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davidtsw

1999 vs. today vs. the future

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Hi all,

 

I've just found this screenshot from 1999's Fly! sim. I never played it, but I remember trying the sequel. Was too young to understand anything back then ;)

 

Anyways, looking at this old deception of Manhattan I remembered seeing a screenshot from a similar spot, but using Drzewiecki Design's NYC X v2. Not sure whether that's in FSX or P3Dm but it doesn't matter. Have a look:

 

fly003-122767.jpg

 

 

 

153024_1NYCXv2_02.jpg

 

 

There's around 15 years between the 2 shots. Obviously, we've made huge progress in graphics. But do you think it was a rapid progress ? In the end, 15 years is quite a long time.

 

And what lies ahead ? Do you think 15 years down the road we'll be looking at some other screenshots appreciating the new graphics and the improvements as much as we do today when looking at the 2 shots above ? What else is there left to be done ? I mean, we now have 3d clouds, cloud shadows, sharp textures, beautifully modeled aircraft, real-looking airports. We have a few city add-ons like this NYC scenery by Drzewiecki Design. And looking at these 2 screenshots, what else can be done ?

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Seriously! Seems like you wonder if there is anything left to be desired and that what we have now is almost the best we can get...?! Really?

 

I can't see that 2nd screenshot but there is enough that can be done. I could start with REAL 3D clouds, textures that STAY sharp all the time, cities like that NYC addon all over the world by default, but then I'd still be thinking too much within the current sim limits. What I'd like to see, and what I believe is going to happen sometime, is 'real time scenery'! So you would see in the sim what actually is out there the moment you are flying. Think 'real time ultimate high res totally free moving 3D webcam'. The actual buildings, traffic (planes AND cars and everything), weather, people, vegetation, whatever, and all in ultrarealistic 3D.

 

We still got a loooooooong way to go and imho we've only just started and scratched the surface. In the future (probably not within 15 years though) P3D v3 will look to us (or probably my grand children) like one of those first gen Gameboy games. Seriously. P3D v3 is closer to that Fly!sim screenshot than to what we will actually get in the future, like if Fly! is 1 and 'the future' is 10, P3D v3 is 2 or maybe (just maybe) 3. But probably closer to 1.5 though. 

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I mean, we now have 3d clouds, cloud shadows, sharp textures, beautifully modeled aircraft, real-looking airports. We have a few city add-ons like this NYC scenery by Drzewiecki Design. And looking at these 2 screenshots, what else can be done ?

 

Actually we don't have 3D Clouds... At least not in FSX/P3D. They are still 2D sprites, just made to look 3D.

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To be fair, Fly! wasn't the best looking sim at the time.

Here's Flight Unlimited III from 1999:

http://speed-new.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/24575464575683564573568536.jpg

 

Flight simulators obviously fell behind a lot during the years after Microsoft ended the series after FSX in 2006. Other games were starting to use features like shaders, tessellation, HDR, realtime shadows, global illumination, deferred rendering etc. while FSX was still based on late 90's rendering tech, just with more 3D objects and higher res textures shoehorned into the sim. This is also why the frame rate is so often a problem. The rendering engine was never designed for this kind of workload.

 

This is starting to change now with sims like Prepar3D, which at least partially makes use of modern rendering features. Hopefully this will continue. My dream is that the next flight sim can match games like GTA 5, Battlefield etc. in terms of technology, fidelity and frame rate.

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... is 'real time scenery'! So you would see in the sim what actually is out there the moment you are flying. Think 'real time ultimate high res totally free moving 3D webcam'. The actual buildings, traffic (planes AND cars and everything), weather, people, vegetation, whatever, and all in ultrarealistic 3D.

 

That's a Holodeck you're speaking of, Jeroen. It will not be done within the next two hundred years or so ... :wink: I' afraid.

 

Cheers

Frank

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Seeing this reminded me of how much I loved FS98. I flew probably over 700 hours in that sim. That was back in my heyday as an avid sim user. Of course, I was single and in college and only worked part time, so that had a lot to do with it. I actually was obsessed. I just now remembered how I once or twice drove home on an hour lunch break many miles just to get a 10 minute fix. All this was again, on measly 'ole FS98. Then came FS2000, 2002, and then my favorite of all time 2004. Finally FSX replaced 2004 and now P3D is gaining lots of traction, yet the core engine remains largely intact even with many excellent improvements. I personally believe we will see incredible changes in the next 15 years, but it probably will be slow coming for our niche. 

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Here's the 2nd screen again:  http://www.drzewiecki-design.net/images/Products/NY_X/NYCXv2_02.jpg

 

As to the 3d clouds, don't we now have real, volumetric clouds in P3D ? I wasn't referring to REX textures.

 

That Flight Unlimited III mentioned above really looks way better than my screenshot. I never knew it existed to be honest.

 

Real time, real world scenery ? Sounds cool, but is that even possible ? Withing the next 15 years ? I mean, how ? Something would have to capture the real world image in real time. Anywhere in the world. Sounds more like fantasy to me.

 

Drzewiecki's NYC quality cities all over the world ? It would take 10 years to make it and you'd end up paying several thousands USD for your sim. Isn't it better when we can choose which city we need ?

 

On a scale from 0 to 10, I'd say we're somewhere around 4 at the moment. Something I can think of, and is perfectly achievable in my opinion, is :

 

1. Realistic looking people aboard our planes. There should be another pilot in the cockpit and the player should see the whole sim world from a first person perspective. Just like in FPS games. You should be completely free to get up from your chair in the cockpit and walk down the plane (or perform a walkaround), and see the cabin crew working, passengers reading magazines, talking, etc. Taking it one step further, and this is something I'm not so sure about in terms if achievability, it would be great to be able to talk to and interact with the virtual crew. This would obviously require very advanced AI.

 

2. Current-gen FPS quality world below our planes. This would mean you could land your Cessna in a field, open the cockpit door and just wander off into the forest. See some animals, cars driving on nearby roads, etc. I understand this has no limit and, taking it to the extreme, the whole world would have to be simulated, which may be rather difficult if instead of having a walk in a rural area, we land our helicopter in the middle of a large city. So I'd be more than happy with some basic life down there. But just the feeling that there's a world below as you fly your C172 would greatly increase the immersion level.

 

3. An easy one you'd think. Crashes. You land too hard and your airplane may break into pieces and catch fire.

 

4. Birds and bird strikes. Again, it sounds very simple. But as far as I know, we don't have it. They happen in real life and aren't that uncommon. I see no problem implementing it into the sim. Obviously, we would only need birds around airports.

 

5. Something similar: Lightnings and lightning strikes. Honestly, what's the problem here ? It would completely change the way we perceive weather in the sim.

 

6. Weather. Yeah, we do have ASN and (I believe) volumetric clouds. But I've never seen anything like this in any sim: 541798-overcast-clouds-from-above-Stock-

 

 

I think we can easily make all the above happen withing the next 15 years. What some of you guys said is more like the next 150 years ;)

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I was always really amazed at the Photo-Realistic scenery from MSFS 5.1 through, Fly and Flight Unlimited. Back then it was amazing. Heck I was even blown away by Sublogic Flight Simulator 2 when I first bought that, even though it was a few wire frame buildings around Chicago your imagination did wonders to fill in all of the rest. 

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I was always really amazed at the Photo-Realistic scenery from MSFS 5.1 through, Fly and Flight Unlimited. Back then it was amazing.  

If you're into photoscenery you might want to give AeroflyFS2

 

http://store.steampowered.com/app/434030 

 

a shot. It's much in the tradition of FU II/III actually. It's Early Access and still lacks some functions, but flight over San Francisco or Las Vegas or even Santa Barbara looks pretty cool. 

 

Kind regards, Michael

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That Flight Unlimited III mentioned above really looks way better than my screenshot. I never knew it existed to be honest.

 

 

6. Weather. Yeah, we do have ASN and (I believe) volumetric clouds. But I've never seen anything like this in any sim: 541798-overcast-clouds-from-above-Stock-

 

 

 

Flight Unlimited is one of the best kept secrets of the flight sim world. It had extremely fluid flight modelling and was first in a number of areas in 1999 (some of these features were even introduced in FU2 in 1997)

-Dynamic weather that actually changed over time

-Large scale, high-resolution scenery (4 meter/pixel)

-Real time ATC and AI traffic (FS didn't get this until FS 2004)

-The best raindrops in the industry :-P

It was my main simulator until around 2005, when FS+addons had finally caught up, mostly.

 

As for the clouds, Skymaxx for X-Plane comes pretty close:

http://www.x-aviation.com/catalog/images/SMP3_1.jpg

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I would like to see this kind of atmosphere rendering in flight sim, this video was already discussed in the other thread:

 

 

I am also amazed with how detail the Google Earth 3D city, simply skip to 5:00

 

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Hmm... 1999, the year Flight Unlimited 3 was released. With photoreal scenery (though it was hand-coloured because only b&w aerial photos were available), accurate flight dynamics, and... volumetric clouds (though it's not obvious in the screenie).

 

gfxtest_zps3637f18f.jpg

 

sfon_zps2cecb0ad.jpg

 

winterevening_zpsfa8cb926.jpg

 

And the option of using some bizarre atmospheric configurations:

 

chlorine_zpsfba1aff1.jpg

 

But no multi-player and no real-time and a fixed atmospheric pressure. On the other hand, the moon did show the correct phase for the chosen date...

 

Best regards,

D

 

 

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Flight simulators obviously fell behind a lot during the years after Microsoft ended the series after FSX in 2006. Other games were starting to use features like shaders, tessellation, HDR, realtime shadows, global illumination, deferred rendering etc. while FSX was still based on late 90's rendering tech, just with more 3D objects and higher res textures shoehorned into the sim. This is also why the frame rate is so often a problem. The rendering engine was never designed for this kind of workload.

 

FSX can use up to DX10, which was released in 2006 with Vista. Not exactly late 90s rendering tech. DirectX 1.0 came out in 1995, and DirectX 6.0a came out in 1999 for Windows 98SE. Everything after was released post-2000. FSX does use vertex and pixel shaders (DX9). In addition to that, some minor geometry shaders, constant buffers, and instancing (DX10), but nothing like modern tech offers (compute, domain, hull shaders for DX11+). It used the best rendering tech they had available at the time (2006-2008). 

 

Some of the rendering techniques like cloud shadows and LOD blending (autogen alpha fade) were in the FSX beta, but got chopped due to poor performance on GPUs of that era. 

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That's a Holodeck you're speaking of, Jeroen. It will not be done within the next two hundred years or so ... :wink: I' afraid.

 

Cheers

Frank

 3Deyenet thats what it was called back in 2001 (dont google it is not out in the public) when you take a live recording of lets say a hole street block every video camera with  sound cell phone and land line audio also weather and headcount including pets  you can pretty much recreate a 3D world withing minutes back at the time .... but data like this  wont be available to the public for next 2hundredyears like you mention  :wink: ..... just wanted to let you know that it does exist ...

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I would agree guys! Flight simulation has evolved to levels never imagined! As technology continues to progress, I cant wait to see whats in store for the near future! 

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4. Birds and bird strikes. Again, it sounds very simple. But as far as I know, we don't have it. They happen in real life and aren't that uncommon. I see no problem implementing it into the sim. Obviously, we would only need birds around airports.

 

Already exists in XP10! Can really get you on your toes if you're not expecting it

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Real sloped runways is what I would like to see in future as a standard for all airports on a future simulation platform.

 

I was sightseeing Hawaii yesterday, and seeing all the flat rectangle shaped airfields carved out of the mountainous Hawaiian landscape really spoiled the immersion....

 

Cheers

Frank

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I think the future is partly already showing it's light, and it's called Aerofly FS v2....

 

Some futures in the history of flight simulation games vanished too soon though, and support from the users community is really mandatory, so... those who like realistic flight dynamics should really give this sim a fair try, having in mind it's in pre-release shape!

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FSX can use up to DX10, which was released in 2006 with Vista. Not exactly late 90s rendering tech. DirectX 1.0 came out in 1995, and DirectX 6.0a came out in 1999 for Windows 98SE. Everything after was released post-2000. FSX does use vertex and pixel shaders (DX9). In addition to that, some minor geometry shaders, constant buffers, and instancing (DX10), but nothing like modern tech offers (compute, domain, hull shaders for DX11+). It used the best rendering tech they had available at the time (2006-2008). 

 

Some of the rendering techniques like cloud shadows and LOD blending (autogen alpha fade) were in the FSX beta, but got chopped due to poor performance on GPUs of that era. 

 

Running on the DX10 API is not the same as actually taking advantage of all the tech. Compare FSX to Crysis, which was released in 2007... Visually and rendering-wise, FSX is more like a 2001 - 2002 AAA-title, at best. Preapr3D v3 looks more like a 2007 - 2008 game/sim. However it runs at about 20 FPS on a high-end system due to the rendering engine still being outdated and CPU bound. Modern systems probably run the original Crysis at about 300 FPS...

I've been into computers and games/sims since the C64, and flight sims used to be the most technically and graphically advanced titles. However some time around the time of FS2002 - FS2004, they began to fall behind, probably in part due to backwards compatibility. When Aces closed down and development of FSX stopped, it's obvious that it would fall behind even more hopelessly, since no progress was made until P3D several years later. P3D is getting there, but it still has a lot of catching up to do before it can be considered a "modern" rendering engine.

 

 
 

Real sloped runways is what I would like to see in future as a standard for all airports on a future simulation platform.

 

I was sightseeing Hawaii yesterday, and seeing all the flat rectangle shaped airfields carved out of the mountainous Hawaiian landscape really spoiled the immersion....

 

Cheers

Frank

 
 
Aerofly FS 2 and X-Plane have sloped runways.

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Aerofly FS 2 and X-Plane have sloped runways.

 

I don't see Aerofly advertising sloped runways. Neither I can see something similar in their trailer or the pictures on their site. Could someone post pictures or a video, or point me to some if available, please?

 

But, what I am really after is the world mesh in a resolution that (nearly) meets reality - so that everything we place on this mesh needs to obey its' shape.

After all we speak of the next 10 to 15 years of flight sim... :smile:

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I think 10-15 years from now VR devices will be ubiquitous, and we will wear force-feedback devices that will mimic the physics.  Graphics will continue to improve until everything will indeed be a carbon-copy of reality.  We will then buy the experience, take a trip without leaving the farm.  And it will be truly as real as real.

 

Frank, we are a lot closer to a Holodeck than 200 years from now.  Some reading this will see them.  I'd be surprised if Facebook, Google, and other Elon Musk-types aren't already working on them.  FB will soon become 3D I'd bet, once a couple of more Oculus generations are spawned.

 

We will remove "flight" from the term, and it will just be "Simulator" with flight being only one of myriad possibilities.

 

Justin

 

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I think 10-15 years from now VR devices will be ubiquitous, and we will wear force-feedback devices that will mimic the physics.  Graphics will continue to improve until everything will indeed be a carbon-copy of reality.  We will then buy the experience, take a trip without leaving the farm.  And it will be truly as real as real.

 

Frank, we are a lot closer to a Holodeck than 200 years from now.  Some reading this will see them.  I'd be surprised if Facebook, Google, and other Elon Musk-types aren't already working on them.  FB will soon become 3D I'd bet, once a couple of more Oculus generations are spawned.

 

We will remove "flight" from the term, and it will just be "Simulator" with flight being only one of myriad possibilities.

 

Justin

 

You are frightening me, Justin. I wonder if mankind will be able to resist the addiction of a perfect simulation when actually our real world is so far away from being perfect ... :sad:

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Or maybe the simulated perceptions will seep into the real world by some sort of psychic osmosis.

 

If one spent an hour every morning walking through a tropical paradise, along a beach, floating in a lagoon, with all the requisite sites and sounds and other sensory abundance, I'd imagine when they came back to the "real" world they'd be in a pretty good, relaxed mood.

 

Maybe VR could reprogram humanity to enjoy creative experiences and good feelings and stop destroying ourselves and the "real" world like idiots.

 

After all, the subconscious doesn't know any difference between "real" and "vividly-imagined."

 

Justin

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