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Lord Aquila

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Lord Aquila last won the day on November 20 2020

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About Lord Aquila

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  1. No worries! I am working deeper on my diploma right now, so I am quite busy too, hence my quite slow previous reply too. Let it take as much time as it needs. 🙂
  2. Hope it will be even better explained when the article comes out! 🙂 So I ran dxdiag.exe and verified my system supports DirectX 12. I saved all the information in a .txt file. Also, I think GTX 1070 is fully capable of running Stronghold 3, but is there a way I can see if the game itself for some reason doesn't run on dx11? On their images and developement videos, Firefly were presenting the game with the same river graphics, plus everyone playing this game have the same or worse graphics as well, so probably that's the way the river is supposed to look, I don't know. Maybe that's the dx 11 version, haha. After enabling the error dialog and onscreenscript, I noticed that without making any change or modification to the game (after uninstalling and reinstalling and before I reapply the sea water mod (version 1.12.1 by the way, Gold Edition)), and when I open a map with a river in it, the game seems to not be able to find a certain water.dds texture, which exists but maybe the pathing is corrupt. In any case I don't think that fixing this issue will bring the depth property to the shader. Also, I can't understand why, but even when I delete the .vShaderBin files (first dx9 to see if the dx11 force-work and then both of them as well), the game (and the editor) doesn't seem to notice and just loads the river shader fine, except when I modify them (maybe they are temporarily backed up somewhere each time the game starts?). Again with the debug enabled, I noticed no difference. Also, like I said any change I make on the .ShaderLib file, nothing seems to happen too, not even when I delete it as well. (I tried changing the "dx9" to "dx11" in the second line, but before the reinstall I made more value changes, specifically on the parameter lines, and still the game doesn't seem to care) Maybe deleting certain files that still work on an application might be a common fact in programming and I don't know about it, but until now it doesn't quite make sense to me, especially for a shader. Now here I noticed something interesting. The water detail in the game settings was set on "undefined" by default, and I had to change it. I am wondering if this is related to the issue somehow, I don't know. I also played with the settings above a bit, especially with the water_detail (which I tried all sorts of numbers and nothing changed). I think I have something here. In the River.ShaderLib file there are such passes for both the river and the waterfall shader (except you mean on other files, apart from ShaderLib). It mentions it's a compiled class, so I am guessing this is the compiled part within the "dx9.vShaderBin" and "dx11.vShaderBin" files? If that's true, then I hope there is a way to make any changes on the source and recompile it and replacing the existing .vShaderBin files. (although the format might be Vision Engine specific) About the marsh foam texture, I had noticed that before, there is a path to it mentioned inside the dx .vShaderBin files too, which I changed to the foam texture I made, that you see on a previous post. Apparently it worked, but it's the only change that did (now it's reset back to the marsh texture, as I reinstalled the game). Playing with the other textures (normals, colours, etc.) I didn't get the result I am looking for, though I will make a more realistic normal texture at some point, if I fix the current depth issue, like I did with the sea water. 🙂 That's why I don't feel very confident making more changes on the open source code files, as I haven't seen any change in the game previously, as well as not affecting the games functionality, after I completely delete them. I think you are right, and those files are just the source code of some compiled ones, which might still be helpful, if I find a way to recompile them, after making my changes. All in All, I think my best bet is to make the SC2 river shader work in S3. The only issue I think there is in this case, is the pathing for its textures, that's why the river doesn't show at all when I replace the shader in S3 (see image on previous post), but instead it recognises it. I verified that, after checking the error dialog. In SC2 the texture pathing is controled by the graphics settings in a way that there is an archive for each setting with the corresponding textures' quality in it: These are both the expected pathing errors I got, when trying to load a map with a river, after replacing the shader with the SC2 one (when I say replacing the shader, I mean both dx .vShaderBin files, as well as the River.ShaderLib one, as these are all about river SC2 has, + I replaced the dx .vShaderBin files of the water shader as well, to make sure, if there is a relation between them): Those textures are included on the .pak archives in SC2 assets folder, so I tried copy/pasting them inside the S3 assets folder to see if the pathing works now, but got the same errors and the river was again invisible. Same when I unpacked the textures inside the assets directory. So I am guessing the pathing system is hardcoded in relation to the SC2 graphics settings system specifically. So, if there is a way to fix this pathing to work in S3, then all my river problems will go away. 😊 The river shader of SC2 has more potential, as with a little tweaking, I am starting to get a more realistic result in the SC2 editor, although it doesn't have the capabilities of the sea shader, so just replacing that with S3 will do the trick. P.S. Sorry if the the images are too many and seem chaotic. The purpose is to help understanding, than confuse, so let me know if I overdo it. 🙂 Also, I am thinking of leaving the river aside for now and focusing more on the terrain scultping, and see all of its potential. I am really striving for a good aesthetic result, like the really well done stripes in Stronghold 1, but in 3D.
  3. @Lord_Chris, that was really insightful! Thank you very much, as I am still learning all of this stuff! I will definitely consider all your time to look into this and your notes on the matter, and I will get back with my results. By the way my specs are pretty strong: core i7 8750H GTX 1070 8 GB VRAM 16 GB RAM However, I will definitely follow your suggestion about which dx the game is set to run in my case, before making any conclusion! Thanks again! 🙂
  4. Thanks! 🙂 I am writing an article where I explain how I did all of this, where it will answer your question in detail, but overall, yes and no. For example, one can achieve a pretty decent result in sea water, without the need of my mod, as the Editor provides options for the sea shader (which I will also show the way in the article). However, if they want the full aesthetic package, they will need this mod, or of course the way to create it themselves, if they want to. Also, if one wants to tweak the river, they have to go beyond the Editor too, as for the river there are no such options in the editor, as the sea. Speaking of which, I realized that SC 2 uses a different graphics settings system, at least for the river shader, which is hardwired within its shader files. This system has references to different LOD types of its basic diffuse texture, which is needed for the river to show at all. Those references vary between this game and S 3. That's why, when I replaced the S 3 river shader with the one from SC 2 (the .vshaderbin files), the river didn't show. Because, it couldn't find the diffuse texture, as the pathing system is different and based on SC 2 Graphics Settings. There are 4 .pak files in SC 2 assets folder, which contain the different LODs of its diffuse texture (.../textures/environment/water_river.colour.dds) and of which the game chooses one that fits your graphics settings. Whereas, in S 3 there are not such files. So, I need to find the right lines within the Shader file, to fix the path finding system to S 3, so that it can find the diffuse texture and finally show the river, in its new better now form.
  5. It is under way. Slowly that is, but I am getting there. 🙂 Thanks by the way! @Lord_Chris, I would like to share a little detail that might help as well. I didn't realise up until now, that the "56 42" file signature, refers to "VBIN", or "V BIN", which translates to something like "v binary", ...in other words..., vision binary file (like the game .v archives, probably because they come from vision engine as well?). So it is a Vision Engine specific file format that probably is the C++ compiled binary result of both shaders and models from the engine, as they have the same signature. (do models get compiled?) I think you are definitely right that it is not an archive anyway. P.S. All this might have been obvious to you since the beginning, so I am not sure I am providing anything new here, but thought sharing nevertheless. 🙂 It seems that, at least to me, I didn't realise it up until now.
  6. Yes, I played with the the water values on that section to make any changes, apart from the foam texture reference, which as I said was inside the shader binary file of the river. Fortunately it worked after changing the path. Yes it does. From what I have got so far, they are the shader files inside the "River.Shaderbin" (for river) and "Water.Shaderbin" (for sea) folders, inside assets/shaders. I tried all sorts of colours, even white, believe me, and they worked only in the case of the water tint colour, which by the way has more of a mask for the main diffuse texture of the river (which is the dds file that gives the river it's actual colour you see). In the sea water shader, it was more obvious. Probably it's not applied to he river. However, I have noticed lines inside the .vshaderbin file, that mention "depthFog" and "depthFogCol", as well as inside the .shaderlib source file. (+ " #define HAS_DEPTH_INFORMATION", which I couldn't find a way to get it working, probably because I have to find and edit it inside the compiled shader file somehow (dx9.vshaderbin or dx11.vshaderbin), which I couldn't. The 'water splash' and 'water mist' files are probably related to some effects objects you can add in the editor. Like the ones in Stronghold 2 editor. So I think they are not related to the shader. Finally, here is the .xml values I currently use, but I am feeling the river looks even worse than before, haha. Also, those apply better on a different normal texture I replaced with, so it might look too reflective or shiny for example. <water_type name="River"> <texture diffuse="textures\particles_and_effects\water.colour.dds" normals="textures\environment\water\water.normals.dds" /> <opacity>0.85</opacity> <flow_speed>0.19</flow_speed> <roughness>0.205</roughness> <normals_uv_scale>0.0015</normals_uv_scale> <normals_scale>1.0</normals_scale> <fresnel_power>4.0</fresnel_power> <fresnel_scale>3.0</fresnel_scale> <fresnel_offset>0.1</fresnel_offset> <water_tint_color r="255" g="0" b="0" /> <dark_water_color r="50" g="50" b="50" /> <bright_water_color r="100" g="100" b="100" /> <shore_fadeout_range>0.04</shore_fadeout_range> <edge_transparency_scale>5</edge_transparency_scale> <reflection_multiplier>0.4</reflection_multiplier> <depth_fog>255,255,255,1.0</depth_fog> <depth_fog_col>255,255,255,1</depth_fog_col> <low_detail_water_color r="0" g="40" b="60" /> <low_detail_scale>0.0006</low_detail_scale> <low_detail_blending>0.6</low_detail_blending> <!-- 1 = All texture, 0 = all tint--> <low_detail_opacity>0.25</low_detail_opacity> </water_type> As you can see, I also added "depth_fog" and "depth_fog_col" values to see if they work, but they don't. I noticed they are float4 type, that's why you see 4 numbers there, but I haven't been able to get something working. Maybe they just don't work this way, or not at all, like you said. P.S. I am working a little bit on the waterfall object. I just replaced the texture for the moment to see how it looks and it comes about quite better. Though the lower flowing parts look a little bit too stretched. (You can see how bad the river looks at the moment)
  7. Thank you! I hope it comes about well done. The sea water shader is not all there is in terms of water of course, so I found a little bit more time today and next I tried messing around with the river. We all know how bad rivers look in Stronghold 3.. They are like glass planes with an animation video projected on them. Too flat, colourless, dull and without depth and form. Things are trickier now however, as the shader properties are not accessible via the Map Editor. What's more, there is a main issue, that I will get to later. I found a solution after a while though, and that is the 'water.xml' file inside the 'definitions' folder in the 'core.v'. There are all the bunch of options there from 'opacity', to 'water_tint', 'normal_scale', etc. I played with those values, but only a few of them worked.. One of them, the 'opacity' which gave this nice depth transition you notice in the sea mod I made, didn't seem to work as such, hence the flat look on the river. There is no transition at all and the value applies to the whole area of the river equally. Here is an example of the best result I could get so far: What's more, inside the xml file there are references to a water colour and normal texture, but not to foam, as it clearly has such option, after I checked the .vshaderbin file of the river shader, which actually pointed to a marsh foam texture. I know foam is not the most important thing, but it's weird why this reference was not inside the xml too. However, I edited the path from there to point the shader to another foam texture, that of the sea for now, to see if it worked, which it did. (I edited the .vshaderbin file with HxD software, as it was the only way to save it afterwards without information loss, as it is a binary file) Anyway, so my main issue is that although there seems to be references to darker and brighter colour choices according to water depth, which means the shader probably supports depth transition (also some 'depth fog' parameter inside the .vshaderbin file), it doesn't render it, and I can't seem to find a way to fix it and understand if it is a bug or done intentionally for some reason. Here is a comparison of the river(above) with the sea(below), which transitions nicely + has an actual water form (erased the shore foam for it to be more apparent): I tried replacing with the sea water shader files, but obviously got an error when trying to paint river on the editor. Then I remembered that in SC 2 the river water actually has some transition and I thought why not trying replacing with those shader files. I didn't get an error, but the water was invisible, althouh the engine recognised it. I thought maybe the opacity form that version has different standards than the S 3 one, so I increased its value, but still no change. Any ideas? EDIT: Forgot to mention that I have noticed there are 2 shader files for river, one for dx9 and one for dx11. Maybe the game is bugged to a low quality dx9 shader rendering? And I need to find the switch to dx11 or at least a better quality dx9 version?
  8. I think I have a little helpful information (I hope). It seems that the shader files of the game (.vshaderbin) have also the same file signature, which implies same format as the .model ones...! I am starting to think this is something unconventional like you said, and more specific, an unconventional archive format (since a 3D model can't be the same as a shader I guess?). I think it makes sense now. I only don't understand why they used different archive formats on the .v and .shmap files than the .model and .vshaderbin. Maybe they just thought, why not getting even more security measures?. I don't know...
  9. I would be very interested to do it! However, it might take a while because of my limited time the upcoming months. Is it ok if it takes a while? Or maybe I can steal some hours and it comes along easier and faster than I think. So yeah, I will start writing as soon as I can. If I see it takes longer than I think, or become unable to continue due to not having enough time, I will let you know. 🙂
  10. Not yet. I wish I had. 😃 And here I thought it wasn't likely to be a pch for some reason... Way to go with my programming knowledge. 😁 It seems we are getting there then. I am glad I helped a little bit. Hopefully, this research will get us similar results for SC 2 and upcoming Warlords, since they use the same engine. Also, see what type of files the latter comes out with. Don't think you are wrong, since the file's signature is nowhere to be found! (at least with current research). I just hope they don't get too chaotic. I agree. Duplicating and getting it from there is the best way to go. If we find out the models' format and I can start doing such a task, that's how I will proceed.
  11. Definitely can be tought! The main skill was finding the "catch" within the sea water properties to achieve the coloring and other shader stuff you see there. Maybe also the ability to make a seamless tiled texture that doesn't seem repetitive, which I think everyone can understand how to do it within a few minutes. However, the main part for me on this mod that really is the icing on the cake is the water normal (mainly the water form) quality, which I wouldn't say it needed much artistic skill to create. In fact it was created for me by the Blender software, after adjusting the ocean modifier's properties, and exporting part of it in a way that it was seamless. So again yes, it can be tought, since the whole process is actually playing with numbers and adjustments, and judging from the result they give you, rather than a super manual process, like sculpting on a mesh, which is the case of terrain sculpting, that it's more of a person's individual skill in my opinion, since it's mainly a manual artistic process. However, I think an article is feasible on this topic too, on how one can achieve better terrain results.
  12. Thank you. Though my free time is limited and not consistent at the moment, but I hope I can provide with results from time to time.
  13. Hello Stronghold Nation! After playing this game a while back, I remember I was quite frustrated, first because of the bugs, but mostly because of the unfinished and rushed stuff. For example, the mechanics and maybe objects that never surfaced, although probably planned, or the quick terrain brushes they did to finish the maps on time, as well as the poor quality of the sea and river water objects. I can see where the game might have ended up being, and I always wanted an improved 3D version of the first game, with new well-thought campaigns, but also as importantly a really well done environment that immerses you into the game's theme and atmosphere. The engine used in this game has more capabilities in terms of environment quality, than it seems to the average person who fires up the game and enters a campaign, a siege, or freebuild map. So, I decided to see what I can do to improve some environment assets, such as the water shader, for a start. So I made this mod. It features a realistic sea water for the game, by exploiting the shader properties on the editor, as well as changing it's normal map and foam textures. This gave a very nice result in my opinion. 🙂 Next priority for me is to see what I can do with the terrain quality. As I have realised, playing with the editor, the terrain system offers an astonishingly high resolution to play with! (see last image) Painting on the terrain is really high res too, which instantly offers for many terrain ideas (i.e. distinct rocky surfaces) to come to life. So, I tried making a coastal part of the terrain (though unfinished) for a test to see where I can get in terms of quality, and how well it goes with the sea. (see image 4) I would really like to see your thoughts and criticism!
  14. Oh, ok, no problem! I thought I was doing something wrong. 😛 It was quite fast indeed. However the mod doesn't have many actions behind it, so it was complete in quite a short time. I wanted to make some terrain fixes also on the original maps before submiting, but I thought it best to get something already done out there, since it can stand as a simple mod by itself. 🙂 I will send it to you via PM, I just hope I am not adding another task to you, if you are busy. Many thanks for the reply and your interest overall! 😁 Also, I have some strange news about the .model files of the game. I did a little research. First, I tried renaming a file's extension to every format MeshLab supports, and tried importing each and every one to see if the software recognises any. I didn't have a good result, but the closest I got to an actual result, is the .xyz format, which is a type of point cloud information (strange for such a file), that the software didn't give me an error and at least recognised the model's vertices, though it showed nothing in the viewport. (see image 1.jpg) After that I thought of something I should have done first, actually. Checking the file's signature. So, I used a hex editor to open it and searched for it's signature on the most complete list I could find on the internet, but the weird thing was, that it was not listed... (see image 2, 3) The closest values (56 43 ...) are those of a pch format, which I doubt is anything close to what we are looking for. What sort of rare type of format did they use? I don't know what else to try, so I will leave the models as they are for now and play with other things. Also, the geometry is not the most important thing for me now to mod, as I can at least do so with the textures, like you mentioned, and I have other priorities that have to do with the game funtionality and mechanics, as well as environment graphics (which at current state do not quite compliment the capabilities of the engine). The only thing I wanted to know is which formats work with the game if I want to add some models in the future.
  15. I seem to be having an issue trying to submit my sea water mod, I get this error after completing all the requirements and hitting submit.. Also, it took quite a while before getting this message. Also, is there a thread about the download section, so as not to bump this one with any future issues I might have? I didn't seem to find one after a first search.
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