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View Full Version : Alpha blending of coastlines - FB and Pacific Fighters



oddglob
07-18-2004, 04:49 PM
Hi all,

I am a new user to the IL2 series. I have just bought FB and will most probably be purchasing Pacific Fighters when it comes out.

Although I am mostly happy with the sim (excepting the sound), I have noticed that none of the coastlines, river banks or concrete airstrips utilise alpha blending techniques. Although there are obviously a lot of other objects using alpha textures, these are the most obvious ones.

The result of no alpha blending is that none of the above objects are anti-aliased when using Nvidia or ATI cards. This occurs regardless of the settings of the graphic card drivers or in-game settings - perfect mode is just the same as having every slider at minimum in this respect.

Even turning the resolution up to the maximum of the monitor's capability is only half a solution, because most other parts of any given scene will still be anti-aliased - making the difference between the anti-aliased and non anti-aliased areas quite obvious, at least to my eyes.

So far as I am aware, with Nvidia drivers, the anti-aliasing of alpha textures is only available in certain D3D modes, but is not available in OpenGL. With the ATI drivers, the option is not available at all.

All the above is of even greater concern when I think about the upcoming Pacific Fighters sim. Thus far, it has been very difficult for me to tell from any screenshots whether the coastlines have been blended in Pacific Fighters - it is not hard to take a screenshot that "hides" a potential problem. But the few I have seen with a close up of the coasline seems to suggest that although they have improved, the lack of alpha blending is still there.

I hope I am wrong, because having a sim in the Pacific means this problem will become more obvious and far more irritating than it is / was in FB.

When I load up the old Microsoft CFS2, the costlines don't exhibit this problem, and that sim is 5 years old now. I certainly hope that one of the engine improvements in Pacific Fighters will be the rendering of coastlines and river banks, because as it stands, it does not look very good at all.

If anyone happens to know what the situation will be in regard to Pacific Fighters, please let me know.

oddglob
07-18-2004, 04:49 PM
Hi all,

I am a new user to the IL2 series. I have just bought FB and will most probably be purchasing Pacific Fighters when it comes out.

Although I am mostly happy with the sim (excepting the sound), I have noticed that none of the coastlines, river banks or concrete airstrips utilise alpha blending techniques. Although there are obviously a lot of other objects using alpha textures, these are the most obvious ones.

The result of no alpha blending is that none of the above objects are anti-aliased when using Nvidia or ATI cards. This occurs regardless of the settings of the graphic card drivers or in-game settings - perfect mode is just the same as having every slider at minimum in this respect.

Even turning the resolution up to the maximum of the monitor's capability is only half a solution, because most other parts of any given scene will still be anti-aliased - making the difference between the anti-aliased and non anti-aliased areas quite obvious, at least to my eyes.

So far as I am aware, with Nvidia drivers, the anti-aliasing of alpha textures is only available in certain D3D modes, but is not available in OpenGL. With the ATI drivers, the option is not available at all.

All the above is of even greater concern when I think about the upcoming Pacific Fighters sim. Thus far, it has been very difficult for me to tell from any screenshots whether the coastlines have been blended in Pacific Fighters - it is not hard to take a screenshot that "hides" a potential problem. But the few I have seen with a close up of the coasline seems to suggest that although they have improved, the lack of alpha blending is still there.

I hope I am wrong, because having a sim in the Pacific means this problem will become more obvious and far more irritating than it is / was in FB.

When I load up the old Microsoft CFS2, the costlines don't exhibit this problem, and that sim is 5 years old now. I certainly hope that one of the engine improvements in Pacific Fighters will be the rendering of coastlines and river banks, because as it stands, it does not look very good at all.

If anyone happens to know what the situation will be in regard to Pacific Fighters, please let me know.

PF_Coastie
07-18-2004, 04:56 PM
You are on the money man. This has been a gripe of mine from the start. ATI stopped supporting this years ago as did Nvidia. It also has something to do with W-Buffer.

I wish Oleg would rework this part of the code to improve the rivers. Its the biggest that can be improved upon visually imho.

Maybe in BOB! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

PF_Coastie

Coasties Place (http://www.angelfire.com/ultra/coastie0/)

Coasties FB and ATI settings (http://www.angelfire.com/ultra/coastie0/IL2setup.html)
http://home.earthlink.net/~bmcoastie/images/FS_SIG.jpg
Click here to find out more about FIGHTER SWEEPS 2 (http://663blacktigers.net/FS2index.html)


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oddglob
07-18-2004, 05:51 PM
g'day PF_Coastie

Thanks for the reply. I notice that you are an ATI beta tester. If that's the case you might have been aware of the large number of users pressing for ATI to introduce an optional AA algorythm to AA alpha textures. I certainly added my name to the list. I had heard that ATI might have had something up their sleeve to process the alphas only and thus not sacrifice the bandwidth AA'ing all the textures. I guess we can hope, as clearly even my 9600XT card would be fast enough to AA just alphas, but I reckon any card out there at the moment would still choke trying to do high sample rate AA on a 19 inch or larger monitor when processing every single texture in the scene.

Back to PF, the fact that some screenshots aren't AA'ed at all, plus the fact that the AA'ed ones are jpegged and lose the detail, etc, etc, makes it hard to know how much an improvement (or not) PF will be. Still, if I look carefully at that zero float aircraft taking off near the small island, the waterline still seems to suffer the tell-tale non-blended alphas. otoh, if I look at Midway and a couple of press shots showing the Wildcat, the waterline treatment seems to be different again.

But I think you are right in that it really boils down to this being a game code issue, as other developers can around these problems and have been doing so for years. I've had a few games on my HD over recent years that have also had an in-game option to enable alpha-blending (of course they were D3D games).

Makes me tend to wonder if I get PF, where am I going to fly in order to avoid the "jaggies" http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif At least with FB I can stay inland, as the river banks aren't quite as annoying as the coastlines.

PF_Coastie
07-18-2004, 06:04 PM
The river banks are the ones I find most irritating. Especially when you are low and you are in an map that has a lot of rivers. It just looks crappy in the distance. When you are high, its not so bad though.

PF will be the same because it is using the same base code. BOB will be all new!

As for the AA for Alphas, I believe Terry Makedon has already spoken on that issue.

PF_Coastie

Coasties Place (http://www.angelfire.com/ultra/coastie0/)

Coasties FB and ATI settings (http://www.angelfire.com/ultra/coastie0/IL2setup.html)
http://home.earthlink.net/~bmcoastie/images/FS_SIG.jpg
Click here to find out more about FIGHTER SWEEPS 2 (http://663blacktigers.net/FS2index.html)


OFFICIAL ATI BETA TESTER