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TankCommander

Visuals two steps forward - one step back

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I'm opening a thread to discuss some of the visual shortfalls of Arma 3. In particular, the current trees on Stratis. From the first time running the game, it was immediately evident that the trees appeared flat and lacklustre in the mid range and beyond.

Included are screenshots of trees from Chernarus, Takistan and Stratis at the same time of day, same weather conditions (100% bad weather), near maximum graphical settings and running within Arma3.

From what can be seen, the lighting conditions vary somewhat between the Arma2 maps and Arma3. Stratis is significantly darker when under a full overcast. In fact, it's still very dark even when partly overcast which looks odd. The level of light coming through of course affects the depth of trees due to lack of shadow contrast but even when in daylight, the mid-level trees are still flat as seen in the third Stratis screenshot. This isn't the case with Arma2 trees which are textured as such to appear full at a distance.

I'd like to know whether BI are planning to fix this issue of flatness in their current vegetation. I love the rest but am just curious how something as important as trees to an environment could be worse than previous.

Real World:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/Stormy_weather_Vezere_river_Dordogne.jpg

Stratis (Click to view full size)

XlzqTsa.jpg

vTJ7jHH.jpg

e6hRYnj.jpg

Takistan (Click to view full size)

WweYzeg.jpg

PbYQkOp.jpg

Chernarus (Click to view full size)

ZBK3lSG.jpg

EyBQGWO.jpg

Edited by TankCommander

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the screenshots just make me wonder again whenever I read people freaking out about the advancements in graphics from A2 to A3. Takistan and Chernarus look absolutely the same as in A2.

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I was going to make a post about this myself. Please BI do something about these very, very average trees. The trees, along with the mid-range textures are letting down the graphics significantly.

The graphics are better than ARMA 2, no question. The lighting especially is far better. Are the graphics four years better? Well, IMO probably not as ARMA 2 was one of the best looking games out in 2009, but ARMA 3 will struggle graphically comming out late 2013.

Either way, these trees really need some love. They end up looking like cardboard cutouts, with little depth, variation in shade and lacking any sort of detail. They also have no variation in hue and a forest tends to look like it has one tree coppied 200 times, which for 2013 is a worry.

Very close up, there isn't much problem. From a distance, say 1km, there isn't too much of a problem. Between 30-1000m, however, these trees really need some help. Hopefully these are only Alpha trees.

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I totally agree with you guys.

Trees make no justice to the rest of the game graphics. It's like having a lamborghini but with no money to buy fuel.

BIS, if you can make trees look better, the whole enviroment will gain much more balance and beauty :)

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I think if mid range textures can be fixed, and trees improved, the game will look stunning. At close range the game really looks great.

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The trees I could live with, even though they're not as diverse as Chernarus, if the LOD switching could be fixed. Tree LOD switching has always been a problem and it seems the same in A3 too. It was greatly improved in A2 (compared to its release state) so I have hopes :)

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lot of valid points in the thread, yet does each got already ticket in Arma 3 Feedback tracker ? :)

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lot of valid points in the thread, yet does each got already ticket in Arma 3 Feedback tracker ? :)

Does the tracker have a search function? I couldn't see one the other night, and I'd like to search first before posting up new tickets.

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lot of valid points in the thread, yet does each got already ticket in Arma 3 Feedback tracker ? :)

Ah right, I thought the feedback tracker was for issues and bugs. Although i guess the name is feedback and not bug tracker, lol, makes sense.

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It may well have been added to the tracker but I felt it warranted some discussion and demonstrations which might be lost in a ticket. This is also open to other graphical / aesthetic issues people may have. Like, when partly overcast, the land doesn't adjust to let in more light. Partly and fully overcast offer the same lighting conditions.

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Am I the only one that finds ArmA III grass exceptional? It looks seriously good with ATOC on...

Yay!

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Am I the only one that finds ArmA III grass exceptional? It looks seriously good with ATOC on...

Chernarus grass looks the best. Very lush.

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oh tks for make a good topic about it. just done one, 15 minutes before... your is better (i gona vote up the ticket)

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Stratis is significantly darker when under a full overcast. In fact, it's still very dark even when partly overcast which looks odd.

100% agree!

That being said I have never been in Greece during heavy/partly overcast but letting more light thru for partly overcast would IMO make a improvement on the screen at least.

/KC

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I actually like the trees in arma 3/stratis because they morph much less than in A2. Their shape stays pretty consistent no matter what distance you from them. In A2, I would see trees totally change shape by just walking a few steps and it really killed immersion plus made spotting really weird.

Of course if there is a way to improve the trees to make them less "paperish" at range I would be happy to have it - BUT if the trees are purposely rendered like they are to help with performance than I say leave them as they are. These poor quality trees might just be part of BIS plan to "optimize" the game.

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Like Coulum, I haven't experienced much tree LOD switching either. That aspect works very smoothly on my 560Ti, but if others have a problem someone should post a ticket because search is not bringing anything pertinent up on the feedback tracker. In any case, I encourage everyone to go read (and upvote) the feedback tickets SmallBlackSheep posted here. I do believe the "no shadows under overcast" ticket is most definitely related and also a valuable read. My comments regarding these issues can be found there. Finally, to the question of whether A3's visuals have been improved over A2's and OA's, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" As long as the sun is out, the difference between A2 and A3 is night and day (talk about mixing metaphors ;)). Top-notch , AAA studio work by the graphics team. Even during overcast and inclemental weather, which overall looks underwhelming ATM, the cloudscapes are amazing.

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using tiny thumbnails where you can hardly see details isn't a good comparison. to me, the best part of the visuals is still the lighting, but it's very hit and miss. dawn is amazing lifelike. i've already seen several picture posted here and elsewhere where it looked like a photo(only one other game was able to do this, and it was through realistic lighting as well: pcars). but both noon time and overcast conditions can look flat, perhaps due to the evenness of the lighting. one is essentially just white light, the other is diffuse white light.

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Yeah, the model textures need some serious retexturing/shading.

the screenshots just make me wonder again whenever I read people freaking out about the advancements in graphics from A2 to A3. Takistan and Chernarus look absolutely the same as in A2.
The lighting and dynamic PP being toned down and the improved clouds and much less Z-fighting at distance and better character textures/models and the terrain textures are much more varied and realistic/detailed looking are a few. It's not like 2x better, but it's still a collection of serious improvements, especially as it's only in alpha.

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johncage, you can click on the thumbnails to open them up in 1920x1080 resolution.

One solution to resolve the current diffuse flat lighting would be to implement expensive ambient occlusion passes ingame. AO is already a feature when you turn post processing up but isn't very noticeable. Unfortunately, I think even with AO more prominent, it would potentially bleed too much into other areas of the game which could cause further unrealism. It looks as tho the best course of action to my knowledge would be to improve the tree texture to be more like Arma2 (texture in the shadow depth). Only bohemia would know whether shifting lighting conditions or whatever would help improve it.

There was a mod created by mikebart for Arma2 which made the trees more volumetric at no extra fps cost. He claims that it actually improves performance and from a visual standpoint, looks superior to Arma's typical flat look. To have volumetric trees adds quite a significant amount of depth to the scene. Worth a look: http://www.armaholic.com/page.php?id=9701

mikebart's system looks probably to be the more promising answer if possible. I'm including a screenshot of early morning light at 6am demonstrating the nice bump effects on the ground texture but the severe lack of any contrast from the forest. As the sun is located to the direct left of the image, the trees should feature a shadow to their right side. This may be asking too much for far distant trees which are likely very simple and don't contain enough geometry to be shaded, but for at least near to mid range trees, something perhaps worth considering.

JB7yeTS.jpg

ncgji0e.jpg

EDIT:

Just tried mikebart's trees on Stratis. Notice how they give the impression of low angle light but the Arma3 pine trees don't.

http://i.imgur.com/Tx6O8pz.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/m5Pcgsa.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/rwAFS0V.jpg

Edited by TankCommander

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i think the leaf part of the low lod level tree model doesn't have shading or maybe it's not working.

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Just tried mikebart's trees on Stratis. Notice how they give the impression of low angle light but the Arma3 pine trees don't.

http://i.imgur.com/Tx6O8pz.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/m5Pcgsa.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/rwAFS0V.jpg

Eh, all of those trees look pretty unappetizing, no offense to anyone. There's just something they need to do with the mid-long LODs. Clearly, they can do it given past games, so I'm guessing these LODs weren't a priority for the alpha release. At any rate, it needs fixing.

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I really like the current tree's in the game and found it a huge improvement over Arma 2. They are similar to the trees found in Take On Helicopters.

I would like to see more diversity in them, various hues, and different heights and girth.

If you load up Chernarus in Arma 3, you will clearly notice that the performance takes a massive hit compared to the same settings on stratis. The trees while there are more of them in chernarus I believe they require more data to be loaded per tree than the great performance trees we get in statis.

The current Arma 3 trees and bushes do something additional that the arma 2 trees and bushes couldn't quite do... Provide cover. Not just looking straight on, but cover from the air, their dense canopies can completely hide soldiers in large groups.

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