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[MOD] Sky & Clouds Mod


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Hi everyone,

 

New guy here.

 

I have been working on a mod that changes the Skydomes and the clouds in Great Battles and I thought I would share it for anyone who may like to try it.

This is a version 0.1 for testing & comments.

 

 

 

What does the mod do?

 

The skydomes in GB are 1024x1024px.  I have made new Skydomes that are 4096x4096px.

 

That's 16x larger than stock.  I have also created these skyboxes in 16-bit as opposed to 8-bit of the stock ones.

This greatly diminishes, if not completely erradicates any skybanding and also serves to make the top cirrus clouds have a far more higher definition and less pixellated look.

 

I have also retextured the clouds with 4x the size textures for (hopefully) far more varied and wispier looking clouds, better definiton and a better, more natural looking cloud transition.

 

This mod also retextures the Sun, Sun glow, Sun glare, Moon and lens flare.  I realise that lens flare is not to everyone's taste, so I will also release a version without any lens flare at all.

 

I appreciate that there is already a clouds mod on this forum by @rowdyb00t,  but I think we are going about creating the mod in completely different ways.  I will PM rowdyb00t  to see if we could maybe collaborate together.  The more the merrier! 

 

DO NOT use this mod and the other cloud mod at the same time!!!!!!!  Always make sure to remove/deactivate one cloud mod before trying another!

 

This mod DOES NOT alter the in-game lighting at all.

 

Is there a performance hit?

 

Highly unlikely, while there are a few larger textures, it shouldn't make a blind bit of difference, but I'm running GB on a Liquid cooled 3800x, 32GB Ram and a RTX2080, so your mileage may vary.

 

Anyway, enough talk for now.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

 

I personallly don't use JSGME at the minute, but I think I have packaged the mod correctly for it.

Download 4L0M SkyMod 0.1:

 

http://www.mediafire.com/file/2sunevjmp39uahr/4L0M_Sky_Mod_0.1.zip

 

OR

 

https://sharemods.com/zetnqh3b6pw0/4L0M_Sky_Mod_0.1.zip.html

 

Cheers!

 

 

625363583_IL-2SturmovikBattleofStalingradScreenshot2020_03.02-20_21_09_42.thumb.jpg.02432904c90a2c1b8c81a3ccada08cec.jpg

 

IL-2  Sturmovik  Battle of Stalingrad Screenshot 2020.03.02 - 20.21.35.06.jpg

IL-2  Sturmovik  Battle of Stalingrad Screenshot 2020.03.02 - 20.15.55.83.jpg

Edited by 4L0M
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Hi,

 

The skycolour is denoted by weather,time of day etc.  My mod doesn't change any sky colours.  I suppose I should have taken a few more screenshots under different conditions, but I was pressed for time.

 

It's certainly possible to create new sky colours though for more variation.  Like I say, this is only a first version for testing,  there are many possibilities in the future though.

 

Thanks.

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22 minutes ago, 4L0M said:

I realise that lens flare is not to everyone's taste, so I will also release a version without any lens flare at all.

 

Yes please. If there's one thing I really hate in any game that uses a first-person perspective, it's lens flare. Human eyes are not cameras and do not suffer from this affect!

 

24 minutes ago, 4L0M said:

I appreciate that there is already a clouds mod on this forum by @rowdyb00t,  but I think we are going about creating the mod in completely different ways.

 

There's nothing wrong with having more than one mod changing the same areas of a game. As you say, different methods, different effects, and they'll likely cater nicely to differing tastes. Choice is a good thing!

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Hi, sorry about that. I've never used sharemods before, I use ublock origin in Firefox/chrome, I have never seen a pop up box before like that when downloading ets2 mods from there. I will upload it to mediafire too in half hour. If anyone has any other suggestions on decent file hosting, please let me know. Thanks.

 

EDIT: Added Mediafire Link in first post.

Edited by 4L0M
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There is no point in upscaling clouds.dds and cloudtop.dds as they aren't used by the game at all.  Likewise for the textures in the root folder.

 

You shouldn't just tile textures, thats not really making new ones. 

 

7 hours ago, Goffik said:

 

Yes please. If there's one thing I really hate in any game that uses a first-person perspective, it's lens flare. Human eyes are not cameras and do not suffer from this affect!

 

 

Yes they do

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It's interesting that the cloud tops etc aren't called. Do you know what generates the clouds? Do the cloud maps create them. Are they a particle effect maybe? I didn't really upscale them either, just the alpha channels. The underlying textures aren't upsampled, they were individual cloud textures made by me for a mod I made for Woff. As for tiling the sky dome, the original is a seamless texture which is tiled in the sky, so tiling it multiple times seems a quick elegant way of removing the pixellation. Like I say, 1st version, I can make my own in the future. Cheers!

Edited by 4L0M
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58 minutes ago, 4L0M said:

It's interesting that the cloud tops etc aren't called. Do you know what generates the clouds? Are they a particle effect maybe? I didn't really upscale them either, just the alpha channels. The underlying textures aren't up sampled, they were individual cloud textures made by me for a mod I made for Woff. As for tiling the sky dome, the original is a seamless texture which is tiled in the sky, so tiling it multiple times seems a quick elegant way of removing the pixellation. Like I say, version, I can make my own in the future. Cheers!

 

There's a lot of unused stuff left in IL-2 from its ROF days with remnants of old stuff and unused tests/expts to be found in various places which good housekeeping could delete

 

IL-2 introduced a new technique for generating clouds where they are iteratively grown based upon a variety of parameters/settings altering how it reads texture files .

 

The skydome isn't tiled but is, for want of a better word, "extrapolated" from reading and mixing different pixels within a simple texture, up-scaling it won't have the direct impact you may otherwise expect, though that is not to say it doesn't have an impact, the cirrus clouds however are a simple old-school tiled texture and they can mask a lot of the sky dome and so improving their resolution does help a little

 

It's all a fascinating subject myself and one or two others have spent a fair while poking around and looking into (myself I started in 2014 when this was still ROF), but it is one that to do justice to you need to properly understand so as to balance changes you make as there are so many aspects that interact with one another, that it is very rare you can make a change to just one aspect and expect that to be "better"... everything has a knock on effect somewhere down the line.

 

I can't claim to know anything about the workings of WOFF but given the age of its game engine I'd guess that anything you know about that might be a handicap and mislead you into making mis-assumptions about the workings of IL-2.

 

Cheers

 

HH

 

EDIT: I don't wish to appear rude or disparaging, but I've just taken a look through your download at the files you have changed, and as LizLemon mentioned, little of what you have changed would make any significant difference in game as you haven't altered the primary files that control the things you claim to be re-working.

 

It is very tempting to make changes and then psychologically talk yourself into assuming they must have made a difference because you want them to have made a difference, but that doesn't mean it is the case.

 

Anyway best of luck with getting to grips with this complex topic, it is really interesting to work on.

Edited by HappyHaddock
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Hi HappyHaddock. Thanks for the reply. Don't worry, I'm well versed in multiple different game engines. To be honest, modding Woff was the worst thing I could have done, as once I figured out how it all worked, the illusion was shattered and I couldn't "unsee" how basic the game engine really was!

 

I know the cirrus textures don't effect the sky as such, that's down to the gradients on the sky box textures, but I made the cirrus textures larger and tiled to mitigate the borderline pixellation seen on some of them.

Edited by 4L0M
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6 hours ago, LizLemon said:

Yes they do

 

Then we must have a different idea of what a "lens flare" is, because human eyes do not suffer from the type of flare that I'm talking about. Indeed, in most games these days it is something you can actively disable in the settings, since it's a fake camera effect that is not appropriate half the time.

 

Doesn't matter in this case anyway, because I just removed the lens flares from the mod myself.

Edited by Goffik
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4 hours ago, 4L0M said:

@HappyHaddockI only started modding the game on Saturday lunchtime, so I'm sure there's a lot to learn! 😉

 

There certainly is.... 

 

This thread does perhaps say a lot about the complexity of the stock/vanilla game, along with people's observation skills... You have changed files that won't really affect the look of the clouds, the lighting or sky colour, and have therefore posted images of what effectively amounts to the stock/vanilla skies and yet this is still accepted as somehow different.... most probably because of the subtle variety already built into the stock/vanilla game.

 

Still, when I started I also spent a lot of time modding files and trying to work out why nothing was changing... it's all too easy to make assumptions about what files do based upon their names, not always so easy to actually prove what they genuinely effect, or that they are even still relevant with any affect at all.

 

Cheers HH

 

 

Edited by HappyHaddock
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@4L0M

 

  I like what you’ve done. If you would like to download my latest version and take the 2 skydome.dds files and do what you have done with yours without changing any color. I’m curious to see the result of that mixed with the various lighting.  The cirrus clouds in my mod are very pixelated. 
   As for reworking any cloud shapes, this takes quite a bit of time adjusting each ski.ini file individually while also rebuilding all the cloud maps for better results. Again, take a look at the differences of the vanilla game files compared to the ones I have modded. This will help you see the amount of options you have for achieving different results. Feel free to pm me. 
:salute:

Edited by rowdyb00t
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8 hours ago, 4L0M said:

It's interesting that the cloud tops etc aren't called. Do you know what generates the clouds? Do the cloud maps create them. Are they a particle effect maybe? I didn't really upscale them either, just the alpha channels. The underlying textures aren't upsampled, they were individual cloud textures made by me for a mod I made for Woff. As for tiling the sky dome, the original is a seamless texture which is tiled in the sky, so tiling it multiple times seems a quick elegant way of removing the pixellation. Like I say, 1st version, I can make my own in the future. Cheers!

 

Its raymarching volumes and I think the developers probably bought some middleware solution for it. The cloudmaps folder has the files that are used by this generator. It basically takes the channels from the cloud maps and multiplies them based on the parameters near the top of the sky.ini file. I'm pretty sure this is being done on the CPU at mission load time since the cloud maps are fed to the game already mixed. There is also a parameter that adds some annoying perlin noise to those cloud maps, that is set in sky.ini too. Oh, and the cloud maps can only be 512x512 - but you can change the scale of the tiling of them in sky.ini.

 

There are some other parameters in sky.ini that control the amount of noise added to the clouds later on, in the pixel shader. Plus some controls for the sharpness of the alpha that cuts the cloud. There is also some dreadful modification of the cloud lighting that is done in a later pixel shader, its the light/ambient term in the bottom of sky.ini - the best thing to do is just rationalize that and use the same values across all the sky.inis if you want to mess around with the light.bmp.

 

As far as the cirrus clouds go the lighting on them is basically broken and you can't get them too look good without destroying the ambient on everything else. For textures on them you'd be best off messing with the masking texture, just use some high contrast perlin noise, like in the file below. 

 

Light.bmp controls the sun, ambient and moon color. The 3rd line from the top/2nd from the bottom might be star light but I cant remember.  Its a simple 0degrees on the left 90 degrees on the right, but for some reason the location of sunrise is based on summer/winter solstice, depending on if its the summer or winter light.bmp.

 

Skydome.dds is what controls the color of the sky. This is a 16bit floating point dds file. The top section is sky color at max camera height while the bottom is 0m - for some reason this is 10km in game but 30km in the mission editor, I don't really get this difference. Both height are split into two sections, one is towards the sun and the other 180 degrees opposite. Editing this file is dicey as the stock file already has banding present so any pushing of this file will exacerbate the banding issues. If you want to make a new skydome, like using blender, you have to correct for the way mapping is done, but I won't bother to explain that unless you want the fun of stitching together a bunch of fisheye projections.

 

Also your moon texture has a hard shadow in it. 

 

5 hours ago, Goffik said:

 

Then we must have a different idea of what a "lens flare" is, because human eyes do not suffer from the type of flare that I'm talking about. Indeed, in most games these days it is something you can actively disable in the settings, since it's a fake camera effect that is not appropriate half the time.

 

Doesn't matter in this case anyway, because I just removed the lens flares from the mod myself.

 

There are a few games that get it right.....

540170231_humaneyeflare.thumb.jpg.400d51534128f58f02fd1a2f78df528c.jpg

 

EDIT: eh why not

2020_3_3__17_7_53.thumb.jpg.ca8877ec8d78453c04d43853951fa7ba.jpg

recognize me.zip

lens.zip

Edited by LizLemon
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  • 1 month later...

"The skydomes in GB are 1024x1024px.  I have made new Skydomes that are 4096x4096px."

"sky.ini"

 

Any gfx settings recommended for this cloud mod?

In game gfx-settings to ultra?

"clouds_samples" settings in "gpresets.cfg" ?

 

Would be great to know what to set up in order to get these great looking clouds.

 

Thanks for your work

Edited by Tom25briklebritt
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32 minutes ago, Tom25briklebritt said:

"The skydomes in GB are 1024x1024px.  I have made new Skydomes that are 4096x4096px."

"sky.ini"

 

Any gfx settings recommended for this cloud mod?

In game gfx-settings to ultra?

"clouds_samples" settings in "gpresets.cfg" ?

 

Would be great to know what to set up in order to get these great looking clouds.

 

Thanks for your work


  The skydomes are actually 32 x 512 if I remember correctly. Cloud maps are 512 x 512 

and light bmp’s are 128 x 128 in the stock game. You must be talking about something else?

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Hi 4L0M,

I play with your sky mod since a few week and it's really a great enhancement for the game !

I also tried the rowdyb00t sky mod which is very interesting !

However, for my own opinion, without judging anyone, for my own tastes, and with respect to everyone's work, I prefer your approach to this mod !

With standartd Cloudsamples, your clouds seems to me more detailled when you are close to them !

Moreover the rendering of the cirrus is very good, and your mod is very, very, FPS friendly !

For my personal choices, I changed the lens and sunglow files to those included in the mod of rowdyb00t.

I also changed some "overcast" files to those of rowdyb00t in order to have sometime some overcast sky wihout rain or snow...

(of course, I took care to modify all the entries of the "ini 'files of" rowdyb00t "and to rename all the attached files,

so as not to have any interference with your mod ! )

This mix works very well for me !

 

Finally, to finish, I thank you very much for your remarkable work, as well as that of your colleague and I wish you the best !

 

Encouragement, for future developments, you are really on a very good way !

I remain at your disposal for more information.

Best regards, Thierry.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
44 / 5000
 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The cirrus clouds look nice but virtually everything else is placebo. None of the sky.ini files have changed from stock. So there for the clouds are the same. The cloud files that have been edited are no longer used, they are from RoF. I believe what he called skydomes are the cirrus.dds files. The light and skydome.dds are same as stock. 

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On 1/31/2021 at 7:19 PM, rowdyb00t said:

The cirrus clouds look nice but virtually everything else is placebo. None of the sky.ini files have changed from stock. So there for the clouds are the same. The cloud files that have been edited are no longer used, they are from RoF. I believe what he called skydomes are the cirrus.dds files. The light and skydome.dds are same as stock. 

Thank you very much for your explanations, it is really very kind of you.

I have been playing with IL-2 GB for a short time and I am still only at the "discovery" stage !

I have worked extensively on IL-2 1946 skies at the SAS forum, and I am delighted to see your research work on this same topic !

Here I am resuming my studies from scratch and thank you once again for all your attention. 🙂

 

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