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Guest klanum

Noob Question - Addon Confusion!

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This is my first post as a fairly new FS9 user and I am in need of some serious help in clearing my confusion in what is what with addons particularly in the scenery realm. If I have this right, you have the Terrain Mesh, Buffer Mesh, Landclass, Ground Textures and VFR Scenery (Weather, Roads, Airport, etc). Please correct me if I'm wrong here.Don't mind payware and probably lean that way as reflected below. As someone that wants to get it right from the start, here's what I thought of getting and wanted to see if I'm way off in my understanding of what they (the programs) do, duplicating efforts, etc...Terrain/Buffer Mesh: FSGenesis, FSGlobalGround Textures: FSScene, Ground Environment or BirdsEyeViewLandclass: Ultimate USAWeather: ActiveSkyAlso, where does the Ground Environment Pro version or Flight Environment fit into this mix? Lastly, is there one combination better than another?I searched the forum and found a few references to my general question but not really anything specific. I realize this is fairly open-ended set of questions so if you've got a good reference point to send me to or long-learned advice, either would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

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well, this is a little like blind leading the blind, but I'll have a stab at a beginner's overview:The ground scenery out the windscreen starts with a terrain mesh. This is like a wire frame upon which everything else will be built. This mesh has a resolution and obviously the more fine-grained the resolution, the more the landscape will have details such as mountains, valleys, cliffs, bumps, etc. And hopefully, the more accurately they will be placed. The default landscape for much of the global was pretty course, but add-on developers have slowly improved it. There are good competitors, but FS Genesis is still unmatched for accuracy and reasonableness. You can get various resolutions for many regions and even the whole planet. Higher resolution is more demanding on the system, since all those little wrinkles require modelling.The wire frame requires a skin, and this skin is provides by textures. These essentially paint the landscape, making grass, dirt, water, crops, cities, etc. etc Textures have different sizes and some other interesting features and of course everyone has their own personal taste in what the best water looks like, most realistic crops, desert, etc. BirdsEyeView, for example, provides many alternative textures you can select among for what river rapids looks like. BirdsEyeView was the rage a while ago, GE is now, who knows the future (these programs provide textures for other things as well). But, WHAT texture to place where, is dictated by the landclass file. This is really important then toward avoiding things like having your local city appear in the sim as a corn field. Landclass is important then to the overall accuracy of the experience and MS was pretty sloppy about things initially. As far as I know, FS Genesis is still one of the best, depending, but there are alternatives, especially for specific areas.Some of the features on the ground are generated by autogen. These are trees, restaurants, billboards, buildings. You can have FS do lots or only a little of these. There are hard on the system, but cool eye candy. Where to create autogen objects is also an art, that some developers have improved upon. For example, some of the better programs insure that autogen trees align with the edge of roadways, or houses line up along roads, etc. MS used to just create building in the middle of nowhere sometimes. BirdsEyeView was a hit in part because it incorporated an autogen improvement program as well, and also let you do things like pick what you wanted your barns, palm trees, to look like.Programs like USA Roads or American Roads, rivers, etc. work to place roads, rivers, and railroads etc in their actual position. So your town's streets appear where they ought to be. I don't know how this works honestly, but I own these and appreciate them. Far fewer bridges to nowhere and most times you can really navigate by real world sectional charts.Photoreal scenery is slightly different. It replaces the textures, mesh, or even landclass (as I understand it) with new ones built up from a airial photograph. This is really super for accuracy and the feeling of realism at cruising altitude. But, like the set of a castle on stage in a theater, when you get up close they are not as attractive. I fly low VFR so I avoid them. AFCAD files provide many airport features, such as the runway and taxiway layput and look (and much more). Strangely, the taxiways signage at airports is assigned elsewhere. So if an AFCAD is modified to make a taxiway a little closer to the real world orientation, length, placement, etc. it sometimes does strange things with the accompanying signs. They can show up in the middle of the taxiway. I'll never understand this, but there are folks here who do. A big thing with AFCADS is adjustments to parking spots--to accomodate AI traffic, direct AI traffic to appropriate parking spaces, etc.Then there are airport sceneries, payware and freeware. These people build airports from the ground up, so to speak, replacing things that they need to to give you a more realistic and engaging airport. Not only do they fix things that are wrong with the default, but they add all sorts of 3D eye candy. Thus they add buldings, terminals, people, objects, static planes, birds, cranes, jetways, food trucks, marshallers, gliders, cargo, sounds, heck probably even chewed gum on the ground to airports. An unimaginable assortment. To do this they sometimes have to disable the existing things. This stuff really takes a toll on performance, but it is amazing if you can support it. Some of these folks must supply a custom AFCAD for the airport, or a taxiway could cross right through a terminal and also so that the AI aircraft park in terminals that feature their logos, etc.out of energy, so ill leave the rest to others. We haven't even touched on what programs like Activesky do to weather and cloud appearances etc. Also there are far more technical answers and remember--I'm not an expert.

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All I can way is WOW! I appreciate the effort you went to in the explanation detail. Makes senses now and tied in lots of the loose ends from all my reading on the vendor sites. I have done the following so far:- FS Genesis from the US from the AVSIM library freeware (likely will buy the whole package, just trying to figure out the whole issue of upgrades/membership- GE Pro II- ActiveSky- Ultimate Terrain USAWas considering Flight Environment but it seemed to do much of what ActiveSky did for clouds and only brought the changes to water. If that's the case then FS Water would be a better choice if really needed. Then again, all this software seems to run together sometimes. Thinking I might stop here for a while other than some scenery additions (free or pay) to what works. Do you have any recommendations on if there's something else that might add to the experience? Again, many thanks for the response!!!

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Here's the basic setup I use: FS Genesis 38 mesh for the regions of the US I fly (West Coast, Rockies, and Appalachians), FS Genesis Landclass for the whole US, American Data Roads, Rivers, & rails, (whatever is called) and all five seasons of the year from BirdsEyeView for textures. You will be amazed. I add freeware airports and AFCADs for the dozen or so airports I fly among. Some of these require downloading Runway 12, EZ-scenery, and other object collections. And then ActiveSky for weather and other environment effects. ActiveSky is also a must. I've never messed with water textures, except as it is adjusted by BirdsEyeView.

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As for freeware sceneries go here http://walhalla.mine.nu/fs2004.php it lists all the freeware sceneries available with download links and I would suggest getting the FSGenisis 76.4 USGS mesh, then get the 38.2 mesh for areas you frequently fly in.Dave F.

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I appreciate all the advice and suggestions!!! I loaded some freeware scenery last night and couple other items like planes. Was amazed at the clarity of all that on the screen. I think half the fun is not flying as much as setting it up for as much realism as is possible on the desktop.Again thanks to both of you for the help!

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