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Author Topic: FPS friendly clouds  (Read 9434 times)

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HeGa

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FPS friendly clouds
« on: June 20, 2010, 07:01:55 AM »

Hello all,
I'm new here. Although I play IL-2 from time to time since it was released, I have met the mods and the modding community recently.
After the brief introduction let me come to the point:

As you probably know, clouds in IL-2 is very poorly done, not only visually but also technically. If only I can play with good FPS rates without good visuals, I would be happy. But it is never possible while going into the clouds!
My system is not a powerful one and the most important lacking point is the CPU:
P4 3.0 GHz @ working on 3.9 GHz
2 GB Ram
8600GT 512MB Ram
Although my CPU is slightly overclocked, I strongly think that it is the bottleneck of the whole system.
My resolution is a bit high for this system also but I have a big LCD screen and low resolution looks really ugly.
So,
When I was trying to identify the slowness with clouds, I realized that the closer the clouds are the less FPS I achieve. In the clouds, the worst: sometimes below 14 FPS. It is a nightmare!
Then I thought: It must be something wrong with "magnifying cloud textures to a big size algorithm".
I begin with getting a cloud mod and modifying it.
Then here are the results:
1. clouds4x4.tga file: Its size has nearly no effect on FPS at all! Only with >4MB of size meaning >1024x1024 texture size, the game fails to render clouds, I think because of memory limitation.
2. BASE_R_DISP line in DATA.cld: The main FPS killer is this! The bigger the value the bigger trouble! It should be surely less than 1.0. The minimum point I found is 0.5. Any less value will produce interesting glitches like black clouds :)
3. MAT_DENSITY in DATA.cld: It only makes clouds less transparent and whiter. Not FPS related.
4. N_PER_SQ line in DATA.cld: It does nothing I think. I tried many different values and didnt see any difference.
5. DENSITY lines in DATA.cld: In level 0 it changes density of clouds meaning more clouds in the same area. But in level 0 max value is 4 and any value above causes instability. In level 1 the same but it didnt make much difference as the other. Its limit is also non existing as far as I test.

In the light of these findings, I use 1024x1024 texture with BASE_R_DISP<1.0 setting. And there is a slight FPS gain from +10 to +30.
Getting lots of clouds with no or less mangnification dont reduce FPS but getting less cloud with lots of magnification kills FPS a lot.
However now: With thunder weather clouds dont cover the sky. I increased the densities of clouds but it wasnt enough. If I only can spawn more clouds, it will be alright. But couldnt find a way. Any ideas?

Thanks.

-Edit-
I'm sharing the final modded DATA.cld file, so the mod is finished(Moderators can move it to Visuals->Effects section from WIP)
Please use this only if you desperately in a need for a slight FPS boost in the clouds.
Because, as a side effect, thunder and poor weather don't have a sky full of clouds. It is more like partly cloudy. If you are fine with it, then it is fine.
This is only a modded DATA.cld file as I have no textures that belongs to me. You can use it with any cloud mod. Just put the file into the folder of the cloud mod. (Meaning Mods\[modName]\Effects\clouds) It is strongly recommended to use 1024x1024 "clouds4x4.tga" file to compensate reduced cloud scale. If you have smaller texture, just resize it with some image manipulation software(or freeware:) ) Don't worry, it won't cause FPS drop!
The file itself is only a simple text file(you can open with notepad), all the explanations are inside of the file so, you can adjust some values to get the best results.


Whoops... Isn't there an attachment option in this forum? Fine... Here is uploaded file:
http://www.mediafire.com/?kzuvdjmqzxm
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SAS~HolyGrail

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 07:45:03 AM »

Welcome to the madness HeGa  :)
clouds are hardoced in to the game , it's not like working with some of the effects files .
It would be nice if there is more available to go with when working with clouds but
there is not much and you already know how the game engine is processing and rendering clouds .
I wish you best of luck in trying to crack that sucker  :)
Clouds were always pain in the butt to some degree since the beginning .
Thank you for posting detailed evaluation about clouds from your experiments .

More likely your 8600GT 512MB Ram might be the real culprit for rendering clouds .
Are you running clouds at 0 or 1 setting inside conf.ini file ?

I am running Intel Core 2 Quad 6600 but at turtle slow 2.40GHz playing like a charm :D
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HeGa

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 08:03:11 AM »

It's a pity that clouds are hardcoded...
I think it is the algorithm that magnifies the clouds at realtime which slows things down. And it is processed by the CPU very likely(I think.) I say this because; rendering lots of clouds is not a problem.(even they are 1024x1024) The problem is magnified cloud textures. I thought it may be a memory bandwidth issue at first, so I even tried rendering clouds with 128x128 textures but still the same issue.
TypeClouds=0 in conf.ini to be sure.
I wonder if generator table in DATA.cld or tables in cloudata.cld is related to number of clouds to be spawned?
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David Prosser

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 08:13:12 PM »

The link is dead. Could you re-post it please?

cheers

David Prosser

greybeard

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2014, 01:16:02 PM »

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David Prosser

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2014, 04:42:22 PM »

OK, I just downloaded it. Thanks.


David

greybeard

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 12:45:12 AM »

They work in both 4.11.1 and 4.12.2.

Thank you very much for detailed report!  :)

Hope you won't mind if I reposted your screenshots at M4T, attached to the download...  :-\

Regards,
GB
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<Gunny>

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 01:34:47 AM »

Not at all - I don't have an ego. So help your self.

I just like to help folks.
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PA_Willy

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 11:17:43 PM »

I have to say what a great mod this is.

+1.

It's very useful. And you can combine it with your favourite cloud mod.

Thank you.
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greybeard

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 12:19:57 AM »

Thank you guys! :)

I think posting these reviews on download site (M4T) would be useful for who look there wondering if it is worth to download and install it or not.
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David Prosser

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Re: FPS friendly clouds
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 06:31:25 AM »

Very convincing thunderheads. I think the smart to do when confronted with them is to turn around, and fly home.

cheers

David
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