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Holger

Satellite textures?

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Hi, sorry if this is a trivial question: comparing the real satellite views of the earth (they're easy to find on the web nowadays) with the top view available in FS9, it seems to me that FS textures are absolutely "fake" textures. Now, I'm wondering why don't they use the real satellite images for ground textures? They would add great realism, and I don't think it would be more difficult to use them, is there maybe an issue of copyright costs? Sorry again for the trivial question...Marco

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Hi Marco,certainly an interesting question!As you probably know, there are a number of photorealistic landscape add-ons available (e.g., MegaScenery or Switzerland Professional), which were made from either satellite images or airphotos. While they often look spectacular, the typical issues with them are lack of seasons and/or night lights, long loading times, limited autogen objects, and huge file sizes even for relatively small areas.To give an example of the file size issue, with "extended terrain textures" turned on, FS needs to load and display about 20,000 texture tiles within your field of view. With the standard land class system, FS actually only needs to load a few dozen different "generic" textures and place them according to a land class distribution file. With photoreal textures, each of those 20,000 tiles is unique and has to be loaded and placed individually. Thus, the main technical "stumbling blocks" are image availability (i.e., different seasons), HD space, and system resources. With its current system of "generic" textures (called "land class") the FS design team managed to cover our planet with a reasonable representation of land use types with full seasons and night lights without too much of a strain on system resources. Also, this system can be improved substantially by custom-made land class files, many of which are available here in the file library.I'm pretty sure that future versions of flight sims will use more and more photoreal textures but currently there's no way that a full photorealistic representation of our planet, with seasons, night light, and 3D objects, can be distributed to end users - we're talking terrabytes, not gigabytes, of data. Cheers, Holger

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