When we load an old track into the new lighting system, it does an auto adjustment for the light colour to try and look as close as possible to how it did before, though it does look a bit different because of the gamma corrected lighting. In most cases that is a better look, even without any manual adjustments.
But the new lighting system cannot be released with tracks in that condition, mainly because the shadows don't work properly with all the buildings. Some of them were built long ago when there was no free view mode and they would only be seen from track level. In those days we saved polygons and a bit of work by not always bothering with a roof. Now it turns out that doesn't work with the shadow system. The shadows are only cast from surfaces that are seen from the sun's direction. So every object needs a top surface. For example South City looks good with the shadows, but there are many places where the shadow is missing or there are various shards of shadows around.
So that means every track must be visited to do some fixes. The next thing is that we have shine on roads on some tracks now, and it would be quite inconsistent if there isn't any shine effect on road surfaces at another track, so it always makes sense for Eric to go and sort that out. But he is not comfortable with just updating a few textures here and there on an old track. He wants to do a better job, updating barriers and walls to have the right shine effect too. Then he sees old construction methods and things he wants to do a better way. Also he sees corners that need some adjustment, maybe they were too wide or there isn't enough detail or it's a corner that has caused problems while racing over the years. Sometimes things can be improved a bit for the open configuration support as most tracks were built before we had that system. All these things add up so he ends up doing at least several weeks on each track.
I think most of the questions in the thread have been answered by other readers.
Usually the specular reflections are not coloured. So I suppose that is a specular workflow though I'm not really sure about the terminology. Currently we do not have control of specular colour per pixel. A specular colour can be set for a whole surface and that can be used for a metallic effect (or another kind of coloured reflection, for example a window covered with a film of coloured transparent plastic).
I'm not really sure what a specular factor or a specular power is, but the BRDF naturally reduces the brightness of the shine and increases the spread if the roughness is increased.
Our shaders are using an approximation to a Cook Torrance BRDF with optimisations discussed by various authors. After quite a bit of experimentation we came to one that Eric was happy with and felt he had enough control over to get most of the effects he needed.
I was forced to implement fog in the shaders when I needed to move to shader model 3 and it doesn't do fog otherwise. So I went for exponential fog. It's nice because it allows fog to have some effect in the middle distance without reducing far distance pixels to 100% fog colour.
The layouts at Autocross should be compatible, though some of the areas are a few metres wider. So some changes at the edges may be needed.
At Aston there are quite a few adjustments, various corners have been improved, tightened up a bit in some cases, but most things are pretty much in the same place so I believe most layouts should work with a few adjustments.
I think I should be able to make old Aston layouts load with the extra 2 metres added automatically.
Yes, Aston has been raised to fix the area that was below sea level. I think it is 2 metres, so to make accurate comparison shots you can subtract 131072 from the Z coordinate (3rd number) in the /cp line.
We have been working on graphics most of the time since early 2017 and we can now show you some of the results. You will instantly notice the the new detailed shadows and shine on the road surfaces. Looking around, you will start to see that many more surfaces have some sort of shine level.
In this update we will show you some pictures of Blackwood. As a track that was recently updated, it didn't need many changes other than new textures and settings for the new lighting system. Some other tracks have had more extensive updates and we plan to show you some of those in a few weeks.
For me, having a good life and plenty of free time to do the things I like is far more important than being rich. If being rich was a high priority there are many other jobs I could have done, and probably would have had to work 9 to 10 hours a day and only have a few holidays a year. But what's the point in that? So I could wear a fancy watch or clothes with logos on them so other people would be impressed? I don't get it. Life has to be about doing the things you like to do, not wasting money on expensive crap to show off to other fools.
It's a good question. If I can get the graphics ready to a condition that is suitable for this release and could then get back on the physics so that is suitable in time for Eric to have finished the tracks, then this opens the possibility of working on separate physics and graphics threads. That would be a great help and the plan would be to combine this with some means of producing visual frames at the correct visual frequency for the monitor. That would either be by using a high frequency physics update that can be interrupted at any point for a graphical frame, or by using a lower frequency physics update that can be interpolated to produce graphical frames.
Obviously the graphics needs to be done then that would make it releasable, even with the current physics and it's possible this may happen. But I really hope I can sort out the new physics so we can move on.
Texture resolution is a good option. Deactivating shadows is also one but that is quite unsatisfactory as it would look worse than the old LFS. Maybe instead there could be options to reduce the range of the shadows or switch to a shadow method that accesses less shadow texture memory. There could be an option to avoid the specular highlights or skip the exponential fog. How much any of these options would help I really don't know as I have not got to that stage. But I think there are ways to improve frame rate without making things look too bad.
It may be possible for it to run on a really old graphics card that does not support shader model 3 but in that case I think it really would have the shadows switched off and no specular highlights.
NOTE: This option may or may not be a possibility and none of these are promised!
Yes a more modern graphics card will help. The shadow maps and high resolution textures do make the card work harder. But I don't suggest buying one now as it is still quite a long time until release. We cannot give any estimate. I hope to be able to add graphics options to make it run better on older cards but maybe we can see about that when it gets to test patch stage.
NOTE: I'm just thinking out loud, these thoughts are how I imagine things going, not how it will actually happen, and they are not promises.
We want to show some nice pictures. We noticed some flaws and thought I might as well work on them. It's a way to get things done. It's part of the development process, in just the same was that it was a good thing that Eric took a few days off the track he is currently on, to go over the already updated tracks to fix a few things.
It's a good thing that we are brushing up our work for the screenshots, not a bad thing!
I think it was work if you set your computer correctly. There is a system setting like "Language for non-Unicode programs" or similar. You can search in google for that along with your version of Windows and you should be able to set it to Japanese in control panel, then I think you will be able to paste Japanese text into LFS. I think you need to set the LFS input to Japanese at the same time, using the standard Windows shortcuts.
I mentioned in the first post of this thread that we planned to release images of the graphical updates this month. Since then we have been brushing up the existing updates to be ready to make some screenshots.
It has been a useful process as Eric visited the already updated tracks to fix remaining issues, while I got back into looking around the tracks and noticing things I could fix.
As we looked around with our thoughts on the screenshots, we noticed there are things I should work on to improve the screenshots. I will do some of those. So as it turns out our plan has changed a bit to release screenshots in August rather than July.
I wanted to tell you about that change of plan. Also I can say a a few more words about what we are doing and why.
The new shadow system requires an update of every track before we can release it. Some scenery objects were not built in a way that works properly with the shadow maps. For example, every building must have a roof so that shadows are cast correctly. Some of the tracks were built so long ago that they were never designed to be viewed from above. At that time there was no real Free View mode, so things like that were invisible. It's an opportunity to visit every track and bring them up to date, also making the roads and a lot of other scenery make use of the specular reflections, 3D kerbs, better scaled scenery, improvements on some corners and so on. There will not be a "full Westhill" job done on every track. Some tracks will change more than others. We need to remain focussed on getting the updates done, not letting the job expand out of hand, although it is fun doing so many updates. We look forward to showing you some screenshots in August.
I don't know how it has happened but it seems your LFS.exe is running in the wrong location (or part of your installation is missing but that seems less likely). This can happen if the patch is installed in the wrong place, though the installer tries to avoid that possibility.
I would inspect the shortcut to see where your LFS.exe is located, so maybe you can find out what has gone wrong, and you might want to delete the incorrectly installed files if that is the case.
Or you can go for the full version install, but I'd recommend finding out where your old install is so you can delete it. As Wizard says you may wish to copy some files (setups, skins, etc) in from your old folder if there were some you wanted to keep.
I don't really have any difficulty thinking of a solution. I just don't want to release a test patch with this little update. It's on the list for the next patch but there is no time estimate for it.
By the way, I remembered why I changed to the new function. It wasn't actually to save the few lines of code with the convenient function. The main reason was that in the development version, I wanted a copy_file that preserved the file dates. The solution I'm happy with is to reinstate the old copy_file for the purpose of copying the downloaded files, but retain the new version for the development version purposes.