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Offline Carl

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Aerial Views
« on: August 23, 2013, 09:25:41 AM »
While visiting my parents I've found a couple of interesting railway shots from an unusual persective: namely, something akin to the perspective we view trains from in Simutrans. It's quite rare to find photos of trains from anything even resembling the isometric perspective of Simutrans. I, for one, sometimes find it difficult to envision what trains should look like from that perspective. So these may be useful to those drawing or editing trains.









Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 09:48:35 AM »
Is that Lowestoft?

Offline Carl

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 09:59:15 AM »
I think so!

Offline Combuijs

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2013, 10:16:08 AM »
Looking in Google Maps, the first one is certainly the Lowestoft station.

Edit: And the other picture looks to be the bridge over the Yare at Reedham. (Just follow the railroad track on Google Maps for a while).

Offline The Hood

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2013, 12:11:05 PM »
I'm quite impressed with the look of pak128.Britain compared to that!

Offline ӔO

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2013, 01:59:23 PM »
must have been a bustling place at one point.

those platforms are really long for 158 and 170.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 06:23:32 PM »
The Hood - indeed! Good point.

AEO - more than that: the concourse area at the top of the photograph would at one time have been platforms, and the large building at the front (now not used for railway purposes if my memory serves me correctly) would have been the main booking hall. On the right, one can make out the remains of a substantial goods yard and on the left there looks as though there would have been a bay platform.

Edit: On closer inspection, Pak128.Britain is even more realistic than we realised:

« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 06:36:04 PM by jamespetts »

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 07:07:31 PM »
Something to strive for  ;)

Hard to find aerial photos that are taken near the same angle as the isometric angle used in Simutrans.  Very nice!

Offline ӔO

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 08:46:09 PM »
I think it would be possible to get that kind of definition were it 512 pixel.

Offline Carl

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2013, 09:23:25 PM »
Haha, nice photoshopping there James :)


Looking at screenshots of pak192.comic, I reckon that something close to that level of detail would be possible with 192 pixels.
http://forum.simutrans.com/index.php?topic=2445.msg118375#msg118375
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 09:44:30 PM by Carl »

Offline isidoro

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2013, 11:01:29 PM »
[...]
Edit: On closer inspection, Pak128.Britain is even more realistic than we realised:
[...]

 ;D Looking forward Pak128.Reality!

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2013, 11:39:30 PM »
The trouble with using 192 pixels is that there's no headroom for oversizing larger vehicles: we go to 256 pixels for large aircraft and ships as it is.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2013, 12:55:02 AM »
At first thought you'd think we needed far more pixels to represent something like this... but take a closer look:



This section is just 128x128 pixels large (blown up to see detail better).

The buildings and train are about pak64 size!  There are a good 2 tiles in this image pak64-wise.

Big difference is the ability to blend alpha on the edges.  If we took those buildings and put them in to pak64, we would have to clean the edges up and they would contrast against the background a lot more than they do in this image.  Same with the train... look at how the top of the train blends in with the background behind it.  Look at how the light stands on the platform blend in with the train behind.  The lights are barely a pixel wide in the image but they stand out clearly even though they are blended in with the colours behind.

The other one is shadows, though less important.  In this image the shadows play a very small role.

Offline AP

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2013, 08:32:04 AM »
Re finding such images, suggest the birds-eye section of Bing Maps is often fairly similar (not to be confused with the top-down aerial mapping images).

E.g. http://binged.it/13YeNuQ.

The trick is finding cities with streets at the correct angles to the camera. Most UK cities with historic grids are North-South and & East-West, and Bing Maps uses NSEW camera angles (not NE,SE,NW,SW).

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2013, 08:36:40 AM »
The other key point to note about this image is how close the railway tracks are. The buildings and tracks might be only pak64 size but the train length would need 192 at least - along with clipping to handle train length of 50 or so (compared to a max of 16 currently, with clipping errors cropping up more and more frequently if it is above 8 ). That and buildings which are greater than 1x1 tile of course...

Offline The Hood

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2013, 10:23:58 AM »
The other key point to note about this image is how close the railway tracks are. The buildings and tracks might be only pak64 size but the train length would need 192 at least - along with clipping to handle train length of 50 or so (compared to a max of 16 currently, with clipping errors cropping up more and more frequently if it is above 8 ). That and buildings which are greater than 1x1 tile of course...

I've always thought the way forward is to have graphics at pak128 scale but with 64x64 tiles. Have street tiles as one-way only (so same scale as current 128) and multi-tile citybuildings. This gets tracks close together like real life and allows double track trams in city centres on normal streets. With multi-tile citybuildings getting considered this isn't far off now - but are you suggesting my cunning plan would fall apart because of clipping? What exactly is the problem here? I know vehicles would be much longer than the tiles but I could live with that...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2013, 11:17:54 AM »
Interesting discussion! I wonder whether we shall ever see any alpha blending...?

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2013, 05:59:48 PM »
I've always thought the way forward is to have graphics at pak128 scale but with 64x64 tiles. Have street tiles as one-way only (so same scale as current 128) and multi-tile citybuildings. This gets tracks close together like real life and allows double track trams in city centres on normal streets. With multi-tile citybuildings getting considered this isn't far off now - but are you suggesting my cunning plan would fall apart because of clipping? What exactly is the problem here? I know vehicles would be much longer than the tiles but I could live with that...

I've had the same thought... 128 size gives the added detail but 64 size gives a lot more tile variation in a given visible area.  If we had multi-tile buildings as an option, you could easily make a pak128/pak64 hybrid pakset.  All of the existing pak128 buildings would be 2x2 in pak64 format.  Then all of the ways and vehicles would be 64 pixels across.  You'd lose the gameplay advantage of having larger than scale vehicles but you would be much closer to having a scale model.

I have no knowledge of how complex the code is for rendering the graphics but I can imagine that implementing alpha blending would be a massive undertaking with a lot of unforeseen complications.  Whatever brave soul decided to go down this road would have my internal gratitude  ;)

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2013, 07:29:06 PM »
Was having fun:



I had to correct the slight expansion of the train graphically due to the perspective vs. orthographic (if you look closely the train car "jogs" up one pixel in two spots) but that image was very close to the same angle used for our isometric projection so it was fairly easy to convert.  The train length doesn't quite mesh but it's pretty close for a quick test model.

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2013, 07:11:56 AM »
The problem is that if a vehicle spans multiple tiles then it becomes impossible to z-order graphics properly. The vehicle would have to be drawn multiple times, each pass clipped to the tile that was being drawn that time.

Regarding alpha blending. With per tile climates code is now in simutrans for alpha blending (uses 5 bit alpha from a separate image) but it is sloooow compared to normal drawing.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2013, 02:42:17 PM »
Regarding alpha blending. With per tile climates code is now in simutrans for alpha blending (uses 5 bit alpha from a separate image) but it is sloooow compared to normal drawing.

Could it be hardware accelerated?

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2013, 05:23:42 PM »
Not without all other graphics being hardware accelerated. That's easier said than done...

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2013, 05:29:02 PM »
Yes, I expect that it probably is. A horizonal goal, perhaps.

Offline Carl

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2013, 03:08:44 PM »
I've been taking a look at Bing Maps to find more aerial views. One interesting thing is how out-of-date the imagery is. I found Silverlink trains at Richmond, which dates the images by about 6 years.

Here's an image near Isleworth in west London, which is interesting to see proportions of dense housing and local roads.


Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2013, 09:40:23 PM »
This does make the 2x1 house drawn by Sarlock for Pak128 look about right.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Aerial Views
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2013, 04:04:53 AM »
I was thinking the same thing... the dense housing in the middle is about 2 per 1 tile wide, 2 tiles long.  The houses at the top left of the picture are about 1 widex2 long.

I am thinking of a modular option where the houses and backyards can be variable and interchangeable.