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odourboy

Noobie Questions Regarding Scenery Objects

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I've come to realize that I really enjoy having realistic looking city-scapes/skylines in my sim, so I'd like to try my hand at adding generic (and possibly custom) building objects to my landscape. To this end, I've installed the SDK and looked at some material on using the OPT, but before I proceed, I'd like to ask some questions about the adding building objects to my sim. In to particular order:

 

1) Is there a significant performance impact with adding buildings?

1.1) If so, does the impact increase with the number of objects, number of DIFFERENT objects and is the impact linear?

2) Where does FSX store these objects once I add them?

3) Can I delete them?

4) Can I place them to my own scenery package so I can optionally turn them on/off? (I'm pretty comfortable with manually adding photoscenery and such, so I probably don't need a step-by-step)

5) Can I use re-use objects that are part of freeware or payware add-ons I already have?

6) Could someone point me at a good tool & tutorial for creating my own custom buildings? (I've heard an Abacus free tool mentioned, but I don't know if this is a good tool; Also, I'm pretty handy with Photoshop and have done modifications to aircraft textures and created a bit of photoscenery, but never tried my hand at scenery objects. )

7) Finally, is there a better approach than using the OPT?

 

Any help/suggestions appreciated!

 

Cheers, Brian


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1) Is there a significant performance impact with adding buildings?

That depends on the quantity and quality of the buildings.

 

Simple, well made buildings will not affect performance much. Complex buildings with lots of drawcalls can have a negative impact.

 

1.1) If so, does the impact increase with the number of objects, number of DIFFERENT objects and is the impact linear?

 

Too many variables to predict linearity.

 

Again, a few poorly made buildings will have more impact than a bunch of well made ones.

 

In theory, multiple copies of the same building will have less impact than the same amount of unique buildings.

 

2) Where does FSX store these objects once I add them?

 

There are a few options here.

 

Commonly objects are stored in object libraries, which contain no placement code, only the 3D model info. These objects are identified by a unique number, the GUID.

 

Object placement files contain no model data and simply tell the sim where to place the objects, calling them by their GUID.

 

Sometimes you will find files that contain both model data and placement data.

 

All of the above need to be in an active scenery area for the objects to show up in the sim.

 

3) Can I delete them?

 

Yes, delete the placement files and they will not show in the sim.

 

4) Can I place them to my own scenery package so I can optionally turn them on/off? (I'm pretty comfortable with manually adding photoscenery and such, so I probably don't need a step-by-step)

 

Yes.

5) Can I use re-use objects that are part of freeware or payware add-ons I already have?

 

You are free to do what you want, for your own use.

 

If you plan on distributing your work you would need permission of the original authors.

 

The Avsim library has many object libraries available that you can use.

 

6) Could someone point me at a good tool & tutorial for creating my own custom buildings? (I've heard an Abacus free tool mentioned, but I don't know if this is a good tool; Also, I'm pretty handy with Photoshop and have done modifications to aircraft textures and created a bit of photoscenery, but never tried my hand at scenery objects. )

 

GMax is free and takes a bit to learn.

 

IMO it is a bit overkill for simple buildings yet necessary for creating airplanes.

 

Google Sketchup is free and works fine for building modeling.

 

Tom Gibson put together a good tutorial which you can see here- http://www.calclassic.com/sketchup_tutorial.htm

 

7) Finally, is there a better approach than using the OPT?

 

If you want to get into this even semi-seriously you should look at Instant Scenery from Flight1- http://www.flight1.com/products.asp?product=iscen3

 

IS works in the sim so you can see what you are doing WYSIWYG.

 

If you value your time it is well worth the $30.

 

regards,

Joe


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Great information Joe! Thanks for taking the time to respond. I spent the afternoon googling for tutorials and guides and muddling around with the OPT tool in FSX. I managed to place several generic condos and a few other large building objects along the Toronto lake shore, create a BGL and activate it as scenery, thus answering several of my own questions about the basic process.

 

Before I start trying to build my own objects, I'll have to look into the use third party objects. I imagine I can accomplish 90% of what I want with generic or re-used custom building objects. I'll check out the AVSIM library. All I've found so far in my muddling is the default FSX objects. There are some great downtown high-rise office buildings showing up in my sim - UTX perhaps (I have UTX Canada and USA installed)? An idea how I can re-use those (for my own use only obviously) in other locations?


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UTX does not contain any 3D objects as far as I know.

 

I have very limited time with the OPT, I have IS and find it very easy to use.

 

There may be some default objects that the OPT does not have access to, or you haven't found them yet.

 

As an example, the city specific buildings for Seattle are found in ...\FSX\Scenery\NAMW\scenery\seattle.bgl.

 

regards,

Joe


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Haven't tried this myself, but you can find a lot of real building models at https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/ and many seem to be downloadable as pre-placed kmz files. It should be possible to load them up in ModelConverterX and convert to FSX models. MCX can also do drawcall optimization on the models before you export, check the fsdeveloper and fsdevconf channels on YouTube for tutorials.

 

I logged into the 3d warehouse and searched for Miami and it showed me lots of real building models. I clicked on a random building shown below and loaded it in MCX. Screenshots below show the 3d warehouse page, MCX placement and drawcall optimizer reducing drawcalls from 17 to 3 using a 2048 pixel texture sheet.

 

EDIT: Note MCX can also generate LODs and night textures for the model.

 

3dwarehouse_miami_zps0ad8635d.png

 

mcx_placement_zpse7bbb457.png

 

mcx_drawcalls_zps9e0825e7.png


Barry Friedman

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Note MCX can generate night textures for the model.

Not really. What MCX can do is flag the materials to use a night texture.

 

You have to create the actual texture yourself.

 

That is one of the better looking buildings I have seen from the 3D warehouse. Many times the textures are kinda ugly.

 

regards,

Joe


The best gift you can give your children is your time.

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Not really. What MCX can do is flag the materials to use a night texture

 

Thanks for the correction, I watched the video a on night textures a long time ago and mis-remembered.


Barry Friedman

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