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Photoscenery or Landclass/Vector Scenery Preference?

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Just wondering what everyone's preference for scenery would be in FS in a perfect world (where all the world has high quality and color balanced imagery for most of the globe)...Would you prefer streaming scenery into the sim that is photoreal and also would have a better autogen system based on real world building footprints? A Google Earth type of solution...orWould you prefer a system like the current system of vector polygons and landclass?orWould you prefer a hybrid of the two?Please note this is not a question I'm asking for personal reasons, this is with regards to the FS franchise as a whole...

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I find photo-scenery more satisfying overall because it can give you exactly what you would see on a real fight. But what I would REALLY like is photo-scenery with autogen than disappears above 1500 feet. There are some terrific photo-scenery packages available for FSX like that produced for the UK by Horizon and Just Flight. But they tend to look unconvincing on the ground, unless at a custom airport like the UK2000 series that has its own trees etc. What we really need is autogen that stops loading above 1500 feet.Cheers,Noel.

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The trouble with putting autogen and/or hand-placed 3D objects on top of actual aerial photos is that you get a flattened 2D version of trees, buildings etc. with 3D ones on top of them. So I think you kind of have to choose; either you have something that looks like reality from several thousand feet or you have something that looks real from ground level.Personally I think the 3D objects (autogen or otherwise) are great for realism when you're close to the ground (which you're going to be at the beginning and end of every flight you make) and I wouldn't like to lose that. So I'd say polygons and landclass are the way to go. As technology and available data improves, the polygons and landclass approach should in theory be able to approximate reality better and better.What would be really great (and really hard) would be a way of analysing aerial images of an area and automatically picking the right landclass based on the real images...Colin

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Same as wombat in general - some improvements in Autogen would have to be made for me to want to use it more (currently use Horizon VFR with little or no autogen), namely a reduction in large batches popping-up and none at all above a certain height.Live streaming along the lines of TP may be the way forward, BUT I worry about the potential for problems and the bandwidth needed for smooth realiable delivery.Entire photoscenery coverage would be nice but totally unfeasible due to size constraints - so what I hope for in the near future is better generic scenery and mesh and higher resolution photopacks for the areas I wish to fly.

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Personally, I find a good photographic scenery, like the UK one, convincing down to 2-300 feet, by which time I'm on late finals, so I'm concentrating on the runway.But what I'd really like with the photo scenery is convincing autogen or 3D objects to surround the airport - buildings, treelines, fencing, traffic, whatever - so that it doesn't look like an airport in the middle of a desert.Unless it is Riyadh International or similar, of course. :-)

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I am a strong advocate for photo. Not only does it make the experience more real imho-but it only going to get better in the next couple of years. As far as autogen-the way google earth is going-I would expect most cities to be at least to be populated not only with buildings, but with correct architectual buildings in their precise place-one can already see that right now. Runways that can slope, look natural, and not artificially neon...3 shots of sedona with the technolgy now-1) real I took 2) google flight sim 3)fsx with full autogen-which one portrays reality better-today? How will this technology be 2 years from now?http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179167.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179168.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179169.jpg

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Hey Geofa...I'm going to play devil's advocate for a quick moment but please bear with me...The only problem is that the sources cited are Google Earth, I seriously doubt Google Earth would team with such a venture... Tile Proxy as it stands is a good technology preview but I'm also aware there are very much deeper legal issues with the technology...I've been researching this for over a year personally and while I can't discuss everything I have on the books I can say I also believe the future is in PhotoScenery and it would be very beneficial to have tools available to help with the process...

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I agree on VE, the issue still remain with seasonal textures, image consistency etc...But as I've mentioned before I believe it could be a backbone to something better ;-)

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You asked. :)1. It has to be high resolution phototextures.2. Well placed autogens. But the autogens only need to be placed strategically and not all over the place. Like desert and mountain areas do well without autogens too. Assuming we fly by the FAA rules. Stay at least 1000 feet above populated areas and 500 feet above unpopulated areas etc.3. Airport areas especially the approach areas need high definition buildings. like Aerosoft's Manhatten or Goetfrieds Downtown LA.Good examples:1. The best example is Flight scenery (Vouchez) Portland and Providence. (FS9)2. French Alps North photo scnery + Autogen pack + Couchevel airport by LLH. (FS9 and FSX)3. Aerosoft's Wusserkupe airport. (FS9)4. Aerosoft's west Germany for FSX looks promising. The source material they used for the photo textures is not that great in some areas. Waiting for the addon airports for that area. But they are on the right track and have the right idea. Photo texture for the entire country with hand placed autogens and then almost all the airports covered in detail + Megaairports like Mega Frankfurt for the large airports. 5. Megascenery Hawaii. I wish there they could get the source material for the other islands and someone could do the all the airports in that area.Take Geof's Arizona photos. I think its Arizona. In those locations even very minimal brush and trees might be good enough. Add some horses running wild while throwing a stand storm around them...would be wonderful as you chace them in your chopper.:)Manny

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Oh the things I am personally working on that I can't talk about publically lol... :DThe main drawback right now, even in the products mentioned is autogen accuracy and diversity (given the annotator tool limitations)...I still think that if the underlying landclass autogen trees could be layered on top of the photoscenery that would help tremendously...Then extracting autogen from building footprint SHP files would also help...The location in Geof's pics is Sedona Arizona, amazingly beautiful place in real life :-)I love the idea of cattle and horses for AI wildlife...Maybe a helo roundup mission could be something for a future addon...

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>>I still think that if the underlying landclass autogen trees>could be layered on top of the photoscenery that would help>tremendously...>You know.. I thought about it..and was wondering why that is not possible. What is the technical problem with that? Aren't they two different things? The texture and then the landclass/autogen? Unless they are tightly coupled in one bgl file or something.>Then extracting autogen from building footprint SHP files>would also help...>Hmm..What is this? I don't get that.>The location in Geof's pics is Sedona Arizona, amazingly>beautiful place in real life :-)>>I love the idea of cattle and horses for AI wildlife...>>Maybe a helo roundup mission could be something for a future>addon...Yeah... I think a little imagination could go a long way.. The horses themselves don't have to be overly animated.. just lots of them kicking up small moving local dust storm would make the Sedona area come alive.Just like birds. I actually love birds around airports. Some addon vendors are adding these and they really help make FSX look good. "Movements" help.Manny

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Hey Manny,The building footprints are things that governments usually have...They're vector based outlines of the shapes of houses and buildings and contain building height and/or floor data, also building type information can often times be included such as office building, apartment building, house, church etc...So to be able to take that type of data and render autogen buildings off it could really help, seeing as many places already have this type of data available, not always free though...One thing I'm thinking would be cool would be AI wildlife autogen tracks... Mini pathways coded in to landclass tiles that allow for control of animals so they don't run through objects like trees and buildings etc... Could work well on farm tiles etc, but the problem is what happens when the tile is cut off by the edge of a vector poly?I'm sure the autogen layering stuff is more a draw priority issue... I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a gigantic task to implement but I'm not a programmer...a switch though on photoscenery could be:autogenrender=1 (1 being over photoscenery, 0 being under photoscenery)

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One just has to look at google earth at major cities to see where this is headed-Architectural and correctly placed buildings. I was amazed at how detailed Detroit is already-certainly leagues above the present rendition in Fsx-so are a huge number of cities that fs has nothing. So I am sure most major cities will not be a problem-especially a couple years up the road-there will be more of them and more detailed.http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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There is GIS software available that can take 2 or more georeferenced ortho images and extract 3D buildings that are fully texture mapped...The same tools can be used to remove building lean etc.. :-)

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>I am a strong advocate for photo. Not only does it make the>experience more real imho-but it only going to get better in>the next couple of years. As far as autogen-the way google>earth is going-I would expect most cities to be at least to>be populated not only with buildings, but with correct>architectual buildings in their precise place-one can already>see that right now. Runways that can slope, look natural, and>not artificially neon...>>3 shots of sedona with the technolgy now-1) real I took 2)>google flight sim 3)fsx with full autogen-which one portrays>reality better-today? How will this technology be 2 years>from now?>http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg>Forum Moderator>http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179167.jpg>>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179168.jpg>>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/179169.jpg>Hey Geofa, what is that 2nd pic of google earth flight simulation???? I have google earth but no flight simulation feature in do you have another version??

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I got it to work. That is amazing. Now I am really confused as to what I would want. Photoscenery + autogen, landclass + autogen, etc etc. Is there a way to fly in the flight simulator in a 3d world on this google earth?? I know you can set it for 3d buildings when you just explore around but not sure if you can do it in flight simulator mode.I am impressed but at the same time confused. Confused as to what it would take to make everything you see in 3d format. It's basically like you are flying over a picture of the entire world in google earth fs. It's still awesome. This is more or less what I am experiencing in FSX. Essentially flying over a picture so when viewed with altitude and in more of a top-down view it is very enjoyable but when of course flying at either low altitude or not looking straight down it begins to take on a flat blurry image. I am guessing that this is what autogen is for and this represents the problem that I have in FSX. I am still confused on the meters/pixel and how this relates to 3d objects. Is all scenery whether photoscenery or landclass in 2d format??

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for a transitional mix between photoscenery (reproduction) and generated 3D objects (simulation). I'm thinking, for example, about generation of 3D objects from sets of pics at different angles. There are programs that do that but it's massive work and not realistic as far as world-wide coverage is concerned. Selected airports on the other hand...Another example would be fractal trees. Try to fly over the redwood national park with Tileproxy for example, and you'll see what I mean.Still another example would be a reconception of the mesh: perhaps with triangles instead of squares, some sort of fractal noise, with the idea of getting rid of the rounded, underwater-like edges.Lighting and season are another problem here, although if the above is accomplished, I personally wouldn't mind waiting to get those. Particularly if the clouds get better (which they are even now).A sculptor once said that simplicity is complexity resolved, and I strongly feel that the hobby is in dire need of out-of-the-box thinking rather than insisting on adding layers upon layers of complexity.As far as the general goal, I'm certain that no one here would disagree that the ultimate goal is to have a full, real-time reproduction of reality and not a game-like simulation (e.g. herding dinosaurs with a flying bike.)

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>Just wondering what everyone's preference for scenery would>be in FS in a perfect world (where all the world has high>quality and color balanced imagery for most of the globe)...>Until FS can process light and seasonal differences for photoscenery textures on-the-fly, photoscenery will be nothing more than a false god of FS scenery types.I do not think FS can do this yet. If FS can already do this, wonderful. If it cannot...Once this hurdle is overcome (with hardware advances), photoscenery will be magnificent.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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In full agreement with Rhett. If photoscenery can have its shadows removed, be properly colour matched, have a 3d building or tree placed over every single pancaked one in every photo, be lit in realtime with proper shadowmaps, and account for seasons and night lighting with proper transitions... then I'm all for it.If any one of those features is missing? no.For me immersion is all about consistency. I really couldn't care less about the quality of a scene as long as its quality is consistent and looks at least correct from a lighting standpoint. Photoscenery as it stands today is anything but that.I don't doubt that day may come, and if it does great, but with the current standard of photo data for the world, to me Vector/Lanclass is still far superior for immersion.

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My problem with photoscenery is that it has all buildings and trees and shadows in 2d and they only look right from altitude.I think a good answer would be really well defined landclass, waterclass and autogen with a lot of different textures. I'm not sure why the current landclass resolution or texture possiblities arent more/better than they are. If its a 'space required on your hard drive' thing, then perhaps the people with servers large enough to hold photoscenery of the entire world could also set up worldwide landclass, waterclass and autogen files and then stream that information down to the users system.

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In an IDEAL sim...To answer the first question, the most Canadian answer would obviously be to create a hybrid: a solution that accomodates both views equally (but probably pleases no-one completely).My ideal sim would rely less on textured landscape and more on autogen. Although not really autogen, but more like "realgen". Autogen is a process that adds generic objects to specific tiles. A realgen would place the correct building in its correct location. Also, trees, fences, lamp-posts, icebergs, highway signs, cacti, hedgerows, the whole whack. The reason we use textures in the first place is to model millions of mundane objects cheaply. But if all those objects are rendered, the value of the scenery texture is reduced.Of course, plotting every single real-world item would be rediculously complicated for Microsoft, and the sim would cost seven figures for the consumer. What might help is if the sim came with an easy way for the end user to upload their own custom realgen into the sim, plus a Second Life-like way of networking the uploads into a community-created virtual world. Wow, if this isn't my most heedlessly optimistic post ever, I don't know what is, but there you go. If money and computer resources were not a limiting factor for any flight simmer, this is what I would like to see. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff Reviewer, Avsim

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I'm definitely on the photoscenery bandwagon. I also think that this technology is a lot closer to reality than most people think.1) Seasonal variations can be modeled by a simple piecewise linear model using covariance equalization. There are minor second order effects, but the fact is most seasonal transitions can be modeled as a simple multiply and add of constants which can be done in real-time. 2) Shadows present a true problem. You have to estimate the skyshine component and full sun components and somehow separate the two. Shadows occur when the sunlight is blocked, but skyshine still occurs (otherwise everything in shadow would be black). There are some algorithms on the horizon to solve this, but it is open research as far as I can tell. Multiple images though could be used to remove shadows without separating sunlight/skylight conditions.3) New pattern recognition algorithms have radically improved identification of roads, buildings, fences, etc. from aerial imagery. It is not perfect, but eerily close. As long as shadows have been removed, these algorithms could do wonders placing autogen (or realgen as I've seen in this thread) automatically on photoscenery textures. 4) Hard drive space is cheap and is getting cheaper. You can always download your flight plan (or even large areas like Western US). 5) I think you would still need autogen and seasonal information to tell the algorithms when to apply certain seasonal transforms and what color the autogen trees or types of trees should be.So, I think photoscenery coverage is a reality within the next five years given systems like the new Microsoft Virtual Earth (anyone looked at their house from four different view points yet -- it's pretty cool). Now, whether or not there is a business case for it, that's beyond my knowledge. I do know the technology is getting very close to making this a reality and would love to see it in the sim. My two cents, Joshua

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