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Individual Mod Downloads for IL-2 1946 => Other Mods => Effects => Topic started by: Uufflakke on April 20, 2014, 06:19:13 AM

Title: High Resolution Clouds [4.09] [4.10] [4.12]
Post by: Uufflakke on April 20, 2014, 06:19:13 AM
For those who have missed the High Rez Clouds in the past here they are again.

High Rez Clouds
http://www.mediafire.com/download/gz1n3cqq9rpi2db/HighRezClouds.rar (http://www.mediafire.com/download/gz1n3cqq9rpi2db/HighRezClouds.rar)

Take in account the high rez clouds only work in conjunction with Carsmaster's 'High Resolution / True Color Textures Mod' installed. And only in 4.09, 4.10, 4.12.
Having issues with his mod ask over there (http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php?topic=33239.0), having issues with my cloud mod ask here.

So if you got the high rez mod up and running installing these clouds is piece of cake. Just drop the extracted 'HighRezClouds' folder in your Modded Install/#DBW/.
For those who wants to experiment a bit: included are 3 other options of cloud textures and an extra DATA.cld file for denser clouds. Be aware that on some systems the denser clouds might cause a decrease of fps.

When installed clouds look like this:





Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: marcost on April 20, 2014, 06:20:52 AM
Thanks Uufflakke yes I was missing these!


Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: WxTech on April 29, 2014, 07:12:00 PM
I note that the textures are individually semi-transparent, and require 2 or more overlapping to become collectively reasonably opaque. The .tga's alpha layer should be made more white (on the clouds) so that the image can have more realistic opacity.
Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: WxTech on May 03, 2014, 01:57:57 PM
I downloaded this to examine the graphics. I see that the alpha channel is doing all the work; the underlying channel is merely white. The downside of this simpler appriach is that the shadow details in the individual cloud images become more tdansparent than the brighter parts, always. In reality, shadowed parts of clouds are on average as opaque as the sunlit parts.

In order to control transparency properly, there should be an underlying image, upon which the alpha controls *only* transparency. This means that on the alpha channel the shadowed parts should normally be as bright white as the sunlit bits. And if full opacity is desired for those parts which one observes to be not semi-transparent in nature, they should be pure white in the alpha channel.

Think of the alpha channel as an X-ray, whose details can (indeed, must) differ at least a little from the surface reflectance.

The sim already makes some cloud textures semi-transparent when building clouds; we should not make this worse by supplying all textures partly transparent over their full face.
Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: Uufflakke on May 05, 2014, 10:26:37 AM
Every cloudmod does have its issues. Unfortunately.
I've tried Flushy's clouds, Manysh clouds, Bender's version, your version and perhaps some others too.
Or they were to fluffy, too artistic (more like a Jacob van Ruysdael or William Turner painting), flickering issues, wiggling clouds, fps killers, clouds that got cut of with LandGeom = 3.

This 2048x2048 pixels cloud texture is composed of several textures of Bender's Ultimate Environment Mod. Which Bender on his turn extracted from a FSX (?) add-on by the way.
I loved the look of the clouds of his environmental mod and also the simple utility of selecting clouds, high clouds, density, size. The frustrating thing though was that in far distance clouds became square .tga's.  I don't know why but it was quite an immersion killer.
With this high rez mod that square texture issue is history. Still though the issue of clouds getting cut off on top when reaching a certain height. I think it is above 3000 meters. That seems to be a limitation of the good old IL2 engine.
This mod has some wiggling clouds when flying very close to them. Something that occurs in other versions too.
But way less problems with annoying flickering clouds that pop up and go when moving your head around. Maybe the flickering issue is there too but less noticable because of its transparency?
Got no clue. Beyond my knowledge.

I pray for the day we have a perfect cloudmod.  :)
Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: WxTech on May 05, 2014, 12:00:21 PM
I haven't looked into it in detail, but didn't Bender use a single cloud image in the clouds4X4.tga, where the game seems to expect an array of 16? (Even if in the .mat file one specifies two values of "1" where for a 4x4 array they are "0.25", it seems.) If a single cloud graphic gets chopped into smaller bits, most of the sub-images resulting therefrom will have some or all edges with cloud right to those edges. Hence the square clouds.

Jiggly clouds, and other weird artifacts, particularly near the screen edge at wider FOVs, are ever more exacerbated the larger the texture size on screen. In no small measure is this due to the disparity in image scale resulting from distortion. At wider FOVs the gnomonic projection induces stretching, more strongly in the radial direction. Polygons present no problem, for their construction from 3-point triangles will always fit with no gaps or overlap between those immediately adjacent. And all polygon-based elements will seamlessly fit, no matter the severity of the distortion.But "sprite" -like textures not mapped to polygons will suffer varying gaps/overlap as their position on screen changes. Compared to the texture-mapped scenery (including high clouds), the relative size varies and the shape does not stretch the way polygons do.

I'm surprised to hear of a 3,000m limit to cloud tops. I get mine piling up to 10,000m and higher (in v4.08)

Unless there are game-version differences in the way clouds are generated, I think all mods using the same DENSITY value in DATA.cld make the same number of cloud elements and resultant clouds. I suspect no small amount of 'hard coding' which limits the degree of control we can exert. Until TD goes into the cloud generating module, we're stuck and cannot expect to see a 'perfect' cloud mod.

I'd like to see a smarter allocation of precious texture resources. The tinier clouds are too often made up of a veritable rat's nets of up to about a dozen textures, while many BIG clouds are made up of just one or two (!!). That's crazy. Furthermore, some of those big clouds are made to have an almost invisible opacity, appearing as very ghost-like veils you almost have to strain to see. Why is that?.

The more I poke around, the more I see which needs changing. Listening, TD? ;)
Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: panzerkeil on May 05, 2014, 12:38:33 PM
Actually there are two cloud rendering systems in IL2. The cloud system got an upograde in one of the patches (4.08 ->4.09?) In the config you can specify which one to use (TypeClouds=0/1) I gues almost evreyone uses the newer version (1), but you can still see the old clouds in old tracks. The old version uses the single cloud tga and Benders mod contained files for both versions.

Maybe the clouds representation can be improved if we build new ones ourselves? I found a cloudata.cld file in effects/clouds folder which seems to contain configuration of clouds and cloud fields, but I don't know if this is for old or new version clouds (or both). 

Sorry to go off topic Uufflakke; I like your mod very much!  :)

Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: Uufflakke on May 05, 2014, 12:59:38 PM
Sorry to go off topic Uufflakke; I like your mod very much!  :)

I have to resist myself too by getting off topic. ;)  In a topic I started.  ;D
Otherwise we have again posts about what each value does or doesn't do in the DATA.cld file.

Title: Re: High Resolution Clouds
Post by: max_thehitman on May 05, 2014, 04:52:39 PM
Very interesting and enlightning information about cloud mods.
Thanks guys.

I personally like Ufflakke┬┤s cloud mod. Thank you good friend, great artsy work on this mod, and I also
enjoy all the other cloud mods created.
I often switch them around when I fly the same place. A guy can always fly over
the same map, but with a great selection of diferent cloud mods to choose from, it makes
the flying adventure diferent every time.
So these cloud mods are important for everyone to have and use,
and they are also exciting.

Thank you Uufflakke!