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Review of FG on reddit: xpost

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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Thorsten » Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:35 am

@Hooray: To be fair I think you just expanded this sentence:

That's not saying we don't do anything - but it's not as central as other themes are.


to a lot more words :mrgreen:
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby erik » Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:41 am

About the startup graphics aspect being 1990-ish:
I wonder if it would be possible to create configuration files based on OpenGL capabilities to set certain options, mucht like a joystick configuration file but instead for video cards.

The glxinfo utility shows an awful lot of information which probably be used for tuning the default setup.

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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Parnikkapore » Sat Feb 06, 2016 11:49 am

X-plane looks older from my perspective. As you can see from the Google logo,more shadows mean more age.
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby erik » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:39 pm

I was more referring tot the scene rendering when first starting FlightGear.
And the option to turn on specific ALS options for certain OpenGL renderers.

For instance mine is "GeForce 9600 GT/PCIe/SSE2" which can have almost anything set to on without much hit on frame-rate except for procedural 3d textured cities which hurts performance badly.
But it does not allow to set the densities much higher than default.

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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Hooray » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:37 pm

erik wrote in Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:41 am:About the startup graphics aspect being 1990-ish:
I wonder if it would be possible to create configuration files based on OpenGL capabilities to set certain options, mucht like a joystick configuration file but instead for video cards.

The glxinfo utility shows an awful lot of information which probably be used for tuning the default setup.
[...]And the option to turn on specific ALS options for certain OpenGL renderers.

For instance mine is "GeForce 9600 GT/PCIe/SSE2" which can have almost anything set to on without much hit on frame-rate except for procedural 3d textured cities which hurts performance badly.
But it does not allow to set the densities much higher than default.


James, Mathias and a few others have been wanting to do this for years: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Supporting_m ... _renderers
Note that Tim's effect subsystem already exposes most of the GL* info at the property level, i.e. for predicates.
So it would be possible to also come up with an XML-configurable rendering pipeline - in fact, Zan once came up with a modified CameraGroup design that would move the whole hard-coded pipeline to XML space: Improved camera configuration options

These days, the Canvas system would be the most logical subsystem to be adapted for CameraGroup support using Zan's original patches: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Canvas_Devel ... ng_Cameras

Regarding the splash screen in particular, we do have patches that make the Canvas & Nasal subsystems available much earlier, so that the whole thing can be entirely scripted, including support for fully interactive splash screens - e.g. imagine displaying aircraft instruments (MFDs), or even the Aircraft Center dialog:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Canvas_Devel ... sh_Screens
http://wiki.flightgear.org/Initializing_Nasal_early
Image

Some of the original discussions/patches are to be found here:

viewtopic.php?f=71&t=23542&p=214467&hilit=#p214463
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=28456&p=271795&hilit=#p271775
viewtopic.php?f=71&t=22021&p=207450&hilit=#p200146

Note that this would help us with unifying the 2D rendering back-end, and improving compatibility with OpenGL/OSG, by getting rid of legacy OpenGL code (splash, HUD, 2D panels, PUI): http://wiki.flightgear.org/Unifying_the ... via_canvas
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby erik » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:46 am

This is way over thinking of what I had in mind.
The only thing I want to do is detect the video card and based on the GL renderer name turn on ALS (or not), turn on water shader (or not), turn on the 3d city shader (or not), etc.

The default would not be touched but based on the detected video card certain options would get enabled, making the first impression much more pleasant (for first time users).

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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Hooray » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:42 am

erik wrote in Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:46 am:This is way over thinking of what I had in mind.
The only thing I want to do is detect the video card and based on the GL renderer name turn on ALS (or not), turn on water shader (or not), turn on the 3d city shader (or not), etc.

The default would not be touched but based on the detected video card certain options would get enabled, making the first impression much more pleasant (for first time users).



Okay, I see, thanks for clarifying - that's basically a form of feature-scaling: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Feature_Scaling

Like you say, we could expose most of the GL* info at the property tree level, and then use Nasal/propertylist rules to dynamically toggle features on/off during startup, i.e. sort of a better customizable initialization sequence.

The easiest way to implement something like this would be supporting "data overlays", i.e. in the form of fgfsrc/preferences.xml files that are stored in $FG_ROOT/Profiles and automatically overlaid over default startup options once a certain GL vendor/make and GPU model are detected, e.g. by having:

$FG_ROOT/GraphicsProfiles/NVIDIA
$FG_ROOT/GraphicsProfiles/AMD-ATI
$FG_ROOT/GraphicsProfiles/INTEL
$FG_ROOT/Graphics Profiles/MATROX
$FG_ROOT/GraphicsProfiles/Other

Each vendor-specific sub-folder could then contain graphics related xml overlays that will be loaded on top of the default startup options (i.e. those not customized/overriden by the user) - what that means is that the current hard-coded default settings in fg_init.cxx would need to be dynamically loaded during startup using the APIs from props_io.cxx.

The corresponding startup profiles could be either conventional PropertyList XML files, or support embedded Nasal/property-rule blocks to provide support for regex-matching etc.
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Parnikkapore » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:44 am

For Example: if you got an Intel(internal) gpu then start with everything minimum. If you got something else then max things out by default.

Should have other considerations though; CPU(have you got an old Xeon or a Core i5?),GPU grade(AMD,Basic Nvidia,Gaming grade...)
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Hooray » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:55 am

You can do that by settings /sim/rendering/* as required, i.e. loading pre-configured profiles from $FG_ROOT

CPU/RAM and VRAM info is not currently available, but we have patches providing this sort of info:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Resource_Tra ... FlightGear
Image
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Thorsten » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:04 am

It does not seem to be a technical problem - to query a string from the property tree is easy, to write a routine which sets other properties based on what the string says is equally easy.

The problem is the meat of it - someone has to know what settings are likely to run on what graphics cards. And someone has to write the routine that does it. Then it's done.

I am quite able to do it, but I'm not really interested in the problem, and I'm not interested in getting all the complaints where the settings misjudged the capability of a system. So someone else can do it :-)
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Hooray » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:10 am

This is something where it would make sense to provide a benchmark and test various combination of settings on different systems and gather all results in a central database to determine a safe subset of settings that should work for most AMD/ATI, NVIDIA and Intel boards - note that the CrashRpt tool is already gathering feedback on crashes and sending that to a webserver, where it is stored in a database.

Assuming that there will be more than 1000 downloads after each release, such a database could grow quickly.

Note that Nasal does support making http requests - in other words, even a simple Nasal script could be used to send the results to such a webserver where they could be post-processed.

We could provide a --disable-gpu-profiles to resort to the old behavior, or require people to explicitly enable the new system via something like --enable-gpu-profiles, i.e. trying to pick an appropriate set of standard settings

The more difficult thing is fixing up subsystems that are not currently able to be reset/restarted with restarting FG as a whole

Note that the rendering settings dialog will already detect the INTEL substring and show a warning if appropriate
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Parnikkapore » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:31 pm

Hooray,I'm sorry to interrupt,but the discussion is off topic.

I suggest you move the discussion to another thread related to feature scaling,such as mine.

Stuart,it's your job to decide what to do.
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby Hooray » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:37 pm

Hooray,I'm sorry to interrupt,but the discussion is off topic.

I am not sure I agree with you- basically, the best thing that could happen to a review/reviewer is that their review is actually discussed by contributors and developers interested in addressing some of the issues highlighted in the review, by implementing features/code.

So what is happening is that we are looking at the review and contributors are discussing how to tackle some of the issues discussed in the review, until things are materializing in actual code/features, I would rather keep this in a single place for now.

However, I have been updating the corresponding wiki article.
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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby erik » Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:27 am

It could be a good idea to make sure the configuration has at least 20fps at KSFO.
Also it would be a one time configuration for after a (re)install. The settings would be written to a local configuration afterwards so users could still tweak for their own liking.

BTW. Is Matrox still a factor?

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Re: Review of FG on reddit: xpost

Postby legoboyvdlp » Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:47 pm

Erik, I doubt I'm seeing 20fps at San Fransisco TerraSync on Multiplayer anytime soon :P

Anyway, nice idea in theory, but I'd have a reason to get a new computer!
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