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Guest colsie12

Improve clouds

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Hi all. I recently post screenshots of an FU3 flight on another forum full of MSFS diehards who wont hear a bad word against MSFS sim. So they looked for every negative in FU3 (many very stupid). Anyway a big one that I kind of agreed on is the poor looking clouds to quote someone "It would make a great ship sim, those clouds look like ice-bergs". Is their anyway I can improve the clouds.

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Two types of clouds in FU3, those based on photo-models (good at a distance) and the fluffy ones (can be slightly modified using flt3.cfg but the textures can't as far as I know). Jon was trialling some improved photo-cloud models, but the bottom line at the moment is that MSFS is miles ahead. Mind you, when FU3 came out, MSFS cloud models were very basic - FU3 invented volumetric clouds. They also tried to model the different types - cumulus, stratus etc. The air modelling overall in FU3 was so far ahead of MSFS at the same stage, and there are rumours that one of the LGS programmers went to work for MSFS to improve this area.

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I remember working on replacing the defaut clouds with new ones, and managed to decode most of the could textures from sky.res. Unfortunately I ran out of time and got side-tracked onto other things so never followed this up. But it is possible. :-)_______RegardsChris Ehttp://www.circle-software.co.uk/php/html/images/logo.gifVisit http://www.circle-software.co.ukHome of X-Plane Photographic Scenery : England & Wales

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Do you still have the work around in your harddrive. And can you remember how you done it. I am considering doing a bit of FU3 reprogramming as I have just been taught (again) how to program games etc. And fu3 is like OS code now. the developers at LG also made it very friendly for developers such as the config files telling you eactly what each bit is for and how to alter it.

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Actually I don't think I do have that work anymore (it was on an IBM Deskstar ("Deathstar") hard drive, which failed suddenly and without warning (and without backup!)), but I do vaguely recall the file structures that I figured out before. I'd have to dig again..._______RegardsChris Ehttp://www.circle-software.co.uk/php/html/images/logo.gifVisit http://www.circle-software.co.ukHome of X-Plane Photographic Scenery : England & Wales

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Hi Chris,I'm all ears if you're keen rto play with clouds. I extracted everything years ago and have even laid in the middle of a paddock last year and took a lot of photos of nice, fluffy clouds (one can get bored on the farm...).I am just finishing up the 1m terrain tagfile, after spending most of this year flattening airstrips and lakes :-rollI hope to release it for Christmas but it'll be a 'biggie' for a number of reasons:* All the packages have been reset to ground level. This means that users will need the reset packages I have.* I have also reset he original LGS model heights and positions, so the .MOD files in the models folder have also been replaced/updated.* AI has been modified a bit here and there, as some airports had planes running underground. This means all-new airports are required.* I have modified a couple of scenery tiles to correct major errors in the originals (moved Bandera back to the South side of the valley etc). L0s are huge!This has been a huge job, with much learning and frustration, but the results (IMHO) are amazing. The frustration led me to take a break and do the Stemme S6T. I hope others share my enthusiasm - I sure couldn't enlist any helpers :-lolAll in all, I expect to get it into the library in 2 zipfiles - one about 80Megs, the other about 40 ;)Now there's just two areas I'm still working on - night lighting and clouds. The night lights are basically done (all the L2s) but I am having density issues with the lower-level tiles. Maybe over Christmas?PS If I can assist with anything regarding hacking FU3 for speed or other improvements, let me know :-wave Regards,Jon Point

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This sounds interesting Jon. Maybe if/when I get round to looking at the clouds textures you might share your cloud photos ? I have loads of photos myself too, but more is usually better with this kind of thing.Regarding your night lights, you mention you're having density issues - would this be an issue with keeping the light levels correct as the lower MIP (detail) tiles are created ? If so, I can tell you I have had exactly these issues with the Night Lighting for the UK VFR Scenery for FSX (a commercial package) which I'm just finishing off now (hopefully to be released before Christmas too!). There is a way to solve this, but not being fully aware of the tools you're using this method might not fit it them them. I'll have to dig out some screenshots to show you what can be achieved._______RegardsChris Ehttp://www.circle-software.co.uk/php/html/images/logo.gifVisit http://www.circle-software.co.ukHome of X-Plane Photographic Scenery : England & Wales

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Ok, I've managed to decode almost all of the textures that ResViewer can't from the SKY.RES file.I've converted them all to bmp format, and in theory it should be possible to convert them all back to their original formats and import them back into SKY.RES with ResViewer. i.e. New Clouds for FU3!I've made a zip file of all the textures, and for completeness, it includes the textures that ResViewer can decode as well as the ones it can't, so here we should have a complete set of textures which FU3 uses for the sky (including the moon phases!).I recognise a lot of the textures in there, but there are some I don't, so either I've just never seen them in sim or they aren't currently used by FU3. I'll let you lot have a look then and see what you make of it. Download the textures here :-http://www.horizonsimulation.info/Temp/sky.res_textures.zip:-wave_______RegardsChris Ehttp://www.circle-software.co.uk/php/html/images/logo.gifVisit http://www.circle-software.co.ukHome of X-Plane Photographic Scenery : England & Wales

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I can only say one thing to you thanks. I would download it myself but I have never been good at scenery textures or with resviewer. I am goingt o stick to rewriteing the config file.

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Chris,Thanks! I'll have a look this week. I'm also interested in the cloud models - not the simple ones, but the ones scaled in software. I'm really over that shape :-lolRegards,Jon Point

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10 lines down it asks what kind of cloud models to use? Maybe this holds our key. Also goign through that config their are a few lines which say remove if you want higher frame rates if your GFX can support it.

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Colin,There are basically two types of clouds in FU3 (someone already said this?) - 'standard' 3D planar models with textures and software-generated ones that can be scaled etc.The problem (for me) is that the software-generated ones are very similar - just different sizes. This is what gives the impression of a flotilla of ships on the horizon :-erksNow that I see light at the end of the terrain-flattening tunnel (boy, did I learn a lot there...), I would like to finish the two bug-bears of my FU3 existence - clouds and night lights. Bruce and I are fairly well into the night lighting (e.g. I have redone ALL of the Seattle tiles), so I'd like to put some effort into the clouds.I did try replacing some of the planar models with better 3D ones but I didn't get far and I can see why LGS went over to software-generation, the framerates are better. With 20 of my lumbering 200 polygon cumulus clouds over Seattle, the framerate drops to single figures :-(Looks good from the ground though :-waveRegards,Jon Point

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Hi Jon,I'm not sure exactly what in FU3 you're referring to when you differentiate between software generated and planar models - it looks like you've done more investigation in this regard than I, but as far as I see it there are indeed two different types of clouds;1. The cumulus type which are built from many 'cells' with each cell using the same texture but at different scales/sizes/shades etc. This is what gives you the cumulus clouds which develop over time (thunder clouds may also use this method but with different textures and models).2. The 'other' clouds (distant ones, cirrus, altocumulus, overcast etc) which just use textures.Are we talking about the same things ?One thing I did recall from the last time I modified clouds textures in FU3 was that the texture which is used to draw a 'cell' in a cumulus clouds is the same texture used to draw the 'distance' cumulus clouds which appear like 'ships' on the horizon. However, the 'distant' clouds use the texture stretched by 3x horizontally for this.Having said that, there are in fact two textures which look identical in sky.res. I could be that one is used for the cumulus cells and the other is used for the distant cumulus, but LG made then both the same due to other (time?) contraints._______RegardsChris Ehttp://www.circle-software.co.uk/php/html/images/logo.gifVisit http://www.circle-software.co.ukHome of X-Plane Photographic Scenery : England & Wales

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