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Lexx_Luthor

Siberian Sky -- Cirrus clouds for Missions and Terrains

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Siberian Sky -- Cirrus clouds for Missions and Terrains


This mod is an extension of my original cirrus tests from 2006 and produces multiple large layers of flat clouds at varying high altitudes, scattered across a map, and that can move with the wind defined in mission file. There are two methods of cirrus creation:

 

(1) A terrain target object that generates cirrus effects. This was derived from the stock power plant generator and the smokestack effect. This may be more suitable for the campaigns. Once installed in a terrain, it will be used automatically in all missions.

 

(2) A moving ship, with beginning and final waypoints, that generates cirrus effects during ship motion. This was derived from the stock Tanker ship and the ship movement effect. This method is useful in hand made missions, and I hope to extend this to large scale moving weather systems.

 

 

The cirrus are most brilliant with the Siberian Sun mod where the deep blue sky offers great contrast with the white ice crystal cirrus, and the large sunglare causes the cirrus to shine bright around the sun.

 

 

I will explore this in detail, probably on page 7 of this ThirdWire thread ~> http://bbs.thirdwire.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=4964

 

 

....this is version 1.0 until I discover one of my standard mistakes in installation or content....

 

 

==========================================================

 

 

Original test cirrus mod from April 2006 here ~> http://forum.combatace.com/index.php?autoc...p;showfile=2471


 

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Now this is Lexx beautiful enhancement apart from the default "3D" clouds! :good:

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Something is not quite working for me, the cirrus appears ok but they keep juddering an the effect is a bit eye straining, I have it set up in WOI using the DS terrain as a target type.

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Something is not quite working for me, the cirrus appears ok but they keep juddering an the effect is a bit eye straining, I have it set up in WOI using the DS terrain as a target type.

Juddering, do you mean rapid flickering on and off sometimes, or all the time?

 

I have seen something like this, and what I saw is related to large ParticleSize -- the size in meters I tell the game to make the cirrus tga files. The "particle" is the tga file -- the cloud image. If you can, try reducing the particle size in the effects files (say, 100E+3 or 150E+3). For various reasons I thought others would be immune to this. I may be badly mistaken.

 

I am working a new method, requiring a vastly smaller ParticleSize but with multiple particles instead of just one -- one tga per actual cloud instead of lots of clouds I've drawn on one large tga. These will be generated over a large area. It will require more ss-cirrus tga files clogging up the Effects folder, but *should* not generate the flickering I have seen.

 

----

 

If you wish to work with this version, also try reducing the EmissionVolume x and y values to correspond to any reductions you may make to particle sizes. If you like lots of overlap, reduce EV alot. If not, reduce it not as much or not at all.

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Ok, tried your advice, and at first I thought it was working, but it's not, the juddering I mention is actually not a flickering like you say, the cloud tga remains visible the whole time but they appear to move in a rapid back and forth motion but only some of them, usually ones in the center of view.

 

I'm figuring I have to change something I've done wrong, your mod is probably not at fault, Looking forward to your development of your enviroment mods, this one in particular I think is going to be superb.

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Ok, tried your advice, and at first I thought it was working, but it's not, the juddering I mention is actually not a flickering like you say, the cloud tga remains visible the whole time but they appear to move in a rapid back and forth motion but only some of them, usually ones in the center of view.

 

I'm figuring I have to change something I've done wrong, your mod is probably not at fault, Looking forward to your development of your enviroment mods, this one in particular I think is going to be superb.

mmm, that I never saw. What size did you reduce the ParticleSizes to?

 

Please poast your FlightEngine file CLIP distances. Maybe this requires "high" grafix settings. I have forgotten about my nuc mod where I discovered rather late about it needing "high" grafix settings.

 

This may help thinking through this...below is ss-Cirrus1.tga, first of the five, converted to bmp then jpeg, and reduced down to 1024x1024....

 

gallery_6973_124_27259.jpg

 

 

....Converted to bmp, these images still function as bmp's without any other changes besides the calling of the bmp file instead of the tga in the Materials section.

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I had changed them to 100E+3, and EV was 300E+3,300E+3,2000

 

My flight engine settings are:

 

[GraphicsSettings]

ZBufferDepth=24

MaxVertexCount=16384

MaxIndexCount=32768

MaxTextureCount=8192

MaxModelType=2048

MaxMeshPerScene=4096

MaxModelPerScene=4096

MaxLightPerScene=256

AspectRatio=1.333333

MinPixelSize=1.0

 

[FarSceneClip]

FarClipDistance=5000E+3

NearClipDistance=3000.0

 

[NormalSceneClip]

FarClipDistance=5000E+3

NearClipDistance=249.9

 

[NearSceneClip]

FarClipDistance=250.0

NearClipDistance=0.2

 

 

 

I changed the tga's to bmp's at 1024x1024 and changed the ini file to call bmp's instead, now nothing shows up at all.

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The numbers look good. What video are you using? ATI-9200 here.

 

Okay, the bmp's, forget them and keep using the tga's. That was something I tried once and it worked but never used it. It may require an extra step to be used, but I forgot.

 

Leave everything at 2048. I made a 1024 jpeg to reduce the image load at CombatAce webboard.

 

Now that you see what a tga file looks like, does the whole tga jugger as one juggering object, or do just parts of it jugger?

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My card is an Nvidia 7950GT 512MB

 

 

I would be tempted to say that it is parts of the tga that judder, because in some places the clouds are still, just hard for me to tell if they are all on the same tga or not

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My card is an Nvidia 7950GT 512MB

 

 

I would be tempted to say that it is parts of the tga that judder, because in some places the clouds are still, just hard for me to tell if they are all on the same tga or not

If its parts, its probably video related. But we'd have to find out if its just parts.

 

Are you using the ship or target method of cirrus generation?

 

You can modify the effect file to eliminate all but one emitter (in either ship or target effect method), reduce the remaining emitter's emission volume to 0,0,0 so you don't have to go hunting around the sky for the remaining cloud image. See if that juggers as one piece or not.

 

Just delete the element definitions for emitters 2-5 at the top of either the ship or target effects. This leaves only the ss-cirrus1 tga.

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Ok it seems to be the whole thing that judders, the effect happent to the portion of the tga tile I am closest to, i.e the cloud at the far distance is relatively still.

 

 

I am using the target method

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Ok it seems to be the whole thing that judders, the effect happent to the portion of the tga tile I am closest to, i.e the cloud at the far distance is relatively still.

 

 

I am using the target method

mmm okay, how far does it judder, either in an estimate of distance or relative to tga size? Or...how far does it jump.

 

What direction does it judder? Random or consistent direction?

 

Does the size of the judder depend on ParticleSize?

Edited by Lexx_Luthor

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I'm wondering, maybe something here would be the cause...the possibilities I would guess are in bold...

 

[CirrusMaterial-1]

DepthBufferCheck=TRUE

DepthBufferWrite=FALSE

IgnoreRenderOrder=FALSE

AlphaTestEnabled=FALSE

LightEnabled=FALSE

UseLightLevel=TRUE

SpecularEnabled=FALSE

EmissiveEnabled=FALSE

AmbientColor=1.000000,1.000000,1.000000,1.000000

DiffuseColor=1.000000,1.000000,1.000000,1.000000

ZBufferOffset=0.000000

PriorityLevel=3

BlendOp=BLEND_INV_SRC_ALPHA_ADD_SRC

NumTextureStages=1

TextureStage[01].TextureName=ss-Cirrus1.tga

TextureStage[01].MipMap=FALSE

TextureStage[01].FilterEnabled=TRUE

TextureStage[01].StageColorOp=TEXTURE_MODULATE_DIFFUSE

TextureStage[01].StageAlphaOp=TEXTURE_MODULATE_DIFFUSE

Edited by Lexx_Luthor

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well the amount of jump is difficult to estimate, it is easyer to say the effect is like a muscle twitching, a random shake, the effect is not really changed with particle sise.

 

I will have a play with the settings in bold as most are a true false, can you suggest anything for z bufferoffset and priority level?

Edited by craigbrierley

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Priority from 0 to 3. Maybe 0 < Zbuffer < 1 but that's only a guess. I'm not a grafix person.

 

I'm thinking it may be grafix related, or driver/settings. I've never seen anything like this.

 

When you fly up close to the clouds, just underneath them, or above them, do they still exhibit the jumping?

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As I get closer then yes there is a reduction in the shaking, another thing, The clouds are being layered (overlapped) and sometimes the cloud on another layer but in the same location doesnt move.

 

The layering is happening even though I have disabled the other tga's

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As I get closer then yes there is a reduction in the shaking, another thing, The clouds are being layered (overlapped) and sometimes the cloud on another layer but in the same location doesnt move.

 

The layering is happening even though I have disabled the other tga's

What are your current EmissionVolumes set to? If 0,0,0 they should overlap perfectly. Leave the last number at 4000 to get vertical seperation.

 

If you are seeing tga overlap, you are not deleting the other tga references. Any element definitions you delete will not show up.

 

For example, under [CirrusTargetEffect]....not the Ship one....only have the first element block like this...

 

Element[01].ElementType=HOLD_EMITTER

Element[01].ElementName=Cirrus-1

Element[01].StartTime=0

Element[01].StartTimeDeviation=0

Element[01].EjectTime=100

Element[01].EjectTimeDeviation=0

 

Just delete the other Element blocks. Put them safe somewhere.

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Well didn't get it working, but as I suspected there is nothing to change in your mod, all seems perfect there, but I do notice the way my machine flickers .tga's in general so this is probably the problem, I remember reading a thread on shimmering tga's once but don't know where it is now.

Edited by craigbrierley

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Well, tga related there is one last thing... try 1.2 for NearClipDistance under [NearSceneClip]. The default is 1.2. I running 0.06 but who knows.

 

[NearSceneClip]

FarClipDistance=250.0

NearClipDistance=0.2

 

 

Change the 0.2 to 1.2 and see if it helps. If I go below 0.2 tree tga's start flickering (but no shifting), but I live with it because I need NCD<0.1 for my own reasons. Lower than 0.06 and cirrus sized larger than 400km starts flickering a little bit...the larger the size, the larger NCD must be.

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Hey Lexx, question:

 

From what I'm reading in the readme, that the power_plant method of generation means there is no minimum altitude of layer generation. In other works, the 'box' the tgas are in only has a max altitude, not a minimum one. The reason I ask is that sometimes I get low cirrus...which can look weird when flying close to the ground and there is a layer under you...because the 'detail draw' distance 'square' borders show up quite clearly below the layer.

 

Also, crazy idea here.

 

Now that we can have 'BALLOONS' for WOI, like I did for my satellite...what if I created a 500x500km flat 'plane'...textured it with the TGA...then floated it at some altitude determined by the data.ini file. Shouldn't that technically work?

 

FastCargo

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Wow, I was lucky to check this thread so soon after your poast.

 

Low cirrus: something is wrong -- if the cirrus is regularly at sea level, the problem is probably something to do with the target. I've seen this before in other experimental large cloud-like effects using ground units. Does the cirrus emitters use PositionHeightOffset=12E+3 ?

 

The EmissionVolume used is 500E+3,500E+3,4000 ... I think that's a 4km box depth. Set it to zero and see what happens.

 

 

Notice the two effects use the same five cirrus emitters. I thought that would be a nice short cut. It works for me. Are you using the WoI? Maybe they should not share the same emitters. It would be simple to copy-paste the five emitters and change block number and names.

 

What altitude is the terrain? That shouldn't matter, the cirrrus should float pretty darn high, unless the box depth of 4km is too much.

 

----------------------

 

3D cloud objects: That would be a way to introduce water clouds, like altocumulus layers.

 

I've always wondered if such a cloud deck could be created in MAX, made like an invisible ground unit (I don't have WoI so no balloons) but the visible layer detached up high, say 12km, and set with waypoints. The balloon idea sounds even better, more simple. Can WoI balloons be set free to travel at the mission defined wind speed?

 

Holes or clear areas in the layer might be possible, with varying levels of transparency (ie...like canopy glass). Skin texturing clouds would be fascinating. If it works, the ultimate goal is towering cumulus as 3D white skinned objects, with differing LOD levels. The bottom of the giant cumulus could be flat, but still white. Why? The cloud would interact with sunlight just like aircraft models, and the underside would always be darker than the sunward upper side.

Edited by Lexx_Luthor

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Hell, I've got worse problems now.

 

I can't get ANY of the cirrus effects to show up now. None, zip, nada using the building method. Don't know why, how, etc....they were working fine until about 3 days ago. All other effects seem to work okay...I even tried reinstall of the 'core' files (dlls, cats, exe, etc) with no change...

 

FastCargo

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