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MTS Movie Night #4 - posted on Yesterday at 4:46 PM
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Mad Poster
#101 Old 2nd Nov 2015 at 10:58 PM
Bump time! It's me again.

I'm running the game in 1440p, I'm forcing SSAO, FXAA and anisotropic filtering...and I'm not satisfied. Anyone know of any tools or apps that can force even more graphical goodness onto the poor old engine? I've been looking at Lucky Palms screenshots, and they seem suspiciously nice in sometimes...any files to fiddle with before I dive into the game code? I'm no coder, so I'll probably just change everything that seems vaguely related to the lighting engine. Even if it will break my game.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Theorist
#102 Old 26th Dec 2015 at 7:45 AM
I would probably keep on experimenting with the ENB series. There must be one setting that works.
Mad Poster
#103 Old 18th Feb 2016 at 3:20 AM Last edited by nitromon : 19th Feb 2016 at 9:12 AM.
Back to using Inspector's 007 Flag, it seems to be much more noticeable in TS2:

TS2 Ambient Occlusion

EDIT: Use Flag 006 instead. It works much better. If you are getting the AO to work, but flickers off when you stop moving the camera, try increasing the in-game AA. For some reason, the AO will only stabilize if the AA is at a certain level. On mine, I had to move it at least 3 levels. If you use the Nvidia AA, you'll have to experiment on what level will it stay. 8x will definitely work, I tested that.



----

Edit:

Geez wiz, those people in TS2 forum are redonkulous. Mere mentioning of TS3 and they get all defensive and testie, though this has absolutely nothing to do with TS2/TS3 comparison.

Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Mad Poster
#104 Old 19th Feb 2016 at 6:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitromon
Back to using Inspector's 007 Flag, it seems to be much more noticeable in TS2:

TS2 Ambient Occlusion

EDIT: Use Flag 006 instead. It works much better. If you are getting the AO to work, but flickers off when you stop moving the camera, try increasing the in-game AA. For some reason, the AO will only stabilize if the AA is at a certain level. On mine, I had to move it at least 3 levels. If you use the Nvidia AA, you'll have to experiment on what level will it stay. 8x will definitely work, I tested that.



Looks nice!

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Mad Poster
#105 Old 20th Feb 2016 at 12:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grijze Pilion
Looks nice!


I wish the HBAO+ looks this strong in TS3. When I have time, I'm going to test every flag for TS3. Unless someone else already done so, save me some time.

Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Lab Assistant
#106 Old 10th Mar 2016 at 10:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitromon
Back to using Inspector's 007 Flag, it seems to be much more noticeable in TS2:

TS2 Ambient Occlusion

EDIT: Use Flag 006 instead. It works much better. If you are getting the AO to work, but flickers off when you stop moving the camera, try increasing the in-game AA. For some reason, the AO will only stabilize if the AA is at a certain level. On mine, I had to move it at least 3 levels. If you use the Nvidia AA, you'll have to experiment on what level will it stay. 8x will definitely work, I tested that.



----

Edit:

Geez wiz, those people in TS2 forum are redonkulous. Mere mentioning of TS3 and they get all defensive and testie, though this has absolutely nothing to do with TS2/TS3 comparison.


I was wishing AO for sims 2 by a long time, it definitively makes the game look nicer.
Mad Poster
#107 Old 11th Mar 2016 at 10:44 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitromon
I wish the HBAO+ looks this strong in TS3. When I have time, I'm going to test every flag for TS3. Unless someone else already done so, save me some time.

I tried doing that too, but gave up after about 3 flags. I think I'm still on SSAO because of my GPU. My other PC has a pretty beefy GPU and TS3 seems to somehow look much nicer on it.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Mad Poster
#108 Old 13th Mar 2016 at 8:38 AM Last edited by nitromon : 13th Mar 2016 at 11:22 AM.
I think we put too much emphasis on the soft shadow details that we overlooked the main advantage of AO, which is how the lighting and shadings are realtime. This photo demonstrates the biggest difference:




When I have time, I'll try to make one for TS3 to see how well it does it. So even if the soft shadow rendering is low for flag 007, the game's overall shading should still be realtime.

One other thing I noticed is that the reason there's a FPS tax is because we have the game rendering a lighting, then the Nvidia driver rendering a 2nd AO lighting and overlay it above the game lighting. This is why in some instances of bad AO mismatch, the AO would flicker or sometimes turned off.

This means that the game lighting is rendered "twice." That's why a game which already has AO programmed in the source code would not have as much of a FPS tax b/c it is just rendering the lighting once. So if this is true, technically... we should be able to turn the in-game lighting option to low or even off, then just use only the Nvidia AO lighting. This would trade 1 lighting for another, thus restore the FPS loss.

Just theoretically.



EDIT: Here it is. More comparison. First of all, the TS3 ingame "c" capture doesn't always capture the AO since it is an overlay. That might explain why several of my previous screenshots didn't show that much difference. It looked good when I was playing, but after I took the screenshot, the AO was not on there.


These ones below are taken with Fraps.

Quick explaination again on AO -

NO AO - Every object is rendered individually to the light source, then placed together. The shading of each object does not affect each other, only reflecting the light source.

AO - Every object is placed together and rendered together with each other. The shading of each object (including walls and floors), affect each others' shading.

Screenshots 1
So as you can see, the "soft shadow" is not as visible in TS3 in comparison to TS2. In fact, from TSM, the soft shadow is not on the objects at all, only on the room corners, etc.. You can see from this comparison, the corner of the wall has that soft shadow.

But looking for softshadow is misleading and distracts us from what AO really does. If you look at the "shading" of everything, from objects to floors, to walls, you can see without AO... the objects often not only has a flat shading, but sometimes the "wrong" shading.

NO AO


AO


Comparison




The more I understand AO, the more appreciation I have for it. The FPS tax is heavy, but when I have time (or someone else could test it) I'm going to try to disable the ingame lighting and run just with the AO and see how that looks and performs. If you want to try it, you have to edit the graphicsrules and not just move the "bar" in the options. In the options, the lighting and shadow goes together, so you don't want to turn them all off.

Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Mad Poster
#109 Old 13th Mar 2016 at 2:26 PM
Those are some really good screenshots! But you're saying the Capture Tool doesn't always capture AO? Welp, I might just have thousands of flawed screenshots here...

Another thing is that the same AO doesn't always show in TS4. The effect is very good-looking, I find it makes the game look much nicer than with the default AO, but it fades in and out all the time based on zoom level, camera angle and the distance to objects.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Mad Poster
#110 Old 13th Mar 2016 at 6:10 PM Last edited by nitromon : 13th Mar 2016 at 6:23 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grijze Pilion
Those are some really good screenshots! But you're saying the Capture Tool doesn't always capture AO? Welp, I might just have thousands of flawed screenshots here...


Yeah, you might want to check them out. For example, the bathroom one above, the TS3 capture did capture the AO b/c I can see the corner shade. However, the one with the plant, it didn't capture it. I also had other screenshots, most of them do not have the AO captured. In the past, I didn't know what to look for, that's why I didn't notice.

I also want to mention it again for other people. On my 650m, the "high quality" actually doesn't work or at least doesn't work well. This might be my GPU or the version of the driver I'm using, but basically the setting is only between 2 options - performance or quality. The "quality" setting is the heaviest I can get. In fact, you can compare the ss I posted above with the ones I posted way back on page 2 that were with "high quality."

Quote:
Another thing is that the same AO doesn't always show in TS4. The effect is very good-looking, I find it makes the game look much nicer than with the default AO, but it fades in and out all the time based on zoom level, camera angle and the distance to objects.


Is the flag for Nvidia AO designed for TS4? Otherwise, it is something we have to settle for b/c we're using flags designed for other games. Try different flags until you find one that is more stable. In the TS2 one above, on some lots it simply glitches out - lots of blinking (on and off) or even have graphical glitches. However, on some lots in TS2, it worked perfectly.

Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Theorist
#111 Old 13th Mar 2016 at 7:34 PM
Ambient occlusion really seems to work best in low-light conditions + naturally lit conditions. Thin objects like plants also work well since the effect is more visible & can be amplified with lots of thin objects.

Bright lights wash out the effects, which is kind of unfortunate. For now, light accordingly (fewer overhead lights, more lights set to dim), but I think if the effect were doubled, it would look much nicer.

Check these images:

Day


Night


Notice how much more apparent the occlusion is during the night, and how the wall-ceiling edge loses its occlusion during the day.
Mad Poster
#112 Old 13th Mar 2016 at 11:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jje1000
Ambient occlusion really seems to work best in low-light conditions + naturally lit conditions. Thin objects like plants also work well since the effect is more visible & can be amplified with lots of thin objects.

Bright lights wash out the effects, which is kind of unfortunate. For now, light accordingly (fewer overhead lights, more lights set to dim), but I think if the effect were doubled, it would look much nicer.

Check these images:

Day


Night


Notice how much more apparent the occlusion is during the night, and how the wall-ceiling edge loses its occlusion during the day.

That is one very nicely lit room and yes, the AO is definitely looking very good there. I wish the effect were stronger though. The lot I usually play on is already pretty shady, but that's just due to poor architectural choices. I might wanna start a thread on that to get some advice since it's bothering me more by the day.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Mad Poster
#113 Old 14th Mar 2016 at 11:23 AM
Here are some screenshots taken with Nvidia HBAO+ set to "quality" while I reduced the ingame TS3 lighting to the lowest. Basically since it is an overlay, we don't really need TS3 to render high lighting. This will restore much of the FPS loss with Nvidia AO on "quality."

It actually won't look "exactly" the same as the screenshots before since those are really double rendered. Theoretically this one is also double rendered, but the 1st render by TS3 is on low and so less FPS taxing.

Screenshots

Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Mad Poster
#114 Old 14th Mar 2016 at 2:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitromon
Here are some screenshots taken with Nvidia HBAO+ set to "quality" while I reduced the ingame TS3 lighting to the lowest. Basically since it is an overlay, we don't really need TS3 to render high lighting. This will restore much of the FPS loss with Nvidia AO on "quality."

It actually won't look "exactly" the same as the screenshots before since those are really double rendered. Theoretically this one is also double rendered, but the 1st render by TS3 is on low and so less FPS taxing.


...What? You can set the lighting on Low and still have nice graphics?

I wish there were a way to bump up the pixel count of indoor shadows. I've set the InteriorLightProbeCount to 32 (I think) but it doesn't seem like that's doing anything.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Mad Poster
#115 Old 14th Mar 2016 at 2:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grijze Pilion
...What? You can set the lighting on Low and still have nice graphics?

I wish there were a way to bump up the pixel count of indoor shadows. I've set the InteriorLightProbeCount to 32 (I think) but it doesn't seem like that's doing anything.


Well that's what I'm trying to find out, does the Nvidia HBAO+ completely replace the original TS3 lighting?

Since it is an overlay, theoretically we don't need any lighting from TS3. So basically we're just replacing the TS3 lighting with the Nvidia HBAO. Theoretically that is. Since there is no way to completely turn off the TS3 lighting, next only option is to set it as low as possible to reduce the work on the GPU, then overlay it with the Nvidia HBAO+. This way we can get the AO with minimum FPS loss.

Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Mad Poster
#116 Old 14th Mar 2016 at 2:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitromon
Well that's what I'm trying to find out, does the Nvidia HBAO+ completely replace the original TS3 lighting?

Since it is an overlay, theoretically we don't need any lighting from TS3. So basically we're just replacing the TS3 lighting with the Nvidia HBAO. Theoretically that is. Since there is no way to completely turn off the TS3 lighting, next only option is to set it as low as possible to reduce the work on the GPU, then overlay it with the Nvidia HBAO+. This way we can get the AO with minimum FPS loss.

As the GraphicsRules setting shows, the Lighting setting controls multiple values. Setting it to Low not only reduces shadow detail, but also disables high-detail transparency, along with additional shadows (I'll assume Render Shadows are roughly similiar to AO in this regard). Surely a simple AO toggle in an external program can't replace all of this? I'd rather have the best possible graphics than a slightly better framerate. My GPU isn't exactly the problem anyway.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Mad Poster
#117 Old 14th Mar 2016 at 3:33 PM Last edited by nitromon : 15th Mar 2016 at 3:28 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grijze Pilion
As the GraphicsRules setting shows, the Lighting setting controls multiple values. Setting it to Low not only reduces shadow detail, but also disables high-detail transparency, along with additional shadows (I'll assume Render Shadows are roughly similiar to AO in this regard). Surely a simple AO toggle in an external program can't replace all of this? I'd rather have the best possible graphics than a slightly better framerate. My GPU isn't exactly the problem anyway.


I left the shadow details on high so that shouldn't matter. One of the misconceptions I mentioned earlier about AO is that it doesn't actually cast any shadows on objects next to each other, it alters the lighting/shading of the objects. But I'm concerned about the lighting source itself. The AO only modifies the shading of objects in accordance to the light source, it doesn't control the lighting source itself. So I'm wondering by altering the lighting details would it affect the lighting source. I need to know more about what the lighting option does.

It will require a more comprehensive test than a few screenshots. When I have the time I will go look at Sims 2 since it has a stronger AO effect. Also, I really want to see how this works out with SC2013. One of the most annoying thing about SC2013 is how poorly they programmed the shader. The moment the shader goes on, it drops 40 FPS. Without the shader, the whole game just runs on solid colors. If that is true, then it would be perfect for an AO test, see how much the Nvidia AO actually is rendered into the game and would it make it look like or better than the SC2013 shader but at a far less FPS loss.

EDIT: Well, scratch the SC2013 test. The lighting setting in SC2013 is tied in to the light source as well as the AA. So even if the source can be restored, the AA won't and if we increase the AA via Nvidia it drops the FPS back down again, so we lost the FPS that was recovered.

This is for knowledge base only:
The front screen is the only screenshots I can take which is any useful since it uses a static lighting (basically it is just a staged set).

Min Lighting Only

So from here we can see the lighting option in SC2013 turns off reflection + shadow as well. Theoretically they can be turned back on if we edit the graphics file. But the AA is somehow tied in to the shader, so we need to replace it with Nvidia's AA and this reduces the FPS again, so making the whole project redundant.

Min Lighting + Nvidia HBAO + SGSSAA

If we look at the "shading" of the buildings (especially in the foreground), you can see the Nvidia HBAO+ overlay on top of the nonshaded low lighting polygons. So in sense, this does support the previous assumption, the Nvidia HBAO+ simply replaces the prerendered shading from the game engine. Therefore if it is possible to turn off or minimize TS3 (or any game for that matter) lighting/shading without turning off the shadow or light source, the Nvidia HBAO+ will simply replace the object shading.

Ultra Lighting Only

If we look at the buildings in the foreground again, we can see that it isn't shaded with AO. With lighting on ultra, the game also turned on the shadow and reflection, and the in-game AA (which looks terrible btw).

Ultra Lighting + Nvidia HBAO

Look at the foreground building again, this time they are replaced by the Nvidia AO shader. Now it does look different than the min lighting + HBAO. I'm not entirely sure whether this is because the light source is affected or simply because the reflection is turned on. Remember, the HBAO will account for object reflection lighting as another light source. If we look at the building on the bottom right corner, the HBAO shading is near identical when we compare the min and ultra lighting setting.



EDIT: The Sims 2 Test
In Sims 2, it actually a lot more useful for this test. In the graphics options, the shadows and lighting options are separated, so I simply reduced the lighting to minimum. It would be best to actually take a look in the graphicsrules to see what each option is doing, but for simplicity I simply use the slider.

The results are below and you can see for yourself. There is absolutely no difference between low and high lighting since the Nvidia HBAO overrides them both with the overlay.




Nitromon is a type of Pokemon encountered in the Pokemon Nitrome Version series.

There. Mystery solved.
Theorist
#118 Old 2nd May 2016 at 2:46 AM
Interesting file I found:

In FullBuild0.package (in the base game folder), an INI file called "AO" exists- I think it controls the faked in-game ambient occlusion (the darkness you see under the roofs and near the ground).

Anyone interested in taking a look at this?

The FullBuild0 folder is full of interesting image files and inis used to control the effects in the game.
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: rar Ambient Occlusion INI.rar (2.0 KB, 12 downloads) - View custom content
Mad Poster
#119 Old 2nd May 2016 at 6:54 AM Last edited by Grijze Pilion : 6th May 2016 at 9:32 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jje1000
Interesting file I found:

In FullBuild0.package (in the base game folder), an INI file called "AO" exists- I think it controls the faked in-game ambient occlusion (the darkness you see under the roofs and near the ground).

Anyone interested in taking a look at this?

The FullBuild0 folder is full of interesting image files and inis used to control the effects in the game.

INIs are my flippin' jam. I'm gonna have a dig in FullBuild0 when I get home next week. Though it does beg the question - how useful is the fake AO the game renders anyway?

I'm not sure AO is what this game needs more of but who knows what else I might find lying around? I like using Notepad++, it makes me feel more smarterer.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#120 Old 23rd Jun 2016 at 3:58 AM
AO still appears to be subtle if I use the CS:S bit, so does anyone else know of any good compatibility bits that's a tad more noticeable? The HL2 ones work, but it still has this issue of having weird halo artifacts or something.
Mad Poster
#121 Old 23rd Jun 2016 at 8:17 AM
I wish I knew. The one I use in TS4 looks really good...in TS4.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#122 Old 23rd Jun 2016 at 10:33 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grijze Pilion
I wish I knew. The one I use in TS4 looks really good...in TS4.


True. At one time I managed to get AO to show up prominently to the point that objects close to the wall cast shadows, but I couldn't recall if it was done with a certain Nvidia driver revision.
Theorist
#123 Old 4th Jul 2016 at 7:36 PM
Do people have a list of tags that work?

I know that these work:

0x00000003
0x00000006
0x00000007
0x00000008
0x00000009
0x00000012
0x00000018
0x0000001F
0x0000002B
0x0000002C
0x0000002E
0x00120035

They produce near-identical results though.

0x0000000A
0x0000002D
0x00060019

Produces a slightly stronger effect.
Field Researcher
Original Poster
#124 Old 5th Jul 2016 at 8:12 AM Last edited by blakegriplingph : 5th Jul 2016 at 9:20 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jje1000
Do people have a list of tags that work?

I know that these work:

0x00000003
0x00000006
0x00000007
0x00000008
0x00000009
0x00000012
0x00000018
0x0000001F
0x0000002B
0x0000002C
0x0000002E
0x00120035

They produce near-identical results though.

0x0000000A
0x0000002D
0x00060019

Produces a slightly stronger effect.


Yeah, I can confirm that the Call of Juarez bit (0x00060019) is a tad stronger especially on certain angles. The Half-Life 2 bit (0x0000000A) works just as much, though I get this weird square artifact whenever I bring up the interaction menu, not to mention that the AO bleeds through the UI.

Here's a shot of Molly and her dollhouse with the CoJ preset:


...compared to this using Counter-Strike Source:
Mad Poster
#125 Old 5th Jul 2016 at 12:56 PM
Guess I'll try out 0x00060019 then. I have some other graphical tweaks to make so screenshots are coming...that is, if crashes aren't. So maybe no screenshots.

Look out for BRIDGEPORT'88 - it's the hottest new show on YT this season!
Already renewed for '89!

(Oh, and follow me on my Tumblr.)
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