Dome Projection, warping CPU performance

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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:55 pm

Hi.

On the long term I am thinking about building a small half dome with one projector using most probably the secutiry mirror solution. So I will need to do warping. Presently I am configuring my new computer to buy, and I wonder which CPU is best. As far as I know the additional features of an i7 over an i5 are not used by flight simulation games, so I was planning on an i5. Is the warping done by the GPU? Or is it done by the CPU and will use the functions of an i7 better than i5?

Thank you for sharing any insights with me!

Yours, Mozart.
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Postby BHawthorne » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:05 am

It's all done within the GPU. Everything is related to how the render pipelines work. Nthusim works with both 32-bit and 64-bit DirectX 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 and OpenGL. With Nthusim 4.0 under development we'll also be adding the Desktop render pipeline too.

As far as CPU suggestions the 3570K or the 4670K would be my picks. I've used both AMD and Intel CPUs in my builds and currently prefer Intel. On the GPU side either Nvidia or AMD are good. I'm really a fan of the new AMD R9 290, but am waiting till they come out with aftermarket coolers -- Preferably the ASUS Matrix or DCUII variants.

It will be fun to see a convex mirror dome build. I'm excited to see how it turns out. Keep us updated. :)
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Postby Guest » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:42 pm

Hi.
Thanks for that info.

I found the imersive display designer software and will check if my geometry ideas will work.

What I haven't figured out yet is, how do I get a flight sim (using FSX, Prepar3d and Lomac) to display a corresponding visual that represents the field of view my dome will have? I only got FSX to display a very wide angle .30 zoom, but nothing that wraps around something like 180 degrees view. Any hints are very welcome!

Yours, Mozart.
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Postby BHawthorne » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:39 am

Not sure on LOMAC. LOMAC was superseded by DCS FC3. I have FC3 though. DCS World engine allows for multiple custom cameras. This is how you do very wide FOV. You do camera slices for every 30, 45 or 60 degrees per camera until you have the FOV you want. The same is done for Prepar3d and FSX. Make note P3D 2.0 has a menu bug at the moment that we've turned into the software engineers for a fix.
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Postby Guest » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:36 am

So, when I have several camera slices (please excuse my lack of knowledge, but I didn't find anything in online searches that I understood), that are supposed to be put together on one projector via one graphic card, is the warping software also responsible for that? I always expected the software only to do image shaping and warping due to geometry issues with the projection surface.
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Postby BHawthorne » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:49 pm

Mozart wrote:So, when I have several camera slices (please excuse my lack of knowledge, but I didn't find anything in online searches that I understood), that are supposed to be put together on one projector via one graphic card, is the warping software also responsible for that? I always expected the software only to do image shaping and warping due to geometry issues with the projection surface.


The multiple cameras are specific to the game's configuration files. This is something that people have been doing for awhile with DCS World and FSX to give proper wide FOV. You are correct in that Nthusim only does the pre-warping and edge blending. The camera views are something internal to each game client. Each game has a different syntax for multi-camera, so how you achieve it in DCS World is different than how you achieve it in FSX. Me calling it "camera slices" isn't what most people call it. I call it that because it's highly descriptive of what you would be actually doing with the configuration of multiple camera views.

Here is an example of FSX multiple camera at MyCockpit forums: http://www.mycockpit.org/forums/showthread.php?t=20216

Here is an example of DCS World multiple camera at the Eagle Dynamics forums: http://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=89282
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Postby Guest » Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:10 am

Hi.

Just a short feedback that may be of interest:
Before I started to build I took a trip to Aces in Mall of America, just to check out what they were doing and if it was worth it, trying to use only one projector for a wide field of view.
Here's my conclusion: They use an Elumenati setup and the field of view is very good. However the resolution is not that good and in a dogfight you never see the opponent bigger than the size of one pixel. There is also no visual above the cockpit, but that's where you have to look in dogfights a lot of times. The fact that you see the ground on your sides looking down is a great effect, but dogfighting is very hard because a lot of times you don't see the opponent. You basically chase the flight-sims name label of the opponent aircraft, because you never see the actual aircraft. The feeling of flying itself is good and it's fun.

As a comparison there is an F-16 sim in Frankfurt Germany (happy-landings), where they use two projectors over a regular curved screen. This gives more detail and less field of view, but there is still the view above the cockpit (and behind and down) missing. Even with this better resolution you have to chase the label of the opponent and don't see him. For positioning in a curving fight I use the map view with all planes positions instead of looking out the cockpit.

Lately I got the Oculus DK2 and I use it in DCS. It is a much better experience because the head tracking allows to do just the head movements necessary to dogfight and they feel totally natural. The resolution still is a problem and we fly following the labels until we get very close, but it's all in all a much better experience than fixed projected systems.

All three solutions have there pros and cons, depending on what one expects from it, but unless we get to have a dome with an extreme high resolution, I will stick with the Oculus.

Speaking of which: Is there any published easy solution to run Strike Fighters 2 (SF2) on the DK2?

Greetings, Mozart.
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Postby BHawthorne » Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:08 pm

If I recall Strike Fighters 2 is a DX7 title? Nthusim HMD might be useful for it, but I would not recommend it until we're back on track and putting development man-hours into getting it ready for CV1. There are options for multi-projector dome to take care of situation awareness + resolution, but we're talking several projectors and a custom dome. The most cost effective solution will end up being Rift CV1, but there are down sides to that with simpit use. Others are looking towards CastAR also as a solution using a retro-reflective dome screen. Technology and options are still evolving, depends on if you want to do something now, or continuing to research and target a project a year from now. Things will become interesting over the next 3-5 year time frame. We'll be looking back on this time as a very interesting span of technological advancement for visual systems design. You are ultimately correct right now though, there is no one single correct solution for all setups.
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