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TDM missions...


Bikerdude

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We could:

 

Baked Lighting

 

But you'd have to also render our at least some of our more crude lighting over the top of it so the Light Gem would work... It would take a bunch of tweaking to make it look right with both lighting types applied...

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Other than the fact it's a very high ambient (no dark shadows, really) I don't see how the lighting is any more rich than something like Return to the City.

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1) Lady Rowena is an undisputed master of level building. She could probably accomplish a lot with TDM as well.

2) Nonetheless, with the right source images, TDM could have textures of that lushness. The lighting would be different, of course, but you could have the same textures at high res and with normalmapping.

3) Unlike Lady Rowena, we cannot rely on commercial games for textures, so we will never have some of those specific ones.

4) ...but be assured, help is on its way in the texture department. I am constructing normal maps right as I am typing, and have made a few bricks and trims today.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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1) Lady Rowena is an undisputed master of level building. She could probably accomplish a lot with TDM as well.

quite possibly, but look at the roof on the weafer taffer inn...

 

3) Unlike Lady Rowena, we cannot rely on commercial games for textures, so we will never have some of those specific ones.

Hmm, a lot of textures arent from either T2 or T3..?

Edited by Bikerdude
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Other than the fact it's a very high ambient (no dark shadows, really) I don't see how the lighting is any more rich than something like Return to the City.

 

Yeah, my post was probably a little overkill... but that T2 lighting is from a light map and has it's inherent quality...

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

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I'd say that T2 editing is fully mature with over 10 years, whereas Dark Mod editing is still in it's infancy with less than one year public

shadowdark50.gif keep50.gif
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I believe TDS (after patches) renders stencil shadow shadow volumes on the GPU. This gives the engine the flexibility to render more polys without as much of a CPU hit.

 

I recently got a reply regarding this matter from a game developer at Beyond3D

 

The shadow volume CPU processing was not the main reason stencil shadows got replaced by shadow maps in all recent engines. Stencil shadow volume GPU extraction was possible and pretty fast even on DX8 GPUs. In our old DX9 engine we used fully GPU generated stencil shadows extensively and all our benchmarks indicated that GPU extraction was noticeably faster than CPU extraction. (we had around 20-30 fully uniformly shadowed light sources in view at once).

 

Yes, stencil shadow extraction on DX9 GPUs doubled the vertex count of the volume, but since the volumes were rather low poly, this basically didn't affect the performance at all (the bottleneck was never the vertex shader performance). The biggest drawback of stencil shadows has always been the massive stencil fillrate it requires when multiple shadow volumes are crossing the view in a bad angle. The performance is really view dependant and a slight change in viewing angle can drop the performance dramatically. It's really difficult for artists to tweak the performance of stencil shadowed scenes, as the algorithm performance is so erratic.

 

Positive things about stencil shadows:

- Stencil shadows combine really well with deferred shading, especially with LiDR (light indexed deferred shading).

- With stencil shadows you have to light only the pixels that receive light. Stencil test skips the complex deferred lighting shader completely for pixels that are in shadow. This saves around 30% of the (deferred) lighting shader performance.

- Stencil shadows use much less memory than shadowmaps.

- Stencil shadows use much less texture memory bandwidth than shadowmaps. The rendertarget bandwidth usage is however much larger (but in systems like Xbox 360, the render target is located in really fast EDRAM to provide practically unlimited bandwidth).

- Stencil shadows are pixel perfect and have no surface acne, no blockiness, no sample walking issues in moving lights, etc... For example self shadowing looks really good and requires no tweaking (good looking self shadowing has always been hard to do with shadow maps).

 

Negative things:

- Performance is sometimes good and sometimes abysmal. A simple chain link fence can drop the game to 1 fps if the camera looks along it.

- No alpha masked shadow casters are possible. Plants, trees and vegetation are all almost impossible to render properly with decent performance.

- For fast (DX9) GPU volume extraction the shadow meshes have to be closed surfaces. In DX10/11 you can likely use geometry shader to render more freely formed geometry efficiently.

- Deferred shading light area combination tricks do not work with stencil shadows, since stencil test can only fail or succeed (not succeed for one light and fail for the other). So you have to render each light separately (and this causes extra g-buffer reads and backbuffer blending).

 

Which is why I've been harping on this point for the pending GPL of Id Tech 4...

 

(that and it'll help my dinosaur CPU)

 

But TDS isn't outpacing TDM that much...

Edited by nbohr1more

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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  • I believe TDS (after patches) renders stencil shadow shadow volumes on the GPU. This gives the engine the flexibility to render more polys without as much of a CPU hit.
  • But TDS isn't outpacing TDM that much...

 

So I assume that Dm3 used shadowmap then..? (dont fully understand the difference, other than its slower)

 

And I see your point, just gonna take some more creative mapping from us lot. :blush:

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TBH, this is what TDM looks like with detailed, high-resolution textures at 1280x1024; not even the best screen size possible:

 

 

 

 

 

The images by Tiens are mostly down to rich colours, custom objects and good geometry (some from static meshes, no doubt). There is very little there TDM couldn't do with some development. Your images, as Komag has suggested, are from missions that represent the best the engines used can do. TDM will get there and beyond, but we are, well, in year one. What Lady Rowena is working on is from year ten.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Most of those textures are just 'good' because of the textures, and since all they need is a diffuse to look at home in t1/2 there's really little that goes in above cropping and aspecting correctly, use of unlicensed etc textures is also not a problem. The lighting is just a richer than the TDM defaults - something that the mapper can quite easily adjust, however due to the more interactive lighting in TDM might look a little out of place - still someone needs to push the limits and test the ground eh? :)

 

I'm working to replace a lot of the current TDM textures with higher res remakes, however they take a pretty insane amount of time to keep faithful.

 

I also really suck at finding good rich interior textures or grimy yet usable textures for outside. You are absolutely allowed to link good source images or if you _really_ want something for an FM a sample shot even if its lower res and I'll try find similar or just freehand it if I have copious free time :)

 

I also have a load of textures coming in from Melan (who clearly doesn't suffer from my aforementioned issue), really nice stuff - and hopefully his next bunch is just a bit higher res and I'd be over the moon :wub:

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Serpentine: the batch I'm working on has high-res versions of some of the stuff I previously sent you plus redone normals. Since I bought an account at CGTextures, I can get higher-res source images and have much better daily bandwidth caps, so a lot of stuff can be upgraded to 1024x1024 or 1024x512. With DDS compression, they are not that large in file size either.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I thought I saw something about texture tweaking being required (Gloss Maps, maybe AO maps) for the upcoming HDR feature... Have you guys been coordinating these changes with JC Denton or is he just taking care of all of that on the shader side?

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Biker, no I wasn't saying to use shadow maps, I was saying:

 

 

"Once Id Tech 4 is Open Source it may be possible to move Stencil Shadows to the Graphic Card instead of the CPU..."

Edited by nbohr1more

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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This is just my (probably unpopular) opinion but I'll be blunt: all technical reasons aside (and they are true -- textures in Thief and TDM are whole different ballparks), we have a lot of textures that are simply poor. We collected them as we went, mostly from sub-optimal photographs, with probably most of them knocked up by people lending a hand where they can, i.e. non-artists (like myself). We needed more and dedicated texture artists making them, but that didn't happen.

 

That said, there are some real gems in our texture library; there just needs to be more. If anyone from the community will step up to help the ratio, TDM can shine in this area as well. Thankfully we have several (who have commented here already) making efforts and improving things already.

 

If this sounds like an appeal for help............................ it is!

 

 

Edit: cannot agree about the TDS shots; I personally only like the sitting room one.

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This is just my (probably unpopular) opinion but I'll be blunt: all technical reasons aside (and they are true -- textures in Thief and TDM are whole different ballparks), we have a lot of textures that are simply poor. We collected them as we went, mostly from sub-optimal photographs, with probably most of them knocked up by people lending a hand where they can, i.e. non-artists (like myself). We needed more and dedicated texture artists making them, but that didn't happen.

What I would say is that textures in the default TDM library are...

1) for general use: they are basic bricks, stones, windows and metals, while the ones in the screens Bikerdude posted are specific and simulate detailed architecture very well (Lady Rowena's shots are retextured and slightly readjusted scenes from TDP/TMA OMs, so not even high-poly or anything);

2) often light, with low contrast: the idea is probably to let the light engine and dirt decals do their job in achieving the desired visual quality. However, these two can only go so far, and often produce scenes which look too tidy or even a bit artificial. In comparison, the textures in the shots offered by Bikerdude are darker, with more dramatic contrast to bring out the details (the ones by Tiens also verge on kitsch, some good stuff there but those red brick pillars and the Mechanists with clownish sleeves - yug!);

3) a bit flat: they have low normalmap depth, while LR's have great baked-in lighting and T3 textures are very deep, consequently looking more 3d (I think the previous point also ties in here)

4) as you mentioned, often old.

 

The solution is to supplement the texture library with textures which are...

1) somewhat more specific, with a lot of trims, panels and decorative elements to enable adding more visual complexity to scenes without spending your life creating minute detail via geometry (obviously, there has to be a good balance between 'too generic' and 'will only be used in 1 out of 50 FMs if that');

2) darker with slightly more contrast to create rich, dark environments;

3) normalmapped well (this is still an art I am learning; I found that Njob often does a way better job with detail than the tools I was using before)

4) based on good source images.

 

We will get there.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I'm so sick of these "why can't TDM have missions that look this good?" threads. The fact is these missions for TDM are still WIP, people don't make good looking missions in a couple months and TDM hasn't been out very long at all. It's all about artistic talent NOT the engine! :angry: Compare those shots to the city section of Saintlucia, which looks better?

 

jdude3472.jpg

 

And I'm making stuff that's 10 x nicer than this right now, the engine and the game do NOT relate to artistic ability!

 

edit: not to mention we are not working with 16x16 textures that look like shit.

 

edit 2: Just go here and look at some of the shots we have, the training mission alone blows thief 2 out of the water:

http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-dark-mod/images

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Yeah I don't see the issue either. Those "better than TDM" screenshots are decent, artistically competent and make good use of the engines for which they are designed, but I don't see anything particularly spectacular in any of them.

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