Author Topic: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?  (Read 12675 times)

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Offline Admiral Nelson

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
Yes, the Boomerang issue was my mistake, not Herra/Zacam's.  This problem has been resolved.
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Offline Charismatic

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
Another mystery under the belt!
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Offline sfried

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I think the main reason why the new starfield feels "meh" is because of the lack of light trails when you move your view. It was a nice touch that sort of made a very convincing "spacey" motion feel that I felt Volition wanted to capture from Star Wars movies/games.

I don't find anything wrong with the starfields per se, but without the light trail effects, it just isn't the same.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 03:08:52 pm by sfried »

 

Offline Rodo

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I would only complain about the lack of bigger stars... but those are kind of hard to include since the skybox will always be the same and making big stars will make soo much obvious that everyone is using the same starfield.

el hombre vicio...

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
sfried: The skybox starfield uses a completely different method from the retail streaky stars. The retail stars are basically a very rudimentary procedural starfield combined with an equally rudimentary motion blur effect (which only affects the stars, in a very fake way I might add but that's just my opinion about them). The starfields used by skyboxes are basically textures that are rendered onto the inside of a sphere, so it's pretty much impossible to have a similar streaky effect as with the retail stars.

Also, the dominant opinion (iirc) is that the retail stars and starfield textures don't mix well, so the number of retail stars was reduced to zero for the mediaVP retail missions.

It is a trivial matter to specify a non-zero amount of retail stars (in mission files) to be used in addition to the skybox starfield texture, but it'll look strange as some stars streak and most don't. Having a shader based motion blur effect is probably what would make the starfield effect more similar to retail, but again personally I would likely not use it, unless it were configurable to adjust the strength of the effect... and to be honest, there are other things I would rather see in the engine than motion blur/bloom effects or post-processing filters in general. Like shadows. I want to see shadows. :p

Rodo: Lack of bigger stars? What do you mean? There's a distinct lack of "big stars" when you look at both real life night sky, and when you look at the retail FS2 stars. The retail starfield consists of equally bright pixels.

If you mean having more suns in the background, that would be bogus... The backgrounds are made based on what we see in FS2 retail backgrounds. And at any rate, it's better to keep the background starfield as background starfield, and add everything else on top of it as background elements via FRED2 background editor. And yes, making too prominent constellations will make it obvious that all missions use the same background, but a bigger problem would be that the starfield tiling gets waay too obvious... You'd see the same constellations repeated six times.
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Offline aRaven

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I think the main reason why the new starfield feels "meh" is because of the lack of light trails when you move your view. It was a nice touch that sort of made a very convincing "spacey" motion feel that I felt Volition wanted to capture from Star Wars movies/games.

I don't find anything wrong with the starfields per se, but without the light trail effects, it just isn't the same.

i agree! i want streaky stars! don't care about shadows...we don't need them ^^

 
Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I'm a fan of the new starfield. just noticed it today - I understand the limitations of the retail star effect, and yeah, it's a shame we can't have our cakes...stars...and..something something them too, but I feel that the new details prevalent in the startfield, and the media vpa in general, more than offsets the loss of an effect primarily designed to simulate speed. with the fov completely configurable, its not hard to get that woosh! effect without the old (sparse, boring, 1 pixel) stars. the only thing I really miss about the blur effect is the jiggle when you hit the afterburners.

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Offline Rodo

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
Rodo: Lack of bigger stars? What do you mean? There's a distinct lack of "big stars" when you look at both real life night sky, and when you look at the retail FS2 stars. The retail starfield consists of equally bright pixels.

If you mean having more suns in the background, that would be bogus... The backgrounds are made based on what we see in FS2 retail backgrounds. And at any rate, it's better to keep the background starfield as background starfield, and add everything else on top of it as background elements via FRED2 background editor. And yes, making too prominent constellations will make it obvious that all missions use the same background, but a bigger problem would be that the starfield tiling gets waay too obvious... You'd see the same constellations repeated six times.

I ment bigger spots of light, like a far away mega cluster of stars or something like that.

el hombre vicio...

 

Offline sfried

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
...but I feel that the new details prevalent in the startfield, and the media vpa in general, more than offsets the loss of an effect primarily designed to simulate speed. with the fov completely configurable, its not hard to get that woosh! effect without the old (sparse, boring, 1 pixel) stars. the only thing I really miss about the blur effect is the jiggle when you hit the afterburners.
Yeah, the new stars are really nice to look, but I still do like the light trails effect on the old ones, despite its somewhat "primitive" starfield. It really felt like I was in the cockpit with those effects. It's a shame that it isn't in this build.

Here's hoping for the next release to reintroduce it.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I ment bigger spots of light, like a far away mega cluster of stars or something like that.

The background editor is far better suited for this kind of background objects for various reasons - two most important ones being that the starfield is tiled to skybox, and the fact that that kind of objects would make it even more difficult to use any kind of compression on the starfield. The tiling causes any objects on the starfield to repeat six times when you look up, down, left, right, front and back. So the more you have "prominent items", the bigger the risk of players noticing the repetition and subsequently loss of immersion. The compression thing is another one; gradients are not easy to compress in any way. Uncompressed, the starfield would take about 12 MB of ram. Compressed as it is, it takes about 8 MB. Adding objects other than stars would, like said, make it even more difficult to use any kind of compression on the texture - ask Zacam for more detail if you want.

And at any rate, you don't really see that stuff when you casually look at the night sky. You need very dark conditions, clear sky, and then, MAYBE, if you know where you need to look at, you can see the Andromeda galaxy (M31) with bare eyes - but not when you look at it directly, because the center of your eyes is not sensitive enough for weak light to detect it; you need to use the sensitive cells next to the "yellow spot" on your retinas. Even then it looks like a fuzzy little smear in the sky, and you only see the core of the galaxy. Magellanic clouds would be visible in similar fashion, and the great nebula of Orion (M42) is somewhat visible as a bit brighter area around the stars it is accompanied with, but you can't really see details. You definitely wouldn't notice them in combat. Even in space. If you want that kind of objects in, add them to the background tables and use them as background bitmaps, it's easier for all parties involved.

And, like said, streaky stars are trivial to get back (just change one value in a mission file and they be back). They are not related to builds (FS2_Open executables) in any way, they are a retail feature that can be turned off in mission files. You can specify the amount of retail stars up to 3000 IIRC. Personally, though, I would prefer a proper motion blur effect that would also work on textured starfields... The retail stars don't mix very well with the stars in textures, because textured stars don't streak and thus it makes things a little weird looking.

Perhaps you should get a bad quality flat display with a prominent afterimage, just for playing FS2_Open with streaky stars?  :lol:
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Offline Col. Fishguts

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I for one don't like the streaky retail stars, static skybox stars are way more realistic.
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Offline castor

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
FTW!

 

Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?


I made this in like two minutes (actually longer but only because I got sidetracked fooling around with hue/saturation).

As for the topic of streaky stars: only the brighter stars would look like that (and even then, not as much as they did in retail)... but since the skybox texture is not an HDR-texture (note I mean more data than 255 colors per channel, not "Blooooommmmmmm!!!111111111eleventy"), and since it would require post-processing shader effects, it's not likely to get done that way.

 

Offline Mobius

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
Rodo: Lack of bigger stars? What do you mean? There's a distinct lack of "big stars" when you look at both real life night sky, and when you look at the retail FS2 stars. The retail starfield consists of equally bright pixels.

Too bad that most missions, both canon and custom made, don't take place in Sol...to bad that this search for reality has negative effects on eyecandy.

Bigger stars are considerably plausible for other systems adn really improve the effect. As I said at the very beginning of this thread, most stars can't be noticed that easily. :(
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
Too bad that most missions, both canon and custom made, don't take place in Sol...

Yeah, it would be possible to research the overall background starfield conditions and make a tailored starfield background for each of them. However, I'm gonna make a rude guesstimation here and say that vast majority of the systems are located in relatively similar surroundings as the Sol system - outskirts of Milky Way. You would pretty much see similar starfield everywhere unless you're orbiting a star that is immediate part of something like M13 star cluster.

I don't remember any systems in FS2 that would be part of open cluster like Pleiades or Hyades either. And, even if they were, it would be better to deal with that kind of environment through the background elements.

If there are some systems whose surroundings completely vary from the "milky way galactic norm", you can do the research and substitute a different skybox for those missions, but I'm really not going to bother doing that kind of research as it will not be worth it. Space tends to be quite similar looking, so unless you get into the Galactic Core (in which case you would see some more stars but probably not as much as you would expect) or into intergalactic space... the amount of stars seen in the background would be more or less the same. Most of the stars we can observe actually blend into milky way fog anyway, and same would happen everywhere in the galaxy.

I guess you could try something like Celestia to move from system to system and observe how the background starfield looks like.

Quote
to bad that this search for reality has negative effects on eyecandy.

Matter of opinion almost completely. If you preferred the old starfield, by all means use it. Or make a better new one - I'm not even sure what exactly you're after at this point (see below)... More of the blurry stars?

Quote
Bigger stars are considerably plausible for other systems adn really improve the effect.

Arguable to a very high degree - feel free to do the research and show how much the background starfield consistency would vary between systems. I seriously doubt it would be enough to warrant more than one 2048^2 sized texture to hog hard disk and bandwidth...

Quote
As I said at the very beginning of this thread, most stars can't be noticed that easily. :(

Again, if you have trouble seeing most of the stars in the current mediaVP texture, there's something very special about your monitor settings, because they certainly show up very well on both my home PC and my parents' home PC. They are definitely more noticeable and better defined than the 3.6.10 beta VP starfield, as you can see simply by looking at the comparision shots posted by Zacam. And they are a far cry from the 3.6.8 zeta starfield.. :ick:

If you want to increase the amount of stars that are >1px in size, I'm not gonna do it. I have tried a lot of stuff when I was making this starfield, and the end result in the mediaVP's is what by my judgement (and as far as I know, other FSU team members as well) was about the best working compromise between variety and keeping the stars from not becoming annoying blobs.

If you want to increase the portion of the stars that are bigger, by all means feel free to do it. Then deal with the fact that the stars stop looking like point sources of light like they are supposed to - especially in space - as well as the fact that you see the same stars projected to six directions of the skybox, so if you put something like Orion or Big Dipper or some other recognizeable constellation shapes on the starfield, you're gonna see them everywhere very soon...  :sigh:

But seriously, though, check your monitor settings and driver-level gamma settings... If you can, check things on a different monitor. I don't know how things look on your monitor. I don't really even understand how you're seeing what you're describing, so I don't know if you're seeing the same as I, and thus it's a bit difficult to respond in any meaningful way. Hell, take a photograph of the starfield on your display (keep the view still, no flash or other lights in the room, use smallest aperture and sensitivity settings available, and then adjust the exposure time so that the image is accurately lit) and show that to us if it helps to convey what exactly are you seeing.
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Offline Jeff Vader

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
Again, if you have trouble seeing most of the stars in the current mediaVP texture, there's something very special about your monitor settings, because they certainly show up very well on both my home PC and my parents' home PC.
Confirmatory. Show up just fine. Purdy.
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Offline Mobius

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
To be honest it's pretty useless to keep discussing, I know you won't change anything.

The only good thing is that I'll do whatever it takes keep the old starfield map in INFA and INF SCP or, at least, hire someone able to work on the old starfield map and keep its style. Such is liberation.
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Offline captain-custard

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
if you dont like the new ones cant you just crack open the media vps and put the old ones in there and remove or rename the new ones?

ive been following this thread and at the beginning i was more for keeping the old ones but taking the advice and adjusting my monitor settings i now prefer the new ones .....as for the streaky stars i never felt that these were that great ,......
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Offline Mobius

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
if you dont like the new ones cant you just crack open the media vps and put the old ones in there and remove or rename the new ones?

Yeah, something like that.
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Offline sfried

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Re: Is It Me Or The New Starfield Is Kind Of Meh?
I wish modders would be creative enough to implement replacement light trails, not necessarily the 1-pixel ones used in retail, but perhaps create a form of alpha-blurring that would only apply to the starfield.