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PostPosted: Wed, 07-05-08, 1:38 GMT 
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Hello all...

I have asked for - and been given permission to start - this thread with the following goal in mind:

Making the Good Doctor's tools available to those of us with - shall we say - LESS intelligence and insights into the intricacies of this (to me) very complicated set of procedures.

I spent one entire day going through all of the messages, posts and web pages associated with F-TexTools, nmtools, Gzip, the Nvidia Texture tools and XnView with the aim of creating my first Virtual Texture maps based on some of the very large .gz files available from locations cited on some of Fridger's excellent tutorial pages.

What I hope to do here is point out the problems I run into as I attempt to follow the instructions needed in order to create my own VT's of the Earth. Some of the things you brainy types find patently obvious, are entirely mystifying to us Brain-Dead types. Also, it seems to me that the Good Doctor has gotten a lot of criticism of these tools from others less patient than myself, and this is an injustice. In order to keep people from yelling at the Good Doctor when they should be investigating their own actions, this thread may help to alleviate some frustration. After all, you can yell at me all you want to. :D

To that end, anyone may jump in here and yell at me if they like, but what I'm really doing is detailing how a novice should get to the final product, and along the way, avoid some of the pitfalls that us Brain-Dead types may run into. :wink:

Onwards...

The very FIRST thing that I did here as I began to investigate this process was to find Doctor Schrempp's excellent Normal Map Tutorial page. This should have been trivial, but I didn't even know that the page existed until I found a reference to another page, which then pointed me to this real tutorial page.

Rule number ONE for the Brain-Dead trying to create Virtual Textures:
Read (and even save to your disk) the following web page for reference:

The nmtools package by Fridger Schrempp and Robert Skuridin.

The reason this is an important FIRST step in learning about creating Virtual Textures is because the Good Doctor has explained almost EVERY detail of what it takes to install the various programs which are required to create VT's, and how to make them perform as desired on almost ANY platform. I'm using Windows Vista Home Premium, so there may be some discrepancies in what works for me, and what works for you, but the Good Doctor has patiently explained a LOT of the problems you may run into here.

I'll be adding my experiences and lessons learned here as time goes on. If this doesn't help anyone, feel free to delete the topic, but I have already found a couple of places where I managed to get crazy because something I thought was obvious, turned out not to be. Hopefully, these posts will help others too.
Download the latest releases of the zip files and/or executables so you'll have them later on.


Last edited by BobHegwood on Thu, 26-02-09, 15:46 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed, 07-05-08, 14:06 GMT 
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Okay, the second day of fun for the Brain-Dead user...

The next step I took was to locate and download ALL of the packages I am going to need in order to create my own Virtual Textures. These, along with the appropriate links, are listed below.

Rule number TWO for the Brain-Dead trying to create Virtual Textures:
Download and install the following packages. Refer to Doctor Schrempp's tips on how to install these programs from the page you saved in step 1 above.

Get the latest version of Gzip HERE.
Get the latest version of Nvidia's Texture Tools HERE.
Get the latest version of XnView HERE.
Get the Doctor's Nmtools package HERE.
Get the Doctor's F-TexTools package HERE.

Okay, I think that's all of them...

Please note that these packages are for use on my Windows Vista (and XP) systems. Note also that Cartrite has provided simple Windows executables for ease use with us lazy "point and click" types.

More to follow... :wink:


Last edited by BobHegwood on Thu, 26-02-09, 15:52 GMT, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed, 07-05-08, 19:23 GMT 
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Rule number THREE for the Brain-Dead trying to create Virtual Textures:
Be VERY careful when messing with your registry. You wanna lose Everything? :roll:

Okay, now let's install these packages so that they work (and are installed) as the Good Doctor intended:

Use the "RUN" command (available from Windows Start Menu) to execute the gzip-1.3.5-3.exe file you downloaded.
Un-pack the F-TexTools-2.0pre1.zip file you downloaded, and then use the "RUN" command to execute the
F-TexTools-2.0pre1.exe file.
Use the "RUN" command to execute the XnView-win-en.exe file you downloaded.
Use the "RUN" command to execute the NVIDIA_Texture_Tools_2.04.1016.0025.exe file you downloaded.
Un-pack the nmtools-2.0pre1.zip file you downloaded, and then execute the NmTools-2.0pre1.exe file.

Please note that you may have different executable file names than I do here, but the procedures are exactly the same.

If you refer to Doctor Schrempp's tutorial page (You did save it from step 1. Yes?) you'll see that Gzip should be recognized by your Windows system after a reboot. On my Vista system, this simply did not occur. The ONLY way I can get Vista to recognize Gzip is to use the Good Doctor's advice and configure the PATH variable in my Control Panel.

Here are instructions to make ALL of these programs available to Windows. PLEASE CREATE a RESTORE POINT before making these changes. That way, if you screw things up, you can recover your system as it was prior to any changes you will make here.

1. Open your Control Panel either using the start menu option that's included on your system, or by clicking on a Control Panel Icon.
2. Change to the "Classic View" option and then click on your "System" Icon.
3. Next, click the "Advanced system settings" option to open another window into your "System Properties" window.
Note: You MUST have administrator rights in order to be able to do this.
4. Under the "Advanced" tab, you'll see an "Environmental Variables" box which you should click to open.
5. In the "System Variables" panel, (the lower panel on my machine) locate and click on the "Path" statement to highlight it.
6. Now, click on the "Edit..." button to display the contents of your Path Variables.
7. Tap your "End" key to get to the end of this statement line, and then type the following into the path exactly as shown. Please make CERTAIN that you do NOT change ANY of the variable names as they currently exist prior adding this code to the end of the line:

Code:
;C:\Program Files\GnuWin32\bin;C:\Program Files\XnView;C:\Program Files\F-TexTools;C:\Program Files\Nmtools;C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NVIDIA Texture Tools 2\bin


This will make ALL of the installed programs available to Windows no matter where you're at in the directory. Please insure that this is done correctly. If it isn't, you will NEVER get your tools to work correctly. Also, please note that I have substituted the values here which work on MY system.

If you have installed any of the downloaded programs to a non-standard location, then, you will HAVE to change the appropriate path variables in the string above. After you are satisfied that you have the code entered correctly, simply click on the okay button to get out of the editor. Continue to "okay" your way out of the Control Panel.

Everyone okay so far? Any experts see any errors with what I have thus far?
Will continue after short delay to make certain that I have no errors here.

One other note here...
You can actually highlight and COPY the code from above, and then simply paste it into the Path variable at the end of whatever you have in there to begin with. Just a bit easier for Brain-Dead users. :wink:


Last edited by BobHegwood on Thu, 26-02-09, 16:11 GMT, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu, 08-05-08, 14:24 GMT 
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Rule number Four for the Brain-Dead trying to create Virtual Textures:
TEST everything you have installed thus far to make certain that your tools have been installed properly.

Click on your DOS icon to open a window into MS-DOS. You'll find the icon located (usually) on your start menu under the "Accessories" folder. It is called the "Command Prompt." In case you don't have one of these, or if you have removed it somehow, please return to the Good Doctor's tutorial page for instructions on how to locate and/or create a clickable icon for this function. You can find these instructions HERE. This really should NOT be necessary though. Any Windows installation still comes with its own Command Prompt icon.

Open the command prompt by clicking on the icon, then test each of your new tools by trying the following:

Type "gzip -h" (without the quotes) into the DOS box, and press Enter to see if you get a help output display from Gzip.
Type "nms" and press Enter to see if you get the readout from Doctor Schrempp's Normal Map tools.
Type "bin2png" and press Enter to see if you get the readout from Doctor Schrempp's F-TexTools.
Type "XnView" and press Enter to see if the XnView screen displays itself on your desktop.
Type "nvddsinfo" and press Enter to see if you get a brief message from the Nvidia Texture Tools describing the copyright.

If all of these steps perform as expected, then you are ready to start creating Virtual Textures. If one or more of these tests do NOT perform as expected, then you will have to determine the appropriate (and CORRECT) path to the program which does not work correctly. Then, you will have to modify the work you did in step 3 (See Rule Three above) of this tutorial. You have apparently NOT set the "Environmental Variables" correctly.

If everything works as it should, then we're ready to start creating our Virtual Textures. :wink: Almost...


Last edited by BobHegwood on Thu, 26-02-09, 18:30 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri, 09-05-08, 15:00 GMT 
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Rule number Five for the Brain-Dead trying to create Virtual Textures:
Now we have to get the raw data for our textures. This has been the most problematic part of this procedure (at least for me) so far.

We need three textures here:

http://mirrors.arsc.edu/nasa/world_big/ ... 200.bin.gz
http://cartrite.sitesled.com/site-pages ... k-ver3.zip
http://mirrors.arsc.edu/nasa/topography ... 200.bin.gz

Note that I have replaced NASA's specular texture data with Cartrite's Landmask file for better results.
You may also wish to visit Cartrite's site to see if a NEW version of the Landmask image is available yet. If so, download it, rather than the 2nd file above. Cartrite's site is HERE.

NOTE to Vista Users:
I simply could NOT download the larger world.200406.3x43200.bin.gz file using any method you can think of here. What I finally did in order to obtain this file was to get a trial version of the GetRight Download software program. I used this excellent trial program to download ALL of the textures above with the following note...

It seems as if Firefox, Explorer and even the Firefox add-on called DownloadThemAll were NOT taking precautions (within Vista) to re-connect and resume the download after it reached the magic number of 2048 MB. When I reached this number in the downloads, the software assumed that the download was complete because the server had disconnected itself from my download. When I used the GetRight Trial software, I watched this happen, and this package resumed the download after a 60-second delay.

To make a long story short, I finally managed to download all of the files listed above using the GetRight software. This is NOT a plug, but an explanation of what it took for ME to get these files.

Please note also that I have substituted Cartrite's NEW Landmask file in the list above.


Last edited by BobHegwood on Mon, 12-05-08, 14:57 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri, 09-05-08, 16:33 GMT 
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Bob wrote:
Note that I have replaced NASA's specular texture data with Cartrite's Watermask file for better results.

You are using a link to my old site which still works. My new site also has the files. You can also use the landmask file which is better quality and does not need the specmap tool. If you use the landmask file, all you do is decompress it and run tx2rgba. For example:
Code:
gzip -dc < swbd-landmask-ver3.1x86400x43200.bin.gz > swbd-landmask-ver3.1x86400x43200.bin
gzip -dc < world.200402.3x86400x43200.bin.gz | tx2rgba 86400 swbd-landmask-ver3.1x86400x43200.bin | tx2pow2 4 86400 > level5\world.200402.4x65536x32768.RGBA.bin
If you use the landmask, you also don't need to download the http://mirrors.arsc.edu/nasa/topography ... 200.bin.gz file. You only need to download this if you are creating a normalmap.
PS The original watermask file is also available here in case there is a problem with my old site.
http://www.celestialmatters.org/users/c ... ermask.zip
cartrite


Last edited by cartrite on Fri, 09-05-08, 18:55 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri, 09-05-08, 16:51 GMT 
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Please view the REVISED Rule Five above for more information on downloading the required VT base files.


Last edited by BobHegwood on Sat, 10-05-08, 4:21 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri, 09-05-08, 21:31 GMT 
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Hey Bob,

good stuff, really. Pleaaaaase keep going!
Nicely organized as well.

Cheers,
Fridger


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 Post subject: re
PostPosted: Sat, 10-05-08, 1:16 GMT 
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hi bob i always ran the texture tools
FOR WIN XP
in bash ( mingw)
fedora 8
well sh, mc, emacs ... take your pick

having bash working in windows DOSE help

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Using OpenSUSE 42.1 & Scientific Linux 6.7


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PostPosted: Sat, 10-05-08, 4:22 GMT 
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Again, please view the REVISED Rule Five above for more information on downloading the required VT base files. I have edited the content to explain how I solved my download problems. Will resume here tomorrow. Whew! :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat, 10-05-08, 16:01 GMT 
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Okay, Let's Finally DO IT!

Okay,

Now that we have the base texture maps, there is one more thing we need in order to convert these huge files into VT's for use on the Brain-Dead Windows System user's PC:

Download Cartrite's (Steve's) 64K BMNG Texture kit HERE.

This package contains some .BAT files which make this very complicated set of procedures MUCH easier for the Brain-Dead user. (Meaning ME! :wink: )

Extract the 64k-bmng-texture-kit.zip to a temporary directory. Again, on my system, I always use a directory called ExtractHere.

Using Windows Explorer, view down into the

ExtractHere\64k-bmng-texture-kit\bmng-february\textures\hires\bmng

directory where you'll find TWO batch files (.BAT's) which can be used to create your VT's.

Before using these, copy your two base textures into the same directory. Copy the swbd-landmask-ver3.1x86400x43200.bin.gz and the world.200406.3x86400x43200.bin.gz files into this same directory.

Note: If you are using the same files here that I am, then you will also have to edit the make-bmng.bat file so that it refers to the name of the base texture you are using here. Steve's batch files refer to the February image, and I'm using the June image, so all references to the "world.200402" will have to be modified to refer to "world.200406" so the .bat file works on the base texture that I downloaded.

Prior to running the make-bmng.bat file, first run the decompress-landmask.bat file in order to create the binary landmask file which will be needed by the make-bmng.bat file when it runs.

These procedures take about twenty minutes to execute on my system, and Steve's batch files are magnificent in what they do. If I had had to do this in the command line, I would have been driven NUTS... Well, nuttier :D

At the end of these procedures, I now have levels 0 through 5 of VT's (in the PNG format) under my ExtractHere\64k-bmng-texture-kit\bmng-february\textures\hires\bmng directory.

This set of textures is now ready to be copied to an extras directory in Celestia.


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PostPosted: Sat, 10-05-08, 17:53 GMT 
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Well... Poop!

Frustration and disappointment once again...

The VT's I created in the previous step are not of sufficient quality that they can be used on my machine. Methinks I'm going to have to use compression factor of 9 to get something I can use here. My system uses 24-bit images too, but I don't know if that makes any difference or not.

I managed to create a beautiful 70.9MB 16384 x 8192 PNG texture using Doctor Schrempp's F-TexTools, but I do not get the same quality after I run Steve's batch files on the base textures.

Maybe someone can tell me how to convert this beautiful 70.9MB file into tiles without changing it's format?

Sorry...
I'll report back when I figure out the NEXT step here. :roll:


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PostPosted: Sat, 10-05-08, 19:23 GMT 
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Bob,

I am sure Steve will comment about his script. But from me, just the little note that EVERY PNG compression level between 0 and 9 is LOSSLESS, hence giving the same quality once unpacked.

What's the size (wxh) of these bad quality PNG's? Please check explicitly. I am sure there was some kind of typo somewhere. Noone has complained so far about bad quality of the resulting VT tiles.

Cheers,
Fridger

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PostPosted: Sun, 11-05-08, 8:50 GMT 
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Keep going Bob... please translate for mac! Hehe.


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PostPosted: Sun, 11-05-08, 15:07 GMT 
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t00fri wrote:
Bob,

I am sure Steve will comment about his script. But from me, just the little note that EVERY PNG compression level between 0 and 9 is LOSSLESS, hence giving the same quality once unpacked.

What's the size (wxh) of these bad quality PNG's? Please check explicitly. I am sure there was some kind of typo somewhere. Noone has complained so far about bad quality of the resulting VT tiles.

Cheers,
Fridger


I'm thinking that it is another of my Vista peculiarities here Good Doctor. Will report back when I figure out what the problem is. I found that most of the tiles were 1024x1024, but there were also some (seemingly random) 128x1024 tiles mixed in here too.

Again, will figure it out and report for the Brain-Dead. :wink:


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