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Everything posted by HappyHaddock

  1. It is definitely the best foliage I've seen in any game screenshot or video I was just wondering if I might have missed something better through not really having any interest in first person shooter type games. The foliage work of Kingdom Come is definitely a high bench mark for me to aim for in terms of matching that quality of forestation but the IL-2 game engine has so far handled pretty much everything I've asked of it. Cheers HH
  2. I'm taking a little time away from the skies and lighting to return to the ground cover, grass and foliage again as it is something which tends to be neglected by the developers of all flight sims. This is probably for the pragmatic reason it isn't something that they can economically justify putting the man hours into because so few people will notice it from in the air, and if modelled to the same standards as in first person shooters running through game engines like crisis or unreal it might cripple the frame rate any flight sim would run at... Anyway... I've been looking at the way natural plant life tends to be modelled in these first person role-play adventure/shooter games and seeing what if anything I can lean that might be applicable or transferable to the IL-2 game engine whilst still running at sensible frame rates To date the best and most believable depiction of natural plant life and forests I've seen is in Kingdom Come Deliverance as shown below, so I'm taking this as my bench mark for what modern technology can do and seeing how close to that I can get. As I don't play this sort of game I just wondered if anybody else could point me in the direction of any other screenshots of other games you might feel handle natural looking plant life even better? Cheers HH
  3. When the increased draw distance was first mentioned in a previous dev diary I got a bit of flak for saying I hoped that it would be possible to implement things in the way the devs described and that it wasn't going to be a similar case of them giving in to the vocal demands made to change the FM's in ROF, where people got what they asked for and then decided it had nerfed the sim and needed changing back. I readily acknowledge that there are plenty of us who have eye sight that is not what it once was given that our 21st birthdays are distant history, people who for reasons of easier game-play might want things to be made "more visible" , however there are also plenty of us who want an accurate depiction of just how difficult many things are to see at distance or when the lighting isn't favourable and where missing an enemy aircraft's approach more often than not results in you getting shot out of the sky. When the game engine doesn't render things that should be obvious like the contrails of large bomber formations at more than 10km that is good reason to change things so long as it doesn't make everything "too" visible. In the first of Jason's screenshots I wouldn't have noticed anything without the big red circle and even then I have to squint and ask myself if what I am seeing might be the contrails he describes. In the second image I still can't see anything I am sure are aircraft even when studying the area he has highlighted, but at the 15-25km away that he mentions would I expect to see camouflaged aircraft against a mottled natural landscape in real life? I know the game engine hasn't stopped rendering the aircraft just because they are a long way away which I regard as a good thing, but by rendering them so subtly it actually forces you to really pay attention if you are to gain a situational advantage by spotting the other guy before he spots you. Though this does pose questions about the spotting abilities of AI aircraft in single player? As a WIP I like the look of this, (if that is the right way to describe something I can't see?) so long as this makes the sim more realistic rather than simple pandering to subjective demands for better game play I'll regard it as another positive step in the right direction. Perhaps for those that want the "gameplay" option more could be done with a simpler/smaller icons system at distance? HH
  4. Just a quick question as I may have missed something when using unGTP to extract all the contents of the game... you say to look in graphics/shaders, are you referring to IL-2 Sturmovik Great Battles/data/graphics as I don't have a shaders folder there to look in there's odd bits to do with shaders showing up under IL-2 Sturmovik Great Battles/bin/game but no shaders folder. do you happen to know where to extract this shaders folder from, or should it be accessible without extracting it from more compressed files? Cheers HH
  5. Thanks for the info, you say there are only a few dozen shaders this game uses, my understanding (albeit limited) of HLSL was that it enabled bespoke shaders to be written specifically for individual features within particular games rather than calling on generic ones from an extensive list within directX. If you scroll through all the hundred plus vertex and pixel shaders in IL2 turning them on/off one at a time it's clear what some do and less obvious what others may impact upon, though my feeling was that whilst things to do with the clouds or ground may always be relevant, if you have, for example, a shader relating to the reflectivity of the canopy on a Me109, clearly you won't see it doing anything if you are flying a camel against a Dr1, this shader will just sit idle in the background. I assume all the shaders must do "something" it is just that there may only be a few key ones that are relevant to everyone all of the time. If the devs are working on increasing visibility/viewing distances it might be that all the shaders will get looked at again? HH
  6. Being ignorant of this aspect of the sim/coding, could I ask if the tonemapper a single shader among the hundreds in use, or is this some sort of higher tier bit of programming that utilises/controls some/all the various shaders? Given the depth to which you seem to have investigated the workings of this sim I probably don't need to tell you how this seems to "draw you down the rabbit hole" and that having decided exactly what/how to tackle any particular modding project, there's always just a little bit more that you think it might be worth investigating and learning about such that the more you do the more you keep moving the goal posts. Cheers HH
  7. It's not so much that the game enforces a delay as I can start flying around instantly I click to "un-pause" it, it's just from an aesthetics point of view I like to give the graphics a few seconds to settle down before getting going. HH I suspect, but do not know, that it's all related to the numerous shaders kicking in. So far I've only skimmed through each of the shaders quickly out of idle curiosity, and what I know about coding HLSL could be written on a postage stamp with a six inch paint brush... but depending upon what is on screen at any moment there's normally well over a hundred shaders in use, and turning each on and off in succession clearly shows what some do, whilst others leave you wondering what is different that you haven't picked up on having changed. HH
  8. Just a quick question about what is a fairly trivial and subtle matter which I suspect must be to do with the hundreds of shaders this sim uses to regulate all manner of lighting effects, but which has become ever more apparent the more I play with the sky... When other people first start up a new mission do you find it takes a brief moment for all the different lighting effects to "warm up" or "kick in" ? If you have not been intently studying the lighting effects on things like clouds you might not notice this even if it is occurring and it might be some quirk of all the changes my mods are making, but for the first 5 - 10 seconds I now find myself actually watching and waiting for the hues, tones, shadows and highlights to stabilise. I don't know if this just happens in the quick mission generator I use to test aspects of this mod, and it's not a major issue if intending to fly the one mission over many minutes or hours as things do seem stable once up and running, but when wanting to fire up a quick mission only for about five seconds just to check the impact of a change to the lighting, having to wait up to 10seconds for the lighting to stabilise could be seen as a significant delay. I know the stock game isn't so dramatic with sunrises and sunsets but the effects of different lighting effects kicking in can be most noticeable on the clouds at these times where I tend to find the most prominent and often last change to occur a few seconds after starting a mission is adding in deeper/darker shadows on the shaded side of clouds away from the sun. HH
  9. I guess 20 years ago the AI had to contend with much less "decision making" in terms of piloting; The more complicated the simulation aspects of flight modelling, the more the AI has to do just to fly the plane before it starts "thinking about" dogfighting. The devs have always been very proud of the fact that in this product the AI have to contend with same physics as human players, there's no simplified flight models to make things easier for the AI. Whether that is a good or bad thing is subjective, but as a single player fan I appreciate any effort that goes into improving AI to make a fairer but more challenging engagement in the air. HH
  10. My comment wasn't intended to suggest any direct similarity, merely point out that for many people the flight models in ROF were, to borrow a phrase from you; "a massive issue that needed to be fixed", but that when they got the changes they asked for that those same folk weren't happy with the way things were implemented. There are plenty of case where viewing distances do need to be increased, and a convoy of ships is just one, as are the contrails on bomber formations. I merely hope we don't get a situation that in enabling people to spot convoys of ships or bomber formations from 50+km we also end up in a situation that something as small as a single biplane seen against a dark sky at dusk is also visible at more than 50km. Everything the devs have said about what they are attempting sounds positive, lets hope they can deliver increased viewing distances only where they are appropriate.
  11. Increased visibility distances are clearly something many have been asking to be looked at for a long time, and the devs comments provide hope that this mater will be addressed intelligently; so I trust they will find an effective way of balancing object size (either singly or collectively for large groups of objects moving together) along with contrast against the background and prevalent lighting. Based upon real world accounts and scientific research papers there are plenty of occasions where it may be unrealistic to expect a pilot to spot another aircraft little more than 1km away, equally in the right light and with an optimal viewing position it's presence may be detectable way beyond 50km. Lets hope this turns out to be a genuine improvement to the fidelity of the simulation, not merely giving in to constant whining about gameplay.... I don't want to be the wet blanket here but for years people went on and on about some of the flight models in ROF, those folk cheered when the devs finally announced they had given in to the pressure and made changes, only for people to then claim the sim was well and truly nerfed by those changes and that things should revert back to the way things were before. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but by and large the devs do a decent job of pleasing most of the people most of the time, but whatever follows an announcement like this will be endlessly dissected and discussed for a long time because it is something many feel passionate about. HH
  12. I've no particular interest in the Bristol and never flew it in ROF, but there was something about the quality of the modelling and texture work in ROF that made it stand out as special. I don't know if others agree with me but the new Bristol for IL2 FC still has "it"
  13. This probably has to rate as one of the lowest priority bug fixes ever reported but I mention it having noticed this earlier today. The animation for the pilot is wider than the cockpit of the se5a, such that at the point he wipes his googles or otherwise moves his arms they protrude through the side wall of the cockpit in an odd and unrealistic manner; - Hardly an immersion killer when flying in the cockpit as a pilot of the se5a, and barely noticeable when flying with/against them in a dogfight, but nevertheless it looks wrong in close up external views often favoured for screenshots. HH
  14. There is much about the natural world that is so instinctively familiar that whilst we can rarely pinpoint and consciously describe what it is that makes something look right, we will all spot when it looks wrong and may be left scratching our heads about precisely what it is that may not be quite as it should be. I've probably spent more time than is healthy tweaking the seasonal balance of the "in game" natural light and I'm finally getting to the stage I'm finding settings that don't just look great in any single staged screenshot, but which actually work across many times of day and weather conditions without unduly compromising any one aspect in favour of another. Figuring that the difference between winter light and summer light should be obvious I thought it would be curious to snap two screenshots of the same plane at midday at altitude so as to be well above the clouds (save perhaps for an odd trace of cirrus cloud) and see if I could later work out which was the summer shot and which was the winter without any visible clues from the map or ground being available, just the blue sky and the plane to judge by.... Shown side by side the difference was much greater than I expected. HH
  15. You may well be right to say it's a shader issue, but clearly 3Dmigoto isn't the only fix as I don't run that mod and yet have never encountered these problems to anywhere near the same extent as others describe. I do have a whiff of a thought that the problem may possibly be strongest when the distant planes align with the horizon and that some of the dither fix mods you created might be emphasising or weakening the problem under different circumstances. I've not tested this anywhere enough to be sure of anything , but when you first put out those mods I tried them, saw what they were improving and what they were compromising, and then had a quick play at editing my own dither fix, noting the things that were being changed in game by different versions. Even when the horizon is obscured by cloud and then there are planes in front of this cloud I think, but can't be sure, that some of the blending done at the horizon may be playing a factor to the problem of planes popping in and out of view.. If, as is likely, it is the x4 DSR with 75% DSR smoothing that I am running that is giving enough effective anti-aliasing to get around the issue then I'm happy to stick with that as a fix for the "popping" planes. Any performance hit in terms of frame rate is negligible as with everything maxed out, I'm still getting upwards of 120FPS whilst visually tracking distant planes in amongst the heavy cloud and that's on a second hand 1070 gpu I was recently gifted for free, so it's not as if I'm running a 2080ti or anything budget busting and state of the art. HH
  16. That video pretty clearly illustrates the problem others describe, but whilst I do get some "jaggies" I don't get the objects that disappear, and I certainly don't get such severe problems with objects when they are as close as this.
  17. Many of you may be aware that I've been patiently working away on a project to massively overhaul the look of the environmental aspects of this great sim. I was recently asked if my WIP cloud mod solved the aliasing problem of aircraft disappearing and popping back into view when they pass in front of clouds. I was aware of various posts discussing this problem stating how it is an inherent "fault" with the sim. However I can honesty say I'd never actually witnessed this myself which left me wondering quite what folk had been talking about and if I had unintentionally stumbled upon a fix for a problem I'd never had to deal with. Well I've now read some of the posts describing the problem and watched a few you-tube videos illustrating it and whilst I now have a clear idea of what others are dealing with it has made me all the more certain it's not a problem I'd previously encountered. To check I've now run a variety of quick missions against a backdrop of heavy cloud; Whilst aircraft obviously look smaller at greater distances and may drop from view altogether when they get smaller than one pixel, only to "re-appear" as a single pixel if banking, turning or heading closer again increases the area of screen they occupy, after tracking many aircraft at distance I've not seen a single one "pop" in and out of view when big enough to render as several pixels. To be doubly certain I've even reverted to looking up how to turn on the cheats and aids so I can use the icons some use to label aircraft so I can be sure I'm not missing things because they are out of sight. The attached screenshot shows every icon has at least one pixel worth of aircraft rendered with it. Given the number of people who have complained about this so called problem I'd like to be able to tell you I "know how to solve it". The truth is I don't know what is so special about what I'm doing that means I've never encountered it. All I can do is offer up the following thoughts about my own set up in case they happen to give clues that others might be able to work with. I doubt this is monitor related but I use a high quality "artists" IPS screen with excellent colour reproduction and an ability to clearly show very subtle contrasts so I'm confident that what is rendered in game I will actually see on screen... I've seen some poor gaming monitors where image quality is not always so good and what shows on a good monitor isn't always clear enough to notice on a cheaper one. My monitor has a naturally slow refresh rate of 60HZ which many gamers would views as barely adequate; I don't know what (if any?) internal processing and buffering it does when the gpu is feeding it images at about 120FPS but there may be some advantage to be gained if this is "averaging out" what is being displayed. What is more likely is that this is a combination of using the maximum graphics quality in game for the clouds along with Nvidia control panel to apply a significant DSR scaling factor and DSR re-smoothing to improve image quality as an alternative form of external anti-aliasing. So if the problem is in anyway related to the resolution of differing things at different LOD and distances then I may be avoiding the problem by calculating the effective look of a distant plane as if it were rendered across a far greater number of pixels even if the monitor ultimately ends up showing it as no more than two or three pixels. The third and least likely possibility is that without knowing how or what exactly it is about my modding work that has made the difference I may have unknowingly changed something that has cured this problem, but given that I've changed so many things to do with the clouds I couldn't speculate about if it is one thing in isolation or the way many things have been re-combined. I doubt this information will directly resolve anybody's problems but I put it out there just in case. HH
  18. As mentioned I do see some ugly aliasing which can really highlight the "jaggies" at times, but I don't ever recall planes that pop in and out of view because of the clouds even in the rare occasions I've been testing this with mods off. I've messed about with so many things to do with graphical settings as well as modding the clouds I suppose it is theoretically possible I've accidentally stumbled upon a solution to a problem I wasn't experiencing, but I doubt it.... Perhaps I'll have to spend a bit more time in mods-off seeing if the game will show me this problem everyone else talks about or if there truly is something magical and quirky about the way I've set up IL2 that has unintentionally circumvented this issue.
  19. Perhaps that's why I've never been bothered by this problem as I naturally run clouds at high resolutions so I've never needed a mod to resolve this even in the stock game with mods-off. At some point I might have to check if the tweaks I'm making in remapping all the cloud formations resolve the problem of contacts disappearing when set to low cloud settings as I only test my mod at the highest of all graphical settings. HH
  20. I know many folk talk about the disappearing aircraft problem but I can honestly say it has never been something that's ever bothered me, or perhaps my situational awareness is so poor I never notice other aircraft even when they are there? Alternatively it might be that I've inadvertently stumbled upon a fix for it? Just to be clear about the exact problem, are you referring to planes that stutter in and out of view as they pass in front of clouds? Whilst I don't recall noticing planes completely disappear and then "pop" back into view I do experienced problems with increased jaggies on the rigging of WWI aircraft when they pass in front of some clouds which can give the appearance of the finer details flickering as the plane moves. HH. Also on a side note I've mentioned before that without access to rewrite a significant portion of the core game engine and the skills to do so I don't believe it is possible to create truly dynamic weather that changes during a mission, but that there are tricks you can play to hint at such things. I've been tinkering with these tricks for quite a while and last night saw my first truly passable approximation of a heavy cloud bank drifting in to fill clear skies from approx. 40-50km away: that is to say the randomisation built into my mod finally aligned some circumstances to deliver something I'd hoped I'd eventually get to see at some point. I want to clearly state that folks should NOT expect any version of this mod at whatever point a first version or subsequent versions is ready to release to include dynamic weather. However I think I can reliably say that although the majority of this project focusses on improving the ordinary and familiar you'll have seen many times before, you may have to fly many hundreds of missions, if not thousands at very different times of day, times of year and under different weather conditions before there's any chance you'll have seen all it can potentially offer as it is still surprising me.
  21. In many respects I've nothing "new" to say here but folk do keep sending private words of encouragement, so I like to periodically post something just to say I am still chipping away with this long term project as and when time permits. I've spent so long working with these experimental mods I'd somewhat forgotten what the stock game looks like, but I was reminded today when running a few side-by-side direct comparison tests with identical settings to verify my optimisation techniques work and aren't slowing things down compared to the stock game. generally things are running within about +/- 5% and in the case below I was surprised to get an identical 142FPS showing "heavy" clouds don't have to be a frame rate killer. Cheers HH
  22. I started out with jasc paintshop back in the early/mid 1990's, when Corel took over they lost their way for a short while as they tried too hard to become photo editing software so I stuck with Jasc v9.0 for a good while. The first Corel version of paintshop I really liked was the 2012 version which offered all the photo editing I wanted/needed but at heart was still a good art package. Currently I'm running the 2018 64bit Ultimate version of Corel's paintshop. About the only minor annoyance with it is that although the nvidia dds plugin technically works with this I find it unreliably troublesome and so do all the creative work in paintshop and then simply use an old copy of Adobe as a dds conversion tool. if anyone has any tips for getting the dds plugin to work reliably I'd be pleased to hear about it, the normal maps part of the plugin works fine and the various dialogue boxes for the dds plugin "shows up" but when I try to open dds or "save-as" the plugin comes back with an error message saying it can''t read the format. HH
  23. I'd add my vote of confidence for paintshop pro - Started with it way back before Corel got involved with Jasc version 3. It offers all the features of Adobe that are useful and none of the clutter that makes it cumbersome, plus because paintshop evolved from an art package rather than a photo editing package, as an artist by trade I find everything far more intuitive and user friendly... plus the majority of plug-ins for adobe are compatible with paintshop. Obviously everyone has their own preferences but I can't honestly see why anyone would pay out on monthly subscriptions or pay hundreds for graphics software when paintshop pro is available for a very modest one off payment. I have about eight different graphics packages installed on my PC, including an old version of Adobe but about 98% of all my work is done through paintshop pro. HH
  24. Everything to do with the environmental aspects of this sim is about balance and compromises... push too far to achieve a particular look at a particular time of day and altitude and it upsets the look of so many other things at other times of day or from other vantage points. Partly I've already created settings with the emphasis on warmer more golden sunrises/sunsets, partly my desire was to regulate the look of the overcast skies during the day which restricts what is possible at sunrise/sunset. I'd still say though that much comes down to personal preference and subjective judgment as I just don't see the green to the extent you seem to and what you seem to prefer just looks too blue to me. My own monitor is calibrated to a neutrally balanced RGB and shows neutral greys as being just that, so I'm happy to trust that monitor is set up properly and that my eyes perceive neutral greys as neutral greys. As for the above image you comment upon , the RGB value of the sky is strongest in the blue channel, but only slightly so, the RGB value of the sea is slightly strongest in the green channel which is how I associate the sea, the horizon between the two is very slightly strongest in the red channel due to the evening sun. However if truth be told they are all so close to neutrally balanced settings that in isolation most folk would just call all of them grey which is what I associate with overcast skies. There have been many psychological studies done on the perception of hue/tone showing that the eye and brain can only really judge contrast but not absolute value, so it might simply be that what you perceive as green is really just a lower blue value than you expect? HH EDIT: The attached photo is of "grey" overcast clouds taken in real life, to my eye these look real and the colours look correct which may be an odd thing to say about real life but some photo's can look a bit unreal if post processed. The RGB value of all these grey clouds are strongest in the green channel, admittedly only slightly but it's the same subtle green balance I've been trying to achieve in my mod as this is how I associate overcast grey clouds looking in the real world. HH
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