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ChrisND

Allied AAR: Clearing the Niscemi Highway

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Look in Bill's thread and pay special attention to the wheel areas of the truck. You'll see quite a difference. In Normal Dudes pic I am having a hard time seeing anything.

Mord.

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I don't think any objects in Normal Dudes screenshot have dedicated normal maps. Trees, ground, wall - nope. Solider uniform art is a very recent addition, I don't know the status of normal maps for them. Weapons do have normal maps but you need your nose pressed against them to see them. :)

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NormalDude,

For terrain, I was refering to either CMSF or CMBN? The terrain looks fairly similar to those games but there may be differences that I have not yet noticed.

As for video cards, I currently run a GT 240 but have been looking to upgrade to a GTX 560 (equivalent to a 6870). I am assuming that this card should be good enough for what I want to do with CM. (shaders, good frame rate etc.)

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What is "Shaders?" Is it something that could re retrofitted into (say) CMSF or a new think for CMBN only?

I believe they announced that no more work will be done on SF1. SF2 however, will surely incorporate all features of CM2.2.

Michael

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Affirmative. Steve and Moon said there was too much of a jump engine wise between CMBN and CMSF and A-Stan, to be able to upgrade them to 2.0.

However, Steve did drop a little hint where he sounded like he wanted to make a do over of CMSF...I'd sure be up for it!

Mord.

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So Shaders increase contrast, or add a 3D look? Not quite sure what effect it's having.

I see sharper edges, but photographic sharpening is done by increasing contrast along edges... so, yes!, I would say it's increased contrast. To the extent that it makes edges more distinct, I suppose it could give the impression of added dimensional depth.

Whatever shaders do, I like it! Especially if it comes with little to no framerate hit.

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Look in Bill's thread and pay special attention to the wheel areas of the truck. You'll see quite a difference. In Normal Dudes pic I am having a hard time seeing anything.

Wow! I saw the difference right away in ND's wall pic. I had to look several times at Bill's pic to see it. I first noticed the additional detail around the grill and windshield... although now that I look again, the big difference is how the tread stands out on the sides of the tires.

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My only concern is that the Italian uniforms without shaders looked better than the pic with shaders on--which made the unis look darker. I didn't notice alot of difference with the Paratroopers uniforms...are some colors possibly affected more than others?

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My only concern is that the Italian uniforms without shaders looked better than the pic with shaders on--which made the unis look darker. I didn't notice alot of difference with the Paratroopers uniforms...are some colors possibly affected more than others?

normal maps haven't been made for soldiers yet. So what the shaders are doing to them now doesn't matter much.

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Bil is off for the weekend, so we won't have any updates from the Axis side. Instead, I'm going to post a few turns up and he'll catch when he gets back.

TURN 3

Three Renaults have begun advancing down the hill where the previous one had appeared. My demolition section screen engages them with rifles, hoping to pick off a tank commander. Since the Renault has only two crew members, disabling the commander will cripple it. The commander, as you can see in the below screenshot, sits pretty high while seated on the rear hatch when the vehicle is unbuttoned. My paras miss though and the Renaults quickly button up and return fire, but it is sporadic and inaccurate.

renaultu.jpg

I'm sending the demolition sections bazooka team over to where the Renaults are moving to. If the Renaults get much closer, the bazooka should make short work of them, provided they aren't wiped out with a canister round. If they get even closer, my demolition sections have charges for assualting them. Risky, but what the heck, it might pay off.

Back by the highway where the trucks are sighted, the Bersaglieri trucks have pulled off the road into a grove and unloaded their soldiers. I've got four paras facing them from about 70 meters away, with two carbines and two thompsons. The two thompsons will match well at this range against the bolt action rifles that the Italians are armed with, but I won't be able to hold this position for more than a minute or two since they outnumber me here.

grove.jpg

Here's a close-up of one of the soldiers moving from the truck to the attack. I switched the shadows off in this shot because his back was to the sun.

bersag.jpg

And YES, before some uniform grog says it, Bersaglieri should not have those carcano ammo pouch neck straps. Already noted.

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For terrain, I was refering to either CMSF or CMBN? The terrain looks fairly similar to those games but there may be differences that I have not yet noticed.

It's a Combat Mission CMx2 game so I should expect some similarity. Although this particular map is more foliage-heavy than most. Although even this map as we'll see is still really open. For comparison, here's a map (in progress) from the American Troina campaign:

hill1034.jpg

troina1.jpg

This shouldn't summon up any memories of CMBN maps hopefully. ;)

As for video cards, I currently run a GT 240 but have been looking to upgrade to a GTX 560 (equivalent to a 6870). I am assuming that this card should be good enough for what I want to do with CM. (shaders, good frame rate etc.)

I use a GTX 560 Ti and it runs this game (and all others) very well. For what it's worth. Although it's by no means the minimum required, which I actually don't know what that would be.

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So Shaders increase contrast, or add a 3D look? Not quite sure what effect it's having.

Shaders (normal mapping) fakes a 3D effect - it makes things look more 3D without adding any actual geometry. For example, if you look straight on at something like a tank panel with rivets, the rivets look rounded and appear to cast shadows, but if you look at the same panel from the side, you will see that the panel is still flat and the rivets do not poke out. This can be seen in the screenshots of the wall; the vertical surfaces look more 3D but the top surface is still completely flat.

This 3D look though is determined in conjunction with lighting and in the screenshots shown the light is almost directly overhead, which isn't perhaps the best for showing off the normal mapping. If you look at the truck in the axis AAR thread, the features that run horizontally and catch the light more (e.g. window surrounds) look better than those that run vertically (e.g. the vertical grooves of the door). The quality also depends on how and how well the normal maps have been generated. There should be plenty of room for modding, though without access to the actual models making normal maps could be a bit trickier but still doable.

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Also, a dedicated normal map uses different artwork than the texture. So discrete objects can be brought forward. You see a camouflaged truck, the normal map sees rivet, indent, bolthead, raised panel, hole, widget. :)

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The terrain does look different but I cannot put my finger on it yet (both figuratively or literally). It does feel more like Italy and CMAK than I had expected. That is a good thing as I really enjoyed CMAK.

BTW: Love those Italian pants. I had a similar pair made for me in Hong Kong once which my wife has now hidden on me. Everyone needs a pair of Jodhpurs once in his life.

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Wow, the ground contours show up really well there.

I'm wondering if this is only because of the rising slope and therefore a relatively deeper sun throwing longer shadows or has been something changed in the game to give the player a stronger feedback for undulations?

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It's a Combat Mission CMx2 game so I should expect some similarity. Although this particular map is more foliage-heavy than most. Although even this map as we'll see is still really open. For comparison, here's a map (in progress) from the American Troina campaign:

hill1034.jpg

That's superb. It really looks like Sicily.

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