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Geezer

Storm Over The Sahara

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Not necessarily true; there's all those "Lost Cities" . Like Hamunaptra. :biggrin:  Or Am Shere

 

(so speaks the Master of the Terrain Easter Egg <grin>)

 

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(chuckle)  Shot of the Lost Temple Of Ozymandias:

 

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

 

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The terrain tile is 500x500m (First Eagles), with 1024x1024 art.  Think the art originally was from an SF source, but can't remember where.

 

Same tile with lineup of vehicles for possible second phase (1941-43). 

 

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Edited by Geezer
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OTH, Stary's High Res IME set is 1024x. In all honestly, it isn't really necessary to go to 2048 as it will affect frame rates. The and terrains just don't have the level of detail.

 

 

Noticed in a thread about Gerwin's new map editor that jpg files are enabled for ground tile art - as stated, this should enable higher res artwork. 

 

http://combatace.com/topic/68667-alternate-tfd-terrain-tilemap-editorviewer/page-10

 

This is an area where TW is significantly behind the curve, so I am interested in finding a way to use larger, higher-res artwork - if possible.  The average computer has improved significantly since FE2/SF2 were first introduced - has anyone experimented with larger artwork RECENTLY?

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yes, indeed. the terrain engine has seen NO significant changes since 2003. This is NOT counting the SF2NA IcelandNA terrain, which is not a TFD/HFD/TOD type, but a LOD terrain. ALL items (trees, buildings, etc) are added via the targets ini.

Think of it like that model of Ford Island you made for me years ago for the Hawaii map, but creating the entire surface features of the island of Iceland.

Unfortunately, what it added in shader driven water effects, it lacked in many places (land/water interface actions, plane and boring surface textures, and causing very low frame rates on even high end machines)

 

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that is a VERY cool ruin!!

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Have made enough progress with the Gladiator to sorta/kinda show what the 1940 desert mod will eventually look like.  Map is Stephen1918's Palestine map with hi-res textures.  The first six months of WW2 in the desert had as much in common with 1918 as 1940.  Operations quickly ramped up to massive dogfights at VERY low altitude, sometimes below 1000 feet.

 

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Will eventually release CR42s and Glads for SF2, suitable for baffmeister's BoB mod.  Sample shot below.

 

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Edited by Geezer
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Made some VERY rough experimental terrain tiles for FE2.  First shot is Stephen1918's stock Palestine mod.  Subsequent shots are of experimental tile art sized at 2048x2048.  Note improved immersion at different altitudes - almost resembles IL-2.  The concept I'm toying with is LARGE 2048 tiles for "important" locations (airfields, cities, ports, fortifications, etc) transitioning to smaller tiles in areas that are of no real interest and are located well away from important areas.  Dunno if this will work, but it should reduce the hit on framerates?

 

Second shot looks at combination of large and small tile art - frame rates ain't bad.

 

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Edited by Geezer
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Shot below shows the large 2048 tile art pasted to an FE sized tile, with some ground objects.

 

EDIT: Showed shot below to a buddy, who flew two tours in 'Nam.  He won the DFC taking out Communist AA guns, and said the vehicles' scale "looks about right."  :biggrin:

 

 

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Edited by Geezer

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Ingame shot of the Gladiator MK2 wandering in the wilderness.

 

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Edited by Geezer
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Using Stephen1918's excellent Palestine mod as a test bed, I'm experimenting with hi-res terrain tile art.  Test shots of hi-res airfield art below.

 

EDIT:  The army Corps of Engineers camo pubs state there are three types of desert.  Gray(-ish brown), red(-ish brown), and yellow(-ish brown).  I'm working with gray desert right now because it's easier.  Once I figure stuff out, I'll make red and yellow copies of the gray artwork.

 

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Edited by Geezer

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Getting closer.  The over-sized rocks and bushes will have to be painted out, but the bare ground is starting to look fairly good.

 

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Done enough testing to draw some preliminary conclusions. 

 

Looks like really hi-res tile art for airfields just aren't worth the effort - unfortunately.  Previous airfield shots are of 4096 tile art, and the details still aren't large enough to look realistic.  If the colors are well-chosen, a few simple colors will work OK.  Maybe a TOD with a few small rocks and some thorn bushes will be a good way to add the missing detail?

 

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It also looks like there should be several micro-systems of terrain features.  Beaches, cliffs, dry washes, rock fields, etc often extend for miles/kilometers so a collection of roughly half-a-dozen tiles will be needed to realistically simulate each terrain feature.  Also, a number of intermediate tiles will be needed to smoothly link the terrain features together into something that looks realistic from the air.

 

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Edited by Geezer

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The terrain tiles in Palestine are very much bigger than in other FE terrains, so there will always be some blurring at ground level. For me, getting the edges to blend to the next tile is a pain, especially since the tiles can be rotated, so each tile needs to have a four-way symmetry that still looks random from the air!

 

My minor experience with terrains has given me a great admiration for the people who make terrains!

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 number of intermediate tiles

 

they're called 'transition tiles'. These also include those you mentioned of the 'sea-land interface' , along with those between the various terrain types (desert to farm, farm to mountain, mountain to desert, city to whatever -- usually all others)

 

For example, say the region of the Qattara Depression,  you create a "gravel field' tile for the center. Then you need to make 3 transitions -- gravel to desert 25, 50, and 75%. So, each single tile is actually a set of 4 tiles. This does not include any 3-way tiles (like gravel to desert to mountain, for example - of which 2 are needed, mirroring each other ie: gravel to mountain to desert)

 

 

Maybe a TOD with a few small rocks and some thorn bushes will be a good way to add the missing detail?

 

TOD importation is something very few have learned (I'm not one of them!). I know it CAN be done There's provisions in the TE for 'adding new 3d objects) or some words like that. The object itself, plus the texture for it (terobject_building**.bmp, terobject_trees**.tga)

The other alternative would be to make LOD objects, of low polys, and scatter them around the landscape. This is how the trees and such are added on the IcelandNA terrain in SF2:NA.

 

Some of the ground texturing (roughness, shading) should be able to be done with the noisenormal. bmp (for land). Seas/water/rivers use a waternormal.bmp to create the animated wave action.

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The terrain tiles in Palestine are very much bigger than in other FE terrains

 

Yikes!  That invalidates my testing, because I assumed the "normal" 500 meter FE terrain tiles.  Is your Galicia map 500 meters, or something larger?

TOD importation is something very few have learned (I'm not one of them!). I know it CAN be done There's provisions in the TE for 'adding new 3d objects) or some words like that. The object itself, plus the texture for it (terobject_building**.bmp, terobject_trees**.tga)

The other alternative would be to make LOD objects, of low polys, and scatter them around the landscape. This is how the trees and such are added on the IcelandNA terrain in SF2:NA.

 

Thanks.  I'm still fooling around and don't really know what I'm doing - yet.  I'm going to alternate between aircraft and maps for a while.  I should figure out maps eventually.  I hope.  :biggrin:

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The Galicia terrain is 500x500 meters, which is "standard" for FE. SF has bigger tiles because the planes fly faster and you'll run out of terrain quicker. Palestine was originally made by Gepard for SF, its tiles are 2000x2000 meters (16 times bigger!)

 

Maybe you could focus on just the airfield tiles, since you're more likely to see them up close - if you can figure out how to blend them with the existing tiles.

 

Switching around is good :biggrin:

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The Galicia terrain is 500x500 meters, which is "standard" for FE. SF has bigger tiles because the planes fly faster and you'll run out of terrain quicker. Palestine was originally made by Gepard for SF, its tiles are 2000x2000 meters (16 times bigger!)

 

Maybe you could focus on just the airfield tiles, since you're more likely to see them up close - if you can figure out how to blend them with the existing tiles.

 

Switching around is good :biggrin:

 

Thanks.  I'm gonna start all over again.  When TK was making FE, he developed the smaller terrain tiles to improve the appearance of TW maps at low altitude.  I'll fool around with existing FE maps that use 500 meter tiles to exploit that potential.

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Quick shots of the same art but running in Galicia.  Much better.  Finally getting decent pixel density.  Shots of city/buildings show the 4096 airfield tile, all others are 2048 tiles.

 

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While looking for British/Canadian vehicles for 1944 Bastogne, I dusted off and up-dated some old 1940 Libya vehicles.

 

 

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Needed a short break from WW1 stuff, so I worked on Sparviero skins.  While still rough, the 3-color skins are far enough along to show what they will look like when complete. 

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Took a break from the Bleriot and dusted off the 1940 desert stuff.  Found an old reference, Desert Prelude Early Clashes, and refreshed some delightful memories.  Italy was woefully unprepared for the war that Mussolini suddenly sprang on the Italian military.  Meanwhile, the Battle of Britain was raging over the Channel so Britain could not spare any desperately needed production for Libya/Egypt.  Consequently, the 1940 desert war was the swan song of the biplane. 

It was the last time that biplane fighters were mainstream equipment used by BOTH sides, as no monoplane fighters were immediately available - small numbers of monoplane fighters began to slowly dribble into the theater some months later.  The result was combat between many obsolete types of aircraft that had been retired from service in other theaters that had higher priority for new production aircraft. 

One example was the Italian port of Tobruk was initially defended by obsolete CR32s, as "modern" CR42s were being rushed to Africa but had not yet arrived.  On one occasion, CR32s intercepted a British Sunderland over Tobruk and chased it out to sea where they shot it down.

EDIT: for those who might be interested in this theater, and others, a good source is Biplane Fighter Aces of the Second World War -    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/

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Edited by Geezer
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Found more interesting stuff in Desert Prelude Early Clashes that reinforces the overall feel of outdated equipment used because nothing else was available - truly a "forgotten battle."

First photo shows 3 RAAF squadron at Helwan on 11 November, 1940 - still using fixed pitch wooden propellers.

Second and third shots show Gladiators with scruffy finish due to intense desert sun.  Third shot shows FO Linnard of 89 Sqdn on 27 September 1940 still using ring and bead sight.

Fourth shot shows Dragon Rapide and Bristol Bombay transport/bomber.  When used as bombers, between one and six Bombays would raid Tobruk most every night.

The ancient Vickers Valencia transport continued in service until 1941.

Final shot of Hawker Hart K4901 still in service in 1941.

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FO Linnard 89 Sq 27 Sept 1940.jpg

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More stuff:

"The first North African Campaign was a very interesting one for several reasons. North Africa was Italy’s main front in what was later called the “Parallel War”, i.e. the period during which Italy tried to fight the Commonwealth autonomously, without the help of the German Armed Forces, and thus a period during which achievements and defeats were due only to Italian merits or mistakes. This period is one of the very few where historians can try to assess the real effectiveness of the Italian war effort, without being confused by the presence of German forces, and this is obviously true also in the field of air warfare.

With the Battle of Britain absorbing practically all the best resources, the Commonwealth forces on the North African front had to rely mostly on second line machines, sometimes already put out of service at home. This, together with the Italian trust in the biplane formula, meant that the Western Desert was (together with Greece and East Africa) the last battlefield in the history of air warfare where biplanes confronted each other.

Needless to say, pilots of these archaic aircraft were by no means inferior in determination or skill to their colleagues fighting in Spitfires or Messerschmitts over the English Channel. Many of the most important Italian and Commonwealth pilots of the conflict drew first blood during this campaign, notably amongst them the top Italian and RAF aces of WW II, Teresio Martinoli and Thomas Pattle."

Gustavsson, Hakan. Desert Prelude: Early Clashes

Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, knew a thing or two about armies.  He described the Italian army as "good soldiers, bad officers."  1940 drew to a close with the Italians having suffered disastrous losses, prompting the Germans to send a couple of mobile divisions to prop up the Italian survivors.  The spring of 1941 ushered in a new phase in the desert war, one that most buffs are familiar with.  But it all began with CR42s dueling with Gladiators over the Libyan/Egyptian border in 1940.....

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The beauty of it is that all the same aircraft , equipment and scenery can be used for East Africa and there is even the beginnings of a suitable terrain.

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