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F22 TAW high resolution textures


mireazma
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Hello there.

When I played EF2000 for the first time ~15 years ago I thought it'd be the best sim game ever and so it was until I met F22 TAW. I'm very excited about F22 TAW and I played the training missions and read the whole manual.

It's just after that many years of improvement and with the advance of video technology I thought the visuals would also improve but from what I know it hasn't. I was expecting something like Falcon 4 graphics evolution.

Is there by any chance a texture pack / patch that I'm not aware of? Latest installed update is v2.22.

If not, why can't we do some research and see whether we can swap the textures with some new ones in some way, maybe inject them at runtime or something. Some solution must exist and, if I may, it should be among highest priorities with F22 TAW.

The textures alone would bring TAW sky-high. I'm not talking about shaders, FX, clouds etc.

Is there any access to the textures? Can't the textures be "unpacked"?

Please, community, this game/sim is too damn good to be surpassed by eye-candy shitty sims.

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Like that: http://community.combatsim.com/topic/25920-taw-terrain-format/?p=5172164 ?

Textures don't improve by themselves, you need artists and programmers. High-resolution textures are subject to research for at least a decade now, and DrKevDog is our authority on that. More detailed terrain is possible (with some limitations), and higher resolution textures are also possible- But we just don't have the time or manpower to rework over TAW's entire content (or even a handful of tiles).

("we" not including me here, since I'm not directly improving TAW, but investing all my time into TFXplorer.)

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Thank you for replying. I don't like that, I dig that! About TFXplorer -- it's puzzling and it looks like another game altogether. If I get it right, the main advantage is that it gives you freedom to do otherwise impossible things. But you need to implement the physics. As for the high-res textures work by DrKevDog, it looks like the framework is complete, only the textures themselves are needed.

In my ignorance, I though it was a matter of larger textures rendered on the same meshes, keeping intact the UV's, visual 3D geometry, collision geometry etc. I don't even hope for normal mapping :)

BTW is there a project of mikew's? Can you provide a link or more details please?

I'm not a (good) programmer or artist but I'd be glad to help with anything, like making tiles from 2D graphics (cropping), making them seamless etc.

I can't wait to see the progress.

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About TFXplorer -- it's puzzling and it looks like another game altogether. If I get it right, the main advantage is that it gives you freedom to do otherwise impossible things.

It's a tool to inspect the scenario without starting the game. Starting it and looking up coordinates of an airfield for a mission is far easier than launching TAW and flying to the place. And it allows modders to test their modifications without having to start the actual game. But yes, the in-game mode will be extended and better physics are work in progress.

In my ignorance, I though it was a matter of larger textures rendered on the same meshes, keeping intact the UV's, visual 3D geometry, collision geometry etc. I don't even hope for normal mapping :)

TAW doesn't use arbitrary image files for textures. There's a fixed set of a handful data layouts, mainly paletted, and probably native to the ancient 3dfx Glide API. Nothing else can be used. There also is a hard-coded limit on the total number of textures for all terrain, planes, vehicles, sky and clouds in the game. The meshes are not just triangle lists with UV on it, but much more complicated. Last but not least, texture coordinates are not normalized UV but pixels indices. All of that makes each and every texture change very painful :( But again, DrKevDog is the one to know best.

BTW is there a project of mikew's? Can you provide a link or more details please?

You'll have to ask him yourself :) Mikew's main objective is data analysis of TAW formats; DrKevDog is excellent at actual modding; Home Fries coordinates the TAW 2.0 project; and so on.

Help is always appreciated, but we all have lives and jobs and while sometimes we're working 24-7 to move things forward, sometimes for months we don't do anything at all. (I'm having such a low since a few weeks; too many other things to do.)

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As for the high-res textures work by DrKevDog, it looks like the framework is complete, only the textures themselves are needed.

The framework, you eluded to, is complete for upgrading to higher resolution on a large percentage of the generic ground tiles (sea, desert, etc.) and many of the simple / flat transitional tiles. For the more complex shapes, the BSP tree byte-code needs rewritten and I haven't yet gotten around to that. The collision code also needs modification and mikew is our authority on that.

I'm not a (good) programmer or artist but I'd be glad to help with anything, like making tiles from 2D graphics (cropping), making them seamless etc.

Interesting you should say that now because, over the past several weeks, I have been dissecting the process of how the redsea world was formed / created. The only wholesale attempt to upgrade TAW terrain ,made previously, was undertaken by polak, and he used a poorly understood keycode process with a focus on textures exclusively. I believe the data is better understood now, and would today result in much broader enhancement. This includes a much more in depth understanding of such features as transitions and seamlessness,etc., which, in TAW, is more complex than just textures, but have to do with the relationships between individual tiles, or "Super Shapes" as determined by the Super Shape Determinants (.ssd).

As Krycztij said, help is always appreciated and if you would like to help, I would be glad to help you get started :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for the late reply.

I want to see if I can understand the formats. I'm not making any promises about the proficiency or time but if somebody gives me something to chew on, it's worth trying. Please, give me something to study.

P.S.

Almost forgot: how did mikew achieve that terrain texture in here http://community.combatsim.com/topic/25920-taw-terrain-format/page-48#entry5172164 ?

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I really don't remember exactly how I produced that screenshot in around 2008, but it was something like to to take a screenshot from Google Earth then cut it up into 16 smaller 236x256 textures and convert them to TAW's .tm format.

Then, for each of the 32 triangles making up the tile, I just select the appropriate texture in the .3 file.

This was done largely as an experiment to see how flexible the TAW engine was. It has little practical use.

For your comment about missile visibility. the viewing range can be increased by changing the distance value of where each LOD pops into view in the .3 file.

For example with the R77 we can change to first few bytes of zr77.3 to something like 'fffc3e803e80'. The '3e80' gives a value of 16000 to each of the model's two LODs.

I'm not sure whether this would have the desired effect though....

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I have this missile fume obsession and if only I could pull this off...

CheatEngine got my hopes up but now it's clear I was on the wrong track.

In this respect I've read about the .3 file architecture on TAW Wiki and the first thing to come into mind was: how in the world would somebody figure all these out?? All those instructions. They make OpenGL look like pseudocode!

People, just check this out and you'll agree with me:

http://taw.wikia.com/wiki/Category:3D_Object_Files

All my respect for Krycztij and Mike. And I'm saying this without overlooking the ones to have also taken on and decyphered TAW architecture.


For your comment about missile visibility. the viewing range can be increased by changing the distance value of where each LOD pops into view in the .3 file.

For example with the R77 we can change to first few bytes of zr77.3 to something like 'fffc3e803e80'.

I'll try it tomorrow but:

1. Do you know whether the fume is a separate 3D object drawn with any missile? If so, which file is it? The fume is what I'm interested in.

2. Can the 0027 instruction (wiki) be of any use?

3. It's not only the distance to the fume puffs but also the number of puffs. This is going to be the toughest issue.

Please tell me where should I look?

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Looks like the fume is defined in misfix.3 or mistrail.3. It draws only the high-detail model, though (not the single-line trail).

Yes 0027 can be useful, but it is only called *after* the engine selects an appropriate LOD according to the first bytes of the file.

(The first bytes give highest LOD min & max, then next LOD's max, then next LOD's max, where 1 TFX unit equals eight feet … you typically see something like -10, 100, 400, 1000 for 3 LODs)

You can read a lot of this in the TAW Terrain Format thread, which is where I started asking questions when I joined the forum :) It's about bytecode in the beginning, but it quickly evolved into a general discussion about TAW's internals.

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