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Guest Dakota

FSGenesis new road, streams, rails, utilities.

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Very interesting discussion on the benefits of both USA roads and the FS Genesis product.One thing to keep in mind. Both of these products will be updated as time moves on. I think that is great. Just imagine where we would be in the graphic card arena if ATI and Nvidia weren't always trying to upstage eachother. Both products look very good. I can't wait to see what comes from future development.

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Hey, it occured to me I could demonstrate flattening by simply turning it off in American Roads. Here's the same image with no stream or road flattening, and a side be side comparison, sort of.Jon

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>The base data for both products is the US TIGER data set. WRONG !USA Roads are not based on US Tiger. Better dig into old posts that explain the whole story. Tiger data only represents roads as lines USA Roads is based on full 2-dimensional set therefore their freeway intersections/ramps look like in real life (they are wider, narrower where needed, have dividers, etc).Michael J.WinXP-Home SP2,AMD64 3500+,Abit AV8,Radeon X800Pro,36GB Raptor,1GB PC3200,Audigy 2, Omega 2.7.90 (4xAA 16xAF)

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Hi Michael.Does USARoads use the TIGER data set? They use a commercial dataset originally derived from TIGER data, or it's precursor, USGS data. As I explained it was physically validated/corrected by guys in cars with GPS units. Allen never divulged to me the name of the vendor. This is true of nearly all US data sets... they derive originally from the Tiger, or the USGS, which is the orginal basis for the TIGER. Whether Garmin, DeLorme, or whoever the commercial vendor is, the original source always leads back to the US government at some point in it's history. And currently, the standard source is the TIGER set.Should Allen give us the name of the vendor, we could ask them for the history of their source data to verify this, absolutely. But I can't figure out why any of this would matter.I think users can agree, Allen's choice of data was a good decision. It does appear to be a superior set than the raw TIGER road data. It also added to the retail cost of USARoads, which explains why it's introductory cost was more than the cost of Markus' American Data will be introduced. Markus could also have spent some extra cash on more detailed data for American Data, but instead sought to pass the savings onto the enduser. I consider that, also, a good decision.Neither set looks like real life. They both look like VTP2 lines, as Ray explained in his above comment.Dick

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>Neither set looks like real life. They both look like VTP2>lines, as Ray explained in his above comment.I know how USA Roads look - they are NOT just lines. They have ramps, dividers, etc. Flight1 paid a lot of money for this data. I don't know how the other set looks (some compare photo could told us the story) but I suspect as in real life - you get what you paid for.Found this quote from Flight1:Free TIGER data is not used. It is not accurate enough. We are using very expensive Mapping data (more info on this coming). TIGER for example does not show each side of a divided highway. The data for this product will handle each side of a divided highway, so they will look very realistic.Michael J.WinXP-Home SP2,AMD64 3500+,Abit AV8,Radeon X800Pro,36GB Raptor,1GB PC3200,Audigy 2, Omega 2.7.90 (4xAA 16xAF)

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Michael.I've not only seen both sets, but I have had the pleasure of working with both men on these products.USARoads and AmericanData will have some differences, in price, as well as detail. The BGL files themselves are structured somewhat differently. USARoads uses custom textures, and no autogen or flattening. AmericanData uses standard textures and takes advantage of flattening and autogen.AmericanData was also setup to allow the use of USARoads, should the enduser like the looks of that product... a great idea, and a credit to Markus. You'll be able to use your USARoads set with Markus' bridges, railroads and streams, should you like... and at a reduced price. Markus will also soon have LWM water masking and shorelines for the whole US. Allen is working on the same idea.All this ( including the competition ) is very good for simmers.I'm glad you like USARoads. They add an incredible "WOW" factor to VFR flight. Nothing is quite like flying your home area and being able to recognize the roads. With AmericanData, you can also recognize the raillines, streams, and bridges... and soon the lakes and coasts as well.These are both good products, both made by good designers, and both are being further developed. And, so far, you can mix and match the sceneries.And they are just VTP2 lines. Both sets. Decompile them if you don't believe me. Ray, from FSFreeware, was right in his opinion that photoreal sceneries still have a considerable sense of reality greater than either of these two sets.Dick

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To each their own. I'm looking at the demo area of Hawaii against USARoads in Hawaii. Both have pros & cons. The flattening is nice... when it works. Streams are nice but they are all pretty big... more like rivers. But I do like the overall effect - NOT which is most accurate or realistic.On the other hane I luv USARoads with the "dirty-up" patch that tones them down but I don't really care for their night textures at all. The lights appear as just round globes. I would think up in the air I would see just the reflecion on the street - not the actual bulb. This is where I think FS2004 actually looks better.Better yet I wich Chris would do his magic on these night textures for roads like he did for FS2002. That would make for a great combo.

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I believe that Frank Bergson, who did some alternate textures for USA Roads is coming up with some new textures for American Roads.Jon

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Actually, I am kind of amazed at the hostility shown in this thread by certain someones.As a purchaser of USA Roads, I love the product, but I am also purchasing American Data because it has the ability to turn off roads crossing water.There is no doubt that USA Roads is more "accurate", it's cost is twice that of the American Data utility.Accuracy and realism are two different animals. Case in point. If I use default Microsoft Roads, then the Roads match autogen bridges for the most part. This provides a more "realistic" feel, but is not as accurate. However, If I use USA roads, I get more "accurate" road placement, but because the roads are drawn through hand placed buildings in cities, and rarely line up with the Autogen bridges, the overall "feel" is less realistic, but more accurate.I have seen nothing on this thread that criticizes USA Roads. We all know that any anomolies created by using USA Roads are a result of the inaccuracies of the Microsoft Scenery data, and not the USA Roads product.I personally welcome BOTH utilities. When the full version is released, I plan to fly with BOTH utilities and make up my own mind to which I like better. And at only $15.00 for the American Data package, I find that cost on of the better bargains available for flight simulator.Lets not get drowned out into a "my dad can beat up your dad" debate, but rather thank BOTH developers for products that greatly enhance the VFR experience for a large area at a combined cost that is equal or less than a good addon aircraft ($45.00, $30 for USA Roads and $15.00 for American Data's full package)

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Yes!!!! I think this competitive environment will produce nothing but good (ie, more choices) for the flight sim community. Since I am waiting until Spring 05 to buy a completely new top-of-the-line computer, I am so excited about what is upcoming: especially the advent of realistic coastlines and lakes. Being one that owns VRF Terrain (England), I cannot emphasize what a difference having realistic coastlines and lakes makes. If done right, it will be as much of a new threshold for flight simming as USA Roads was.

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Well said, Will. They are both good products, in my opinion, and produced by good folks.Jon

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Hey Guys,This is, unfortunately, the first I have heard about the new product by FSGenesis. So, these are my quick thoughts on the differences.It seems like there will soon be quite a bit of competition for FS2004 users in the coming months.In addition to the USA Roads, Scenery Solutions has also been working very hard on a slew of new products, which also include USA coastlines, lakes, streams, etc.One of the big differences between our products and the others will be the source data, and perhaps the price.We are in the process of signing a major deal with our data provider for global GPS data. This will provide the most accurate source of data available worldwide.USA Roads data is very precise. I looked very hard at the freely available USGS data before choosing the pricey GDT road data.I can tell you, there is a huge difference in accuracy between the data we use and the freely available USGS data. This is especially true regarding in road classifications.The road classifications tell us what kind of road to display. The USGS data is dead wrong on many cases. Also, and this is a huge difference, I do not believe that the USGS data provides true divided highway/road support. What this means, is that you will not see each side of a divided road wind it's own path. This will be especially evident where access ramps merge onto the highways, and at highway interchanges.Because USA Roads uses custom textures, I feel that we can blend in the road intersections much better. Also, night lighting with the custom textures will be far superior to the default textures, because we have much more flexibility. I guess we will also need to publish comparitive screen shots, to show these differences.Because we use custom textures, we cannot provide the flattening effect seen in some of the comparitive shots with the competing product.My personal opinion is that the improvement the custom textures provide over the default textures, exceeds the lack of flattening effect in USA Roads. This is of course my personal opinion, and each user will have to choose for himself. The Scenery Solutions products will cost a bit more, because we have to pay for the GPS quality data.There is a reason that GPS units do not use the freely available USGS data.FSGenesis does some really good work, so I am sure that they will have a fine product. I think for the users, it will all come down to an issue of accuracy vs price. Thanks guys,Allen KriesmanScnery Solutions

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Hi there,"competition" for the producer means "choice" for for the user, which is, for the most part, a good thing ;-)Thanks, Allen, for the details on USARoads and the enticing hints about future projects. Accurate positioning of lakes implies accurate elevations (I hope nobody is going to sell us mesh-clinging water, except for perhaps rivers), which means that users will need to acquire accurate terrain mesh for the area covered, unless it gets provided with the product. Interesting considerations for users and producers..."Because we use custom textures, we cannot provide the flattening effect seen in some of the comparitive shots with the competing product."There might be other reasons for not providing the flattening effect but, technically, it IS possible to do this without having to alter the global terrain.cfg file. All that is required is a second copy of the road file with the texture set to one of the default road types (with or without autogen), at a width of "0", and a layer below the custom road. This doesn't have to be done for each road (actually, it's not desirable where the road density is very high) but for major highways and Interstates this would probably improve on your product.We're currently just at the beginning of applying new methods, tool, and data to the FS VTP and LWM data structures and I know that there are many more ideas to explore and implement. Pretty exciting stuff!Cheers, Holger

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"There might be other reasons for not providing the flattening effect but, technically, it IS possible to do this without having to alter the global terrain.cfg file. All that is required is a second copy of the road file with the texture set to one of the default road types (with or without autogen), at a width of "0", and a layer below the custom road. This doesn't have to be done for each road (actually, it's not desirable where the road density is very high) but for major highways and Interstates this would probably improve on your product."Very interesting idea Holger, and definately worth looking into. I would think that we could release a separate patch to accomplish this, at least for those that want it. I also agree that this effect should only be applied to the major highways and Interstates.Regards and sincere admiration,Allen KriesmanScenery Solutions

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Allen,Another option you might wish to look at is the customization options shown on the FSGenesis product,Not only does it allow me to choose to activate any combination small roads, major roads, streams, powerlines, and railroads, but it also allows me to customize whether or not I choose to flatten them, and whether to have them cross water, use autogen bridges, have autogen associated with them (signs and lamp posts) or neither.To me this is a huge deal. One of the weaknesses of your product is also one of it's strengths. Your data is hyper accurate, unfortunately, shorelines are not. As a result, I have to choose between enabling your roads, and seeing them sometimes snake 1 to 3 miles offshore, and have double "bridges", or I have to use default roads.If I could turn off any road that crosses water, then I would have the best of both worlds (at least until detailed shorelines are available).With the competition's product, I can have detailed roads (less detailed then yours of course) inland, and still not have to deal with double bridges and snaking off shore roads.Of course, I love USA roads, but the lower cost of the other product and it's better customization options have sent me to purchase the competitions as well.I will have to fly with both to see which I prefer.

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I am still planning on releasing an optional patch that puts all roads beneath the water. As you say, some users prefer having the major roads and highways cross water, some do not.

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Allen,Both patches would be very welcome. Mike Mahat's excellent "Bay Area Bridges" finally gives us a Golden Gate Bridge that does the scenery justice. And, happily enough, it properly matches your accurate roads. Less happy is the fact that the beautiful bridge casts a concrete shadow directly underneath...Holger's suggestion also sounds enticing. I always wonder if the highway traffic is going to topple off the 45 degree slanted roadbeds. ;-)Best,Mike

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This available now. Has anyone dowloaded and installed the full program yet? Thoughts?

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I can't wait for the Coast line addons as well.. I too live on the coast, and the community I live in has a small bay and it is not modeled in the default FS...

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Ya, don't waste your time trying to get it till tomorrow or the next day. It is a 225MB file and of course no mirror sites to get it at so its all on one server for everyone. I have broadband for a connection and twice now after 30minutes of download, the server has crapped out. If your gonna throw a 225MB file up for download, you need to have mirror sites to get it from. Bloody ridiculous!!

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Justin regularly releases downloadable 700 Mb products and has huge server capacity that usually does fine. Clearly they've totally underestimated the demand for this product, the server is completely choked. Even getting to the site is hard.Jon

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I am 63 Megs done out of 535 Megs for the last hour on a 3Meg cable line! It would have normally taken 30 minutes at full speed of 350K sec for the complete product. But obviously the pipe is being hammered since I am somewhere only around 30K sec right now. Plus I have had to resume a bunch of times already. When it's done though I will compare it of course to USA Roads which I have already. I think what I enjoyed the most of the American Data Demo demo to make me get the FULL version and not the addon was the ability for flattening. TO ME since I don't know where every single road in the US is supposed to PERFECTLY be it is better to have flat roads and streams to cut through terrain to give an extra 3D dimension. Along with FSGenesis Mesh & Landclass, as well as the the new 9.1 patch this seems to me that it will bring me 1 step closer to enjoy looking out the window. Now if someone will just finish up their coastlines, rivers, & lakes we'll be getting better.Carmine http://ftp.avsim.com/dcforum/Images/wave.gif

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