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Author Topic: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread  (Read 135870 times)

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Offline joelyboy911

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #420 on: June 08, 2009, 05:18:47 AM »
So, you reckon on about 3 to 4 times as long to render in HD? Then twice the file size? I ask because I am considering making this into an HD version, and I wonder, will people have an objection to too many HD props clogging their plugins folders? Would a non-HD version be advisable also?
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Offline daeley

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #421 on: June 08, 2009, 07:04:59 AM »
I did some small testing on the subject myself, and this is the result.
The model used in these tests is a (slightly) modified version of Warpedone's Hex Corporation (GMax File), as I do not have the skills to BAT something decent myself.

I rendered my modifications in both HD and SD (using SimFox' script for the BAT), and these are the results.

(snip)
Both buildings placed side by side in Zoom 5

(snip)
SD Render in Zoom 6

(snip)
HD Render in Zoom 6

And some data:
[tabular type=1]
[row][head][/head][head]HD Version[/head][head]SD Version[/head][/row]
[row][data]Render Time (sec):[/data][data]22126 sec[/data][data]6909 sec[/data][/row]
[row][data]Render Time (hours):[/data][data]~ 6 hours[/data][data]~ 2 hours[/data][/row]
[row][data]File Size (Mb):[/data][data]~ 4 Mb[/data][data]~ 2 Mb[/data][/row][/tabular]

even though it looks a bit better in Zoom 6, I can't help but ask myself the question if anyone is ever going to stay in Zoom 6 for long with these big buildings. IMO it's not worth the extra file size and render time for these kinds of bigger buildings.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 07:06:48 AM by daeley »
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Offline CasperVg

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #422 on: June 08, 2009, 07:40:17 AM »
even though it looks a bit better in Zoom 6, I can't help but ask myself the question if anyone is ever going to stay in Zoom 6 for long with these big buildings. IMO it's not worth the extra file size and render time for these kinds of bigger buildings.

I agree, I was just doing this as a test, and didn't intend to release it at all.
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Offline buddybud

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #423 on: June 08, 2009, 09:01:51 AM »
much appreciated caspervg

Though i myself am working on some hd content myself i have to admit that it is not necessarily beneficial in all circumstances. Weighing the pros and cons will be difficult and ultimately left up to the creator and hopefully good judgment..... and finally by those who do or do not download it.  ;D

Bud


Offline choco

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #424 on: June 08, 2009, 09:26:23 AM »
i was playing with my street bridge in HD.....as it turned out, the pillar piece itself was ~3x the file-size of the original (1.316Mb to 565Kb).....they look really good, just not very feasible for anything less than a state-of-the-art rig.  &mmm

Offline benvoliothefirst

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #425 on: June 08, 2009, 10:12:19 AM »
Figured I'd pop in and contribute my two cents. I was hoping for the creation of both an SD and HD version of future BATs/Props going forward. It's like the growable/ploppable debate... if you only do one or the other, people who are loyal to the other camp will accuse you of bias.

I know that I myself have no use for HD BATs or props... I never really get into zoom six, and the idea of my plugins folder ballooning in size for something I'll never use frightens me. SimCity has always been about the balance of size/load times vs. performance... HD won't help at all, I'm afraid.

Still, that HD stuff is pretty though!

Offline Ennedi

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #426 on: June 08, 2009, 11:24:06 AM »
Hi guys,

We discussed the HD technique development at BSC site too and some of us made various experiments. We also came to some conclusions which can help HD developers to make good choices.
Tage asked me to show here my comparison between two versions of Masuda san's fantastic BAT - SOGO building. This post will be long  ;D but maybe it will be useful for you.

Here are some of my posts in the BSC thread:

Quote
Masuda'san's HD version of the SOGO department store has been posted here:
(...)

Please collect this and have a look especially make a side by side comparison with the SD version. The HD model is 9.11MB; the SD one is 3.05MB. Is it worth the extra bandwidth?

I tested it today.

1. The entrance at night - Z6

SD version (btw what does it mean?  :))


HD version

Yes, it really looks better.

2. The roof at night

SD version - Z6

The neon looks bad, there are many jagged edges too.

HD version - Z6

Much better. But let's look at Z5

SD version - Z5

Everything looks very good here.

HD version - Z5

The glass roof looks still good (1), but the neon (2) and window frames look much worse than in SD version in this zoom.

3. The roof at day

SD version - Z6


HD version - Z6

Looks better of course, but some imperfections are still visible, also in HD areas (some props are in SD version, I don't take them into account)

SD version - Z5. This comparation will be interesting


HD version - Z5

Many details look worse than in SD version here:
- The neon (4)
- Small details, especially diagonal grid (5)
- The roof texture: it looks overdone (6)
- Jagged edges (7)
- Facade imperfections ( 8 ).  They ar not present in SD version   
- Window frames (9).
This is the price.

I see 14 pictures makes the post too long to upload it, so I have to divide it

Quote
The second part

4. The neon - comparation (SD version is always at the left, HD at the right)

Zoom 6

HD version is much better here, but look below

Zoom 5


5. Windows - comparation

Zoom 6


And Zoom 5; the same situation as with the neon


Please judge it yourself. I have my own conclusions, but I don't want to make this post too long and I wonder what will you say  ;)

Adam

We have different opinions about the HD technique at BSC, but two points are raised most often:

1. Loss of quality in Zoom 5 is definitely too high price for improvement in Zoom 6. A compromise should be found here or it isn't worth of the effort.
2. HD textures will be useful in specific areas, especially for making props and other small objects.
But there is much to research in the game graphics area to achieve the real improvement. We must remember about it when we will develop the HD technique.

Adam

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Offline Tarkus

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #427 on: June 08, 2009, 05:21:32 PM »
They work great for signage, though.  It allows the sign to be clearly visible and at the proper scale.  The file size on this "Speed 50" sign is about 11.1KB--not terribly prohibitive, though actually 10x the size of a Standard Definition one at a larger scale.  A full .dat with a set of 16 speed limit signs would run you only 177.6KB, though, which isn't bad.



-Alex

Offline bob56

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #428 on: June 08, 2009, 05:30:27 PM »
They work great for signage, though.  It allows the sign to be clearly visible and at the proper scale.  The file size on this "Speed 50" sign is about 11.1KB--not terribly prohibitive, though actually 10x the size of a Standard Definition one at a larger scale.  A full .dat with a set of 16 speed limit signs would run you only 177.6KB, though, which isn't bad.



-Alex

I agree. I would absololutely love to see some more HD signs. I never really used them, since they were hard to make out. I think this could be a huge area for HD usage.

btw how about streetlights?
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Offline sithlrd98

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #429 on: June 08, 2009, 05:42:42 PM »
When I was testing the HD version of Sogo , I mainly was on Z6. I noticed a huge difference in much of the same as seen in the pics. I did notice a little bit of the neon and glass not looking so great on Z5 , but thought that it was my eyes or my monitor. I still like the way the HD Z6 looks and wonder if (I don't BAT and have no idea about the scripts) if there was a way to also get Z5 up to par without doubling the already 9+megs the HD version already is. The SD version is still very impressive , I guess all this HD stuff is starting to spoil me!

They work great for signage, though.  It allows the sign to be clearly visible and at the proper scale.  The file size on this "Speed 50" sign is about 11.1KB--not terribly prohibitive, though actually 10x the size of a Standard Definition one at a larger scale.  A full .dat with a set of 16 speed limit signs would run you only 177.6KB, though, which isn't bad.
-Alex

I also agree that these and HBs HD stoplight look very good as well as the props that Mas  implemented on his Sogo. It may be more beneficial in the long run to only do HD on smaller BATs and props and textures , as Alex has showed , at least the file size isn't as massive.

Just my .02

Jayson

Offline Ennedi

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #430 on: June 08, 2009, 07:17:23 PM »
As I said near the end of my first post, HD textures can be used successfully in specific areas. I didn't want to tell that it is bad direction  :)

Looking again at the SOGO buildings we can see where we have serious problems in Z5: the SOGO neon and window mullions are good examples: if the texture has many small details looking great in Z6 (such as white stripes on neon letters or mullions), the interpolation in Z5 doesn't work good. But I think it is possible to avoid some problems, BAt creators should learn which textures can look good in both zooms.
Of course not all problems can be avoided. In addition we should think a while which objects are most often seen (or photographed) in which zooms. I think nobody will make a Z6 closeup of the middle part of the huge skyscraper wall, but many people would be happy to see a nice street scene with vehicles, bus or GLR stops, signs and streetlights.

I hope I will not make you bored  ;), I will quote some of my other comments from the BSC discussion. Of course these are my personal opinions.

Quote
(...)
HD textures should have their place where using them is reasonable and they can add a lot to the game. But we can:
- Make a general rule that everybody who uploads his/her stuff in the LEX should inform players that he/she used HD textures. That way everybody will have a choice.
- Inform people (honestly) about positive and negative sides of using HD technique on various fields (BATs, props, terrain textures...- these are different cases).

What do I think about it?
1. Big buildings don't need to be made in HD version. Both for players and MD makers Zoom 5 is much more important than Zoom 6 (Z3 and Z4 are equally or more important, but it's off topic here). The viewing area in Z6 is simply too small to look at the large building.
2. What would be good to see in Z6?
- Street scenes. So all small props including bus and GLR stops, billboards, vending machines, flowerbeds, streetlights (what will happen with the light cone in HD version?  ;)) should be made in HD version. It would be also good to have some HD trees, but I'm seriously afraid of them - even in SD version when you have a lot of trees in your city you can easy notice how it increases the loading time. Mayeb we should rather think about better quality of tree models?
Please notice that both Maxis and many custom sidewalk and plaza textures look very good in HD version. The picture below is a good example. You can also see what ruins the picture: props.



- HD could be also used to small buildings (farms, villas, mansions) most of these buildings have many props around and it would be good to see them in closeups.
- some very specific city buildings - not very big (SOGO building is the borderline for me) with an unique arrangement on the ground level; we can call them real landmarks.
- Terrain textures - but they are a separate theme, we are researching this theme with Chris and Silvio and you can be sure we will use HD textures in a responsible way; but Zoom 6 is not the deciding factor here. HD textures open another possibilities.

This post is the most important for me in this whole discussion:
Quote
On a quick note .. for those that might do props or w/e in HD .. we should probably come up with some theory on how SC4 interpolates .. to minimizes the degradation of z5.As I said before .. it is likely stripping pixels. In theory .. it could just strip every other pixel, but it probably doesn't do that. It probably thinks a little about it.
I don't claim to be a rocket scientist when it comes to interpolation, but there is probably some math involved in which pixels it strips away, probably based somewhere around the difference between adjacent pixels.
If you look at the default buildings .. most look fairly decent at z6. Our custom buildings tend to not hold up quite as well. They probably used some specific texturing techniques that created more or less contrast in some way .. or they did a lot more hand editing of the textures than most of us do .. or at least than I do.
One thing for sure is that text and specific things like that are always going to be a little more of a problem. Usually striping pixels from text is better than adding them .. but you might need to play with bolds and different fonts if you really want text to read well. Also, signage for example. Big white signs should transition well .. complex posters of artwork on the other hand .. might look funky when you start striping pixels from it.

Anyway .. just something to think about. I generally don't ever use z6. I hardly every use z5, as skyscraper cities tend to convey very little other than some ooooh aaaaah at zoom 5.

(...)
Btw switching to Z6 is not the only ingame method of making good closeups. Even without Photoshopping we can always use Ctrl X + Sizeof command  :)

Here is Zoom 5


Here is Sizeof 1,5.

Not very good, props become pixelated and the glass facade looks bad.
But let's make Sizeof 1,3

For me it's enough good to show a nice street scene, and I can show a larger area than in Zoom 6. Look, even trees look quite nice now  ;) If only some props inluding the GLR stop could be better...

Adam

And my next comment

Quote
I'd like to add a few points to the list of objects where HD textures will be useful:

- Airports, including terminals and other airport buildings. They are usually modular and single lots are relatively small;
- Seaports, including ships, waterfronts, docks, warehouses and other seaport buildings.
Many people love to play with such stuff, a lot of smaller and bigger props are used in both areas. Today I saw the first HD plane prop, I'm rather sure this direction will be continued.
- I also think that various rail stuff can be made in such manner, especially because rail cars and engines look quite good in zoom 6 yet (not from every side  ;))

As for transit networks textures - I think current textures look enough good in Zoom 6 (except their color; why all of them must be black?!  :). But this is a separate theme, not connected with the HD issue)

Adam

So I think there is a really large area for HD textures development  :)

Adam
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 07:19:15 PM by Ennedi »
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Offline sithlrd98

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #431 on: June 08, 2009, 07:39:53 PM »
 &apls Thanks for sharing that little bit of "behind the scenes"! After reading your posts ,and looking at the HD Sogo again in game ,  I have to agree with you. I never thought much about Z5 , but I do spend a lot more time in that zoom as well as 4. But ever so often , I am scrolling on Z5 past some buildings or props that look very pixelated and say , "I wish I could actually read that!" I guess that with all the developments/additions to the game , one forgets that this is an "old game" by today's standards, and we can't have everything look as good as what the BAT/MAX shows!
Having street scenes and ped areas are very important aspects of most CJ/MDs and I agree that maybe this technique be limited to smaller things. Of course , as I said , I'm not a BATter, and most of the games mechanics are still a mystery to me, just an observation.

Jayson

Offline RippleJet

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #432 on: June 09, 2009, 09:44:59 AM »
I still like the way the HD Z6 looks and wonder if (I don't BAT and have no idea about the scripts) if there was a way to also get Z5 up to par without doubling the already 9+megs the HD version already is.

Obviously not... that was what I was hoping for with this question a couple of months ago:


Just a wild thought... $%Grinno$%

I don't suppose the game engine would realize there is a zoom 6 render, if this render which was done with a doubled model size, would be added into the SC4Model file as extra S3D (after the division by 2) and FSH files, with a "5" (instead of a "4") in the third digit (from the right)?


However, the reply by SimFox wasn't very encouraging:

I’ve tested this morning the idea we have been mentioning with Tage – creation of independent Zoom6 by adding appropriately named/coded S3d and FSH files to the SC4Modle with normal 5 zooms in it.

Unfortunately this test had failed – zoom 6 was not picked by game. Instead of it displayed scaled up Zoom5.

I wouldn’t dismiss this idea altogether, at least not till somebody (preferably at least a couple of people will replicate said result.
SC4Modle File I used/created for this test could be had here.


Offline Ennedi

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #433 on: June 09, 2009, 10:23:01 AM »
I added the 6th FSH file to one of my mods and tested it. Sorry, I doesn't work, exactly as SimFox said  $%Grinno$%

Adam

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Offline choco

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #434 on: June 09, 2009, 11:07:41 AM »
although, i see nothing in SimFox's model file that indicates it was modified.  still only 20 s3d's....

doesn't mean it would work though.

Offline Ennedi

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #435 on: June 09, 2009, 01:22:16 PM »
although, i see nothing in SimFox's model file that indicates it was modified.  still only 20 s3d's....

doesn't mean it would work though.

Hmm, so I will have to look for mine  ;) it was a few weeks ago. I will give a link here when i'll filnd it.
Edit: I modified a rock mod, not the model - but it's the same principle
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Offline choco

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #436 on: June 09, 2009, 01:53:45 PM »
i really dont claim to know much on this subject.....

but....

with an extra zoom added, i would then expect another set of s3d's and .fsh's.....perhaps ending in 500 (510, 520, 530) for zoom 6....bringing the total s3d's to 24 (4x6 zooms).....

perhaps im missing something (which is likely).....


Offline RippleJet

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #437 on: June 09, 2009, 02:51:01 PM »
i really dont claim to know much on this subject.....

but....

with an extra zoom added, i would then expect another set of s3d's and .fsh's.....perhaps ending in 500 (510, 520, 530) for zoom 6....bringing the total s3d's to 24 (4x6 zooms).....

That's exactly what I think/thought SimFox was testing, at least after he asked for more information about what I was talking about, and I replied:

Keep the old, normally rendered model with zooms 1-5 (numbers 0-4).

Then double the size of the model and re-render it.
Take the newly rendered zoom 5 and divide the S3D vertices by 2.
Then change the 4 to 5 in all S3D and FSH files, and correct the material addresses accordingly.

Change all Group ID 's to the same as in the normally rendered model.
Then import these files into that first SC4Model file.

Since the other zooms (1-5) are recognized by the zoom digit (0-4),
just maybe the game would also recognize zoom 6 from the digit being 5.

Offline sithlrd98

Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #438 on: June 09, 2009, 03:02:33 PM »
Obviously not... that was what I was hoping for with this question a couple of months ago:

I did not read your post ,so my statement/question was not needed :-[...sorry

i really dont claim to know much on this subject.....

but....

with an extra zoom added, i would then expect another set of s3d's and .fsh's.....perhaps ending in 500 (510, 520, 530) for zoom 6....bringing the total s3d's to 24 (4x6 zooms).....

perhaps im missing something (which is likely).....



Which is what I was trying to figure out...since the Z6 is such a clear pic , I can't understand how the quality deteriorates from it down to Z5,etc.Anyway ,I'll let those who know what they're talking about continue on....

Jayson

Offline choco

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Re: High Definition Props and Textures - Discussion thread
« Reply #439 on: June 09, 2009, 03:02:58 PM »

i was thinking similarly.....was that suggestion prior to the new scripts?


i figured one could simply copy the HD zoom 5 (s3d and fsh), make the GID/IID/material corrections, and go from there.  but if it doesn't pick up the 5....doesn't matter how ya got there.

thanks Tage....