Lake Michigan West SAM

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TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:01 pm

Slider, No need for thanks. I am having fun trying to find the problem and fix. There is a small problem with the AutoParts plant I noticed while playing the game and thought it might relate to the startup problems. The problem is that it is difficult to highlight the AutoParts Plant with the cursor to see where the closest steel mill and market for autoparts is. In fact, you have to click a location off of the actual auto parts bldg. I noticed that the scale of the bldg looks a bit larger than usual too. I NifSkoped the AutoParts.nif and found it is offset 190 units from the origin. So when it is located in the game, the game thinks it is 190 units from the actual building. I tried rescaling it from your 1.25 to 1.00 and 0.50. At 0.50 it crashed on startup 2 times in a row, so I gave up. At 1.00 it started 10 times in a row OK and selected all four different start cities 2-3 times each. These restarts were from the Main Menu. When I tried restarts from the Desktop it crashed once in 3 tries. Very Strange. I guess someone will figure this out. I will look for Bobby's solution when it comes out. - Best Regards, TMiller Its still a great map!!

laloha
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by laloha » Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:48 pm

Slider,

It was my fault as upon further review of the files, which are in the Decorations Folder, I now see all is fine. Nif displays surrounding structurs which I didn't recall seeing on the map. Thus the Diff, Esmk, and Spec files seemed incorrect. My mistake.

Sorry for the misinformation, as if your don't have enough on your mind.

Great Map and am into another one from a different location.

Larry

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:24 am

Yes, the lighthouse was once part of a larger structure - one of the tricks of efficient modellers! I doubt that this is crash-relevant, but who knows :mrgreen:

Anyway, I played around a bit with the emsk file (environment mask) of the lighthouse, and here is what I got:

1. White emsk: the shadowy part reflects the green environment
2. plus black diff: green environment reflected in all directions.

Pity one can't seem to get a mirror effect. :D
Attachments
EMSK manipulation.jpg
EMSK manipulation2.jpg

TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:09 pm

Karsten, If SPEC stands for specular and specular means "exhibiting the qualities of a mirror"; maybe adjustments to the SPEC file will make the lighthouse more reflective. I think I will take a look at the diff, norm, emsk, and spec files for the shiny bell on the Consolidation loco and see if EMSK and SPEC are black or white.

TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:15 am

Note: Figures below are numbered corrected but listed in backward order. I should have posted the last one first I guess.

Karsten, that was a very good idea to use Sliders lighthouse to see the effect of the EMSK file. I have tried to figure these files out many times, so I played around with the lighthouse too. I also like your definitions given in an earlier post where:
DIFF – Diffusion, EMSK – Emission, and SPEC – Specular Light
I know sometimes EMSK is called Environmental Mask, but I think this is misleading.
Based on my experience (see figures below) I like the following definitions:
DIFF – Surface color due to Diffuse Light, EMSK – Color due to Emitted Light (as if the surface were being lit from behind almost like stained glass, SPEC – Specular Light which exhibits properties of a mirror, i.e. light reflected off the surface from the color of nearby surroundings. If a surface color in these files is white, that property is effectively “turned on”, while if it is black it is “turned off” or minimized.
First I tried to duplicate the brass bell on the Consolidation on the lighthouse, but that didn’t work at all. It just came out a brownish yellow color and not shiny. Then I tried painting the surface of the lighthouse with either black or white in the EMSK and SPEC files, and ran the game to see how they look. Below are the Screen Saves for 8 cases. Figure 1 shows the lighthouse with both the EMSK and SPEC files black (off). The colors shown match closely the color in the DIFF file. Note the light source is left of the lighthouse and the shadow is right. Even though the lighthouse is pretty much the same color on all sides, this case shows the greatest difference in colors between the lighted side and the side in shadow. In Figure 2 the SPEC file is white (on), while the EMSK file remains black (off). Here the middle of the lighthouse is a little brighter due to light reflected off the nearby sand. In Figure 3 the EMSK file is white (on), while the SPEC file is black (off). Here the lighthouse is much brighter, especially on the side in shadow as if the lighthouse was lit from within. In Figure 4 both the EMSK and SPEC files are white (on) and the lighthouse is a little brighter than in Figure 3 especially in the center due to light reflected off the sand as in Figure 2. To see the effects even better, Figures 5 and 6 show the lighthouse from the sunny side and the shadow side, respectively with both EMSK and SPEC black (off). These 2 cases show the greatest difference in color and brightness between direct light and shadow. Figures 7 and 8 show the same views with EMSK white (on) but SPEC still black (off). Notice how much brighter the lighthouse is in both views but especially on the side in shadow. It is almost as if the lighthouse is emitting its own light or glowing. I have not tried it, but the light in the top of the lighthouse might be brightened some by using white colors on all 3 files for the windows. The windows in the DIFF file are actually blue, while the EMSK and SPEC files are shades of white to blue. I know I have seen some engines that have lights on them that appear fairly bright, no doubt due to the choice of colors in the 3 files. I think, in most cases, EMSK and SPEC files look very similar with black and white fields the same for various surfaces, i.e. both are either on or off for a given surface; but this may not always be desirable. That only leaves the NRML file. I read that it stands for Normal and refers to the direction normal to the surface, but I have not been able to interpret any of the info in the file except for engine files where blank spaces indicate surfaces to be colored differently for each AI player in the game. These files are all shades of blue but I do not know what the different shades represent. I have noticed that features in this file like bolts, rivets and ribs seem to give a 3-dimensional look to the final image.
Attachments
8-EMSK-White_SPEC-Black_InBrightLight.jpg
7-EMSK-White_SPEC-Black_InShadow.jpg
6-Black-Black_InShadow.jpg
5-Black-Black_InBrightLight.jpg
4-EMSK-White_SPEC-White.jpg
3-EMSK-White_SPEC-Black.jpg
2-EMSK-Black_SPEC-White.jpg
1-EMSK-Black_SPEC_Black.jpg

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wingsofphoenix
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by wingsofphoenix » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:50 am

Well not quite right.
DIFF stands for Diffuse and contains the base colors of the train in the RGB channel.
This is essentially the base texture of the locomotive.
EMSK stands for Environment Mask. The environment mask determines the intensity
and hue of light from the simulated environment map that reflects off the surface of the
locomotive.
NRML is short for Normal map, where color corresponds to surface direction. Normal
maps allow you to add shading and "fake" geometry without increasing the number of
polygons required to render the object.
The SPEC map is for controlling the amount and color of the specularity or shininess of
the locomotive. In practice, the SPEC and EMSK textures are often extremely similar,
but nuances in each can provide interesting effects.
This is from the official Tutorial from Tom Symonds, Modeler at Firaxis Games, called "HowToSkinRailroads"

So the EMSK file is for reflection, and not the SPEC file. SPEC will not make the surface reflective in any way, it will just make it shiny (from within) and will improve EMSK color in combination. Thats what I have noticed as a modeler myself. :wink:

laloha
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by laloha » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:24 pm

Yep, I knew I wasn't feeling well yesterday. I placed my post in the wrong thread. I played around with the lighthouses and see that they are in TMillers, US_ Southeast thread, which is also quite nice BTW, but no lighthouses there, lol.

If this error can be corrected it would be nice. If not, you can see what I am talking about in the site I mentioned above. Nothing to do with the green effect but might help and also offer some different textures. The alterations were all done in the respective, Diff, files only.

Larry

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:28 am

We should probably have started a new topic for this interesting subject, but just to expand slightly - Wings of Phoenix rightly points out that SMR has its own (limited) interpretation of specular light reflection.

In general, specular reflection is distinct from diffuse reflection, in that incoming light is reflected in many directions in the latter. E.g. glossy (specular reflection) versus matte (diffuse reflection) paints. In the real world, polished metallic objects, mirrors - and water - reflect light specularly very efficiently [Wikipedia].

I would say SMR uses the specular file mainly for the rotating 3D view of new locomotives, which makes them look so shiny and new. Spec files for buildings in the game only seem to add some brightness, although they may initially have been intended to be reflective - that is probably why building windows are white in the Emsk files, to simulate glass windows. The environment mask compensates to some extent for the lack of real-time ray-tracing, which would be completely over the top in performance terms of course. :P

TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:05 pm

I have played around with the EMSK and SPEC files some more and learned the following. Specular properties as defined by Karsten as “directional reflections” seem to be a maximum when both files are either white or transparent. In the case of the lighthouses, light reflected off the surface is not from the surrounding terrain, but is defined by the “light cube” file defined in the lighthouse.nif file. In the case of the white lighthouse, the light cube filename is RRT_Env_map.dds which is a 6 layer file – one layer for each side of a cube and representing the 6 directions +x, -x, +y, -y, +z, and –z from which light travels to the eye of the observer. One layer of the RRT_Env_map file is shown below simulating green grass at the bottom, dark blue at the horizon, a white cloud layer above that and blue sky above the cloud layer. The colors reflected off the white lighthouse surface depend on the position viewed. See the figures below for viewing the same lighthouse (with both EMSK and SPEC fields white) from above, from the horizon and from below. When viewed from above, the lighthouse shaded side takes on a greenish color. When viewed at horizon level it is green below and white above the horizon. When viewed upward from the ground the lighthouse is white to light blue near the top. To make sure the green color was not from the nearby grass and shrubs I made a test map with a white snow surrounding surface and a splotch of red near the base of the lighthouse. See pic. Note that the color reflected from the lighthouse is still green as in the first pic. Most locomotives use a different light cube file called the RRT_Engine_map.dds. I have posted one layer of the RRT_Engine_map file below. Just to see what it would do, I replaced the RRT-Env-map with the RRT_Engine_map in the lighthouse nif file. The second pic of the lighthouse in snow shows the result. Now, when viewed from above, the light reflected off the lighthouse is no longer green, but mostly white with a gray-blue streak similar to the streaks of white, black and brown in the RRT_Engine_map.dds. Water surfaces show the greatest specularity of any surface in the game. Everyone has seen the reflections of trains in water at bridge crossings. Apparently water surfaces reflect colors off of buildings, industries, bridges, and trains, but not terrain. I have posted a pic showing city building reflections off water. Note that the reflected city has no terrain connected to it but appears to be floating in air (or on water). I know new locomotives are very shiny when displayed going round and round in the roundhouse. There are over 30 files controlling the appearance of the roundhouse, so I guess the nice appearance in the roundhouse is not easy to achieve.
Attachments
RRT_Env_map_128.jpg
White-Emsk and Spec-Shaded Side Looking Down.jpg
White-Emsk and Spec-Shaded Side Looking at Horizon.jpg
White-Emsk and Spec-Lighted Side Looking Up.jpg
RRT_Env_Map on Snow.jpg
RRT_Engine_Map.jpg
Engine_Map on Snow.jpg
Buildings Reflected on Water.jpg

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karsten
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by karsten » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:55 pm

Interesting stuff. The missing terrain reflection is just a glitch of the rendering engine. See this mountain reflection from my yet to be released "Australia - sunny down under" map for a counterexample. :D
Canberra 01.jpg
The RRT_Engine_map is used to generate metallic reflections - and if you look at the lighthouse in your last example, it looks a bit as if it has been wrapped in tinfoil! :mrgreen:

TMILLER
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by TMILLER » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:18 am

Karsten, I see the mountain reflection in your screen shot. Looks cool. I still don't get any terrain reflections on my maps. Maybe it is a result of the graphic option settings I use. I will play around with this. Another factor I found that affects water reflections is the depth of the water. I bet your mountain reflection is off shallow water. Deep water yields wiggly, broken-up reflections while shallow, still water yields more complete intact images. In the attached photo the lighthouse on the left is near deep water while the lighthouse on the right is near shallow water (you can even see the green grass bottom beneath the water). The lighthouse image is much clearer in the image near shallow water. Still no reflection of terrain features, though.

Another funny thing that shows up with the lighthouse reflections is shown in the second photo. The dark image to the left of the lighthouse reflection and closer to shore is an artifact of the lighthouse construction - it is part of the silo from which the lighthouse was made, that is located underground. The rendering engine creats its reflection in the water even though it is not visible above ground (another example of it not showing terrain reflections that should be there). :lol:

Your comment that the RRT_Engine_map is used to creat metallic reflections makes perfect sense too.

P.S. After resetting Shader Quality from medium to high, terrain reflections now appear in my map. The lighthouse artifact also disappears. :D
Attachments
DEEP vs SHALLOW Water Reflections.jpg
Artifact Reflection.jpg

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Lowell
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Re: Lake Michigan West SAM

Post by Lowell » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:34 pm

The emsk file controls the shiny metal surface. Simply paint the areas on a emsk file a light gray where you wish a metal surface. To reduce it...make the areas darker. See image below...the seaboard air line E9 has a "crome" finish on the lower metal surfaces...the rest of the body stays a much more dull finish. This can be for buildings etc as well. Hope this helps...max out your video settings for reflections etc as well. I have also added a screenshot showing Reflections.
Attachments
ACL_Daylight_001.jpg
Reflections...
SAL_3002_E9-A_EMSK.jpg
SAL_3002_040.jpg

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