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The new graphics engine


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Just a question. I assume that "new graphics engine" means that landscape and vegetation will be displayed by newly designed elements. But what about the vehicles? Will they be carried over, both wireframe and skins, or will they be replaced, too? Collected skins - still be usable, or becoming unusable?

I hope the new colour palette stays close to the one there is now, I always liked the colours in which the landscapes are laid before my eyes - no exaggerated cartoonish hysterical colour palettes that look like an LSD trip. The colour palettes used in Skyrim also would be a good orientation. More pastel colours, less flaming bright colours. ;) The anti-example illustrating how not to do it, would be the old Enemy Engaged helicopter games.

And please: if there is any HDR or Bloom, than please only moderately used! I personally can live happily without it. If there is plans for such effects, make them mild only. If people watch it and say "Hey, look, they used HDR/Bloom", then it already is too much, imo. It's like with colour filters in photography: if you notice their use in the final picture, than you did it wrong most of the time.

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Changing the rendering engine doesn't necessarily means changing 3D artwork.

Render engines are responsible for lighting, shadows, textures, shading, etc.

So basically, don't worry.

If there are new artworks for already existing tanks, it will be on the release note.

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Well, SB is not bad at all in terms of polycount, especially if you look at the complexity built into the interiors.

The only thing that is missing to see it as eye candy software are lightings combined with normal maps. (Even if I have to admit that Dejawolf made awesome trompe-l'oeil textures using layers' shadows in photoshop)

Functionally, this also means leveling the sharp, steep slopes that rivers tend to create, making it difficult to script water crossings as units get hung up on river banks and shores.

True.

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I certainly wouldn't say "no" to improvements. I love what Esim has done already. But I would just implore to please be careful with framerate and the amount of vehicles one can have with large battles.

I can now play large battles with almost battalion vs. battalion set ups, on very large maps...enough for plenty of maneuvering. If your improvements limit me to playing say one company vs. one company, it isn't an improvement in my book.

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Darklabor is correct. Maybe a better term would be "improved" graphics engine.

Call it what you want, the render engine itself is newly designed. As an indicator for the substantial nature of changes: It is OpenGL based rather than on DirectX. Even though the artwork will not necessarily change, most objects will however receive at least some sort of a brush-up if not outright replacement.

So, as usual, you should not expect that old mods will still work with this new engine.

We cannot possibly guarantee that without limiting ourselves to a specific (and arbitrary) collection of rendering methods.

For example, the new engine will support, among other things, normal maps. Consequently, all stock artwork will receive a normal map in addition to the other textures. The normal map must coincide with other texture work. Even if the 3D model would not change, some mod texture developed for the old engine would no longer look right because the artificial shadow effects that were necessary until now and which had to be "baked" into the regular texture would now be combined with the shadow mapping based on the normal map, creating weird shadow artifacts.

Likewise, the very fact that there now is a normal map also allows for a new approach in the level of detail for the underlying polygon 3D model. Some surfaces could be simplified, leaving the details to an eventual normal map, some other parts would be modeled in greater detail. Either way, the new model requires a new unwrapping, and consequently some parts of the vehicle textures will now be mapped to different areas on the vehicle.

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I certainly wouldn't say "no" to improvements. ... But I would just implore to please be careful with framerate and the amount of vehicles one can have with large battles.

We can't ignore the improved capabilities of modern graphics cards. We've always followed a policy that the graphics must be good enough to not turn aways players even though we will not add impairing visual improvements just for the sake of better-looking screenshots.

But of course the line is somewhat blurred. What may not noticeably affect the frame rate on one machine may have a bigger impact on another. So we need to find a balance, obviously. Whether everybody will appreciate the new balance, we won't know until after

  1. the feature set of the new engine is complete
  2. the beta testers have gone over it and collected crucial performance data
  3. the programmers have gone over the results of some beta tests to optimize the engine
  4. the beta testers have gone over the optimized engine
  5. the frame rate cost of all new and optimized effects has been determined, and finally
  6. the set of features and effects in the final release has been decided

Nobody should expect that a computer from 2006 will still run the new engine without any costs in frame rate and/or screen resolution and level of detail. We expect a decent, mid-range graphics card supporting the shader model 3.0 (IOW, it should be DirectX 11 capable even if we're not using DirectX render calls).

You should also be aware that we cannot allow a wide range of configuration options as in most computer games, simply because many of the render effects may have certain tactical implications. If, for example, shadows would be made completely optional and one player turns them off in a network session, then seeking a battle position in a shadowed area would not be as beneficial for his opponents as it might otherwise be. So, if we decide that certain features will be part of the new engine, we can at best try and implement a high performance and a high quality version of the effect, but turning it off might be an option reserved for single player mode.

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Dont confuse normal maps with height maps or terrain maps.

http://wiki.polycount.com/NormalMap/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_mapping

http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-236/normal-maps/

"A Normal Map is usually used to fake high-res geometry detail when it's mapped onto a low-res mesh. The pixels of the normal map each store a normal, a vector that describes the surface slope of the original high-res mesh at that point. The red, green, and blue channels of the normal map are used to control the direction of each pixel's normal.

When a normal map is applied to a low-poly mesh, the texture pixels control the direction each of the pixels on the low-poly mesh will be facing in 3D space, creating the illusion of more surface detail or better curvature. However, the silhouette of the model doesn't change. "

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Ah so its just another case of the computer industry abusing the English language to generate jargon.

How can something that by definition "fakes" something be "normal" (conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural).

To me I suspect a "normal" map is the ever popular:

"A two dimensional representation of a three dimensional section of the world's surface drawn to scale depicting both natural and man made features".

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Ah so its just another case of the computer industry abusing the English language to generate jargon.

Not sure if serious, so....

"Normal" in this context has nothing to do with computers specifically (and has been in use longer than computers have existed,) it's a geometry term that means a line or vector that's perpendicular to a point on a surface.

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Ah so its just another case of the computer industry abusing the English language to generate jargon.

How can something that by definition "fakes" something be "normal" (conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural).

To me I suspect a "normal" map is the ever popular:

"A two dimensional representation of a three dimensional section of the world's surface drawn to scale depicting both natural and man made features".

Not normal as in a statistical average, what is meant here is that a light source will come into contact and reflect on vehicle skins. Up until now, shadows and light reflections were only mimicked in the artwork, but Ssnake gives indication here that this will no longer be the case.

So, there will have to be some kind of update to the textures, otherwise the artificial shadows and lights will interfere with the real time lighting effect or they will not mix correctly.

So for example- the reflection on the T-62 turret is merely simulated, it will always be in the same place regardless of orientiation and lighting conditions, it will not work with a real time, dynamic light source.

SS_17_55_52.jpg.217f226da980b7c78055917e

SS_17_55_52.jpg.217f226da980b7c78055917e

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So for example- the reflection on the T-62 turret is merely simulated, it will always be in the same place regardless of orientiation and lighting conditions, it will not work with a real time, dynamic light source.

Thanks, much clearer.

I was happy with the behavioural and statistical definitions but not the geometric.

So basically "things" (like light and shade) will behave "normally" on these maps (e.g. move with the Sun's position, etc.), not have to be artificially applied to the models to induce a fixed effect which is only correct for a specific period?

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Not sure if serious, so....

"Normal" in this context has nothing to do with computers specifically (and has been in use longer than computers have existed,) it's a geometry term that means a line or vector that's perpendicular to a point on a surface.

That is a highly specialised meaning of the word relating specifically to geometry. I think MG's question is perfectly reasonable. Most people other than computer graphics specialists and cartographers would take the expression 'normal map' to mean exactly what MG had described - a 2D representation of the terrain and other object to be found thereon.

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That is a highly specialised meaning of the word relating specifically to geometry. I think MG's question is perfectly reasonable. Most people other than computer graphics specialists and cartographers would take the expression 'normal map' to mean exactly what MG had described - a 2D representation of the terrain and other object to be found thereon.

Or used to discuss impact angles- for example, we say that modern long rod penetrators tend to 'normalize'- i.e., don't behave like full caliber shells and deflect off of oblique angles but rather bite and turn into vehicle surfaces.

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Simply, this means a line that is perpendicular to the surface- its 'normal'. A two dimensional square has many normals- there are many lines perpendicular to its face if you were to imagine a square drawn on a piece of paper and perpendicular lines extended upwards in three dimensions. The line might refer to a point of light or the path of an object like a SABOT penetrator.

Curved surfaces such as those of the pan shaped T series tank, or surfaces which show the imperfections of the armor casting will have lots of interesting interaction with light sources with normal mapping.

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Or used to discuss impact angles- for example, we say that modern long rod penetrators tend to 'normalize'- i.e., don't behave like full caliber shells and deflect off of oblique angles but rather bite and turn into vehicle surfaces.

Aha. Another meaning. Didn't know that was the correct expression for that characteristic. Thanks.

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