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ORBX or MegaScenery?

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Always trade-offs perfer photoreal know things are real below me. No need to overclock with photoreal it easy to install and save on seperate harddrive. Fly in Midwest yes it's flat but photoreal vfr a lot easier to navigate vfr than fsx default. Stereo 3d flying with photoreal gives the altitude depth to fly its not perfect. Orbx will take years before they reach the Midwest or Deep South.

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As pointed out, both have pros and cons. Get the Florida one and see for yourself.As also pointed out, Earthsimulations is the closest you can get to ORBX style photoscenery, HD photoreal with complete autogen and custom objects with seasons, but all this takes a lot of HD space. Keep in mind that the quality of photscenery depends 100% on the source data for color and resolution and how lazy the developer is for seasons, water masking, night textures and any autogen or lack thereof. For commercial scenery you usually get the same old excuse of it isn't commercially viable for the amount of work they will have to put in for these "options", yeah right. Also, accurate and detailed mesh makes the experience pop!

 

Well done, complete photoreal is magical for me, nothing else like it. I make my own and do all the seasons and autogen and the result is very satisfying, despite the hard work.

if you have the SDK installed, you can add autogen to any photoscenery yourself. It's tedious, but very doable..


Best, Michael

KDFW

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I can't speak for MSE, but as someone else said, the photoreal experience (for me it's Bluesky Scenery) is great in desert areas, no matter at what altitude and speed. For example I enjoy it every now and then to fly an F-15 or some other fighter jet as low and as fast as possible between Las Vegas, Death Valley and Edwards. One serious issue with large photoreal sceneries is that they usually don't include seasons, maybe not even night textures, which is impartant to me, though (especially seasonal changes, I don't mind the lack of night textures that much as I hardly ever fly at night time)

But when it comes to higher populated areas with more vegetation I don't like photreal stuff that much, because, as also pointed out above, it looks flat and dead with no trees, houses etc. That's where ORBX is clearly better IMO.

 

Of course it'll also depend on what type of simmer you are - if you prefer GA low and slow ORBX is porbably the way to go, but if you're more into airliners, photoreal scenery might be what you want, since you'll be much faster on approach so you'll not notice the lack of autogen as much as you will in slower planes.

 

So what I'd suggest is to try some of the Bluesky Scenery tiles at first, because they are freeware, but still a fantastic work, so you can see if you like it or not, and also to try the ORBX demo - that will give you a good impression on what to expect from each product, and it's probably easier to decide what to get.

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Can we get the best of both worlds? Combining photo/vfr scenery and have autogen objects such as buildings and trees on top? That would make for the most realistic looking world ever. Why can't scenery developers include both into 1 package and not keep them seperate? I've seen photo scenery combined with autogen on top and it looks amazing. Just don't understand why developers don't do this.


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Can we get the best of both worlds? Combining photo/vfr scenery and have autogen objects such as buildings and trees on top? That would make for the most realistic looking world ever. Why can't scenery developers include both into 1 package and not keep them seperate? I've seen photo scenery combined with autogen on top and it looks amazing. Just don't understand why developers don't do this.

 

For Photogen every sceneryobject has to be placed manually and for a large area that would be a tremendous job. MegaSceneryX SoCal has quite a few buildings and it is stull quite small compared to some MSE states.

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I have all of Orbx' NA regions, and a good bit of the SW and MW US in Megascenery, and...

 

I obviously value both , as I have a lot of both.  In other words, it doesn't have to be an either/or choice - but given a choice, (and based on areas that Orbx has done), I prefer Orbx every time.  That said, I love the desert SW in photo - to me its where it really shines, and I wonder if that would remain true even if Orbx ever did the US SW. 

 

A couple of other points:

 

Several have referenced the height at which photo starts to work well, and some absolute numbers have been tossed out.  What that height is really depends on the quality and sun angle of the imagery used.  Some seem to think of products like MS Earth as a monolithic constant and they're not.  The differences in quality and color can be huge, even within a given state sold as one package.  Some areas POP nicely at fairly low levels, others never really pop at all for me.  When it's good, it's great.  When it's bad, its awful.  For me, if I have airport scenery to fly to and from, things are pretty good.  If I don't and have to rely on default airports, the moonscape world at airports just doesn't work.

 

Several have wished for Orbx with photo - keep in mind that many areas in Orbx regions are exactly that.  Take a look at the recent Southern Alaska release, for example, where there are huge areas of photo scenery with hand optimized scenery objects and autogen.  It's simply awesome!

 

And finally the whole notion of "real".  Both photo and landclass are attempts to model reality, and both have pluses and minuses.  NEITHER are "real", and I've always found the claim of "photoreal" to be a bit disingenuous.   A photo shot at a one time of day, under one-time circumstances and at a given resolution is still just that - a photo, not reality, especially when you try to drape it over a 3D frame, match it with adjacent photos taken at a different time, deal with cloud cover, and get too close to it.  There are many instances where photo provides a far less compelling model of reality than good, hand optimized landclass/autogen, and others when it really does "feel there".  We all prefer what we prefer, but either laying claim to "real" is over the top and over-selling to me.

 

Bottom line, try some photo and see for yourself  Blue Sky do a very good job with a product that can be tried for free (I'd recommend giving tiles in SoCal, Nevada, Utah and Arizona a shot).  Of the MSE v2 products I've bought so far, I'd recommend Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona as being of generally high quality in most places.

 

Scott

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There is actually a way to have your cake...and eat it, too.  There will be a small gap in immersion, but it does come close to being the best of both worlds.  To set the stage, let me say that I'm trying this initially in the Chicago area--using MegasceneryEarth v2.0 Illinois and Indiana, along with FSDT KORD and FlyTampa KMDW (the ORBX angle of this will come in a few moments).  Also, I fly a combination of GA and heavy iron.

 

Each MSE state comes in the form of multiple stripes of apprx 1GB each.  After the zip, it extracts to an exe, which then installs a series of BGL's to form the strip.  The typical approach is to download all of the zips, extract them all and then install them all--and, voila!, you now have a state in lovely photoreal scenery.

 

---------------------

Photoscenery looks like crap below about 3,000AGL.

Considering my favorite parts of a flight are the climbout and approach, I just can't be immersed by flat, usually dull looking, non-dynamic scenery.

----------------------

 

This is my biggest problem with photoscenery!  While KORD and KMDW will have the airport and adjacent areas modeled/populated with autogen, that 10 miles or so of the approach starts to look kinda smushed as you descend further.

 

Soooooo, what I tried is this.

1. Starting with the first file, install a single MSE exe into a new folder (I'm using G:\Megascenery\Illinois for example)

2. Create a folder as a holding bin (in my case, G:\Megascenery\Hold)

3. Create a subfolder for each of the downloads (in my case, G:\Megascenery\Hold\1, G:\Megascenery\Hold\2, etc.)

4. Open Flight Simulator (the scenery activates automatically) and go to an airport in the state you're working with (towards the northern part; the strips appear to all start at the northern border)

5. Once at the airport, switch to the overhead view and you'll be able to see the part of the state covered by that exe.

6. Make note of any airports in that MSE strip you fly into and then exit FSX.

7. Move (not copy) all of the BGL files, except a couple/few, from the Megascenery\State folder to the holding bin folder that corresponds to the strip number).

8. Restart FSX, go to the airport you were at in the previous steps and switch to the overhead view again.  You'll now get an idea of how the various files line up.

9.  Swap files in and out between the MSE folder and the Holding Bin to find out which BGL files affect the airport you want autogen at/around.

10. Make a note of the BGL's that you want to exclude.

11.  After you've got one exe mapped out, move the remaining files from MSE folder to the Holding Bin.

12.  Repeat the process with the next strip(s), as required.

 

After I finished this, I was able to have entire state of Illinois/Indiana covered in photoreal scenery while, at the same time, having autogen for my approach/departure areas (I'll post an image when I get back home).

 

My only penalty? The slight break in immersion as I get close to the MSE/Autogen dividing line--a mere matter of moments!!!!  Otherwise, I have no break in the illusion.

 

ORBX

 

As to this, I really, really love my ORBX scenery and probably won't mess with the big geographic area (like PNW).  But, I will do the states I regularly fly over in MSE; giving me plenty of inflight eye candy.  So, for example, because I do the KORD/KDEN to KSEA/KPDX flights, I'll probably do the Dakotas and Montana (probably won't get Nevada or Arizona, as I've already got the BlueSky Scenery for those areas), but make sure that my ORBX PNW has a higher priority so it transitions into the ORBX scenery as I fly.

 

One final comment; though the ORBX scenery could be considered boring at altitude is some areas, I actually find it quite nice in the mountainous and plateau regions--Can't wait to fly into KJAC, once I get everything setup!  :-)

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is my biggest problem with photoscenery! While KORD and KMDW will have the airport and adjacent areas modeled/populated with autogen, that 10 miles or so of the approach starts to look kinda smushed as you descend further.

 

Mike, have you tried MSE v2 with any of the Aerosoft US Cities X products?  I have Chicago (and LA as well) and while the blend to MSE v2 Illinois isn't perfect, it isn't bad either.  I don't have FSDT KORD, but I do have FlyTampa's KMDW, and the combination of Cities X Chicago, KMDW and MSE v2 makes for very nice flights into the Chicagoland area - best of both worlds stuff.  CitiesX Chicago also includes several other airports including PalWaukee (Chicago Executive or whatever they call it these days :lol: ).  Definitely recommended as a way to get back added details near the ground, and a much improved Chicago skyline.  Just be aware that there are no night textures - but then there aren't for MSE v2 anyway.

 

 

 


...but make sure that my ORBX PNW has a higher priority so it transitions into the ORBX scenery as I fly.

 

Unfortunately, I don't think this will work for you.  Orbx and photo can't overlap, even if the region is higher priority - see the Orbx compatibility forum on their site for details.  If you have, for example, MSE v2 Wyoming, you'll have to figure out which tiles overlap Orbx CRM and disable them.  I keep hoping someone else will figure out which these are, because I'd like to do this as well but haven't picked up Wyoming yet as I'm dreading the process of trying to figure out the overlaps.  I'd previously asked if anyone had done this for the Blue Sky stuff in Wyoming, but never got an answer on that either.  I just keep hoping that someone will invent this particular wheel for me!

 

Scott

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I have little to none experience altering or changing anything in FSX or its addons. As I said above, my biggest holdout on MSE 2 is the lack of seasons. I love ORBX but it takes them so long to release new regions. Since I don't have any experience or knowledge on how tiles, textures, mesh, etc. work other than to load them into the sim, my idea probably doesn't have any value but here goes anyway:

Since from what I hear, creating all seasons would amount to tons more of hard drive space since each texture would have to be redone, would it be possible to create some sort of utility in which at a certain time of the year such as the first day of fall, a program assigns a brown, red, yellow, or orange color to some green textures other than evergreen textures for example, and white or light gray to the same textures in winter?  As the season progresses, have a few more textures change until the deepest part of the season.   In other words, rather than load tons of new textures for each season, just assign a new color to existing ones by number such as all grass textures which may be numbered from 1 to 1000. Similar to how a chroma screen (I think this is how it's spelled) works in a tv studio, where a green screen behind a weatherman allows him to look like he is pointing at a map that can change accordingly where he is really pointing to a monitor image in front of him with the green screen in back. This technique is also used at stadiums such as right behind homeplate where they can change advertisement adds several times during a game. Just an idea.   Tom 

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I really hope ORBX makes the entire Hawaii region using their magical skills and give it their utmost attention to all the little details that make all their scenery packages amazing.


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I was a huge fan of photographic scenery in FS9, but the scenery system in FSX is just so much more advanced that you really miss out when using just flat photographic textures. The autogen is much denser, and everything looks much sharper than it did in FS9.

 

Also, as the texture resolution has increased, the problems with perspective have become worse Tall buildings and trees will look particularly weird, as if they're laying flat on the ground. It's disorienting, even at 4,000+ feet. Photorealistic is "real" in the sense that you will be able to find your own house, but it won't really be a house, it will just be a 2D imprint of your rooftop.


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I would get Megascenery earth, to me flat photoreal scenery pretty much always beats any boring generic landclass. Lack of autogen sure might be annoying during landing & just after takeoff, however it's still less annoying than seeing boring generic world through the whole long cruise part of the flight, (although ORBX makes it look a lot less generic than default I admit).

 

You could also get a program called Instant Scenery 2 and use it to place some buildings and vegetation around your departure and destination airports, it's very simple to use and works in game.

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Why is it a question of one or the other?  I run both I have lots of ORBX and MegaScenery X.  It's all about how you feel that day when you go and fly and what you want to see.  There is a big difference in the two. 

 

MegaScenery is photoreal so no autogen and it tends to look like crap until you get up in the air a bit.

 

On the other hand ORBX looks great anywhere you are.

 

So my advice is get some of each and enjoy both.


tRcyI.png

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I really hope ORBX makes the entire Hawaii region using their magical skills and give it their utmost attention to all the little details that make all their scenery packages amazing.

 

Aaron, don't know if you are aware, but Megascenery do an excellent version of Hawaii. The whole island is covered in pretty hi-res photoscenery with autogen laid over the top.


Howard
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My FlightSim YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@skyhigh776

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Some people clearly don't like photoscenery....

 

Note that some of the criticisms above are wrong:

 

No traffic - traffic works just fine, roads on the texures are all in the right place after all

 

Daytime only - not true for megascenery earth - one of the attractions is the nightlighting. And my homemade photoscenery works just fine for dawn and dusk with utx adding the lights.

 

Hi res photoscenery works pretty good for approach and takeoff. If I use 0.5m/pixel and good source imagery it looks good down to 1000 feet, and then the objects at the airport itselfmtake over.

 

I hook the sim up to a map program on the ipad and go sight-seeing in thr ngx. Sweet as, and you're seeing reality, which landclass-based scenery can never do.

 

 


Oz

 xdQCeNi.jpg   puHyX98.jpg

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