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rbstr44
03-15-2004, 05:59 AM
Please consider using the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) image format (or any other comparable internally compressable format!). PNG may offer a better alternative for storage and transmission of aircraft and pilot skins over the Internet. If BoB can transmit skins files in a compressed format, perhaps more people could/would allow online skin file transfers because PNG file transfers would use much less network bandwidth.

Main website: http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/

Top advantages:<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Lossless Compression (as opposed to current JPEG standard)
<LI>Open Source! (no patents or licensing issues)
<LI>PNG supports truecolor, and palette-based (8-bit)/indexed color[/list]
Source: http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/pngintro.html

An example which is included with the IL2:FB installation--a Walter Nowotny Bf109 skins file in native BMP. Below, compare the sizes of this skins file in the native BMP and converted PNG formats; PNG format was written by Adobe Photoshop 5LE.

$Walter_Nowotny.bmp (http://members.cox.net/robster2/$Walter_Nowotny.bmp) 1049654Bytes (1025KB)
$Walter_Nowotny.png (http://members.cox.net/robster2/$Walter_Nowotny.png) 384384Bytes (375KB)
PNG is 37% as large in Bytes
PNG takes 36% as much time to upload (11.97sec @ 32.11KB/sec vs. 33.06sec @ 31.75KB/sec)
[single test--your test results may vary]

Certainly, there would be a tradeoff involved in having to read compressed PNG skins files into memory, decompress them and write them back into additional memory as Windows Bitmap (BMP) or Device Independent Bitmap (DIB) format so that the program can display them. However, network bandwidth seems to be one of the limiting factors on how many IL2:FB clients may attach to a single server. If significant network bandwidth was saved by transferring PNG format skins files instead of BMPs, then perhaps we could have both: many players flying on the same server, and players skins transfers enabled.

rbstr44
03-15-2004, 05:59 AM
Please consider using the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) image format (or any other comparable internally compressable format!). PNG may offer a better alternative for storage and transmission of aircraft and pilot skins over the Internet. If BoB can transmit skins files in a compressed format, perhaps more people could/would allow online skin file transfers because PNG file transfers would use much less network bandwidth.

Main website: http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/

Top advantages:<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>Lossless Compression (as opposed to current JPEG standard)
<LI>Open Source! (no patents or licensing issues)
<LI>PNG supports truecolor, and palette-based (8-bit)/indexed color[/list]
Source: http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/pngintro.html

An example which is included with the IL2:FB installation--a Walter Nowotny Bf109 skins file in native BMP. Below, compare the sizes of this skins file in the native BMP and converted PNG formats; PNG format was written by Adobe Photoshop 5LE.

$Walter_Nowotny.bmp (http://members.cox.net/robster2/$Walter_Nowotny.bmp) 1049654Bytes (1025KB)
$Walter_Nowotny.png (http://members.cox.net/robster2/$Walter_Nowotny.png) 384384Bytes (375KB)
PNG is 37% as large in Bytes
PNG takes 36% as much time to upload (11.97sec @ 32.11KB/sec vs. 33.06sec @ 31.75KB/sec)
[single test--your test results may vary]

Certainly, there would be a tradeoff involved in having to read compressed PNG skins files into memory, decompress them and write them back into additional memory as Windows Bitmap (BMP) or Device Independent Bitmap (DIB) format so that the program can display them. However, network bandwidth seems to be one of the limiting factors on how many IL2:FB clients may attach to a single server. If significant network bandwidth was saved by transferring PNG format skins files instead of BMPs, then perhaps we could have both: many players flying on the same server, and players skins transfers enabled.

rbstr44
03-18-2004, 03:24 AM
Why even suggest using Portable Network Graphics (PNG)?

The future. Total Internet network bandwidth availability is probably going to stay about the same or grow slowly over the next several years. Unfortunately, with more people connecting, more spam, more Internet worms, etc., the utilization of the Internet is going up. With the folding of many "Dot-com" companies, and the bankruptcy of the Internet long-haul carrier giant, WorldCom, I do not think we will see many new companies jumping in to provide additional Internet backbone capacity. There is not much competition going on at the local level (in my neck of the woods, anyway) to increase the capacity of cable or DSL. And, when it comes to moving data around the world, the speed of light still sucks. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif When BoB comes out, we will need to be mindful of these limitations; 1C can do its part by limiting the size of skins files by transmitting compressed file formats.

Here is the current situation. On Ubi.com, there are servers whose owners request that clients turn off the aircraft skin transfer setting (thus, only allowing flying with default skins) due to the large bandwidth required to send/receive high-detail skins files (which reside on the hard disk drive as 1.0MB Windows Bitmaps (.BMP). Example: for servers attempting to host more than a dozen players, if everyone applies 1MB skins, then this results in a substantial amount of bandwidth consumed, and may contribute to network latency (lag). IMHO, server owners are justified in asking players to turn off skins transfers as the best online play is achieved when all clients have the lowest possible network latency; moving around 1MB files to everyone connected to the server increases net congestion, and may delay network packet deliveries (higher latency).

Nevertheless, for me in IL2:Original, a big part of the online experience was in being able to use external view mode to see everyone else's aircraft skins. I also enjoyed making several of my own, then. Nowadays, I do not get to see quite as many player-made skins adorning various aircraft from other people online; yet, business at IL2skins.com is booming. More people are switching to broadband, yet, fewer servers allowing skins, perhaps. Okay, maybe it boils down to a simple online choice: good combat or good artwork. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif So, if 1C does not already have a plan for better optimization of skins file transfers in BoB, I hope they would consider using PNG format for stored and transmitted skins, and maybe we could have a little of both.

[This message was edited by rbstr44 on Thu March 18 2004 at 02:33 AM.]

Zen--
03-18-2004, 10:33 AM
I also lament the fact that we cannot have skin download on without lagging DF servers.

Interesting suggestion Rbstr, thanks for posting. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

-Zen-
Tracks (http://209.163.146.67/tracks)

rbstr44
03-19-2004, 07:05 AM
Zen, thanks.

Yes, it would be nice to have both skins downloads and smoothe gameplay. I know server owners would want that, too. Certainly, they do not want to have to sacrifice good PING numbers.

[EDIT: I was getting way too long winded in my response to you, Zen! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/blink.gif I'll save those other thoughts for another post later http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ]

[This message was edited by rbstr44 on Fri March 19 2004 at 07:06 AM.]

rbstr44
03-22-2004, 04:05 AM
1C could save a bunch of network bandwidth using current technology--they might even already have a plan for using skins file compression for network transfers! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif If not, the zlib compression/decompression engine component of PNG is public domain (RFC 1950), and could be used in BoB internally without 1C even having to make users switch over to PNG. Still, having skins stored on the hard disk drive in PNG files would save us users much diskspace (see my first post!), and might save a few CPU cycles during skins file transfers if those skins are copied directly off the hard drive by BoB and sent over the net.

The downside is that PNG has to be decompressed by zlib to be used inside a program; that is, it costs more CPU cycles, initially, and requires more memory to put PNG graphics on the screen than those stored as BMP. And, this tradeoff occurs whether PNG is transmitted over the Net, or read from the HDD for each PNG file. Nevertheless, I am sure that 1C will consider all the potential benefits and tradeoffs--if they have not already done so. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The good news: CPU's are getting faster, and memory is getting cheaper. Probably, a lot of people will be buying new or upgrading to play BoB (start saving now! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ). Internet bandwidth growth is static. The choice is obvious: PNG and/or zlib.

Displacement through a Slab of Glass
http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/refraction/displacementcolorthreebeams.jpg
Entering and exiting rays are displaced
from each other, but parallel.
Refraction of Light (http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/refraction/refraction.html)