Sunday, October 28, 2007

Draw Calls revisited.

In an earlier post on optimising & painting the Sopwith Snipe I mentioned that I initially could not see the benefits of my attempts to optimise for draw calls on the Snipe. This was in FSX SP1. I also posted on 2 Oct that I could see benefits but I could not discuss at that time. The reason for this was I was testing both FSX:Acceleration & its SDK which was covered by NDA which is now lifted. When I exported the Snipe via the latest SDK and flew in Acceleration, an aircraft which averaged 22fps in spot view then easily achieved 28-33fps on the same settings in FSX acceleration and believe it or not, 17fps over London. Other native FSX aircraft, both stock & 3rd party, averaged 11fps over London on the same settings. The Biff's perf is the same in FSX SP1 & Acceleration. The Biff would be difficult to update & optimise due to being an old model & time constraints. I intend to revisted the Biff/Brisfit in 2008/2009 with an all new package.

I can safely say to other modelers creating for FSX, it is worthwhile taking the time to read Adrian Wood's posts on 'Performance Art', and implementing these suggestions in your own designs.



Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time to down tools

Well it's now time for resection surgery. I've been told this will happen either this Thursday or the following Tuesday. Thus I have to down tools (3DS, Max Photoshop) the time being. How long I will be out of the loop I do not know. It will possibly be a couple of months before I can sit down for any length of time at a desk.

I had hoped at one stage to finish the Sopwith Snipe before surgery. However there is still much to do to that aircraft. I still have the blurred texture of the spinning rotary engine to perfect on the external model and much to complete & possibly have to rework on the interior model. I may futher post a WIP later today.

Much of the modeling learning curve for FSX is over. I intend use a modeling pipeline of first to CFS3 then the X version. The main stumbling block is the texture mapping. FSX uses a multiple 1024 texture approach, whereas CFS3 generally uses a single texture on the exterior model. Contemporary CFS3 modelers are starting to use 2048 textures. One can use the multi texture approach in CFS3 also. However bullet holes will only appear on one of them. I'll experiment.

Current aircraft being created which I hope to complete in 2008 include:-
  • Sopwith Snipe - freeware FSX/CFS3
  • Sopwith Baby - freeware FSX/CFS3
  • Seimens Schukert DIII/DIV - freeware (FSX/CFS3)
  • Junkers D.I - freeware (FSX/CFS3)
  • Albatros D.Va - freeware FSX
  • Sopwith Triplane - freeware FSX
  • Sopwith Dolphin - TBA
  • Airco D.H.9 - TBA
  • Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.1 - freeware CFS3
  • Grumman F6F-3 - freeware FSX/CFS3
  • Curtiss SB2C - freeware CFS3
  • Me P.1112 - freeware CFS3
  • Blohm und Voss BV P212.03 - freeware CFS3
This list does not reflect priority. I jump around a fair bit. There are others that I hope to start and I've omitted a couple of possible payware projects from the above list. While I face an uncertain future it's best to concentrate on freeware. It's relaxing ;)



Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mike's Space (Aces Blogger)

A great blog and certainly worthwhile checking out, (especially if one is a 3D content creator for games/sims) - Mike Porter, lead vehicle artist with Microsoft Aces studio.

Mike's blog features excellent tutorials and tips. Great stuff!!!!



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Update: Early October

Due the uncertainty of my personal situation , I am mainly just 3D modeling for relaxation at the moment. This means working a 1 or 2 days for a couple of hours a day, on any given aircraft and then jumping to something else when I tire. I've shelved my scenery explorations for a few weeks.

I did spend a couple of days working on textures & materials for the FSX version of the Sopwith Snipe, adding detail and also starting work on the specular maps. So far I am very pleased with Snipe's performance in FSX, about 3-5 fps faster than the Biff and people have reported good fps with the Biff in FSX.

On the subject of the Biff I have now retired the Biff's meshes from further work. The original CFS3 F2B, upon which the FSX was based (much modified & new) was my first serious model. I now do things quite differently and have learned a great deal in the last 2+ years. I had hoped to incorporate some of the improvements to the FSX model in a CFS3 revision. However as the FSX version was remaped this would mean that I create new CFS3 LODS & damage model, very time consuming. I do have a new series of F2B models planned (and started) for either 2008/2009 release (all being well), a cleaner & simpler 3D model & materials.

Anyway I have started a few new models, both WW1 & WW2 (and may soon start some 1930s & 1950/60s aircraft too). Some may see the light of day & many may not. 3D modeling is a very relaxing & rewarding pursuit, which is just what I need right now. If anything worthwhile come's out of this I'll post some pics.