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Enhanced Sky mod v3.0


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#1 Happyhaddock

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 12:14

Well the more I experiment as a "rookie modder" the more I discover is possible. The more I learn how to do, the more ambitious my expectations get and the further away I keep moving the goal posts and so it's taken longer to release version 3.0 of this mod than expected. Real life commitments, technical problems with a new gpu and a brief diversion into a wildflower mod. also proved somewhat of a distraction.

Anyway, in the realisation that this sky mod could become one of those "never ending projects" I thought I should take stock of where I am at the moment and put out this third version as it is: This is partly because although I view it as "incomplete" in terms of the latest ideas I've still to experiment with along with many more refinements I'd like to make to what's already done, it does make considerable improvements to the things I first set out to change. It's also partly because a lot of the issues I'm now exploring don't look as if they're going to be quick easy fixes, many being at the boundaries of my limited technical understanding and potentially the limits of what's possible without getting access to more of the core code of ROF. (Anybody know of a free MGM file translator/editor? Notepad will open the files but displays them as meaningless strings of random characters. Hex editors at least tabulate things but it's still pretty meaningless to one of my limited knowledge)

I will also point out I've optimised this for my own PC which although no über gaming beast is somewhat above the recommended specifications for ROF, so this mod does have the potential to impact performance of lower specification or older computers that were already struggling to "max out" ROF .

Previously in v2.0 of this mod I'd re-painted only 2 core texture files, this version includes more than 40 new higher resolution texture files, scripts and particle models affecting numerous aspects of the appearance and lighting of the sun, moon, sky and clouds (and that's stripped back down from the 60+ it had reached at one point). Hopefully by addressing more of the factors affecting the look of the sky as one complete package you'll feel I've kept some of the artistic drama of my earlier sky mods but done so in a more balanced, natural and less contrived manner.

I WOULD ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO LOOK THROUGH THE README FILE INCLUDED IN THIS MOD BEFORE TRYING IT JUST TO BE AWARE OF THE COMPROMISES, LIMITATIONS AND QUIRKS OF THIS WORK IN PROGRESS… IT'S NOT YET ALL I WANT IT TO BE BUT IT IS THE BEST I CAN CURRENTLY GET RISE OF FLIGHT TO DELIVER.

Testing all the infinite combinations of this mod is even more impossible than the previous version. Consequently whilst I've tried to eliminate potential problems, because of issues described in the readme file of this mod, in some way shape or form everybody is likely to be experiencing something slightly different in terms of which changes the mod does or doesn't make to their own missions. I've spent well over one hundred hours experimenting with, testing and flying this mod and at times it's still surprising me. It has however reached that point where what it needs is a lot more people using it and offering feedback.

As before it's principally aimed at adding more interest into those transitional periods around sunrise, sunset and twilight but also alters the sky during daylight and at night and makes changes to the appearance of the wet weather.

The following are a few screenshots contrasting "before and after" images showing the sort of changes this mod may make to ROF.

Attached File  mod comparison one.jpg   137.95KB   957 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison two.jpg   186.84KB   893 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison three.jpg   166.38KB   931 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison four.jpg   133.5KB   932 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison five.jpg   153.17KB   926 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison six.jpg   190.21KB   932 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison seven.jpg   183.33KB   933 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison eight.jpg   161.12KB   932 downloads
Attached File  mod comparison nine.jpg   140.8KB   936 downloads

My preferred Version3.0 of this sky mod with all the large clouds (that needs you to set the cloud base very high) can be downloaded at:

http://www.mediafire...ppyhaddock).zip

 

An alternative (but less atmospheric) partial version 3.0a without all the large clouds that may impact both on FPS and the compatibility of this mod with pre-existing and pre-scripted missions is available at:
 

http://www.mediafire...ppyhaddock).zip

 

The earlier versions (1.0 and 2.0) of this mod have been downloaded by hundreds of people so I hope you all like this latest incarnation?

Cheers
HH


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#2 hq_Reflected

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 12:44

Frankly, I uninstalled the previous version of this mod, because I found the colors to be too "dramatic" - lot of crazy pink / purple. These preview pics look very nice though, and I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for your work! :S!:
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#3 Happyhaddock

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 13:11

Frankly, I uninstalled the previous version of this mod, because I found the colors to be too "dramatic" - lot of crazy pink / purple. These preview pics look very nice though, and I can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for your work! :S!:


Judgment of colour is of course subjective but there have been lots of studies done to show that as human beings we are atrociously poor at judging absolute hue or tone, and as such getting things the "right colour" is, in itself, not actually that important. However what we can do well is judge contrasts, so colour changes have to be applied consistently and evenly to everything to avoid jarring contrast.

That's the big reason I wanted this latest mod to dig into more of the factors affecting colour and light. The "crazy" pinks and purples are still there, and are probably less dramatic than mother nature herself uses, but should look more natural in this version of the mod as they hopefully clash less than when previously contrasted against colours not affected by the mod.

It's all one big compromise trying to simulate nature on a computer, and is a long way from where I'd like to take it, but I hope you'll find this version, not necessarily less dramatic, just less artificially dramatized.

HH
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#4 elephant

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 13:51

I like it a lot, HH!
Great work, more life like than the previous version.
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#5 Thaatu

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 14:37

Great job!
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#6 hq_Reflected

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 16:57

So far I really like it! I haven't seen a sky that I would call "too dramatic". You really nailed the colors this time!

On the other hand, I think the clouds are a bit of an overkill. It's nice to have more variety, but I would tone them down. If I select Heavy skies at 1000m, they reach the ground in a very unrealistic way (cut off) and also make flying impossible up to 2500m. Given that AI likes to fly around in clouds, and even if you go near one you lose vision, I would - as I said - tone them down. But the idea is great!

Keep up the good work! :S!:
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#7 Happyhaddock

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 17:16

Reflected.

The cloud thing I'm aware of and mention in the Readme file of the mod, just set the altitude of the clouds much higher…

As far as I can tell ROF sets the altitude of the clouds from the top down, not the bottom up, so any attempt to model tall cumulonimbus clouds means that the base and main body of the clouds will appear at a lower level than the actual altitude set in a mission… hence most of low altitude clouds actually appear at or below ground level.

set the heavy skies to 5000m and try again I personally really like the effect of some vertical columns of cloud to fight around… seems more realistic to me than the very flat sheets of cloud ROF previously had, but it is of course subjective…

HH
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#8 hq_Reflected

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 17:45

I agree, it does look much more realistic! It's just that it sometimes messes up the mission. Anyhow, you're definitely on the good track!
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#9 Fazer

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 19:06

Really great scenery, Happy. :0o:

But I have a problem. I fly mostly the beta career, so I don't have the luxury to adjust the clouds height. And when it's cloudy, everything is in a deep mist from ground up.
There is no way to bomb, and even following squadron mates (AI) is a pain.

There is a way to use this mod without the clouds? I tried to delete .clt files (and entry in the various sky.ini files), but now the clouds are too high. Still beautiful, anyway.

I know that with no clouds, I lose most of the eyecandy, but I cannot fly the career only on full clear day. The high command will fire me. :D

Thanks for your efforts to improve RoF.
:S!:
Fazer.
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#10 Happyhaddock

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 19:51

As a rough and ready quick fix bodge I've stripped out many of the features likely to cause problems for those running pre-scripted missions where re-setting the cloud base isn't an option.

The link to this alternative or "partial" version 3.0a has been added to the opening post in this thread… no doubt folk will shout out if it doesn't do what it's supposed to as I've not tested it.

I personally feel it's missing the point of a lot of the work I put into the larger clouds but do understand that many others will not want to use this mod in isolation but use what ever bits of it they can to enhance exiting campaigns, so I have taken the brief time needed to produce this alternative version which I hope proves useful.

If at some point I can crack the core code and get further into ROF I know what simple changes I'd like to make to enable large clouds to be created more effectively/efficiently without causing all these issues. If I manage that then I'll definitely be working on another version of this mod but I suspect it is more likely that 777 will have imported across some of the environmental changes from BOS before I become that competent a mod maker.

Cheers

HH
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#11 Fazer

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 20:07

Again, many thanks for your mods.

Yes, I understand your point about not using the larger (better) clouds (I'm sorry…), and I plan to keep both mod versions in the JSGME folder, so I can switch to the full one outside the career.

I will let You know if I find something strange in the toned down version.

:S!:
Fazer.

Edit:
With a quick test on my recorded missions, it seems a good compromise to me.
Nice light and hue, still more cloud than standard, no wall of fog from ground up.

I attached a couple screens.

Attached Files


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#12 robin100

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 21:09

Very nice, thanks for your work!
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#13 NewGuy_

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 04:58

I can't wait to use your Enhanced Sky mod v 3.0. Last weekend, I used your Enhanced Sky mod v 2.0. I made a little video featuring your Enhanced Sky mod v 2.0, plus some other mods, here: New ROF Video: The Merchant Ships I thought the sky looked really cool. I haven't had a chance to try many different times of day and weather conditions, but I loved what I did get to try out. Thank you very much!

:S!: MJ
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Something something SPAD. Something something then dive away. 


#14 Happyhaddock

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 13:35

I can't wait to use your Enhanced Sky mod v 3.0. Last weekend I made a little video featuring your Enhanced Sky mod v 2.0, plus some other mods, here: New ROF Video: The Merchant Ships I thought the sky looked really cool. I haven't had a chance to try many different times of day and weather conditions, but I loved what I did get to try out. Thank you very much!

:S!: MJ

Pleased you liked it and I hope you feel this version 3.0 is a further step in the right direction once you get a chance to give it a whirl.

very atmospheric video by the way!

Cheers

HH
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#15 yeikov

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 14:17

What a great job, thank you very much!
May I ask which settings (HDR, reflections, saturation, gamma) are you using?
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#16 Happyhaddock

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 14:28

Most ROF graphics settings I max out where I like the look of the end result. AA I disable in game and run through Nvidia control panel, plus I also disable gamma correction in game and apply some very minor tweaks to lighting through SweetFX

Attached File  graphics settings.jpg   91.85KB   236 downloads

Cheers

HH
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#17 Pursuivant

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 18:10

As far as I can tell ROF sets the altitude of the clouds from the top down, not the bottom up, so any attempt to model tall cumulonimbus clouds means that the base and main body of the clouds will appear at a lower level than the actual altitude set in a mission… hence most of low altitude clouds actually appear at or below ground level.

Strange, since meteorological reports and METAR list cloud height from the base up.

I personally really like the effect of some vertical columns of cloud to fight around… seems more realistic to me than the very flat sheets of cloud ROF previously had, but it is of course subjective…

The stock "clouds above rainclouds" can appear in real life, but only if there is significant wind to "shear the tops off." Your clouds are much more realistic in that they represent more typical clouds.

What I really appreciate is the smooth transition from night to sunrise, or sunset to night that your mod offers. It turns pre-dawn or post-dusk flying from near certain death to merely tricky.
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#18 J2_Oelmann

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 07:59

Any chance to get this in mods off? It looks too great to get missed online.
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#19 Happyhaddock

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 08:07

Any chance to get this in mods off? It looks too great to get missed online.

Alas I wouldn't have a clue as to how to achieve that - isn't it something that the devs. would have to implement?

Nevertheless I'm pleased you feel it's worthy even of such a suggestion.

Cheers

HH
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#20 hq_Reflected

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 09:51

Most ROF graphics settings I max out where I like the look of the end result. AA I disable in game and run through Nvidia control panel, plus I also disable gamma correction in game and apply some very minor tweaks to lighting through SweetFX



Cheers

HH

How do you make AA work through the nvidia cp? When post effects are on it doesn't seem to work.
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#21 Happyhaddock

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 10:39

How do you make AA work through the nvidia cp? When post effects are on it doesn't seem to work.



Can't say I'd noticed a problem I just set AA to x8 and DSR to x2.0 in control panel and the "jaggies" go away…

If you say there is a problem I may have to test out AA on it's own as perhaps all my "jaggie" reduction comes from DSR and super sampling?

HH
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#22 hq_Reflected

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 22:02

Nope, not working :(

What is DSR? I don't have it in my nvidia cp.
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#23 Happyhaddock

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 22:33

What is DSR? I don't have it in my nvidia cp.

DSR is a digital scaling algorithm;

Normally a graphics card renders an image at the native resolution of a monitor.

If the gpu is slow you can render at a lower resolution and display in a small window or scale up to get faster FPS but at a drop in visual quality.

Alternatively if you have a fast gpu with processing power to spare you can render at a larger resolution than your monitor and scale down, in effect acting like a form of enhanced super-sampling deriving each pixel displayed from an averaging of more than one calculation of what hue and tone to show, obviously this reduces FPS but if your card is fast enough it enables improvements in visual quality.

hence at 2.0xDSR an HD monitor is actually working with an image initially rendered at 3840x2160 pixels.

HH
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#24 Panthercules

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 00:26

Nope, not working :(

What is DSR? I don't have it in my nvidia cp.

I think it's something that they introduced within the last couple of driver updates, and I suspect it's really aimed at the latest series of cards although I've seen some discussion about it on the BoS Forums that I think indicated at least some of the older cards may support it as well (see this thread for details: http://forum.il2stur...dia#entry205638" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://forum.il2stur...k.com/topic/123 … ntry205638 ).

I've played around with it a little and am using it in BoS at the moment. I think maybe it's helping in BoS (but I'm not really sure - not doing much, possibly due to the inability so far to defeat the graphics presets), but I didn't see any real improvement in RoF and it messed up PWCG, so I don't use it over here.
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#25 Joker_BR

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 21:48

Hi Happyhaddock, I like your new sky 3.0, but I would like to know if there is a version without the big clouds. I'm asking this because there's a lot of missions (including "flight now") where clouds are at the ground level and you can't see a thing.
I really like the heavy clouds, but unfortunately they break too many missions for me.
Cheers, and congrats on your mods.
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#26 Happyhaddock

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 08:31

Hi Happyhaddock, I like your new sky 3.0, but I would like to know if there is a version without the big clouds. I'm asking this because there's a lot of missions (including "flight now") where clouds are at the ground level and you can't see a thing.
I really like the heavy clouds, but unfortunately they break too many missions for me.
Cheers, and congrats on your mods.

Yes, as discussed in this thread


…the link to the alternate download is directly below the first link in the opening post of this thread

HH
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#27 Joker_BR

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 15:14

Ups, I feel like a moron now. :oops: Sorry, should have checked the first post more carefully.
Thanks!
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#28 Happyhaddock

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Posted 19 December 2014 - 15:16

Ups, I feel like a moron now. :oops: Sorry, should have checked the first post more carefully.
Thanks!


No worries we've all had those moments ;)

HH
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#29 blairweescot

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Posted 10 January 2015 - 20:09

The one thing that seemed very lacking has been the sky. This is just what I have been looking for.
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#30 Plank

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 03:05

Chaps.

 

Can't seem to get the blinking thing to download.

Mashed the keyboard for all it's worth of course...

 

Help! (I like clouds!)

 

Plank.


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Captured again!

 


#31 Panthercules

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 03:30

Chaps.

 

Can't seem to get the blinking thing to download.

Mashed the keyboard for all it's worth of course...

 

Help! (I like clouds!)

 

Plank.

 

Yeah - the transition to the new Forums platform broke many of the links.

 

Until Happy gets around to fixing the links in his OP, I've made a copy of his version 3 mod (JSGME-ready) available here:

 

http://www.mediafire...)_for_JSGME.zip


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#32 Plank

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 04:18

Very good mr Panthercules.

 

Thank you a thousand times.

 

Pank.


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Captured again!

 


#33 Happyhaddock

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 08:04

There's something odd about the way the new forum handles links and interacts with the clipboard on my own PC that is making it very difficult to paste in corrected links but I think I've now got things working such that the opening post should now take you to the appropriate downloads.

 

shout out if still having problems.....

 

HH


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#34 Plank

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 09:31

Oh dear.

The mod is causing my dilapidated and acient machine to frame.

Curses!

 

 

Plank.


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Captured again!

 


#35 Happyhaddock

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 09:37

Oh dear.

The mod is causing my dilapidated and ancient machine to frame.

Curses!

 

 

Plank.

 

Sorry to hear that but whilst the changes to the sky colours/lighting shouldn't impact on FPS over the stock game, I do mention both in the opening post and in the readme file that the very large particle model clouds do hit FPS and will cause old or slow PC's to struggle. Perhaps you might want to try version 3.0a with out such large clouds?

 

HH


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#36 Plank

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 09:41

I only had the little clouds going.... 


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Captured again!

 


#37 Happyhaddock

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 09:59

I only had the little clouds going.... 

 

Oh! Perhaps it's time to invest in a new PC then as version 3.0a shouldn't be much more demanding than the basic stock game, though with anything in life there's always the case of "the straw that broke the camels back" and it is fractionally more demanding than the stock game.

 

Can I take it from what you've said that you normally have to run ROF with most graphics settings turned down and still get relatively low FPS?

 

HH


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#38 Plank

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 01:23

Mr Haddock.

 

I must confess that I have never check the FPS , but I did detect the change by eye, it was too obvious to mistake.

 

...seems that I should do an A/B test, check everything and get back to you with some actual data.

 

My PC specs are outdated to say the least. Frankly I am surprised it even goes. But it does. Dutifully. (you will laugh)

 

I will get back to after this next brace of cups of coffee.

 

Plank.


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Captured again!

 


#39 Hellshade

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 13:39

I am enjoying the mod.  I am using the 3.0a version and it works well.  Thank you for this.  :)


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#40 71st_AH_Mastiff

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 21:14

where's this 3.0a version would like to twitchtv this mod also.

 

https://youtu.be/Q0DxMnXDcSI


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