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rhumbaflappy

Autogen FS9 How did they DO it?

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I know one can use Autogen to define sections of individual tiles, but I am sure they did not edit each individual tile when placing autogen. We are going to be getting a program that will allow us to use TerraScene to create our near photo quality BMP files using LULC, Land Class, and Shape File Data to create very accurate files, is there or will there be a method to define Regen based on Defined Texture? I know one can use Ground2K and trace roads Lakes and rivers. I had no problem in FD2002 creating my entire state and sourounding area with water/lake efects but no Autogen. One knows there are thousands of BMB files in just 1/4 Degree tile. I for one know it would take me even though I would havbe the time many months if not years to just edit my state of West Wirginia. I am sure FS developers did not do it this way.There may have been mention of this subject but, I do not recall seeing it.Richard;

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Hi Richard.I think they handmade all the CUSTOM bitmaps and their autogen files. I counted 1229 CUSTOM autogen in the cities directory and it's children. Over the course of 1.5 years of FS9's development, it's very possible a demented designer crew could have done the chore. :)Many are probably reused from FS2004.The landclass textures have 391 autogen files associated with them... many probably reused from FS2002. They are the bulk of the autogen, and are placed automatically by the use of landclass textures.=====================Then there are the bridges... placed as VTP2 lines ( the BR*.bgl files ). And there are the vector autogen ( telephone poles and such ), and there are the notorious XML placed barns, cows, fish-fry joints, minimalls... These are placed automatically, more or less.Dick

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Dick;I would agree to that, but what I am refering to is unpopulated areas. As you probably know I live in a mostly forested area, and I know. If I just 1/4 of a degree of custom texture that is 4,992 BMP's if I figure right that is over 1,000 BMP's for just Daytime texture. I think what I am asking is how autogen is generated onto default texture say forested areas. I am sure they have a preset code to have the trees planted on those areas, or diferent types ov buildings placed on diferent types of city texture, be it urban, small, medium, or large cities. With the upcoming program that will usr TeraScene generated files, I would think one would be able to tell apart of the program to place autogen on predefined types of of texture.Do you now know what I am asking? Richard;

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Hello Richard,maybe I do not understand your question completely, but autogen objects exist only on generic texture bitmaps and on some(!) selected custom city bitmaps. To cover a large forest area with not much details you reuse 1 forest tile with autogen notations again and again (Or let it be 2-3 bitmaps to produce some variety).I didn't count the bitmaps in the FS directory, but there are not enough to cover the whole world with bitmaps which are used only once.By reusing default textures and combining them with vector data for land/water areas and for road lines etc. you get a fairly realistic presentation with minimal scenery size.PS.To describe the rough structure of large areas (wood, desert, cities) you use landclass sceneries which gives you a accuracy of around 1.2km. It fills a area with the mentioned generic bitmap tiles, reused again and again.Best regards,Edgar

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Edgar;Thanks that was what I was wanting to know. Now I have to look/read some information on this. I use TerraScene that uses USGS data to produce very detailed and accurate TGA's with predefined texture for each landclass. We will soon be geting a program that will convert the TGA's or BMP' to FS9 scenery texture. What I am wondering is if one will be able somewhere along the process to define each texture used within the BMP and have the proper autogen placed upon it. I guess I should wait until we get some more details on the program.I had made over 4.6GB of scenery for FS2002 using TerraScene, but other than the water effects, I guess wouldn't be considered autogen, I had just the defined texture. Richard;

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I was interested in your comment about Terrascene and FS9. I am not sure what the issue is when using its results in FS9. I have done that for up to a 1/4 tile without any problem other than it was off in its placement by about 1/2 mile. Never spent anytime to fix it since I find too many things less appealing than the generic texture system in FS2002/4.I used Terrascene to create the TGA. Converted it to 256 colors and multiple of 256 dimensions (probably where the error crept in), and ran the result through Terrabuilder using the information in the TXT file Terrascene produces with LAT/LON.My issues - of course no Autogen. No one will ever manually place autogen on over 2000 textures BMPS (39km x 39km). There is no way presently to automatically place Autogen on non-FS textures since there is no key as to placement and orientation vis-a-vis structures and roads/treelines, etc. Unless there are secret keys in FS textures Microsoft did them manually, probably with low wage summer student help. I notice that the orientation on FS2004 is much better. So money was spent there. I have played with Autogen SDK tool. It is very easy to use and allows you to "improve" on Microsoft's work.I find that the textures from Terrascene are not as good as those from Microsoft, not considering Autogen. They are quite individually larger and not as detailed as Microsoft's. I have converted the FS2002 testures to use in Terrascene and they look somewhat better. However, there remains the issue of blending. This is a subtle, but in my opinion necessary, function. Without it my eyes see an unappealing synthetic array of texture tiles. This is especially true if you use the original Terrascene or HITW textures. Finally the loading time is tripled when using a Terrascene 1/4 tile area in FS2004. Disk is cheap but time used can be annoying.The answer, in by opinion, is a derivative of a program like Ground2K. It already contains the code to draw roads, streams, polys, coasts, etc. in FS2004. However, the input is from hand tracing over a background map and tediously excluding the original elements. I thought that Terrascene might be some sort of vehicle to produce input for Ground2K. Probably not. My guess is that it would be best to use parts of Ground2K and front-end them with code that converts government, or private, road, stream, etc. data into tables that would then be processed by part of Ground2k as if someone drew them by hand. In this way we preserve all of the current, and future, features that Microsoft builds into its landcover texture system along with all of the characteristics of the new flattened road pathways, and perhaps excessively deep stream beds. Hopefully, Christian Fumey will produce such a product. Rather like a Terrascene for FS2xxx. For more accurate Landclass placement I strongly suggest using the FSGenesis product for the USA. There are others for areas beyond. Ground2K is excellent for tuning Landclass and providing quite nice texture assignments within a KM or so.I personally, am very satisfied with the FS2004 approach to place selected textures according to available landclass data. The blending of the edges to creates a very believeable appearance. The improved Autogen placement is another plus ( you can tune if you want). If any significant visual improvements are made they will be based upon this system and not externally produced land texture tiles.My thanks to Christian Fumey for Ground2k. I hope that he is working to adjust it to some of the changes found in FS2004. It works but is now awkward to use. I further hope that he has success in developing a process to convert road, hydro, etc. data so that it can automatically be placed atop Microsoft's texture system with greater accuracy. I know that by doing this manually the results in hilly areas is very nice. Finally, although not mentioned, you MUST have at least 38 meter elevation mesh. Without it accurate placement of roads and streams is not possible. Even with 38 meter mesh some tuning with Ground2k is needed to trim some elevations where roads run between 38 meter elevation points. Nit picking..Dick KLBE

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Hey Dick, I've basically been working on the solution you discused here. I do have a process to automatically create BGL's from government DLG data. I use Manifold to get the data in the correct projection and provide the lat / lon coordinates I need and with some software I've written and a little manual labor, the process works. For lakes, it works out real well, but for roads, rivers, streams and coastlines that is not the case.I've found that the souce DLG line data is just not accurate enough when placed on 30 meter dem data. I also found the problem is no better with 10 meter dem data. But I have found that scaling the dems down to LOD 9 (~90 meter horizontal resolution) gives a good visual appeal but is less accurate and is less impressive then using LOD 10 or 11. I don't think the problem lies completely with the source data. But a combination of source data inaccuracy along with the resampling process used to create elevation bgls is probably why I can't get a perfect match (however, I've come very close). Using the flattening switch in the terrain.cfg file helps a lot. But the flattening is much to wide in some cases. And up to this point, I haven't come up with a simple solution to be able to modify the flattening width. I've found in very steep terrain that the flattening switch just doesn't look to good. It really disrupts elevation data and leaves large chair like holes in the side of mountains.With that said, I've decided to work backwords. If I can't get the line data to match up to the dems, maybe I can get the dems to match up to the line data. I've been really looking at those dem bgl files but I'm at the same point Christian Stock is at. I don't know how to decipher the bit map data at the end of the files. So now I'm looking at modifying the source elevation data in some automated fashion using the line data as a reference. I'm hoping that if I can modify the source elevation data to flatten (in a much smaller scale then what FS9 uses) at the points in the dem cooresponding to vertices in the line data and then transfer those coordinates over to the line data, the program can them make the small translations necessary in the line data's vertices to match it up to the elevation data's new flatten points. It may not be perfectly accurate, but I'm hoping that in combination with 10 meter data, an impressive visual display would result. Below is an example of where I'm at. http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/40277.jpgLeland Steffensen.

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I've released what must be about 15,000 tiles in total -- which will grow to 20,000 by the end of the project. At present I've custom-autogenned about 20%. I've actually been awaiting the new FS9 autogen SDK tools, which will make the job easier, otherwise I'd be finished by now :)The secret is to get people to help -- some people actually like to autogen, as the result is fairly instant and impressive, allowing you to be the 'first' to fly over a newly created area.This is all photo-real, though, I don't know if it would be worth the same trouble for terrascene-type scenery. I think there's certainly a place for a tool which takes a good guess at what should be there. But if you're making scenery from real photos then it wouldn't be the same to automate the process.

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Terrascene looks quite good in FLY! obviously because it does the elevations and the roads. However, I had placement issues with the roads when using large 39kmx39km, or what FLY! calls quarter tiles. Smaller areas of 5km or 10km square area was reasonably accurate and thus a small error expanded in the larger areas. I thought that the error might have been in the Terrascene TGA that I was placing on top of FSGenesis 38M mesh. However, after your experiemce it may actually be with the DLG data. The cause may be the Datum thing. Since once mesh is placed and new roads are laid down the mesh, roads, and airports must all be based upon the same datum or funny things occur that are not easily interpreted. I have only looked very briefly at the Datum issue myself and tried some conversion programs to various Datums using my 39km texture area but I never found one that placed the roads where they should be with such a large area.A suggestion would be to do the slice thing that is done with terrain textures. That is operate with no more that say 5km square area and then integrate them later. The error may be small enough to not be relevant at this level. Always make each slice, or segment, very slightly larger than needed to make sure you have a decent match with the adjacent segment/slice. Flattening must be done at the mesh level with perhaps 5 or 6 agolrithims each offering various amounts of leveling. This allows the roads to either climb the mountain with a minimum of "excavation" or to almost cut straight through it. The width takes into account the easement area on each side of the road. Since you know where the road is you should be able to do the mesh points. Ground2K allows this to ne done manually and I have corrected some road sections that looked odd due to the road being trapped between two 38m points and sliding up the hill when actually the hillside should have been excavated to keep the road flat.One other note of hope is that my test area is a cut through the mountains East of Pittsburgh (route 30). Two roads transit the cut, one on each side of a stream. Using a small Terrascene texture area all three look quite good on top of 38m mesh. In fact tracing in Ground2K did not look any better. You probably know most of the above but just in case some tid-bit might help.Dick KLBE

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Hi Leland. For the US, I've been using TIGER data in the form of shape files for roads streams and waterbodies. It seems to work pretty well. I use it to make raster images for Ground2K.I've found the data for my area is very good, but I think the NED elevations I use might be off slightly. I recall a discussion in the mesh forum about different dems having an offset from the metadata provided with them... in other words, the metadata gave slightly inaccurate bounds or cell values.So perhaps the dems have other problems.Tiger data from ESRI:http://arcdata.esri.com/data/tiger2000/tiger_download.cfmYour picture is quite impressive!Dick

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