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Guest artmartin

Autogen exclusion areas around GMAX objects

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One perplexing problem for scenery designers is creating and installing GMAX objects into FS9 and then finding out that all the autogen in a large area around your object disappears. The exclusion rectangle sometimes seems to fit very nicely to the shape of the object your create and other times it takes out a large area around it that seems to not make any sense.This problem became very evident with the innovative approach Ultimate Terrain used to make little miniature road lights suspended above major streets and highways. Obviously they place tiny low-poly mdl objects in the sim because autogen disappears around the lights. Why is this done in FS? Often you want the autogen to abut right up to your objects and you seem to have little control over that. If you want autogen excluded you can add a simple exclude statement into your object creation XML file so it seems a bit silly for FS to do any auto-exclude. Can this be addressed in FSX please. You'd make a lot of scenery designers very happy.Art Martin

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Oh, I have no doubts that it was done with the best of intentions but, I really believe MS never anticipated the breadth of innovation by after-market scenery designers. I think you're wrong about the exclude preventing autogen overlaps because I caused many of them as I was putting autogen buildings into my scenery. Since you work one tile at a time and I created no clipping in the house definitions I allowed in my autogen creation software, you are able to begin a definition box within the tile and have it extend past the boundaries if a building only partially showed. Where I erred in that logic is that I often forgot I had extended the building past the border of the tile and on the adjacent tile, I'd overextend the borders the opposite way. I ended up with a lot of autogen houses on top of one another at the borders. You seem to be able to place as many autogen houses as you want in the same physical space. MS actually gives you a tool to look for overlaps in their Annotator program. I would imagine too that the rule actually uses up processor time looking for violations of the exclude box. Seems the best of all worlds to get rid of it.Art

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<>Yep, that's pretty much our problem--always underestimating the creativity of third parties...Seriously, though, the algorithms Autogen uses won't always yeild perfect results but they are designed to be pretty forgiving.

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So please, a definitive answer here. Is it a simple fix in the next version to turn off exclusion areas for GMAX models or is that a major change in design? I'm not sure you understand how serious an issue this is when trying to create a scenery that includes both custom objects along with autogen. It becomes an either/or situation sometimes for designers where there's this clear need for a custom 3D model in an area but to place it there runs a real risk of undoing all the autogen you've so meticulously placed in surrounding tiles. Here's an example of what I'm talking about. I'm working on the newest version of my Phoenix photoreal scenery and am using GMAX to place high-res textured freeways and overpasses where they belong. These are long and narrow segment models that should logically have a bounding exclusion box only in a very thin path along the freeway. What I sometimes get instead is an area about 1/4 mile in width along both sides of the object where no autogen buildings or vegetation appears. What's strange though is that a similar segment somewhere else in the scenery will have trees and houses protruding up through the object. It's almost arbitrary. I'll post a before and after picture later of what I'm talking about.Art

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Ahh, I didn't understand your issue before. Correct me if I am wrong, but the problem you are describing is that exclusion areas are forced to be rectangles in a basically north/south orientation that can't be rotated.What I end up doing to counter this is to make a whole ton of little teeny exclusion areas instead of the single one that would fit if I could use an arbitrary polygon instead of a single orientation rectangle (so to speak), which is a fairly major cost of time and an object management issue, especially when I decide to make a change.In the case of roads, though, couldn't you place a layer 7 polygon under the road to exclude the objects in the path of the road? Maybe you're thinking this may not give you the look you want. I wonder if it's possible to make a transparent layer 7 polygon that lets the landclass show through but still excludes the objects? Yes, I'd LOVE to see the code allow polygons for exclusion areas. But I'm not sure what the impact of this would be, and imagine there is probably a very valid technical reason it is the way it is, and that changing it may adversely affect performance.Thomas[a href=http://www.flyingscool.com/FC_StartJava.html] http://www.flyingscool.com/images/Signature.jpg [/a]I like using VC's :-)

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I've never played with a transparent layer 7 polygon before. Sounds like it would violate one of the 10 Commandments. What's beneath my roads is the photoreal layer and I want that to be intact. I'm actually using flattens to define the beds the highway objects are layed upon. In some cases where the highway goes under a ground level underpass, the flatten drops the highway segment into a depression and then I slowly ramp up the flattens to simulate a gradual rise as the highways goes above ground level. Of course the road resolution at 4.8 m/pixel is just not good enough at low altitudes to really represent a road so I'm forced to use GMAX textured polys to make the highways realistic. It's those GMAX exclusion areas that wipe out the autogen. I've found as you did that you can break up the objects into separate models and minimize the exclusion area but, with a highway miles long, that's really not practical. MS could always give us an XML tag that would turn off the exlude area if there was a legitimate reason for it being there. As a programmer I just have to believe the exlude is deliberate code and whenever you have deliberate code it's relatively simple to allow someone to turn it off.Art

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