tonywob

England VFR (Revisiting and playing with landclass scenery)

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When ORBX decided they would develop for X-Plane there was a lot of excitement in the XP world and then when they suddenly changed their minds I spent some time researching how they could have brought across their landclass sceneries to X-Plane in a way that would work in the X-Plane world.  Early last year I tried to mimic the FSX landclass system into X-Plane, but found it had the same problems as FSX (well ermmm! of course) http://www.avsim.com/topic/482409-bringing-fsxorbx-landclass-to-x-plane/, e.g. Roads going through houses, stretched textures etc.
 
So I decided that what could be done is to take the best of both scenery systems and make a hybrid. So basically X-Plane's brilliant autogen, mountains, roads and vector data mixed with the landclass tiles. Here are some of the results:
 
Car_C152_II_v10_1.jpg
This is a UK autogen theme (in fact I'll probably release this at some point just to get rid of those German buildings in the UK :-)). I've only done a few buildings, but generally most of the houses in the UK do actually look the same. Less is actually good in this sense.

Car_C152_II_v10_2.jpg
This is showing an example of how mixing suitable textures  could work. There is the odd real building from OSM, but the majority is just autogen. The roads are the real roads from OSM. The landclass scenery is placed to go with the roads instead of letting the roads go through it.

Car_C152_II_v10_3.jpg
 
...and the cars drive on the left side of the road finally
Car_C152_II_v10_4.jpg

Car_C152_II_v10_6.jpg

Car_C152_II_v10_7.jpg

Car_C152_II_v10_9.jpg

Car_C152_II_v10_10.jpg

The scenery works by creating a new base mesh, and then using OSM (and other data), building up the scenery around it. Roads are placed down in their correct places, and appropriate autogen (e.g. Place semi-detached houses here). Once the vector data is placed, annotated landclass tiles are placed in the parts in-between and lined up to the roads. All this is done without any ortho scenery at all. The above area was generated from the free European corine landclass data using OS Opendata for the coastline, water and forests and finally OSM for the streets and autogen (All data freely available). For mountains, the same textures are used as you'd see in the default scenery.

 

 

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Tony; THAT work is above and beyond anything that current Payware Devs (on any platform), produce. Surely you can not release that as Freeware. Market the product Tony and realise a substantial return for the countless, unpaid hours of work, that you have contributed to the XP Community? If anyone deserves accolades, appreciation and eventual financial rewards then I am sure that the whole XP community would agree that you fully deserve them all?

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That looks great!

 

Especially that first shot, which is a great example of why I prefer landclass + OSM autogen over orthophotos, even when combined with autogen as a base layer. It may not 100% match the real world everywhere, but fine detail like that grass between the houses looks blurry with ortho terrain at low enough altitude. I need that fine ground detail when landing a helicopter for eyeballing height above ground when not over a runway. Or when flying into a remote grass airstrip where nobody is bothering to model the surrounding terrain in high-res orthos. 

 

I suspect that this is going to be a best fit for what Austin has in mind for procedural generation of seasonal effects, whenever we get that... if I live long enough. Wouldn't that look great with snow, or autumn tree colors?

 

P.S. I would pay for this too, although I know we've all discussed the downsides of that (like mandatory support).

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No more words to add.

 

I believe Tony's forests are the best you can see in XP. I hope he can build a library from it. I believe some experiments were made in France as well, I remember screenshots with a similar vegetation  rendition, UK shots they look similar to the last amazing screenshots of coming DCS Normandy addon.

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P.S. I would pay for this too, although I know we've all discussed the downsides of that (like mandatory support).

 

 

Is it really that complicated Paraffin?

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I believe Tony's forests are the best you can see in XP. I hope he can build a library from it.

 

Actually they are  just default X-Plane forests laid out more tightly onto matching ground textures :smile: (It was the same with the France scenery I was playing with as well).

 

Not heard of DCS Normandy, but just had a look at some screenshots, looks very very nice, pity it's for a combat flight sim :(


 

 


Market the product Tony and realise a substantial return for the countless, unpaid hours of work, that you have contributed to the XP Community?

 

Unfortunately it's would still be some way off becoming a payware product. You'll notice that it needs layer blending, more autogen variety, city centre autogen, etc. These are things I'm working on slowly, but first I'm hoping to have a payware airport out at some point (It won't be ENOV, that one is nearly done if I can fix the bumpy mesh).

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That's amazing Tony! It just looks so much more natural than default. I love orthos, but this will be great for places like parts of New Zealand (or should I say Zealandia) or Norway that have poor quality orthos. Looking forward to see what will come of this. 

 

On a side note, how were you able to get cars to drive on the left hand side of the road? Library System?

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Fantastic work Tony. Another one willing to pay.......and JV started off small and built a viable business.....hopefully the increase in XP11 simmers would make it viable?

 

By the way - what is the major difference between this and GBPro - is it the way landclass is utilised?

 

Cheers

Peter

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This is phenomenal Tony!

I can only repeat what was pointed out above already, but i also really want to say: Please, please Tony - go on ... please do not hesitateto release Your sceneries as payware products!

They are truely amazing and would be one of the greatest contributions to X-Plane's environment!

... just trying to imagine how all this would evolve over time - and try to imagine this on a worldwide scale ... oh how this would turn X-Plane's environment into a fantastic replica of its real world counterpart!

AMAZING work Tony!!

WOW!!!

:smile:

 

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By the way - what is the major difference between this and GBPro - is it the way landclass is utilised?

 

Hi Peter, well there are quite a few, I list them here:

 

  • Buildings aren't placed 1-1 like they are in GB Pro v2 (and W2XP). What I never liked about GB Pro v2 is that the buildings just look so random, e.g. You'll have a small terraced house and then the neighbour house is a different type of building altogether not facing the road. Using autogen makes the buildings look more natural. I've placed the autogen in such a way that they are still approximately where the real ones are (I also average out the sizes of the houses in any block to work out what size of autogen should be there). Being from the UK, I'm sure you'll agree that there are entire building estates where most of the buildings look the same. Also not to mention that the autogen buildings actually have gardens, fences, etc.
  • No need to use ortho imagery. The above shots don't use it and instead the landclass kind of fakes the ortho imagery, but takes it to the next level by putting exactly placed objects and trees on the landclass tiles in the correct place. The landclass tiles are then placed with the real roads and where you see farmland in real-life, you'll see simulated farmland, etc. This is the real project here I want working, and I have it working experimentally at the mesh and overlay level so it could be used to flash out areas with believable scenery quite quickly (e.g. Around an airport). Imagine being able to draw out polygons (not just squares and lines like the autogen) inside WED and say "farmland here", and you not only get the ground textures placed, but objects placed on them.
  • The bigger industrial buildings, shopping centres and placed 1-1 with data. At the moment I haven't made any building textures for these, but I will likely use the same approach I'm doing with Poland Pro with layered object facades.
  • Switching seasons could be done using the library where the tiles are changed. Since orthos aren't used it's possible.

 

 

and JV started off small and built a viable business.....hopefully the increase in XP11 simmers would make it viable?

 

Well I think they had it easier. There was already a system in place in the simulator to change the landclass textures and it went from there. This is much harder because users expect much more from X-Plane, but yep absolutely, something like this I'd likely push out as payware if I end up spending months working on it. However, I don't think England would be a popular area for a region. ORBX stopped making airports there for a reason and I think the area which would go down very well is SoCal (especially because of PilotEdge).

 

 

On a side note, how were you able to get cars to drive on the left hand side of the road? Library System?

 

No, these are custom made roads (You'll notice most of them lacking road markings at the moment)

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Actually they are  just default X-Plane forests laid out more tightly onto matching ground textures :smile: (It was the same with the France scenery I was playing with as well).

 

 

Can you share the forests definition then? Do you use that  plugin to reduce size of trees?

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I don't use any plugins, I place them using maximum density (or based on density in the data if I have it). The .for file placed is sometimes random from a list. It's likely to be either broad_cld_rain.for or coni_cld_rain.for depending on the forest type in the data (It looks like a broad forest to me)

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I don't use any plugins, I place them using maximum density (or based on density in the data if I have it). The .for file placed is sometimes random from a list. It's likely to be either broad_cld_rain.for or coni_cld_rain.for depending on the forest type in the data (It looks like a broad forest to me)

 

Thanx. For maximum density you mean 1.0, do you?

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I set it to maximum which in code in the DSF file is 256 (I presume this is 1.0 in WED)

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This looks really good - one thing that I find problematic with GB Pro is that it places shrubs along taxiways and runways... Even the demo video on the linked page shows this effect! 

 

Can you confirm that this is not a problem with yours? And yes I second (third, fourth!) that I would pay for it!

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No, it isn't a problem because shrubs are no longer placed around the OSM data. Incidentally, I fixed this issue for my next sceneries by using the X-Plane APT file to exclude out objects (But the airport should have a boundary otherwise I will use the convex hull which can be ugly and cut out too much)

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Wow tony! Is it something extremely handcrafted or something that could be generalized? I mean would be possible to create some sort of overall enhancement package like ORBX global packages?

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Wow tony! Is it something extremely handcrafted or something that could be generalized? I mean would be possible to create some sort of overall enhancement package like ORBX global packages?

 

+1

... my spare time is very limited these days and so i honestly do not have enough time (although i wished i had) to, for instance, get (all) those Ortho4XPlane sceneries that i am longing for ready.

So a global scenery of such high quality as shown in these superb screenshots above would be absolutely appreciated - no matter if it was pay- or free/donationware then.

:wink: :smile:

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No, because ORBX global is a global landclass texture replacement pack, FSX already has the landclass information, global just changes the texture tiles to more suitable ones. Since X-Plane doesn't use this tiling structure it's not easily possible to do (You can easily regionalise autogen and the ground textures to some extent, but all you would be doing is rebranding the textures but keeping exactly the same layout). FSX is different in this sense.

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No, because ORBX global is a global landclass texture replacement pack, FSX already has the landclass information, global just changes the texture tiles to more suitable ones. Since X-Plane doesn't use this tiling structure it's not easily possible to do (You can easily regionalise autogen and the ground textures to some extent, but all you would be doing is rebranding the textures but keeping exactly the same layout). FSX is different in this sense.

 

Okay - i see - Thank You very much for this information Tony!

However, maybe there are some ways and/or workarounds to get something comparable to ORBX's global sceneries based on X-Plane technology one day or another.

Anyways and as always - and no matter if being of  larger or smaller scale:

Your sceneries are of greatest quality all the time Tony.

I know there are some more highly talented scenery designers for X-Plane out there and i do appreciate all their work.

But as this is about Your England-VFR scenery here all i can again say is:

Keep up Your great work!

:smile:

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However, maybe there are some ways and/or workarounds to get something comparable to ORBX's global sceneries based on X-Plane technology one day or another.

 

Thanks Christoph. Of course there is always a way. Anyone willing, with a huge pile of time and who is dedicated enough could reproduce whatever they liked. The X-Plane mesh in reality is just a big 3D object with textures on top, and you can shape that 3D object and texture it however you like, the trick is to be able to do it on a large enough scale that it looks believable and real (And why LR already do a good job at that when you consider it has to work for the entire world).

 

 

 


I know there are some more highly talented scenery designers for X-Plane out there and i do appreciate all their work.

 

I have no doubt about it. I wish more would work together though.

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