Author Topic: A celebration of Freespace  (Read 1768247 times)

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Offline DaBrain

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
I think I wrote a tutorial like... two years ago...
Around the time when I wanted normal mapping for FS2 and tried to achive a similar effect with shine maps... (which of course didnt work, and looked horrible. :lol:  )

You'll get access to the SoL internal, where we've discussed that a bit already.
Generally I can say: Use Crazybump!
http://www.crazybump.com/

It gives you some nice options, which will help you to create a rather decent normal map, even if your bump/heigh-map isn't great.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 12:58:33 pm by DaBrain »
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Offline jr2

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
@DAB: What other programs do you use?  To create normal maps, I mean.  What would a person familiar with producing regular models need to add normal maps to his stuff?  I want to give the SWC folks the info... ;)

 

Offline Vasudan Admiral

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Ok, well this is just not nice. Between that last post and this one, my graphics card died. No sooner do I get access to SoL Internal, all the normal mapping info there and a new normal map generation utility, then I can't try any of it out. :(
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Offline jr2

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Just curious, what make / model GFX card you got?

 

Offline taylor

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Also, I'm not up to speed with what's happening with Blackhole's parallax mapping. It uses a heightmap, but is that heightmap supposed to be included in the DXT5_NM texture, or is it still a separate file?
You can't include a height map in a DXT5nm, so that's the quick answer there.  Keeping with the way that extra maps have always been done previously, you just save the map as *-height.??? (DXT1c is preferred at the moment) and use the -height cmdline option to enable it.  Mod makers will be able to customize the shaders to allow DXT5+height in a single map though, if they wanted to do such a thing.  The default shader set will maintain the old fashioned way of doing maps until the material code shows up though.

And the current test build is here, since I haven't sent you updates in a while (since I'm really only concerned with getting the ATI related bugs worked out now).



And really, most of the assistance for all of this goes to DaBrain and Vasudan Admiral.  This new code has been in heavy development for around 8 months now, and it's mostly because of those two that it's in the state that it is now.  Bobboau's expertise helped me work out the last major problem, and bonus points go to wolf and blackhole, as well as the handful of testers that put up the multitude of builds/bugs that I have been pumping out.  Over 30 builds were produced during testing of this new stuff, with more than 50 different shader variations being produced.

 

Offline blackhole

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
I GET BONUS POINTS! :D

Thanks to taylor for letting me screw around with the shader code and implement that cool stuff. I love shaders.  :lol:

On a side note, that Arwing looks positively divine. :eek2:

 

Offline taylor

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
And here is an example of standard mapping, normal mapping, and parallax mapping (normal and height maps):


The "standard mapping" is the new render pipeline though, so it's got better lighting and blending support that the game has had previously.  It's also got per-pixel lighting now.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Cool... but I suppose you would need to make a short video clip to show just what the normal/height maps actually do to the model... Still shots give some idea but being from one static perspective, I'm guessing it doesn't really do justice to the effect.

Even a low-res clip with perspective changes would probably show a lot more of the effect.


...Or we can wait until it gets into public build and mediaVP's. :D
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Offline Vasudan Admiral

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Just curious, what make / model GFX card you got?
XFX GF 7900GT, xXx
It's been getting hotter and hotter recently, and a PCI slot VGA cooler didn't help. It was hitting 70°C in games and idling at 60. It locked up for a second and died permanently last night, with a final temp of 58.

You can't include a height map in a DXT5nm, so that's the quick answer there.  Keeping with the way that extra maps have always been done previously, you just save the map as *-height.??? (DXT1c is preferred at the moment) and use the -height cmdline option to enable it.
Ah, ok. I was thinking that since it's just a greyscale map it would be best to just put it in an unused channel of an existing map instead of having three channels in an extra map to do the same thing, but having it as a separate file does make it a bit easier to manage for modders. :)
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Offline taylor

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
You can't include a height map in a DXT5nm, so that's the quick answer there.  Keeping with the way that extra maps have always been done previously, you just save the map as *-height.??? (DXT1c is preferred at the moment) and use the -height cmdline option to enable it.
Ah, ok. I was thinking that since it's just a greyscale map it would be best to just put it in an unused channel of an existing map instead of having three channels in an extra map to do the same thing, but having it as a separate file does make it a bit easier to manage for modders. :)
Well, technically you can do in an extra channel, but you would hate yourself for trying such a thing.  The highest precision channel in a DXT compressed map is the alpha channel, but with DXT5nm, we make use of that channel already.  All that's left is the red and blue channels, each with only 5 bits of precision (alpha has 8, green has 6).  So the quality of your height map would seriously suck if you tried to get it in that same file.

Normally, I think, people use regular DXT5 for normal maps, with the normal data in RGB, and the height map in the alpha channel.  That gives you everything in one file, but the compression artifacts really hurt the normal map.  We, on the other hand, went with the quality route over reducing the map count.  But as I've mentioned before, it only takes a quick change to the shaders to go the other way, and mod makers are free to do that if they wish. :)

 

Offline Vasudan Admiral

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Heh, I doubt any mod would do that, since I'd imagine would require them to switch all the existing normal maps that will come out with the next Media VPs over as well?

But yeah, I'm happy with it being separate if you don't think it'd be much of a performance issue. :)
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Offline taylor

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Heh, I doubt any mod would do that, since I'd imagine would require them to switch all the existing normal maps that will come out with the next Media VPs over as well?
Yeah, but with something like WCSaga, BtRL, SoL, TBP, they don't use MediaVP resources for models anyway.  They are going to be creating custom content in the first place, so they can do it any way that they like and then adjust the shaders to compensate.  I mean, if you made the normal maps also contain height map data, then ALL normal maps would have to contain height map data.  The way that it is now, by default, you get to add things as you like, without being forced to do both map types.  The big mods don't really have that issue though, and they may want to change things up so that they have less files to deal with.  It's mod choice though, but I of the thought that most everyone will just leave it as it is now, since it's probably easier on the artists.

Quote
But yeah, I'm happy with it being separate if you don't think it'd be much of a performance issue. :)
Nah, the performance impact is negligible at best, at least for rendering.  The memory usage impact is certainly there in full force, but I anticipate that most models are just going to go with normal maps and not height maps anyway.  The addition of height maps is great for many things, but most of the content people are going to deal with is just small stuff, and 99.9% of the time you aren't really going to get anything out of the height map visually.  For things like landscapes, or really large objects, height maps will have a massive boost to visual quality/effect.  But using them for fighters and other small objects like that is really just a waste of memory.

 
Re: A celebration of Freespace
For things like landscapes, or really large objects, height maps will have a massive boost to visual quality/effect.  But using them for fighters and other small objects like that is really just a waste of memory.

So... Ugly, old Colossus would at least look a bit better? :D

 

Offline MetalDestroyer

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
What should I need to put normal mapping into existing models ? CrazyBump only ? And what about the naming file and the output format ? (dds, jpg, tga ).

 

Offline DaBrain

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
@DAB: What other programs do you use?  To create normal maps, I mean.  What would a person familiar with producing regular models need to add normal maps to his stuff?  I want to give the SWC folks the info... ;)

I'm going the 2d way, so you'd need Photoshop, Gimp, Paint.net or what ever else you'd like.
You'll have to create a bumpmap, which is just a greyscale map where the high parts are brighter and the lower parts are darker.

You should take a look at this:
http://www.bencloward.com/tutorials_normal_maps4.shtml

But keep in mind that FS2 is using DXT5_NM maps.

In a few rare cases you can even use the diffuse map as bump map. (slightly changed contrast though)


Crazybump preview:
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 04:07:48 pm by DaBrain »
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SoL is looking for a sound effect artist
Please PM me in case you want to apply
---------------------------------
Shadows of Lylat - A Freespace 2 total conversion
(hosted by Game-Warden)
----------------------------------

  

Offline MetalDestroyer

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Once we have the normal map, what should I do with it ? ^^ I mean where to save it and how to name it ? Should I name name it the same ways as the shinemaps ? like my_texture_model-shine.dds but instead og shine, I put normal ? Does it work with jpg output format ? 

 

Offline DaBrain

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
It's yourfile-normal.dds. It has to be DDS cause it needs to be DXT5_NM.

Edit: Time for a thread split...
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SoL is looking for a sound effect artist
Please PM me in case you want to apply
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Shadows of Lylat - A Freespace 2 total conversion
(hosted by Game-Warden)
----------------------------------

 

Offline jr2

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
You can also use NVidia's Photoshop plugin to create normal maps from bump maps as well.
Or nvDXT batch converter?

At least it does have a -norm commandline option, I suppose that's what you're looking for.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2007, 07:10:19 am by jr2 »

 

Offline MetalDestroyer

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Normal Maps vs No Normal Maps (Thanks to DaBrain for the explanation)
Just click to see bigger.





















 

Offline jr2

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Re: A celebration of Freespace
Those are all very nice.... but.... they seem to have too many "random" bumps, and they look too.... "slimy"??  IDK... do you see what I mean?