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rhumbaflappy

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Hey guys and gals:I would like to take the plunge into scenery design. Specifically, I would like to modify the area near my hometown of Mobile, AL.Changes could be (but not included to):1) Use photo scenery for the land2) place additional buildings, ships, etc...3) modification of the 2 major airportsCan someone point me to info to get started with any of these?TIA,http://saltydogfly2.avsim.net/images/avsim_sig.jpg"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."

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Hi Ken,I've just started playing around with this myself.For Buildings n' stuff:For starters, you will need GMAX and MakeMDL (plus the exporter for GMAX) from your FS2002 Pro discs (I think you can also download the MakeMDL stuff from Microsoft. Instead of exporting to MDL, you will export to BGL. Pay specific attention to LODS (level of Detail) so your scenery will switch to low poly versions when you are at far distances.Look for the MakeMDL SDK from Microsoft here: http://zone.msn.com/flightsim/FS02DevDeskSDK00.aspYou can get GMAX here: http://www.discreet.com/products/gmax/gmax...loads_text.htmlYou will need ImageTool to convert your textures and create mip maps.For Ground Texturing:You will need the Scenery SDK for ground texturing: http://zone.msn.com/flightsim/FS02DevDeskSDK00.aspI'm still in the baby stages of learning this ground texture stuff...Let me know if you need any help with GMAX.. . you have my email.Vinhttp://www.vinscimone.com/dancnkid.gif

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Hey Ken,Long time brother... Hope the wife and baby have been "prepared" for another traipse through the design forest by dad :-).As for item 1, it depends on the size of your goal. If you want a terrascene like photo area that is expansive, you're best bet would be to check out the free basic version of (warning: flash required these days, but at least its "lite" in size). The forum would also be a good place to start reading some past topics: [link:forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=125]The TerraBuilder Forum. Using TerraBuilder can be fairly trivial in generating vast expanses of photo terrain once a few test runs are under your belt.If you'd rather photo enhance smaller targeted areas such as airport property, downtown, etc, or would like to overlay terrascene generated roads, hydrography, or other LU resources on top of the generic surfaces, your best bet is creating custom polygons that contain specific alpha transparent textures. A targeted question about this method to the ever brilliant Dick (rhumbaflappy) in this forum would be a good starting point on this path.As for items 2 and 3, I leave that to wiser minds.Good luck and have fun,Elrond

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Hi Ken,1. I think resample (from the terrain SDK) would be enough here. I use that when I place a photo scenery. If you want a higher resolution then the 4.8 of the mesh scenery you could also revert to SCASM polygons (but then you need to have or make a flat area).2. I would advise GMax here. It might be a bit hard to learn at first, but after that you will notice that it is a really powerfull tool. An other (free) alternative would be EOD, but I would advise you to give GMax a try first :).3. I don't know what you mean with modifications? Do you want to change the buildings or the taxiways or ....In general the procedure is that you exclude what you don't like and build that again yourself. For the 3D objects see point 2, for taxiways and things like that I would advise you to use a program like FSSC (www.avsim.com/fssc) or Airport (www.airportforwindows.com). If we are talking about Fs2004 only here, you might also wait for the new AFCAD as that allows you to change the Fs2004 style taxiways etc.Hope this helps,

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Hey Elrond the Lurker ;-)I've been trying to find color photos of the Mobile, AL area, but apparently everyone thinks Alabama is still stuck in the 1950's so everything is black and white (oh wait we ARE stuck in the 1950's apparently :-lol)So, I think I'll check out TerraBuilder.Would love to take TerraScene and use that in FS200x...I assume it isn't quite as easy as in Fly!.Thanks for the info...http://saltydogfly2.avsim.net/images/avsim_sig.jpg"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."

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Hi Ken,OK, then what I wrote above is correct. You can not really modify the default buildings. But you can exclude them and replace them by buildings you like more :).

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Ken... I think I remember seeing some medium res aerials of Mobile a few years back when I was planning to do parts of the south in Fly!, but I can't remember which ftp site it was on... Maybe the U of South Alabama? Might be worth a shot to check at least if you haven't already.I'll describe in a bit more detail, but still in basic form, your various ground texturing options below.--If you can't find color aerials, the output of TerraScene can easily be imported into FS using Resample.exe (a Microsoft provided commandline tool available in both the and [link:zone.msn.com/flightsim/FS02DevDeskSDK00.asp|FS2002 scenery SDK] - the older FS2000 SDK version is actually better for the method described here for various quality reasons) as well as a texture converter such as [link:library.avsim.net/esearch.php?FileName=fstexconvert103.zip&CatID=fs2002util|mine], one by the always brilliant [link:www.mnwright.btinternet.co.uk/|Martin Wright] or the imagetool available in the SDK. While you could rely on doing this method manually down the line at a probably quicker pace, TerraBuilder Lite might be a better choice in the beginning - its simply a front end to the resample.exe SDK commandline tools and my texture converter.Basically all you'd need do is create the TGA files in TerraScene (for summer day, night as well if you wished) then convert them to uncompressed BMPs. You'd also do another run in TS to create a separate "water mask" for the water areas by mapping all land textures in TerraScene to solid white color RGB:255,255,255 and all water areas to solid black RGB:0,0,0 (saving the mapping for future runs of course). Actually, doesn't TS 2.1 already do this as an option? Regardless, you'd create the water mask with TS, then convert that to BMP as well. Using those BMPs and the info TS thankfully gives for extents in the output folder, you'd simply enter the info in TerraBuilder, point it to the BMPs then let it churn away. Result is all the processed and converted textures (DXT1 format for space savings and render speed) and the BGL files for FS all placed in proper folders ready to drop in Flight Sim... exactly like you'd expect, including "real FS water" with waves, etc.As for texture matching and mapping in TS, the FS generic textures are easily obtained from your FS install - I believe Dick, Bob or some other nice gentleman here has an existing TS mapping for the FS generics that I'm sure they'd share with you (as well as a water mask mapping if indeed TS 2.1 doesn't have one). Since FS comes with all the seasonal texture variations as well, you could of course do multiple additional runs in TS for those... You'd end up with a *ton* of textures, but the option is there if realism year round is desired.As stated above and Arno points out below, you could of course bypass TerraBuilder and setup your own batch files to run the commandline SDK resample.exe on each BMP then a texture converter for the various slices, but you'd probably want to start off with a UI at first.One caveat with the resample (and hence TerraBuilder) method of ground texturing in FS at this time: you'll loose all FS provided AutoGen once its placed. The reason is: FS no longer has any idea what the land use type was on any of those custom textures. You *can* get around this by using the FS SDK AutoGen annotator tool to manually block off land use regions in each and every one of your textures slices that are created (only need to do one season set such as the summer texture results, but thats still a ton of textures - alternatively, you could choose to only annotate specific "important" textures such as around airports and downtown, etc and leave the rest blank). As you can guess however, the annotating procedure is a severe pain in the ***. I thought for sure someone would have taken an LU color coded output BMP from TerraScene and created a tool to automated the annotation process by now... It doesn't seem this has happened however (or not that I'm aware of - haven't been around the design community in quite a while).--There is, of course, more than one way to skin this cat (I Hate that saying so I don't know why I just used it). The method described above is fairly beginner simple and the one described below more advanced and of course better, so you may want to try the above before tackling below if you decide to.--If you aren't using true aerial photos and instead just want to improve the land use layout of the generic textures, bypass the whole photo oriented resample SDK method as described above. Basically in this method, you use the same resample.exe as provided in the SDK but in a different manner.Using this method, you can directly modify the layout of the generic textures in FS to match updated and better resolution real-world landuse data. To do this, you might use TerraScene or another tool to generate a BMP that was color coded for specific land use types (the color coding is of course important and specific to FS needs: read more from Orlando Sotomayor [link:home.att.net/~mesh64/nlcd_mapping.html|here] and [link:home.att.net/~mesh64/landcoverintro.html]here). There are tools for FS that will interpret such a coded BMP and generate instructions for FS to layout its generic textures to match (a resulting BGL file or set of files). As far as land use goes, the result is exactly like using TerraScene, but without any texture overhead (obviously a much better method if not using real-world aerials - in fact, the result is in the KB range instead of the GB range for even thousand-square-mile areas and that still leaves all seasons and AutoGen fully intact). Once the generics are rearranged in FS to match real-world land use, you still have the lack of real-world road, rail, etc however.As I'm sure you've guessed, there are separate tools to fix and implement this available from the people here as well. Basically the procedure is: you'd pick hot spots where you wanted those road, rail, etc overlays (around airports, cities, etc) instead of an entire region - this to save tons of texture space. You'd again use TS to render the roads, rails, etc in those areas, but against a solid black RGB:0,0,0 background with a specifically tasked TS mapping. Once done, you'd convert the TGA to BMP then slice it up using resample.exe. Next, you'd use a texture converter/application to flip each of those slices vertically (a quirk of this method) then spit out alpha masked and mip mapped DXT1 textures. Finally you'd create a polygon in a tool available on this forum that covers the area you picked... During this process, you'd specify a specific mapping type that would automatically look up your new textures by specific filename and place them. In the end, you have an overlay of the roads, rails etc on top of the newly LU mapped generic textures... Pretty much exactly what TS gives you, but with a *ton* less texture overhead.This method I never approached too deeply, so some back reading in this forum and some sage advice from others more experienced here would definitely be in order.--Both of the methods described above basically do the same thing when it comes to almost-real-world FS ground updates (nothing beats true aerials of course, which would be imported the exact same way as the first method above). As you can see, one trades ease of use for the others less overhead as well as some finer details. In the end, the method you choose depends upon your requirements for distribution, performance, etc.One last thing to keep in mind: mesh upgrades (the FS world's nomenclature for DEM updates). Using either method above will only apply the LU and road, rail, etc improvements, but not elevations. I won't go into this topic, but basically its a fairly simple process that uses the exact same resample.exe as above: with again different options. Converting the downloaded TS or custom gathered DEM data into a form that resample.exe understands isn't too difficult using a tool like Greise50 (sp?) (depending upon your data of course). My hand is getting tired, however so I'll leave this topic to another or your forum searches. :-)Sorry for the long post, but it was good for my own head to reorganize my thoughts on this topic again. I'm rusty in FS design, so if I made any mistakes, anyone feel free to yell at me as you wish.Good luck,Elrond

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Hi Ken.Just to complicate it further:You could generate a Terrascene TARGA image and convert it to 8-bit bitmap... then use it as a background ( map ) for Ground2K, by Christian Fumey.Ground2k will allow you to draw roads, streams, rivers, lakes, landclass, ground-clinging polys, even place properly prepared photoreal "slices" from resample... and they can be mixed into one scenery project, or projects could be layered over the same area by a clever naming convention, which controls which scenery overlays which.Ground2K allows some experimentation with more advanced techniques of the newer TDF scenery design, without having to know all the BGLC code to make it. As we discover more coding secrets of FS2004, I'm sure these will be included in future versions.==============================For straight photoreal, I'd go with Terrabuilder, and as Elrond mentions, a Terrascene image can be used as a "photo".Terrascene texture sets which blend into FS2004, can be derived from FS2004 textures joined and rotated to provide good sets for FS2004. I think Misho indicated he has been leaning this way with his Terrabuilder work.With Terrascene-FS2004, the textures will make all the difference. Jim Kanold, and the Flight Ontario team have produced some great Terrascened sceneries with Price Edward Island and Thunder Bay. Dick

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Hello Ken and guys,Photo-real land is great, but time-consuming to get it right and fill it with autogen. Plus, it takes up a LOT of space, as Elrond mentioned.I made most of the Gulf coast of Mississippi using Ground2K by Christian Fumey. This program lets you modify the default terrain (roads, coasts, rivers, lakes, islands, land and water class, and even modify elevations.) Very easy to use and very fast modifications.Using the Dick Ludowise method, I used a USGS image (at 8 meters per pixel) as a background and then just drew the new details over it.Here is Gulfport, default on top and new version below:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/33145.jpgThat default scenery is astonishing, don't you think?Here is Gulfport airport:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/33147.jpgNew airport skirting, bayous, rivers, shipping channels, marsh textures, highways and major roads. If you look carefully, you will see a cloverleaf at the highway intersection. Try doing that with Terrascene and SHAPE files, Dick!Here is Biloxi:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/33148.jpgAll major marinas (VTP2 cement land class over the Land Mask), and new dirty water class.And Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/33149.jpgYou can even see the pisciculture ponds in the top right.A heck of a lot of detail. All seasonal variants with full autogen, and, here is the kicker, this enormous area only 100KB! Easy to distribute and very little effect on frame rates.Very sorry to place such large pictures, but I am just amazed at how easy it was to make this scenery.Best regards.Luis

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Just a thought Ken. Since you've been a master at consolidating information in the past for easier one-point lookup, this might be an excellent opportunity to help out the FS community in a way that hasn't been done here to date (that I'm aware of). You're starting off on your journey down the multi-pathed and sometimes complex road of FS design... Maybe you can archive the various pieces of helpful information you run across in one place (your existing site maybe)?I realize its the farthest thing from a small undertaking of course. But if you feel inclined, I think it'd be an extremely valuable service to the community: for both beginner and advanced developers alike. Your "Knowledge Base" so to speak on your site for Fly! was more than invaluable and I know for fact that something akin would be here as well.Just a thought to consider.Take care,Elrond

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