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What's the big deal about G-Max textures anyway ??

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I am not very impressed with the G-maxed textured a/c I've d/l so far. To me, Gmax a/c lack a certain depth of detail and definition that we have with "traditional" FS textures. I love the much smaller ZIP files (esp since I can only use dialup modem in my area), but that's all I can say about Gmax that is positive. Does one need a special video card or need to run a P4 or special rig to see amazing things happen with Gmax? Have I missed something?JS

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Its not the textures. Its the fact that if you want to add realistic traffic to your cyber airspace using TTools then the undercarrage works on G-Max aircraft.If you use non G-max modeled aircraft then you may have a nosewheel but no mains, mains but no nose or a complete floater parked on the ramp. ( just like in starwars )Steve.

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GMAX Textures? AFAIK GMAX software primarily focuses on modelling, the texturing can be done using any paint program.I believe you are referring to FS2K2's support for DXT compressed textures. This kind of texture format is not specfic to GMAX-modeled aircraft. You can use either normal or compressed BMPs on any aircraft, regardless of what software is was modeled with (FSDS, GMAX, etc.) The primary visual difference would be that in GMAX planes you can enable those "Reflective" texture effects (which aren't truly reflective.)It's true that DXT texture compression is lossy, like the JPEG format we use in our screenshots. This is probably one reason why I see many add-on aircraft or repaints using normal uncompressed BMPs for their textures. Of course, their filesizes are significantly larger. If FS2K2 were to use normal BMPs for all their textures it would probably either look really bad or use up 10 Gigs of harddrive space. :-eek -Leon Medado

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G-max seems to be much more frame rates friendly - things like terminal buldings, etc.As to the quality and visual appeal - I may not see any big improvement but at the same time I don't see any degradation either.Michael J.

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Reflection! Reflection! Reflection!I don't find any problem with details on my G-Max planes. They have less of a fram rate hit and seem much more smooth and complete as a finished model.And did I say reflection!?Boone

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Boone,Sorry - I think you forgot to mention REFLECTION !!!;)

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Gmax has very powerful texturing capabilities. But the actual appearance of textures, e.g. the sharpness or colour quality, has absolutely nothing to do with Gmax. As a matter of fact in my Gmax designs I still use conventional bmp textures, the same as FS2000. Best regards, Chris

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I wonder how long it will take for us to see some REAL reflection effects in FS (They're already appearing in other types of games.) Since FS models a huge number of surfaces that would be shiny in real life I think some importance should be given to this feature.If you were taxiing for example beside (this happens in bigger airports) an American Airlines aircraft you would see your own aircraft reflecting off it's shiny blue surface, tail logo and all. Or perhaps you'd see the reflection of your cockpit as you park in front of a glass-walled terminal. Such an effect would be quite framerate heavy so I reckon they'd still use the current "fake" reflection for more distant surfaces.-Leon Medado

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Real reflections are done view raytracing in modeling programs. I dont know any games that reflect real time as even the high end modeling packages can't generate raytraced reflections until the final render(1 frame).We're not talking DirectX or OpenGL here. While I've not researched this, it is for that reason why I don't believe any games use real reflections. Maybe fake ones with a 2D environment map mapped onto the model But I seriously doubt realtime reflections.

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>> Gmax has very powerful texturing capabilities. But the >actual appearance of textures, e.g. the sharpness or colour >quality, has absolutely nothing to do with Gmax. As a matter >of fact in my Gmax designs I still use conventional bmp >textures, the same as FS2000. And I change them to DTX textures as then they are much less of a frame hit.>> Best regards, > Chris

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>I am not very impressed with the G-maxed textured a/c I've >d/l so far. To me, Gmax a/c lack a certain depth of detail >and definition that we have with "traditional" FS textures. >I love the much smaller ZIP files (esp since I can only use >dialup modem in my area), but that's all I can say about >Gmax that is positive. >>Does one need a special video card or need to run a P4 or >special rig to see amazing things happen with Gmax? Have I >missed something? >>JS Those textures that you are not happy with are the result of either a lazy artist or a bad one. Nothing at all to do with Gmax or the DXT file format. You can;t tell me you've never seen crappy textures on an FSDS made airplane.Pete

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Here's a screenshot from Serious Sam - The Second Encounter:http://ftp.avsim.com/dcforum/User_files/3cd9d8f25dfb1cad.jpgNote that in addition to the map all sprite effects (Both animated and particulate coming from my exploding rocket) and models are reflected. Dynamic lighting (the shadows on walls) is even present in the reflected image and the floor reflecting that image. AFAIK this is all done in realtime, even enemy models that would be present are reflected with all their animation. It does seem to cut the framerate in half but is still very playable.In addition to SS, Quake 3 (in limited form) and some car racing game on the XBox also have truly reflective surfaces.BTW there is a loss of texture quality when a normal BMP is converted into either DXT1 or DXT3 format. I've done a side by side comparison using complex textures. However very basic colors and lines like those found on a lot of freeware aircraft obviously won't visibly degrade much if at all.-Leon Medado

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>Here's a screenshot from Serious Sam - The Second Encounter: >>http://ftp.avsim.com/dcforum/User_files/3cd9d8f25dfb1cad.jpg >>Note that in addition to the map all sprite effects (Both >animated and particulate coming from my exploding rocket) >and models are reflected. Dynamic lighting (the shadows on >walls) is even present in the reflected image and the floor >reflecting that image. AFAIK this is all done in realtime, >even enemy models that would be present are reflected with >all their animation. It does seem to cut the framerate in >half but is still very playable. >>In addition to SS, Quake 3 (in limited form) and some car >racing game on the XBox also have truly reflective surfaces. >>BTW there is a loss of texture quality when a normal BMP is >converted into either DXT1 or DXT3 format. I've done a side >by side comparison using complex textures. However very >basic colors and lines like those found on a lot of freeware >aircraft obviously won't visibly degrade much if at all. >>-Leon Medado See weel, you not seeing "real reflections" The game just displays a copy of the original object and places it as such that it appears to be a reflection. Thatrs why you get the frame hit. The game is just calculating at what angle to display each duplicate object and also lightens or darkens the duplicate to give it that reflecting look. BAsically thats all ratraced reflections are except that raytraced exams several points in space to determine how to apply the duplicate.You'll not see these reflections in FS any time soon as that would just kill the frame rate.Pete

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Thanks for the explanation. So a "real reflection" would not simply be a duplicate but an actual technique used. Haven't heard of that in any games so far... perhaps it's a feature not available in videocards yet.-Leon Medado

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"Those textures that you are not happy with are the result of either a lazy artist or a bad one. Nothing at all to do with Gmax or the DXT file format. You can;t tell me you've never seen crappy textures on an FSDS made airplane."That is unkind I think ,Maby is the result of artist who wishes to keep the texture SMALL and good for Frame rate ?I see a plane taxi past I do not make up my hair in its reflexion as it passes ,I am too busy :)trying to fly MY plane.If it looks ok then it is ok ,130kb textures are good to store and take less spaces if you has 30+texture folder per aircraft .Anniette xxxxxx

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OK!This is the same principle as those reflection screensavers that also add in some cases the ripple effect. It's a flipped image adjusted somewhat to get a reflection effect!What it is not, is a 'reflection bitmap texture'.I'm making all this up! :-)

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>Thanks for the explanation. >>So a "real reflection" would not simply be a duplicate but >an actual technique used. Haven't heard of that in any games >so far... perhaps it's a feature not available in videocards >yet. >>-Leon Medado Well no, of course no "device" can make a "real reflection".But there are only two ways. Either by way of raytracing wich is a heavy amount of computations or by an even more fake way by just duplicating the current view with actual duplicate objects Pete

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>That is unkind I think ,Maby is the result of artist who >wishes to keep the texture SMALL and good for Frame rate ? >I see a plane taxi past I do not make up my hair in its >reflexion as it passes ,I am too busy :)trying to fly MY >plane. >If it looks ok then it is ok ,130kb textures are good to >store and take less spaces if you has 30+texture folder per >aircraft . >Anniette xxxxxx Well, maybe but not necessarily. Generally the really bad textures are the result of someone who has no idea about compression. Excluding of course those who just can't paint or draw of course.I've downloaded a texture that was saved as a jpeg ant level number 3 wich is pretty bad. If I recall it was left up to me to convert it to DXT but even before that they looked pretty bad.Pete

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Pete you are right true raytrace is VERY compute heavy due to the fact that one has to compute all possable paths from every pixel inan image back to every pixel in the "raytraced" surface and that at least for now is far more than any consumer video card can handle.Real raytracing is hard even on work stations with dedicated graphicssub systems.http://members.rogers.com/klasik2/danlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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Gee pete, you talked about posky people sounding like "punks".. ha! You don't sound too nice in this post pal. Anyway....To try to answer the question... whether a plane is made by gmax or FSDS doesn't affect texture quality. Gmax simply enables reflections and different forms of compression on the bmp files. I agree that DXT3 is bad to use for day textures but it must be used on night textures to get the correct alpha for the night lighting. Besides the texture reflections, gmax has a number of advantages over FSDS but FSDS still has a few advantages over Gmax as well. Overall gmax is the better choice by a looooong shot.Take care,Sherv

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>Gee pete, you talked about posky people sounding like >"punks".. ha! You don't sound too nice in this post pal. >>Hey, Shrev(Shrevport?),Uhmm, I didn't bring up POSKY here at all.Pete

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Well I'm not exactly sure what you said there but I think I need to clear it up a bit.The size of the texture has little to do with it's quality. You can create a 1024 by 1024 pixel sized 32-bit texture but all it might have is one huge black line going through the middle representing a stripe on the airplane. A lot of freeware aircraft textures do actually look that simple, just some circles, a few dots, some squares, a couple of lines in different plain colors. No bolts, hinges, dust, dirt, rust, gaps, smears, and other little details that MS and some skilled 3rd-party texturers do have. IMO this is an aspect of freeware aircraft that is forgivable since I don't spend a lot of time looking at external views anyway. However since a lot of GMAX aircraft are only freeware it might explain why the original poster thinks that GMAX aircraft look bad.DXT3 compression only has one level of compression AFAIK. And unlike JPEG the final size of the file remains the same for a given resolution and color depth regardless of the detail that's actually in it. So that big 32-bit texture with a simple black line in the middle I mentioned would be the same size and consume the same amount of resources as one that would include all the little details it has in reality.-Leon Medado

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