AviatorMoser

FreeMesh X Global 1.0 - Release Announcement

743 posts in this topic

Hello folks!
 
Today marks the release of FreeMeshX Global for FSX, FSX:SE, and P3D by Nine-Two Productions. FreeMeshX is a global terrain mesh replacement for the stock terrain mesh and features LOD10 (38-m) coverage for almost the entire world. LOD10 is equal to the same terrain level of detail used for the USA in the stock scenery. The rest of the world varies from LOD6 to LOD9. FreeMeshX was created to bring the rest of the world up to the LOD10 standard as much as possible, although some regions of the world in the higher latitudes are still limited to LOD9 (76-m).
 
The motivation for this project started from the lack of a comprehensive global terrain mesh replacement that did not involve forking over hard earned cash. FS Global 2010 is a great project, but it costs well over 50 USD and uses mainly older SRTM2 90-m downscaled to 78-m resolution. FSGenesis has a 20 USD global terrain mesh, but like FS Global 2010, it uses mainly older SRTM2 90-m data downscaled to LOD9.
 
Towards the end of 2014, NASA began to release newer, upgraded terrain data for regions outside of the USA that was higher in resolution and also void-filled. This SRTM 3.0 data is identical to the quality of the USA SRTM data that is available at 1-arcsecond resolution (30-m). Unlike proprietary terrain data, such as NextMap, SRTM data has always been open and free, so nothing prohibited us to start downloading the data and compiling it for FS use.
 
FreeMeshX features LOD10 (38-m resolution) coverage for:

  • North America (LOD10 Canada is released in this mesh - default USA is already LOD10, so USA is not included for the base release. A LOD11 USA mesh is in the works)
  • South and Central America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Australia and Oceania

A few regions are limited to LOD9 (78-m resolution):

  • Antarctica
  • Greenland
  • Russian territories north of 60 N latitude

FreeMeshX was compiled using over 400 GB of raw terrain data. The final size of the product is 42 GB, making it one of the largest freeware projects ever for FS. It wouldn't be in everyone's best interests to download all 42 GB at once, so we are releasing the product the product into continental regions for a total of 7 downloads total. Each continent contains a number of 10 deg x 10 deg titles, mosaiced from 1 deg x 1 deg tiles into a 2.5 GB file, and then compressed into a BGL file. Defragmentation is highly recommended for mechanical hard drives to ensure smooth and quick loading.
 
Largest improvements:
Biggest improvements are found in regions that contain mainly LOD6 and LOD7 meshes. Mainly remote regions of Africa, South America, Antarctica, and Asia. Europe sees some improvement, but it's LOD9 mesh is just a one level upgrade to LOD10. Some improvements will be found in the accuracy of the mesh and level of detail in mountain ranges, such as Suilven in Scotland pictured below.
 
Images:
Preview photo album: http://imgur.com/a/XJtBU#0
 
Distribution:
Distribution over the net is a challenge. With this much data, how do we move it? Well, bit torrent was built to move large amounts of data through P2P. We'll be employing this solution as the primary distribution method, but we will also be using MediaFire links as well for those who can't use bitTorrent due to ISP throttling or blocking. At the moment, MediaFire is giving us a little trouble with the uploads, so we are limited to bit torrent for the time being. Please seed! With as many people as possible seeding, download speeds will be excellent for all users. We rented out a seedbox with a 10 Gbps upload speed just for this purpose!
 
Future expansions:
FreeMeshX Global 1.0 is just the beginning. FreeMeshX is planned to be a moving release, and evolve in time. Subsequent expansions will include a higher detailed mesh for the USA using NED data. Popular mountain ranges will also be added in higher detail, such as the Alps and Himalayas. These expansions will remain free.
 
Airport plateaus:
Every terrain mesh is affected by airports on plateaus. This is due to FSX making every airport flat, and then giving the airport file an elevation to place it along the default terrain. If the default terrain is not correct, which is often the case, and a more accurate mesh is installed that differs significantly from default terrain, then the airport will be found in a pit or plateau.
 
The only way to circumvent the problem of plateaus are (in preferential order):

  •  
  • Manually blend in each default airport by hand with the new mesh (not going to happen)
  • Code a tool to flatten meshes around airports (inconvenient)
  • Provide updated airport elevation corrections (inconvenient)

None of these solutions will be offered by Nine-Two Productions, mainly because we lack the skillset or means of developing them at this time. What we recommend is using existing 3rd party solutions such as Pilot's Airport Flattening Meshes or ORBX FTX Vector airport elevation corrections. We recommend the ORBX solution because you get more for your buck than just generic flattening meshes. Both of them are linked below:

Why are we releasing this for free?
 
Because why not? We haven't used significant financial resources. Neither should you. We certainly don't feel our free time is so important that we should charge you 50+ USD. We'd rather share with you without expecting donations, payments, or even small thanks. If you try and like it, then that is enough reward for us.
 
Installation:
Installation is simple. No installers are needed. No registry entries. No start menu shortcuts. No BS.
Each region is contained within a scenery folder where the terrain .bgl files are stored. Simply add to the scenery library through FSX as you would with any scenery folder. You can put the files anywhere, as long as they are contained with a scenery folder  and you add it to the scenery library config.

 
Possible example folder structures:
FSX > Addon Scenery > FreeMeshX - Europe > Scenery > BGL files
FSX > FreeMeshX Global > Europe > Scenery > BGL files
FSX > Addon Scenery > FMX > Europe > Scenery > BGL files

To uninstall, simply remove the scenery config, and delete or move the folder. Done.
 
Compatibility:
FreeMeshX should work with other meshes. FSX simply uses the highest LOD mesh in the library for a given location. This way you can layer meshes. For instance, FS Global 2010 may have a LOD11 mesh for a mountain range. With both FreeMeshX and FS Global 2010 enabled in the library, FSX will prioritize the LOD11 mesh over the FreeMeshX LOD10 mesh.
Tested and built using FTX Global. Works great. We recommend purchasing it. It's on sale this month of May too.

 
Download .torrent files:

Conventional HTTP links for those who can't torrent -- Requires 7-ZIP -- 4.38 GB max size per link

Always extract the .001 or .7z file. The rest of the parts will automatically extract afterwards into one folder. Preference is torrenting, so please torrent if you can!

Africa (2 Parts)

Antarctica (1 Part)

Asia (4 Parts)

Australia and Oceania (1 Part)

Europe (1 Part)

North America (2 Parts)

South America (2 Parts)

Some screenshots showing the levels of improvements:
 
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License: You may use and share this work, as long as original credit is given to the authors: Daniel Moser and David Esnouf. No commercialization of this work or derivative works is allowed.
 
Full license here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode

Edited by n4gix
Added conventional HTTP links for those who cannot torrent at request of OP.
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This looks like a really good project! Timely too as I was looking at purchasing FS Global soon. Downloading the Europe pack now and will test as soon as it's done!

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Sounds very promising. Downloading right now, I'm curious to see what you guys have come up with. ;)

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Thanks, downloading right now :)

Finally someone using torrents to distribute things, i think they are perfect for this

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Finally someone using torrents to distribute things, i think they are perfect for this

 

They were built to distribute large packs of data, with automatic hash checks which is ideal! I just ask everyone not hit and run! Please seed if you can!

 

EDIT: Is it against the rules to post an announcement in the P3D forum too?

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Am I reading this right? This covers the same area as FS Global Mesh but is a better source and the same resolution or better? Are there comparison shots between Global, FSGenesis, and this freeware product? By the way thank you this is amazing!

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Nice! Thanks!

So first question is - how to uninstall FS Genesis or to just overwrite? And should I replace it with this at all?

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Am I reading this right? This covers the same area as FS Global Mesh but is a better source and the same resolution or better?

 

Yes, and no. The base resolution LOD10 is higher than the base resolution of FS Global. FS Global has some higher resolution local meshes for popular locations and mountains, such as Hawaii and the Alps. We plan to release similar high resolution meshes for popular areas after the 1.0 release. For example, a LOD11 USA.

Nice! Thanks!

 

So first question is - how to uninstall FS Genesis or to just overwrite? And should I replace it with this at all?

 

It should be able to work with FS Genesis installed. I would just disable the scenery library entry for FS Genesis. I don't have FS Genesis, so I don't know exactly how it's installed or uninstalled.

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Just finished the download of Europe. I will download another area, seed somemore and test it tomorrow!

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What is meant by "seeding"?

 

Torrents are a Peer to Peer file transfer system, seeding basically means I am uploading the files from my PC to other users.

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Yay!

 

Thanks a lot Daniel and David, much appreciated. :)

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