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There are currently 61 users playing Freelancer on 46 servers.
June. 23, 2017
The Starport Forum Index > All Posts (Schmackbolzen)

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Re: OpenGL Rendering
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Glad you guys like it!

@Freestalker.fr:
My goal is to have a file where you can change each value per texture so that there is a material system. The only bad thing about this is, that you have to change everything manually. I would rather have some automated process when the model gets exported from Max or smth. But for now I focus on a version which can get expanded later after release.

@eigos:
I plan to create a mod on ModDB so everyone can incorporate it into their mod. The goal is to keep FL alive after all. Though I am thinking about first testing it on the mod I am maintaining because it is easier to get feedback and deliver updates.

I can't say when it is going to be finished. Currently I am working on polishing stuff and you never know when all the problematic bugs are gone. At least I can say it is working on AMD, Nvidia and Intel graphic cards. Hopefully I can finish it this summer.

Regarding the modifications: I only scaled up the vanilla textures and applied some filtering to make them look less blurry. Besides of that .mat files are not changed. The models need some more informations (TBN data, like the Max .cmp exporter writes) and that's all. I have a batch process which adds the data to original models. Additional textures (height and normal maps with baked in self shadowing) are loaded from separate folders depending on the diffuse texture name. But I am currently working with .Nx to test more additional maps. We will see with what we'll come up with.

Posted on: 6/14 0:25
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Re: OpenGL Rendering
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Sounds good! .Nx has contacted you regarding the texturing work.

No one really has commented on the video. I would like to know whether you noticed a change compared to the video before. Is it better, worse or the same? What did you notice? I realize it is a matter of taste and I had to make a choice regarding the look. If the video is too blurry I can encode it with a better quality.

Edit: .Nx noticed me that some browsers (like chrome) have buggy video players and in that case mine look way better if you download them and watch them with a normal video player.

Posted on: 6/11 22:06

Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/6/11 22:26:21
Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/6/11 22:26:52
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Re: OpenGL Rendering
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Besides for models this is untouched for now. It basically uses the old fixed function pipeline from d3d8 wrapped to OpenGL. I plan to use shader for effects etc. in later versions to to neat stuff.

Here is a nomad BS spawned at the station:
Open in new window

Edit:
And here a station in a nebula:
Open in new window

P.S.: The lightning flashes do cast shadows!

Here is the same scene in Vanilla FL:
Open in new window

Posted on: 6/9 13:03

Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/6/9 13:15:57
Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/6/9 13:35:25
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Re: OpenGL Rendering
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Thanks!
So here is a video of the current state: http://www.flnu.net/downloads/fl0906.mp4

This is a graphical level of which I think it is ready for release (minus the shadows! I definitely need to change the technique!). Lighting is about two third PBR plus a few tricks I used to make it work with the old FL lighting and materials including textures.

I recalculated all the normals and don't weight in the original ones yet so the geometry is less round at some places. But all the wrong lighting is gone now.

What's left is fixing more bugs, a material system, some optimizations and different shadows. If there is time I'll try to render better planet atmospheres, but maybe that comes for later versions.

Also I have been working with .Nx from this thread to create better models and textures, but this will take some time.

At this point feedback would be helpful, negative and positive. Things you like and you don't etc.

Posted on: 6/9 12:35
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Re: Raise your voices!
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Regarding the video: I already have MyGui included in the wrapper. But it is another thing to hook all the interface controls of Freelancer. If adoxa or someone else could do that it might work. Also someone would have to create all the designs for MyGui. I plan to use it for the graphic options etc.

I use Skype very rarely. Usually I have Miranda running. If there is a plugin for your messenger protocol I can use it. There is a Skype plugin, but you also have to have Skype running besides Miranda, which is a really bad solution. I only have it installed on an old laptop.

I think you might convince more people when the project is in a more working state, meaning quite a few high poly models with good textures and a working version of my wrapper. But we will see

Posted on: 5/31 22:36
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Re: Raise your voices!
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Actually, if you could do a high-res version of all the vanilla models and textures I would really appreciate that! This would save me some time and would make it look a lot better. For now I developed a pipeline which upscales the textures and uses some advanced filtering (I have a lot of experience in image processing due to my student assistance job in medical imaging) to make them look less terrible. The normal maps are created from the textures, but I have to create the height maps manually (which means ship and some station textures don't have any yet).

If you create high quality models this of course means the entire workflow can change. I think we can skip the parallax mapping then and use real geometry instead. But regarding that I am really flexible. If you think some maps (like reflection, ambient occlusion etc) look nice I can implement them. The renderer can be extended quite a bit. My end goal is some sort of screen space reflections so that we have real time reflections. Even clustered shading for thousands of lights should be possible. I have been testing it in the engine Skotty and I are developing for some time now and it works really well. But of course this only makes sense if people are really using the wrapper. Currently I am working on polishing and optimizing the code so that all the bugs are gone and the frame drops at certain places, too.

Regarding chat: If you have ICQ or Jabber just PM me your number/id and I'll add you

Posted on: 5/31 12:34
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Re: Raise your voices!
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While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I am not sure you will be able to motivate enough people. The homepage design looks really nice, though.

Of course I hope that my OpenGL wrapper will be able to get people back into FL, but I am not so sure that this is enough or whether it is not too late for that. I don't even know when it is ready for release (my target was and still is this summer). Hopefully other tools like the ALE Editor and maybe a better model converter will help here a bit more.

About open source: This is really problematic regarding cheats. None of any client hooks sources have been published because of that and I think it is wise to keep it that way.

Btw. you could have sent us a PM via this forum

Posted on: 5/29 22:49
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Re: [WIP] Ale Effect Editor
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Ah, ok now I see what you are getting at. At first I was a little confused.

Yes, we have a quite high quality of standard, because we think as long as you are more annoyed with it than it is useful you can as well use the xml files for editing. I have tried editing effects and it is not working well enough yet (this is more Skotty's fault as he already wrote). I have been thinking more than once about whether it would be useful as a preview, but there always have been issues so that it was not really a preview yet. But most of that is solved now. The plan was to have a look at it again soon and then try to release a somewhat usable beta. Let's hope it'll work!

Posted on: 4/6 14:36
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Re: [WIP] Ale Effect Editor
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I think you misunderstood: As long as we are not sure our implementation is correct it does not make sense to "correct" anything. It can very well be that we make it worse.

Addition after I read your edit:

Regarding the errors: You are assuming that errors are not caused by other errors. This is often not true. In fact most of the time when I changed the implementation other errors vanished as well. I don't want to waste time looking for things which are just a side effect. And there have been a lot unexpected ones.

I want to reach at least a state where I can say that the implementation is as close as I could get it to FL (otherwise you are constructing effects which don't look the same) and it only has minor errors we can fix after a beta release. The problem with the fields and random behaviour of the emitters are basically the kind I want to have gone because they cause other stuff to not work correctly. There are not many of such errors left, so it should not take that long anymore.

Posted on: 4/5 21:42

Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/4/6 10:09:14
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Re: [WIP] Ale Effect Editor
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I am not sure I follow. I knew which flaws there were left and I did solve most of the difficult problems. There are not many left to solve. Why would I let someone test software for errors I already know?

It might be difficult to understand for some, but my opinion is like the old saying "too many cooks spoil the broth".

When I had difficult problems I did ask you. In the end I found a solution and I think you underestimate the work that is already done. Also keep in mind that we still are taking lectures at university and thus they take precedence (although I am finished soon).

Taking breaks from the code allows me to rethink certain problems and start with a fresh mind again. This is actually the reason why I work on many projects in parallel and for now this has worked out very well. Although it takes more time. But it is a hobby, isn't it?

P.S.:
In order to guard against misunderstandings: We did not use your ale document. We already had reversed more of the ale stuff. When we are finished we plan to document any differences of our implementation, which hopefully will behave like FL. But it was good that you started it, so it is not so much work anymore to document all the stuff.

Posted on: 4/5 19:11

Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/4/5 19:28:28
Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/4/5 19:30:25
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Re: [WIP] Ale Effect Editor
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Thanks! I had a look again at the fields and since I solved the mystery about the approach value the last time I am not sure whether there actually still is a problem with the fields. I'll try to let you know until the weekend. I also will go through the document again to see if there have been any changes.

Last time I checked treewyrm had errors in the documentation. If we have the time and are sure enough it is not our mistake we will correct them.

One thing which is still a tough problem is the randomness of the emitters. If you do a naive implementation and use the frequency you will get an absolute deterministic behaviour, meaning your e.g. engine flame will flicker in always the same way (Example: 1,1,1,2,1,1,1,2, ... particles per time step) . But this is not like FL behaves. It is what I was working on the last time when I was trying to figure out stuff.

Posted on: 4/5 0:27
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Re: [WIP] Ale Effect Editor
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Actually this is really heavy stuff. Especially the math is quite tricky at some points. With all those node transforms I had to reformulate the problem to make it fast enough for all this calculations per particle. Also there is lots vector math.

I think the best way one could help is figuring out the meaning of the missing parameters. But you would need to use adoxa's xml tools to generate the ale effect and try to make sense of changes you do. The problem is that this is not easy and some stuff you only can figure out with lots of experience or being able to test ideas in an implementation. This is why I hesitated asking people for now. For some really tricky things I even used my OpenGL wrapper to let FL render effects in wireframe mode because otherwise it was impossible to figure out what's going on.

When the most difficult parts are solved I plan to ask people for testing and maybe even release a beta where people can try to figure out the missing values by observing the effects in FL, but we are not there yet

Posted on: 4/4 23:53
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Re: [WIP] Ale Effect Editor
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I have been working from time to time on the particle system and even recently solved our GUI problem by using html for all the dynamically generated inputs (Lazarus has a really nice component for this), but as Skotty pointed out I was not able to motivate him using it.

The last thing I started working on was cleaning the code up and optimize it using Data Oriented Design, so that it gets faster by being more cache friendly (although we already can simulate more than 10000 particles without problems).

There still is a problem with multiple fields behaving not the same like in FL. Beams need to be rendered different, so that they look similar. Also there are values which are not supported yet. But the really tough things are done I think.

Currently I am writing the normal, tangent and binormal calculation algorithm for the OpenGL project, so as you already pointed out I am still more focused on getting that project done.

Posted on: 4/4 22:06
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Re: OpenGL Rendering
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Thanks! I still am not quite satisfied with the look. We will see what I'll come up with

Btw. here is the video encoded with h265: http://www.flnu.net/downloads/fl2603_x265q20.mkv I made it for testing purposes and it is less blurry.

Posted on: 3/27 20:56

Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/3/27 21:05:51
Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/3/27 21:09:18
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Re: OpenGL Rendering
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Here is a video of the current state: http://www.flnu.net/downloads/fl2603_q20.mp4

With the new knowledge from reverse engineering the rendering pipeline of FL I was able to render the starsphere into a cubemap und use that for environment mapping. I also experimented with different lighting models and added bicubic texture filtering.

At the end of the video you can see the scene with disabled environment mapping.

I still need to fix the calculation of the normal, tangent and binormal vectors which are stored in the models. This is the reason you see bad lighting at some locations.

If you have any suggestions, constructive criticism or already like the look let me know!

I still need to add a material system, change the shadow rendering technique, fix the remaining bugs and a lot more stuff.

Edit: Exchanged the video with a better encoded one.

Posted on: 3/26 12:00

Edited by Schmackbolzen on 2017/3/26 12:40:23
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