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alpilotx HD Mesh v4 Announced

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Fantastic news and looking forward to this. Thanks Andras for all the work you do on X-Plane

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Definitely looking forward to the release!

I'm in the process of moving all my (some TB) Ortho4XP scenery to the backup NAS, because the initial enthusiasm is gone and I don't feel the need to fill up my drives with orthos anymore. I'll keep the files just in case I want to switch back to ortho scenery in the future, but for now I'm done. :happy:

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Ah ... sorry for not posting here ... My time was a bit short yesterday and the screenshot attachment options (or better, lack of them) here didn't motivate me much to post here.

And you guys spread the words anyways :cool:!

 

One important information:

HD Mesh Scenery v4 will NOT BE COMPATIBLE WITH XP10!

Reason: it references quite a few new autogen stuff introduced with XP11, which is not in the library of XP10. Which leads to "Failed to find resource ..." in XP10 and not loading the DSFs.

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Really great! And it may also be usefull for orthophoto users if we can use HD Mesh V4 to build the overlay! It may give better results than with XP11 default overlay?

Pierre

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8 hours ago, Colonel X said:

Great news! Especially for the folks that did not jump on the ortho hype train...

It's not a hype train (at least for me). I've made a conscious choice of orhophotos over a mesh scenery because it's more suitable for my needs, and I rather spend my system resources and storage capacity for ortho coverage, instead of a higher density mesh, and nicely curving roads. I understand that many people find mesh sceneries more important, and I also hugely respect Andras for the amazing service he is doing for the community. But I don't want to be labelled as someone who is brainlessly following a trend, in fact I don't like to see the whole Ortho4Xp movement labelled as hype train, which I find disrespectful towards Oscar's work. Both approaches (HD mesh and Orthos) have their pros and cons. I've made an informed choice which I'm sticking by, and I'm sure that there are many ortho users out there have done the same (and undoubtedly there are some clueless trend followers too, but that is the same with HD Mesh as well, so shall I call that the 'HD-mesh hype train?'). Either way, Andras has done an amazing job.

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Wow... there's really some stunning images in that thread on the Aerosoft forum. Really nice stuff!

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...so it's a replacement for the stock mesh and improvement for V3, and we should not expect any issues with Ortho right ? 

  any idea what has been improved ? 

 

Cheers 

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What I expect to be improved upon:

  • higher resolution base mesh, meaning slopes, mountains are more like their real world counterparts
  • same for roads and rivers, they will have more natural curves, maybe even the roads will stick better to the landscape (= less bridges, I really hope so).

because of the higher resolution and latest OSM data:

  • towns, farmlands, small woods will be better represented, with more variation in the farmlands. 
  • better forest coverage
  • sea shores, beaches represent better the real world
  • more lakes 

This could make Ortho4xp obsolete for many users.

Edit: this and Ortho are exclusive, you can only use one or the other for one tile. 

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Well, jh71 gave already a relatively good summary of what to expect. But let me sum it up once more from my side:

  • The mesh resolution is a bit above the level of HD Mesh Scenery v3 (increased the triangle density a bit)
  • The vector data simplification is far less aggressive than in the default mesh (where Laminar needed to do that to limit the overall size of the global scenery). Thus road / railroad bendings are more accurate and the same is true for rivers, shorelines. But lot of the road "representation" also depends on how X-plane "interprets" the data on-the-fly .... thus I have no full control of where/how bridges appear (even though usually it respects the road layering in OSM (which defines bridges / overpasses)
  • HD Mesh Scenery v4 will also have the new "high buildings" feature included, which I introduced with Laminar in XP11. This puts all (well, with some filtering of not reasonable stuff from OSM)  buildings > 20m "height" or > 5 "building:levels" as some "high building" object (with a more or less correct height - as defined i n OSM) in the scenery ("building:levels" are simply multiplied by 4m to get an approximate height). This usually gives most cities a much better look  (New York is a great example, where in OSM almost all buildings already have a height defined). This same approach also "imports" antennas / masts from OSM (as antenna obstacles)  ... This all was missing in HD Mesh Scenery v3 (or  ... rather it used ages old, very limited FAA obstacle data)
  • Of course, OSM data is also updated (its "date stamp" will be 1st October 2017) . Which makes it newer then current XP11 default mesh data and of course much, much newer than the data in HD Mesh Scenery v3
  • Most of the Landclass data has been updated (which already happened with my work for the XP11 default scenery ... but HD can represent the high res landclass data much better ... see point 1)

Very, very, very important: landclass data (and especially forests) ARE (mostly - only a few exceptions) NOT from OSM! To learn more about this (where forests come from), read this extensive post on X-Plane.org:

 

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oh, I see ..tnx :-)

 

Now I'm not a tech savvy, but  for those that use Ortho4XP do we need HD Mesh at all ???

Cheers

 

Yair  

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1 hour ago, N1125Y said:

Now I'm not a tech savvy, but  for those that use Ortho4XP do we need HD Mesh at all ???

This gets repeated quite often ... but here it is again:

There is the rule of  "there can always only be one" ... And I don't mean the Highlander. Its mesh scenery. The simple - and reasonable - rule is, that X-plane always and only shows you one mesh scenery in the same location (where a location is a 1x1 degree area ... the size of scenery tiles) at the same time. If you have more than one mesh scenery for the same place, then the one with the highest priority (thats what scenery_packs.ini does!!) wins and gets loaded. Every other, lower priority mesh (and also every other overlay scenery like airports) do not even get loaded!

So, this answers it. Ortho4XP scenery is always a mesh style scenery, so the above rule applies. Either you load Ortho4XP base scenery or HD Mesh .... but never(!) both at once.

You decide what you want / need.

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On 3.11.2017 at 11:48 PM, alpilotx said:

This gets repeated quite often ... but here it is again:

There is the rule of  "there can always only be one" ... And I don't mean the Highlander. Its mesh scenery. The simple - and reasonable - rule is, that X-plane always and only shows you one mesh scenery in the same location (where a location is a 1x1 degree area ... the size of scenery tiles) at the same time. If you have more than one mesh scenery for the same place, then the one with the highest priority (thats what scenery_packs.ini does!!) wins and gets loaded. Every other, lower priority mesh (and also every other overlay scenery like airports) do not even get loaded!

So, this answers it. Ortho4XP scenery is always a mesh style scenery, so the above rule applies. Either you load Ortho4XP base scenery or HD Mesh .... but never(!) both at once.

You decide what you want / need.

people need to remeber though that you need an overlay over your ortho, and hd mesh v4 will greatly improve the visuals when you build a new overlay from it. so in that regard it is even for ortho users helpfull to build new an improved overlays for their exisiting scenery. 

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I'm a best of both worlds kind of guy. I find that the more mountainous and tropical areas have less than ideal ortho imagery available due to an abundance of clouds. Given that the topography of a lot of these areas is my main motivation for wanting to fly in them, they would benefit greatly from this. I'm thinking South America and southern Asia. So, the way I see it, win / win! Looking forward to this!

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1 hour ago, alpha12125 said:

people need to remeber though that you need an overlay over your ortho, and hd mesh v4 will greatly improve the visuals when you build a new overlay from it. so in that regard it is even for ortho users helpfull to build new an improved overlays for their exisiting scenery. 

..so in plain English, we can benefit from both, having Ortho4XP on top of HD Mesh, and letting Ortho4XP build overlay which will reside on top of Ortho4Xp Tiles (Assuming that Ortho4XP build the overlay using HD Mesh). 

Did I get it right ???????     

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6 hours ago, N1125Y said:

..so in plain English, we can benefit from both, having Ortho4XP on top of HD Mesh, and letting Ortho4XP build overlay which will reside on top of Ortho4Xp Tiles (Assuming that Ortho4XP build the overlay using HD Mesh). 

Did I get it right ???????     

Almost... except you cannot have Ortho4Xp on top of HD Mesh.

Yes, you can use HD Mesh to build overlays for Ortho4XP tiles, and use those overlays (which is basically the autogen buildings, forests, and roads systems on top) with Ortho4XP. However, you won't benefit from HD-Mesh' high resolution terrain mesh at the same time while having orthophotos, either one, or the other. If you want to benefit from the terrain mesh, and would love to see beautifully sloping mountains, cliffs, and a scenic mesh in general, then choose HD Mesh (however, you won't have orthophotos then, and will only see stock X-plane ground textures). So it's a decision about which is more important for you. Of course the bestundoubtedly would be to have both at the same time for sure (that would be a dream for me). It's a pity that X-plane's scenery arrangement is quite rigid in this regard, mesh and orthophotos should be two completely different thing, not interfering with each other, Ortho4XP providing the images only, while mesh would come from HD Mesh.* While building your Ortho4XP autogen overlays with the help of HD mesh, you will get better results for your autogen (the objects themselves will remain the same, but the placement of forests and roads will be more accurate), however the difference won't be night and day compared to the default autogen placement. It would still definitely worth in my opinion. To quote Forkboy here: Based on the spot checking I've done, overlays from HD Mesh V3 have a slightly higher level of detail

I'm no expert on the topic, but I hope that clears it up, please anyone correct me if needed :)

*You can use draped polygons , which won't interfere with the underlying mesh (or the autogen on top). This way you can get best of both (satellite imagery on top, and even HD Mesh underneath). This is the approach I've used with my payware KHAF (and I guess others too). This approach however probably won't scale well for tile based scenery, and this is why Ortho4XP works differently, but again, please correct me.

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2 hours ago, Susu986 said:

Almost... except you cannot have Ortho4Xp on top of HD Mesh.

Great post. It's amazing how many users believe they need HD Mesh to use Ortho4XP. This was actually the case with G2XPL (you needed HD Mesh only to build the scenery).

Anyone who'd like to understand a bit more then I'd highly recommend reading my old sticky topic about scenery here.

 

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4 hours ago, Susu986 said:

While building your Ortho4XP autogen overlays with the help of HD mesh, you will get better results for your autogen (the objects themselves will remain the same, but the placement of forests and roads will be more accurate), however the difference won't be night and day compared to the default autogen placement. It would still definitely worth in my opinion. To quote Forkboy here: Based on the spot checking I've done, overlays from HD Mesh V3 have a slightly higher level of detail

I'm no expert on the topic, but I hope that clears it up, please anyone correct me if needed :)

Well, I pointed it out already in  a few places, but HD Mesh is definitely not only about better DEM (terrain forms) representation! Because the whole landclass representation is also closely tied to the triangle resolution (very simply put: one terrain type - thus texture - per triangle), with much smaller triangles and thus much more detailed mesh, you also get a much better representation of the raw - input - landclass data (which is at a similar resolution / detail level as a 90m DEM  ... or depending on regions even a bit better). And as forest stands are closely tied to the triangle structure (to let forests stand more-or-less exactly over forest terrain textures) all the forest representation wins too.

Here I have posted a comparison at x-plane.org:

https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/forums/topic/132419-preview-hd-mesh-scenery-v4/&do=findComment&comment=1272951

The exact(!) same place with default and HD Mesh .... You should easily see, how vastly the forest details improve (its really rather night-and-day). This is one of the main reason - I think - why HD Mesh also looks much more natural / real.

Add to this the fact, that in HD Mesh I do less vector simplification (dumbing down the OSM vector data details), which leads to more nicely curved / railroads roads and more details also in the coastlines.

Quote

You can use draped polygons , which won't interfere with the underlying mesh (or the autogen on top). This way you can get best of both (satellite imagery on top, and even HD Mesh underneath). This is the approach I've used with my payware KHAF (and I guess others too). This approach however probably won't scale well for tile based scenery, and this is why Ortho4XP works differently, but again, please correct me.

Yes, this is the technology if you want to combine an existing mesh with phototextures. And its main purpose is - and that is what is it used for massively by developers - to allow to add phototexture surrounding the airports etc.  without the need to bring along a complete, customized mesh tile. Of course, this technology can be applied on entire tiles, BUT it brings a massive technological overhead. Because the "draping" of textures over an arbitrary mesh is mathematically non-trivial and thus needs quite some computational and RAM overhaed (which for regional scenery is not a real problem ... but for multiple, big tiles it can really hurt). Thats why it is "problematic" ...

There is also one other aspect, which ortho scenery can't easily reproduce (I wouldn't say its impossible, but would definitely be very complex ... and maybe only reasonably achievable with manual, artistic work): its those steep slope / cliff textures ...  X-Plane can apply different shader "tricks" per triangle tile (and thus per-texture ... or multiple textures). Like for example it can rotate slope textures to match slope direction (which is massively used in the mountains) or even apply - we call it - "cliff shader" which doesn't projects textures top down, but instead from the side. This latter is responsive for detailed, nice looking cliffs ... because otherwise, when projected top down (which is usually the case with all photoscenery), the steeper the slope is, the more it "stretches" / distorts the texture (this is simple geometry).

So, as I pointed out ... I think it might be possible to use all these tricks with photoscenery too (technically its definitely doable) ... but from an artistic point of view, it would be extremely hard to achieve, because usually we always and only have top-down imagery when working with ortho photos. So, to get the best results, someone would need to capture "side" images of the steep slopes and apply them in the right place .... Yes, doable, but definitely nothing for the faint hearted (and neither something which can be easily automated). But a scenery like this would be the ultimate experience fur sure ...

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.. u guys are smart .... lol  

lot of sense here and lot to learn too :-) 

The bottom line, if I may say so,  while building the Overlays we can either point to Global Scenery folder or to the custom Scenery one, mesh wise it's not really matter, right ?

now, can you guys, please, elaborate and explain (plain English) the meaning of this thing "Overlay" & other than the mesh does it really matter if I pick the Global Scenery or the Custom Scenery option to point at?         

Cheers

 

Yair

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35 minutes ago, N1125Y said:

.now, can you guys, please, elaborate and explain (plain English) the meaning of this thing "Overlay" & other than the mesh does it really matter if I pick the Global Scenery or the Custom Scenery option to point at?        

Yes it matters.

For the Global Scenery Size was a major restriction. So there were several limits imposed to limit the size of the Global Scenery.

The HD Mesh doesn´t care so much.

What does it mean?

Imagine a part of a city. The original data gave quite detailed description what kind of area was in each block. In one area you had a medium high residential area, near it was a smaller commercial area, smaller houses and finally an industrial area. In the Global Data, the system saw, that it mustn´t generate areas for each block, instead it made a medium sized residential area for all the blocks.

In the HD mesh you will get the information, that was available, and in its current form. So the city will look much more realistic, even if it doesn´t meet the size and look of every building.

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