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odourboy

Legacy Aircraft & DX10 - Can I fix their textures?

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I've picked up a few freeware legacy aircraft  (FS9 & early FSX) from the Virtavia bone yard that I've been tweaking to run in my sim and downloaded some repaints for them from the library. A couple claim to be FSX compatible, some not. In DX10 I get issues - white aircraft with no texture, transparent bit of texture, cockpit glass that disappears at certain angles or in clouds.

 

Steve's Fixer Legacy Shader with the slider set to full 'Aircraft' mode fixes most of this stuff, but I was wondering if there's a way to edit the textures so that they are fully compatible in DX10 without the Legacy shader (and hopefully fix ALL the problems).

 

I have an editor that allows me to open/edit/save DDS files - XnView. I've used this in conjunction with Photoshop to do small tweaks to some of my aircraft VCs, but I don't know if I need anything more sophisticated than this to actually tackle these legacy issues.

 

Anyone knowledgeable in this area who can get me started?

 

Thanks, Brian

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I'll add that I just downloaded a Photoshop pluggin from NVIDIA that is specifically designed for opening, editing and saving DDS files in a variety of formats. Now, the question - does the problem getting the legacy aircraft textures to show up something that can be fixed by reformatting the DDS texture files or is thee more to it? What options do I need to set/save the files in?

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Take a peep at the FSDeveloper site, Brian. That's where all of the big guns in the fsx scenery/aircraft design area hang out. Yeah - there's more to it than just replacing textures, unfortunately...

This will help with textures, but won't do it for all aircraft. I know lotsa bits of this and that, but 70% of FSX is still beyond me..  :(

 

pj

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Thanks Paul,

 

That's a useful and nicely condensed compilation of info. and resources. I'd done some searching before my post but afterward, realized I'd been searching for the wrong things, so I started googling around some more and came across some of these resources and posters also.

 

What I'm still wrestling with is the big picture - a compilation of the different problems (with aircraft, in this case) that appear in DX10 and their source, and what is the remedy for a specific problem?

 

Here's a specific: The aircraft in question was built for FS9 ('Legacy' MDL file according to DX10 Fixer toolbox). The texture files are DDS and appear to have 8 bit RGB and 8 bit Alpha content. In DX10, the aircraft skin appears all white. With DX10 Fixer Legacy shader, 'balanced', the skin appears correctly, but the areas with alpha channel 'shades' appear partially transparent (rather than shiny). Only with Legacy Shader and slider all the way to 'Aircraft' can I see this skin more or less properly (not sure that the 'shine' is working right because of the nature of the skin specific texture).

 

So in this example, is the problem buried in the MDL and something I can't fix at the source and must use Steve's DX10 Legacy shader or is it the Alpha channel content in the texture somehow borked but something I can fix? Or maybe the files I've been examining are fine - could a problem with a different texture file cause the whole thing to break?

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Transparency is controlled by the Alpha channel, Brian - the lighter the shade - the darker the resultant texture. (I have to think of prop alpha's - the white parts in the alpha become the black prop shadow) That alpha can be exported from DXTbmp to the editor (PhotoShop, PhotoPaint, Gimp, etc.,), made slightly lighter, and then re-imported back to the editor.. You can make a few copies, trying each one until it gets better (or worse).  

 

 (I think I even deleted my "Chipmunk_T.BMP" (fuse, wings, tail, etc.,) from the Chippie at one point - it being partially transparent. It then becomes flat, with no shine). It doesn't need it with the retail Fixer. The Maddog was similar, but harder to fix.

 

Just bear in mind - I am not any kind of expert - not even "smart" when it comes to adjusting textures. I would probably think that a pm or post - aimed at Ron Attwood will get the correct answer.

 

Have fun!

 

pj

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With one exception the problem is rarely texture related. That's why there is a fixer!

 

The exception is 8 bit textures - for these the alpha channel gets reversed in DX10. These typically cause parts of the plane to be invisible during the day. For these the solution is to convert to DXT1. DX10Toolbox can find and convert these if you have the FSX SDK.

 

I haven't seen much that doesn't work when 8 bit textures are converted and the slider is fully over to the right. If a plane works with the slider to the right you can tag it using DX10toolbox and it should then work with the slider in the middle position at which point many but not all airports will work.

 

There is one other possibility that a texture edit can help with. For a reflective surface on a legacy aircraft, in the situation where you have to run with the legacy slider at position 1 or 2 then setting the alpha channel to 100% will prevent issues caused by the reflectivity alpha being misinterpreted as transparency. The original version of DX10SF with the dusk/dawn issue could sort this out in the day so the problem was only seen at night. Fixing the dusk/dawn issue means that the problem can occur during the day with the slider at position 1 or 2 - I need to introduce some extra logic to try and improve this.

 

I have just seen your post above - yes you have a texture there with the alpha channel used for reflectivity. Because its an aircraft it will follow the rules described in chapter 12 and set the diffuse.a color in the model to code for this. Unfortunately many airport developers don't follow this rule and thus below position 4 I have to stop applying this test. Tagging helps distinguish whether its an aircraft or airport and thus I can extend the test to position 3.

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With one exception the problem is rarely texture related. That's why there is a fixer!

 

The exception is 8 bit textures - for these the alpha channel gets reversed in DX10. These typically cause parts of the plane to be invisible during the day. For these the solution is to convert to DXT1. DX10Toolbox can find and convert these if you have the FSX SDK.

 

I haven't seen much that doesn't work when 8 bit textures are converted and the slider is fully over to the right. If a plane works with the slider to the right you can tag it using DX10toolbox and it should then work with the slider in the middle position at which point many but not all airports will work.

 

There is one other possibility that a texture edit can help with. For a reflective surface on a legacy aircraft, in the situation where you have to run with the legacy slider at position 1 or 2 then setting the alpha channel to 100% will prevent issues caused by the reflectivity alpha being misinterpreted as transparency. The original version of DX10SF with the dusk/dawn issue could sort this out in the day so the problem was only seen at night. Fixing the dusk/dawn issue means that the problem can occur during the day with the slider at position 1 or 2 - I need to introduce some extra logic to try and improve this.

 

I have just seen your post above - yes you have a texture there with the alpha channel used for reflectivity. Because its an aircraft it will follow the rules described in chapter 12 and set the diffuse.a color in the model to code for this. Unfortunately many airport developers don't follow this rule and thus below position 4 I have to stop applying this test. Tagging helps distinguish whether its an aircraft or airport and thus I can extend the test to position 3.

Okay - thanks for setting me straight on this Steve! I am relatively new to FSX so I'm afraid I'm just tracing the learning curve of so many before me. :unsure:

 

Two follow-up questions:

 

1) I was reluctant to accept the fact that I had to use the Fixer to enable me to use that aircraft becuase it's the only legacy object I have which required the Legacy Shader to display it correctly. Is there any significant overhead added by enabling the Legacy shader? If so, does it impact everything, or just the legacy aircraft?

 

2) If it's not texture content, what is the nature of the difference between legacy aircraft and DX10 ready ones that result in the legacy model textures showing up white DX10 preview mode?

 

Thanks again all!

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1) there is no cost it's only used when displaying objects built with the 2002sdk

 

2). There is no difference in textures, one uses the fsx sdk for its model, the other the 2002sdk

 

Legacy means not the fsx sdk.

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