrapers - not props.  The difference between SD props and HD props pales in comparison.  So if the game can maintain performance when using skyscrapers instead of props (and a wide variety of skyscrapers at that), I don't see why there is anything to worry about in the relatively small difference in size between SD and HD props.

And even if this test showed itself positive, it would not maybe prevent a crash when a more important number of HD prop will be used

On what basis do you think there might be a crash when a higher number of HD props are used?  Do you have any evidence for this statement?

Quote
Thus the utility of a test is pointless because in quite way we cannot reproduce an ultimate situation.

This makes no sense to me; using this reasoning, all testing is pointless.  And what is an ultimate situation?  And why do we have to reproduce it if we understand the behavior of these props fully enough, which is what my tests have been designed to help us do?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 07, 2009, 06:17:08 AM
Z: Zen, my English is approximate and I am afraid that you badly interpreted him. &ops

What I wanted to say it is that for me, it is useless to make supplementary tests, what you made previously is enough for me.
Knowing that if ever, a crash had to occur, it would belong of to an ultimate situation (private individual) whom we could not foresee with difficulty. ... It is the definition of the risk and the risk 0 does not exist  &mmm
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 07, 2009, 06:21:03 AM
Thanks for clarifying!  Your second post makes much more sense.  It's true that we can't ever be 100% sure that any new features we add are free of bugs.  But by sufficient testing, we can reduce that possibility to almost zero, and I think that has been done here.  I'm happy to hear that you agree!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 07, 2009, 06:24:37 AM
My god this battle between the pair of you is getting old.  Give it a rest already.

Don't look at me mate, I'm just ignoring him....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 07, 2009, 06:26:50 AM
I so agree, that I launched the production of HD prop  ;D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 07, 2009, 01:28:39 PM
My god this battle between the pair of you is getting old.  Give it a rest already.

While Z's test was useful, I do think that there is a point that it needs to be tested trying to load multiple files, not just one instanced copy, that is most likely to be a larger drain on the processor.

Additionally, it needs to be tested in regular usage.  IE with the computer working on a transit network, animation and additional props and automata running.  Given that only Zooms 5 and 6 are affected this may not have a large effect, but we do need to test this.

Another thing to consider is load times, this appears to make a file 4 times larger.
There is still a lot of misconceptions going on about the whole thing.
We call them HD, but that's just a name that isn't technically correct even... There is nothing HD about these. Proper name would be Zoom6 Props as they are presented in native (eg 1FSH pixel for 1 screen pixel) resolution at zoom6 unlike the regular ones that at zoom6 have 1 pixel of actual FSH for every 4 pixel of screen. Definition is always same and is determined by your screen. So, 1 or 100 different HD-Props the load on CPU wouldn't be different as it has very little to none to do with any of it.
The switch in Game option between software and hardware mode is an interesting, but somewhat unclear one. I wonder if anyone has run across any data about it's functionality.
When it refers to the renders to the renderer what renderer is that? 3D or 3D/2D?
I think we can safely assume that at anyway 3D is there for sure. Given the age of the game option of giving such task to CPU is almost certain. But what about 2D? This has some relevance to the issue we are discussing and are trying to test here. If 2d (and that wold be scaling and tinting mostly) is done by the GPU then, given the power of modern GPU even the simplest ones there is SO much power that there is not point to be bothered at all, Particularly taking in account that ANY of the manipulation is done ONLY to pixel that is to be displayed and hence at maximum equals to the resolution of your screen. Even if you have total area of FSH needing resizing 20x that number. And that 2D Engine of GPU has very little else to do. So there isn't any drain on it's resources.
If on the other hand it is done by CPU in, say software mode (although I would really be surprised) same rules would apply, but of course the CPU cycles are used for many otehr things so some competicion for resources may ensue. But as I said this highly unlikely scenario.
What on the other hand would constitute clear drain on CPU resources/cycles is to complex LODs and excess props (for the reason of each and every bush, phone booth, bench, trash can etc) being a separate S3D model that has to be constructed (in software mode definitely by CPU) textured, and even if not textured on the basis of not being visible on screen (again I'm pretty sure that such an optimization given fixed view had been written in the 3d engine) such a prop will still be (at leas if it is a ground model) taken into account for collision calculations. This last function, I believe is always processed by CPU. And here complex LODs will make A LOT more work.

So, what are implication of it all.
Size of the FSH means nothing for the CPU. More complex 3d geometry may mean much more work for GPU and alway for CPU.

This said it should be clear that there is no relation to the running of simulators, networks sims or what ever. This are simply different function performed by different parts of your computer. And you GPU in this game is clearly underemployed. Take into account that increase in 3d power will likely be mostly wasted on game like this - these thing should be coded in 3d engine, while 2D hasn't really changed in last 10 years.

So the only part of game that works directly with HD prop - GPU has been tested (and tested scientifically and fully) by Z. Other systems are irrelevant in this case.

The issue with memory getting full because of this props... Again there is nothing specific to these props that should or can be taken into consideration here. For memory it's just bytes... doesn't matter what they are. HD prop or another skyscraper, tram skin or day/night mod. It doesn't matter. So there NOTHING specific to test.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on April 07, 2009, 01:59:43 PM
Quote
So there NOTHING specific to test.

The thing to test is, when using HD props, how does performance compare to using the same props but SD.
And when using HD props is the performance overall affected and is it too much.

And testing those in real cities, so not test cities, taking a typical built up city with over 100,000/200,000 sims I 'd say.
I would test myself except I don't have any cities big enough.

btw,
Quote
We call them HD, but that's just a name that isn't technically correct even...

HD could stand for Higher Definition :P, in which case it is correct.

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on April 07, 2009, 02:42:57 PM
how about, the arguments over semantics cease, so as to salvage this otherwise important thread and make something meaningful out of it....the continued drivel and useless bickering about what the meaning of "is" is has pretty much ruined any hopes i had of salvaging information from this thread.

 :thumbsdown:

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 07, 2009, 03:29:39 PM
actually a gf8 card can handle around 8000 drawcall per frame at 60fps. What I name a "drawcall" is  sending to the gpu some vertices , 1 shader and 1 to 8 textures. Given the age of the game, I suspect there is no shader and the game use a fixedpipeline with 1 texture per drawcall ( ie 1 fsh ), the vertices send will be the one from the S3D that participate in the FSH sent
What I mean is that I can stall my gf8 by asking it to render 8000 3D cubes with 1 texture if I ask it to draw each cube one by one. Of course I can also draw more than 8000 cubes if I prepare my vertices so I can do only 1 drawcall for 8000 cubes ( of course all cubes will have the same texture )
So I hope SC4 engine actually one draw call for all props sharing the same FSH ( this is only a hope, I'll do some investigation ) because texture switching was the biggest hit for any 3D engine at that time.
As for size of the 'HD' FSH, it will impact the GPU only if all needed FSH for a particular view can't be stored on the video card, the driver will need to throw a texture out of the video card to store the needed one. Given the GPU we have now and the size of the city we see on zoom 6 I don't think this really matter anyway. If the game doesn't store the texture on GPU but relies on system memory to video memory each time, then it can have a bigger impact, however for the same reason ( a gf8 card can handle that ) it might not matter.
As for software mode, this is a totally different story, a bigger FSH means more CPU ( or more exactly more memory transfert involved which usually translate to more CPU )
Anyway someone playing in software mode shouldn't bother using HD props, his game is certainly already awfully slow
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 07, 2009, 04:50:33 PM
Wouanagaine, most of what you say makes sense (at least the parts I know enough about to understand).  However, I have to take issue with your last line:

Anyway someone playing in software mode shouldn't bother using HD props, his game is certainly already awfully slow

This implies that HD props display slower than SD props in software mode, when all my experiments have shown that this is not the case.  And so far, no one has come up with experiments to the contrary, nor do I expect they will.  This point actually has significant implications:


I understand that people haven't had time to develop elaborate experiments, although I don't think these will shed any more light on the issue.  But for those who think there is still some question here, I'd like to see a hypothesis consistent with the data I've presented that explains how HD props could slow down the game.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 07, 2009, 05:01:42 PM
But for those who think there is still some question here, I'd like to see a hypothesis consistent with the data I've presented that explains how HD props could slow down the game.

One Swallow does not make a summer....

More testing with more than one prop (not the same prop repeated over and over again) in view at zooms 5 and 6 in actual developed cities rather than sandboxes needs to be done.  Isolation is one method, live testing is quite another.  Why do you think we beta test everything in fully functional cities?  We are just guessing as to the structure of the game engine as we don't have the source code, so any new development requires exhaustive testing to make sure it won't screw people's cities up....And remember, while Simcity is technically a game, it's first and foremost a simulator without an end and people spend years developing their cities...we would be wholly irresponsible to shout Eureka!, create a bunch of HD props and unleash them on people who are attracted by the higher level of detail without knowing for sure that they are safe to use and don't cause slowdowns, CTD's etc.  The Prop Pox taught us that...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 07, 2009, 05:12:35 PM
Well i've seen some people testing and some people just complaining. How can we test if we don't DO first. Lets keep the testing going and see where it goes....the arguing is pointless. Nothing is released and there is presently no danger. You fear nothing except your own beliefs that are unfounded either way you look at it. The only way we can see the path is to clear the forest. Let's start chopping.......ie lets all shut up and get to work and report results........not opinion. Then we can decide what to do.


Cheers.

Edit complaining is the wrong word....rather i should have said speculating
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: callagrafx on April 07, 2009, 05:19:00 PM
Who's complaining?  No one is complaining, merely urging CAUTION when dealing with things that we don't fully understand....by the same token lets not run off at the mouth, half cocked and proclaim that this method is sound and will not cause problems. 
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on April 07, 2009, 05:51:00 PM
I also think it's time to stop arguing!

So there NOTHING specific to test.

We know that having a lot of custom content slows down the game.
We know that this is more true on zoom 1 than on zoom 6 though.

Having 5 GB of custom content is not ideal if you're having an old computer.
But we cannot yet say for sure what happens if those 5 GB went up to 10 GB due to all props becoming HD props.
At least loading time should increase...

We do know that between 1/2 and 2/3 of the savegame consists of the prop subfile.
A large city can have over 200,000 props.
Nobody can today say if and how much the game would slow down at zoom 6,
if the lion part of all custom props were made into HD props.

As long as we do not have thousands of HD props, we cannot give a final verdict.
And we certainly won't have thousands of HD props created over night.

I think we all can agree that one or a few HD props won't make any difference.
I also think we can agree that nothing can be said about it if
e.g. all BSC mega prop packs were modified to include a zoom 6 render.

The result will most likely take years to find out.
Till then, I'd suggest that we slowly start making HD props as optional add-ons.

That way they can always be removed, if the strain would increase after all.
We do not want a situation where we'd find that all props have been made into HD props,
and suddenly nobody can play their games without lagging...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on April 07, 2009, 06:36:30 PM
I have to agree with just about everything you say, Tage.  And yes, if all props were HD, loading time would definitely increase, all other things being equal.  Yet it wouldn't double; among other things, custom buildings make up a significant portion of that load time.  (Although it's probably only a matter of time before we get our first HD skyscraper...)  The only other thing I'd like to add is that since it will likely take years for a total conversion to HD props (assuming the game is still being played then  ::)), then computing power will almost definitely have increased enough to counteract factors such as load time differences, and HD props in a few years will probably be a lot faster in general for the average user than SD props are today.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: dedgren on April 07, 2009, 06:50:25 PM
I can never resist throwing my 2c worth in- this one might take a nickel.

Just about any ground-breaking thing truly worthwhile that has been developed for this game doesn't arrive fully-formed and ready to start using.  What's been going on in this thread is part of the process.  It's really important for everyone to keep in mind that there's no right or wrong approach or concept here.  At worst, HD textures and props (and, yeah, yeah, I've read why those aren't really precise terms) have the potential to make a big visual impact on the game- at best they could go a long way toward refreshing a game whose graphics challenged computers in 2003, but which increasingly suffer by comparison to state-of-the-art games today.  I'm not talking about 2-D versus 3-D, either.  Don't get me started- 3-D is, imho, little more than a trap (albeit a really, really attractive trap)- but that's a subject for another day.

I'm presuming that the folks who want to do serious work with this stuff, whatever is said in a thread like this, will.  Some will collaborate in groups of two or three, others will work alone.  To that end, it might be worthwhile to separate the public discussion part from the R&D part, and create some quiet workspace for those who will be doing the heavy lifting in taking this development wherever it goes.  It also might be worthwhile, to the extent the fears about memory overload are borne out, to think about setting up a NAM Team-like entity to assist the community in prioritizing what might be converted and what should be left for the days when memory and graphics are too cheap to meter (that's what our electric companies told us, some might remember, would happen when all power plants were nuclear).

I'm always amazed by how many great minds there are working on SC4 stuff at any given moment.  I'll cut things off at that- what more is there to say?


David
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on April 07, 2009, 06:58:54 PM
Dear friends, I think any emotions are completely unnecessary here. We have a really interesting problem and we should enjoy researching it.

1. A scientific experiment can be done both in undeveloped and in developed city. Both experiments can be useful. The only thing we absoulutely need is to create the same conditions for various experiments. If I have a developed city, I must make its backup first, then make an experiment without HD props (measure loading times and whatever you want), save the city if it is necessary for my experiment, but then return to the previous state (using backup file) and repeat an experiment with HD props. Even in the real life, for example in physical experiment, we can't eliminate all secondary conditions. We only must be sure that all these conditions will be the same if we will repeat our experiment.

2. If we want to make an useful experiment quickly, I would suggest to create some (not too many) most popular props and make a replacement mod for them. Even if an argument that 100 various props will affect the game more than 100 props of one type is true, we will at least know an influence of a big amount of props.

3. I'm sure that Barby, Lee, Tage and some other people know much better than me which props are most popular and which ones are the best material for experiments. But I would suggest to use some props which are not only "popular" (there are a lot of them in our cities), but which are the most demanding for our computers.
- Cars and people; these are animated props - can we use HD textures for them?
- Trees and bushes; I played with them a lot and I know that they are one of the most slowing down the game stuff. The same for ploppable water.

4. I suppose that we are rather safe and we shouldn't expect slowing down the game when it is running (Edit: However we should expect increasing of the game loading time). HD textures are stored  in .dat files at the place reserved for Zoom 5 (it is called Z4 in the dat) and the game takes them to create a Zoom 6 view. So they haven't any impact for zooms 1-4. When we are in Z6, we see 25% of an area visible in zoom 5. The game doesn't render the whole city tile when we are in zoom 4, 5 or 6 (however there is probably a minimal area which is always rendered depending of the place we look at). I suppose much more CPU (or GPU) resources is saved because of decreasing the viewing area than added because of using HD props. But of course it is only a supposition  :) and we must check it.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 08, 2009, 01:13:15 AM
Z, I meant that someone using software mode certainly have an old computer, and even if it can benefit the HD props, I really don't see a reason why he will overload his computer. And if you really want to make a test in software, then you shouldn't use a modern PC, but an old PC that has the only option to run in software mode, and I bet you'll see the difference :). However I don't really think this is something we should care about. My point is, make HD props, those who have a very old computer are already limited by other factors

As for loading time, this won't make it longer as I expect the FSH to be read the first time it is needed, ie if you never go to zoom5/6, the corresponding FSH won't never be load. The only potential increase in loading time will be when you'll go to zoom5/6, and you'll notice it only if you zoom on a portion of your city where almost all props are HD  or when you scroll around forcing new FSH to be loaded and I doubt it will be noticeable anyway as there isn't that much FSH to be loaded ( very small portion of the city )

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Orange_o_ on April 08, 2009, 02:08:38 AM
Yesterday evening I have create hundred of different props HD, if somebody wishes to make an experiment I am ready to supply him.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: A200 on April 08, 2009, 04:32:32 AM
Uhm... it is 2009. This game came out in 2003. 6 years, 6 years. I read that by 2014, XP will not be supported by Microsoft. That is 5 years.

Apparently SC4 doesn't work with SOME Vista setups, and after that, Windows 7, who knows if it will be compatible?

Seeing as HD could take years to fully develop with all props, the fantastic work you are doing with these props might be wasted on a game which, in a few years, may be outdated and incompatible.

By then, I assume many other simcity style games will be out, who knows, something better than SCS might be out.

I think we should all just enjoy and play the game as it is, it will expire someday, it can't last forever, just like SimCity Classic, SimCity2000 and SimCity3000 have all reached their fate and have been superseded, SC4 itself will be superseded.

I know by 2010 I probably won't be playing SimCity anymore, it has grown old, not new or exciting. and I am soon going to stop downloading props- slowing down the computer, etc. we have reached the apex of SC4, any more plugins I feel would be wasted and just clog up the game and make it less enjoyable.

My advice: Don't do this, cherish the game as it is, and when it comes time to say goodbye, then say goodbye!

A200


Mmmm.. .where is your contribution or constructive criticism to this development ??? ?  -jeronij-
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 08, 2009, 04:51:25 AM
Hello to all,

Everytime that there is a new discover, some people wants to push it to its limits, and other people does not even hear about it. This is the human nature  ::) . But this is a development thread, and we must focus on this: development. People with old/outdated computers may not be able to run these props ( I said "may not be able") but this applies for everything in computers world. I dont think we must waste a single more word on this sort of dicussions. It is up to the final user to use the new props. In RL,if you try to load your 1.5tons car with 3tons of anything, and your car crashes because of this, who is the reponsible for that?. I'd say you and not the car manufacturer  $%Grinno$%

Enough discussion about "what if"'s and more props (thanks O) and testing is what we need  :thumbsup:


Oh, and pointless posts like A200's one are also not necessary in this thread. We need people contributing and giving ideas and energy here.

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: A200 on April 08, 2009, 04:57:34 AM
So what, I am not allowed to comment and say that wasting 3 years in doing HD props, just as a visual eye candy, that will push out file sizes, slow the game down and just make it worse rather than better is a bad idea? O_O

Oh, and from what I have seen, there is no real improvement with these HD props  ???
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 08, 2009, 05:08:05 AM
So what, I am not allowed to comment and say that wasting 3 years in doing HD props, just as a visual eye candy, that will push out file sizes, slow the game down and just make it worse rather than better is a bad idea? O_O

Oh, and from what I have seen, there is no real improvement with these HD props  ???


 We need people contributing and giving ideas and energy here.

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: BarbyW on April 08, 2009, 05:17:04 AM
A200, this site does cherish our users and their opinions when they are relative and contributory to a discussion. So far you have only contributed negativity.
Your last post is insulting  and completely irrelevant. If you have issues with any of the staff, please take them up in a PM and not in a thread like this.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 08, 2009, 05:32:01 AM
can we get back on topic please, ennedi made some excellent points and i think we should push this into developement and test scenarios as we encounter them... test each new prop befrore release as we have always done.....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 08, 2009, 05:41:16 AM
I am contributing. Sorry, I didn't know I was in North Korea here  $%#Ninj2
 :'(

No you are not... you are panicking and shifting responsibility from yourself to others. Responsibility that comes with the choice. In fact you want to be in North Korea, where dear Leader will protect you from decadent, computer destroying choices.

Thankyou so much for giving me 2 negative rep points, that is so nice and undemocratic of you. I notice I cannot give any back, how lovely  :D and for a site that is meant to cherish its users and their opinions...
And you think democracy is the place where you, by definition, can get only green points?
I think you 're mistaking democracy with tv commercial - there as a consumer you're always right, as long as you pay that is...

So what, I am not allowed to comment and say that wasting 3 years in doing HD props, just as a visual eye candy, that will push out file sizes, slow the game down and just make it worse rather than better is a bad idea? O_O

Oh, and from what I have seen, there is no real improvement with these HD props  ???
First f all it's not you time to be concerned about. How does it affect you? People doing it do not own anything to you. You don't pay them they are not your slaves (yagain I think you wish to be in North Korea in a position of Beloved Leader naturally)


I want to reiterate my point that the size of HD props/textures isn't a matter of concern as it's, by itself, is just extra bytes... If size is what you are concerned with that it isn't different with simply downloading and install another BAT. Big skyscraper will add to you Plugin folder another 10Mb... So should you go and test ANY new bat for what may happened with your game if you add it to the fully developed city. I know new BATs are tested but not from this angle, or are they? Bigger size concerns are a bit besides the point. If you fear it simply don't use custom content! Just as Jerronij pointed out don't try to load 3 tones into you 1,5 ton car...

The real impact from the HD-Props, I mean UNIQUE feature, one the sets them apart for any other bats is that fact that to display them at Zoom5 game would need to resize the FSHs.
The effort needed for this procedure is exactly that constitutes EXTRA and unique load on system.
In this respect I would like to ask wouanagaine opinion on how would it be done? By CPU or GPU, and what would be a good test for it. Would really a fully developed city that would have just few props (we wouldn't be able to have thousands of them anytime before we'll get thousands of them) of the city square filled to the brim with only HD props (may be few dozens unique ones) be a better test to seek out this extra load?

Another unique feature of HD prop that may demand additional computer resources is that fact that default slab for them at zoom 5 is not 256x256 pixel sized square (at zoom5 view, naturally) but 128x128 pixel one. this means that larger prop may have more vertecies in it's Zoom5 S3d. Basically we may have more geometry with same sized props. But I believe in Hardware mode this would be taken care by GPU... Again I think concentrated Prop-City would be able to more clearly show the "spike" than normal one...

As for the location of the cache... I think given 32Mb video card requirement it is more likely to be in RAM...

At any rate, my script is out there and had been downloaded by 25 users... so let's see what when will we see prophesied flood...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: wouanagaine on April 08, 2009, 06:09:33 AM
There won't be any resizing per see, only a different texture sampling as the ratio will be 2:1 instead of 1:1
This sampling will be done natively by GPU ( for hardware rendering ) for free, for software rendering this will be done by CPU, depending on how it is coded, it can be very fast or just fast ( if the shrinking do an average of 4 surrounding texels )
As for more vertices, I don't think it really matters here. Correct me if I'm wrong but a normal S3D will have around 200 vertices, so we may end to 400 with HD props, not something your GPU will see. It is another story if you go from 10000 to 20000
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on April 11, 2009, 11:46:18 AM
I understand that most of you are interested in lot and BAT textures, but I made some experiments with terrain textures and I got interesting results. Maybe this information will be helpful.

I made a few rock mods yesterday and today (I made exactly 13 and only one deserves presentation  $%Grinno$%, I must work better  ;D). This one on my photos is not good, but it has a version with 512x512 texture in Z4 (ie Zoom5 as most of you use to talk; I rather use names from the Reader). It has also some sharp edges and clearly visible details.

1. Terrain textures have 256x256 size for every zoom. I wanted to know if there is any significant difference in the rock texture quality between normal 256x256 texture and the "HD" one. Honestly saying I didn't expect it. The game always change the terrain texture size depending on the terrain shape. It means a loss of quality. I am also rather sure that the game has a certain amount of pixels for a particular area in every zoom (there is a special property which says how big part of the texture is equal to 100 m in the farthest zoom; it is called "Terrain Tex Tiling Factor" and it is equal to 0,17 in the game and 0,2 in Cycledogg's terrain mods). So if we have too little texture, the game will stretch it to the needed size. If we have too big texture, the game will recalculate pixels and decrease their number (sorry for unprofessional language  $%Grinno$%), so we will not have any advantage. But I decided to check it.

This is 256x256 texture in Z4, hardware mode.

(http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/8282/slateff2z4256hardware.jpg)

And here is exactly the same texture but 512x512, hardware mode too. Look at these pictures carefully. It is the easiest to see differences when we switch between pictures forth and back, but we can't do it here.
a) The quality isn't improved - as I expected. (Edit: Maybe a bit? Judge it yourself)
b) There are not significant changes in the rock texture itself (I marked some details by gree arrows to compare with the first pictures), but
c) There are significant changes in the rock texture surrounding. Terrain textures are blended one to another, and the only reason of changes in another textures is another way of blending, when the texture has different size. Why? I don't know. You can see the difference yourself. Look at the snow (left red arrow) and the grass below the right red arrow. There are more differences, but these two are easy to see.

(http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/1433/slateff2z4512hardware.jpg)

2. Now I changed the rendering mode to software, exit and opened the game again (to activate the change). What we see now?

(http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/8705/slateff2z4512software.jpg)

This is not the same texture. This is a texture from the next zoom (Z3). I checked it very carefully.
Conclusion: We don't got a CTD when we use bigger terrain texture in software mode. But the game doesn't use it in this case, and it uses the texture from the next zoom.
I don't know if it corresponds with other people's findings, but maybe you can make use of this information?
Edit: Now I'm looking again at the third picture. It seems I can be wrong. I must make a texture with bigger difference between Z3 and Z4. Looking at details positions I see that it is possible that it is the same texture, but much worse quality. Sorry, I must check it again.
Edit2: I checked it. The texture you see on the third picture is the same texture as on the second one ie. 512x152 texture from Z4. But its quality is much worse in the software mode as you see.
I will check if I can use bigger textures in other zooms and if it improves the quality. But we clearly seethat only hardware mode would be apropriate if we would like to use HD terrain textures (I don't know about other ones.
There are also other methods of improving terrain textures quality, but - as always - they have both good and bad sides.
Btw My graphic card is NVidia GeForce 7900 GS.

Adam
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 11, 2009, 03:37:51 PM
thanks very much for your research ennedi now i we can see some coroboration from rayden maybe we can get a definitive answer on implementation effects in game as far as terrain mods go.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 11, 2009, 06:47:34 PM
Adam that loooks real great there now what about water mods I wonder hmmm???
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 12, 2009, 06:25:43 PM
I have integrated HD export/Preview into GMAX BAT:

(http://i062.radikal.ru/0904/c9/a3336039f858.gif)

No need anymore to move / rename any script files. Simply select desired option and voilá you get both preview and actual export in the chosen format.
No need to restart program either, the change is dynamic, e.g. you can change any number of time in the same session.

how should this addition/function be distributed?

PS
did the same for BAT4Max:
(http://s52.radikal.ru/i138/0904/f5/19e08082bf06.gif)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 12, 2009, 06:54:36 PM
now thats handy...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MandelSoft on April 13, 2009, 02:00:23 AM
Clever, Simfox! That's just the thing we need :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on April 13, 2009, 01:25:25 PM
Thankyou very much Simfox :P

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 13, 2009, 02:01:47 PM
Thank, you thank you... ()stsfd()

I'm attaching to this message scripts for GMAX BAT. This is a full and complete set of scripts used by GMAX BAT.
Installation instructions are very simple - replace with these all the scripts in gmax\gamepacks\BAT\scripts

After installation you'll find  new option in Preview frame found in same named roll-out:

(http://i062.radikal.ru/0904/c9/a3336039f858.gif)

options are very simple - SDoutput that stands for traditional/default way Zoom5 is rendered and HDoutput that 2x sized FSHs and half-sized S3d slabs (cuts of the actual model) for Zoom5 while leaving the over-all model size unchanged.
Selecting either option affects both the export and preview

this is full working (as in I didn't notice any problems) beta.
I would ask people using it pay attention to it's working and the logic and report problems or suggestions.
I'm particularly interested about you opinion on the placement of controls. Do you think they are in the right place? Or should they be in Export roll-out? Somewhere else?

3ds Max companion scripts will be available shortly in my Bat4Max thread on Simtropolis as part of the update to Bat4Max 2.5 (may be to 3.5 $%Grinno$%)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Khiyana on April 13, 2009, 02:18:45 PM
Wow, thank you so much for your work!  &apls
I never thought that it would be so easy to make HD Props! Thank you again  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 13, 2009, 05:36:31 PM
Thanks for implementig this in a pro way SF  :thumbsup:

On a side, but related, note, I was wondering.... it is a nightmare to create 3d models (the puzzle pieces type) because if we export a model from GMAX/MAX like a 3DS file, which can be imported into the Reader to be modded and skined, the groups and rotations are "upsidedown" and so is the model once imported. Actually to solve this external tools are needed, but perhaps a clever modification somewhere would make the trick and make the creation of such models much easier and enjoyable  ::)  ;)

Just something to think about  ;D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 14, 2009, 05:37:15 AM
Hm...
I'm not familiar with the problem ... could you feed me more info on that? preferably with some graphics to illustrate it? May be you can point me to the thread where this issue is discussed?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 16, 2009, 04:23:23 PM
uff.. it took me a while to find some (hopefully) useful information  ::)



How-To. From .gmax to .3ds 
OK Vester, here's my tutorial on how to pass .gmax files into .3ds files

Originarily, Discreet made one script to pass 3ds files to gmax files, but they weren't interested in making a script for doing the inverse process, so we must follow these steps:

.gmax files < .obj files < .3ds files

We will need these programs and scripts:

gmax2obj script

3D Exploration


We make our models in the gmax and we place them VERTICALLY. Go to utilities < maxscript < Open listener


Go to edit and press clear all press file and select run script, find the script in your machine and execute it

Open the notepad and paste all the lines between  # and #

Save the file as an .obj

Run the 3D Exploration and open the obj file

Yeah! The plane is here!

Save as .3ds

Run the Reader and press 3ds functions < Import 3ds and your model is here!

CSC Modding Department



I found (and saved) this info in this so very useful Google page: http://www.google.com/notebook/public/16879114851603482002/BDRwLSwoQqJWg7LYh

For those interested in automata it is a very very useful resource  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 18, 2009, 05:09:09 PM
I followed the installation instructions for the GMAX scripts, and I don't see the preview options.  What'd I do wrong?  :(
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 18, 2009, 06:38:17 PM
most probably you DIDN'T follow instructions preciselly.

And from information you provide (or the lack of it) it is impossible to say what exactly wrong you did...
If you wanna get any meaningfull answer you would need to supply more information. Preferrably screen grabs of the folder where you have installed the scripts
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 18, 2009, 07:37:24 PM
SimFox, I disagree on that point (I did exactly what your post said), but that's not the point, and I'm not mad about it.

Now that we have that hatchet buried (no hard feelings):

I will have some screenshots up shortly!  Thanks for your assistance!

EDIT:  Here is a screenshot that shows my Scripts folder as it stands:

(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/3217/hdpropsscript.th.jpg) (http://img7.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hdpropsscript.jpg)
Click for full resolution!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 19, 2009, 02:38:36 AM
I'd say yoy can have only one CAmeraRig.ms file. Renaming from left to right does not work. You must rename the original addidng something at the end of the filename, not at the start.

I hope this helps

Also,usually the BAT goes to ..\GMAX\gamepacks\BAT\(and here comes the folder scripts)  and your installation path seems to be different.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 19, 2009, 06:49:10 AM
You're absolutely right, Jeroni.  It's in the main /scripts folder, not the BAT's /scripts folder.  I'll remedy that right now.

EDIT:  That did it.  I'm in business now.   ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 19, 2009, 08:08:42 AM
burgsabre87:
keeping the hatched burried...
Looking at your screenshot.., did you or did you not follow the instructions? What would you say?

in instructions
1. exact path to the folder was given.
2. as a fail safe was specifically mentioned that this is a full set and that it is REPLACING set of the original scipts.
What this means is that even if you get to the wrong folder the fact that the folder is empty (like gmax\scripts acually is) should act as a warning.

Small thing, but you could just applologies for your categorical statement and hence accusation once they were proven to be wrong...

Jeronij:
reading you reply
Quote
I'd say yoy can have only one CAmeraRig.ms file. Renaming from left to right does not work. You must rename the original addidng something at the end of the filename, not at the start.
I'm getting a bit confused, as any renaming always works no matter where or what you change, as long as you do even one character, but that is not the main point. I'm also getting feeling that you don't use the new integrated scripts either  ;) am i correct?

Kudos for spotting the installation folder mistake by burgsabre87

As for he S3d
fist I think you should may be correct the arrows... as the way they are now it is very confusing...

Speaking of the matter, the model appears to be rotated (only appears) because in S3d files coordinate system is rotated 90 degrees around X axis.

So what do you want this new script to do? to rotate the model automatically and then export it as 3ds?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 19, 2009, 05:43:37 PM
burgsabre87:
keeping the hatched burried...
Looking at your screenshot.., did you or did you not follow the instructions? What would you say?

in instructions
1. exact path to the folder was given.
2. as a fail safe was specifically mentioned that this is a full set and that it is REPLACING set of the original scipts.
What this means is that even if you get to the wrong folder the fact that the folder is empty (like gmax\scripts acually is) should act as a warning.

Small thing, but you could just applologies for your categorical statement and hence accusation once they were proven to be wrong...

Absolutely.  I missed the /gamepacks/BAT/scripts part of the instructions.  My apologies for an unfounded accusation.  Thank you for your time and assistance.  :)

EDIT:  Screenshots of the first American HD traffic signs:

(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/5651/bgshdsdcomparison2f.png)
(http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/7802/firstthreehdsigns.png)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Rayden on April 19, 2009, 06:48:11 PM
thanks very much for your research ennedi now i we can see some coroboration from rayden maybe we can get a definitive answer on implementation effects in game as far as terrain mods go.

Adam and me, we've been doing some digging into this and, you can expect some good news soon, but I'll leave it to Adam to report the progess.
For now I just leave you with some teasers, my rock mod has been improved and it's using a new technic and 512x512 px textures.

Direct Link (http://picasaweb.google.com/silvio.rayden/LightGraniteRockModV2?feat=directlink)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Haljackey on April 19, 2009, 09:51:04 PM

(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/5651/bgshdsdcomparison2f.png)

O...M...G...

That's fantastic!  So cool!   :D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on April 19, 2009, 09:57:30 PM
(...) For now I just leave you with some teasers, my rock mod has been improved and it's using a new technic and 512x512 px textures.

Direct Link (http://picasaweb.google.com/silvio.rayden/LightGraniteRockModV2?feat=directlink)

I can only add: 512x512 textures for all zooms  ;D
A comment for those who will follow the link, to avoid misunderstanding: Me and Silvio use zoom names as they are called in the Reader ie. Z0 (zoom 0) to Z4 (zoom 4) instead of Zoom 1 - zoom 5. So if you will look in the album at a picture called "Zoom 5", it means you are looking at Zoom 6 (as most of you call it).
Today it is a bit early to report new findings, but we will inform you soon.

Adam
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: daeley on April 20, 2009, 04:13:04 AM
wow! photo-realistic rocks! just wow!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 20, 2009, 04:58:37 AM
Absolutely.  I missed the /gamepacks/BAT/scripts part of the instructions.  My apologies for an unfounded accusation.  Thank you for your time and assistance.  :)


No problem.
I hope you understand that my post wasn't meant as any kind personal attack on you. Rather it was intended to highlight a problem very common - people glancing through the instructions rather then reading them. Practice that simply defies the point of instructions...

Good previews.
One question... 1,3/1,33 scaling along Z axis is commonly used in building BATs to "counter" the squation effect of camera in bat. I wonder if same this should be applied to props as well? Or is in your opinion said effect on say, lettering, is desired. I personally have very conflicting view on the matter and, for couple of years now, can't make up my mind one way or another. In my buildings I use half/half method - all the key sizes are calculated with about 1,3 coefficient, while all the minor detailing is left untouched...

As a small suggestion... May be it would be good idea when posting the images at Zoom6 accompany them with ones of zoom5 since it is a scaled down version of Zoom6 in case of HD props. This way we could sort of built perceptional database of how this technique affect various type of content - like texts, colors lines - orthogonal, diagonal and at various angles. This may be a good way to develop the feel of the method.

Another thing to keep in mind looking at previews is that further deterioration may occur when image is compressed into FSH. So some detail may be lost at that stage. This is a problem for all BATs made in all tools. I'll try to make next bat preview to integrate eh compression as to show exact result. Not sure if that could be accomplished, though.

Another thing to keep in mind when working with GMAX  is that the preview is anti-aliased while the final output will not be. I wonder should that AA be actually disabled in preview as well? I mean to give more accurate idea of what will be in game
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 20, 2009, 05:36:51 PM
Simply outstanding  :thumbsup: ¡¡¡

Great to see that you got it to work  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 20, 2009, 06:18:58 PM
I've never scaled my signs using the "1.3 / 1.33 scaling along Z axis" method at all.

What I've found viewing these props ingame is:  Regular (standard definition) for zoom levels 1-5, and the high definition view for zoom level 6 only.

I also rendered one of my sign scenes in both SD & HD, and did a file size comparison:

SD:  approximately 2 KB
HD:  approximately 40 KB

Just some data to back up what y'all probably already know.  I just know that my signs have never looked better - and I doubt I'm going to ever go back to standard definition again.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on April 20, 2009, 07:01:09 PM
memory is cheap  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on April 20, 2009, 07:12:12 PM
burgsabre87: I can actually read them....looks great! &apls
memory is cheap  ;)
And I have plenty that I need to get more use out of!

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MandelSoft on April 21, 2009, 01:56:21 AM
EDIT:  Screenshots of the first American HD traffic signs:

(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/5651/bgshdsdcomparison2f.png)
(http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/7802/firstthreehdsigns.png)

Sweet. Wait until you see my re-made full HD GTR-signs  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 21, 2009, 05:43:14 AM
I've never scaled my signs using the "1.3 / 1.33 scaling along Z axis" method at all.

What I've found viewing these props ingame is:  Regular (standard definition) for zoom levels 1-5, and the high definition view for zoom level 6 only.

I also rendered one of my sign scenes in both SD & HD, and did a file size comparison:

SD:  approximately 2 KB
HD:  approximately 40 KB

Just some data to back up what y'all probably already know.  I just know that my signs have never looked better - and I doubt I'm going to ever go back to standard definition again.

The numbers you provide...
Are they accurate? I mean is it 2Kb for SD or 20? I seriously doubt the number of 2Kb...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MAS71 on April 21, 2009, 06:37:03 AM
Oh my....... Awesomeness !!  :o  :o  :o
Only this word, it's say from my mouth for this topic...... ;D


@SimFox san
I'm looking forward to your upload a script for the 3dsMax too. ;)
however, I'm always surprised to your development.
It's great!! Really greatest one !! &apls
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 21, 2009, 07:45:25 AM
SimFox:  Those numbers are indeed accurate.  Here's a screenshot:

(http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/6506/sizecomparison.th.jpg) (http://img5.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sizecomparison.jpg)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 21, 2009, 11:24:16 AM
MAS71:
thank you... it should be available this coming weekend.

burgsabe87:
well it is technically impossible for SC4Modle file to be smaller than  about 10Kb. Empty FSH file is about62 bytes (just a shell) and there must be at least 20 of those in SC4Model meaning at least 1260 bytes. Add to that absolutely necessary XLM of 244 bytes, 2 JIFFs, one 465 bytes (night color) and another 461 bytes (white color) and 2 BMPs 107 and 103 bytes that already gives you MORE then 2K and we left out all the S3D files, DIR file and of course all the shell elements of the SC4Model file itself.

So, this basically means that normal "un-doctored" SC4Model File can NOT be of that size.

Also, there is absolutely no way that HD version of same prop may result in file that is 20 times larger!
I'm really curious as to the content of that 2Kb file cold you attach it to your message?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ryan B. on April 21, 2009, 11:27:51 AM
SimFox:  Sure.  I'll attach it to this post when I get home from work.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 21, 2009, 11:47:10 AM
Could it be an "un-fshed" MAX model  :-\  ??
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on April 24, 2009, 08:22:19 AM

As for he S3d
fist I think you should may be correct the arrows... as the way they are now it is very confusing...

Speaking of the matter, the model appears to be rotated (only appears) because in S3d files coordinate system is rotated 90 degrees around X axis.

So what do you want this new script to do? to rotate the model automatically and then export it as 3ds?
Hello again,

I totally forgot about this  :-[  ::) ....

The pictures are not mine, I just posted them because it was the closer example I found about this  ;D

Short answer to your question: Yes. Something like that would be great to export automata and puzzle pieces models  :thumbsup: 

perhaps is there any open source script which can be modified to suit this particular need ?? <-- just to save some time  ;D

anyway, this is not that much important because only a limited number of modders would make use of this, and there are other work arounds for the process. If I should choose, I'd vote for the HD Props / MAX integration scripts first  ;D  ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 26, 2009, 06:14:30 AM
Actually that is ready - (max HD) but it is a part of the update of my Bat4max 2.5.
I need some time to write an introduction/explanation/Change log.

I hope to do it tonight, but that is still just a hope rather than plan.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Bobbi on April 26, 2009, 06:29:18 AM
Hello everybody :)

I want to learn how to make HD Props, but where's the tutorial?¿?¿?¿ ()what()
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on April 26, 2009, 11:55:04 AM
there is no special tutorial, as there is no special way, really. The only difference is a use of a special Tool.
This tool for GMAX BAT is available in a first message on page 12 of this thread.
The tool for Bat4Max will be available shortly (in few days, I'd say) Keep track on this thread as I'll announce it here.

Otherwise you make it as any other prop. Remember it will be only as good as you make it.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on April 26, 2009, 03:53:38 PM
The new HD rock texture in Zoom 6:

(http://img2.imageshack.us/img2/1578/a6sandstone1lz6.jpg)

More in Shosaloza tonight  ;D

Adam

Edit: It could have even better quality, but it is also enlarged to cover a larger area and avoid repetitions
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimsReporter on April 26, 2009, 04:45:54 PM
Hey, i really love how this high definition stuff is going along...but im sorry to burst your bubble but Develpement is actually spelled "Development"  :P
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimsReporter on April 26, 2009, 04:47:15 PM
O...M...G...

That's fantastic!  So cool!   :D

Imagine what the big dig would of looked like  :o
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 26, 2009, 05:00:20 PM
OMG ADAM!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Haljackey on April 26, 2009, 11:58:37 PM
Imagine what the big dig would of looked like  :o

Its not too late for that...  :satisfied:

Amazing work as always!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MAS71 on April 27, 2009, 05:10:27 PM
Hello Mightygoose , all of mayors and creators.  :)
Thank you for a finding and reports with this nice method ! It's so good !  &apls

I'd try to make big textures(.fsh) with this way and upload a pic here. ;)
I made fsh files two kind of size "256 x 256" , "512 x 512" and changed it with default fsh file "128x128".
(http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/1503/hdtest128256512.jpg) (http://img4.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hdtest128256512.jpg)
Yes, That's good !! :thumbsup:

However, A display-monitor I using now is not wide "1024x768" now.
so I don't able to view not wide area at zoom 5(or 6).... :P
I want more big display-monitor for enjoy more wide scene with high-resolutions in the SC4. ;D


--- out of topic
ah,,,sorry to post about other tipic. ;D
I'd try to make HD-PROPs (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7464.msg238749#msg238749) with SimFox's script.
(http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/1517/testprops01.jpg) (http://img13.imageshack.us/my.php?image=testprops01.jpg)
This is innovative technique very fantastically as well !!  &apls


Thank you.
-Mas'71
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on April 27, 2009, 05:13:58 PM
Oooh,Mas san! I am glad you are taking interest in this! Your works look amazing now , but after seeing what your HD textures look like , I'm very excited!


Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: mightygoose on April 27, 2009, 08:31:08 PM
mas great work, but you can clearly see the compression errors using the 512 for a lot textures, the 256's look brilliant and the props look great too.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on April 27, 2009, 10:44:45 PM
Mas-san I am sooo speachless here!!!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Bobbi on April 27, 2009, 11:45:31 PM
@Mas71さん
This is very great. I learned it today. :D
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MAS71 on April 28, 2009, 03:20:01 AM
Quote from: Mightygoose
but you can clearly see the compression errors using the 512 for a lot textures
Oh,,,I see. I read posts in old pages and I could understand it well. ;)
A best of size of fsh for zoom 6 is 256 x 256.
It's ok ? ;)
Thanks again for this nice topic. ;)


@Sithled98-san , Pat-san and Bobbi-san
Hahaha... :D Thank you for your words. ;)
I'll try to re-make them (Texture and PROPs of the Walls Pack 2) when I get a HD's scripts of 3ds-max. ;)



by the way....
I don' have a "Photo Shop" so I don't able to try to a method of Buddybud' tutrial (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7430.msg234527#msg234527). :P
In this case, I used a "FiSHMan" for make fsh-file and changed them with a "iliveReader".

Does anyone let me know other tool to make fsh or more better method ? ()what()

Thank you for reading. ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Bobbi on April 28, 2009, 05:24:40 AM
@Mas71さん
Also the JRP. Its details is very good.
If you remake them ,it'll be more perfect than before. :thumbsup:


Does anyone let me know other tool to make fsh or more better method ? ()what()
I only know those tools,not another.  &mmm
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on April 28, 2009, 06:19:46 AM
Hello Mas san. You can always try the Gimp(GNU Image Manipulation Program) (http://sourceforge.net/project/downloading.php?groupname=gimp-win&filename=gimp-2.6.6-i686-setup.exe&use_mirror=hivelocity) It is free and has a lot of support,however it also has a steep learning curve(at least for me!)

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Gwail on April 28, 2009, 06:28:07 AM
Hello, Masuda-san!

Photoshop is a software for editing picture. As you have to make somehow your bitmaps with similiar software, there is no need to change it. Looking at all your work I have to say there is definitely no need to change  :thumbsup:.

For FSH editing there are still FiSHman / Reader or some new simplier software (made by Jayson and null45, if I recall correctly).
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MAS71 on April 28, 2009, 08:39:24 AM
@Sithlrd98 san
Thank you for links and introduce a nice tool. :)
I'll try to use it later. ;)


@Gwail san
oh yes, I had misreading again about a tutrial. :-[ I'm sorry....
and I understand well to editing FSH files with a FiSHMan and a ilveReader.
Thank you for your kind advices Gwail san. ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: beutelschlurf on April 28, 2009, 10:18:38 AM
moin guys,

fantastic work everybody ...  :thumbsup:
i've got a question though ... shall we do buildings in HD from now ... or better not?
i ask because my english is not as good to understand everything you talking about ... :P
are you guys doing your buildings in HD?

thanx
b_schlurf
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: delta9 on May 02, 2009, 05:46:58 PM
moin guys,

fantastic work everybody ...  :thumbsup:
i've got a question though ... shall we do buildings in HD from now ... or better not?
i ask because my english is not as good to understand everything you talking about ... :P
are you guys doing your buildings in HD?

thanx
b_schlurf
There's certainly no reason why you couldn't, but if you are looking to do a building the texture topic (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7430.0) will be more of what you're looking for.  Of course, there's no HD textures available yet, and seeing as how you can't do some CSI magic ("Enhance, enhance, enhance...") you'll have to do everything from scratch, unless someone wants to give you their original texture image files ;)

Unless I'm missing something... I don't do this stuff, I just try to understand it. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on May 03, 2009, 12:07:20 AM
...but if you are looking to do a building the texture topic (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7430.0) will be more of what you're looking for. 

why's that?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: delta9 on May 05, 2009, 11:28:19 PM
why's that?
Unless I'm missing something... I don't do this stuff, I just try to understand it. :thumbsup:

As I mentioned... I'm not an experienced expert but at the same time I'm at least trying to contribute to a subject I basically understand (and like I said, if I don't, please constructively correct me, unless I have missed the entire point of this community...) I only suggested he research the texture topic because I hadn't seen a post from him in it, and texturing the building seems more basic a step than propping the lot (not that either is unimportant), because it seemed as if he basically wanted to make an entire lot "from the ground up".  I'm trying to contribute what [I think] I know and learn what I don't, but at the same time I don't want to be the next victim of yet another pedantic tongue-lashing in this topic  ::)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Diggis on May 06, 2009, 03:04:32 AM
As I mentioned... I'm not an experienced expert but at the same time I'm at least trying to contribute to a subject I basically understand (and like I said, if I don't, please constructively correct me, unless I have missed the entire point of this community...) I only suggested he research the texture topic because I hadn't seen a post from him in it, and texturing the building seems more basic a step than propping the lot (not that either is unimportant), because it seemed as if he basically wanted to make an entire lot "from the ground up".  I'm trying to contribute what [I think] I know and learn what I don't, but at the same time I don't want to be the next victim of yet another pedantic tongue-lashing in this topic  ::)

Delta, what beutelschlurf is talking about when he says a building is the actual structure.  In terms of the game and BAT they are constructed the same way, just larger than props normally.  So they could be rendered using the scripts from SimFox, but there may be issues with pressures on the computer.

The textures that are in the HD texture thread are for the base of the Lot which the building sits on.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on May 14, 2009, 01:57:32 AM
Throughout this thread, I notice that there have been a number of questions asked about which textures are used for which zooms, but which were never answered.  So I did a number of experiments; here are the results:

1. If all five zooms are present, the texture used is the one for the appropriate zoom, and the sixth zoom is constructed from the fifth.  I did Diggis' experiment, actually replacing the Zoom 5 texture with something completely different.  I did the experiment twice, first with an SD texture, then with an HD texture.  Only Zooms 5 and 6 were affected.  So HD textures do not propagate through the other zooms - at least not down.

2. If only Zoom 1 is present, the game will compute all the other zooms from the Zoom 1 data.  So if you make your HD texture Zoom 1 and omit all the others, you'll get HD textures for all zooms.  However, it's not clear that this will really make a difference in the way the texture looks, especially at the lower zooms.

3. If you only have some zooms, but they include Zoom 1, then the existing zooms are used, and the remaining ones are computed from the highest zoom present.  For example, if you have Zooms 1 through 3, Zooms 4 through 6 are computed from the data in Zoom 3.

4. If you have only some zooms, but Zoom 1 is not present, then only the zooms that are present are used.  If another zoom is referred to, you get nothing.  The one exception to this rule is that if Zoom 5 is present, Zoom 6 is always computed.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: vershner on May 14, 2009, 06:57:13 AM
2. If only Zoom 1 is present, the game will compute all the other zooms from the Zoom 1 data.  So if you make your HD texture Zoom 1 and omit all the others, you'll get HD textures for all zooms.  However, it's not clear that this will really make a difference in the way the texture looks, especially at the lower zooms.
It will probably look worse, because SC4's scaling is not as good as Photoshop's. I found this when testing a new HSR track. Currently it only has models for 128x128. Using 256x256 textures worked, but looks very poor when zoomed out.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on May 14, 2009, 09:24:01 AM
it looks way worse.....i tried this with a couple bridges, and it looked real bad. 
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on May 14, 2009, 02:18:00 PM
It will probably look worse, because SC4's scaling is not as good as Photoshop's.

I can certainly believe that.  Since a lot of people use SC4Tool to generate a group of textures, how does SC4Tool's scaling compare to the game's?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on May 14, 2009, 03:30:15 PM
HSR/GHSR uses models through a Resource Key Type 3 property, but with the models for all zooms being the same. Effectively this is equivalent to using Resource Key Type 0. Anyways.

Unless someone makes separate textures (and models) for the high-res and lo-res zooms (which is a lot of work), we should stick to 128x128, for the reasons discussed above. And even for the closest zooms, the high-res texture is not considerably better, instead the "improvement" is barely noticable. And there is an explanation for this, if you move to 256x256, its's the screen resolution that becomes the limiting factor then (btw has anybody experimented with other resolutions, eg 192x192? - this would be the ideal one). Switching to HD makes most sense for models, and the reason isn't mostly the low resolution, but instead the unacceptably poor quality of BAT "rendering"). HSR uses "models" too, but their textures aren't exported by the BAT, instead they are made manually. That's why making HSR HD isn't a right decision.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Jonathan on May 14, 2009, 04:15:00 PM
It isnt a good idea to make HSR HD because of it uses one model for all zooms (the reason for this is because I only knew how to do it that way when I made it) if there was a model for each zoom then it would look better HD, well only the track would look better, HSR is exactly the same type of model as Bud's El-Rail conversion. And when he showed the HD textures next to the SD ones you can notice the difference, but Bud's mod has models for each zoom I believe so you don't get artifacting (plop a RHW puzzle piece and zoom out there will be a few bright white pixels)

Jonathan
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: benvoliothefirst on May 19, 2009, 08:29:19 PM
Holy tap-dancing Santa... it works! (Please excuse the silly excuse for a BAT... just something I threw together for testing purposes, obviously.

(http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i141/benvoliothefirst/HRtexture1.jpg)

The model size went from 90 kb to 236 kb... but man, what a difference that makes at zoom six. Perhaps people will start uploading a ploppable and a growable... and then a "zoom 6 enabled" ploppable and growable? So those who want a sexy zoom six can have it, and those who just want smaller models can have that too.

As far as the script organization, I think that the system works fine the way it is, but maybe you could have the controls in both the export tab and the preview tab... that way you wouldn't set it to SD in the preview tab and then try to export without switching it to HD accidentally. Does that make sense?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on May 24, 2009, 04:15:10 AM
HD version of Bat4Max has been released.

It can be downloaded here: LINK (http://rapidshare.com/files/236413980/Bat4max2_6HD.zip), or on STEX (http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=21735)

Here is a info and support thread: LINK (http://www.simtropolis.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=37&threadid=107258&enterthread=y)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MAS71 on May 24, 2009, 09:52:27 AM
@Simfox
Oh!!
Thank you so much for sharing and I'm waiting for this time !!   :D I'll try to this quickly.  ;)
btw, Where thread is support thread about this script in SC4D ??
Here? or B.A.T. Help (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?board=20.0) ?


#### Edited ####
I'm using scripts set "ALN Bat4Max V3.0" now.
Please tell me what file should I overwrite(or change) to existing files ??
Can I add a function only HD-exporting to existing functions ??
(Is your script-set are compatible with ALN's scripts?)

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on May 24, 2009, 11:05:28 AM
[...]

There are differences between Chris's BAT4MAX scripts and the ones I've developed. They each [I will insert description later]. In addition, mine will [I will insert description later].  This happened because, while Chris and I started this project working together, he was absent from the community for an extended time. Rather than wait for him to return, with the help of others at Simtropolis I continued development of the script.  One of the things that was done during this time was to integrate HD export functionality.  As a result of this situation, my BAT4MAX script and Chris's are not interchangeable, nor will components of my script work as 'add-ons' to his.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MAS71 on May 24, 2009, 02:45:20 PM
@Simfox
Ok, I understand well.  ;)
I'll change all files and try to export for HDProp later.
I belive that your scripts are really one of the Big Helps for us MAX users. It's a ture.  :thumbsup:
and I hope that your works will become one of ScriptsSet in near future too.  ;)
(an aggregate of good functions.)

Thank you again Simfox.  :)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: z on May 31, 2009, 01:35:53 AM
RTMT will soon be releasing its first HD props for its stations.  I would gather that at this point, no one has a problem with that.  At one point, I was thinking that we would release both HD and SD versions of our props, but as we are gradually going to be redoing all our props in HD, and then making diagonal versions of these props on top of that, that would be a lot of props.  And based on the experiments I've done and published here, other people's experience, and the size and number of RTMT props compared to the game as a whole, at this point I can see no reason not to go ahead and just release HD-only versions of our props.  This would be done slowly, starting with new props.  Does anyone have a major objection to this?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: jeronij on May 31, 2009, 03:03:20 AM
Sooner or later the HD props will rise...  ::) ... so I cant find any objection  ;)
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Pat on May 31, 2009, 10:49:56 AM
Steve I wouldn't see why the problem would be at all??? Since it seems HD is coming and all the experienced BATters are going HD anyways....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: CasperVg on June 08, 2009, 04:19:26 AM
I did some small testing on the subject myself, and this is the result.
The model used in these tests is a (slightly) modified version of Warpedone's Hex Corporation (GMax File) (http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=16101), as I do not have the skills to BAT something decent myself.

I rendered my modifications in both HD and SD (using SimFox' script for the BAT), and these are the results.

(http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp328/CasperVg/HDSD0000.jpg)
Both buildings placed side by side in Zoom 5

(http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp328/CasperVg/HDSD0001.jpg)
SD Render in Zoom 6

(http://i424.photobucket.com/albums/pp328/CasperVg/HDSD0002.jpg)
HD Render in Zoom 6

And some data:
[tabular type=1]
[row][head][/head][head]HD Version[/head][head]SD Version[/head][/row]
[row][data]Render Time (sec):[/data][data]22126 sec[/data][data]6909 sec[/data][/row]
[row][data]Render Time (hours):[/data][data]~ 6 hours[/data][data]~ 2 hours[/data][/row]
[row][data]File Size (Mb):[/data][data]~ 4 Mb[/data][data]~ 2 Mb[/data][/row][/tabular]
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Bobbi on June 08, 2009, 04:59:10 AM
@caspervg
I think some kinds of buildings needn't render in HD. Such as pencil towers, a building without a good detail and etc...

---Bobbi
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: joelyboy911 on June 08, 2009, 05:18:47 AM
So, you reckon on about 3 to 4 times as long to render in HD? Then twice the file size? I ask because I am considering making this (http://sc4devotion.com/forums/index.php?topic=7908.msg251954#new) into an HD version, and I wonder, will people have an objection to too many HD props clogging their plugins folders? Would a non-HD version be advisable also?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: daeley on June 08, 2009, 07:04:59 AM
I did some small testing on the subject myself, and this is the result.
The model used in these tests is a (slightly) modified version of Warpedone's Hex Corporation (GMax File) (http://www.simtropolis.com/stex/details.cfm?id=16101), as I do not have the skills to BAT something decent myself.

I rendered my modifications in both HD and SD (using SimFox' script for the BAT), and these are the results.

(snip)
Both buildings placed side by side in Zoom 5

(snip)
SD Render in Zoom 6

(snip)
HD Render in Zoom 6

And some data:
[tabular type=1]
[row][head][/head][head]HD Version[/head][head]SD Version[/head][/row]
[row][data]Render Time (sec):[/data][data]22126 sec[/data][data]6909 sec[/data][/row]
[row][data]Render Time (hours):[/data][data]~ 6 hours[/data][data]~ 2 hours[/data][/row]
[row][data]File Size (Mb):[/data][data]~ 4 Mb[/data][data]~ 2 Mb[/data][/row][/tabular]

even though it looks a bit better in Zoom 6, I can't help but ask myself the question if anyone is ever going to stay in Zoom 6 for long with these big buildings. IMO it's not worth the extra file size and render time for these kinds of bigger buildings.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: CasperVg on June 08, 2009, 07:40:17 AM
even though it looks a bit better in Zoom 6, I can't help but ask myself the question if anyone is ever going to stay in Zoom 6 for long with these big buildings. IMO it's not worth the extra file size and render time for these kinds of bigger buildings.

I agree, I was just doing this as a test, and didn't intend to release it at all.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on June 08, 2009, 09:01:51 AM
much appreciated caspervg

Though i myself am working on some hd content myself i have to admit that it is not necessarily beneficial in all circumstances. Weighing the pros and cons will be difficult and ultimately left up to the creator and hopefully good judgment..... and finally by those who do or do not download it.  ;D

Bud

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on June 08, 2009, 09:26:23 AM
i was playing with my street bridge in HD.....as it turned out, the pillar piece itself was ~3x the file-size of the original (1.316Mb to 565Kb).....they look really good, just not very feasible for anything less than a state-of-the-art rig.  &mmm
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: benvoliothefirst on June 08, 2009, 10:12:19 AM
Figured I'd pop in and contribute my two cents. I was hoping for the creation of both an SD and HD version of future BATs/Props going forward. It's like the growable/ploppable debate... if you only do one or the other, people who are loyal to the other camp will accuse you of bias.

I know that I myself have no use for HD BATs or props... I never really get into zoom six, and the idea of my plugins folder ballooning in size for something I'll never use frightens me. SimCity has always been about the balance of size/load times vs. performance... HD won't help at all, I'm afraid.

Still, that HD stuff is pretty though!
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on June 08, 2009, 11:24:06 AM
Hi guys,

We discussed the HD technique development at BSC site too and some of us made various experiments. We also came to some conclusions which can help HD developers to make good choices.
Tage asked me to show here my comparison between two versions of Masuda san's fantastic BAT - SOGO building. This post will be long  ;D but maybe it will be useful for you.

Here are some of my posts in the BSC thread:

Quote
Masuda'san's HD version of the SOGO department store has been posted here:
(...)

Please collect this and have a look especially make a side by side comparison with the SD version. The HD model is 9.11MB; the SD one is 3.05MB. Is it worth the extra bandwidth?

I tested it today.

1. The entrance at night - Z6

SD version (btw what does it mean?  :))
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoSDentrance1z6.jpg)

HD version
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoHDentrance1z6.jpg)
Yes, it really looks better.

2. The roof at night

SD version - Z6
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoSDroof1z6.jpg)
The neon looks bad, there are many jagged edges too.

HD version - Z6
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoHDroof1z6.jpg)
Much better. But let's look at Z5

SD version - Z5
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoSDroof2z5.jpg)
Everything looks very good here.

HD version - Z5
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoHDroof2z5.jpg)
The glass roof looks still good (1), but the neon (2) and window frames look much worse than in SD version in this zoom.

3. The roof at day

SD version - Z6
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoSDroofday1z6.jpg)

HD version - Z6
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoHDroofday1z6.jpg)
Looks better of course, but some imperfections are still visible, also in HD areas (some props are in SD version, I don't take them into account)

SD version - Z5. This comparation will be interesting
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoSDroofday2z5.jpg)

HD version - Z5
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoHDroofday2z5.jpg)
Many details look worse than in SD version here:
- The neon (4)
- Small details, especially diagonal grid (5)
- The roof texture: it looks overdone (6)
- Jagged edges (7)
- Facade imperfections ( 8 ).  They ar not present in SD version   
- Window frames (9).
This is the price.

I see 14 pictures makes the post too long to upload it, so I have to divide it

Quote
The second part

4. The neon - comparation (SD version is always at the left, HD at the right)

Zoom 6
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoNeonZ6comp.jpg)
HD version is much better here, but look below

Zoom 5
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoNeonZ5comp.jpg)

5. Windows - comparation

Zoom 6
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoWindowsZ6comp.jpg)

And Zoom 5; the same situation as with the neon
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoWindowsZ5comp.jpg)

Please judge it yourself. I have my own conclusions, but I don't want to make this post too long and I wonder what will you say  ;)

Adam

We have different opinions about the HD technique at BSC, but two points are raised most often:

1. Loss of quality in Zoom 5 is definitely too high price for improvement in Zoom 6. A compromise should be found here or it isn't worth of the effort.
2. HD textures will be useful in specific areas, especially for making props and other small objects.
But there is much to research in the game graphics area to achieve the real improvement. We must remember about it when we will develop the HD technique.

Adam

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Tarkus on June 08, 2009, 05:21:32 PM
They work great for signage, though.  It allows the sign to be clearly visible and at the proper scale.  The file size on this "Speed 50" sign is about 11.1KB--not terribly prohibitive, though actually 10x the size of a Standard Definition one at a larger scale.  A full .dat with a set of 16 speed limit signs would run you only 177.6KB, though, which isn't bad.

(http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/3364/spm060620092.jpg)

-Alex
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: bob56 on June 08, 2009, 05:30:27 PM
They work great for signage, though.  It allows the sign to be clearly visible and at the proper scale.  The file size on this "Speed 50" sign is about 11.1KB--not terribly prohibitive, though actually 10x the size of a Standard Definition one at a larger scale.  A full .dat with a set of 16 speed limit signs would run you only 177.6KB, though, which isn't bad.

(http://img413.imageshack.us/img413/3364/spm060620092.jpg)

-Alex

I agree. I would absololutely love to see some more HD signs. I never really used them, since they were hard to make out. I think this could be a huge area for HD usage.

btw how about streetlights?
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on June 08, 2009, 05:42:42 PM
When I was testing the HD version of Sogo , I mainly was on Z6. I noticed a huge difference in much of the same as seen in the pics. I did notice a little bit of the neon and glass not looking so great on Z5 , but thought that it was my eyes or my monitor. I still like the way the HD Z6 looks and wonder if (I don't BAT and have no idea about the scripts) if there was a way to also get Z5 up to par without doubling the already 9+megs the HD version already is. The SD version is still very impressive , I guess all this HD stuff is starting to spoil me!

They work great for signage, though.  It allows the sign to be clearly visible and at the proper scale.  The file size on this "Speed 50" sign is about 11.1KB--not terribly prohibitive, though actually 10x the size of a Standard Definition one at a larger scale.  A full .dat with a set of 16 speed limit signs would run you only 177.6KB, though, which isn't bad.
-Alex

I also agree that these and HBs HD stoplight look very good as well as the props that Mas  implemented on his Sogo. It may be more beneficial in the long run to only do HD on smaller BATs and props and textures , as Alex has showed , at least the file size isn't as massive.

Just my .02

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on June 08, 2009, 07:17:23 PM
As I said near the end of my first post, HD textures can be used successfully in specific areas. I didn't want to tell that it is bad direction  :)

Looking again at the SOGO buildings we can see where we have serious problems in Z5: the SOGO neon and window mullions are good examples: if the texture has many small details looking great in Z6 (such as white stripes on neon letters or mullions), the interpolation in Z5 doesn't work good. But I think it is possible to avoid some problems, BAt creators should learn which textures can look good in both zooms.
Of course not all problems can be avoided. In addition we should think a while which objects are most often seen (or photographed) in which zooms. I think nobody will make a Z6 closeup of the middle part of the huge skyscraper wall, but many people would be happy to see a nice street scene with vehicles, bus or GLR stops, signs and streetlights.

I hope I will not make you bored  ;), I will quote some of my other comments from the BSC discussion. Of course these are my personal opinions.

Quote
(...)
HD textures should have their place where using them is reasonable and they can add a lot to the game. But we can:
- Make a general rule that everybody who uploads his/her stuff in the LEX should inform players that he/she used HD textures. That way everybody will have a choice.
- Inform people (honestly) about positive and negative sides of using HD technique on various fields (BATs, props, terrain textures...- these are different cases).

What do I think about it?
1. Big buildings don't need to be made in HD version. Both for players and MD makers Zoom 5 is much more important than Zoom 6 (Z3 and Z4 are equally or more important, but it's off topic here). The viewing area in Z6 is simply too small to look at the large building.
2. What would be good to see in Z6?
- Street scenes. So all small props including bus and GLR stops, billboards, vending machines, flowerbeds, streetlights (what will happen with the light cone in HD version?  ;)) should be made in HD version. It would be also good to have some HD trees, but I'm seriously afraid of them - even in SD version when you have a lot of trees in your city you can easy notice how it increases the loading time. Mayeb we should rather think about better quality of tree models?
Please notice that both Maxis and many custom sidewalk and plaza textures look very good in HD version. The picture below is a good example. You can also see what ruins the picture: props.

(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/B3BywaterZ6s.jpg)

- HD could be also used to small buildings (farms, villas, mansions) most of these buildings have many props around and it would be good to see them in closeups.
- some very specific city buildings - not very big (SOGO building is the borderline for me) with an unique arrangement on the ground level; we can call them real landmarks.
- Terrain textures - but they are a separate theme, we are researching this theme with Chris and Silvio and you can be sure we will use HD textures in a responsible way; but Zoom 6 is not the deciding factor here. HD textures open another possibilities.

This post is the most important for me in this whole discussion:
Quote
On a quick note .. for those that might do props or w/e in HD .. we should probably come up with some theory on how SC4 interpolates .. to minimizes the degradation of z5.As I said before .. it is likely stripping pixels. In theory .. it could just strip every other pixel, but it probably doesn't do that. It probably thinks a little about it.
I don't claim to be a rocket scientist when it comes to interpolation, but there is probably some math involved in which pixels it strips away, probably based somewhere around the difference between adjacent pixels.
If you look at the default buildings .. most look fairly decent at z6. Our custom buildings tend to not hold up quite as well. They probably used some specific texturing techniques that created more or less contrast in some way .. or they did a lot more hand editing of the textures than most of us do .. or at least than I do.
One thing for sure is that text and specific things like that are always going to be a little more of a problem. Usually striping pixels from text is better than adding them .. but you might need to play with bolds and different fonts if you really want text to read well. Also, signage for example. Big white signs should transition well .. complex posters of artwork on the other hand .. might look funky when you start striping pixels from it.

Anyway .. just something to think about. I generally don't ever use z6. I hardly every use z5, as skyscraper cities tend to convey very little other than some ooooh aaaaah at zoom 5.

(...)
Btw switching to Z6 is not the only ingame method of making good closeups. Even without Photoshopping we can always use Ctrl X + Sizeof command  :)

Here is Zoom 5
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/B3TSZ5s.jpg)

Here is Sizeof 1,5.
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/B3TSS15s.jpg)
Not very good, props become pixelated and the glass facade looks bad.
But let's make Sizeof 1,3
(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/B3TSS13s.jpg)
For me it's enough good to show a nice street scene, and I can show a larger area than in Zoom 6. Look, even trees look quite nice now  ;) If only some props inluding the GLR stop could be better...

Adam

And my next comment

Quote
I'd like to add a few points to the list of objects where HD textures will be useful:

- Airports, including terminals and other airport buildings. They are usually modular and single lots are relatively small;
- Seaports, including ships, waterfronts, docks, warehouses and other seaport buildings.
Many people love to play with such stuff, a lot of smaller and bigger props are used in both areas. Today I saw the first HD plane prop, I'm rather sure this direction will be continued.
- I also think that various rail stuff can be made in such manner, especially because rail cars and engines look quite good in zoom 6 yet (not from every side  ;))

As for transit networks textures - I think current textures look enough good in Zoom 6 (except their color; why all of them must be black?!  :). But this is a separate theme, not connected with the HD issue)

Adam

So I think there is a really large area for HD textures development  :)

Adam
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on June 08, 2009, 07:39:53 PM
 &apls Thanks for sharing that little bit of "behind the scenes"! After reading your posts ,and looking at the HD Sogo again in game ,  I have to agree with you. I never thought much about Z5 , but I do spend a lot more time in that zoom as well as 4. But ever so often , I am scrolling on Z5 past some buildings or props that look very pixelated and say , "I wish I could actually read that!" I guess that with all the developments/additions to the game , one forgets that this is an "old game" by today's standards, and we can't have everything look as good as what the BAT/MAX shows!
Having street scenes and ped areas are very important aspects of most CJ/MDs and I agree that maybe this technique be limited to smaller things. Of course , as I said , I'm not a BATter, and most of the games mechanics are still a mystery to me, just an observation.

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on June 09, 2009, 09:44:59 AM
I still like the way the HD Z6 looks and wonder if (I don't BAT and have no idea about the scripts) if there was a way to also get Z5 up to par without doubling the already 9+megs the HD version already is.

Obviously not... that was what I was hoping for with this question a couple of months ago:


Just a wild thought... $%Grinno$%

I don't suppose the game engine would realize there is a zoom 6 render, if this render which was done with a doubled model size, would be added into the SC4Model file as extra S3D (after the division by 2) and FSH files, with a "5" (instead of a "4") in the third digit (from the right)?


However, the reply by SimFox wasn't very encouraging:

I’ve tested this morning the idea we have been mentioning with Tage – creation of independent Zoom6 by adding appropriately named/coded S3d and FSH files to the SC4Modle with normal 5 zooms in it.

Unfortunately this test had failed – zoom 6 was not picked by game. Instead of it displayed scaled up Zoom5.

I wouldn’t dismiss this idea altogether, at least not till somebody (preferably at least a couple of people will replicate said result.
SC4Modle File I used/created for this test could be had here (http://rapidshare.com/files/217335237/AllZooms-0x5ad0e817_0xd972c85b_0x30000.SC4Model).

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on June 09, 2009, 10:23:01 AM
I added the 6th FSH file to one of my mods and tested it. Sorry, I doesn't work, exactly as SimFox said  $%Grinno$%

Adam

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on June 09, 2009, 11:07:41 AM
although, i see nothing in SimFox's model file that indicates it was modified.  still only 20 s3d's....

doesn't mean it would work though.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on June 09, 2009, 01:22:16 PM
although, i see nothing in SimFox's model file that indicates it was modified.  still only 20 s3d's....

doesn't mean it would work though.

Hmm, so I will have to look for mine  ;) it was a few weeks ago. I will give a link here when i'll filnd it.
Edit: I modified a rock mod, not the model - but it's the same principle
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on June 09, 2009, 01:53:45 PM
i really dont claim to know much on this subject.....

but....

with an extra zoom added, i would then expect another set of s3d's and .fsh's.....perhaps ending in 500 (510, 520, 530) for zoom 6....bringing the total s3d's to 24 (4x6 zooms).....

perhaps im missing something (which is likely).....

Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on June 09, 2009, 02:51:01 PM
i really dont claim to know much on this subject.....

but....

with an extra zoom added, i would then expect another set of s3d's and .fsh's.....perhaps ending in 500 (510, 520, 530) for zoom 6....bringing the total s3d's to 24 (4x6 zooms).....

That's exactly what I think/thought SimFox was testing, at least after he asked for more information about what I was talking about, and I replied:

Keep the old, normally rendered model with zooms 1-5 (numbers 0-4).

Then double the size of the model and re-render it.
Take the newly rendered zoom 5 and divide the S3D vertices by 2.
Then change the 4 to 5 in all S3D and FSH files, and correct the material addresses accordingly.

Change all Group ID 's to the same as in the normally rendered model.
Then import these files into that first SC4Model file.

Since the other zooms (1-5) are recognized by the zoom digit (0-4),
just maybe the game would also recognize zoom 6 from the digit being 5.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: sithlrd98 on June 09, 2009, 03:02:33 PM
Obviously not... that was what I was hoping for with this question a couple of months ago:

I did not read your post ,so my statement/question was not needed :-[...sorry

i really dont claim to know much on this subject.....

but....

with an extra zoom added, i would then expect another set of s3d's and .fsh's.....perhaps ending in 500 (510, 520, 530) for zoom 6....bringing the total s3d's to 24 (4x6 zooms).....

perhaps im missing something (which is likely).....



Which is what I was trying to figure out...since the Z6 is such a clear pic , I can't understand how the quality deteriorates from it down to Z5,etc.Anyway ,I'll let those who know what they're talking about continue on....

Jayson
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: choco on June 09, 2009, 03:02:58 PM

i was thinking similarly.....was that suggestion prior to the new scripts?


i figured one could simply copy the HD zoom 5 (s3d and fsh), make the GID/IID/material corrections, and go from there.  but if it doesn't pick up the 5....doesn't matter how ya got there.

thanks Tage....
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: Ennedi on June 09, 2009, 03:18:07 PM
Tage explained correctly what should be made in his reply to Simfox.
The same operation is much more simple to do in rock, water or any terrain-connected mod. What did I do it?

-The rock mod contains of five FSH files with the same TID, GID and IID from 0x00000044 for Zoom 0 (usually called Zoom 1) to 0x00000444 for zoom 4 (usuallly cllled Zoom 5). I made the sixth TGI file in the Reader Export-Import folder with an IID 0x00000544. Then I moved an addtional texture to this folder (it was different from textures for Z0-Z4 to see clearly if it works), then imported the 6th FSH into the dat. I made it without any problem, then reindexed, rebuilt directory file and installed the dat in plugins. But when I switched to Zoom 6 (ie. Z5 in Reader), I saw the texture from Z5 (Z4 in Reader). I can repeat the experiment, but I'm rather sure I made it correctly.

Adam
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on June 09, 2009, 03:44:55 PM
i was thinking similarly.....was that suggestion prior to the new scripts?

Yes, it was.


But when I switched to Zoom 6 (ie. Z5 in Reader), I saw the texture from Z5 (Z4 in Reader). I can repeat the experiment, but I'm rather sure I made it correctly.

Thanks, Adam! And also a huge thank you for posting your comparison above.


(http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/3/6/2352238/SogoWindowsZ5comp.jpg)

I think this picture alone is enough to keep us from wishing everything was rendered in HD...


Even if we restrict ourselves to only making small props (e.g. signs) in HD,
each such prop should be checked in the game for appearance in zoom 5 and compared to its appearance if rendered in SD.

The SOGO neon sign on Mas さん's building above could e.g. have been made as a small prop.
However, in this particular case, the higher quality in zoom 6 doesn't warrant the lower quality in zoom 5.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on June 10, 2009, 03:37:32 PM
Hi guys...

i justed wanted to add to this.

(http://img512.imageshack.us/img512/3831/weirdprop.jpg)

above we can see some puzzle pieces i was working on for my elrail. I wanted high def so i could show the metal lattice work mostly. The prop that is of note is the top floor between the roof and bottom floor. In the picture you can see this prop placed 3 times. In each placement the railing on this level shows various degrees of pixelation even though the prop is the same in each placement.

also of note is the railing directly below it on the bottom floor (seperate prop) which doesnt suffer the same problem. The difference between the two was how the lodding was done. This floor (bottom) is just your simple BLOCK lod that most people use and seems to offer different results then the lodding above (top floor) which has COMPLEX lods to allow placement of various props on the platform level.

Also i used simfox's gmax script to create these. I will attempt to do these again in a couple different methods (shrinking and also manually refishing) to see if there is a difference also.

So lodding definitively seems to have an influence on the clarity of the prop involved, though i am unsure of why it's appearence changes which each plop.

Hopefully someone can make some sense of it.

Slightly Frazzled Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: RippleJet on June 10, 2009, 05:05:46 PM
Narrow diagonal lines and quick changes in colour saturation (from dark to bright or v/v)
will never work perfectly when the image is reduced 50% in size,
and loosing ¾ of the information contained in the orginal image.

Let's see if I can explain that a little better with an example...

In the centre of the image below is a small blue square sized 10×10 pixels.
Diagonally through the square there's a thin red line, which is anti-aliased with the background:

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/HDTextureOriginal.jpg)

Now, as we can't see much from that little dot, let's zoom in 1600%... ::)

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/HDTexture.jpg)

Now, consider this is something HD at zoom 6 and we want to reduce it by 50% to get it to zoom 5.

When reducing the image without any anti-aliasing
(which I'm sure doesn't occur when the image is reduced in the game,
since no anti-aliasing takes place when a normal zoom 5 image is enlarged 200% for zoom 6),
there are four alternatives, you'd use any of the four pixels within every square of 2×2 pixels.

For the comparison below I'm only showing two of these alternatives (as the other two would be very similar in this case):

In the first example, the upper left-hand corner of every square of 2×2 pixels has been retained,
in the second example, the lower left-hand corner has been retained:

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/HDTextureSD1.jpg)     (http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/HDTextureSD2.jpg)

Now, let's reduce these images by 50% (to get to zoom 5) and remove everything white between the remaining pixels:

(http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/HDTextureSD1zoomedout.jpg)     (http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee198/RippleJet/HDTextureSD2zoomedout.jpg)

Those two images are quite different, compared to each other...
Since there's no way of determining which pixels remain, sometimes the railings (as shown by Bud)
will remain visible (and might actually look sharper), sometimes they almost disappear alltogether...
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: buddybud on June 10, 2009, 06:25:17 PM
Thanks Ripple Jet, that makes sense. Much appreciated.  :thumbsup:

Bud
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: cogeo on June 11, 2009, 01:39:50 AM
I'm attaching to this message scripts for GMAX BAT. This is a full and complete set of scripts used by GMAX BAT.
Installation instructions are very simple - replace with these all the scripts in gmax\gamepacks\BAT\scripts

Short ? : I see the list also contains a copy of the ModelNames.MS script. Are there any changes here? It rather looks same as the "fixed" version released by Maxis. Could I use the old one instead? Also are ALL included scripts changed? It rather seems that two files are changed, and there is also an additional file, ie you have included all scripts for completeness; but this may be a bit confusing.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: SimFox on June 16, 2009, 10:57:18 AM
Cogeo:
Yep, the model name file that is in that package is a new one from maxis. You can use you old one if you choose to.

I included all files simply to make sure that everything works without going into to much details that tend to "loose" people in mid readme and tons of  "it doesn't work for me, although I did everything as instructed" which are virtually never true, yet keep coming...

I'm sorry that my file illustrating games inability to pick up additional zoom level was somehow wrong... Here is a new corrected one (http://rapidshare.com/files/245222445/All_zooms-0x5ad0e817_0x79d33f2f_0x40000.SC4Model) . I've retested the while thing today, and results are same - game is capable to recognize only zoom levels coded 0 to 4 eg Zoom1 to Zoom5.
To add couple of words to the whole discussion of the practicality of HD buildings.
I must side with those who say that there isn't any.
Everything looks best when displayed in 1:1 with neither stretching (as SD stuff at Zoom6) or reduction (as HD stuff at Zoom5). Taking this golden rule into account it becomes quite clear that those things that are likely be "used" at zoom6 are the prime candidates to HDing. And those are smallest things in game, those that are complete mess at Zoom6 and not much better (because of small size) at Zoom5. There we gain a lot without sacrificing much. Buildings, on the other hand are, especially well designed ones will suffer at zoom5 and at zoom6 only a portion of such a creating would be seen. Ripplejet had eloquently demonstrated basic principle of the process in his last post.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: thingfishs on December 04, 2009, 02:33:34 PM
Hi,
I am wanting to make a few small HD props (postboxes, telephone booths) but wasn't clear on how one actually creates a HD version, do I need to start from scratch or can I turn my existing model into a HD version? I can't find any tutorials on the subject,
thanks
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: MandelSoft on December 05, 2009, 05:02:55 AM
Unless if there's no gMax or 3DS model available, you have to start from scratch. If it's the first case, it's just a matter of re-rendering the object with the same Type, Group, and Instance ID's as the old SD model.
Title: Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
Post by: timmystwin on April 17, 2010, 05:43:11 AM
Cheers for uploading that file, i could really use that...