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View Full Version : Oleg, small graphic change = big improvement.



goshikisen
03-20-2006, 09:31 AM
Hello Oleg,

I've noticed a graphical inconsistency that has a great impact on the immersion factor in FB/PF. The spinning prop animation on some 4 blade aircraft is of a lower quality than others. This might not seem like that big a deal but when you think about it... as a pilot you are either looking through a prop while you're flying or looking at your opponents through your gunsight. An intrinsic part of the sim.

If you look at an aircraft like the FB/PF B-29 the prop animation looks like a dark disc... no discernable blades and nothing like the photos and film we've seen of the real thing. Aircraft like the Thunderbolt and Tempest suffer from the same disc-like animation but have a slightly better degree of transparency. The Shiden Kai, on the other hand, has a great looking prop animation. There are 4 distinct blades and it looks very realistic when you've got it in your sights. Reminds me of gun camera footage from the real thing.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v460/goshikisen/prop.gif

Is there something different about the way the prop animation was created for the Shiden Kai... the gaps between the propeller blades, are they some sort of alpha channel? Could this type of graphic be adapted to the other 4 bladed aircraft as well or is this too difficult to do? Is this something that a skinner would be able to change on their own or is it hard coded into the sim?

As mentioned earlier... it may seem like a small thing but, in terms of immersion, it means a great deal (especially with a 4-engined aircraft like the Superfortress... currently it is not very realistic in the prop department). It has obviously been done successfully with the N1K2... could it be done with the others?

Regards, Goshikisen.

anasteksi
03-20-2006, 09:52 AM
propeller looks completely different irl than in pictures...

goshikisen
03-20-2006, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by anasteksi:
propeller looks completely different irl than in pictures...

I know that the camera will freeze the motion to the point where the prop looks like it's spinning a lot slower than it really is... but at the same time a spinning prop IRL doesn't look like a semi-transparent / solid disc as it does on some of the FB/PF aircraft. The Shiden Kai prop in FB/PF looks a lot like what you'd see if you were watching a WWII vintage aircraft at an airshow. As a matter of fact the Shiden Kai prop in FB/PF looks more realistic than both the photos and every other screenshot you see from the game. The N1K2 is an excellent compromise.

joeap
03-20-2006, 10:41 AM
Agree 126.89% good idea. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

TX-Zen
03-20-2006, 11:31 AM
Originally posted by joeap:
Agree 126.89% good idea. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/clap.gif

What happened to the .11%?

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

gates123
03-20-2006, 11:51 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/1241.gif
Comparing a PF screenshot vs a ww2 film photo with variable shutter speeds is crazy. Your comparing apples to oranges regardless of how the n1k2 is modeled. Find another pond to fish out of and let Oleg worry about things that actually help "gameplay".

Boyington6
03-20-2006, 12:19 PM
This is something I have thought about a lot in regards to sims - do we want it to look like we are physically viewing it with our own eyes, or like a camera is filming it? This sim caters a bit to both, in that physiological effects like blackout/redout, sun glare are modeled, but also inorganic optical effects like lens flare, and the above mentioned props with visible blades, which are an artifact of shutter speed, whether in a still camera, or as determined by the frames per second in a movie(gun) camera.

For two years I apprenticed as an AME, and serviced Piper PA-31 and Mitsubishi MU-2 a/c. All the many thousands of times I have been witness to spinning props, I have never seen them "strobe" like they do in motion picture film. The one exception was the rare occasion of being in a brightly lit hangar at night when a pilot would taxi up to the doors in a Navajo, and you could see the props strobing under lights flickering at 60Hz. In normal daylight though, all you see is a solid disc, with an indistinct silvery highlight where the light catches the leading edge, and a bit of vague darkness in the portion of rotation where the flat part of the blade is facing you. If you blink your eyes really fast, you can make it strobe like a camera. If you use a camera with a slow enough shutter to photograph a prop, you will see just a disc. Of course this varies with engine RPM as well.

The point of all my yakkin is - the props are good as is, IMHO.

What would be really cool however, would be a true "gun camera" option, separate from recording normal tracks. The "films" could then be the monochrome, grainy, shaky, scratchy, prop strobing recordings of the beautiful full color action scenes that are the "real life" inside the sim.
What I think we can agree on, is that we all don't want is a rotating disc of alternating light and dark to aim through. With the gunsight zoomed in, that type of prop becomes a kind of "shutter" itself - the rapid blinking on and off will drive you epilectic. If anyone here has ever played Fighter Squadron SDOE, they will know just what I am talking about.

Good topic!

goshikisen
03-20-2006, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by gates123:
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/1241.gif
Comparing a PF screenshot vs a ww2 film photo with variable shutter speeds is crazy. Your comparing apples to oranges regardless of how the n1k2 is modeled. Find another pond to fish out of and let Oleg worry about things that actually help "gameplay".

Watch gun camera footage... watch USAAF footage of B-29 raids over Japan. You will see the dynamics of the propeller in those clips are much like that portrayed by the FB N1K2. I've already stated that the still photos are not a definitive representation of the way the propeller whould look... there would be a great deal of variable motion blurring but at the same time you would be able to discern 4 blades at variable speeds as opposed to the solid disc. I'm using the photos as a general frame of reference. You see this phenomenon in real life... it isn't dependant on a certain FPS. I've been to many airshows and watched Spits and Corsairs increase RPM as they taxied and saw this in the prop blades... ditto as they went through the flying display. No solid discs did I see. You see it when you watch the wheels of a car driving alongside you on the freeway... (particuarly evident if it decelerates or accelerates) it's not particular to still photos or motion picture film.

If gameplay is the only area of concentration in terms of perfecting the series then Oleg would have been better served adding realistic flight models to generic box models and calling them aircraft. I personally think Graphics are a big part of this sim... I don't get a kick out of arguing ad infinitum about ammo loads though I wouldn't accuse those who do of spamming the forum.

Tell me this... is the N1K2 propeller in PF wrong?

p.s. I suppose at the heart of it I'd like Oleg to increase the transparency on the Superfortress props... They're a bit over the top in comparision to other 4 blade aircraft.

Dimensionaut_
03-20-2006, 12:53 PM
How you see propellers in footage has everything to do with shutter speeds.

Look at both B-29 pics posted. one is nearly standing still the other is moving a lot. The first is taken with a high shutter speed the second with a much slower speed.

To make it short: you see what the camera saw: the rotation of the propellor in the 1/500th to 1/60th (or what ever) of a second that the shutter of the camera was open. This both goes for film and still camera's

To know how it should be modelled in a game, you should take a look at a propeller or a fan with your own eyes and not through any kind of camera.
You will see a solid circle, like the B-29, P-47 and Tempest captures from the game.

goshikisen
03-20-2006, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by Serval_1JaVA:
Look at both B-29 pics posted. one is nearly standing still the other is moving a lot. The first is taken with a high shutter speed the second with a much slower speed.

Either that or the engines of the second B-29 are running at a higher RPM than that of the first.


Originally posted by Serval_1JaVA:
To know how it should be modelled in a game, you should take a look at a propeller or a fan with your own eyes and not through any kind of camera.
You will see a solid circle, like the B-29, P-47 and Tempest captures from the game.

You will see changes in the dynamic of the propeller in real life as the engine increases and decreases in RPM. I've watched the CWH Lancaster increase revs as it was warming up it's engines and flying over and saw some definite variation in the appearance of the prop.

As I've stated previously... I know that the photos freeze the action. I'm just trying to get to some happy medium... the Superfortress is over the top... and the N1K2 may be too "film-like" in it's portrayal. Which is right?

Boyington6
03-20-2006, 01:11 PM
It's just a different interpretation. But seeing distinct blades on a prop turning a couple thousand RPM through human eyes without some kind of mechanical device is a physiological impossibility. Whoever modeled the prop on thic a/c chose to go with the "movie" look. But hey, as photos are likely the bulk of the visual references for this a/c (just as you have based your visual references), one could suppose that was the reason.

Suppose a prop is turning, say 2400 RPM. In one second that prop will turn 40 revolutions. In a 1940's movie camera there is a rotating shutter, comprised of a metal semicircular disc between the lens and the film. Movie cameras of the era usually had variable speeds. I owned one that ranged from 8 - 48 FPS, but the normal standard is 24 FPS. So that shutter is rotating at 24 RPM to expose each frame of film. However, in a still camera of that era, shutter speeds range from 1 second to 1/500, to allow for different exposure times.

So you could estimate your 2400 RPM prop could be photographed at ~1/250th sec. to achieve a still photo of nice wide blades, like our N1K2

Better go to your local flying club, though. You may be surprised to view a plane now and compare it with your recollections.

goshikisen
03-20-2006, 01:17 PM
I'm open to the idea that my recollections have been clouded by watching more film footage that actual aircraft... but would anyone disagree that the Superfortress props are too dark?

Boyington... consistent RPM would have give us a solid disc but would variations in engine speed change the way we see the blurring of the prop? I'm not really thinking about distinct blades being seen but variations in blurring, the speed at which the blur revolves and the expansion and contraction of the blurs at speed. (get all that? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif)

Thanks, Goshikisen.

gates123
03-20-2006, 02:14 PM
this all sounds like alot of work for the benefit of what?? We dont see propeller blades the way cameras do. What we have now simulates prop blades at medium to high rpms. Thats good enough.

VW-IceFire
03-20-2006, 02:55 PM
goshikisen has a very good idea here. Prop blades in this game are remarkably good but the N1K-1J shows them off at their absolute best. There is room for improvement on them....and while our judgements may be clouded by loads of video footage...I have had the rare opportunity to stand behind, near, and infront of multitudes of warbirds while their engines were running. I even had to cover my eyes from the dust that a Spitfire Mark IX kicked up when it turned around away from me so believe me when I say I've been close and personal.

Your eye can see distinctly four blades...or at least mine can. Its a blur...and what you see most of is the marks on the edges of the propeller (usually yellow). If anything...the more transparent the better.

With all of this said...I think this is yet another thing that we should not be talking about in the context of the current game engine. BoB is where its at...PF development time should be spent on finishing whatever content is left to be added. We do have to realize that the current engine is more and more limited.

Capt.LoneRanger
03-20-2006, 04:20 PM
As Oleg stated before, there's always the choice to be made to either have realistic effect or a cinematic effect. Of course the props of the ShidenKai looks nice, but that is because what we expect from movies. If you look at a turning prop in real life, you won't see anything close to that, unless the prop is spinning in VERY low RPM.

LEXX_Luthor
03-20-2006, 05:50 PM
There's another thing -- prop disc darkness. In real life, the prop disc does not cause drastic light level reduction so much that it cripples your vision, especially at low light levels or in night mission. This is related to flight sim attempts (all failures) to model "canopy glass." The problem is Pure Artists who make the Sims don't understand the concept of computer monitors not having the vast brightness range needed to model transparent objects without crippling the player's view.

A good example is most of the USA planes in FB/PF have very dark "canopy glass" that drastically reduces the light coming in from the external environment. To check this, fly a USA plane -- P-51 Dora for example -- and rapidly switch back and forth between cockpit view and external view and compare blue sky brightness and contrast. Its like a strobe effect, the "canopy glass" dark tint is so extreme, never mind what it does to the brightness of the terrain below.

I think all recent flight sims try to do this with the canopy, although there are excellent alternatives. A great example is FB/PF dynamic sunlight glass panel reflection (Fw-190, I-16, Bf-110G, etc...). Another example is the dynamic sunlight glinting scratches in LOMAC canopies. Both of these more modern methods do not require heavy dark tinting to let the player know there is "glass" about. Flight sims can move away from dark tinting of glass and maybe prop discs also.

HelSqnProtos
03-20-2006, 06:19 PM
S~!

Prop disks are fine.

No need to waste resources on something that will not affect or enhance play. Lets concentrate on FM,DM, and GM issues.

goshikisen
03-20-2006, 07:09 PM
Originally posted by HelSqnProtos:
S~!

Prop disks are fine.

No need to waste resources on something that will not affect or enhance play. Lets concentrate on FM,DM, and GM issues.

If I remember correctly you gave up on this sim a couple months ago by definitively stating that it was dead. Now you're worried about correcting DM and FM issues?

The Thunderbolt prop animation would have been more than adequate for the Superfortress... as a matter of fact if they had used something similar to it I would never have brought up the prop animations as I have. Take a look at the Superfortress animation... it's crude and not transparent enough. Icefire mentioned the fact that you could discern the yellow tips of the prop on a real life Spit... you can on the Thunderbolt and many others in the series but not the Superfortress. In some ways it shows signs of being rushed.

My main area of interest is the Late War Pacific Theatre... if you've spent as much time as I have trying to both skin the Superfortess and shoot it down you'd see what I mean.

Regards, Goshikisen.

Boyington6
03-20-2006, 09:23 PM
"consistent RPM would have give us a solid disc but would variations in engine speed change the way we see the blurring of the prop? I'm not really thinking about distinct blades being seen but variations in blurring, the speed at which the blur revolves and the expansion and contraction of the blurs at speed."

Well, you are correct there. At low RPM's while doing engine run-ups in PA-31's I noticed that staring at either prop straight on and keeping one's eyes still would make it still seem like a solid disc. Move your eyes at all - and you could perceive individual blades in the exact instant you moved them. I think this is maybe the phenomena that you are referring to. I have noticed a similar thing looking at picket or chainlink fences while driving on the highway. It's a human eye thing. And impossible until Cray makes a desktop http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

If anything needed to be changed with the props and how they look, it's how they look from the side. Real props have an apparent thickness in their "disc" that becomes less transparent as you get closer to the spinner or hub. The look of it does change when pitch is varied. The props in the sim also change their look from the side - but they do it in a way that uses less resources, I assume.

I do not dispute anyone's perception, either. I know full well we could all see things quite differently from one another, and never know.

Move this to the art and philosophy forum http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Mysticpuma2003
03-21-2006, 01:35 AM
All i'd like to add is that shutter speed in the game should make no difference. If the props on the planes are turning, and they are on the same map, the shutter speed (which in reality there isn't) would be the same for all aircraft.

So if the Japanese planes prop can be seen, the same should apply to the props on the other planes.

BUT, we'd then have to work out how fast the props are turning (engine speed) as a faster rotation would equal more blur. So my answer is

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif

Boyington6
03-21-2006, 11:59 AM
"If the props on the planes are turning, and they are on the same map, the shutter speed (which in reality there isn't) would be the same for all aircraft."

But as these A/C are (I assume) visually referenced from different photos taken by different photographers in varying conditions with a wide range of equipment, and the (model builders) artists themselves subject to a whole host of variables, it's amazing the whole works fits together as smoothly as it does. However, even with the little idiosyncracies of style, I do think the model builders have reached a remarkable amount of consistency. There are sims that have many A/C like this one, but none have captured a signature "look" that elevates them into the realm of art like this one. However, art is subjectively interpreted by everyone, and thusly, I believe there are no right or wrong answers.

At the end of the day though, I will attack a bomber, and pass by quickly enough that I cannot tell if anything is amiss with the way props look. It may become more relevant to me if we eventually end up with practical stereoscopic displays, and this game gets ported to a 3D environment.

goshikisen
03-21-2006, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by Boyington6:
At the end of the day though, I will attack a bomber, and pass by quickly enough that I cannot tell if anything is amiss with the way props look.

There lies the difference I suppose... I've spent so much time skinning the Superfort that the props have become the elephant in the room for me.

Boyington I appreciate your knowledge and the respectful way you've imparted it.

Cheers, Goshikisen.

ManicGibber
03-21-2006, 05:13 PM
I have a small issue with the Betty's propellor disc color being tinted red, however when the engine is stopped the propellor blades are a dark greyish color, come to think of it, maybe even the Zero's are this way as well.

Boyington6
03-21-2006, 05:29 PM
Goshikisen, have you made your skin available for download? If so, may I have the link?

Thanks in advance!

HelSqnProtos
03-21-2006, 08:34 PM
Originally posted by goshikisen:

If I remember correctly you gave up on this sim a couple months ago by definitively stating that it was dead. Now you're worried about correcting DM and FM issues?


Please find that quote from me (link). I would love to see it.

Do you really believe that this issue is more important that all the MANY DM, FM, and GM problems still left? You can't think of anything more worthy to fix than prop disks?

For sure there have been lots of complaints about those in ORR http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

goshikisen
03-21-2006, 10:06 PM
Originally posted by HelSqnProtos:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by goshikisen:

If I remember correctly you gave up on this sim a couple months ago by definitively stating that it was dead. Now you're worried about correcting DM and FM issues?


Please find that quote from me (link). I would love to see it. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The issue was whether or not this sim still had life in it... a variety of folks, including myself, indicated that Ian Boys' Burma and Norway map, Jurinko, Martin and Robo's Slovakia map and the imminent release of the 4.03 patch were a strong indication that this sim still had legs. You would have none of it... contending that all attention should be focused on BoB and that there was no room for growth... you said the sim was finished. I'd love to hear you deny this. Many of the threads you participate in end up being locked... it may or may not be out there. Do you deny this?


Originally posted by HelSqnProtos:
Do you really believe that this issue is more important that all the MANY DM, FM, and GM problems still left? You can't think of anything more worthy to fix than prop disks?

For sure there have been lots of complaints about those in ORR

I've never stated that my concerns are any less or more important than others. Oleg is free to correct or not as he sees fit. Does this make my vision of the sim any less legitimate than yours? Protos, have you ever skinned an aircraft? This sim has many dimensions... not just online game play. I'm interested in any corrections that can be made... I'm just pitching my own idea.

I notice you're very quick to put people in their place if their ideas for the furtherment of IL2 aren't in line with yours.

Regards, Goshikisen.

p.s. "Forget the PF series. Fly and fight what we have, the pf chapter is closed. Let the new chapters be written."

"PF is over, there is nothing new or of real importance planned. Time to move on."

"Believe what you will gents. Its over. Time to ride the B.O.B. wave."

December 2005... it wasn't that long ago.

goshikisen
03-21-2006, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by Boyington6:
Goshikisen, have you made your skin available for download? If so, may I have the link?

Thanks in advance!

Boyington... I'm having trouble with the mapping of the nose on the Superfortress. It's, for lack of a better word, weird. Noseart get's stretched every which way. I hope to have something soon. I want to release a good 10 or 11 of them representing the prominent Wings of XX and XXI Command.

Here's a sample of what I'm working on...

A couple examples of B-29 Nose Art I created in Adobe Illustrator:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v460/goshikisen/noseart.gif

The skin I'm working on... this one being Gravel Gertie of the 73rd Wing, 500th Group.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v460/goshikisen/gertie.jpg

Bearcat99
03-22-2006, 04:48 AM
He's not comparing it to photos.. hes comparing it to the kai.... which shows that it can be done in the sim. Gosh considering the Kai I see your point and agree.. I wonder how much of a stretch it would be to accomplish.. that will probably determine more than anything else whether or not it gets done.

goshikisen
03-22-2006, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by Bearcat99:
I wonder how much of a stretch it would be to accomplish.. that will probably determine more than anything else whether or not it gets done.

At this point I'd be more than happy if the Maddox Games folks were to make a simple improvement in the Superfortress prop a la the Thunderbolt prop.

It leaves me wondering about the prop animations... are they entirely independant of the model? Are they part of the model and part of the texture? Where is the prop information held and can it be changed without having to bother the developers?

Hawgdog
03-23-2006, 07:05 AM
I have little notice of props looking out my cockpit. Unless we could make the planes I fly have invisible props!
I bet wonderwoman fliers/servers could benefit from fancier props..

blindpugh
03-23-2006, 12:47 PM
Originally posted by HelSqnProtos:
S~!

Prop disks are fine.

No need to waste resources on something that will not affect or enhance play. Lets concentrate on FM,DM, and GM issues. Too right Protos

hobnail
03-23-2006, 04:24 PM
I've noticed the props on the N1K1 and have appreciated their different look but I definately trace my appreciation to my memory of guncamera footage and still-shots.

Now this doesn't mean that it's wrong per se. It was sort of like the "squiggly" tracers in B-17-II where I decided that it wasn't correct but it was basically what I wanted to see when I manned the tailguns because of my memory of guncam footage. So I liked it.

Now here, I know that real props don't look that way and it isn't part of the "experience".

Definately I'd like to see more animation of the prop (blur changes in line with RPM and pitch, animated blades when at rest etc). I guess this model's tweak shows that the animation can do a lot more for immersion in the future http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif