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scott967

Warning: FSX Scenery Packages and AI

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I know there are quite a number of us who really love our AI environment (read aircraft). Airports look very naked without the eye candy.Well, you're going to have a nasty surprise if you purchase a number of the new FSX scenery packages. The AI is totally missing -unless of course you use the default FSX aircraft or AI made with FSX aircraft.Right now the AI display problem affects those FSX sceneries developed by Aerosoft. The developer has taken the position that the problem is with FS9 legacy aircraft and not in their designs.In my mind, this is quite lopsided. First, there are more than 500 aircraft developers in the flightsim community. To tell them they will have to redesignupdate every one of their aircraft just to satisfy the display problems in a small group of scenery packages seems somewhat...... (you put in the wording). Not only that, if the updates require repainting all of those texture sets, we're talking about 7,000 to 10,000 textures that have to be redone.I'm not going to recommend an action that you should take towards this developer. I'm sure it would not find favor with AVSIM rules. I just wanted to make you aware of this problem so you won't be surprised.fb

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Please don't tell me they're following another dev who went a similar way, and some of their people came from there too...

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I've not purchased any add-on scenery for FSX yet; and probably wont since it doesn't run all that fast to begin with. However I am a little confused as to how a peice of scenery can dictate the type of AI that will run with it. Now, I'm not the smartest cookie in the jar, but I thought that the AFCAD built for a peice of scenery dictated where it is placed and what fly's in and out of that airport, regardless of who made the actual AI? Can someone give me a lesson in this?Thanks all.

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Which scenery packages are you refering to exactly?Could you also describe which ai packages you had installed previously?

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FrankSome of the Aerosoft FSX Scenery came out before there was a SP1a. Now that there is a SP2 developers like myself have to target their audience and possibly make two versions of an enhanced airport scenery. One for SP1a and one for SP2.AI Traffic is also effected by DX10 but appears to work fine in DX9 mode both for Sp1a and SP2.Once the SP2 SDK is loaded the .chm readme saysQuote:Developers should only use the Acceleration Expansion Pack SDK if their target audience is users who have installed the Acceleration Expansion Pack, or installed Flight Simulator X SP2. In the latter case the developer should not use any features marked as specific to the expansion pack if the add-on is to run cleanly on Flight Simulator X SP2 without the expansion pack. However, all add-ons developed using the expansion pack SDK but targeted at installations of Flight Simulator X SP2 should first be tested on the SP2 release. If the target audience is users of earlier versions of Flight Simulator X, then developers should use the SDK provided with the earlier version. As a general rule only forward compatibility of the SDK is supported. end Qoute:My EHAM airport when released will have two versions of enhanced scenery based on whether you have installed SP1a or SP2. If there is any backward code issues in any scenery then it must be retested to see if it will work with SP2.I have tested some highend scenery that works fine with SP1a but will not work in SP2. Also some scenery designed for different parts of the world will work but the same techniques/code used won't work on the other side of the world. Developers should test location as well such as the area/region/city/airport.Mix all the FSX incompatible scenery based on what you have upgraded FSX to with the AI texture issue that we see in FSX/SP1a/SP2 using either DX9 or DX10 and I see a lot of problems.Each Scenery Designer needs to further test now that FSX/SP2 is released and determine what audience they want to target. I have decided to target both SP1a and SP2 Users but that requires using different code for the same airport so everything displays properly and AI continue to exsit including proper behavior.

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I realize that FSX has been in flux for the past year. I also understand that Acceleration has also brought problems for developers. My point in this thread was to point out that some developers are using a technique that causes AI traffic to be invisible - all of it. The exception is FSX default traffic. Personally, I don't use default traffic nor do I assemble AI flight plans using default aircraft. The FSX aircraft texture sets are very large (5Mb or more) so using these airframes for AI is prohibitive.Thus far I have tested Heathrow and Florence from Aerosoft. I believe developers are using similar techniques on their other packages but I have not completed my tests. The other scenery package where this display problem arose was Zurich from FSDreamTeam.Note: Work may be underway to correct this problem within these developer teams. However, initial reaction from one developer was to point a finger towards legacy aircraft. In my opinion, this is not helpful. We need to gather our forces to solve problems such as this otherwise, in this case, airports will really be naked and that's not good. :-)fb

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He's referring to a very specific issue, it's a backward compatibility problem that surfaces only if all these conditions are met:- Acceleration/Sp2 it's in use.- The scenery uses custom runways made with a custom ground texture FS9-styled, with runway lights created as indipendent object without a default FSX runway command.- The AI models are from FS9With this combination of setup/addons, the AI will not shown. The fix it's either replacing AI FS9 models with FSX ones OR, removing the BGL file that holds the runway lights, losing lighs, of course.FSX airports done with FSX SDK and with default runways only, do not have this issue.FSX airport with FS9-styled custom ground/runway, do not have this issue if using AI models compiled with FSXEverything is related to Accel/Sp2 only. The problem appears only if all these three conditions are true.Sceneries affected are surely London Heathrow and Florence from Aerosoft, and the latest ZurichX from FSDreamTeam (us...). They might be others as well we don't know of.We'd love to know if anyone managed to find a workaround for this and if there is, we'd surely would like to fix the scenery. But at this time, the only known solution is either using FSX AI models only, OR reverting to use default ground textures for scenery, expecially runways.One scenery that it's not affected, it's our previous KMCO, published by Cloud9. Since it's uses AFCAD ground and runways, it's compatibile with any sort of AI, but of course it got its fair share of criticism just for having been done like that.

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>Note: Work may be underway to correct this problem within>these developer teams. However, initial reaction from one>developer was to point a finger towards legacy aircraft.Because *that* developer (myself, of course), always tries to strive for the absolute best technical solution, from a quality and performance point of view, expecially in the long term.The short term (and shortsighted) solution would be trying to hack some kind of solution to fix the scenery, and allow the use of FS9 AI. I don't know if this it's even possible, from the scenery side, without getting rid of custom ground, that people like so much.The long term and better solution, instead, would be redoing the AI as FSX models, because that will allow for better performances and visual quality as well. Of course, I'm speaking about models expecially optimized for AI use only, recompiled with the FSX exporters and using FSX materials and FSX texture formats. I see a potential for a very commercially successful product here, given the issue at hand.Second solution will result, of course, in better looking sceneries, and better looking and better performing AI as well, that's why we should pursuit that one.

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FrankI agree with you. Both Reggie and I have been down that road were highend payware destroyed all the approach code in FS9 and now some payware has already done it in FSX. However every rant and rave written always says how good it looks and nothing about how it don't work with the User or AI Plane.When you try and point it out to them it is always a FS problem or some other quirk and not their problem. I have always said just because it looks good visually (which sells) does not mean it works.I also run a lot of 3rd party AI (not payware) and like yourself install all my own. We could not get the forces to respond in FS9 when Simflyers, Cloud9, FlyTampa, Image, Sim-Wings, and a host of freeware uploads corrupted the working part of a airport. Now some did finally come around (FlyTampa, Cloud9) when enough post kept saying it looks good but it does not work.I have reconstructed EHAM and deleted/rewriten the entire approach code which FSX did not get it coded properly (look at it with the GPS receiver). However since SP2 was released some of my unconventional code only works with SP1a. That should be no surprize to you with your envolvement with ACES but I was somewhat speechless. That is when I decided to offer 2 versions of the up and coming EHAM based on the audience that I have to target as per the SDK.Scenery Designers need to commit to a developement of backward or forward compatibility as per the SDK or offer 2 versions based on what others have installed. Blaming someone else has been tried before and it finally caught up with some. Looks like we need to start over again based on your findings.

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VirtualiGlad to see you come in on this. You and I go back with a lot of words on the FS9 EHAM issue and in the end I saw post form the Cloud9 team on how to download a fix based on what I have here on AVSIM.My test on the SP2 forward compatibility shows that the bgl's will work in some parts of the world but not others. I used the same runway unconventional bgl code for 2 KATL runways and they work fine with SP2. I used the exact same code for the EHAM runways which is not light/texture related but USER/AI Traffic ATC weight restricted related and FSX fell to its knees.It took me awhile to fiqure out what the SDK was saying and how SP1a differs from SP2. That is when I decided to offer 2 versions of EHAM. Problem is I loose some of the USER/AI realistic runway usage with the SP2 version.I am still looking for a fix

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>>FSX airport with FS9-styled custom ground/runway, do not have>this issue if using AI models compiled with FSX>This brings up the whole issue of all of the "old" AI models we have floating around these days.It's something I wish wasn't the case. I wish all of those old FS9 and FS8 AI models were re-exported using FSX Materials and the FSX Gamepack mdl exporter.But that's a tall, tall order as was said earlier in this thread. :(At some point though, all of the "legacy" things we use, are going to stop working. I don't think the problem Frank mentions in this thread is a problem that is not going to go away with FS11, particularly in light of the loss of backwards compatibility we are beginning to see...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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Hi Jim -- I'll apologize up front if my post is somewhat self-serving. Can you share where KMSP is on the totem pole for Active ILS releases? Your work is excellent.

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>Glad to see you come in on this. You and I go back with a lot>of words on the FS9 EHAM issue and in the end I saw post form>the Cloud9 team on how to download a fix based on what I have>here on AVSIM.Yes, but that's an entirely different issue, that lies in the realm of AFCADs and, in case of EHAM, the instrument procedures were missing, something that at EHAM was particulary aggravated by the fact that EHAM got a new runway after FS9 was released, and the others all changed designators.While I see there are SP2 issues with AFCAD as well, we were discussing in this case something that is AI related, but doesn't have much to do with AFCAD, it's an uncompatibility between the FS9 BGL instruction code that draws runway lights independently from an actual runway ( that allows custom textured runway textures ), and AI models compiled for FS9. The AI are created (they show up in the menu and in any AI radar), but they can't be seen. By removing the BGL that contains runway lights, the AI reappear. They also don't show any issue if the models are FSX native.I GUESS (it's just a guess) it might be something related to textures or materials, since FSX has the habit of making things disappear if someting is wrong with the textures. But that's only a guess.

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Mesaba116KMSP is being worked on right now by a scenery designer. I have been in touch with them and they are using with my permission the CW runway and approach code I wrote for FS9 that will port to FSX.

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Everyone always talks about the marketplace and the money it takes to deliver superior scenery products to the market. OK, let's talk about the money. Here's a scenario - people purchase airport scenery packages, people find out their AI does not display, word gets around, other people stop buying scenery packages that don't display AI traffic.Now, we can debate all day long the advantages and disadvantages of backwards and forwards compatibility and whether or not these technologies can be achieved. But, I'll tell you up front - there are a whole bunch of new FSX scenery packages that work just fine with all of my AI (more than 400 aircraft types and more than 7,000 texture sets). Personally, I don't care whether those aircraft come from FS2, FS5, FS9, or from some other planet. I vote with my wallet and I can tell you that I'm not purchasing any more scenery packages that use this ground technique which prevents my AI environment from displaying. Note: I'm not picking on Aerosoft but if I don't see a statement included in a product's description that legacy AI will display properly, I'm not going to purchase it. That goes for any other developer.Also, forget about all this nonsense about SP1, SP1, or Acceleration. Gentlemen, the train has already left the station. ACES is moving on to the next version and some people are still talking about FSX in its original form. That is gone. If your products don't work using FSX Acceleration then you can bet people will stop buying these products. I say that because Acceleration has the DX10 preview in it and that is going to change everything. As developers, you can't rest on your past achievements. As someone here said, just because it looks good does not mean it will sell - especially if it doesn't work.So, my advice to any airport scenery developer - find out how the others are doing it and get it in there. Forget whether someone rants about they didn't like a runway texture or a light. What we need is ground textures, airport lights, and AI that works. This is not rocket science. See what Cloud9, Blueprint, and others are doing. Those packages work.These are my personal opinions concerning products and development of scenery packages. I am not trying to dissuade anyone from buying any particular developers' products. My purpose here was to point out that some airport scenery products do not display AI properly.fb

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The people who are so insistent on no backward compatibility, rewrite the engine, etc should expect the likely death of the hobbyist part of FS development. It looks more and more like just the default FS with highend payware addons. Who exactly is going to remodel and repaint all those FS9 AI aircraft? It's been a year already. How many have you seen? Same for freeware airports. How many are there?How many freeware hobbyists are going to test with three different FSX configurations so that they don't get jumped on by users? I love the FSX visuals as much as the next guy, but for a hobby FS9 stays in play for me.Take a look at the top 100 downloads for the month in the library: 8 FSX downloads (4 FSX aircraft, replacement grass, replacement wave effect, aicarriers2, and a mission). Doesn't look too promising.scott s..

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From Umberto's response, I presume that the scenery that lets you use your fs9 ai must have no custome runway polygons/textures. Is that true.If so, it may be an option for folks to compile those seperately so that the user could decide if they'd like to disable one given bgl.Just a thought.

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