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#685812 - 05/31/06 04:57 PM How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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MarkJhnstn Offline
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Just wondered what the maximum size you can have for this game. Would it ever be possible to link 2 or 3 terrains together? ie Dover,Rhineland and Berlin or Africa and Tobruk.

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#685813 - 05/31/06 06:57 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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Major Hippie Offline
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well, we do have the Wake map that is 4 times the size of most of the other terrains

hip63 :p


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#685814 - 05/31/06 07:19 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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I'll have to get that

#685815 - 06/01/06 10:28 AM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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The size was originally hard limited to something like 20x20 miles, but that limit has been defeated in the game code patch. It is now basically limited by the way the terrains are textured - square texture images are tiled onto the terrain, so if you want to have a detailed and varying map, you must have an image file for every tile. I forget the tile size, but I think it might have been 1 sq mile, so a stock terrain would require 400 images. The texture image resolution determines the detail of the ground as viewed - 256x256 tiles would look rather fuzzy, so you wouldn't want to try to include fine details. And 400 unique image files make for a huge download. Large terrains like Wake get around this by using the same tile repeatedly - most ocean looks the same, so you can just use one tile over and over, and a similar technique gives repeating farm fields. However, if you want to have other features, like coastlines, or varying rural landscapes of villages and forests, etc, your tile image count starts adding up. For a dry land map the size of the Wake terrain you would probably be looking at gigabytes of texture files.

Newer sims get around this problem by building terrain image tiles on the fly from a library of component terrain type textures at small scale. For Rowan's BoB, there are only 32 different terrain images, (not including ocean, which is handled separately) ranging from farm fields to city streets. Cropped bits of all of these can be placed together onto a texture tile in four possible orientations, like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, so an infinite variety of appearances is possible for each tile, and the total file size required is under 40MB even for relatively high res 1024pixel images. The displayed tile images are built, according to a simply coded recipe, as the game initializes, and are passed to the graphics card as required. The recipe, along with height data, is contained in another set of files which take up another 40MB, but using this system the game engine easily generates a map 750km on a side.

...It might be possible to create this kind of terrain generating engine for SDOE as an external program that would interface with the internal terrain engine, but it would be a huge undertaking.

#685816 - 06/01/06 12:00 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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Major Hippie Offline
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The Berlin, Iwo Jima & the Med maps I have worked on use repeating textures.

Like said by PV1, the original SDOE terrains took 400+ low-res textures to cover the terrain. The ones I listed above use 30 to 50 hi-res textures to do the same job \:\)

hip63 :p


...remember always fly HIGH!
hip63\'s SDOE Airfield
for Fighter Squadron:SDOE Mission & Skin files
#685817 - 06/04/06 10:02 AM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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Quote:
Originally posted by PV1:


Newer sims get around this problem by building terrain image tiles on the fly from a library of component terrain type textures at small scale. For Rowan's BoB, there are only 32 different terrain images, (not including ocean, which is handled separately) ranging from farm fields to city streets. Cropped bits of all of these can be placed together onto a texture tile in four possible orientations, like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, so an infinite variety of appearances is possible for each tile, and the total file size required is under 40MB even for relatively high res 1024pixel images. The displayed tile images are built, according to a simply coded recipe, as the game initializes, and are passed to the graphics card as required. The recipe, along with height data, is contained in another set of files which take up another 40MB, but using this system the game engine easily generates a map 750km on a side.
you seem to know a lot about this ...
Did you work on terrains or their engines ?
I always wondered how this was done in sims.

#685818 - 06/04/06 10:34 AM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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I have somehow fallen into it, via the BDG for BoB (I presume you know the saga of Rowan's BoB and how the source code was passed to the BDG [BoB Development Group]): the original sim never had any detail on the French side of the channel, but having all the development tools, the BDG new what was required to populate the terrain, they just needed warm bodies to do the work, and I volunteered. (I had been interested in working on terrain for SDOE, but I couldn't get anywhere understanding the OPStudio stuff to edit the height mesh, and with the BDG, the work was easier to understand, and the training was generous).

My latest contribution to the BoB terrain was part of a terrain upgrade released in April (works with either BoB or BoBII), the work of five of us, but only two are currently active, and though it was a great improvement and very warmly received, there is still a massive amount to do, more than we could hope to ever finish by hand. Rowan employed a great number of people to map the English side of the channel; I would guess that completing it would be in the order of a few man-years, far beyond a couple of guys working hobbyist's hours.

#685819 - 06/04/06 11:24 AM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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Quote:
Originally posted by PV1:
I have somehow fallen into it, via the BDG for BoB (I presume you know the saga of Rowan's BoB and how the source code was passed to the BDG [BoB Development Group])
yes, I know the story and was even subscribed to the BDG groups forums some time ago. While I own BoB2, I did not spent too much attention to its current state. I will download the update and look at the french coast. Thank you for your reply.

#685820 - 06/04/06 06:23 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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MarkJhnstn Offline
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I noticed they removed the AA from the french coast. In BoB1 i always got shot down if went anywhere near a Luftwaffe airfield.

#685821 - 06/05/06 06:59 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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In terms of terrain limitations, the actual mesh presents just as much of a limit as the testures. Each tile is made up of a fixed mesh. The tiles are visible from a certain range, measured from the tile centre. So, to make a highly detailed terrain tile, you are stuck with rendering a BIG mesh. Several tiles need to be visible, depending on the amount of 'fog' you have. Normal SDOE terrains had around 13,000 polys for the whole terrain mesh...which really doesn't go very far!

With a plane mesh, you would have low detail models... but the terrain mesh in SDOE does not allow this. If you make a low detail model, it will never join with the edges of the tile rendered in full detail. This is visibly horribly, and clearly visible. The 'background' colour is bright sky blue....

In practice...there is no real barrier to how big you make a terrain, other than the physical issue with hosting huge files.

You can't make the terrains overly detailed, in terms of mesh, since it brings a noticable slowdown even on reasonably fast terrains.

Finally...remember...no speedup or waypoint skipping. Do you REALLY want a terrain that takes hours to fly over?

Anyway...the way SDOE does terrains is unique. There is a reason for this...it's not a good way to do it! Games like UT2004 create terrains on the fly, and do so in varying degrees of detail as you move away from the viewer. Seamlessly. That's how it needs to be done.

I spent countless hours trying to make more physically detailed terrains for this sim, and gave it up as a waste of time.


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#685822 - 06/05/06 07:21 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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Hey Tail,

your post was really enlighting ... the first time someone pointed out a real showstopper in this sim for me.

Thank you a lot for your reply.

#685823 - 06/05/06 09:15 PM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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Tailgunner Offline
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4 times a 'standard' terrain is plenty big enough! I made one for Midway. I got someone to modify the OL tools to let me build a framework, then used MS Excel to build up the numbers for each tile position so I could build it from scratch with correctly positioned tiles. The original OL tools had a size limit... which this exceeded... but the modified version had no practical limit. Worked OK..but was really boring to fly over!I also added some correctly sized carriers with the AI tricked to use them.

What killed it for me was trying to make a decent WW1 terrain with shell cratered no-man's-land and 3d trenches. Easy enough to do, but it had such an impact on framerates....and it showed up issues with SDOE's terrain lighting. You really couldn't pick out the detail when you flew over it. Underneath, SDOE has a brilliant physics engine, and offers a lot of scope. Where it falls down, and in truth, really always has, is in the limitations of the game tacked on it. Give SDOE a new renderer and a proper terrain engine, and it could STILL hold it's own today.


Athlon 64 3000 ( S939)
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#685824 - 06/06/06 06:48 AM Re: How big can a terrain be for SDOE?  
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MarkJhnstn Offline
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I wouldn't want a true-to- scale Terrain for SDOE. That's what cfs2 and cfs3 are for. When i don't have a lot of time but want to fly a mission from take-off to landing, then SDOE is the sim to do it. In my ideal world, the Dover terrain for example would be perhaps 2 or 3 times bigger. Good for longer range bombing missions but still not too big to make the missions very time consuming. i will probably be flying some very roundabout missions on my newly-acquired Berlin terrain now as i have done on others, so i'll be having fun anyway!!!


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