Non-photorealistic shaders

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Non-photorealistic shaders

Postby pht » Tue May 20, 2008 8:15 am

Rainy day, so I ported some NPR shaders for fun.

1. Cell shader
2. Hatching shader, as per the orange book

To install & try out just backup the original files from the 'programs' dir and copy over the vertex shader and one of the fragment shaders. Copy them over the 'highend' shaders or whatever your configuration uses.

Questions for developers (i.e. someone who knows where to look, what to change):

1. Seems some objects don't seem to be using shaders at all (mostly Ox vessels)?

2. These NPR shaders would be nicely supplemented by thick outlines - this requires that the z-buffer queue objects be drawn twice - any directions where the relevant code is?

3. The cell shader needs just flat color models (i.e. no textures). It seems the default color (gl_color or so) is not the right choice, so I took just one fixed point from the diffuse color texture - any better way to do it?
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hatch.jpeg
Hatching shader screenshot of arean refinery
cell.jpeg
Cell shader screenshot of some capital class battle
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Postby klauss » Tue May 20, 2008 9:21 am

Just wait until the techniques branch gets merged, or switch to it - it has all you've mentioned.

branches/gfxtechniques

Mind you it's undergoing testing before merging into trunk, since it's a significant and bug-prone rewrite of the render loop.
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Postby pht » Tue May 20, 2008 10:08 am

klauss wrote:Mind you it's undergoing testing before merging into trunk, since it's a significant and bug-prone rewrite of the render loop.


So could you give some directions where (which file) the loop is? Also where the shaders are loaded and compiled?
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Postby klauss » Tue May 20, 2008 11:16 am

You don't have to edit code, in that branch. All you have to do is edit the XML files defining the techniques, in data/techniques

The code that implements that is spread over src/gfx/{techniques,mesh_gfx,mesh_xml}.{h,cpp}
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Postby pht » Tue May 20, 2008 12:42 pm

klauss wrote:The code that implements that is spread over src/gfx/{techniques,mesh_gfx,mesh_xml}.{h,cpp}


I looked at the code and the sample xml files. It seems quite powerful, but unfortunately there are some things I can't control from the xml.

The outlining algorithm I use works as follows --

1. set wireframe mode ... glPolygonMode(GL_FRONT_AND_BACK, GL_LINE);
2. set thick lines ... glLineWidth(4.f);
3. set front face culling ... glCullFace(GL_FRONT);
4. set '<' for z-buffer ... glDepthFunc(GL_LESS);
5. draw the model.

6. set polygon mode ... glPolygonMode(GL_FRONT_AND_BACK, GL_FILL);
7. set back face culling ... glCullFace(GL_BACK);
8. set '<=' for z-buffer ... glDepthFunc(GL_LEQUAL);
9. draw the model again.

If you wish & give some further advice I can add that kind of control into the techniques model... or just wait till someone does. :-)
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Postby pht » Tue May 20, 2008 12:45 pm

PS. one more thing. I noticed you can load pretty much whatever texture you need, including noise. However, the NPR shaders are easier with 3D noise thus 3D textures -- could those be loaded as well?
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Postby ace123 » Tue May 20, 2008 11:18 pm

What format would a 3D texture even be? Do you do a whole lot of png files?

I've seen GL_TEXTURE3D so OpenGL should support it but Vegastrike's code would probably have to be changed, along with a new image file format.
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Postby klauss » Wed May 21, 2008 7:28 am

I don't think we have a 3D file format other than DDS - so perhaps the code loading DDS would be able to load 3D textures. But it's a big perhaps.

About the rest, I'll try to add controls for those when I get a chance.
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Postby pht » Wed May 21, 2008 9:26 am

ace123 wrote:What format would a 3D texture even be? Do you do a whole lot of png files?


No, just a "raw" file with, say, 64^3 floats.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Thu May 22, 2008 4:30 am

Wouldn't 3D textures be useful, anyways, for things like volumetric effects, and perhaps object-to-object (such as ship-to-landing pad) ambient shadowing? I known nothing about them; just asking.
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Postby klauss » Thu May 22, 2008 6:41 am

3D textures are falling out of use. Thing is, the memory requirements for them are enormous. Up to now, the only useful thing they provide is for 3D noise, but that can also be faked with perlin noise (all you need is 3 1D textures - or 1 2D with Nx3 - and a ps3.0 capable card).
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Postby pht » Thu May 22, 2008 1:52 pm

klauss wrote:3D textures are falling out of use. Thing is, the memory requirements for them are enormous. Up to now, the only useful thing they provide is for 3D noise, but that can also be faked with perlin noise (all you need is 3 1D textures - or 1 2D with Nx3 - and a ps3.0 capable card).


The Perlin noise is exactly what I need. Alternatively, it can be easily generated on program start instead of loading from file. 64^3 floats take just about 1 mb of RAM if i count correctly. Maybe it would be also useful for natural phenomena like clouds (space, atmospheric) or engine jets flow.
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Postby klauss » Thu May 22, 2008 2:15 pm

There was a way to implement perlin noise computing half on the CPU or offline, put that into a random Nx3 (N can be whatever you want) texture, and then using the three textures in sequence in a shader to finish off the calculation. If you ask me, that's far superior than a 3D texture, because it's actual perlin noise (and not a repeating pattern based on perlin noise).

Let me google it up again.
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Postby klauss » Thu May 22, 2008 11:24 pm

Hey! this is very cool stuff PHT!
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Screenshot35.jpg
Serenity in comics!
Screenshot39.jpg
Colorful medical
Screenshot40.jpg
Is that a cartoon or what?
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Postby safemode » Fri May 23, 2008 6:26 am

Now that has me happy. We need a shader that does this cartoon effect but with much more of a flat look to things for the Retro mode.

We can tone down detail, use low res mipmaps as the base for loading textures, but the lighting still makes the game look too advanced, even with shaders disabled. It would be ideal to have a shader that can make the game look cartoony like that but with like a pallette (if at all possible), or at least a nullification of lighting effects. It's too bad we cant pixelize things, no matter what i tried to reduce the smoothing of edges, it never approached the look of old non-3d accelled games.


That would look kick ass.


BTW, retro mode isn't for crappy video cards and such. It's a way to play the game through the emulated look of old releases of privateer and wing commander.

This cartoon mode could make the game look extremely close to wing commander 3. Which would be amazing as right now, it looks like crap.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 10:33 am

I want to inject a contrarian post, here; and a dire warning.

I noticed this thread earlier and refused to get involved, as Vegastrike is not my mod, and you can do anything you want; but because of this thread, today PU was attacked, at our own forum, by the viral idea of toon shading. We're fighting back and I think we will succeed; --and no; I'm not accusing anyone of evil intentions; I know people want to do "cool things". But it's highly disruptive and unwelcome stuff. And I'm saying this in the name of WC mods; yes: You want toon shading? Then do your own mod; leave us alone!

My dire warning is that if you guys (Vegastrike) even just experiment with this stuff in a public way, the virus will take hold. If you offer toon-shading, even as an option, there will be players who will like it and insist on having that option for all time to come. So, it's a one-way street, IMO.

And what's wrong with having a toon-shading option for all time to come?

It will dilute Vegastrike. A gaming news site or a reviewer wanting to show a screenshot won't be able to decide what's the look of Vegastrike, so he or she will either show plain-Vegastrike AND toon-Vegastrike side by side, or, more likely, neither one. It would be a statement like saying "we don't know how we want our game to look, so we're letting the users choose".

Mighty BAD policy, if you ask me.

A disruptive thread.
Last edited by chuck_starchaser on Fri May 23, 2008 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby DualJoe » Fri May 23, 2008 10:49 am

I think your overreacting big time Chuck.
Very odd to see toon shading as a virus.
Since when are options and choice seen as bad things?
I knew console games were getting dumber all the time, but I must have missed the latest trend of, we must remove all options and choice from our games or people won't understand and die of a severe case of too many possibilities.

Before making these statements do a search on reviews with games that offer multiple shading options and than try to find ONE that confirms your fears.
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Postby pht » Fri May 23, 2008 10:50 am

klauss wrote:There was a way to implement perlin noise computing half on the CPU or offline, put that into a random Nx3 (N can be whatever you want) texture, and then using the three textures in sequence in a shader to finish off the calculation. If you ask me, that's far superior than a 3D texture, because it's actual perlin noise (and not a repeating pattern based on perlin noise).

Let me google it up again.


For these shaders the pattern is more than enough. But would you have a link describing that technique?

Glad you all like the NPR shaders. I'll play with them some more and post the achievements.

safemode wrote:We can tone down detail, use low res mipmaps as the base for loading textures, but the lighting still makes the game look too advanced, even with shaders disabled. It would be ideal to have a shader that can make the game look cartoony like that but with like a pallette (if at all possible), or at least a nullification of lighting effects. It's too bad we cant pixelize things, no matter what i tried to reduce the smoothing of edges, it never approached the look of old non-3d accelled games.


Could you elaborate that a little?
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 10:59 am

DualJoe wrote:I think your overreacting big time Chuck.
Very odd to see toon shading as a virus.
Since when are options and choice seen as bad things?
I knew console games were getting dumber all the time, but I must have missed the latest trend of, we must remove all options and choice from our games or people won't understand and die of a severe case of too many possibilities.

Before making these statements do a search on reviews with games that offer multiple shading options and than try to find ONE that confirms your fears.


I'm not overreacting at all. Under-reacting if anything. Remember I'm a modeler AND a texturer, as well as a shader programmer. And as an artist I have to have a clear goal of what I want a ship to look like. And what IS the goal, if there are choices of shaders?
Choice is not a good thing by definition under all circumstances. That's a fallacy.
That's like you make a statue or piece of art, and then anyone is given the choice to paint it differently.
I want MY ships to look the way I intended for them.
Choice my ass!
And this is also part of my dire warning:
Have shader choices, and all self-respecting artists will leave. I know I would.
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Postby DualJoe » Fri May 23, 2008 11:39 am

chuck_starchaser wrote:That's like you make a statue or piece of art, and then anyone is given the choice to paint it differently.
I want MY ships to look the way I intended for them.
Choice my ass!
And this is also part of my dire warning:
Have shader choices, and all self-respecting artists will leave. I know I would.

First you describe a perfectly reasonable shader option for a large part of the WC-universe as a disease and now you threaten to leave if people ever get the option?
Since you mention fallacies you probably know that you just put up two. The latter being an ad baculum and not a very convincing one at that.

You don't have to explain to me what you are doing. I'm currently the only other active artist and I'm not leaving over something as trivial as an optional shader.

If this isn't overreacting I wonder what you consider is.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 11:54 am

DualJoe wrote:First you describe a perfectly reasonable shader option for a large part of the WC-universe as a disease and now you threaten to leave if people ever get the option?
Since you mention fallacies you probably know that you just put up two. The latter being an ad baculum and not a very convincing one at that.
Sure, attack me personally; that's going to go far.

If this isn't overreacting I wonder what you consider is.
It's an overly late reaction. People offering disruptive ideas shouldn't get a pat in the back. There's been gazillions of really good ideas offered in these forums, that were ignored. But like I said, Vegastrike is not my mod, and I stayed out of it earlier; perhaps I shouldn't have. But like it was in my nightmare scenario, the toon shader virus idea appeared at the PU board.
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Postby pyramid » Fri May 23, 2008 12:33 pm

It surprises me how many times people are fighting over different points of view even when they are compatible. If I place a jar behind a glass between me and you, then the jar is behind the glass, period, no point discussing, even if you insist that the glass is behind the jar. You're getting me, I guess.

VS is a strange kind of animal, being at the same time a game and a modding engine. Putting myself in the different shoes, I can only agree to both views expressed in this thread. Supporting mods is a good choice and any shader (even if it's maccaroni) should be provided as an option to those willing to engage in this kind of extraordinary endeavors. However, when speaking about VS The Game, there is NO WAY I would EVER like to neither develop nor play "Toons In Space".

Hugh.
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Postby safemode » Fri May 23, 2008 12:46 pm

ok, wow. I wasn't aware that you had to choose one over the other. (/sarcasm) If the developers are "misguided" enough to replace regular gameplay with this type of shader as a normal option, then maybe it's time to come over to the dark side of vegastrike and work for us :)

"Toon shading" wouldn't be an option to play in VS with any mode other than Retro. This means really bad looking everything, as is intended to emulate the paletted look of pre WC3 games. It would not be something the user could easily make use of to play in High Quality mode but with crazy "toon" shader. Additionally, I wasn't suggesting using the shader as displayed in the forum, but modified to give the old pre-WC3 look, rather than it's current hand painted look.


Important:
I see this non-realistic shader as a tool to turn back the graphics quality clock without heavily recoding and modifying the source code for the Retro Mode (a mode which has always existed, but until now always broken). It would not be a shader that would be independently selectable.

You just have to realize that there are some users who want to play the game a little with the look of those old games. It's not a large group of people, and they usually dont play around for very long in that mode, but hey, if you can give a group of users what they want with minimal impact on the rest of the users, why not? There is no chance of it ever becoming the preferred way to play the game.
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Postby chuck_starchaser » Fri May 23, 2008 12:46 pm

@Pyramid:
Ah, I can agree to that POV, completely. No harm at all with VS the Engine offering toon shaders. I thought that toon shaders were being proposed and even welcomed for VS the Game. At the PU board, the suggestion came as a suggestion for our *game*. If what's being discussed is a shader to offer with the engine, then my dire warnings and paranoia were not justified.
My apologies.
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Postby safemode » Fri May 23, 2008 12:56 pm

Chuck, you're always gonna get initial interest in stuff like this. It's like when HDR images got big online. Every kiddie with a digital cam started making attempts at HDR images of everything. It dies down.

I think you'll see non realistic shaders in VS for Retro mode. Not looking like what you see in this forum, but this thread has proven to me that what i want to see in Retro mode can be done by the shader, where as it can't be easily done any other way.

It's a promising tool that we'll use where it's supposed to be used. Anyone hoping to see it in a drop down alongside the other shaders will be left holding their breath.
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