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Zig-Zag Forest Fix Mod (Western Front) - Released!


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#1 Panthercules

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 04:22

Well, I've finally finished the project I've been working on for a while, to get rid of the strange zig-zag forest lines found in many areas along the front lines of the Western Front map in the stock game, which look like the following:

 

 

Before Mod:

Attached File  RoF - Map zig-zag - last stock section left.jpg   447.09KB   7 downloads

 

After mod:

Attached File  RoF - Map zig-zag - last stock section - after fix.jpg   430.38KB   6 downloads

 

 

For details about the process leading up to this mod, see this thread:  https://riseofflight...orest-zig-zags/

 

 

I've put all the modified files (including both the on-the-ground fixes and the in-game display map tweaks so what you see on your map in game will essentially match the modified forest areas on the ground) into a JSGME-ready mod package, which is available here:

 

http://www.mediafire...1_for_JSGME.zip

 

All you have to do is unzip the D/L package into your MODS folder and activate it with JSGME, then make sure you have "mods on" in your game and go enjoy the scenery again :)

 

I've tested this as well as I could given the time available (free-flying around up and down the front lines, and doing some career mode missions as well), and I think it's working just fine.  However, I haven't been able to cover the entire map so if anybody spots any unintended side effects or map/ground anomalies they think might be attributable to this mod please feel free to snap and post a screenshot of the relevant area (preferably like the one above, with your map up too so I can figure out where to look for the problem) and I'll be happy to check into it.

 

Hope y'all enjoy this as much as I am - those zig-zags have bugged me for years and I'm so glad to be rid of them finally.

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS to the following RoF Community members (without their help I never would have gotten this done):

 

BaronVonMyakin - who provided the info I so desperately needed about which files held the key and how to start manipulating them to achieve the desired result   :icon_e_salute:

 

=HillBilly= - who created a simple mission I could use to speed up the testing cycles (and taught me what I was doing wrong trying to use it)  :icon_e_salute:


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#2 US103_Baer

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 15:16

Amazing effort Panthercules!

Really looking forward to trying the mod.

Cheers
Paul
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#3 HotleadColdfeet

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 15:49

Well done! :icon_e_salute:
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#4 Sowercrowd

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 21:37

Thank you very much for your work ! Im curious to find out, if your mod is compatible with xjouve's terrain mod....Time to test.


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#5 Panthercules

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 01:45

Thank you very much for your work ! Im curious to find out, if your mod is compatible with xjouve's terrain mod....Time to test.

 

I'm not familiar with that particular mod, but I looked at several other terrain/landscape mods that I have used and they tend to modify different types of files so there shouldn't be a problem, but if you see anything weird let me know.


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#6 SYN_Bandy

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 16:57

Before and after images so people can decide before download and install?

 

Compatibility with Ankor's bump map mod would be essential AFAIC.

 

BTW, really nice work.  This should have been patched by developers years ago...


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#7 J2_Adam

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 20:39

Nice work Panther! Thanks!
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#8 Panthercules

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 04:44

Before and after images so people can decide before download and install?

 

Compatibility with Ankor's bump map mod would be essential AFAIC.

 

BTW, really nice work.  This should have been patched by developers years ago...

 

Sure - there were some "after" shots in the thread I linked to, but I'll put one in the first post to make it easier.

 

And I'm using it with Ankor's bumpmap mod with no apparent problems so far.

 

And thanks, BTW :)


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#9 SYN_Bandy

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 11:52

Wow, that side-by-side comparison shows the extent of how the forests get trimmed back.  So there are no trees/forests that come up closer to NML anymore?  With this degree of visual change it was indeed necessary to alter the in-game map, so good-on-you for also including that challenge.

 

Not wishing to appear negative, but looks like getting rid of the zig-zags is a lesser-of-two-evils situation, with your mod the clear winner though unfortunately introducing a visual bias of its own along the mud. 


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#10 Panthercules

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 15:05

Wow, that side-by-side comparison shows the extent of how the forests get trimmed back.  So there are no trees/forests that come up closer to NML anymore?  With this degree of visual change it was indeed necessary to alter the in-game map, so good-on-you for also including that challenge.

 

Not wishing to appear negative, but looks like getting rid of the zig-zags is a lesser-of-two-evils situation, with your mod the clear winner though unfortunately introducing a visual bias of its own along the mud. 

 

Yeah, I know.  There are a few areas along the front where the trees are a bit closer than shown in that "after" picture, but I couldn't find any consistent, repeatable way to do that and for the most part the trees are pretty far from the mud.  I'm still experimenting with trying to find other ways to deal with the transition between the mud and the trees so maybe they can be brought back closer together without re-creating the zig-zags, but all attempts so far at alternate methods have failed and this version was still so much better (in my view at least) than seeing those zig-zags that I thought it would be worth releasing in the meantime.  


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#11 Panthercules

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 05:18

Hey SYN_Bandy - thanks for pushing me on the mud thing.  Nothing ready for prime time yet, but I just wanted to tease something I've been working on that might prove to be useful.  Can't do this approach all up and down the front (problems with stray trees in lots of areas), but there may well be specific areas that would benefit from this:

 

Before (current Mod version 1):

RoF%20-%20Map%20zig-zag%20-%20last%20sto

 

"After" (Mod version 2 WIP):

RoF%20-%20Map%20zig-zag%20-%20mud%20to%2

 

Still needs a lot of work, especially on the transition/border areas, but it seems fairly promising so far.

 

 


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#12 Panthercules

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 16:51

Minor WIP update - I think this methodology has resolved the transition/border problem pretty well - it's not as dramatic-looking an improvement, but I think the gap between trees and mud still looks appreciably less than with version 1:

 

Before (current Mod version 1):

RoF%20-%20Map%20zig-zag%20-%20last%20sto

 

 

"After" (Mod version 2 WIP):

RoF%20-%20Map%20zig-zag%20-%20mud%20to%2

 

 

Still tweaking, but making progress I think.  I can probably get closer in any areas that don't have the stray tree problem, but here I think it's gone about as close as it can without making the stray trees look weird.


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#13 Sowercrowd

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 17:16

I'm not familiar with that particular mod, but I looked at several other terrain/landscape mods that I have used and they tend to modify different types of files so there shouldn't be a problem, but if you see anything weird let me know.

It might be of interest to you, that your mod and that xjouve mod are excluding each other. Xjouve's mod attempted to recreate the actual frontline changes during the course of major battles, i.e. Verdun and Champagne etc. One of the most fascinating mod works in ROF ,IMHO. Unfortunately xjouve never finished his most ambitious project, it has been published as WIP mod, even back in 2012, i think. I got it from a big mod pack from the french "checksix-forum",edited by actionjoe, iirc. There's something irresistible in any scenery mod to me, since that old SWWISA days, so i'll be following this thread with particular interest. Best regards.
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#14 Panthercules

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 17:45

It might be of interest to you, that your mod and that xjouve mod are excluding each other. Xjouve's mod attempted to recreate the actual frontline changes during the course of major battles, i.e. Verdun and Champagne etc. One of the most fascinating mod works in ROF ,IMHO. Unfortunately xjouve never finished his most ambitious project, it has been published as WIP mod, even back in 2012, i think. I got it from a big mod pack from the french "checksix-forum",edited by actionjoe, iirc. There's something irresistible in any scenery mod to me, since that old SWWISA days, so i'll be following this thread with particular interest. Best regards.

 

Thanks for the info. Yeah, to do what Xjouve was trying to do would have altered that same files that my mod changes, so the two will not be compatible.  If I can get my hands on that mod, maybe I can pick it apart and see what he was doing - although it sounds like it would be a ton of extra work, it might be possible for me to apply my techniques to tweaking his mod so that I could maybe create a zig-zag-free version of his mod.


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#15 WWChunk

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 22:05

Excellent work sir, thank you!


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#16 SYN_Bandy

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 17:17

On your post #12 above, I'm sorry but I don't see any difference in the forest boundaries of the two images.  Are you sure they aren't from the same mod version?

 

The before and after images you posted a bit earlier though shows a wonderful difference, terrific in fact! 

And apologies if you felt any push/pressure.  Was never intended.  S!

 

And yes, I see Ankor's bump map now.

 

RoF%20-%20Map%20zig-zag%20-%20mud%20to%2


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#17 Panthercules

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 22:33

On your post #12 above, I'm sorry but I don't see any difference in the forest boundaries of the two images.  Are you sure they aren't from the same mod version?

 

The before and after images you posted a bit earlier though shows a wonderful difference, terrific in fact! 

And apologies if you felt any push/pressure.  Was never intended.  S!

 

And yes, I see Ankor's bump map now.

 

RoF%20-%20Map%20zig-zag%20-%20mud%20to%2

 

Well, look again - it's certainly more subtle than the first post-version-1 attempt was (the picture you posted above) but the mud is definitely closer to the trees in the second WIP picture than in the released version 1 picture.  However, the transition from mud to non-mud is a lot more natural in the 2nd WIP picture so the difference is not as pronounced as you're probably looking for.

 

Unfortunately, bringing the mud closer to the trees without bringing the more natural transition with it looks very weird, and bringing the mud and the more natural transition closer to the trees starts to re-create the dreaded zig-zags and/or just looks stupid with the stray trees.  I've been up and down the front lines trying a variety of things, but between the stray trees and the places where the mud spans multiple underlying mask files (where any tweaking I've been able to do just keeps creating obvious seam lines in the mud), it doesn't look like there are going to be enough places where moving the mud will be useful (and noticeable) enough to make the effort worthwhile.

 

Thus, I think I'm going to abandon that part of the effort for now and just stick with the released version 1 for a while.  I do plan to continue exploring what it is about the mud that is causing the zig-zags in the first place, to see if there's any chance of tweaking whatever that is to get rid of the zig-zags instead of just moving the trees away from the mud, but for right now I'm out of ideas on how to figure out how the mud works and what can be tweaked about it, so version 2 will have to wait for another epiphany or another kind soul to come along and give me some clues about playing in the mud.


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#18 SYN_Bandy

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:28

Oh, NML is wider in v2, sorry, missed that since I was looking at forest margins only. It is indeed a subtle difference. 

 

Too bad there isn't some version of trees between full foliage and broken stumps, for instance, if there was a simple zone of trees with no leaves between the forest and NML. That isn't in the game engine, so sadly, only what might have been had the devs put a little more thought in...

 

So as far as 'stray trees' goes, leave them in!  They add randomness and a more natural look to the human eye, which is trained to see patterns and why the zig-zags and other repeated tree placement patterns in large forests bug the hell out of us.  Forests don't have patterns.  Having an evenly spaced distance between mud-edge and blasted forest margin all along the front is as unreal as the zig-zags, but admittedly less painful to notice.

 

In the end, perhaps you have become a world expert now (or at least for 3rd party) on the terrain masks in RoF?  Small claim-to-fame, but sometimes we take what we get from life.

 

Cheers!


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#19 Panthercules

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 16:28

So as far as 'stray trees' goes, leave them in!  They add randomness and a more natural look to the human eye, which is trained to see patterns and why the zig-zags and other repeated tree placement patterns in large forests bug the hell out of us.  Forests don't have patterns.  

 

 

Yeah - I think leaving the stray trees is definitely the way to go, especially if the cost of getting rid of them in the mud gap is (as others have said) losing them elsewhere throughout the map or creating a bunch of new invisible trees for people to crash into by surprise.  I just don't think that having those stray trees showing up on top of shell-cratered mud makes sense visually (maybe if they could be replaced by blasted trunks or something, but not complete trees full of foliage).  I'm still thinking about whether there might be anything that can be done about those patterns in the big tree areas, but I don't have much of a clue at the moment about how to start attacking those.  Maybe some day.

 

 

 Having an evenly spaced distance between mud-edge and blasted forest margin all along the front is as unreal as the zig-zags, but admittedly less painful to notice.

 

 

Well, that's one reason why I did on many occasions add some curves/indentations or other shapes into the tree line along the front so they wouldn't all just be long straight lines the same distance from the mud and would break up the apparent gap at least a bit.  Probably could have done that even a bit more, but I was mainly just focused on the zig-zags - they were a hugely jarring visual glitch that hit you on even the slightest glance downwards - at least the relative uniformity of the gap between mud and trees takes a little more time and thought to strike one as a bit odd so it's easier for me to get past that issue mentally.  If I do ever figure out what it is about the mud that's causing the problem in the first place, maybe I'll be able to get the trees back closer to the trenches at some point.

 

Version 1 of the mod is clearly not perfect, but I think it's a pretty significant improvement over the zig-zags and I'm finding my missions near the front are a lot more enjoyable than they used to be, so I'm pretty darn happy with it.  I wish I'd been able to do it a few years ago when there were more of us around to enjoy it, but better late than never I guess :)


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#20 DidNotFinish

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 18:51

Just wanted to say - great work on this mod.  I'm just getting back into ROF, but were the forests always so jagged against the front?  I don't remember if it was always like that or not.  At any rate, your mod completely fixes it and makes the No Man's Land look much better (ya know, as far as kilometers-wide shelled-out hellscapes go).  


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#21 Panthercules

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 02:56

 were the forests always so jagged against the front?  I don't remember if it was always like that or not.  

 

Yeah - they've been like that from day 1.  But some areas of the map (especially the northern-most sectors of the front) did not have as many areas of forest that near the trenches, so it was much less noticeable if you were flying careers/missions in those areas (and it was also more or less noticeable under certain lighting conditions, so time of day that you flew missions also made some difference).


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