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alpilotx

PREVIEW - how about an UHD Mesh Scenery?

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I couldn't sit idle in the last days, and started some very extreme experiments pushing the scenery generator even further outside of its comfort zone. I massively increased the mesh resolution (almost 3x of HD Mesh Scenery v3) and added in some nice 30m DEM data (everything else - on the data side - is identical to HD Mesh Scenery v3).

 

Well, the results have surprised even me ... the Alps or the Grand Canyon changed their look in a quite obvious (and positive) way, making them look even more realistic (and big - yes, the "feeling" of dimensions has improved very nicely!).

 

At the moment I am tinkering with the results, and am also waiting for some DEM data improvements (the good guy behind Viewfinderpanoramas.org hinted to me, that he wanted to increase the 30m Alps data very soon - and of course, I will wait for that). But then, I am definitely considering to share a few, smaller UHD regions with you (don't even bother to start asking for "regions" ... I will do the ones, I find the best to do at the moment). Like the - entire - Alps, the Canyon Land in the USA, and Maybe Colorado and the Yosemite region ...

 

BUT, there is one drawback. of course, this absolutely insane (consider it experimental) mesh resolution needs some beefy hardware to run (users who have FPS concerns with HD Mesh Sceney v3 should not even think about it). On my machine, it worked quite well (yes, definitely usable FPS) ... BUT it will definitely need a minimum of 16 GB RAM (24 or 32 might be much safer).

 

Here are a bunch of comparison screenshots (labeled UHD and HD ... so you can browse trough them and see the differences):

And some quick examples:

Typhoon_19.jpg

 

Typhoon_11.jpg

 

Alabeo_Staggerwing_5.jpg

 

c4_10.jpg

 

c4_6.jpg

 

c4_3.jpg

 

PS: This is also showing you, what X-Plane could one day achieve with hardware tessellation (its on the roadmap of Laminar ... but without a due date) with less heavy DSFs.

Edited by tonywob
Updated Link to screenshots

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Wow Andras.  You have really found the key to unlock what can be done... as you always have.  Thank you for your efforts and devotion to this platform.

 

John

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Wow. Looks amazing!  It would be nice to see this kind of mesh resolution someday, but Im also very happy and greatfull to what we have with V3.

 

Rob

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Wow Andras, as always, amazing work!!!

 

It is nice to know there are geniuses out there squeezing every bit of potential out of XP.

 

Just made a contribution to keep you motivated... :Applause: ...thanks for the hard work.

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Awesome Andras, thanks for all you do for us and XP in general.

 

Bruce.

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"BUT, there is one drawback. of course, this absolutely insane (consider it experimental) mesh resolution needs some beefy hardware to run (users who have FPS concerns with HD Mesh Sceney v3 should not even think about it). On my machine, it worked quite well (yes, definitely usable FPS) ... BUT it will definitely need a minimum of 16 GB RAM (24 or 32 might be much safer)."

 

Is system RAM more omportant for the UHD stuff than GPU memory and/or performance?

 

Thanks, Bruce.

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Totally cool! I want this yesterday! :o

 

This might actually stop the "Outerra, Outerra, Outerra" cries...

 

It is obvious that Hessen should be the first area to be done, with it´s spectacular mountain ranges and lush towns in the Wetterau! :ph34r: B)

 

Keep it up and thanks again, Jan

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Is system RAM more omportant for the UHD stuff than GPU memory and/or performance?

 

 

You need both ... but first it has to fit in main memory (RAM) before it can start to be rendered (when VRAM comes in play). And with less than 16 GB RAM (well, even 16 GB will not be enough in all situations!) you will go to "swap hell" ... where everything will slow down a lot ...

 

On VRAM size ... well, I think users with halfway modern cards in the 3 GB VRAM range should be able to fly it (in some areas even 2 GB VRAM might be enough ... but don#t bet on this). An interesting observation was, that the Grannd Canyon might be the perfect place with UHD ond less potent hardware ... there you only have the extreme mesh resolution, but not much more (not big cities, no extensive forests, barely any roads) to render. So, while flying there (Grand Canyon), even with almost everything maxed out, I could get 50 FPS with UHD on my hardware (but in the Alps - where there is much more other "clutter", the FPS usually go much lower!).

It is obvious that Hessen should be the first area to be done, with it´s spectacular mountain ranges and lush towns in the Wetterau! :ph34r: B)

Yes, Hessen for sure B)  ... LOL ... (then I would rather do my home region, Fränkische Schweiz with some nice little valleys/cliffs first )

But again: no wishing guys (and part of the reason is "high quality data availability") !

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Ausgezeichnet! Excellent!

 

Thanks for all of your hard work and demonstrating the scenery possibilities within X-Plane. The Grand Canyon and Alps look very realistic. The idea of concentrating the UHD in smaller, distinctive areas sounds good to me. I was planning to build a new computer anyway.

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Very nice! Might I add that Iceland is also a great place for such a mesh, no big cities only a few small towns ... and the Alps of course!

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Very nice! Might I add that Iceland is also a great place for such a mesh, no big cities only a few small towns ... and the Alps of course!

Read the "announcement" : it says, "Alps" (and don't worry, if there is a place on this planet which I really love, then its the "Alps" ... )

 

And no guys, this UHD is making DSF files so big that I will definitely not extend it too much without thinking at least twice ... (additionally, I do not have unlimited access to high quality 30m mesh either!)

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You need both ... but first it has to fit in main memory (RAM) before it can start to be rendered (when VRAM comes in play). And with less than 16 GB RAM (well, even 16 GB will not be enough in all situations!) you will go to "swap hell" ... where everything will slow down a lot ...

 

On VRAM size ... well, I think users with halfway modern cards in the 3 GB VRAM range should be able to fly it (in some areas even 2 GB VRAM might be enough ... but don#t bet on this). An interesting observation was, that the Grannd Canyon might be the perfect place with UHD ond less potent hardware ... there you only have the extreme mesh resolution, but not much more (not big cities, no extensive forests, barely any roads) to render....

Thanks. I have the 2014 5k iMac, and while it has 32GB of RAM, 4GB of vRAM, and an i7 processor, it has the M GPU, which apears to be it's main limitation...

 

Thanks, Bruce.

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Uhhh, I am so happy that Santa brought me 16 GB RAM ... B) ... and I still have two free slots left!

 

Looks great! From your screenshots one can clearly see that mountain regions gain more improvement than flat regions. So for the Alps, Rockys and the like UHD would be a big improvement! Really looking forward!

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Looks great! From your screenshots one can clearly see that mountain regions gain more improvement than flat regions. So for the Alps, Rockys and the like UHD would be a big improvement! Really looking forward!

Which are also the only regions, where 30m mesh makes really good sense - at least in a flight sim ... in the flat land, I would not bother with it.

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Which are also the only regions, where 30m mesh makes really good sense - at least in a flight sim ... in the flat land, I would not bother with it.

 

This is fantastic, and can't wait to give it a go at some point, but I think it might a little too much for my old computer.

 

I'm thinking it could also possibly make sense around coastal areas. I'd love to see how this would improve the appearance of small islets, cliffs and islands.

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It's too bad X-Plane still doesn't have the ability to scale the LOD of the mesh dynamically with distance like FSX does. Then this kind of detail would be possible without pushing the system requirements too much.

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It's too bad X-Plane still doesn't have the ability to scale the LOD of the mesh dynamically with distance like FSX does. Then this kind of detail would be possible without pushing the system requirements too much.

 

What does that mean to "scale the LOD of the mesh dynamically" ?

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It's too bad X-Plane still doesn't have the ability to scale the LOD of the mesh dynamically with distance like FSX does. Then this kind of detail would be possible without pushing the system requirements too much.

That would only work, if X-Plane would build the mesh "on-the-fly" out of some half-prepared GIS data ... But instead, X-Plane has - at least up to now - followed the other approach: pre-build the complete mesh at scenery generation time ... Of course, here the drawback is, the a completely pre-created mesh is hardly LOD-able (at runtime) ... but the advantage is, that neither does X-Plane need any CPU cycles on generating the mesh on the fly. This also allows to spend as much time on the mesh generation as we want (because it happens at scenery creation time ... where nobody notices) ... which is necessary when creating a complex, irregular mesh.

 

This paradigm of pre-generating was very important in the past years ... BUT I agree, that maybe in the future this might (though, I have absolutely no idea when/how ... or if at all ... definitely not in the short term) change, as hardware becomes even more powerful (and adequate to generate similar scenery on-the-fly). Because on-the-fly mesh generation has not only the LOD-ability advantage but also needs less storage space. A complete triangle mesh (especially with the still necessary redundancy at texture transition - where triangle need to exist multiple times) at higher and higher resolutions "wastes" more and more space (on the other hand, storage space - and luckily even internet bandwidth - becomes less of a problem) ...

 

But for the time being, it is as it is ... and still works quite nicely as we can see B)

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Are you talking about procedural mesh  ? I would think that would be very intensive on the GPU.

I am not really talking about anything  ... I am just throwing around some very vague ideas, which came to my mind (and they have no relation to any tech discussion I have with laminar - really only my private thoughts).

So, thus I wouldn't even say if GPU/CPU ... what ever ... Just very abstract thoughts about doing more things on-the-fly at some point in the future.

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That would only work, if X-Plane would build the mesh "on-the-fly" out of some half-prepared GIS data ... But instead, X-Plane has - at least up to now - followed the other approach: pre-build the complete mesh at scenery generation time ... Of course, here the drawback is, the a completely pre-created mesh is hardly LOD-able (at runtime) ... but the advantage is, that neither does X-Plane need any CPU cycles on generating the mesh on the fly. This also allows to spend as much time on the mesh generation as we want (because it happens at scenery creation time ... where nobody notices) ... which is necessary when creating a complex, irregular mesh.

 

This paradigm of pre-generating was very important in the past years ... BUT I agree, that maybe in the future this might (though, I have absolutely no idea when/how ... or if at all ... definitely not in the short term) change, as hardware becomes even more powerful (and adequate to generate similar scenery on-the-fly). Because on-the-fly mesh generation has not only the LOD-ability advantage but also needs less storage space. A complete triangle mesh (especially with the still necessary redundancy at texture transition - where triangle need to exist multiple times) at higher and higher resolutions "wastes" more and more space (on the other hand, storage space - and luckily even internet bandwidth - becomes less of a problem) ...

 

But for the time being, it is as it is ... and still works quite nicely as we can see B)

 

It works, but FSX is able to render 5m or even 1m mesh without too much of a performance or RAM hit. X-Plane doesn't seem as scalable by comparison. I don't know exactly how FSX does it, but the downloads tend to be smaller as well (I don't remember, but the 38m mesh I downloaded for the entire US was only a couple of GB's), so I guess it does more work "on the fly". The drawback is obviously that many suffer from stutters, uneven framerate and blurries. Different sims, different drawbacks/advantages :-)

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