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Hello all, I was wondering If you can have more than 5 (five) LOD models for aircraft.  It sure would be convenient as I want to separate the initial LODs quite close together (1 at 50m, 2 at 125m, 3 at 250m .. and then 4,5,6,7 at much greater distances out to 10000m)

Thanks for your help.

Edited by sophocles
spelling

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I have AC with 6 separate lods and shows up fine, so should be no problem. Usually beyond 300-400m you don't see much changes visually, only the system load can vary on fighter sized AC. The bird I have has a step from 300 to 800 then to 8000, between this last 2 values I think lod steps can be skipped.

Edited by logan4
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I figure that two or maybe three distance LODs are the most important:

- The one right after the main lod, so the game can stop sweating on the small details as quickly as possible. But what Guuruu says about damage overlays is also a factor.

- What is usually the hardest part for the game to render are Airfields and Carriers with parked aircraft. So the parked LODs that are typically in view during takeoff and landing decide on the lowest FPS situation. But a busy carrier is rather unfixable in this regard, besides just keeping them a bit plain (less parking spots, avoid deck crew) or buying a overkill graphics card.

- The smallest one. An aircraft is often just a few pixels large in the view of the player. So if the model for this range is like 200/100kB or smaller it significantly lowers the total rendering load in most situations. 

What I usually do is set temporary LOD distances in the ini file to check for proper LOD synching. Like 60m, 80m, 100m and 120m. And then see if all LODs appear when zooming in and out. This also shows whether or not there are nodes that make LOD transitions unnecesseraly crude on the eye, so one can consider adjusting these.

 

( Note that I never made aircraft, just ground objects.)

 

Edited by gerwin
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PS. Did someone ever find a 3DS max (2009 or earlier) filter that can reduce the polygon count of complex shapes automatically, without screwing things up too much?  So far I did not.

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2 hours ago, gerwin said:

I figure that two or maybe three distance LODs are the most important:

- The one right after the main lod, so the game can stop sweating on the small details as quickly as possible. But what Guuruu says about damage overlays is also a factor.

- What is usually the hardest part for the game to render are Airfields and Carriers with parked aircraft. So the parked LODs that are typically in view during takeoff and landing decide on the lowest FPS situation. But a busy carrier is rather unfixable in this regard, besides just keeping them a bit plain (less parking spots, avoid deck crew) or buying a overkill graphics card.

- The smallest one. An aircraft is often just a few pixels large in the view of the player. So if the model for this range is like 200/100kB or smaller it significantly lowers the total rendering load in most situations. 

What I usually do is set temporary LOD distances in the ini file to check for proper LOD synching. Like 60m, 80m, 100m and 120m. And then see if all LODs appear when zooming in and out. This also shows whether or not there are nodes that make LOD transitions unnecesseraly crude on the eye, so one can consider adjusting these.

 

( Note that I never made aircraft, just ground objects.)

 

This make a lot of sense, thanks!

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1 minute ago, gerwin said:

PS. Did someone ever find a 3DS max (2009 or earlier) filter that can reduce the polygon count of complex shapes automatically, without screwing things up too much?  So far I did not.

I'd kill for something like that!  I try to do as much sub-divisional modelling as I can; which means instant lowering of polycount by reducing iterations of meshsmooth.  However, shaving off polys from the base model manually, while trying to maintain mesh and mapping integrity is a nightmare!! .. not to mention time consuming and tedious :(

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13 minutes ago, sophocles said:

I'd kill for something like that!  I try to do as much sub-divisional modelling as I can; which means instant lowering of polycount by reducing iterations of meshsmooth.  However, shaving off polys from the base model manually, while trying to maintain mesh and mapping integrity is a nightmare!! .. not to mention time consuming and tedious :(

did you try modifier -  'optimize' ? although it can screw thing some times.

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49 minutes ago, yakarov79 said:

did you try modifier -  'optimize' ? although it can screw thing some times.

Yup, it works fine for hi distance LODs.

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5 hours ago, yakarov79 said:

did you try modifier -  'optimize' ? although it can screw thing some times.

Have tried it .. and yes, it "screws everything (at least the texture mapping) up".  Thanks anyway! :good:

Edited by sophocles
to add a detail

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5 hours ago, guuruu said:

Yup, it works fine for hi distance LODs.

Agreed, If you can't discern any textures on the model .. so it would need to be for LODs greater than 800m

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What sort of poly reductions you guys using...I plan on 3 distance lods.....as a\c aint huge....

this is its current standing

23419 polys, 70257 verts

this is after some trimming...just stuff you wont even see at 200metres...has gone and got quite a low count not bad 1st attempt

now  7389 polys, 7583 verts

cheers

Edited by russouk2004

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didnt realise this....

export with decals..

.Total:    (3211 polys, 9633 verts)
Mesh Max: (1154 polys, 3462 verts)

 

export without

Total:    (3211 polys, 2770 verts)
Mesh Max: (1154 polys, 798 verts)

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      HAF F-5A with Martin Baker IRQ-7a ejection seat  (1975 - 1999)
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      July 2020
       
      Submitter sophocles Submitted 07/16/2020 Category F-5  
    • By sophocles
      July 2020
      ===============
      Hellenic Air Force F-5A Freedom Fighter Volume I VERSION 1.0
      ------------------------------------------------------------
      F-5A variants included in the Package:
      HAF F-5A standard version (1965 - 1974)
      HAF F-5A with Martin Baker IRQ-7a ejection seat  (1975 - 1999)
      HAF Rf-5A reconnaissance variant with 4 K-92a cameras
      We are proud to present the F-5A HAF Volume I, the first of many to come, focusing on one of the most enduring American military aircraft designs ever produced during the Cold War period. This first Volume depicts the following Hellenic Air Force variants; the HAF F-5A standard, the HAF F-5A with the Martin Baker IRQ-7a ejection seat, and the HAF RF-5A reconnaissance variant. It has been our goal to provide to the simmer a highly detailed model and texture base which preserve the beautiful lines of this aircraft; and to engineer flight files and a cockpit/gauge file-set that are authentic and add to the immersion of the flying experience within the Strike Fighters 2 series.

       
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      1. Copy the contents of the "To Mods Folder(S)" to your SF2 Mod directory.
      Allow directory merging and overwrites, provided the overwrites pertain to "fake pilot" entries, as well as weapons made by ravenclaw_007, which are included in this and many other releases.
      2. Add the entries of "ADD_TO_SOUNDLIST.txt" to your SOUNDLIST.INI (located in the "user\Saved Games\ThirdWire\StrikeFighters2\Flight" folder).If one does not exist, then you will need to extract it using the 3rdWire CAT extract utility.  You are simply required to substitute the "XXX"s  with the next sequential number in the sound file section of the file.
       
        NOTE    1:
      ------------
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      The user may alternate between the two by "commenting out"
      the relevant line in the F-5A_STANDARD_COCKPIT.ini

      [CockpitData]
      //Directory=cockpit      
      Directory=cockpit_Lo-Fi    <---This is the default

      In order to "activate" the higher resolution textures
      you would decomment the previous line and comment out
      the next line, thus:

      [CockpitData]
      Directory=cockpit          <---This is now Hi-Res
      //Directory=cockpit_Lo-Fi    

        NOTE    2:
      ------------
      Another frame-rate friendly option for those with older hardware is to use the Next level of Detail Model as the primary external model. This simply involves changing the first line in the F-5A_HAF.ini  from this..
      [LOD001]
      Filename=F-5A_STANDARD.LOD
      to this..
      [LOD001]
      Filename=F-5A_STANDARD_002.LOD
      Much effort was made to provide those with lower end systems an alternative lower poly-model to be able to enjoy the F-5a,  so please take advantage of this _002.LOD model should you experience frame-rate issues.  While not as "rounded" as the Higher poly version, it is nonetheless just as detailed and extensive.
       NOTE    3:
      ------------
      For those who may find loading times excessive, the .jpg files in the texture folders can be reduced to 50% of their size without sacrificing too much surface detail.
       Keys:
      -------
      SHIFT+0 -> canopy open
       
      CREDITS:
      sophocles          - 3D Model, Cockpit, textures
      ravenclaw_007  - 3D Modeling, Animations, Weapons,textures
      baffmeister        - Flight model, testing
      crusader             - Avionics and data tweaks, Beta testing
      Guuruu                - Sounds and Afterburner effects, Beta testing
      Guest contributors:
      Alfa2                  - Loadouts and a wealth of info on the HAF variants.
      gkabs                 - pilot figure

      Special Thanks to the staff and members of Combatace.com whose passion and efforts have enabled this game to endure, and to provide so much fun and excitement!
      Additionally, many thanks to the following Combat-Ace Modders, who either actively contributed to the project over the years, or who invested their time either providing much needed hints and help, or researching various aspects of the model.
      Brain-32             - Modeling advice, initial cockpit.cfg + more
      NeverEnough    - Initial work on the Flight model
      Russouk2004    - Always answering questions when I needed help..Cheers!!
      Dag                      - RoNAF textures and research (to be included in a dedicated  future RoNAF F-5a module)
      Derk                     - Many, many references!!!
      Blade                   - Excellent mini-tutorial on damage textures
      Finally, thanks to TK and Thirdwire for creating such a fantastic game.
       
      ****************************************************************
      FEATURES:
      * Three model set including the HAF F-5A standard version (1965 - 1974), the  HAF F-5A with Martin Baker IRQ-7a ejection seat  (1975 - 1999), and the  HAF RF-5A reconnaissance variant with 4 K-92a cameras; each with their own custom loadouts.
      * Three, highly detailed external 3d models, including the RF-5A, whose nose was graciously modeled by ravenclaw_007.
      * Specular color and Normal (bump) maps on all models
      * Seven Level of Detail models (LODs) for each model, providing an almost seamless transition from distance to distance; and perhaps more importantly, ensuring that the frame-rate "impact" of the aircraft is as low as possible.
      * Two sets of highly detailed external Fuel Tanks by ravenclaw_007; both the Factory variety and the Sargent Fletcher variants.
      * Fine-tuned flight parameters in three distinct aircraft data configuration files  for all 3-D models, emphasizing the F-5A's agile and highly maneuverable characteristics - courtesy of  Baffmeister.
      * 8 high resolution texture sets; thoroughly researched historic depictions of the Aircraft fielded by many HAF Wings and Squadrons.
      * Quality sound-set included. Base sounds, by Guuruu, were sourced from existing recordings of various aircraft at air-shows and were modified  to match the prominent characteristics of the F-5A General Electric turbojets, the "buzz" of the M39 Pontiac 20mm machinegun, and the flap/Air-brake, undercarriage deployment and retraction sequences of the Freedom Fighter.
      * Super detailed  'Virtual Cockpit'  with animated throttle control, rudder pedals, control stick,  landing gear lever, canopy, canopy lever, drag-chute lever, weapons selectors and weapon station arming flick switches.
      *Accurate and functional representation of the Norair F-5A gun sight, with animated Mils selector and accompanying animated combining glass. (Mechanics by Crusader)
      * A full complement of highly (or should I say "insanely" detailed  HAF weapons carried by the HAF F-5A, all by ravenclaw_007.
      * Complex animation of canopy opening mechanism, and animated Turbine blades; both thanks to ravenclaw_007
      * GKAB's superb highly detailed crew figure with authentically modeled oxygen mask and flight helmet.
      * All new afterburner, emitter, and engine smoke effects by Guuruu.

      ******************************************************
      PILOT NOTES
      -----------

      F-5A Limit and Reference Speeds. [Indicated Airspeeds]
      FLAPS: 300kts for both leading and trailing edge.
             NOTE: The F-5A uses full flaps for take off but due to a game bug you must manually select full flaps for take off when player flown. The        AI will use full flaps although you can hear the flap sound cycling between flap 1 and flap 2.
      LANDING GEAR: 240kts
      DRAG CHUTE: 165kts
      CANOPY: 50kts
      NOSE WHEEL STEERING: 65kts
      MAXIMUM INDICATED AIRSPEED: 710kts [redline]
      MAXIMUM MACH: 1.72 Mach design limit but thrust/drag limited to about mach 1.50 in a 60deg dive from 50,000ft.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      TAKE OFF ROTATION SPEEDS
          13500lbs: 155kts [full internal fuel and two sidewinders]
          20500lbs: 195kts [about the maximum weight possible with included stores]
          NOTE: Use full flaps for take off! Adding 6kts for every 1000lbs above 13500lbs should give good aft stick/rotation speeds.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      CLIMB SPEEDS
      Military Power
          13500lbs: 375kts with a transition to mach 0.89
          20500lbs: 310kts with a transition to mach 0.74
      Maximum Power
          13500lbs: 595kts with a transition to mach 0.93
          20500lbs: 480kts with a transition to mach 0.85
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      FINAL APPROACH SPEEDS
          With 500lbs fuel remaining and some empty racks use 160kts. Add 5kts for every additional 500lbs of fuel.
          NOTE: Target touch down speed is 20kts less than final approach speed.
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       
      *************************************************************
      THIS AIRCRAFT MOD OR ANY PART OF IT ARE TO BE EXCLUSIVELY HOSTED BY COMBATACE.COM AND MUST NOT BE HOSTED OR POSTED FOR DOWNLOAD ON ANY OTHER WEB SITE. THIS PACKAGE AND ANY PARTS HEREIN MAY NOT BE UPLOADED AS PART OF ANOTHER MOD NOR MUST THEY BE SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE EITHER IN PART OR AS A WHOLE WITHOUT MY EXPRESS PERMISSION.
      *************************************************************
      Sophocles
      July 2020
       
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      The selected object and all child objects are exported.
      Two custom object properties are supported by the exporter:
          -AllowDecals = 0 or 1, This option is similar to the option in the original TW-Exporter: "Exporting using AllowDecals=0 causes the vertex to be shared, so it can reduce the size of the .LOD but also causes decals to "bleed" along the edges."
          -UseFlatNormal = 0 or 1, if set to 1 then all vertex normals are pointing straight up (normal = (0,0,1)) in the objects local coordinate system.
      Please note!
       
      The objects must meet the following requirements:
      -No scaling in the Transform Properties allowed (that means: scale x = y = z = 1.0). If your object has scaling, it should be applied to the mesh (Ctrl-A)
       Scaling is only allowed for animations.
      -A material must be assigned to the object. Only the first material of an object is exported.
      The following material parameters are exported:
          -Diffuse Color (the lod file format also contains ambient color. Currently the exporter set ambient color = diffuse color)
          -Specular Color
          -Specular Intensity
          -Specular Hardness (I think in 3ds Max it's called glossiness)
          -if "Shading -> Emit" > 0.0 then self illumination is enabled
          -Transparency (if transparency is enabled, then the object doesn't cast and doesn't catch shadow. if transparency is disabled, then the object cast and catch shadow. The specific LOD format version the exporter writes, doesn't support arbitrary cast/catch shadow combinations. The other LOD formats I don't understand enough (yet). Sorry!)
          -Alpha
          -Mirror Reflectivity
          -Diffuse texture image name (as diffuse texture the exporter uses the texture where "Influence -> Diffuse -> Color" is enabled)
          -Normal map texture image name("Influence -> Geometry -> Normal" is enabled and the Normal value is also exported)
          -Specular map texture image name("Influence -> Specular -> Intensity" is enabled)
          -Normal and specular map can only be used together with a diffuse map. (If I exported a normal or specular map without diffuse map, then the LOD wasn't shown in the game or the game crashed. I don't know why...)
          
      Animation Export:
          
          This exporter supports the following object animation types: location, rotation and scaling.
          Frames 10, 20, 30, ..., 100 are exported as animation 1
          Frames 110, 120, 130, ..., 200 are exported as animation 2, ...

      3.)Credits:
      Thanks to logan4 and angelp who provided me with specific lod files that helped me to understand the lod file format better.

      4.)Changelog:
      Version 0.1:
      -initial release
      Version 0.2:
      -bugfix: didn't work in blender version 0.79
      Version 0.3:
      -animation support
      -added custom object properties: "AllowDecals" and "UseFlatNormal"
      Submitter mue Submitted 04/30/2018 Category Utilities / Editors  
    • By mue
      I tried to implement the exporter only based on the information I found by investigating LOD files. I'm not a 3D Modeler myself. I only tested the exporter with rather simple object (hierarchies).
      The bottom line is that I have no idea if the exporter works for you. So please give feedback.
      Note: This plugin requires blender version 2.78 or 2.79. It is not compatible with blender versions 2.8+.
      1.) Installation
      Open the Blender User Preferences - Add-ons Tab
      (File -> User Preferences... -> Add-Ons)
      Click "Install from File..."
      Browse to and select the exporter python script "io_export_sf2_lod.py"
      Click "Install from File..." (or double click on the script name)
      In the Add-Ons Tab under Supported Level select Testing and enable "Import-Export: Strike Fighters 2 LOD Exporter"
      The LOD exporter is now installed and enabled. Under File -> Export you should see the menu item "Strike Fighters 2 LOD (.lod)". It's greyed out until an exportable object is selected.
      2.) Usage
      Select the object you want to export and click File -> Export -> Strike Fighters 2 LOD (.lod)
      The file browser opens. In the lower left area you see the LOD exporter options:
      -enable/disable writing the out file (text file with information about the exported object(s)).
      -enable/disable animation export
      -allow decals:
          This option is similar to the option in the original TW-Exporter: "Exporting using AllowDecals=0 causes the vertex to be shared, so it can reduce the size of the .LOD but also causes decals to "bleed" along the edges."
          This dialog setting is used as default for all objects to be exported. However, it can be overwritten by each individual object via the custom object property "AllowDecals" = 0(false) or 1(true)
      The selected object and all child objects are exported.
      Two custom object properties are supported by the exporter:
          -AllowDecals = 0 or 1, This option is similar to the option in the original TW-Exporter: "Exporting using AllowDecals=0 causes the vertex to be shared, so it can reduce the size of the .LOD but also causes decals to "bleed" along the edges."
          -UseFlatNormal = 0 or 1, if set to 1 then all vertex normals are pointing straight up (normal = (0,0,1)) in the objects local coordinate system.
      Please note!
       
      The objects must meet the following requirements:
      -No scaling in the Transform Properties allowed (that means: scale x = y = z = 1.0). If your object has scaling, it should be applied to the mesh (Ctrl-A)
       Scaling is only allowed for animations.
      -A material must be assigned to the object. Only the first material of an object is exported.
      The following material parameters are exported:
          -Diffuse Color (the lod file format also contains ambient color. Currently the exporter set ambient color = diffuse color)
          -Specular Color
          -Specular Intensity
          -Specular Hardness (I think in 3ds Max it's called glossiness)
          -if "Shading -> Emit" > 0.0 then self illumination is enabled
          -Transparency (if transparency is enabled, then the object doesn't cast and doesn't catch shadow. if transparency is disabled, then the object cast and catch shadow. The specific LOD format version the exporter writes, doesn't support arbitrary cast/catch shadow combinations. The other LOD formats I don't understand enough (yet). Sorry!)
          -Alpha
          -Mirror Reflectivity
          -Diffuse texture image name (as diffuse texture the exporter uses the texture where "Influence -> Diffuse -> Color" is enabled)
          -Normal map texture image name("Influence -> Geometry -> Normal" is enabled and the Normal value is also exported)
          -Specular map texture image name("Influence -> Specular -> Intensity" is enabled)
          -Normal and specular map can only be used together with a diffuse map. (If I exported a normal or specular map without diffuse map, then the LOD wasn't shown in the game or the game crashed. I don't know why...)
          
      Animation Export:
          
          This exporter supports the following object animation types: location, rotation and scaling.
          Frames 10, 20, 30, ..., 100 are exported as animation 1
          Frames 110, 120, 130, ..., 200 are exported as animation 2, ...

      3.)Credits:
      Thanks to logan4 and angelp who provided me with specific lod files that helped me to understand the lod file format better.

      4.)Changelog:
      Version 0.1:
      -initial release
      Version 0.2:
      -bugfix: didn't work in blender version 0.79
      Version 0.3:
      -animation support
      -added custom object properties: "AllowDecals" and "UseFlatNormal"
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