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Guest Allan Jones

Richard and TRI: possible temp work-about?

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Richard,I toss this out not as a cure-all but a temporary work-about that might make landings easier until something happens to OpenGL to improve performance. Don

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Allan,Yes, in 4x4 Evo the gauges are actually 3D models, not 2D bitmaps. They get uploaded once to the video card, and re-rendered in 3D mode entirely. Even the text in 4x4 Evo is actually individual 3D models for each character (where Fly! uses bitmap fonts). The main problem to switching to a pure 3D system is that it would require all the panels and gauges to be 3D models. This would break all current aircraft in Fly!, and seeing how it took almost 5 months just to do the 407 panel, going back and re-doing all the panels in 3D is not realistic.I'm investigating different methods right now where instead of blitting the 2D cockpit/gauges directly to the frame buffer, I render them offscreen into system memory. I then attempt to determine which areas of the screen have changed, slice these areas into texture sized chucks, upload the, and render them as 2-triangle polygons in 3D mode. The problem here is that the bus/PCI speeds for the Mac video cards still give me a maximum fill rate, because I'm having to upload huge amounts of texture changes each frame. Either I get killed for blitting directly to the frame buffer in 2D, or I get killed with constant texture uploading in 3D. I'm still trying to find alternatives, and a simplified panel for flying is certainly an option that might be realistic (though it would have to be generic enough to be applicable in all aircraft).Rich

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Thanks so much, Rich. Your explanations are always helpful.As for a generic solution. my thought was exactly that -- only for use as landing aid like the old Fly2k mini-panel. I certainly wouldn't expect that a complete 3D panel for each a/c would be an option at this time. However, a mini-panel that wouldn't whack the rates would be nice.Thanks again,

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Hey Rich,So if all the aircraft panels had been designed to be rendered as 3D objects, then the FPS performance wouldn't be such a problem?I don't know anything about designing panels or aircraft or the underlying APIs, but might it be possible to write something that could help automate the conversion of 2D panel models to 3D? If it would improve the performance dramatically, perhaps that's the way things should be headed. With all the folks out there who develop 3rd party aircraft, maybe the conversion of 2D models to 3D models could be broken up between volunteers?Just curious ...John

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John,Actually, we had considered moving the panels to 3D after Fly! 2K. The two things that held us back were the huge amount of rework it would take to redo the 5 original aircraft with new panels, and secondly that we were already riding the line on texture memory usage just for the ground scenery, and adding another 4-6MB of texture needs for the cockpit would pretty much make us require an AGP or 64MB video card.Rich

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