Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

bobbyjack

Easiest way to replace high-poly AI models?

Recommended Posts

I've read, here and elsewhere, that FSX uses high-poly models for AI. What's the easiest way to replace them with low-poly models? I don't particularly need more traffic, or even more realistic traffic. I like the default liveries fine; just want to eke out some more FPS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

One way is to get Dxtbmp ( you can google it to find a free download ), open the external texture files of each plane in question, send each file (using the Dxtbmp software) to a graphics editor (not Paint) that will allow you to resize each texture from 1024x1024 to 512x512 or smaller, reload into Dxtbmp and then back into the o.e. texture folder(only after backing up o.e. files). I would guess that could be 50 or more textures. Just like everything else in FS, there may not be an easy way.Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think anybody has gone through the trouble of making low-poly, low-res models of the default aircraft. I think that might be in violation of the EULA. Besides, if you goof around with the AI default models, you'll probably alter the flyable models as well.Like Bob says, that isn't easy anyway.Easy is reducing your traffic slider. Sometimes I fly with zero traffic. You can save traffic at different percentages each in their own unique cfg. file and load any of them up to suit your mood. Secondmost easy is using a third-party traffic program. Better to pay someone else who really wants to do the work of managing a fleet of low-detail aircraft when you don't want to or cannot do that for yourself.I've also had good results from VoxATC, which manages traffic a little differently than FSX. It seems to not use as many AI aircraft that you never see. Jeff ShylukAssistant Managing EditorSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reduce the traffic slider? EGAD!:-eekJeff- Do those who offer repaints of default aircraft start with default texture files? How does that fit into the EULA?Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I don't think anybody has gone through the trouble of making>low-poly, low-res models of the default aircraft. I think>that might be in violation of the EULA. Besides, if you goof>around with the AI default models, you'll probably alter the>flyable models as well.>the default flyable aircraft in FSX, you cannot just make "low poly" versions without changing what you fly. you'd have to make complete replacements and completely replace the AI traffic plans.SP1 updated the 3 AI-only aircraft in FSX that had this problem. See http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor/archive/2007...ork-in-sp1.aspx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if you really could change the poly count, I think that's built into the models.Might as well just add a few World of AI planes, they look good and have low poly counts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you could locate 'built for AI' models of the defaultFSX aircraft you could replace them in AI role bymaking the "Title=" the same as the default aircraftyou are replacing and change the default aircrafts "Title="slightly in the aircraft.cfg . This will have the effect of FSX using the replacement aircraft for the default AI flightplanssince it 'finds' the aircraft to use by looking at the "Title="line in the aircraft.cfg files.Using the above method, you wouldn't need to tweak the defaultflightplans.What I did was just replace the default textures with real-worldtextures for the default aircraft, replacing the "texture=" linesto point to the real-world textures.If I wanted to retain the original textures I created an new"Flightsim.xx" section and copied the original data to it. Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul's method I think is best, just be careful not to edit the aircraft in your default flight, or make sure you change the default flight first.scott s..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello David,The problem, as was pointed out, is not just high-polygon models, but larger and more numerous textures.Please consider:FS 9 default B737 - model = 695 KB, textures = 2 MBFS X default B737 - exterior model = 5.6 MB + interior model = 1.3 MB, textures = 14 MBAn enormous difference that makes it impossible to use the default aircraft (except for the 3 AI only models) for AI.There are numerous third-party AI packages available, and it is probably better to disable the default traffic file and use those instead.However, even they have various problems, particularly concerning textures:1. 32-bit textures - there is a widespread use of this format, as some seem to think that they will provide a higher quality display. Perhaps most people will not really notice the difference between 32-bit and DXT compressed textures. But, more importantly, 32-bit textures are very large and will occupy a lot of bus bandwidth and video memory. Given that there is very little overhead in FS X (unlike FS 9) because all the default elements (both aircraft and scenery) now use very large high resolution textures, the use of 32-bit textures in FS X makes no sense. It is best to compress them all to DXT format.2. DXT3 vs. DXT 1 - There is a mistaken impression that DXT3 is for aircraft and DXT1 is for scenery. This is not so. DXT3 has an alpha channel, and DXT1 does not. So, if the aircraft textures does not have an alpha channel, then it should always be compressed to DXT1 that uses up much less space.3. Non-MIP mapped textures - MIP maps are smaller versions of the texture contained within the image file. Since they are smaller, they take up less memory, and are displayed when the object is far from the view point. Many textures are made without MIP maps, in the attempt to force FS to display the highest resolution texture at all times and from all distances. This is a serious mistake and all textures should have MIP maps, particularly AI aircraft - there is no point in loading only the largest texture when the aircraft can barely be seen.4. High resolution, 1024 x 1024 pixel textures - It is common to see all AI textures, even night textures that are only pure black with a few spots of white, in the largest resolution. This is just another way of saturating memory, leading to stutters and the Blurries. The maximum texture resolution can be limited in the Display options, but that will also reduce the MIP map level for the user aircraft, so it is probably more effective to make AI textures smaller.There is a popular AI package that systematically includes only 1024 x 1024 pixel, DXT3 (often with no alpha channel), non-MIP mapped textures. They are 1025 KB each. Just multiply that by the number of AI aircraft in your usual flight to see how much they take away from what is available for the user aircraft and scenery.I always immediately reduce the size of these textures to 512 x 512 pixels, add MIP maps, and compress to DXT1 = 171 KB. One-sixth the size! Which means I can have 6 times more AI aircraft for the same performance, or more realistically, much more bus bandwidth and video memory for everything else.There is perhaps too much trust placed in third-party add-ons, and people would probably benefit from taking a better look at what they install in their FS if they want to improve performance.Best regards.Luis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LuisI see that this is your second outstanding post on this subject in as many weeks. Is there someplace(other than your head)where this info is writen out? I use DxtBmp, but the help file is not very detailed for someone new, mostly in the mip and alpha areas. That and some rules on AI in general would be helpful, again for someone new.Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Hello David,>>The problem, as was pointed out, is not just high-polygon>models, but larger and more numerous textures.>>Please consider:>>FS 9 default B737 - model = 695 KB, textures = 2 MB>>FS X default B737 - exterior model = 5.6 MB + interior model =>1.3 MB, textures = 14 MB>>>An enormous difference that makes it impossible to use the>default aircraft (except for the 3 AI only models) for AI.>>There are numerous third-party AI packages available, and it>is probably better to disable the default traffic file and use>those instead.>>However, even they have various problems, particularly>concerning textures:>>1. 32-bit textures - there is a widespread use of this format,>as some seem to think that they will provide a higher quality>display. Perhaps most people will not really notice the>difference between 32-bit and DXT compressed textures. But,>more importantly, 32-bit textures are very large and will>occupy a lot of bus bandwidth and video memory. Given that>there is very little overhead in FS X (unlike FS 9) because>all the default elements (both aircraft and scenery) now use>very large high resolution textures, the use of 32-bit>textures in FS X makes no sense. It is best to compress them>all to DXT format.>>>2. DXT3 vs. DXT 1 - There is a mistaken impression that DXT3>is for aircraft and DXT1 is for scenery. This is not so. DXT3>has an alpha channel, and DXT1 does not. So, if the aircraft>textures does not have an alpha channel, then it should always>be compressed to DXT1 that uses up much less space.>>>3. Non-MIP mapped textures - MIP maps are smaller versions of>the texture contained within the image file. Since they are>smaller, they take up less memory, and are displayed when the>object is far from the view point. Many textures are made>without MIP maps, in the attempt to force FS to display the>highest resolution texture at all times and from all>distances. This is a serious mistake and all textures should>have MIP maps, particularly AI aircraft - there is no point in>loading only the largest texture when the aircraft can barely>be seen.>>>4. High resolution, 1024 x 1024 pixel textures - It is common>to see all AI textures, even night textures that are only pure>black with a few spots of white, in the largest resolution.>This is just another way of saturating memory, leading to>stutters and the Blurries. The maximum texture resolution can>be limited in the Display options, but that will also reduce>the MIP map level for the user aircraft, so it is probably>more effective to make AI textures smaller.>>>There is a popular AI package that systematically includes>only 1024 x 1024 pixel, DXT3 (often with no alpha channel),>non-MIP mapped textures. They are 1025 KB each. Just multiply>that by the number of AI aircraft in your usual flight to see>how much they take away from what is available for the user>aircraft and scenery.>>I always immediately reduce the size of these textures to 512>x 512 pixels, add MIP maps, and compress to DXT1 = 171 KB.>One-sixth the size! Which means I can have 6 times more AI>aircraft for the same performance, or more realistically, much>more bus bandwidth and video memory for everything else.>>>There is perhaps too much trust placed in third-party add-ons,>and people would probably benefit from taking a better look at>what they install in their FS if they want to improve>performance.>>Best regards.>>Luis>Great post Luis. I have been doing a little bit of what you suggested already since I got FSX. I am using all WOAI packages and some PAI stuff that I have dragged over from FS9 and converted for FSX use. So far so good. I can usually fly into major hubs like KDFW in my LDS 767 and maintain 18 FSP or higher in the VC, with 100% AI, but I am sure there is still room for improvement. A few questions I would like to ask you if you don't mind.1. When viewing my AI texture folders, there are usually two textures with titles like:aia_737_800_laia_737_800_tThe ones with the _l seem to all be 512 X 512 already, however the ones ending in _t are all 1024 X 1024. So, the questions is do I need to just convert the _t ones to 512 X 512 since the _l ones are already 512?2. Is there and easy to use converter that I can drop these textures into to reduce the size to 512 without having to get photoshop or a program like that? Something freeware?3. How do I know if my textures have an alpha channel? Currently when I install a new WOAI package I go into the newly created texture folder and drop these textures into my batch converted program and select Aircraft_Make_DXT3_MipMap.bat and it does it thing, then I drop it back into the aricraft folder it came from and move onto the next one. The converter I use does have an option of Scenery_make_DXT1_MipMap_Caution_All_File.bat. I guess I could use that one for DXT1?Pehaps after your reply I will make backups of some of my major carriers and try it out. I could see it helping in areas like DFW where American occupies so many gates. Even if I just converted the major carriers to 512 it would probably make a difference and wouldn't be as time consuming to do all the smaller carriers that sometime only display a fews plane at an airport.Thanks in advance for the help, and thanks for you reply in another post of mine regarding t default waterclasses.Regards,Sean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't knock zeroing out the traffic until you have tried it! I argue that it's the very simplest way to deal with reducing frame rate issues due to traffic: Occam's Razor and all of that. Sometimes you want raw frame rate power over viewing a 747 at 20 km for ten seconds, and then having it park at a jetway that animates but you never even see. It takes the same amount of time to adjust your slider as it does for any scenery reload as you fly, so I don't see having several .cfg's with different pre-loaded levels of traffic - including zero - as a big deal for FSX.As for the EULA, well, I admit, I am no EULA expert. But it would probably be bad for me to speak officially for AVSIM and go around saying it's okay to reverse-engineer one of our biggest sponsor's products. Usually EULA's have something to say about that.Jeff ShylukAssistant Managing EditorSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Bob,I am very happy to share information and hope that the following will help you obtain better performing, more pleasant flights.First, though, please let me say that I am not an expert, either on Flight Simulator, or in the graphics field. There are far too many experts on this forum making unsubstantiated and undemonstrated claims, so I prefer to clearly state that I have no professional qualifications in this field at all, and urge everyone to research these matters for themselves and come to their own conclusions concerning the following statements.Here are some typical image formats: - 24-bit textures - color images have 3 channels, one each for Red, Green, and Blue. Each channel requires 8 bits, making a total of 24 bits for the entire image file. This is a normal uncompressed image, extension "bmp". - 32-bit textures - color images that in addition to the above have another channel for alpha or transparencies. (I suppose that in FS aircraft, this alpha channel is used for specular highlights, but an expert will have to confirm.) Since the image has another channel, it is a third larger than the normal 24-bit image. Extension for this uncompressed image is also "bmp". (By the way, sometimes people make 32-bit textures with nothing in the alpha channel, This is really silly, and they could just have used 24-bit textures instead. Even better, use DXT.) - DXT - this is a compression format developed by S3 and adopted by Microsoft. Those who wish for more information can look it up. No idea what DXT stands for, perhaps "DirectX something or other". They have a "bmp" extension. There are 5 types of DXT, 1 through 5, but FS 9 only used DXT1 and DXT3, although FS X has replaced the latter with DXT5: DXT1 - generally, no alpha channel (except by some manipulation and only used for on-off simple transparency), and an 8:1 compression ratio over normal bitmaps; DXT3 - contains an alpha channel, has a 4:1 compression ratio; DXT5 - same as DXT3, but seems to have less artifacts or something. - DDS - Direct Draw Surface, I think that this is essentially a DirectX wrapper that can contain DXT compressed images, or any other type. FS X is making a move towards DDS textures instead of simple DXT, Attention: these DDS images are vertically flipped, making them a pain to view (except in the Microsoft ImageTool that flips them for viewing and editing, then flips them back when saved.) They have a "dds" extension, and there are 2 types in FS X: DDS DXT1 - which is just the previous DXT1 wrapped in DDS; DDS DXT5 - just DXT5 wrapped in DDS.As I am not an expert, I do appreciate corrections and clarifications from those who are truly knowledgeable.When dealing with AI aircraft textures, I am completely ruthless, since I spend my time flying and looking at scenery, not up-close staring at the AI. So, I always make the textures smaller, particularly night textures, eliminate alpha channels since I could not care less about specular highlights in AI, much less at night, and always add MIP maps since they are just a lot more logical to use than the highest resolution texture. However, everybody is free to change what they find more important - my procedure is not necessarily the most appropriate for all.You can use the Microsoft ImageTool which is really excellent, perhaps the best tool supplied by ACES overall, to make the changes, except for re-sizing the images. For that, you will need an image editing tool - Paint will work, but I use the excellent and free The GIMP, available at the Source Forge web site.Unfortunately, ImageTool requires saving the image first before launching the image editor, and as I am rather lazy, I use Martin Wright's DXTBmp instead where one can simply double click on the image to launch it in the editor. Thanks very much, Martin. Get it here:http://www.mnwright.btinternet.co.uk/Don't forget the package of dll files without which it will not work.So, here is a typical AI aircraft texture folder:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191786.jpgI only show this package because it is representative of a general trend towards high resolution textures, not to single them out in any way. In truth, I am very grateful to them and the authors of the different elements for going to the trouble of doing the work and putting it all together so that we can all get greater enjoyment from FS. So, thanks, guys, no offense intended, please.Note how both the day texture and the night texture are over a MB in size.Here is another of this type of texture when opened in ImageTool:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191787.jpgAs you can see, it is 1024 x 1024 pixels in size. Normally, this is the largest texture size in FS (although some people are now supplying 2048 x 2048 (4 times larger, 2 x 2), and even 4096 x 4096 (16 times larger!) textures, although the fsx.cfg file must be modified in order for these textures to display. Talk about looking for trouble!)Also, it is a DXT3 texture, and has an alpha channel, and has only 1 MIP map, that is, only the large texture, with no smaller MIP maps.When the alpha channel is displayed, by selecting Alpha Channel in the View menu, this is what we see:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191788.jpgThe pure white image means that there is nothing in the alpha channel at all. This texture could just as well have been DXT1, much smaller, about half the size.Here is a night texture:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191789.jpgIt is also the largest resolution, DXT3, and no MIP maps.The alpha channel looks like this:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191790.jpgJust a small bit of specular highlights, not much at all.Since I use DXTBmp mostly, here is a texture in that tool:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191791.jpgThe main image is displayed in the central area, and the alpha channel in the small area at top right. You can see that, in fact, this texture does not have anything in the alpha channel at all.To send it to the image editor, first indicate the path to it in the menu, then just double-click the image. I re-size the image to 512 x 512 pixels and also add a Sharpness filter, but that is just personal preference. Then, save that image and, in DXTBmp, click on the indicated button at the bottom of the window in order to refresh the project and bring in the smaller texture.Make sure that the MIP map check box on the right is selected. Then, go to the File menu and Save the file:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191792.jpgIn the drop-down box, choose DXT1 and click OK.IMPORTANT: If the texture has an alpha channel, and you want to keep it, you must also re-size the alpha channel to the same size as the normal image. Double-click on the alpha channel image, re-size to the same size, save. Then, in DXTBmp, refresh the alpha channel display by clicking on the corresponding button directly below the alpha channel area. Then, save the image as previously, but keep it in DXT3 if you want the alpha channel preserved.Night textures - I re-size night textures to 256 x 256 pixels, since really, what is there to see? It is just black with a few white spots.Here is the result:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/191793.jpgFrom a MB for each file, I have gone to 171 KB for the day texture and 43 KB for the night. And the performance is even better than the 6 to 1 ratio might indicate. Since the texture now has MIP maps, they will be displayed most of the time and they are much smaller than the original texture.Have fun changing all those textures!Best regards.Luis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Sean,I hope that some answers in the reply to Bob will be of use to you. Otherwise:1. the "_l" textures are light maps, night textures, while the "_t" are the day textures. You cannot really tell the size from the name of the texture, some authors make them 1024 x 1024, and a few already keep performance in mind and make them 512 x 512 pixels in size. Once you are more experienced, you will be able to tell from the size of the images, but until then, check the dimensions by loading in ImageTool or DXTBmp.2. I do not know of any conversion program, but perhaps you can use the command line interface for an image editing tool like Photoshop. I have no advice for you here, though, sorry.3. Perhaps the reply to Bob will partially answer this, I hope so.Congratulations on your efforts, Sean.As a general comment, I have AI aircraft set to 80% and usually have between 60 and 130 airplanes displaying in the Traffic Toolbox Explorer. And I never get the dread Blurries, even with my 6-year-old computer. So, it always amazes me when people complain of performance - it really emphasizes how little is known about the true causes of bad performance in FS. No, it is not bad coding, FS X can easily handle much greater resolutions in both terrain and scenery, and much greater numbers of objects, just crunching the numbers and dumping everything to the CPU and graphics card. But, can the hardware handle it? Usually not, and the solution is to turn down sliders, and take back control of FS by being aware of what one is adding, as I point out in this thread.Best regards.Luis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Luis. I feel stupid, lol. When I started typing the last post asking questions, your other post wasn't there. Had I seen it I wouldn't have bothered asking the same questions. I think I had started typing my post then walked away to do something, then returned a while later and finished typing. By then you had already posted the info. Sorry about that :-), but thanks for replying anyway.I will read the other post you had for Bob and try out your suggestions. BTW, the way I saw the texture sizes was just by hovering the pointer over the file name and it would say the dimensions like 512 X 512 or 1024 X 1024.I think what I will do is take out all my traffic bgls, except for American. Backup the 5 or 6 models and textures that AA uses, try a conversion process on them. Test it at DFW and see how it goes. If I can do it correctly and see a noticable difference then I will get to work on the larger packages I have.So far I am one of the lucky ones that can run FSX pretty much full out and have no blurries or other probelms of that sort, however I think if I can optimize the AI a little more I can get even better performance. Thanks again for the helpRegards,Sean CampbellBTW, I like the little guy you have at the bottom of your sig. Are you from Puerto Rico?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites