Kexikus

[WIP] High quality skyboxes

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You can always just put some basic examples in the release thread and link to an external site like screenshotcomparison.com where people can do more in-depth comparisons. Or maybe even just whip up your own site if you are so inclined. Simple image sliders are pretty straightforward. I believe Github Pages (i.e. github.io) allows Javascript and CSS, so you could do it via a repo without needing a hosting solution.

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Thanks for all the comments everyone.

I think I will go with style 1 so that the screenshot page does not become a chaotic blinking mess. However, I will also provide a link to some sort of comparison that allows a manual switch between the two shots. And there will of course also be normal screenshots without any comparison that show the new skyboxes in full.

Apart from that I've been making good progress. The main Telos render is now finally done and I'm also making progress verifying that everything is working as intended.

6IjzCGdh.png

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19 hours ago, CratosGoblin said:

It looks very nice. Do you think it will be possible to complete all that is planned before the end of the year?

Certainly sounds like it, very excited 😁

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VedxHLB.jpg

I just completed the last render for this project. Everything is now done!

That does not mean the mod(s) will release today or even tomorrow or this week though. I still need to build the mod archives and installers, verify that everything is working as intended and make screenshots etc. None of that should take too long now that the bulk of the work is finally finished but I won't give a release date. It should be soon though.

In the meantime, here's a screenshot of the last skybox I finished. It's for the Green Grass for Dantooine mod.

IUDJ9qCh.jpg

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Thanks so much, to you and your trusty graphics card indeed :P You're a very talented graphic artist, and it's been great seeing your work evolve in this thread.

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Hey Kexikus!

Now that this is coming to a close, could you tell us how version 2 for KotOR compares to version 1 in terms of size? If I'm not mistaken the first version required something like 200 Mbs of hard disk space (nothing compared to the current 20.5 Gbs of my own project, by they way... 😄) but I assume that this one will far exceed that number. Am I correct?

Thanks again for all your work!

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I just finished the screenshot comparison site for the K1 release, using DarthParametrics suggestion of image sliders and a github repo. Thank you very much for that.

So if you're interested in seeing quite a lot of screenshots from the mod and compare them to the original vanilla look, just head over there:  https://kexikus.github.io/HQSkyboxes_k1_Comparison/

 

On 11/4/2020 at 4:52 PM, Salk said:

Hey Kexikus!

Now that this is coming to a close, could you tell us how version 2 for KotOR compares to version 1 in terms of size? If I'm not mistaken the first version required something like 200 Mbs of hard disk space (nothing compared to the current 20.5 Gbs of my own project, by they way... 😄) but I assume that this one will far exceed that number. Am I correct?

Thanks again for all your work!

The file size is pretty similar. The main K1 archive is slightly bigger than 200MB. Then there are of course the add-ons as well but those aren't that big either.

The TSL archive is quite a bit bigger. I think it's closer to 400MB or at least over 300MB.

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Man, I can't help but feel this is going to be one of the most welcomed mods to date. Everything looks so real. The presentation with sliders on github is really appreciated. I have reservations about Manaan, but the rest, they're gold. In fact, I'm seriously considering starting a LS to DS playthrough, which I never do, just to see that landscape at the end.

 

Again, really appreciated.

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Great work there, Kexikus!

I took a good look at the comparison screenshots for the original game's skyboxes and my favorites are Taris and Korriban.

Dantooine looks great as well although I feel that a mountain in that landscape is out of place.

Tatooine, the Unknown World and Kashyyyk all look very nice but personally I would have kept the version one darker color for their skies.

And just like La Ingobernable, my only reservations are also about Manaan. I think I overall like your original work better there.

Cheers!

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May I ask what it is you don't like about Manaan? Not that I'm going to change anything at this point but I'm curious.

As for the lighter skies: I was actually surprised how much brighter my Kashyyyk sky is when I put together these comparisons but I'll take the brightness over a basically pitch-black skybox any day. For the others I have to disagree. The vanilla skyboxes are waaaaaaay to dark for the clear weather they present. Mine are much closer to a real blue sky on a sunny day so I think that's actually a big improvement in itself.

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Well, the skyboxes are great. It's not a quality issue. The main problem I have is that I grew attached to the original structures seen from the docking bay. They look absolutely majestic and colossal in my eyes. They make you feel like you're in a truly alien world. I see what you mean about the darker-than-it-should-be sky, and I agree. It's just the Ahto complex that bothers me, even though the models you made for it are really well made. Come to think of it, I'd probably have the same issue with Taris if it weren't because the new skybox fits so well.

I guess while we're at it, in the first two screenshots I see a weird blue glare on the clouds closest to the sun that doesn't feel natural, especially when you compare it to the original. The sun itself has a peculiar blue hue as well. Then regarding the seabed, it always made sense to me that it was pitch-dark because of how deep the harvesting base is supposed to be. But that's just a really minor thing.

 

Hope some of that helps.

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5 hours ago, Kexikus said:

May I ask what it is you don't like about Manaan? Not that I'm going to change anything at this point but I'm curious.

1 hour ago, La Ingobernable said:

The main problem I have is that I grew attached to the original structures seen from the docking bay. They look absolutely majestic and colossal in my eyes. They make you feel like you're in a truly alien world.

I will also have to adjust to the new look, but I think the perspective in the original billboards is off. It looks like they go off to the distance in a straight line, when the rest of the background of Ahto City is curved. It makes them look flat, like they were draw on a wall in the sky, which obviously they were. Realistically, the last few would be hovering in the air, not connected to the rest of the structure. So I think something had to be done, and Kexikus' version fixes that.

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1 hour ago, JCarter426 said:

I will also have to adjust to the new look, but I think the perspective in the original billboards is off. It looks like they go off to the distance in a straight line, when the rest of the background of Ahto City is curved. It makes them look flat, like they were draw on a wall in the sky, which obviously they were. Realistically, the last few would be hovering in the air, not connected to the rest of the structure. So I think something had to be done, and Kexikus' version fixes that.

I agree with JCarter's take, and would like to add that your personal choice of perspective or more specifically your vanishing point is much lower than the Vanilla game, and so the backgrounds look a lot smaller and somewhat flatter. For example, in Ahto City, you preserved the alien structures but they don't look as foreboding or exciting because they're at a lower eye level. That forced perspective was a trick Bioware did to make it feel larger than life, and inputting a more realistic view IE Straight On takes its unique look away. (It also wouldn't surprise me if Ahto CIty was supposed to be on a spire and so the rest of the city walls are actually much further down)

     Take for example, even Tatooine; your take is far more realistic and indeed has a greater amount of detail, yet it feels less dramatic. That I believe is because you can see more of the background in the Vanilla game which is only possible because of Bioware's choice of vertical viewing angle. (A higher viewing angle shows more background as your camera is basically floating higher up and can see more) It's a bit more complicated than I'm making it with this brief explanation, but there certainly is value in considering vertical angles when improving a landscape view.

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My take about Manaan is a mix of what La Ingobernable and Malkior said when it comes to Atho City.

It might as well be just like JC says. The perspective is very possibly "fixed" and the Player gets a realistic view to the outside from Atho City but in my opinion the vista loses too much in terms of beauty although I would have said it may have been worth the "sacrifice" if the new, how to call it... "golden stripe" used both in the "half ring" of the visible structure outside and on the billboards was better. I do think that particular stripe is giving me major grief. The original one may be lower resolution but to my eyes it fits much better.

About the underwater instead I have a rather strong preference for the darker blue. In my opinion the new rendition is way too bright there. While I can understand the shift to brighter skies for every other place (except for Kashyyyk, which is also a bit too bright), here I do feel is not justified.

My only other remark is about the mountain on Dantooine, as I said. The original look does strike me as intending to portrait an area of valleys and dales and the mountain (with snow, even) visible in the third screenshot looks out of place, according to me.

Said that, I believe you did a wonderful job. Especially on Taris and Korriban, which I believe are a great improvement.

Thanks for all your work and for your interest in our feedback.

Cheers!

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Thanks for the comments!

I can see what you mean with the structures in the docking bay, they do look smaller and that was actually unintentional. I only realised that when I put together the comparison screenshots. But I do think that overall the vista from the docking bay looks actually grander and larger than in vanilla (if you disregard the structures on the right).

As for the blue glow. That's something I spent weeks trying to fix but it's caused by the games terrible bloom effect and this was the best I could do that looks otherwise realistic.

In general I did go for a more realistic look than what Bioware may have done originally. I prefer a realistic look over something unrealistic even if it's more dramatic but that is of course up to personal preference.

 

Edit: Well, I actually ended up making the structures on Manaan bigger. They're still not as big as in vanilla and I also kept the realistic perspective but they do look better now.

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I took another look at Kashyyyk and, while I enjoy the better resolution and quality of the new version, I realize I do miss the tree density of the original skybox  which contributed much in terms of making me feel I am walking in the midst of a forest.

So coming to personal preference, I favor the older Manaan and Kashyyyk.

The drastic change of brightness in the underwater Manaan is not actually a very minor detail because the brightness/color choice changes the overall image drastically since it fills a rather hefty portion of what the player sees.

Cheers! :cheers:

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The updated Manaan looks great! I can almost hear the Ahto City music in my head just looking at it. Personally, I'm quite happy with the other changes you made. The stock skies always looked too dark to me.

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the new K1 skyboxes look great!

I am really looking forward to seeing the K2 skyboxes, as I've always felt they needed an upgrade (K1 always struck me as having ok looking skyboxes).  Any ETA on when we can expect a gallery of the K2 skyboxes? 😀😀

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On 11/7/2020 at 4:26 AM, Kexikus said:

I just finished the screenshot comparison site for the K1 release, using DarthParametrics suggestion of image sliders and a github repo. Thank you very much for that.

So if you're interested in seeing quite a lot of screenshots from the mod and compare them to the original vanilla look, just head over there:  https://kexikus.github.io/HQSkyboxes_k1_Comparison/

Wait this slider website is SO COOL hahaha I'm gonna spend hours on here

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It is finally done! After about three and a half years, High Quality Skyboxes II for K1 is finally out!

You can find dozens of new screenshots by following the link above and I highly recommend that you upgrade if you are using the old version of my mod. There's also a video showcase here:

 

On 11/9/2020 at 2:56 PM, DarthRaindrops said:

the new K1 skyboxes look great!

I am really looking forward to seeing the K2 skyboxes, as I've always felt they needed an upgrade (K1 always struck me as having ok looking skyboxes).  Any ETA on when we can expect a gallery of the K2 skyboxes? 😀😀

Now that the K1 skyboxes are out I will start getting the TSL skyboxes ready for release. The first step for that will be to take screenshots so the answer to your question is "hopefully soon".

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