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 Post subject: FX_FILES_ONLY AC skins
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:18 am 
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BDG
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:17 pm
Posts: 8754
Location: Oahu, Hawai'i
Aircraft skins using MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY.

When you select MULTI_SKIN_MODE=DISABLE none of the .fx files for objects work. Not aircraft, nor buildings or trees.
When you select FX_FILES_ONLY you get all the better lighting effects of the .fx files, but get a real sorry looking "plain Jane" set of aircraft skins.

THE .FX FILES DETERMINE THE LIGHTING EFFECTS FOR ALL OBJECTS

I do not like this. It is very bad that the BDG MultiSkin makers did this. The .FX files should work ALL of the time. No matter what MULTI_SKIN_MODE is used. :cry:
During MultiSkin development I was remaking and calibrating Spitfire gauges. Did not test for, or notice this flaw. You can blame me for being thusly narrow minded and a poor tester. :oops:

I cannot code fix this. So I went looking on how to make a better set of no MultiSkin AC using MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY.

Note! This may mess up some skins if you do use MultiSkin.
I am doing this for folks that use a computer that is not strong enough to use MultiSkin, but might like some better AC skins when using MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY.

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There are two different folders where I see info on what skin is used in this case.

Will use the Me109 in this example:

1. In the IMAGEMAP folder there is a .DDS file called M109ULF. This is the skin used when using MULTI_SKIN_MODE=DISABLE.
When using MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY the game does not use this skin.

2. Directly below that file is the M109ULF.fx file. For the M109ULF.dds file. And for all of the Me109 MultiSkin skins too.
Inside this .FX file is this line: texture MainTexture < string name = "Me109MainSkin.ms"; >;
The only texture pointer. This is a .ms (MultiSkin) file. Must be in the Multiskin folder.

3. In the MultiSkin folder there is a Me109MainSkin.ms file.
The very bottom line there says:
use MultiSkin\MultiSkinTextures\M109ULF_Replacement.DDS if 1 == 1
I do not recall exactly what "if 1 == 1" means. Vaguely recall that if.. in the lines above in this file, if a specific aircraft is not assigned a skin , then use M109ULF_Replacement.DDS.
Or some such.
Anyway, by observation I see that if I use MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY, then the M109ULF_Replacement.DDS is used.
This is a low resolution 1024 x 1024 texture. Very Plain Jane. All blue sides, no mottling. All green and blue.
OK. This is the texture I need to change or replace for a higher resolution better looking MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY Me 109.

Then I spent a few weeks editing MS files and skin textures, to achieve my aim.

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First, this is what skins a player will see using stock v2.13 files. All Plain Jane. Still on the factory floor:

Spitfire.

Image

Hurricane. The November 1940 scheme with black & white under-wings. OK, distinctive. Maybe folks might like to use this, with some added letter codes?

Image

Me109. A 1024x1024 small texture. Not good enough. I will use a 2048x2048 texture with all AC.

Image

Me110.

Image

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Second, this what I did.

Spitfire.
Our newest volunteer tester lives near Rochford airfield. "54 Squadron is a favourite of mine in BOB". OK. For you the Spit will have 54 Squadron markings.
I chose Alan Deere's letter code and emblem. Hey, I am partial to Pacific Islanders.

Image
Image

Hurricane.
Hhmmmh? What to use. I love emblems, they have a personal touch which may be against rather strict RAF regulations, but the best emblem ever in the B of B, LW and RAF was..
Ian Gleed's Figaro the Cat with the nazi swastika trying to buzz saw his tail. Cats don't like nobody messing with their tail!
So be it.

Image

Gleed used this Figaro emblem with a variety of different paint jobs. Seems like the more nazis he killed, the more he wanted the crooked-cross painted as broken up more.

Image

This is his 1943 Spitfire. Before he was killed in action on 16 April 1943, aged 26.

Image

I used the colored Figaro escape hatch from the museum, where the crooked cross was not yet broken up.
Seemed fitting to my own 2016 USA ultra-right wing political climate.
Cut it out and painted best I can. My personal Figaro.

KL and LK Squadrons. Just how my choices panned out. :)

Me109E.

What I want here is the distinctive "yellow nosed bastard!" No lo-res Plain Jane. A few BoBII players in the past have asked that all Emils have yellow noses. "Can see the enemy better".
OK. Done.
I used a MultiSkin texture from JG26 that I like. Yellow tail, too, for further distinction.
Used the Wing Commander marking. Something else a bit unusual. Division Commanders should be up front with the men.
Never mind the improper Devil's Head on the nose. It seems appropriate for people that also have crooked cross tattoos.

Here at St. Inglevert airfield that PV, two27, and I built for v2.14.

Image

Me110C.

The only thing that I ever did for MultiSkin was paint the Sharkmouth for some of II/ZG76.
This was not easy to do on my nights off after work. The mouth is in 4 different sections of the texture map.
Took me 2 weeks to make them all wrap around the 3D model nose OK.
Well.. I like distinctive markings on my AC, and since no other BoBII dev guys are around that did MultiSkin, the "standard" Me110s will all have shark mouths for this little project.

-------------------------------
OT.. Here in Hawai'i the sharks that attack surfers and swimmers are almost always Tiger Sharks. 6 to 10 feet in length. On average 2 attacks per year on Oahu. Usually when the shore water is muddy after heavy rainfall.
Surfers look like turtles!
Not many Hawai'i folk or tourists get killed by these Tigers, but many folks have lost legs and arms.
Since ancient Hawai'i culture considers sharks as sacred creatures of the ocean, there is no concentrated effort to kill the pesky Tiger Sharks,
just to make it easy for tourists and other foreign invaders of the shark's sea.
You are hearby Warned! Aloha!
-------------------------------

Instant Action Low level Attack on Manston.
I know that there are some RAF AC nesting there, so I don't bother dropping my bombs on hangars. Bomb the birds! I select All Guns and strafe them, and drop my 2 bombs.
"Sir! You overshot the bomb lay again!" My rear gunner Hans reports.
"Ach! For Chrissake! May Jesus forgive us for doing so?"

Image

I turn around soon with bloody intent on ground sluicing the birds again on the ground, but the ones that are left, are taking off!
The one that is smoking I ignore, as not being an immediate threat, and try to shoot at the other two.

Image

My Veteran comrades kill them, and I make another (foolish) third strafing pass on Manston buildings, when a ground pounder 40mm Bofors shoots me down.
I should know better than to "wear out my welcome", but I continue to test the firing of the Bofors, as I was the one that placed them. OK. They are doing their ordered duty.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:20 am 
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BDG
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:17 pm
Posts: 8754
Location: Oahu, Hawai'i
Later this week, I will show the Stuka, and what I did with it's .FX file,
to make it look not like a very, very, DARK black devil, and lighten up this species skin color a bit. :P

My first exploration into the dark secrets of the .FX files code. Which any Player can edit, but never did so before, except PV.
Someone needs to sail into the unknown seas.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:06 am 
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BDG
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:21 am
Posts: 5113
Location: wet coast, Canada
My recommendation for users with weaker systems is to
use the "multiskin lite" tweak, which provides a full array
of call letters, but doesn't invoke the vast quantity of skins,
so it should be manageable for lower muscled vidcards.
It should be compatible with the improved default skins
provided above.

Details are found here: viewtopic.php?f=48&t=23195


..."if 1=1" is an always true condition, so it is
placed at the bottom of an If... ladder to catch
the execution for all instances. The "lite" tweak
moves that to the top, so no other skins are
ever called. In this case, the default skin in that
line simply needs to be edited to match those
Stickman is providing, then set multiskin to enable.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:32 pm 
Offline
BDG
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 1:17 pm
Posts: 8754
Location: Oahu, Hawai'i
The Stuka .FX file is not working well. Even though it looks like all of the other AC .FX files. :?

First of all here is the no-MultiSkin texture with my (Lehr) letter codes and (improper for Lehr, but that I like) adler emblem pasted on. It from a MultiSkin "main skin" not altered by me.
It is not dark:

Image

In all of these cases:

- MULTI_SKIN_MODE=DISABLE
- MULTI_SKIN_MODE=DISABLE (with the ju87Tmpl.fx deleted)
- MULTI_SKIN_MODE=ENABLE
- MULTI_SKIN_MODE=ENABLE (with the ju87Tmpl.fx deleted)
- MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY (with the ju87Tmpl.fx deleted)

The Stuka looks like this, OK:

Image

In this case, and only this case:

- MULTI_SKIN_MODE=FX_FILES_ONLY (with the ju87Tmpl.fx in game)

The Stuka looks like this, before (old) and after (new) I tried to adjust the ju87Tmpl.fx file to lighten it up. As much as I could.
Top no "makeup" skin before I fiddled with MultiSkin files to get "makeup" on FX_FILES_ONLY Stukas.

Not much difference here on the sunny side.
Image

Bigger difference on the shadow side.
Image

Both still as dark as a black bear inside his snow buried hibernating cave! Ghoorrr!!!

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ju87Tmpl.fx file

ORIGINAL:

float4 diffuse = {2.00f, 2.00f, 2.00f, 1.0f};
float4 ambient <
#if 0
string UIWidget = "color";
string UIName = "ambient";
#endif
> = { 0.6f, 0.6f, 0.6f, 1.0f};
float SpecularExponent <
#if 0
string UIWidget = "slider";
half UIMin = 1.0;
half UIMax = 50.0;
half UIStep = 0.1;
string UIName = "highlight size";
#endif
> = 15.0f;
float SpecularFactor <
#if 0
string UIWidget = "slider";
half UIMin = 0.0;
half UIMax = 3.0;
half UIStep = 0.1;
string UIName = "highlight brightness";
#endif
> = 1.0f;

NEW:

float4 diffuse = {2.00f, 2.00f, 2.00f, 1.0f};
float4 ambient <
#if 0
string UIWidget = "color";
string UIName = "ambient";
#endif
> = { 1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f};
float SpecularExponent <
#if 0
string UIWidget = "slider";
half UIMin = 1.0;
half UIMax = 50.0;
half UIStep = 0.1;
string UIName = "highlight size";
#endif
> = 10.0f;
float SpecularFactor <
#if 0
string UIWidget = "slider";
half UIMin = 0.0;
half UIMax = 3.0;
half UIStep = 0.1;
string UIName = "highlight brightness";
#endif
> = 0.5f;

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

a. I changed the "ambient" from 0.6f up to 1.0f to lighten up the extremely dark shaded side.
Any values greater than 1.0 did not give lightening.

I don't like much "highlight" where the odd looking glaring sun reflections show up, so reduced them.

b. Changed "highlight size" from 15.0f to 10.0f To reduce the reflections. These reflections on the Stuka often do not even reflect with any direct bearing on the sunlight direction.
Silly. I don't like it much.
A value of 5.0f just about gets rid of the reflections altogether.

c. Changed "highlight brightness" down from 1.0f to 0.5f to further reduce the size of odd looking light reflections.

------------------

This diffuse line seems to do nothing. I left it back as was, after trying a lot of different values:
float4 diffuse = {2.00f, 2.00f, 2.00f, 1.0f};

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Will confess that I don't really know what the hell I am doing with these .FX files.
Like spelunking into a cave maze with only a candle and a box of matches. With the cave winds blowing out the candle all the time.
Always open minded to accept illumination from those better informed than I am, as my candle is very dim!

At this point I am personally going DELETE the weird ju87Tmpl.fx file, as it does more harm than good, and the game does not need it.

Aaaahhhh.. Why did I climb down into this dark .FX cave in the first place!?
Because it was there, and and I've always been a curious cat.

"Curiosity Killed The Cat" (from the older "Care Killed The Cat")

Shakespeare in.. Much Ado About Nothing:
"What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care."

Yeah, well.. much ado about nothing, too, about these .FX files, I think.
Maybe just wasting my time delving into them. I got better things to do for BoBII.

Will try again another day!
Back to testing newly fixed Random Skills coding in Campaign.

------

Aloha!
and as President Obama said today after his last White House Press Conference, just to (once again) remind the ignorant intolerant narrow-minded savages that he was actually born & raised in Hawai'i,
Mele Kalikimaka!


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