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Weapon Textures: Specular Highlights and Gloss

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  12:20:52  6 March 2014
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Antarctico
(Novice)
 
On forum: 10/17/2008
Messages: 46
Weapon Textures: Specular Highlights and Gloss

For those of you who have done any work with the weapons textures in SOC, you know the base texture (wpn_Name.dds) has a high contrast, inverted color grayscale image of the weapon texture hidden in the texture's alpha channel. Interestingly, in CS and CoP the base weapon textures do NOT have this inverted grayscale image in the textures. Also, you know that in the .bump map (wpn_Name_bump.dds) the red color channel has a grayscale image of the base weapon texture (adjusted for contrast and with white blobs painted over the lenses of any scopes).

These grayscale images determine the amount of gloss and/or what passes for a specular highlight in the X-Ray engine. My question is how do these two hidden grayscale images interact with each other. Clearly, the grayscale image in the red channel of the _bump file has the most obvious effects on the shine thrown off the gun, but what does the inverted grayscale image do in the base texture? Does this provide additional gloss information or additional highlight information, or does the engine largely ignore it in SOC? Is one grayscale for just for gloss and the other just for specular highlights?

I know this is fairly technical point, but can anyone help set me straight on this?
  00:23:19  9 March 2014
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Antarctico
(Novice)
 
On forum: 10/17/2008
 

Message edited by:
Antarctico
03/09/2014 0:25:05
Messages: 46
I have done some further experimenting, and until someone says otherwise, the developers seemed to have used the grayscale image located in the red channel of the wpn_name_bump.dds file to set the overall gloss or shine of the weapon. The inverted, high contast grayscale image located in the alpha channel of the wpn_name.dds seems to have been used to highlight raised areas and bright metal surfaces of the guns. If you look at some of the weapon alpha channels, you can see where the developers hand painted raised areas of the grayscale (wpn_vss.dds, the Vintorez, for example) to further highlight them.

As a note, a lot of the criticisms of the weapons in the Stalker series being too bright and shiny can by addressed by making the bump.dds red channel grayscale image darker, either in selective areas or the whole thing, rather than the more common approach most modders have had of darkening the base wpn_name.dds image. For example, to tone down the overly shiny look of the Vintorez, I selectively darkened the stock (I am using the wooden stock texture used in the Stalker SOC betas) and the plastic fore grip, and those part of the gun look noticeable less HDR-bright and glossy without having that excessively dark, murky look that can happen if a modder overly darkens a weapon's base wpn_name.dds texture, or even worse, creates a new weapon texture without an alpha channel "highlight" image or a properly made bump.dds file.

If anyone who has some experience with this can confirm or deny my theories/observations, that would be great.
 
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