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Lakes FS2k2 Style?

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Hi Everybody,What ever happened to that great discussion between rhumbaflappy, Arno and others concerning making Lakes-FS2k2 style? I'm still very interested in a (understandable) solution.Happy landings!Marty

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Hi Marty.There's quite a few people working on better interfaces to create LWMs.As far as the VTP polys and lines, I'm probably guilty of holding things up, as I have promised a new Tutorial to cover their creation with BGLC. I'll start again on this, soon. Life has a funny way of postponing things for us.My current fixation has been creating photoreal BGLs with more placement accuracy. Resample ( both old and new ) has a bad habit of mixing up data... both the resampled slices, and the placement of the textures.There is no way MS used resample for their photoreal! And the newer version is worse than the last.Of course, MS decided to withhold knowledge of the structure of landclass, waterclass, CUSTOM, mesh, etc... so we are tied to the program, whether we like it or not.Bob Bernstein and I have taken some steps to make tools that will help locate CUSTOM textures, and identify their names. I've taken that about as far as I can, so my tool will be released tomorrow ( I hope ). It's a CUSTOM texture calculator, with LandClass info, if anyone wants to assign custom textures to a landclass BGL. I've had mixed results with that method... mostly due to the fact that I cannot consistantly place a singular texture. Resample, or the terrain engine, insists on placing a minimum of 4 custom textures. Very strange.Here's a topdown screen shot of a single landclass tile ( value #133...Lava ), placed on my home. It blends in well... and part of the reason it blends in so well is because it uses 4 tiles to display! There is a blending routine to the tile's south and west ( using 'm' type masking textures. For Custom textures, there are no blending masks, so the south and west are blanked!Dick

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Hi Dick/Rhumbaflappy/Everyone,I must say Dick is something quite different of what to expect from a name as rhumbaflappy. Which one is nicer, I can't decide.Well enough of the ^&^*^&*$!#%.Your findings are, to say the least, very impressive but are not enterily what I asked.I'm working on a scenery were FS lacked a few lakes. I want to implement them FS-style. Thus with beach like effects, surf, reflection and soforth. I understand it all has to do with the LWM's.So here it is. How to create a simple FS-style lake according to my own dimensions, form etc?????Lookin' forward to this I can tell you!And uhh keep those lively/energetic discussions going. They spice things up round here. Everybody........join in!Happy landings!Marty

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Hi Marty, as Dick says, quite a few people are working on this. Thanks to Dick's tutorial we know how to write asm files that will generate lakes, coastlines, beaches etc But there's a catch. Although Microsoft gave us a lot of information in the recent SDK they didn't provide a tool for automating the process. It can be done by hand but for large areas it would be very time consuming. As it turned out the mathematical and geometrical problems involved are far from trivial. But I think I can report some success in this. Several weeks ago I decided to write a Visual Basic program to automate the process, i.e. to import the geographical data in some defined form and automatically generate the asm file that can be compiled into the final .bgl file. It turned out to be the biggest programming project of my life! (I'm not a professional programmer at all, I should add). Last weekend I thought I had solved the last remaining major problem - but after looking at it in more detail I realised it was itself an enormous problem. It occurred when the data stream visited a given LOD13 square more than once. I saw that there were two distinct cases to solve, which I called CW and CCW (in the CW case the second line is to the right of the first one). I'm happy to report that yesterday I solved and debugged the CW case and late last night it appeared to be working correctly. This allows long thin bodies of water (better known as rivers!) The CCW case will require placing two separate polygons into a LOD13 square, which is possible. However the CCW case seems to cause relatively few problems. So the bottom line is that my program is sufficiently functional to create lakes, coastlines and rivers. It works like this: 1. Take a screenshot in FS of the desired area using the lookdown map view and using the highest resolution possible (I used 1600*1200). Note the centre lat/long position from the readout and measure the lat and long size of the screenshot. 2. Enter those figures into the program. 3. Draw a single pixel-width line onto the screenshot to define the desired coastline / lake and save as a .raw image file. 4. The program reads in the data and automatically generates the .asm file. 5. Drop the .asm file into bglc.exe to compile and you have the .bgl file. I will be able to import other data formats if there is any interest - drawing the coastlines as I described fulfills my own requirements. The program has a map display. You can zoom in to examine the data in detail. This made debugging much easier as there was no need to run FS for much of the time. The program still needs work and could be ready for download in a couple of weeks. However, if anyone is interested I could make a rough but functional version available earlier. It is quite neat to draw a river onto the screenshot and then see the river in FS a couple of minutes later! Currently it does not support beaches/waves but that should soon change. Best regards, Chris Wright

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Hi Chris,This is, to say the least, very promissing. I'm thrilled. Can I get hold of the app? Love to give it a try. Seems childishly simple. However you don't mention reflections, do they appear at all?Now let's work on those beaches/waves. Because you know what they say "Charlie don't surf" (R. Duvall-Apo Now!).Happy landings!

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Hi Dick,Well it lookes like I'm in for a weekend flat on my back with 'tonnes' of reading to do. I'll shall have a go at it. I'm not so in all the technical stuff but ok, let's see what'll happen. I'm hoping that the guys from the GUI's come up with something worth wile.Anyway much obliged for all of your apt responses and extensive stories.Happy landings!Marty

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The job you guys are doing is amazing! Coming from a country with thousands of different sized lakes and a huge archipelago with as many islands this tool will be very, very interesting! Would it be possible to include another feature: load a real-world map as a separate, semitransparent layer on top of the pic from FS, scale and place it to fit the FS area and then draw the lines? That would make the work much easier...BamceEFHN

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Hi Marty.All LWM created water is the actual FS2002 water... it has reflection, and all other water effects.Waves are generated automatically by using the appropriate texture for the shoreline in a VTP Method2 line.Chris Wright's program is a great step in the right direction. And I really like his use of thin LWM polygons as rivers. I don't know why MS didn't do this with all the streams ( other than the need to hurry the product to market ). The streams are VTP2s, just like the shorelines ( beaches ), and they really don't look good. For anything greater than 4.8 meters width, I'd use the LWM polys ( and for anything thinner, I'd cheat and use LWMs anyways ).MS used shorelines as trim for the rough polys of water in the sim. But a careful designer wouldn't need shorelines for ponds, small lakes, streams, and small rivers... just use more care in making a less jagged edge. Those water bodies don't need wave action, or a 20-40 meter beach.Dick

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Hi Chris>I will be able to import other data formats if there is any interest... And yes there is an interest. All the data I have is vector-data (or can be turned into it easily) so I would very much appreciate an import function - why not a simple tab-separated textfile with coordinates in decimal degrees? Looking forwardAnders Persson

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Hi guys, I just thought I'd return to pop up a couple of screenshots and I see there are some replies already! Here are the shots: http://www.kline.demon.co.uk/pic_10.jpg http://www.kline.demon.co.uk/pic_11.jpg You can see where I drew the line on the screenshot. The blocky light area is generic sand texture - the flattened water defines the actual coastline. The straight line is part of the same polygon that wraps around a long stretch of coastline. In the program shot you can see where a narrow part of the lake passes through a LOD13 area (the smaller squares on the grid) twice - this is what gave me a *major* headache! In the upper program shot you can see the outline of a large part of the Karakam peninsula. The other shot shows the result in FS. There are currently no 'official' beaches or waves but that should be no problem to add. Best regards, Chris Wright

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Marty, As there does seem to be interest I'll aim at a first rough but functional version for the weekend or early next week. You'll be able to download it from my Web site. The water is standard FS water with reflections and spray/wake effects. I'll probably need to pester Dick with a couple of questions and then I should be able to add beaches/waves. Best regards, Chris

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Bamce, that's an interesting question! Actually, I think it should be quite possible. In fact you wouldn't need the screenshot as the digitised map would serve precisely the same function (assuming of course that FS itself does conform to the map!) You would need to know the centre position and the size of the map in degrees. Then you could draw the polygon onto the map and the program would use that. Just ensure that no pixels on the map have full brightness (value of 255) as the program expects the drawn polygon to be 255. Alternatively you could merge the screenshot and map using a paint program. That could be useful if you want the water to match FS objects such as buildings or bridges. Best regards, Chris

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Anders, I know virtually nothing about these formats, but if it's basically a list of lat/long coordinate pairs then it should be easy to implement. Remember that the program is still in a very early stage - but if the format is easy to implement I could do it probably next week. Best regards, Chris

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