Starfoxes release thread -1 reply

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#1 7 years ago

Well after 8 hours of trying to get my latest mod uploaded the the sight I have decided to try a different track. I am going to post Download links here as I get stuff done. I'll still try to get things uploaded to the sight but as long as Game Fronts servers are still fracked up I've having to act as my own server any way. So here we have 2 files The Constitution Class Pack; 218 meg http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3697428/Constitution%20Pack.zip and the Excelsior Class Pack; 96 meg http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3697428/Excelsior%20Class%20Pack.zip I'd post picks but that system doesn't seem to work right now. Enjoy:cya:




Major A Payne

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#2 7 years ago

Starfox. Have you ever considered using MODDB for releases?? You'll certainly reach a wider audience, and use something like photobucket to post a few images. I've been curious aobut these since you said you've been trying to get them up on here.

** Quick edit **

Its hard to say something without being overly crticial but I'll certainly try. Whilst this is a seriously good pair of releases the one thing that does detract from this is the massively overbaring poly counts. Okay so one positive is, just like me, you've gone for a good a quality as possibly, but sometimes even this isn't worth it, but there are times when poly counts are not a good thing. Texture quality is as high as possible and the models look spanking with them, but there is ways around placing seperate registries on a model. For example. Instead of having for example, 10 4096*4096 pixel images of the saucer textures, each having a seperate registry, you could have had one texture with ALL the registries on them and then just picked the faces that correspond to them.

It really is a shame you couldnt have gotten models between 2000 and 3500 polys but used the same texture sets (with some minor edits). You wouldn't have required the 5 lod's for each model and still maintained a high level of quality (if not higher than normal especially in A2).

Still. Even taking this into account if your using them as hero vessels or low construction builds (no more than a half dozen in game at a time) then they are worth it.




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#3 7 years ago

Well My Personal Perfered Style of play is smaller battles fought over a longer time period. Still I have found that most 5 year old PC are able to deal with the models as long as they are LODed. !024s Tend to work best on my PC but I included the larger ones for the TOS conis because I had them. I may do lower resolution set when GameFront get their act together.

Instead of having for example, 10 4096*4096 pixel images of the saucer textures, each having a seperate registry, you could have had one texture with ALL the registries on them and then just picked the faces that correspond to them.

I thought about it but it was just simpler for me at my current skill level to do it this way. It gave me a bit more freedom to produce what I felt where the best quality hero texture sets. Of course I realise that most of them won't get used by most players, but that wasn't the point. =p

It really is a shame you couldnt have gotten models between 2000 and 3500 polys but used the same texture sets (with some minor edits). You wouldn't have required the 5 lod's for each model and still maintained a high level of quality (if not higher than normal especially in A2).

I really don't see the LODs as a down side. It really isn't that much more work and it frees up processing power to run thoughs high resolutions and poly counts. At 300 meters the average polycount of the ships is in that range and the majority of them are using the 256 resoluton. The major difference is that My P81 Constitution is only useing 2 graphic calls for its 2 textures where a normal non loded P81 Constution uses 7 calls. That means at point blank to the Camera my ship uses 1 meg more Ram then the standard model but beyond 75 meters mine uses less Ram then the standard model. Since these graphics calls put the bigest load an the render engine of the game I think for the most part I have found an accetable system that let me have my cake and eat most of it too:cool: Besides you can adjust the distances that the LODs change in the Art.cfg file to fine tune things to you PC's graphics capabilities. The main thing is that as PCs contintue to improve bigger and bigger models will be usable. I'd like to think these pack can remain viable good quality options for the comunity not just now but for several years to come.

Starfox. Have you ever considered using MODDB for releases?? You'll certainly reach a wider audience, and use something like photobucket to post a few images. I've been curious aobut these since you said you've been trying to get them up on here.

Is it free?




Major A Payne

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#4 7 years ago

Oh I can see where your comming from. Mainly because with some of the models I've gotten recently the poly counts are higher than I would regularly have. With regards to MODDB. Of course its free. I seriously couldn't see alot of people releasing any kind of material there if it wasn't.




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#5 7 years ago
Major A Payne;5578243Oh I can see where your comming from. Mainly because with some of the models I've gotten recently the poly counts are higher than I would regularly have. With regards to MODDB. Of course its free. I seriously couldn't see alot of people releasing any kind of material there if it wasn't.

cool I'll look into it; Thanks




Dominus_Noctis

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#6 7 years ago

Holy crud, 4096 resolution? That's just going to slow down stuff incredibly... LODs are definitely needed to maintain reasonable FPS, especially if the mod is designed to be multiplayer. Stock A2/A1 can't even show the details well enough to warrant that high resolution :bawl:




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#7 7 years ago

I don't have anything with 4096 Dom, The TOS Conis are all a single 2048 on the hi and 128 on the low end




Major A Payne

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#8 7 years ago

Appologies Dominus. I actually meant 2048*2048, not 4096*4096.




Dominus_Noctis

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#9 7 years ago

Gotcha :)

Unfortunately from what I've noticed, even going above 1024 x 1024 will result in significant frame dragging on most computers. In multiplayer games it tends to be exacerbated, but it should still be readily noticeable in singleplayer.

If your modification is big (composing at least a dozen different units) it seems that optimum resolution is 512 x 512 for your highest detail LOD. It's a shame, but A2/A1's stock graphics engine really isn't optimized for any higher loads. Of course, if you prefer eye candy rather than performance, then a higher resolution is obviously nicer (though past 2048 it seems you don't really get any increased visible detail...).




Freyr VIP Member

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#10 7 years ago

I wrote a couple of words about this a while back, but it would appear I didn't actually get around to posting it on SB34.

Spoiler: Show

Big is not always better.

There is an increasing trend towards very high resolution graphics. Pointlessly high resolution graphics, as a point of detail. I aim to explain why it's pointless using graphics over certain sizes.

Firstly, screensize. For the purposes of demonstration i'm going to assume that people are using the 1920x1440 screen resolution to play Armada.

Before we go any further, we need to look at who Armada handles resizing things. Armada uses a system called bicubic resampling, where basically put if something needs to be shown at 1024 pixels and it's actually 512 pixels than it gets scaled up to show the difference. Every pixel is shown twice, which does result in a slight deterioration of quality. However, when I say "slight" I do mean exactly that.

This is an example of an original graphic at 512 pixels, and a 256 pixel image resized up to 512pixels. Firstly, can you tell which one is which, and secondly how much of a difference is it? Look closely and make your mind up, the answer is in the next paragraph.

256-512.png512.png

As you can see, it's reasonable to double the size of an image. The second image is the enlarged 256pixel image. If your forced to expand yet further (ie 3x) then things start coming apart. Tripling the size of the same image would look pretty ugly. However, if your using a 512 pixels image, then to triple the size of the image you'd be bringing it up to ~1500 pixels square. You'd find that pretty difficult on a monitor that can only display 1920x1440 pixels.

Because people always pick holes and say it's possible, i'm just going to demonstrate here. This is a very old picture from about 2006 in 800x600, but it can show the point.

Snapshot000.jpg

You couldn't easily zoom in on a single object more than I have with the planet there. If that were a 1920x1440 image then the planet would still only be occupying ~1000 pixels on the screen. That's about the maximum size you can expect to see, and remember that you can double the size of an image virtually without any penalty in detail, which means that it's worth saving things at half the maximum size they'll be displayed at. The only reason for putting textures in 1024x would be if we were expecting them to be displayed at ~2000 pixels, which frankly can only happen for the background image.

Having looked at the effect of resizing, lets look at the effect that different texture sizes have on memory.

128x - 48k 256x - 192k 512x - 768k 1024x - 3072k (3Mb) 2048x - 12288k (12Mb)

As you can see, memory usage goes sharply up after 512px. 3MB may not sound a lot, but consider that at 3MB the 6 background images take up 18MB. If you used 1024x textures on your ships with no LOD's, then a single fleet of 16 ships would set you back 48MB of memory. An opposing fleet of 16 ships turns up (+another 48MB of memory), and opens fire with oversized 1024x weapon textures. 32 photons go flying out from both sides and all of a sudden. LAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGG. You've discovered how much your graphics card can handle! Even though they are only being displayed at around 32 pixels, they are being downsized from 1024 pixels and using up 3MB (each) on the graphics card. Those 32 photons at 1024x take up 96MB of memory, meaning we've used 210MB of graphics memory, just for two fleets of 16 ships, plus weapons and the background. I'm being kind and ignoring the effect of a midnight universe style starfield, the GUI, your base, the dilithium moons, planets etc. This is basically the problem early versions of fleetops had.

Now work it out for 512x textures. That lot totals under 50 MB, and getting the game to lag is going to be a virtual impossibility. By all means use larger textures where the detail will be noticed, but that is not on every single model. Also, you can get away with using very, very large textures if you implement LOD's on your models etc. This means that when your zoomed right in, the model displays a ultra high quality texture map, but only displays a low res texture map for far away shots.

I've thought of this as a budget for years, by reducing what you don't need when you don't need it, This allows you to have a far greater level of detail when you want it. If you were inclined then you could have 2048x texture maps for close in shots, but then scale it down all the way to 128x (which is still larger than can be displayed) for far away shots.

LOD's are definitely well worth it, and shouldn't impact on performance. I suspect that for effective purposes poly count is mostly limited by the time it takes to render an object, which in theory is directly related to the performance of the hardware available. I suspect that to a certain degree we can get away with higher poly models than we did 10 years ago simply because the machines are at least ten times faster than the original machines we were developing for.

I mean, the original requirement was for a 300MHz processor. I'm now using a quad core processor, with each core running at 3000MHz. The memory requirement was 64MB. I have 4096MB available. The graphics card is so much more powerful than the machine ten years ago that it's actually quite absurd to compare them.

It would actually be quite interesting to stress test the engine on a powerful PC to see when it starts falling apart. I suspect we might be quite surprised at the results.




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