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I dont get it. . .


Kandee Koray
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Its true, higher resolution textures come at a cost, my point is that not many people use shadows and lighting even if they can run them, my computer is capable of using it and it looks ok but pixelated, the problem i and many others have is when your streaming in new content that hasnt been cached it can cause extra lag with shadows and lighting enabled because of the extra render so its feasible to use baked textures to get the same result and in most cases it looks much better than the pixelated real time shadows at a cost less than combined streaming and lighting render.

A build that uses only 1024 textures can be baked to look very very nice without it looking pixelated and there are alot of builds that use that resolution, the example i made above is a 1024 UVmap and the shadows look smooth and realistic and not pixelated at all, even close up. The great thing about textures too is once they have rendered they can be stored in your cache, unlike shadows and lighting which are calculated in real time, all the time.

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It's a difficult baslancing act because the relative importance of rendering and download costs are wildly different for different users because of huge uncorrelated variation in connection speed and gpu power. So the trade-off is going to be very different for different people. Cacheing is all very well if you stay in your own place, but does not help occasional visitors. Furthermore, the more large textures are used, the quicker each one will fall out of the cache.

The example you showed is a distant view of surfaces with rather low detail. I invite you to look at my underground chamber on Aditi Mesh Sandbox 15, where only close-up view is possible, and you will see what I mean by fuzziness caused by the limitations of the 1024x1024 textures. This uses eight textures and as much UV map stacking as possible. (photo coming here when I get a moment, so you don't have to go there.) I think the only way to improve it would be more smaller meshes with correspondingly more baked textures.

I do rather agree with you about advanced lighting. I can use it on one of my machines, but prefer not to because, shadows apart, it's horrible. I just use it occasionally for photos.

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I think we can both agree there are certain tradeoffs between baking and unbaking, I must admit over this last few days ive been obsessed with baking and im personally very very happy with what it can do.

I did pop onto mesh grid to have a peek at your underground chamber (looks really nice btw) I guess what you mean with the fuzziness is this?

Drongle.jpg

 

I had a similiar problem on mine:

PixelShadow1.jpg

 

But I went into paint and started manually smoothing out the jagged edges (only took a few mins) and the result was this:

PixelShadow2.jpg

 

Im not sure what program you use to bake textures but i have a feeling that its much easier to manually edit the lightmap than spend an eternity baking a highly detailed less pixelated lightmap.

You can see my examples on mesh sandbox 11 on aditi :)

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York Jessop wrote:

Thats a very good point about V2, I have no doubt there will be some who will not want to use it, but they are going to have to get used to the idea that V1.X.X viewers will not be supported for much longer. Its like those of us who refused to upgrade to Windows Vista/7 (I was one) and stuck with XP because its what I knew, but I had to take the plunge and now im as comfortable with Win7 than I was with XP. V2 is the same, its not perfect but it works and it gets easier to use as you get used to it not to mention when people start seeing mesh rice everywhere in the unsupported viewers (which looks like crap) they might consider the best option to be to just take the plunge.

 

I don't think that's a fair comparison, seeing that Windows 7 is a superior operating system that is a lot more stable than XP :) Which cannot be said about viewer 2. Also, I can easily configure the Windows 7 UI to look and behave like older Windows versions. As soon as viewer 2 gives me this option, I will start using it despite the fact that it's a bug-ridden and crash-happy mess. I can live with crashes, but I need an actual UI that has buttons with plain English words in a readable font instead of cryptic hieroglyphs.

 


In regards to viewer shadows, I cant help but feel your contradicting yourself here, realtime shadows are a feature of viewer 2, but they also require a pretty hefty computer to render, many current games and 3D environments use baked shadows because they reduce the amount of resources that are need to render everything else, SL is more affected by this than most other 3D environments because there is an added process of streaming aswell as rendering. Baking a shadow add no addition cost to anything, if they are subtile enough you can even use them pretty well with shadows enabled!

There is a number of v1.2 based viewers that offer shadows, such as Phoenix and Imprudence. And in other games, I haven't seen baked shadows since the days of Diablo II. Realtime shadow rendering has long become the norm in MMOs.

 


Regardless, baking shadows turns a product from meh  to wow. People want realism and ambience, i thought being an RPer you would have wanted this too?

That's exactly the problem. Baked shadows are all but realistic. They are not affected by light sources and don't change with the time of day. I'd rather see the kind of realistic lighting that all other 3D MMOs have.

 

 

 

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I agree that baking is too enticing to resist, but that doesn't mean it's always the best choice. The jaggedy bit you show is a different thing. (I know, you took the worst photo you could find!) No, I'm talking abot the absolute resolution and the blurring that happens when the renderer stretches the texture bigger than its natural (pixel) size. Here is an example. The beams are almost all identical, so large numbers of them share a 512x512 baked map(as far as I recall) with their UV maps superimposed. As a result the woodgrain is not too bad. In contrast, the wooden planks of the ceiling and the walls are mostly unique, so that the 1024x1024 baked texture has to stretch much further. The rendered texture has to be interpolated between pixels and that leads to the blurring. For contrast, a piece of my gallery at a similar magnification, using a tiled texture.

fuzziness.jpg

unfuzzy.jpg

Hmm. I guess that corner would be much better by baking the brick texture on a model that included bevelled bricks and recessed mortar. :matte-motes-confused:

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Win XP and Win 7 wasnt meant as a literal comparison, you know what I meant :P

With shadows I agree, it would be great to have crisp clear super reactive real time shadows, but you need to see the demographics of SL residents, 35%(ish) of them have computers that are on the bare minimum requirements for SL akin to 6 year old computers, something like 5% are in the high end computer bracket.

Do you have shadows turned on ingame?

Compared to the alternative of having no shading at all, baking will have to do, at least until the majority of the SL population buy computers capable of rendering shadows! :matte-motes-big-grin-wink:

 

EDIT: To Drongle: I didnt pick the worst picture i could find, i genuinely thought thats what you meant lol! 

 

I see what you mean now, possibly the best option would be to add texture changing scripts into products, a low rez and a high rez so customers could choose which is best for them.

 

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York Jessop wrote:

Win XP and Win 7 wasnt meant as a literal comparison, you know what I meant
:P

With shadows I agree, it would be great to have crisp clear super reactive real time shadows, but you need to see the demographics of SL residents, 35%(ish) of them have computers that are on the bare minimum requirements for SL akin to 6 year old computers, something like 5% are in the high end computer bracket.

Do you have shadows turned on ingame?

Compared to the alternative of having no shading at all, baking will have to do, at least until the majority of the SL population buy computers capable of rendering shadows! :matte-motes-big-grin-wink:

My previous dual core PC, as well as the old single core P4 that I had before were both capable of rendering beautifully detailed shadows in games like Vanguard and Age of Conan with 30 fps. But neither of those machines are able to deliver more than 15-20 fps in post-Windlight SL, and that's without shadows. It's not that you need a high end PC to enjoy contemporary PC games in high quality, you only need a high end PC for SL.

My new gaming PC has more than enough power for any other 3D game, but for SL it is barely fast enough. While I can finally turn on shadows in SL, the grid gods or gremlins hate my Radeon video card (which works as fine with any other 3D game as my previous PCs did) and refuse to enable both shadows and anti-aliasing at the same time.

Which means that 40% of all PC users (40% = ATI's video card market share) are unable to enjoy SL with high quality graphics settings, no matter how performant their PCs are. What we need more urgently than mesh import is a highly performant and widely compatible DirectX based 3D engine with proper shadow rendering, imho.

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Comparing an MMO with SL is like comparing windows O/S with second life veiwers lol :P

MMO's have optimised graphics that are preinstalled onto your hard drive with professional scripts and an overall development process to ensure that the game runs as well as it can.

Second Life is filled with amateur builders who dont know the second thing about optimisations (myself included to an extent) Who have piled endless amounts of prims, scuplts and scripts into seemingly bottomless content tabs. The reason SL lags is not because your graphics are having problems rendering its that its just updating and streaming and reading so many things piled into tiny tiny areas that any run of the mill decent computer just cannot cope with it.

Second Life with or without a direct x compatible engine will never be like an MMO, not unless they remove all content and restrict content creation to inhouse deveolpers, which would in turn leave us without anything at all.

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Rusalka Writer wrote:

Anyone trying to avoid mesh should never have joined SL, or any other virtual world. Mesh is everywhere. Prims, sculpts, everything has an underlying mesh to it. The mesh program going through in SL just gives creators more control over the shape of meshes and the appearance of objects. With luck and skill, the mesh objects generated will make SL more efficient and interesting for everybody.

Then perhaps, when mesh is in full swing, the retention levels and concurrency levels of SL will improve. But why do I feel that this won't happen?

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