FS2004 2 texture sheets on a large FS9 AI aircraft?

When texturing a large AI aircraft, like a B-29, is it wise to use 2 x 1024 x 1024 Gmax materials (Dxt3 textures) in order to keep the resolution of panel lines and markings reasonable please?

In the B-29 model I've just built, I used one sheet for the fuselage divided into forward and rear sections and a separate sheet for the wings and tail plane. I noticed that on occasions the wing texture would blur when switching between the 3 different models/paints in the AI viewer. The textures have mips in them and it was obvious what was happening - a much lower resolution mip was being displayed right at the front end, when it should be the full sheet. Zooming right out and back in again restores the full definition. When I tried the textures without mips, everything stayed sharp. This was all happening in the FS9 version of the aircraft and was not present in FSX. I don't know if it makes any difference, but the sheets have alpha channels in them for the reflective surfaces. The FS9 fuselage texture never blurred at any time.

I tried re-converting and re-applying the textures and even merging the unmapped wings from an earlier version of the model and mapping again. I've tried the wings attached to the fuselage to create one part (multi-material) and with them as separate parts. My FS9 Global maximum texture size is set to "Massive". Things were fine initially, but later and only on some occasions, did I notice the wings blurring in the AI viewer whichever way I set up the parts. At the moment I have included an alternative wing texture in the zip that I want to upload that has no mips in it. That solves the problem, but of course it doesn't help with performance.

I guess the problem can be overcome because large default aircraft like the 747 don't blur when used as AI. Can anyone advise please?

John
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
The less textures on an AI model, the better.

Having a single model do an airshow circuit won't hurt performance, but try to assemble a few combat boxes and FPS will dip.
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
Sometimes blurring of large parts can happen when both small and large parts are textured using the same bitmap in a given model. Sometimes they just blur...
 
Yes indeed, I understand the performance issues but I don't want to build large AI aircraft with blurred textures. The wing texture that blurs also has the nose wheel doors on it, so Tom's theory may well hold true. On the other hand the fuselage texture also has small parts on it but that doesn't blur. It also doesn't explain why the default 747 doesn't blur when set up as AI.

John
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
In FS9 scenery modeling if this happens we can use MDL Tweaker II to reset the "texture size" parameter for this texture, which usually fixes this blurriness. Unfortunately, we don't have such a tool when MakeMDL makes the same mistake when creating aircraft models...
 
Does that mean that this is - hypothetically speaking - something that could be fixed by a comparable mechanism, Tom?
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
I would assume so, presuming that aircraft MDL files have the same type of texture size code as scenery MDL files do...
 

arno

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Hi,

I don't know if aircraft MDL files suffer from the same problem with the texture size value in the texture list. But if that is the case, it can indeed be fixed in the same way as I do it for the scenery MDL files.

It is not a magic fix that will fix all blurries, but when they are caused by having very different scales on a texture sheet it helps.
 
I don't know if it helps to understand the problem, but here are the two Gmax materials/Dxt3 textures. Both are actually 1024 x 1024 pixels:



The one on the left has small parts but never blurs. The one on the right also has small parts but occasionally blurs.

Unless there's an answer to this problem that still enables mips, texturing large AI aircraft that need 2 sheets in order to produce a reasonable resolution is not something I really want to contemplate again because the problem is only likely to manifest itself after many hours of work.

John
 

arno

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Hi,

If there are big or small parts on the sheet does not matter. What matters is the resolution of the parts. As long as the big and the small parts use the same amount of pixels per meter in the texture it will be fine.

To check if this is the problem, you can open the asm files that makemdl makes. In each TEXTURE_DEF command there is a float value that determines the size of the texture in meters. This influences when mipmaps are switched and thus a wrong value can result in switching too early and seeing blurry textures.

You could try to manually edit this value and increase it. Then it should switch later. What MDL Tweaker does is check all triangles and calculate the biggest texture size based on all mappings.
 

arno

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Hi John,

I don't think this problem is specific to using 2 textures, it can also happen with one or three textures. At least if it is the issue we think now, that's just a bug in makemdl.
 
Thanks Arno, I think I can see what you are saying. So long as the images within the texture are all at the same scale, then no blurring. It might be for example that the nose doors with the number on them on the right hand texture, is actually to a higher scale than the rest in order to be able to read the number, or in the case of the other model variants, a more detailed set of text.

This is the ASM_0 section I think you were referring to:



I don't understand the sequence of highlighted numbers but there is a definite inconsistency there. Although there are two textures, the materials are greater than that to cater for double-sided, single sided and different transparency settings, eg on the props and the glass. Should all of them be set to the same value and if so, to what value?

John
 

arno

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Hi John,

There is no fixed value it should be, that depends on the texture and the object. But you can try to increase the value so that the mipmaps are switched later. Just try to double the value or so and see if it helps.
 
Success. I changed the 1.000000 value on the B292 texture (the blurring texture) to 15.00 and ran the ASM through BGLC_9.exe and it didn't blur after 10 minutes of switching views in FS9.

That's been a really useful exercise. Thanks Arno.

John
 

arno

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Let me think, maybe I can add some functionality to ModelConverterX to tweak this part for scenery and aircraft MDL files.
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
Any parts of MDL Tweaker you can add to MCX would be a big plus in my opinion. :)

Thanks,
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
Hi all,

I had a problem with one part of the fuselage being blurry on a certain model, and generated the ASM files for it. The texture size number for that texture was set at 1.0000, while other (virtually identical) fuselage textures were set at around 6. I changed all the 1.0000 numbers to 6.0000 (there was more than one set of them in the ASM file) and the resulting MDL file is clear as a bell.

Thanks so much for this technique!
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
I have now solved all of my current blurries problems using this technique - again, thanks. I have noticed that all textures having this problem display a value of 1.0000 in the ASM file - looks like the bug causes these objects to be set to 1.0000, for some reason. Makes it easy to find, anyway. :)
 
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