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VFR scenery

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Hi,While the Autogen scenery is a nice addition in FS2K2, it is - and will stay - an eye-candy feature.Virtual pilots who wish to fly in a realistic VFR environment (mainly GA enthusiasts) can't practice dead-reckoning/ pilotage navigational techniques with an Autogen scenery.Although limited to the Washington State area, the satellite-based scenery in Flight Unlimited provided an excellent platform as far as VFR flight is concerned.Being able to fly over familiar terrain with realistic landscape, roads, rivers, buildings and vegetation is such a kick ! Sure enough, FS Landclass and better mesh does improve the situation but still can't beat the satellite based sceneries.Several companies are now offering satellite sceneries (the UK, the Dolomites in Italy, etc...). Once a virtual pilot experiences the thrill of flying in such a virtual environment, the Autogen scenery seems like a boring, lifeless and cartoonish world to fly in.I am quite certain that 95% of the real life pilots using FS would be prepared to pay a substantial amount of money in order to get their hands on a satellite-based reproduction of their local area.FS could be a very valuable tool for practicing a specific flight plan before actually taking the flight for real.Still not convinced ? Re-install FU3, get a genuine sectional chart of the Washington state, prepare a flight with your trusty E6-B electronic flight computer, check the ship's CG and fuel consumption...Seeing is believing !I did that and had so much fun that I almost forgot at one point I was sitting in front of the PC instead of the cockpit of the old Alpha-India Whiskey 172...CheersTwister

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TwisterI tend to agree with you, infact its annoying to fly over areas which are covered with trees and buildings which you know arent there real world.There is nothing wroung with eye candy but it is just a dressing and needs the foundations beneith it to be meaningful.Take clouds that might look great visually. Without the foundation of a dynamic weather system they lack life.My biggest gripe with MSFS is that there is too much emphasis on foundationless eye candy.Its a bit of putting the cart before the horse now Microsoft need to add the horse:-)BTW is sad that there arent any new GA sims out there if for nothing more than to have a different style of sim.I would love to see what the makers of IL2 could do with a limited area GA sim.Flightsimming seems a little bit flat since the days of Pro Pilot, FU3, Fly! and the excitement of seeing what there next offering would be.Now we just have MSFS as our focus which cant be healthyPeternb some real world eye candy for you I took from a citation 2 ;-)

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I am not sure I agree.With fs now-most bodies of water, shorlines, and major roads are there.Add mesh and landclass and there is a high degree of resemblence to a vfr sectional chart-at much less penalty in hardisk space.What I would like to see is a higher quality autogen-more variety of trees, buildings etc, and a higher quality database of roads overlayed much like Terrascene has now (I am surprised no one has done a commercial add in of roads).For instance-where I live, almost every lake of which there are many is depicted in Fs, the major roads are all there, and with the addition of Cas's Landclass-every little town that is on a vfr sectional appears where it should in its' proper shape , along with appropriate land use such as corn fields where they belong and forested areas where appropriate. The resemblance is quite high and resemblance to a vfr sectional quite good.The first shot I took from my flight yesterday is pretty much possible now. The second-is where improvement is needed. The small lake I live on is not in the fs's database(however in fairness it isn't depicted on a vfr chart either), and the smaller roads are also not in fs's database(again neither do they show up on a sectional either). Other than that-I can navigate to where my lake should be vfr as there are two major roads depicted in fs that border here (on the left side of the shot), and the small town 1/4 mile away of several hundred is also depicted perfectly in location and size. The buildings autogen provides of course don't look like my local town's-that would be a nice area of improvement.As for satellite scenery-it takes a huge amount of disk space for a small area. Coverage would at best today have to be pretty localized as was FuIII. I also always found the scenery grainy, and the colors have that washed out sat. scenery look-I find the generic textures of fs, especially with a Ti 4200 card look nearly real.Therefore, my vote is for included high detailed mesh, more detailed landclass (land usage data), more detailed water data, more detailed road data, and more variety of buildings, trees, etc. for different areas of the world. By doing this in the present "generic" way it will be possible to have a more realistic looking scenery with far less space required for the whole world.I think all this is possible now-much of this added detail was probably left out of ms2002 for performance considerations. By the time fs2004 is ready, much of this will probably be addressed by add ins-the mesh/landclass situation already for the most part is-I look forward to increased water/roads/ and variety of autogen filling in the blanks.http://members.telocity.com/~geof43/Geofdog2.gif

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>I tend to agree with you, infact its annoying to fly over >areas which are covered with trees and buildings which you >know arent there real world. >>There is nothing wroung with eye candy but it is just a >dressing and needs the foundations beneith it to be >meaningful. >But then once again, I have a 180 opinion on this subject. Microsoft's FS2002 combined with "free" or very cheap added mesh sceneries, provides me with a very acceptable and recognizable VFR map of the Mountain West. Of course my advantage is the mountains, rivers, lakes, roads, and cities which are represented. The other MSFS advantage of this area, is the fact, that just about every airstrip including small grass strips are there.BTW--- If you do some very marginal VFR, or IFR flights through some of this mountain country with FS2002's "auto-gen", it's quite an eerie 3D effect. Luckily for me, it's the topography that has top priority over clouds in this sim. In real life, these mountains combined with low visibilities can & will "get" you! Just in the last year, we had two aircraft smash head-on into nearby mountains while attempting to fly low-level VFR in marginal weather. One had just cancelled IFR to fly to a different airport. The "other" got lost, and followed a highway into a blind canyon.The "blind" canyon is to the left of the Cessna, in this FS2002 re-creation. Second pic, is the same area, from a different angleL.Adamson ---- KSLC

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I fly by sectionals in Alaska and the MS shorelines and lakes and such are right on the money. The houses and cabins are not there, but roads and rivers and such match about 95%. That's close enough for me! Remember, this is still a $70.00 sim! Just how much can you put in it? To do as suggested would either mean adding more folks to R&D or spreading out the release time. I think it really has to do with WHERE you are. I flew some up on Long Island in New York. I am from there. I flew out to Montauk Point. There is supposed to be a lighthouse on a cliff there. (Another place Geo. Washington was to supposedly visited!) Nada,Nothing! I guess this could become a "I think this a better sim" thread, but I think they are doing a pretty good job so far. It does keep getting better. I just wish they would get the obvious fixed. Water freezes in winter in the North! LOL!Don

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Hi everybody and thank you for the interesting replies !Geof is probably right when it comes to the accuracy of the landscape - as far as the US territory is concerned.With accurate mesh and well executed landclass add-ons, the scenery becomes credible.Since there are no such add-ons for my area of residence(Israel),I guess I can only speak about my personal experience.The Israeli landscape depicted in FS2K2 looks like there has been a major thermonuclear explosion (it just might happen some day given the actual state of tension in the region...LOL) - Tel Aviv, a city of more than 2 million people (with its surroundings) looks like a tiny village (Autogen set to Max !).The roads...? well, according to Microsoft, the only way to move around in Israel would be on a camel's back (it's probably safer than our local buses...) and faster (given the chronic state of road congestion we face on a daily basis...)Microsoft has blessed the Holyland with plenty of imaginary lakes and rivers that I, for some reason, failed to notice until now...So, I guess that with a good mesh, a proper Landclass and plenty of excellent airport add-ons one could eventually fly VFR.If you don't have the files mentioned above, forget about it (or try to get a green card...)Thanks again for all your comments, I wish Mr. Sidoli could bring some of this beautiful frontal activity over here (see his picture).Cheerstwister

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In case you have not visited their site, FSGenesis has great scenery for VFR flying.You can get 38 meter terrain mesh for the entire US, and 10 meter mesh in some areas. I flew over the Olympic mountains using an outdated Seattle chart, and could pretty much follow the ridge lines with msfs.Also, the site will soon release a landclass update that should accurately portray the cities, forests, etc. of the entire US.The site has also promised to update the roads and rivers accurately based on USGS data, as soon as a tool is developed that will do it automatically, such as landclass assistant.Thus, I think that we close to very accurate VFR flying.Scott

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Im with you Geof on roads and water features. I can leave Canton or Ann Arbor follow 275, or US-23, Spot Kensington, then Cass Lake, The Silverdome follow 24 up to the M46 intersection with the Radio Antenna, Cross the Cass River up to Caro to visit my Brother with no problems. Everything is there that I need to create a VFR flight. More roads would be nice, but with major intersections available I know exactly were Im at.Cas

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$250 million if accompanied by the hardware to back it up! Not for a game that is meant to introduce the layperson to flight for a cheap past time. If real pilots want to use it, great! If YOU want to spend $250 million on a version of flightsim for what YOU want it to be, be my guest, but don't make it out to be something it's not.Thats like telling DCX to make the Neon look like and have the same options as a High-line SL! If you want a SL, buy an SL! Who in their right mind would spend $50-60,000 on a Neon, not me!Cas

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What do you want for $70.00? I think you're getting a lot for it as it is. Those software folks don't work cheap. Figure out of that 250mil draw, how much goes to overhead. OR....if that's net, they deserve to make it. They are in business to make money! More folks or more time between and all those little dots could be in the sim. They are kind of constrained by the windows (no pun intended!) that they put upon themselves. One every 2 years with x amount of people. Sure, they could add people. The price goes up then. They certainly won't cut their profit margin to satisfy the consumer. Also, why detail every corner of the globe when most people only use less then 10% of it? I think they are doing good for what they do. That excuse isn't lame either. People expecting the utmost in flight simulation for less then 1 hour in a real Cessna is lame thinking. It's is after all, a TOY. Don

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Right on Don,I should have added in my last post but did not, Yes the potential is there but It's like Peter Sodili. He as a little boy had the potential to be Prime Minister. Is he? No! because he either didn't want to be, or wasn't meant to be.Cas

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I guess we can conclude by stating that there are advantages and disadvantages to each system (Autogen vs. Satellite).Some people couldn't care less about the accuracy of the terrain, it's OK with me - everybody is entitled to have a personal opinion.Others are satisfied with the current scenery (with FS Landclass and accurate mesh). I might get convinced if I had the opportunity to get such files for my area. That is fine too.As far as I'm concerned, nothing can beat high-rez, satellite-based scenery. I guess I'm not the only one - the soon to be released UK VFR and Dolomite sceneries generated a lot of very enthusiastic threads.And that's the beauty of FS2K2, there so much versatility in it that everybody can tune-it according to their own preferences.Twister

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Can I also add that, as a commercial Sim, FS2002 currently is designed to run on a wide range of PCs. It's ok for those who have the latest kit, but not everyone can afford it. I myself run some several months behind the latest Processors and graphics cards because I simply can't afford to upgrade so often. (my current CPU is a PIII 1ghz). For MS to provide their flightsims to only the upper echelons of PC owners would be commercial suicide, surely?I suppose there could be an option to run a cutdown version, but that's a waste of cash. A cheap version.. cool... but the full version would have to be beyond my purse.FUIII was outstanding in terms of VFR, IMO. In fact, I would rate it as one of the very best sims I've ever flown. Damn, that reminds me, I should re-install it and take a fresh look.I guess that what I am saying is that in my case for now, until High Power PCs are more affordable, I would prefer a more balanced, less high-end Flight Sim which will run on a slightly more dated PC. Then I have the option to upgrade using third party addons. That, surely is the best way to go... and, funnily enough seems to be exactly the case we HAVE!! Cool! Heehee.Twister. I'm sorry to hear that your part of the World is depicted poorly by FS2002. That's a damn shame and I have to say it really should be sorted. I feel that is MS want to produce an international product, they have to cater for all obvious internationals.Cheers all.Simon.

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I didn't have to pay a dime for a satellite reproduction of my area...Using Misho's Terrabuilder light, and a source stitched together, I was able to reproduce a 400 sq. mile area of metro Phoenix.I find that throwing Autogen on top of it ruins the scenery. What use is it flying over Arrowhead mall if some generic building is placed on top of it? Autogen is great for the non-photoreal areas, but for photoreal, I can do without it.As for flight unlimited, even FU-2 offers a taste of what you discuss. I grew up in the Napa Valley, and FU-2 reproduced it with uncanny realism. Places I'd hiked to or biked to were all there.... I could almost hear the sea breeze blowing off of the bay...But often, the default scenery is very well done, and has an uncanny resemblance to the real thing. L. Adamson's shots serve up a good example of that.Doing up the entire world in photoreal? I say not. I'm satisfied with my small piece of the world...-John

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Peter...Love your shots, as always... Guess what now graces my desktop?Regards,John

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CasI appreciate that Microsofts main market is Joe Bloggs in the street who frankly wouldnt have a clue if an aircraft felt real or not.Having said that in these forums are the real enthusiasts who are far more demanding and want more than "just a game".Im sure that when people like Chris of FSW releases his more realistic interpretation of clouds most here will run and get them rather than stick with the Microsoft generics.The same goes for every other aspect of the sim. Third parties are continually striving for more realism but are constrained by the structure which only Microsoft can adjust.I afraid i have never been the type to bow in thanks for what we have recieved and will always push to match the sim closer to what i see real world.Remember the saying "strive for perfection. While you may never achieve that goal at least you may end up with something better than you had".Now push the limits is much more to my liking and its also not true that Microsoft doesnt listen ;-)BTW my name is spelt S I D O L I ;-)CheersPeter

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Hi all.A few of us are experimenting with Terrascene.It was developed to create pseudo-photoreal for FLY2. It can produce the same scenery for FS2002. The output is a TGA bitmap that can be processed to a windows bipmap, then sliced by resample.exe. The results are very accurate roads, streams, water, even city streets. Landclass polys are right where they should be.I'm experimenting with FS2002 derived textures to produce LOD8 sized scenery that blends with the default pretty well. ( about 25x25 miles ). I use Terrascene 2.1, Paintshop Pro, resample, FStexconvert.exe, imagetool.exe, and a batchfile to process the windows bitmap with resample and the imaging tools. The batchfile takes out almost all of the tedious interaction. The whole process takes about 45 minutes per LOD8 sized Cell.In the future, new tools may allow us to process this scenery as VTP and LWM plys and lines, in a relatively short amount of time, with FS2002's default textures and autogens, giving us accurate water, roads, streams, streets, land-type usage, with seasons, and autogen. And this doesn't exclude the use of small CUSTOM tiles for small areas within the scenery's bounds.We have a lot of options.Also, autogen may be assigned to any CUSTOM tile, and objects may be placed onto CUSTOM tiles as well. And the autogen can be removed by renaming the AGN extension, or deleting the AGN files... you don't have to suffer with it if you don't like autogen.Stop by AVSIM's 'MSFS Scenery Design Forum' for some interesting ideas.Dick

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I've had good results with Terrascene...Months ago, I posted some Tahoe shots and some Napa Valley shots of my Terrascene/Terrabuilder work. I'll see if I can dig those up & repost them to the thread, so folks know what we're talking about.The limitation with Terrascene is the same as photoreal...size. Add seasons and night to that, and you have a really big package. I agree with you that once we get a handle around some of the new tools, we might be able to overlay our own photoreal road networks, much like we do with landclass today. The areas I've done with Landclass Assistant are arguably just as suitable for VFR navigation. It's amazing what the addition of a small village or town does. I know when I fly down the Carson Valley, which was my first LCA project and the one I used in my tutorial, it reminds me very much of where I used to live... I used to drive down Kingsbury Grade every evening, and I could see the cities lit up as I came over the pass about 4000 ft. above the valley floor... Ahh, that was a commute....

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Oh man. Been there! I've been down the Kings Grade. Went from Stateline to Carson for some "fun", if ya know what I mean. They have some great "ranches" down in the valley! LOL! On topic, I used your Landclass tutorial and found it to be easy to use. I followed your instructions without a hitch. Great program and I thank you for it. Don Moser :)

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>>As far as I'm concerned, nothing can beat high-rez, >satellite-based scenery. I guess I'm not the only one - the >soon to be released UK VFR and Dolomite sceneries generated >a lot of very enthusiastic threads. I definately DO like high resolution satellite-based scenery when sim flying from an altitude where the scenery is "crisp" in resolution. While most of my sim flying is FS2002 with added mesh sceneries for improved elevations, I really like these shot's I took with FLYII, and some added third party satellite scenery. These shots are beautiful from altitude, but degrade at low altitudes....... where I think the MSFS textures and "auto-gen" do better.FLYII/SoCal --- satellite scenery

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We had about the same discussion a few months back about flight models. Those who were saying that MS weren't that bad, or very good, those who were uttering the good ol' "Whadaya expect for 70$?", those who were saying that it was impossible and those who were saying that they could be improved. Note that the latter passed for protesters, bitter individuals unable to accept their happy fate etc...Well, a few weeks later the SF-260 marked a clear improvement on how flight dynamics is rendered in simulations. It happened because some people decided to use their brain and their time to make things better, by focusing on what was not good. For 27 bucks.So. The question is not to decide whether landscape is or is not bad, good, sufficient, cheap etc.in 2K2, but to push in the direction of making it *better*. I have a hard time finding rational explanations to the resistance to admit this rather obvious idea. What's wrong about suggesting to improve? Is there another way to improve anything than to focus on what is not good? What's the big deal?

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Most people do not pay $70 for FS2002 Professional.Most people buy the standard version when the price drops to $30 which it mostly has, at least on sales. Soon enough that will be the regular price. The pro version is generally $60 now at the major stores in the USA, and it's been on sale for $45. Plus a lot of people in the USA get the $10 upgrade rebate on Standard, or $15 on Pro.So perhaps we should be talking about a $30 simulator, which is surely what most people buy.$250 million... riiiiiight. MS must have died laughing when they first heard this. :)

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Wow !That sounds great ! I'd love to see those screenshots...If only I could convert a good satellite pic of my area and turn it into a decent scenery for FS...I would be on cloud 9...Like I said before, Autogen and Landclass are absolutely fantastic, but I'd still rather go for a satellite-based scenery given the choice...Twister

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