Jump to content
NordKindchen

Terrain Improvement (dev branch)

Recommended Posts

A small summarization:

The current system lacks quality at mid range because there is only one texture with the size of 1024px*1024px that gets tiled over the whole island. This texture combined with the satelite map (with a resolution of about 1pixel per 2sqm) is all the detail we get at mid range.

My suggested system would result in a huge quality improvement in the mid range with minimum work and performance inpact by integrating a logic map into the workflow.

The below images show a comparisation.

For a complete and easy to understand/follow explaination - pls refer to the example below.

DONT FORGET TO VOTE

Best regards!

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

Yay update!

I managed to be able to show how the system looks ingame! This can be considered as absolutely representive!

Keep in mind, that this example is made with my taste. Other people may prefer some calmer pictures. All that would however be possible with the explained system.

Here is the example in small

before_small.jpgafter_small.jpg

Here is the example in big.

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

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

Here is another example!

before_2_small.jpgafter_2_small.jpg

Here is the example in big.

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

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

Here is another example!

before_3_small.jpgafter_3_small.jpg

Here is the example in big.

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

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

Here is another example!

before_4_small.jpgafter_4_small.jpg

Here is the example in big.

Pls notice that I put 3 soldiers into the next picture to show you how much the camouflage will improve with the new system!

""Sadly the maximum number of images per topic is 13 so I cant post any more thumbnails form this point on.

Here is the next example in big .

Sadly the maximum number of images per topic is 13 so I cant post any more thumbnails form this point on.

Here is the next example in big.

Spread the word! And thanks for your support!

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

Original Post:

So here is finally my elaboration regarding this theme.

Its quite long - and I think this one time it will be ok to even another thread for this elaboration.

And dont be scared by the size of the following^^ I tried to visualize as much as I could with pictures.

I also opened a new Forum Tracker Entrance

DONT FORGET TO VOTE

Best regards

Ps: This thread is born out of this discussion

Mid range textures are -sadly- very bad

Introduction

Arma 3's graphics have evolved a lot compared to its predeccessor. The close up environment looks really nice and thanks to the satelite image the world is made of, the far distance can convince even more!

Nice_ExamplePic_1

Nice_ExamplePic_2

Nice_ExamplePic_3

Nice_ExamplePic_4

Nice_ExamplePic_5

Nice_ExamplePic_6

Sadly..whilst the visual quality from close and far distance got crucial improvements, the mid range distance was left out completey . I can yet assure you that they used the same texture for the later explained midrange_texture as in Takistan!

Sadly_Bad_ExamplePic_1

Sadly_Bad_ExamplePic_2

Sadly_Bad_ExamplePic_3

Sadly_Bad_ExamplePic_4

Sadly_Bad_ExamplePic_5

Sadly_Bad_ExamplePic_6

This results in a very inconsistent look. But the worst is, as Arma veterans know, that that distance is the main engagement range!

There are allready lots of people aware of it and complaining about this issue. Most information can be found here: here.

However I'm here to write down a rundown and several wenn conceived suggestions. I will even deliever some example pics of how the suggested fixing method could be accomplished and brought into a work flow.

Explanation of the current system and why its not satisfying.

The current system shall be explained by the example of Stratis.

Overall/long range

The whole map consists of a very big satelite image. Its consists of 1024px*1024px*64 pieces creating a satelite image of 8192px*8192px. Each 1024px in length and width is approximately 1km.

I created an image to illustrate this.

This means we've got a resolution of about 1px/m. In other words - our smallest detail on the map is about 1m² size.

Closeups

Now if this would be all the engine does we would be having blurry textures everywhere! Even at the closest distance.

So to refurbish the close environment there is a radius of, lets say, 50 meters around you where the satelite map is overdrawn by a close up textures.

But these close up textures are generic. This means they are basically small tileable textures which are being put together infinitesimally. You just don't get to see that because they are under your feet and most of the time hidden by foliage etc.

So how does the game know where on the map it shall put road textures, where sand and where gras?

Here is the place where the logic_map comes into play! This mechanism will be important for my suggestions to fix the blurry mid range textures!

The logic map its basically a "map over the map" which defines where to put which texture in closeups. Each colour stands for a different texture kind, like red for grass for example.

Mid Range

The mid range is basically the satelite image - thats the reason why it appears so blurred. (Keep in mind: the resolution is about 1px/m.)

Now the Devs thought about a way to give the blurry midrange a bit crisp by putting a texture over those areas.

Thats the midrange_texture I spoke about earlier. As I said, its even the exact same as they used in Takistan OA. (That alone is not a bad thing - the texture for itself is pretty good. If a desert texture was the right texture to choose for Stratis it would be another story)

What the engine does is the following: The midrange texture overlays the blurry environment at midrange.(midrange_texture the original texture used in Arma2 OA and in Arma 3 just blurred to death because I dont want to give away non-official BI-data - in reality its sharp as s***t)

To make you understand this better I made a few examples for you:

1.image: Original Arma 3 pic

2.image: Arma 3 how it would look without this midrange_texture

3.image: The exact midrange_texture put ontop of the second image via photoshop

As you see, its very close to the "quick photoshop remade". So its basically a simple overlay from the engine.

The problem with this overlay is that this texture is the same for the whole map at mid distance. If one texture reaches over different colour patterns, as it is the case, it doesnt look natural at all! The solution is to introduce different details on different colours. Basically like yellow := sand details, green := gras details

Some other processes to sum this up

Of course there are also several normal and bumpmap maps applied to close range textures.

This is the basic scheme in which the engine renders the game. The wohle process of objectsrendering, lightning etc. is placed on top of it

Suggestions for Solutions

There are basically two ways to increase the mid range detail.

First the "bad one". Bad because it has more drawbacks than the second one.

Solution_1: Increase the size of the satmap

This is the simpliest solution to this problem but comes in with a whole lot of problems.

But first the advantages:

Advantages

The advantages are simple. You get more px/m so you get more details. Basic math. Also this will render the different distances EVEN BETTER.

This would of course be the way to go if there was no performance hit and if you had all the manpower youd want. You could draw infinite special details on every part of the island and it would look great - if the resolution was big enoug.

Disadvantages

1.A goddamn whole lot of work....Increasing the detail enough to make it count will be a huge amount of work and basically means recreating Stratis (and probably Altis) since the satelite layer resolution is likely to be final after the first creation of the map.

2. Every detail would require to be painted individually making the progress even more time consuming.

3. perhaps not even feasible to increase the satmap resolution enough while still keeping the game playable.

4. Since Arma is 32bit it wont profit from much RAM - therefore this will be even more performance intense. This means there must be a solution for lower Res PCs - maybe this could be achieved by differently resoluted satmaps. But maybe not since the satmap currently is saved in a non compressing procedure.

Since these are a lot of disadvantages I spent a lot of time thinking about another solution. And I think I found one!

Solution_2: Creating a logic layer and corresponding textures for the mid range

This solution is based on a system that is allready integrated into the game. BIs is allready using this, as already described (close distance).

A step into the future would be to implement this system into the mid range rendering, with a bit of adaptations though.

Operating Principle:

Instead of having ONE midrange_texture - implement MANY DIFFERENT mid range textures just like in closeups.

This way each different ground type will get its very own details.

Each applied texture must not exceed a certain texture size. The texture must be tileable.

The satmap texture will then be overlayed with the new midrange patterns which are tiled as often as needed.

Dependant on the Mid_range_logicmap the related texture will be chosen and placed onto the satmap. Quite as in closeups, only that instead of a complete ground texture with normal maps etc, the chosen textures will only be an overlay.

Thereoretically its the same system as now, only you use different textures for the different grounds.

To visualize this to you I made a few example pics. (As shown above - the technique to produce this images is very similar to the enigne procedure. The result will be quite similar)

1. This is the original picture.

2. This is the picture how it would look without any mid range texture.

3. And this is my vision of how it could look.

4. This is the "logic map" that I created to achieve the shown results

Pls keep in mind that this is a quick mashup, the end result could look even better! Of course there is room for optmization but I think the current results are allready positive.

To keep the process as close as possible to the engines procedures I worked as follows:

1. I blurred the ground to create the second picture

2. Then I chose specific colours of the image with the "wizards tool" to determine the thresholds

3. After that I downloaded several textures from cgtextures.com and made a tileable texture for each colour of the logic map.

4. Now I created a big picture out of one texture (basically like this) and overlayed it with the satmap where the colour fits.

5. I repeated this for every texture and looked at the result.

This is how the engine would work too! So its actually representative.

Here is the same example for a longer range:

1. Original_pic

2. My vision of how it should look

3. Logic map

The system for creating the logic map can be automated: MatLab for example has a feature that can do exactly this.

The system is easyly scaleable - for example: If you want to redo the current system - just fill the whole logic_map with one colour and connect it to the current texture. Or if you need smaller textures for different graphic options - relatively easy to implement.

Additionally the system can deliever plenty of special details for unique environments. Just put a special colour into the logic_map and create a unique texture just for that special part on the island.

It should be relatively easy to implement since you allready have a similar system working, it is not completely from scratch.

Once implemented you could in fact let others do the job for you if you haven't got enough manpower to implement it completely on your own. I would be willing to put much effort into the textures for the better of the community. Just ask^^

You could even implement it and still keep the current midrange_texture, meaning that the work effort could be stopped at any point if required.

Performance wise it shouldn't be that much of a hit since the textures will be tileable and the logic_map only needs to obtain the integrated colours. This means it can be an indexed picture, reducing the data and workload even more.

Ontop of that: Nobody even needs to have a performance hit with it since they can stick with the current system by disabling the logic_map - just keep it as "low setting" in the options.

I bet your artists will be eager to implement details in mid range;) I am sure they would love that!

Even the workflow is simple to use and ontop its even a workflow you are allready used to! This minimizes errors for you!

Of course there is still some work related to this. But as I explained it is most flexible. You could stop the work as soon as the functions are integrated and before even one new texture was drawn.

Of course there could be an impact on performance too but since its so easy adjustable, its not really such big a disadvantage since every one can choose to switch it off.

Advantages

1. looks much better than the current texture at midrange

2. relatively easy to implement due to present mid range overlay. BI is already halfway there!

3. perfectly scaleable with hardware capabilities, just make an option to enable the current texture or to lower the resolution of the midrange overlay textures

4. great accessability for modders

5. perfectly scaleable with dev effort, integrate the logic map functionality and leave there rest to the modders, no need to put many person-hours at stake!

6. can be partly automated

7. can also be used for further customization of the map, specific accents could be set in certain locations for a unique look

8. the workflow is well known, no surprises to be expected

Disadvantages

1. still, one more work package to be funded

2. possible performace hit

The mid range is one of those very few things that don't look wonderful in Arma3. For all I know the second suggestion is quite cheap and very effective.

To be honest, I don't think that anyone should release a first person simulation with texture pixels of 1m² size in 2013, those times are long gone.

Edited by NordKindchen
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wot (wall of text) ... :) gj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a damn great explaination of your suggestion!

It was quite a wall of text, true, but hey was clear even for someone (me) that doesn't really know anything about texturing and mapping layers.

Hopefully we'll see something like this implemented, maybe in a future patch (ìt's never too late !! :D )

Very well done, mate.

Regards,

Kid18120

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NICE! You my man deserve a badge or something. Awesome work!

Everything you said in the second suggestion I totally agree with and you laid it out and a very organized and understandable way.

One question I have, is how does the textures currently react to magnification in the game? For example if the midrange textures are renedered from 50 to 500 metres away, when I look through a scope with 4x magnification, will the textures still only be rendered 50 - 500 metres away?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great job on this man, really great job. Voted you up.

I take it the engine can have two logic maps at once. ie. one for the close and one for the mid range?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i say thats why BIS gotta love its community! Yeah, it looks a lot more high fidelity/realistic, then current washed out texture. I also noticed that too at takistan, at distance, mountains look quite realistic, but at close up, everything is just a pour sand, even mountains, which is nonsense. I hope this brings us further to better arma. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wanted to have a clapping gif but they are all too big, here is one anyway http://d22zlbw5ff7yk5.cloudfront.net/images/cm-36243-050bffabb05dbf.gif

I love the second idea of using a system already in the game to drastically improve it, an addition such as this would set Arma 3 apart from all of its family in ever distance aspect. I would love to see this kind of thing happen sooo...up voted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good idea. I hope BI engineers and designers could achieve better results than we have in Alpha currently. I think that even mip-map downgrading will not harm this tecnique.

Only one problem could happen if this feature will be adjustable in Video prferences menu, cos some one may turn it off to see the enemy better and will get advantage over other players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a limit to how many textures can be used on BIS terrains? I know udk has one and it's not very many. Maybe BIS have already hit the budget....hope not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post, hope the devs are going to pick this up!

Yay!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't wait official response for that. super awesome work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very good idea. I hope BI engineers and designers could achieve better results than we have in Alpha currently. I think that even mip-map downgrading will not harm this tecnique.

Only one problem could happen if this feature will be adjustable in Video prferences menu, cos some one may turn it off to see the enemy better and will get advantage over other players.

this could actually become an issue. it depends on the performance hit resulting from mid range textures, maybe there is no need for a lo-fi option at all. the texture tile size is insignificant compared to other textures in the game but there may be some problems in the engine that we aren't aware of. You could also influence the visibility by choosing overlay textures with less prominent details to avoid this issue.

Though this is a gameplay issue which should be adressed separately. There are already problems with spotting playes at different ranges concerning foliage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good effort! no idea if this or something like this is possible, or if there are actually better solutions available. Hope this is considered, and the best possible result is achieved. Would really like to see variation in the mid-range textures, there's already some FANTASTIC natural patterns and detail variation in long distance textures (must be textures because definitely isn't terrain detail) that was absent in Arma 2 and now looks really really good.

Voted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're the hero this community needs!

Those example screenshots look astonishing to say the least. I REALLY hope this is a feasible solution for BIS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looks like a great option / idea.

Just that we dont know how the system really works -maybe it allows for only one texture? But I hope BIS sees this and gets inspirated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nordkindchen you have really thought this through. The proposed solution would be a HUGE boost over the current texture quality and would actually work to make the game look damn good at the distances it needs to look good at.

BIS please either implement this, or hire Nordkindchen to implement this! :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×