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Thread: Attention all skinners!

  1. #51
    SOH-CM-2020
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Aotearoa, New Zealand
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnKor View Post
    MajorMagee, that white line is most likely an edge of certain terrain LOD. I will check what might cause it.
    Thanks to all involved in this noble endeavour, especially the magician, Ankor

    I won't pretend to understand this but just a wild guess involving the white line in the terrain - could it be addressed with a change to the scenerybudgets xml file? Usually, the scenerybudgets file has an interface between scenery rings which use mips, and those that don't. My wild guess is maybe the white line shows at the interface between the use of mips and where mips are turned off?

  2. #52
    I took another look at the conflict we're having with blanking out the static reticle, and in just the right lighting I saw this.



    There is some odd bit logic happening in that part of the dynamic reticle is being brightened by the mostly hidden static reticle where they both cross. I had seen these bright spots on the dynamic reticle the other day, but didn't correlate them to the hidden static reticle because I couldn't see it in the daytime lighting conditions.

    Now that I look really closely I can see that the ghost is in fact the new dynamic reticle just held in a static position at it's original size and not the static one. (I have a 0.75 scale factor set so the visible sizes are different.)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Reticle_Overlay.jpg  
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  3. #53
    I spent the evening creating 8 high resolution reticles, and have references for 5 more. With the new method of applying these without needing to hex edit the m3d files it should be easy to to publish a gunsight reticle pack for people to apply as they wish with little more needed than a text editor.

    I eventually realized that the reason I was seeing the ghost version of the dynamic reticle was that I had accidentally set the Alpha mask at 4% rather than 0%. It turns out that it really helps to see where it is for setting the x y position in the xpd file correctly, and can easily be corrected back to fully transparent once everything is finished.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  4. #54
    Sounds great! Most of the reticles in our aircraft are not the correct ones. Now that they actually work correctly and are all being replaced anyways, it's a great opportunity to correct the errors.

    For placing them, I have created a test reticle, which is actually a 1 meter wide bright red square to precisely locate the z coordinant and get the y and x roughly in place, then switch to a smaller test reticle .05 meters wide with a black cross in the middle, which I then fine tune to y and x values with to line it up exactly with the existing reticle.

  5. #55
    MajorMagee, good you are figured that out. I was scratching my head what could go wrong there.

    A couple of notes about reticle textures:
    - I think you already noticed it, but dynamic reticles are drawn with additive blending, which I believe looks more realistic but changes the way color looks if compared the original static reticles.
    - If you leave any "lit" pixels in the alpha channel at the edge of the texture these pixels will be repeated infinitely even when the reticle has moved away from the glass.
    This means you can get similar look, by drawing a big circle and just making sure vertical and horizontal lines coming out of it touch the texture border:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blem3FlkaMc

    If this effect is undesired or has to be adjusted (for example, it should not repeat infinitely, but only certain distance) - I can adjust my shaders.

  6. #56
    Yes, I accidentally found out about the infinite edge effect last night as I was putting together the reticle for the K-14 sight, as two of the diamond points were touching the edge of the texture.

    The only issue I see with the additive blending is that as the moving version of the reticle passes over any part of the unmoving (invisible) reticle where the alpha mask is not totally black it creates an unnatural bright spot in the pattern.

    I've also verified that the high res reticles can be used as static ones as well, so anyone can upgrade even if they don't want to fuss with the edits needed for the dynamic functionality.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMagee View Post
    Yes, I accidentally found out about the infinite edge effect last night as I was putting together the reticle for the K-14 sight, as two of the diamond points were touching the edge of the texture.
    Ok. This effect was unintentional, but I kept it in case it was useful, and as I said I can modify it if needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMagee View Post
    The only issue I see with the additive blending is that as the moving version of the reticle passes over any part of the unmoving (invisible) reticle where the alpha mask is not totally black it creates an unnatural bright spot in the pattern.
    That's odd. The static reticle should be hidden completely, maybe it is some sort of bug then.

  8. #58
    I found the infinite edge too, and I think it's great for sights like the one in the video. We just have to be careful as we set up other textures that shouldn't do this to keep away from the edges.

  9. #59
    I finished three more reticles last evening, and I used the infinite edge function on the last one (Navy Mk8 Mod 6). It's not historically accurate, but it works well, and looks cool. I'll also include a version with normal functionality in the reticle library for the purists out there.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  10. #60
    It might be a nice function for the newer sights like the K-14 to have 3 different magnifications listed in the ini file, and then provide a key command that cycles throught the different sizes to simulate making an adjustment for different size target aircraft.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  11. #61
    Yes, good idea. And on that note, is it possible to set the scale of the reticle independently from the size of the viewable area? Also on that note, other historical features of reflector sights were brightness control, sun screens, and some had adjustable angles to set the reticle aiming point lower for use with rockets or in dive bombing. Those would all be cool features, but certainly very secondary.

  12. #62
    Yes, I can add keys for adjustable size or brightness. Of course they won't be configurable through in-game key bindings, only by manual editing of the ini file. And keyboard only, not a joystick button.
    Adjustable angle is more difficult and I have no idea how to make a good looking sun screen (3D model? another sprite? texture replacement?).

    And yet another thing I forgot to mention - reticles on movable guns are not supported in this version. Obviously it is impossible to use a sprite for them and the only other approach I have requires m3d editing to make them work. This means more work on your and my side, so I decided to start with simpler ones.

    By the way, do you have any new comments about normal maps or other "material" textures?

  13. #63
    Some of the sights have text which led me to discover that the dynamic reticle image is currently projected as if you're in front of the aircraft looking at the pilot. The original static ones are projected looking out from inside the cockpit. Can we change that so the same retical dds can be used either as a dynamic or static projection without needing to have two different versions? If not, I'll need to write all the text reversed for the dynamic ones.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  14. #64
    I'm really finding that having dynamic sights has improved my aim since they don't have the constant line of sight drift with my TrackIR that the static ones do.

    I've now finished setting up 17 new high resolution sights based on the references I found here:
    http://www.aircraft-gunsights.com/80-2/
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  15. #65
    I will check why the reticle is mirrored. Maybe it is my bug, maybe it has something to do with the sprite orientation.
    Should be solvable in any case.

  16. #66
    Okay, I see what you're doing with the color channels of the reticles now. My mistake for trying to make them work for either static or dynamic use. I'll have to work up an all new set for the dynamic application.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  17. #67
    It could possibly be orientation as defined in the xdp. Try messing with the pitch, bank, and heading variables.

    Gunsight Controls:
    I have no idea about sun screens either, just wanted to throw the idea out there as many sights had them.
    Adjusting angle - could this be done by modifying the pitch value set in the xdp by adding, say, 6 degrees to the value? Changing the pitch does change where the aiming point is, as I found when setting up a sight for the upward firing guns of a Bf 110. It was a bit harder to get right, but it works perfectly.

    Materials:
    I take back my previous comments on the specular strength, I think you've nailed it. Some of the specular maps are adjusted too high, and I need to darken them, but when comparing some period color photos to an aircraft using your shaders and having a properly adjusted specular map, the strength and appearance seemed right on. Another factor in my initial observations may have been the glossiness fresnel effect seeming to increase the specular.

    I have yet to try bump mapping, but hope to soon.

    It seems the fresnel effect and maybe others are only applied to aircraft exterior models. Is this correct?

  18. #68
    MajorMagee,

    Quick fix for mirrored look
    Generic.fx, line 107:
    tanEyeVec.x = dot(normalize(T), -In.WorldPos.xyz);
    Remove that minus sign before In.WorldPos.xyz and it will look right.



    gecko,
    Yes, changing sprite's pitch works, but I can't do it directly from my dll. I can do something similar though, so probably not a problem. But I will be looking into it a bit later anyway.

    You are right that Fresnel effect increases sun specular as well. I think it is correct approach.

    It seems the fresnel effect and maybe others are only applied to aircraft exterior models. Is this correct?
    No. It should be applied to all m3d based objects, including the cockpit.
    However if the initial specular or glossiness is too low the effect might not be noticeable.

    I take back my previous comments on the specular strength, I think you've nailed it.
    And I instead began to think that it is overdone

  19. #69
    Thanks, that corrected the text reversal. The additive colors are properly done now as well.

    I did notice that they change slightly depending on the background with the sky shifting the reticle lighter, and the ground making them darker and more saturated. It's not specific to what background terrain you're seeing, just the direction, so it's probably reacting to the skybox cube projection (panoramic_cubic_test.dds).
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  20. #70
    I was just working on positioning for the P_47d_25 and discovered that for this one besides adjusting the xyz positions I had to adjust the pitch to look down slightly so that the gun synchronization point would converge with the sight-line's center.

    <Effect Type="Track" EffectName="US_AAF_L3_gunsight" PosX="0.00" PosZ="-0.90" PosY="0.965" Pitch="92.5" MinVel="-999999" MaxVel="999999"/>
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  21. #71
    Here's the reticle collection so far. (Sorry, the image get's downsized so much it's hard to see any details.)

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Reticle_Collection_With_Lables.jpg  
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  22. #72

    AAF K14 (Showing Much Crisper Diamond Points)


    Navy Mk1 and Mk8 (Showing Text)


    Navy Mk21 (Showing Different Color Illuminator)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails AAF_K14.jpg   Navy_MK1.jpg   Navy_MK21.jpg  
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  23. #73
    Still working on a variety of sighting reticles.

    I've discovered that the original static reticle does not have to be mapped onto a gunsight in the cockpit model for this work. Some have it mapped on the windshield so it looks like it's moving relative to the gunsight reflector glass (similar to what we're doing with the dynamic reticles). In any event, the shader code's replacement process still works just fine no matter where the static reticle was placed.

    I've also started using the masking capability to make the reticle display space shape match up with rectangular reflector glass sights. I just place the z location in closer (more negative) so everything will be covered, and then mask off what falls outside the image of the reflector glass.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  24. #74
    Another small discovery. The mask layer in flipped vertically relative to the Alpha layer, so it needs to be drawn upside down relative to the reticle for theshape to match up with the reflector in game.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  25. #75
    In addition to the first batch of Air force, and Navy reticles, I've completed 1 Russian, 1 Italian, 4 British, and 3 German ones in the past few days. I've found that even with the high res (512 x 512) textures, if I make the lines too fine they tend to flicker in game.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

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