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Guest R_Driscoll

Transparency graphics problems

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Most of you will probably know about the problems I've had with the Buckhingham palace victory fountain - that the wrong polygons show and it deforms badly as you fly over it as the different surfaces show in the wrong order. I've tried a bunch of things: - redid the whole fountain from scratch - used a different version of BSP - used BSP switchesStill nothing has worked. I wonder if its my graphics card. Is anyone else seeing the same problem? Anyone got a solution?I suspect the problem is that because I've put a polygon at zero height as a base for the fountain, FU3 thinks I'm trying to make a runway!It looks OK from a distance, but up close is a disaster. This problem seems to be a fault in FU3, because other buildings (such as the figure 8 one at Heathrow) also show this problem to some extent.Help!!Robert.

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Rob,It looks fine on my screen! At a certain point on approach, a white line moves across it once but that's all. Compared to the bizarre moire effects some of my models give, that's nothing!Speaking of which, did you try out any of my dirt/grass strips yet? I have had a flurry of emails from people saying that they look like zebra crossings as they fly over them with FSAA on - and it's worse on the ground, apparently they flash on and off :-eek They look luvverly on my PC :-rollTo this end, I've just done some replacement binfiles - with 75mm elevation but I fear that some cards may still show frigglies :-( BTW, what video card are you using and settings etc?Regards,Jon Point

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I never know what card I'm using - I'll have to look it up! I think its called ATI - well the software is I think ...Also night transparencies don't work as well as they used to, so I suspect it is the card.Thanks for doing the flyover - good to hear that it looks correct on your computer.Robert.

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Rob,It pays to know, because they're all different!I use an ATI Radeon 9800XT (which is technically an el-cheapo but I don't care). Cost me US$90 2 years ago. Why did I buy it when I had a good Nvidia card? I was doing Carquinez (you know, stereo bridges, LOTS of transparency) whilst loading a new HD into a mate's PC that had the ATI card. I swapped it with my FX5600 and the ATI looked much better (read: stable, transparencies where they should be, little shimmering etc). Framerates were somewhat improved but it was the stability that got me. So, I bought one and relegated the old FX to Igor (the office PC).The few times I've used Igor for FU3 since then, I've been rather disappointed with the FX card in it. Yeah, I know it's only a cheapo but for the same bux, the ATI gave a much better bang *:-*For whatever reason, the Nvidia seems to have issues with it's own FSAA method in FU3. It looks fine in MCM2, WRC06 and NFS though (when you turn FSAA off and let the application drive it), so I suppose it has more to do with how the FX card handles 'old' DX features. My assumption is that Nvidias work better when the game is DX9, but not when it has to do it all by itself. This was the beauty of the old Voodoo cards, what they didn't support in DX, they did just fine by themselves (well, FSAA anyway...).PS On a follow-up, I just got email from someone testing my new(er) strips - with an Nvidia FX5200. They say that it's better and that they don't flash on and off when on the ground but they still look like moving zebra crossings at 3kft! I think that they're going to have to live with it :-roll ...but I suppose I should still upload the updated ones anyway :-wave Regards,Jon Point

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Jon,That's interesting, because I personally feel that my old GeForce 3 Ti 200 was marginally better at displaying the graphics in FU3 than my current ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. The latter card is perfectly fine, but I still think that the buildings and other objects exhibited less "zebra crossing stuff" at low light levels with the GeForce 3.

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Chris,I know what you mean. It seems that some older cards DO work better than newer ones on non-DX9 apps. Few down-market cards (the kind that I can afford) support all functions and many newer ones just do it badly. My Nvidia FX supported much more DX stuff than the old GE3 (&GE4) on my old PC - but even though the framerates were better in FSAA, I'm sure it didn't look as good.My current card (9800XT) is the 'poor man's version' of yours - at least it's cheaper... The only differences I can see are that yours uses different memory (DDR1 vs. DDR2) but mine's faster (365 vs 350MHz) and I don't have 8 pixel shader processors (!!?!). According to my investigations, only DX9 supports them so I saved my AUD$50 and got the 'XT. I think for FU3 they'd be much the same but your's would eat mine on M$F$ stuff ;-)Regards,Jon Point

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Some day soon I'll finally get another computer. The sims I care to run are FS9 and FU3. I've got the latest DirectX but I realize that it's a waste as FU3 is concerned. However, it doesn't hurt. What kind of graphics card would you recommend? I've got Voodoo 5 on my current PC. While it's fine for FU3 it's low on video RAM by today's standards.Hans Petter

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With my previous computer, night transparencies etc were much better, but with this version a lot of things show badly. Maybe I should switch off FSAA etc and see how it goes? If Chris will let me ... either way I have learned to steer away from transparency unless desperate, and it shouldn't be that way! Also regarding the zebra crossing effect - you probably don't remember but the first extensive overtexturing that I did was for SEATAC airport - I don't think this package was ever released, firstly because of the zebra crossing effect (to use the technical term), i.e. its not just transparency that causes this, but anytime that a texture from a model comes in contact with the ground rendering. Basically I resurfaced the whole airport with higher texture squares based on repainted photos. It was a vast improvement imho, but as you flew over the terminals near the northern part of the airport, the ground sloped badly, and so interacted with the overtexturing, causing zebra patterns (stripes). I tried raising and lowering each of the four corners to fix it, but then realised that it was due to the rendering of the ground terrain by FU3 and could not be fixed. Its one of the reasons why FU3 makes us flatten airports I think. Of course I had the same problem with Forest Falls.Which reminds me Jon, I'm happy to resend you FF, but remembering this was a mainly experimental package, I'd be happy to chuck it in the junk pile now and you build a new version. I did it to try and push the scenery limits, and for that it was useful. Here's some of the things I tried:1. Making smoke from a chimney. A large twisting column of black dots. Glidernut complained that he flew into it and it wrecked his plane. Never tried again.2. Flowing river. Jon says I made it flow the wrong way. But at least it flowed! Very hard to see - you had to land close to look at it. To make it work, I had to remodel the bank - add a slightly raised bank. Nowadays with agtim's FledViewer, this would be a lot easier and worth trying again.3. Waterfall. I made a rotating set of images that showed water cascading (a bit like the way animated GIF's work), then adjusted the speed of rotation until it looked like water falling. I didn't realise the speed of rotation was extremely machine-dependent, and it failed miserably. Han Petter's comment - why have you got that rotating inside out cylinder near the cliff?4. I overtextured the hillside to add more detail. Killed by zebra effects, hours of trial and error to try and make it work, but the overtexture would never sit properly on the hillside.5. For the release, I added explosion effects and a Terminator figure rushing around. The Terminator took approx 75 hours to make.No-one noticed.But it was a fun area to fly into - only the Renegade could manage it (since you had to taxi into the water to takeoff).So its time to remake Forest Falls (aka Spada Lk)!Robert.

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Rob,Clearance under the overlying object is the secret - but how much depends on the surface. The dirt runways at Clare's Valley are about 100mm off the ground - a bit high for my liking.I made the gravel around the windsocks too low:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/164974.jpgAt Spada Dam, there is an unavoidable effect on the northern edge of the wall - it's sitting about 1 metre off the ground but it must be the angle.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/164975.jpgThe dam I can live with but I will update the windsock sometime soon ;-)I'll send you the corrected tagfile so you can redo FF if you'd like :-waveRegards,Jon Point

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Best not to switch to FSX yet then?My card (I looked it up) is a called a graphics adapter Radeon X300/X550, and the software for it is called ATi. Does that mean anything?I tried turning off antialiasing etc but that had no effect - some objects just aren't displayed correctly on my little machine.RObert.

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Nope Both cards will be OK in FSX, we might have to leave our sliders back a wee bit in FSX but that's alright, FSX looks better with my sliders backed up then my other flight games look with my sliders all the way to the rightHeaded towards the Golden gate in FSX. I still enjoy working with fled, but there would be no way I could make this area look close to this in FU3http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/165014.jpgFlying down the Amazon, it's raining so the river water looks like mud. Coolhttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/165015.jpgAnd also we need to remember that FSX was the first flight sim to realize that our flight sim world is round.This is a shot of a beaver at FL 10,000, 169 miles up (not cool)but you'll notice the world is round, that's Coolhttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/165016.jpgHave Fun :-vuurAllan BFU Job Manager and Co-Moderatorand PuppyBush Flying Unlimitedhttp://avsim.com/hangar/air/bfu/logo70.gif

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Hello Robert -In an article a few days ago on the Tom's Hardware site, a reviewer posted a list of nVidia and ATI graphics cards arranged in tiers of equivalency. Alone at the top, of course, is the bursary busting DirectX 10 monster from nVidia, the new GeForce 8800 GTX. There are 27 tiers (tier 27 includes the ancient nVidia TNT and ATI Rage, both entirely forgettable). (And both of which I owned in their day, I regret to say.)Your card is an X300 which had its clock speeds bumped slightly and was rebadged an X550. It rests in tier 20 alongside the serviceable, but aged, ATI 9600. Its nVidia equivalents are equally old, all below even the ancient GeForce 4 line of cards. Unlike the GF4's, though, which were limited to DirectX8, yours is capable of DirectX9 support. Nevertheless, it is a very modest piece of hardware. It would choke on FSX, I'm afraid, or any other modern game popular among "gamers" today. ATI is now a unit of AMD. You might wish to research their support for different drivers.-Doug

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Nice pics Allan. But remember that FU3 was the first to model the complete troposphere (apart from space games that is!) - that's the difference. Flight Sim was my original loyalty, but after Bruce Artwick left, it developed so slowly and never modelled real world effects well - good eye candy but uses lookup tables summarises it. Surprisingly one region in FU3 provides more freedom and challenge than all of the original flight sims I grew up on. Anyway back to the topic in question, thanks everyone for letting me know I've got an old sim using an old video card. Serves me right for buying an off-the-shelf Harvey-Norman standard. I'll stop complaining about the transparency problem and accept that its my old video card.Cheers all, good to hear from you Allan.

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