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Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

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Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby helijah » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:58 pm

Hi all,

For some time certain authors of liveries supply those only in 2048x2048 pixels (some other in 4096x4096). Then certainly, when we stick our nose on the plane fuselage the the difference is obvious. Much thiner and more attractive rivets, details well ........ detailed ....... etc. but, because there is for sur one "but". Who uses FG in sight outside the camera stuck on at 5 cms of the fuselage? Absolutely impossible to pilot in these conditions.

These high resolutions textures weigh down the our PC memory. In MP it destroys very quickly the FPS. All this for a graphic advantage which pleases only the livery author by hampering more that other thing the users who, themselves, wish only to fly in the best conditions.

By the way it is also valid for the ground textures as well.

What to do? Reduce the resolutions to keep the FPS and the resources available, but in this case, in a few years, when PC will be even more powerful and screens wilder, FG will lagging behind be graphically, or to increase the size of textures with the aim of hypothetical future while preventing the current users from flying without trouble?

It seems that the current discussions are more sterile than other thing. Thinks like:"my texture is maybe big, but it is beautiful", "Yes but mine is probably not beautiful, but the FPS is always there" "...bla bla bla ".

But solution, real solution nobody speak about it. Then I am going you to propose a quite simple one and, I think rather easy to implement. Knowing that it is mostly the liveries(and planes) authors that will have to work in ........ hem..... But it is me that! Argh well OK I accept the challenge lol

Here we are. First of all, let us imagine that in the FG graphic options we could find a button (or better a cursor) which allows us to define if our FG is going to work in low resolution, in average resolution or in high resolution. (Yes 3 options seems to me the minimum necessary. Neither too much, nor not enough).

Then, well it is very simple. In the FG code (or SG I'm not sur), any texture call will have have its access path modified like that:

Before: path / file.png (or dds or other)

After: path(way) / RESOLUTION / file.png (or dds or other)

RESOLUTION being a file name defined by default according to the cursor quoted before.

As an example: low resolution the file would be: 1024x1024
Average resolution: 2048x2048
High resolution: 4096x4096

What would give us, as for example for a plane livery (let us take the Westland Whirlwind)

Before: flightgear/data/Aircraft/Westland-Whirl ing / Models / Liveries / agoi.png

After: flightgear/data/Aircraft/Westland-Whirl ing / Models / Liveries / 2048x2048 / agoi.png

Of cource, it would change nothing the xml livery file which would still contain the tag: <texture > Liveries/agoi.png</ texture >

Simply the system would add the good resolution file in the access picture path.

Flightgear/data/Aircraft/Westland-Whirl ing / Models / Liveries / 1024x1024 / agoi.png

Or

Flightgear/data/Aircraft/Westland-Whirl ing / Models / Liveries / 2048x2048 / agoi.png

Or

Flightgear/data/Aircraft/Westland-Whirl ing / Models / Liveries / 4096x4096 / agoi.png


The only constraint for the Liveries authors, to create liveries in various resolutions and to copy them in the right folders. But it can be not compulsory. If a folder or a livery is non-existent it is the closest which will be taken by the system.

It could be thus extended to the ground textures, buildings etc......

And even later, we can imagine 512x512 folders (for the very small configurations) and 8192x8192 and even 16384x16384 for the machines of future smile

We can imagine as an example that the algorithm can even define by itself the folder name according to the existing folder and according to the cursor.

If the cursor is on MIDDLE and what there are folders 512x512, 1024x1024, 2048x2048 then it will set 1024x1024.
But if present folders are 1024x1024, 2048x2048 and 4096x4096 it will set then 2048x2048.

Finally it can be the subject of a discussion. Because what to set if there are only 2 folders or if there are 6 resolution folders.

this would make FG use more simple, more flexible and would allow it to remain excellent in spite of the PC evolution. Without speaking about the of use simplification. launch the Texan T6 as an example. At present it has 7 liveries 1024x1024 and the same ones in 2048x2048 plus the default texture. Because of that there are 15 xml files in the selector menu. Lets imagine if we had 3 or 4 different resolutions. The selector menu would be full of lines proposing the same liveries in various resolutions.

By using folders and cursor explained here befor, only 8 entries would be available in the selector. The quality choice being made somewhere else.

Obviously, if the resolutions folders (1024x1024, 2048x2048, 4096x4096, in the example) are absent, the algorithm Will keep the default path. It allows obviously to remain compatible with what already exists.

Here we are. I hope that it is clear. Thank you for having read me.

Regards Emmanuel

P.S. Thanks to Didier1963 for translate my post.
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Neilson » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:53 pm

I like this idea, it is something i have thought might be missing in FG After playing Games with the setting you explained.
I go through my FG and lower textures manually, having it in game would be nice to save logging off FG opening photoshop, and then getting back in to FG.

Wurm online, a MMO
http://wurmonline.com/
and
Fallen Earth, a MMO RPG
http://www.gamersfirst.com/

Both use different texture settings 512-1024-2048 for, (Aircraft) your player model, Buildings, Trees, Ground.

Mixing them up makes for good frames and good textures, on the thing that mean most to ones self.
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Pierre.Mueller » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:23 pm

Hmmm....

It is adressing a major problem of many of FGFS (at least for me ;-)), but the proposed solution is - sorry- stupid and not being up to date.

So why is the idea stupid?

The repository is already very, very large. I'm sure I'm not the only one with problems downloading them!
Especially as it contains more 200-300 aircraft which are hardly usuable. Very simple exterior, space wasting textures, unrealistic fdm but wrong leading rating, only few instruments sometimes even not matching, no basic systems.....

Having now a set of the same image file in different sizes will increase repo and package size even more!! Only old school games uses this method, but not a modern single 2013 game.....

And yes, a detailed livery showing all the rivets, dirts, scratches can increases the impression of realism!
(https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater) :shock:

But true: on mp it doesn't make much sense. But as I read, it is possible to create AI-versions of every single aircraft: smaller liveries, no interior etc... Instead of creating just more and more hardly usuable 3d-models, how about creating AI-versions of existing models?

But yes, this increases package size again.

X-Plane does the general job much better: I think based on mipmaps the user can select low, middle or high resolution textures, which generated in runtime. No sets of different sizes needed. In general X-Plane beats FGFS in perfomance. Every AI-ircraft looks better than any aircraft in FGFS.

Conclusion: having a set of different sized image files will increase the size of the repo/ packages- I don't think that's what we want. And what does gitorious.org say about?

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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Thorsten » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:33 pm

Especially as it contains more 200-300 aircraft which are hardly usuable. Very simple exterior, space wasting textures, unrealistic fdm but wrong leading rating, only few instruments sometimes even not matching, no basic systems.....


Commonly claimed, but misleading - the repository size isn't set by the 270 aircraft with simple exterior and hardly any instruments, it's set by the 30 highly detailed aircraft. Vostok-1 comes with 166 MB, Cap 10B with 50 MB, DR400 wth 46 MB, the Tu-154B has 102 MB - the simple dc2 has 2.6 MB, pittss1c has 1.9 MB... you get the picture I guess. For every highly detailed aircraft, you can fit 10-20 of lower detail in.

In general X-Plane beats FGFS in perfomance.


Evidence? Standard of comparison? Benchmark test applied?

Fair performance comparisons are tricky even among different FG setups and graphics cards - so I'd be curious as to what your benchmark standard is.

And yes, a detailed livery showing all the rivets, dirts, scratches can increases the impression of realism!


You can't have both - if you map sub-mm structures on an aircraft, you have a huge repository size by default.
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Pierre.Mueller » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:28 pm

Thorsten wrote in Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:33 pm:Commonly claimed, but misleading - the repository size isn't set by the 270 aircraft with simple exterior and hardly any instruments, it's set by the 30 highly detailed aircraft. Vostok-1 comes with 166 MB, Cap 10B with 50 MB, DR400 wth 46 MB, the Tu-154B has 102 MB - the simple dc2 has 2.6 MB, pittss1c has 1.9 MB... you get the picture I guess. For every highly detailed aircraft, you can fit 10-20 of lower detail in.

...

You can't have both - if you map sub-mm structures on an aircraft, you have a huge repository size by default.



Many a little makes a mickle!

It is true that there are some of the aircraft needs a lot MB. But the aircraft you mention are worth every MB they need!

Negative example: look at the BV-141: 10Mb, but no instruments. And there are some more examples like that....
I understand that such underdeveloped aircraft has to be in the Repo/ Download page! (has been mentioned often enough...)
If we could split up Aircraft from FGData, this would be absolutely no problem. But this never ever happened....

What I want to show is: :
FGdata: 10GB
Aircraft: 6GB

Upps...

The large parts of this are the many textures used. A good aircraft needs good textures, yes. But if we make even copies of them- even if there a bit smaller- package sizes increases again. With MipMap and everything else todays graphics provide we don't need those this....


Evidence? Standard of comparison? Benchmark test applied?

Fair performance comparisons are tricky even among different FG setups and graphics cards - so I'd be curious as to what your benchmark standard is.


That's true. X-Plane offers detailed airports at certain sceneries where FGFS is empty, and the way round. So it is difficult to compare. But not impossible. LOWI exists on both sims- and sorry: at this location X-Plane runs with the same visibility, weather, approx. Object and tree density smoother than FGFS.
That does not mean FGFS is worse in any way than X-Plane. But X-Plane simply makes the best out of todays Computer systems. (multi core support, ...)

So the mentioned approach above is not the right way in my opinion.

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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Gijs » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:50 pm

helijah wrote in Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:58 pm:Without speaking about the of use simplification. launch the Texan T6 as an example. At present it has 7 liveries 1024x1024 and the same ones in 2048x2048 plus the default texture. Because of that there are 15 xml files in the selector menu.

Hm, can you tell me who pushed these liveries, that were already available in the livery database, to git? With the livery database people have to choice to install high resolution liveries or not. By including them all in Git, you force people to load textures they may not even know about.

We could add a function to the database to allow for low-resolution downloads. In fact, my plan is to create aircraft packages (so you can download all liveries for a certain aircraft in a single package), would be trivial to (automatically) provide various versions of the same package. Will have to discuss this with James though, as he's working on a big change in the way we install/distribute aircraft.

Cheers,
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby helijah » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:04 pm

Hi all,

Here we find another issue that should not even exist.

GIT HAS NEVER BEEN, IS NOT, AND WILL NEVER an airplanes depot for users. It is a system of community development. He never was asked users to use it to recover the aircrafts. If they do, then it is knowingly and they do not come crying on the size of the deposit or not finishing some models.

On a GIT repository it's normal! Totally, completely and permanently normal.

Regards Emmanuel

P.S. It's nice to talk about the BV 141. He will soon evolve. But then of course, its size will make shout those who are never happy. classic :)
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Thorsten » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:41 pm

LOWI exists on both sims- and sorry: at this location X-Plane runs with the same visibility, weather, approx. Object and tree density smoother than FGFS.


What precisely is 'the same weather' in FGFS and X-plane? I'm not sure X-plane even has something akin to the Advanced Weather engine (never came across any claim that it had).

From a rendering performance benchmark perspective, it is pointless to argue from 'the same' airport - vertex count of the scenery is an issue to gauge the complexity, there are others. Subtle effect like shading or computing light color may mean that the rendering task is completely different and you're making an apples to oranges comparison. To argue that one rendering strategy is less optimized than another one is a difficult beast as long as you're not aware what exactly they may be trying to do. And there's hardware dependence was well - some systems run deferred rendering really fast, others don't - the FG rendering strategies tend to be fragment-shader heavy, which is an advantage on modern cards with lots of fragment pipelines, not on older cards where vertex shading had more hardware support....

I'm getting LOWI rendered smoothly at maximum graphics settings with 60 fps (vsync) on my card in clear weather - how's X-plane going to render that any smoother? - the card never goes beyond vsync.

That does not mean FGFS is worse in any way than X-Plane. But X-Plane simply makes the best out of todays Computer systems. (multi core support, ...)


The multi-core support issue becomes a bit irrelevant once you realize that with high eye-candy 99% of the computing operations (I'm not kidding) are done on the GPU which has in essence multiple processors optimized to do just this kind of work (vector operations, texture functions...) and is hence a factor 100 or so faster than the best CPU for such work (that's the reason lots of high performance computing these days is done on graphics card clusters). So in terms of the total number of operations done utilizing 1 core might give you 100% performance, utilizing 8 cores may give you at best 107% if you can distribute the work reasonably - which normally you can't.

So X-plane is just filling other cores with work unrelated to rendering and the ultimate framerate you get to look impressive, it's not using them to be faster (which it really can't because the framerate is set by what the GPU can manage - FG in wireframe without taxing the GPU runs with 500+ frames even on my old system) - the only thing that really makes you faster is buying a better GPU.

Seeing all cores utilized in the system manager sure makes people feel good - but it really doesn't buy you any framerate. In the event, X-plane fills the other cores by computing flight dynamics for AI traffic. Which I'm hard-pressed to distinguish from just moving traffoc on a path from 2 miles away.

With MipMap and everything else todays graphics provide we don't need those this....


Sure you do - even if you mipmap, you need the high resolution on file to start with, you can't mipmap 512x512 magically into 2048x2048. Whenever you have hires, the repository gets huge.

Whether you provide 2048x2048 alone or 2048x2048+1024*1024 makes a difference of 25% to the size, because the first texture is 4 times the size of the last. So it's really only the highest resolution level which determines size.

Kindly just make sure you understand things before putting up claims here. Developers aren't stupid, there's lots of discussion going on how to do things, and people who understand real time 3d rendering are working on optimizing the process. Usually there's a reason things are done the way they are, and it rarely is 'because we've always done it that way'. And do the numbers - there's really nothing that beats a little math before making a claim.
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby helijah » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:20 pm

Lol AAAAAHHHH The Mipmapping ! The solution always put forward by all the ignorant lol

About X-Plane I quite agree with you, Thorsten. I even have the 8.64 version here (which begins to be old). For to have all the earth there are 7 DVD found in the box. And with that almost as empty sets without buildings (except generic and cars on the roads, it's true :)). After you need to download or buy airplanes, airports, etc. .... And a graphical output that is now behind FG :) So it's true, Xplane 10 is graphically better than 8. But at the cost of using resources well above FG.

But all this has nothing to do with my original proposal. What do you think, you, Thorsten ?

Regards Emmanuel
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Philosopher » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:21 pm

Emmanuel, I like your idea, it looks like an effective way to provide the option that our users need :). I have two small suggestions:

1) Paths in your system should look as "Textures/$RESOLUTION/livery.png". This makes it clear where the resolution is added and helps avoid confusion when users would see "Textures/livery.png" but find only "Textures/1024x1024/livery.png", etc.

2) Let's say that you, right now, have textures of both sizes, 1024 and 512, for one airplane. Applying the sizing rule, you might want 512, 1024, and 2048 instead of 1024, and 256, 512, and 1024 instead of 512. Thus you will want Textures/256x256 (only has small ones), Textures/512x512 (has both), Textures/1024x1024 (has both), and Textures/2048x2048 (only has big ones). But these are 4 folders for 3 resolutions! The poor computer will be confused :(. How we avoid that: use files instead of folders to find the correct resolution.

E.g.: a big texture is called "livery.png". The computer sees folders Textures/ 256x256, 512x512, 1024x1024, and 2048x2048. The texture, "livery.png", only exists in the last three. Now the computer knows which three to choose from :).

I don't know how we could change textures while FlightGear is running, but we certainly can detect it while FlightGear is loading its models and do something with that knowledge. If I get time, I would be interested in exploring this idea. :D
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby helijah » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:39 pm

Philosopher wrote in Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:21 pm:Emmanuel, I like your idea, it looks like an effective way to provide the option that our users need :). I have two small suggestions:


Hi Philosopher

Thank you :)

Philosopher wrote in Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:21 pm:1) Paths in your system should look as "Textures/$RESOLUTION/livery.png". This makes it clear where the resolution is added and helps avoid confusion when users would see "Textures/livery.png" but find only "Textures/1024x1024/livery.png", etc.

2) Let's say that you, right now, have textures of both sizes, 1024 and 512, for one airplane. Applying the sizing rule, you might want 512, 1024, and 2048 instead of 1024, and 256, 512, and 1024 instead of 512. Thus you will want Textures/256x256 (only has small ones), Textures/512x512 (has both), Textures/1024x1024 (has both), and Textures/2048x2048 (only has big ones). But these are 4 folders for 3 resolutions! The poor computer will be confused :(. How we avoid that: use files instead of folders to find the correct resolution.


Obviously, it was just an idea. The examples are only examples to demonstrate. Before starting it seems logical to start by thinking about the best solutions.

Philosopher wrote in Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:21 pm:E.g.: a big texture is called "livery.png". The computer sees folders Textures/ 256x256, 512x512, 1024x1024, and 2048x2048. The texture, "livery.png", only exists in the last three. Now the computer knows which three to choose from :).

I don't know how we could change textures while FlightGear is running, but we certainly can detect it while FlightGear is loading its models and do something with that knowledge. If I get time, I would be interested in exploring this idea. :D


The high point for me, I described at the end. If there is no change, then use the current method. This allows an active retro compatibility. Cela fait principalement deux choses:

1 - Current aircraft, scenery, buildings etc ... this can continue to work without modification.

2 - This allows to test, modify, improve the system without breaking what already exists. Then after, to change the whole gradually without obligation.

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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby jano » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:48 am

I agree with helijah that the FG git is a sandbox for plane developpers :wink:

but where i disagree is to put more mess in the planes by putting different texture folder.
I prefer a solution where you download a plane tuned to your config, or if there's a way to do this in FG itself.

that's some time now that i don't use the git data to flight anymore, (except for bug reports), instead i simply use a bash script that make a personnal taste adapted version.

this one is to make use of dds textures, but i can imagine others option, like Textures.high removed version, maximum size texture version etc...
this way you keep the git planes in high resolution texture if you like them, but it's not a problem to provide low res/ dds/rgb etc textures, depending the user choice.

there's just a set of tools to set up to do the task, and maybe that's in the pipe for the 3.0 version?

my 2 cents

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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby helijah » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:24 pm

Another possibility of the system. If your plane is a high resolution, the system can automatically choose some low resolution textures for the planes MP if they are present.

Obviously, I do not force anything. And find a system to offer complete packages of different resolutions is quite possible.

Only, now it does not exist. And because of this, it is mandatory to provide several resolutions to reach the greatest number of users. Although it automatically enlarged the deposit. I never allow myself to impose only high resolutions. I do not want to punished unjustly users who have lighter machines.

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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby Cpt Goosnen » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:32 pm

Hy folks, here is a noobs meaning
just ignore it when u have ur own unchangeable ;~)

Who uses FG in sight outside the camera stuck on at 5 cms of the fuselage? Absolutely impossible to pilot in these conditions.

there are planes which have internal views where u can look at the outer hull or?

but here comes the Meaning...

As i understand the Livery Database now, i would totaly agree with mr Mueller in case of the plane textures (Landmass i dont know^^) cause its really a bit to much when we have 75-80+% package size by the liveries. I tryed it with jpgs like ive seen it at another plane and that works (with readme that u shouldnt change the jpgs and there still pngs *rolleye) and i also thought about just to give links to a Livery site or package, but oho there is already a Database :mrgreen:

I think it rl should be enough when we have one or two low textures in the Aircraft folder and load all the others in the Database!
would be the easyest. And one little question, does Git mean that u have permanent changes when somebody has changed something on an aircraft??? or does it make notice u that this and that has changed here and there ? (would freakn me out)

kingless regards
Tob


EDIT: than it should exist of course a readme which explaines if there more (or HD) Liveries and where they can be find
actually quite still naive
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Re: Plane & ground textures high or low resolution ?

Postby stuart » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:33 pm

Hi All,

Taking a wider view of the problem, IMO the issues is really around AI/MP aircraft and reducing their occupancy.

We have 124 .png files under Textures.high/Terrain, which are used for ground textures, a mixture of 1024x1024 and 2048x2048. However, at any given time, only ~20 of them will be in graphics memory. Random buildings, random trees and 3d clouds account for at most 10 1024x1024 textures. Random objects are difficult to measure, but the resource-limited user can easily disable them, so they can be ignored. Placed models are also difficult to measure, but being generous lets say we've got 10 1024x1024 textures there as well.

So for the scenery: ~40 1024x1024 textures in the graphics card memory. Allowing for MipMaps and ignoring any compression that's 80MB. Reducing all those textures to 512x512 would reduce that to 20MB. IMO that's hardly worthwhile, though note that you can achieve most of this if you really want to by deleting the Textures.high directory.

Measuring the cost of a plane is a bit trickier, but let's say we have an aircraft with a 4096x4096 texture for the body, plus a 1024x1024 interior, and intruments totalling 1024x1024. That's 18MB, or 32MB allowing for MipMaps. Reducing the main livery to 1024x1024 would reduce graphics card occupancy to 6MB.

For the user's own aircraft, that single saving of 26MB is hardly worthwhile, but multiplied across all the AI and MP aircraft, it's much more significant.

However, we can do better: We don't need the interior or instruments for AI/MP aircraft. Removing those elements would reduce the graphics card occupancy to 2MB, and save additional model loading/animations. (Actually, there's a subtlty here that I'm ignoring - we have code to defer loading for model files until they come within range, so a well designed aircraft with suitable LoD set up shouldn't load instruments until you get close)

We already have a mechanism to do that: Models under AI/Aircraft.

So, I think the answer here is for aircraft developers to create AI-specific versions of their aircraft. It's pretty straightforward , doesn't require any core development, and has the significant advantage of meaning that users don't need the full aircraft installed to see other flyers using the aircraft in the MP environment.

As an example, the tu154b is 100MB and contains 405 .png textures. The AI version is 5MB and contains 37, of which 30 are liveries, so only a total of 12 textures would be loaded at any given time.

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