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FSX Ground and Cloud Textures


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#21 FSRobert

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:01 AM

ok Peter, I hear ya. I guess in time we will know.  I have purchased both UTX programs and GEX, question is will it all get covered up by all this fantistic HiRes action you posted.  :lol:

#22 Valcor

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:19 AM

I think you can safely assume, other than landclass, GEX/UTX would directly conflict with the aim of this product.  

Those clouds are looking good.  I can only wonder if running at 4096 is even feasible with a decent cloud situation.  With airport, airplane and so many enviroment addons coming out for FSX, I hope devoplers remain a steward of good FPS!  :lol:

#23 pwheeler

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:29 AM

Peter,

many of us have problems with the 'blurries'. If the FSX engine has trouble streaming 1m textures from our hard drives how will we cope with these even higher res textures. Won't it just exasserbate the blurry issue?

Thanks

Paul

#24 LeadBalloon

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:30 AM

View PostValcor, on Mar 7 2008, 08:19 AM, said:

Those clouds are looking good.  I can only wonder if running at 4096 is even feasible with a decent cloud situation.  With airport, airplane and so many enviroment addons coming out for FSX, I hope devoplers remain a steward of good FPS!  :lol:



It's surprising how well FSX copes with high resolution textures, my PC is fairly modest yet I'm able to run all my current FEX textures at there maximum with no loss of performance, and that's with 1.2m photoscenery and a lot of autogen - I think it's also true that a downscaled texture, say from 4096 to 1024 or less is still going to look better...at least that's that my experience when testing textures even as low as 256x256 downscaled from their original 1024x1024.

Edited by LeadBalloon, 07 March 2008 - 08:31 AM.


#25 pwheeler

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:42 AM

We currently run at 1m per pixel for ground textures. If we were to increase to 60cm per pixel - well thats a lot more data to stream from the hard drive - nearly double. This must have an effect.

Edited by pwheeler, 07 March 2008 - 08:45 AM.


#26 alex330

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 08:46 AM

@ synecdoche: I'm with you :lol:
I just meant to say that I like both approaches :lol:

Concerning the FPS/blurries issues:
Are there some test results already out?

@ LeadBalloon:
That's my experience also!

Edit: @ Pwheeler: I don't have a link handy, but I recall quite a few screenshot series on various flightsim sites where people set their resolution to 60cm to make the roads appear better, and there was not much talk about performance issues. Of course, I don't know what happens if the texture resolution is bigger.

Edited by alex330, 07 March 2008 - 08:49 AM.


#27 pwheeler

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:04 AM

Yes thats the point - even when you set the res to 60cm in the game the actual ground textures resolution is still 1m per pixel. With higher res ground textures as Peter is talking about the extra streaming load on the engine will be nearly double. Surely if my system has trouble loading 1m textures in time it will be even worse with 60cm textures.

Also regarding the clouds, I thought FSX had a limit of 1024 for its textures. Thats the amount it says in the fsx.cfg for maximum texture size when you have the global texture resolution at max.

Edited by pwheeler, 07 March 2008 - 09:05 AM.


#28 Valcor

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:08 AM

View PostLeadBalloon, on Mar 7 2008, 08:30 AM, said:

View PostValcor, on Mar 7 2008, 08:19 AM, said:

Those clouds are looking good.  I can only wonder if running at 4096 is even feasible with a decent cloud situation.  With airport, airplane and so many enviroment addons coming out for FSX, I hope devoplers remain a steward of good FPS!  :lol:



It's surprising how well FSX copes with high resolution textures, my PC is fairly modest yet I'm able to run all my current FEX textures at there maximum with no loss of performance, and that's with 1.2m photoscenery and a lot of autogen - I think it's also true that a downscaled texture, say from 4096 to 1024 or less is still going to look better...at least that's that my experience when testing textures even as low as 256x256 downscaled from their original 1024x1024.


Got ya LeadBalloon.  So the high quality source data impacts the lower resolution as well.  

As far as texture resolution, I have found that running higher settings does not impact FPS or loading of textures for me.  I have no idea if that would hold for a program of the detail mentioned by Peter W. though.  For programs like FTX, the roads look alot crisper at setttings above 60cm and everything else seems sharper.  I'm running 15cm right now and can't notice any difference in loading or FPS from 1m setting.

#29 Peter Wilding

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:22 AM

View PostWebMaximus, on Mar 7 2008, 01:00 PM, said:

I realize this is probably a very stupid question so please forgive me for that but those ground textures shown in the top of this thread...are those the kind of textures we can expect for all over Europe or only for specific places?

As I understood the screenshots here are not autogen and autogen are what we will see for all places not covered by local specific textures like the ones shown here? And if that is correct, will you be able to show us what the autogen will look like? Currently I'm using GEX and that is all improved autogen, correct?

An amazing virtual world this is that's for sure  :lol:

Best,

Richard

No question is stupid. Just the response.    :hrmm:

The examples shown in the top are examples of the quality and look to expect for regions like rural/suburbs in Europe in the UK for example. Areas like Spain or parts of Holland will have a different look. Unlike FTX blue region for Oz we are not doing specific areas but rather a global solution for the world broken down in to 2 or 3 primary regions. Europe , USA and the rest of the world. Think of what we are doing is more like GE but for FSX and at higher quality.

yes, we will be supplying autogen for those that want to use it. It will of course be very detailed.


View PostFSRobert, on Mar 7 2008, 01:01 PM, said:

ok Peter, I hear ya. I guess in time we will know.  I have purchased both UTX programs and GEX, question is will it all get covered up by all this fantistic HiRes action you posted.  :hrmm:

UTX should not be a problem nor should any landclass package.

GEX will of course compete for the same areas.

View PostValcor, on Mar 7 2008, 01:19 PM, said:

I think you can safely assume, other than landclass, GEX/UTX would directly conflict with the aim of this product.  

Those clouds are looking good.  I can only wonder if running at 4096 is even feasible with a decent cloud situation.  With airport, airplane and so many enviroment addons coming out for FSX, I hope devoplers remain a steward of good FPS!  :hrmm:

Never a good idea to assume things.  :lol:  You are half right though. UTX landclass will work a dream with our stuff. We may though get some specific landclass and scenery areas done to enhance the package after a base pack is done.

With clouds fps has always been an issue and I'm no novice when it comes to the fps issues. Fps always comes up with Evey release of a cloud package I've done. This is why we give the option to use the size of your choice.

Let me explain a few things. If you master a cloud at 4096 the amount of attention to detail is such that even if reduced to say 1024 that it looks very much better than 1024 mastered at 1024. It is night and day. That said with a series 7 video card there is no performance hit at all with 4096 textures. Series 8 cards work differently and a series 8 card works fps differently than a series 7 card. With series 8 cards so far over all the performance is better than a series 7 but at very high resolutions the series 7 out performs the series 8 with clouds. A real surprise I know. That said 2048 textures work on a series better than 4096 on a series 7. Then it depends on the use i.e. cloud cover and other factors.

In the screens above I was getting around 37 fps give or take a bit at 4096. With ground textures 4096 causes no performance hit we can measure? It's all very exciting stuff.

Peter

View Postpwheeler, on Mar 7 2008, 01:29 PM, said:

Peter,

many of us have problems with the 'blurries'. If the FSX engine has trouble streaming 1m textures from our hard drives how will we cope with these even higher res textures. Won't it just exasserbate the blurry issue?

Thanks

Paul

We all have problems with blurries. I don't find that I get better or worst blurries with 4096 resolution. A series 8 card will have way less blurries than a series 7. Also, very important to defrag.

#30 ollyau

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:22 AM

Wow!  That looks great!

Could I beta test?

#31 Peter Wilding

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:35 AM

View PostLeadBalloon, on Mar 7 2008, 01:30 PM, said:

View PostValcor, on Mar 7 2008, 08:19 AM, said:

Those clouds are looking good.  I can only wonder if running at 4096 is even feasible with a decent cloud situation.  With airport, airplane and so many enviroment addons coming out for FSX, I hope devoplers remain a steward of good FPS!  :lol:



It's surprising how well FSX copes with high resolution textures, my PC is fairly modest yet I'm able to run all my current FEX textures at there maximum with no loss of performance, and that's with 1.2m photoscenery and a lot of autogen - I think it's also true that a downscaled texture, say from 4096 to 1024 or less is still going to look better...at least that's that my experience when testing textures even as low as 256x256 downscaled from their original 1024x1024.

100% agree and especially the bit regarding the downscaled part. When mastered at 4096 the downscaled clouds look way better at 1024 than in the original first release of FEX.


View Postpwheeler, on Mar 7 2008, 01:42 PM, said:

We currently run at 1m per pixel for ground textures. If we were to increase to 60cm per pixel - well thats a lot more data to stream from the hard drive - nearly double. This must have an effect.

One ground texture developer said that to me a while back and assumed there would be a massive effect. I did a proof of concept and did not assume anything. I can promise you so far none of our test results indicate any performance hit. This has been a bit surprise to use. We see no performance hit at 30cm either which was an even bigger surprise.  :lol:

View Postpwheeler, on Mar 7 2008, 02:04 PM, said:

Yes thats the point - even when you set the res to 60cm in the game the actual ground textures resolution is still 1m per pixel. With higher res ground textures as Peter is talking about the extra streaming load on the engine will be nearly double. Surely if my system has trouble loading 1m textures in time it will be even worse with 60cm textures.

Also regarding the clouds, I thought FSX had a limit of 1024 for its textures. Thats the amount it says in the fsx.cfg for maximum texture size when you have the global texture resolution at max.

Chris will post some shots later than shows in game shots at different resolutions so you can see for yourself.

View PostValcor, on Mar 7 2008, 02:08 PM, said:

View PostLeadBalloon, on Mar 7 2008, 08:30 AM, said:

View PostValcor, on Mar 7 2008, 08:19 AM, said:

Those clouds are looking good.  I can only wonder if running at 4096 is even feasible with a decent cloud situation.  With airport, airplane and so many enviroment addons coming out for FSX, I hope devoplers remain a steward of good FPS!  :hrmm:



It's surprising how well FSX copes with high resolution textures, my PC is fairly modest yet I'm able to run all my current FEX textures at there maximum with no loss of performance, and that's with 1.2m photoscenery and a lot of autogen - I think it's also true that a downscaled texture, say from 4096 to 1024 or less is still going to look better...at least that's that my experience when testing textures even as low as 256x256 downscaled from their original 1024x1024.


Got ya LeadBalloon.  So the high quality source data impacts the lower resolution as well.  

As far as texture resolution, I have found that running higher settings does not impact FPS or loading of textures for me.  I have no idea if that would hold for a program of the detail mentioned by Peter W. though.  For programs like FTX, the roads look alot crisper at setttings above 60cm and everything else seems sharper.  I'm running 15cm right now and can't notice any difference in loading or FPS from 1m setting.

Loading times are a little longer but not as slow as a photo scenery for example.

View Postollyau, on Mar 7 2008, 02:22 PM, said:

Wow!  That looks great!

Could I beta test?

contact me on mail p.wilding@btopenworld.com We won't beta for a while yet but will be happy to get some of you guys involved.

Edited by Peter Wilding, 07 March 2008 - 09:32 AM.


#32 Chris Norris

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:44 AM

Hi folks,

Just as a follow-up to Pete's post the screenshots posted above are at 30cm resolution, this will be a resolution available as will 60cm, we may even consider 15cm although in testing it has proven to be a distinct scale of diminishing returns. The vast jump in quality from 1.2m to 60cm is staggering, we will show some examples of this hopefully next week, the jump then from 60cm to 30cm is certainly very noticable although less immediately obvious and then from 30cm to 15cm is hard to notice unless you are really looking side-by-side.

In respect of performance, we believe sincerely that many people will be surprised. One test we did was to resize all the default land textures to 30cm resolution all 8000+ of them to see the performance effect if the whole world was covered this way. The results surprised us, we found absolutely no noticeable performance hit. Please by all means try this yourselves using a batch process (be warned though that this will take several hours to complete on an average system). Obviously this may be very system and graphic card memory dependant, until we begin the beta test we can not presume that this will be the case for everyone, although we will honestly report our findings as soon as we know ourselves.

The next question raised was blurries, well again using 30cm we discovered that although the symptoms for blurries can still exist the much higher definition really helps in this respect as even at lower mips off into the distance the texture looks much more natural than at 1.2m (the default). It is actually hard looking at the textures into the distance and around the plane to determine where the fully resolved texture stops and the mips are showing. So basically blurries will still occur but due to having many more mips and the higher definition it is far less noticable than using the defaults.

I imagine many more questions will be evident such as distribution/coverage size etc, we are currently planning content for the new website which I hope will be more useful as a tool to answer those.

Also wanted to mention about the FEX update due very soon, we are in final development. It brings a massive array of new material and functionality to FEX all for free. The single most impressive thing is Super HD textures, we set the bar when we launched FEX at 1024 textures, well now we can present texture size options up to 4096. So what is the value in this you ask, well firstly the general standard has risen as we are mastering each individual cloud piece at a much higher than before resolution, enabling us to put more data into each part of the cloud taken from the original 10MB digital image. Therefore even at low resolutions such as 1024 or 512 the resampled image benefits from higher fidelity to begin with. However flying around with clouds at 2048x2048 is absolutely beautiful, you can fly right up to a cloud so it fills the screen and still make out lots of little wisps and incredible detail. Likewise at 4096, particularly for those who like to fly at high resolution displays will notice an improvement.

Screenshots don't really illustrate this very well so instead I have a few side by side images which illustrate this better, now in context this is the difference when flying close to a cloud:

256x256:

Posted Image

512x512:

Posted Image

1024x1024:

Posted Image

2048x2048:

Posted Image

4096x4096:

Posted Image

These are of course highly compressed jpg images, we expect once people see the difference in the sim that they will find it hard to go back to 1024.  :lol:

#33 Peter Wilding

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 09:51 AM

View PostChris Norris, on Mar 7 2008, 02:44 PM, said:

Hi folks,

Just as a follow-up to Pete's post the screenshots posted above are at 30cm resolution, this will be a resolution available as will 60cm, we may even consider 15cm although in testing it has proven to be a distinct scale of diminishing returns. The vast jump in quality from 1.2m to 60cm is staggering, we will show some examples of this hopefully next week, the jump then from 60cm to 30cm is certainly very noticable although less immediately obvious and then from 30cm to 15cm is hard to notice unless you are really looking side-by-side.

In respect of performance, we believe sincerely that many people will be surprised. One test we did was to resize all the default land textures to 30cm resolution all 8000+ of them to see the performance effect if the whole world was covered this way. The results surprised us, we found absolutely no noticeable performance hit. Please by all means try this yourselves using a batch process (be warned though that this will take several hours to complete on an average system). Obviously this may be very system and graphic card memory dependant, until we begin the beta test we can not presume that this will be the case for everyone, although we will honestly report our findings as soon as we know ourselves.

The next question raised was blurries, well again using 30cm we discovered that although the symptoms for blurries can still exist the much higher definition really helps in this respect as even at lower mips off into the distance the texture looks much more natural than at 1.2m (the default). It is actually hard looking at the textures into the distance and around the plane to determine where the fully resolved texture stops and the mips are showing. So basically blurries will still occur but due to having many more mips and the higher definition it is far less noticable than using the defaults.

I imagine many more questions will be evident such as distribution/coverage size etc, we are currently planning content for the new website which I hope will be more useful as a tool to answer those.

Also wanted to mention about the FEX update due very soon, we are in final development. It brings a massive array of new material and functionality to FEX all for free. The single most impressive thing is Super HD textures, we set the bar when we launched FEX at 1024 textures, well now we can present texture size options up to 4096. So what is the value in this you ask, well firstly the general standard has risen as we are mastering each individual cloud piece at a much higher than before resolution, enabling us to put more data into each part of the cloud taken from the original 10MB digital image. Therefore even at low resolutions such as 1024 or 512 the resampled image benefits from higher fidelity to begin with. However flying around with clouds at 2048x2048 is absolutely beautiful, you can fly right up to a cloud so it fills the screen and still make out lots of little wisps and incredible detail. Likewise at 4096, particularly for those who like to fly at high resolution displays will notice an improvement.

Screenshots don't really illustrate this very well so instead I have a few side by side images which illustrate this better, now in context this is the difference when flying close to a cloud:

256x256:

Posted Image

512x512:

Posted Image

1024x1024:

Posted Image

2048x2048:

Posted Image

4096x4096:

Posted Image

These are of course highly compressed jpg images, we expect once people see the difference in the sim that they will find it hard to go back to 1024.  :lol:

I should also make it clear these images are based on a zoomed in shot that looks the far off detail.

Chris may show some wider angel shots later to show where, when the image works in a more suble way.

Edited by Peter Wilding, 07 March 2008 - 09:52 AM.


#34 Peter Wilding

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:38 AM

View Postollyau, on Mar 7 2008, 02:22 PM, said:

Wow!  That looks great!

Could I beta test?

We are not yet ready for beta testing but that could change at short notice. Contact me on p.wilding@btopenworld.com so I can put you on a contact list.

Thanks for asking.

#35 JetBlast

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 07:20 AM

any enhancements besides autogen ? street lights etc ?

Edited by JetBlast, 08 March 2008 - 07:22 AM.


#36 falcon X

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 11:54 AM

At last!...Certainly amazing news...but,how about the SOOO long waited,beloved,wanted,WEATHER ENGINE?
Will it be available with the update? any screeshots of ot in action? :lol:

#37 Pilot James

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 11:59 AM

Fantastic ground scenery  :lol:

#38 ollyau

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 01:22 PM

View PostPeter Wilding, on Mar 8 2008, 01:38 AM, said:

View Postollyau, on Mar 7 2008, 02:22 PM, said:

Wow!  That looks great!

Could I beta test?

We are not yet ready for beta testing but that could change at short notice. Contact me on p.wilding@btopenworld.com so I can put you on a contact list.

Thanks for asking.
O.K.  I have sent you an email.

-Orion

#39 Peter Wilding

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 02:32 PM

View PostJetBlast, on Mar 8 2008, 12:20 PM, said:

any enhancements besides autogen ? street lights etc ?

Good question. We do intend providing special scenery areas and airports to fit in with the high resolution of at least 30cm. The intention is for example to be able to fly from one area to another (special areas if you like) where the route is more realistic with real way points features etc. The great thing is at this higher resolution it will look much more true to life.

Peter


View Postfalcon X, on Mar 8 2008, 04:54 PM, said:

At last!...Certainly amazing news...but,how about the SOOO long waited,beloved,wanted,WEATHER ENGINE?
Will it be available with the update? any screeshots of ot in action? :lol:

We do apologize about the delay in the weather engine. Chris and I had a lot of set backs trying to work things out with other developers who let us down or wasted our time one way or another. I'm sure this was a two way feeling but all these things take time and eat in to things.

We are fast tracking the weather engine as soon as the update comes out. The update is with the new higher resolution clouds.  I can tell you it takes a lot of extra time to master clouds at this higher resolution. Screen shots, especially my way of doing things do not really show of the new clouds as well as it looks in game.

View Postfalcon X, on Mar 8 2008, 04:54 PM, said:

At last!...Certainly amazing news...but,how about the SOOO long waited,beloved,wanted,WEATHER ENGINE?
Will it be available with the update? any screeshots of ot in action? :lol:

Thanks, yes, we are also very excited about how all this looks. The ground texture package is now being fast tracked so with some luck we may be out in early summer or even mid/late spring for Europe.

#40 Peter Wilding

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:03 PM

View PostFSRobert, on Mar 7 2008, 01:01 PM, said:

ok Peter, I hear ya. I guess in time we will know.  I have purchased both UTX programs and GEX, question is will it all get covered up by all this fantistic HiRes action you posted.  :lol:

I'm just wondering if I explained this right.

Just like GEX covers up the base ground textures and like FTX covers up some of the default ground textures our ground textures will do the same.

The last thing you would want, if you had say the whole world covered by STCX (GE or GEX or FTX etc) ground packages, would be to install our textures and found they were not showing up?

By nature they have to cover up certain things.

We are talking with Flgiht One and we are considering doing things in a way that supports and works particulary well with GEX and UTX.

Our first aim is to get a base pack out that covers the world then to gradually add specific scenery areas  by pugging in some special scenery areas.