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bob.bernstein

Good graphical scenery editing tools?

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I'm new here! This forum definitely needs a FAQ, as I'm sure this question gets asked by every new person here, so sorry!Anyway, the area around my FBO in FS2004 is just random autogen stuff. I'd like to upgrade the area with actual satellite imagery, add some roads, and add new buildings at the FBO (which just renovated).I downloaded the scenery SDK but I just don't have the time to futz with text files (I do that for a living as a programmer).I'd be happy to BUY a good visual program that lets me add satellite scenery, roads, trees?, and buildings, and ideally allows me to add custom textures to the buildings too (I'm planning on taking photos of my FBO). Can someone recommend a good tool that works with FS2004, that also might have tips on acquiring the highest-quality satellite imagery and terrain data available (I'll also buy this if necessary)?Thanks!P.S. I've already downloaded AFCAD and updated my runways and taxiways - I just need to handle the rest of the facelift to make the Madison, WI area visually worth flying around in the virtual world.

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If you "AIN'T" got time to futz, then you are in the wrong area. There are no commercial, shareware, or freeware programs, that are pushbutton easy 1, 2, 3 and the scenery is magically compiled and running in the flight simulator!If you want to lay-down terrain data, then look at the following:Ground2k*.zipAutoasm*.zip - search this forum for the locationLWMViewer.zipIf you want to improve or add an airport:SceneGenX - http://www.airportforwindows.com/AFCAD221.zipMost of the posters in this forum don't mind answering an old question by a newcomer, as long as an honest search is done first. Anyone interested in doing an FAQ is surely encouraged! Wanna Volunteer!!!W. Sieffert

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>If you "AIN'T" got time to futz, then you are in the wrong>area. There are no commercial, shareware, or freeware>programs, that are pushbutton easy 1, 2, 3 and the scenery is>magically compiled and running in the flight simulator!That's all I really needed to know. I had found a couple commercial "scenery editors" but they either weren't updated for 2004 or didn't have all the features I wanted. I was asking mostly for opinions here on whether they were any good. >If you want to lay-down terrain data, then look at the>following:>>Ground2k*.zip>Autoasm*.zip - search this forum for the location>LWMViewer.zipAll right - I'll start here. >If you want to improve or add an airport:>>SceneGenX - http://www.airportforwindows.com/>AFCAD221.zipYep, already did that as per my P.S.>Most of the posters in this forum don't mind answering an old>question by a newcomer, as long as an honest search is done>first. Anyone interested in doing an FAQ is surely>encouraged! Wanna Volunteer!!!I thought I had done an honest search for *visual* tools first. I just wanted someone to validate my frustration in finding something that might actually work.If I have to futz with data files then so be it. But I'm surprised there isn't a comprehensive tool readily available. >

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First you announce you're new here, then you announce what you think is wrong with this forum.Then you say you don't want to spend time with text files.You really expect people to try to help you?Bill's response was predictable. I had a very similar reaction to a very similar post from a fellow named Andrew...you can see that post back a page author is turner112. Read thru the thread. That author changed his viewpoint entirely. Note by the end of the thread he stopped looking for an FAQ.

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I would hazard a guess that MS might have some tools they aren't sharing.When I was buying Flight Simulators for the U.S. Navy, I got to see many tools built and utilized by the Contractor's that were part of the delivery to the U.S. Navy.Some of these tools dealt with terrain design for the flight simulator visual systems. The Contractor considered the tool proprietary and if the U.S. Navy wanted an updated scenery database, you can guess what the cost my be.On the other hand, the compilers provided in the SDKs, are probably the compilers used by MS to compile the new XML style scenery. BGLCOMP.EXE is capable of being run by a batch file to compile the entire XML style scenery.Lastly, we are fortunate to have a cadre of talented individuals providing excellent design tools for free.W. Sieffert

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>First you announce you're new here, then you announce what>you think is wrong with this forum.>Then you say you don't want to spend time with text files.>You really expect people to try to help you?Excuse me. I thought I was being polite when I said I was new, and announcing that usually begs forgiveness if the answer I seek is readily available in a FAQ.THEN I said that I had done some looking through the site for an existing FAQ. Obviously, if there had been such a FAQ I wouldn't have had to ask my question. As I pointed out, this seems like something people ask ALL THE TIME, so not having a FAQ (and forcing us newbies to bug you old-timers with the same old questions) *is* indeed something wrong with the site. Without a FAQ, we're forced to ask "dumb" questions that everyone here already knows the answer to(probably because you asked at some earlier point in time), which makes us newbies look lazy and ungrateful. I've seen this attitude on forums time and again. You're all too busy to make a FAQ, which would save everyone a ton of time (and potential hurt feelings of people who are merely ASKING a QUESTION), and then treat people with honest questions as lazy idiots, yet these messages are riddled with comments like "why don't YOU make a FAQ?". I'm new here, know next to nothing, and you want ME to make a FAQ? Really, I didn't expect the third degree on here - most aviation-related forums are actually filled with really helpful people who LIKE helping, not trying to make everyone feel dumb and a waste of time.All you had to do was say there are no good tools like the kind I am looking for, so I will have to use the SDKs, but here are some good documents to help you get started. Short, concise, and polite. That's all I was asking for.

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>I would hazard a guess that MS might have some tools they>aren't sharing....>Lastly, we are fortunate to have a cadre of talented>individuals providing excellent design tools for free.I agree the best tools are not available to end-users. But the commercial tools I've looked at seem to fall short of what a good tool should be able to do. Conversely, I thought AFCAD was pretty well-designed and full-featured - but it only lets you do aiports.Essentially, what I want to do should be pretty simple, but going the SDK route makes it much more difficult than I think it should be. If you can recommend even a basic design tool that will at least let me do satellite terrain alignment and roads, I would be grateful.

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Well, since you feel your approach to this forum was appropriate, its a wonder that you got two old timers annoyed. <>Heads up...just a quick alert...something you seem to have forgotten... Anyone teaching on this forum is volunteering to help others. If you get any help, your beholden to that person. He/She will likely only ask for politeness and/or respect, but you owe him/her that much. When you assert that these volunteers haven't worked hard enough...you cross a line.If you review the thread I suggested you may learn a lot. If you ask actual design questions, I'll be more than happy to help.

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>Well, since you feel your approach to this forum was>appropriate, its a wonder that you got two old timers annoyed.My "approach" to this forum was to ask a detailed question for information, beginning with an apology for asking what I knew was probably a FAQ, but without a forum FAQ to refer to, I had to ask.But I got jumped on for suggesting maybe the forum needs a FAQ.><a ton of time >>>>Heads up...just a quick alert...something you seem to have>forgotten... Anyone teaching on this forum is volunteering to>help others. If you get any help, your beholden to that>person. He/She will likely only ask for politeness and/or>respect, but you owe him/her that much. When you assert that>these volunteers haven't worked hard enough...you cross a>line.I don't think I ever asserted such a thing. In fact I pointed out that if a FAQ existed, then needless conversations like this one would not happen. You seem to have taken my question as an insult to this forum, which I assure you it wasn't. Why so sensitive? >If you ask actual design questions, I'll be more than happy to>help.I don't need help with design - I need help with tools. I guess this is entirely the wrong forum.

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"Note by the end of the thread he stopped looking for an FAQ."LOL...I stopped looking a bit earlier than that, Bob - just before I started that thread, actually ;)But what's being said in this thread shows two things - first, there's no FAQ ;)Moreso, as I found out rather quickly, this forum is a little unusual, and quite different from most forums I've been to around the net - The experienced people in here don't seem to get annoyed by people asking the same question over and over.. and over... Hmmm... it's odd, but it seems true.I think there should be a FAQ, honestly - but my questions were answered so quickly, it may not have made a difference; in fact, having the "old-timers" respond was way better, probably, because they can respond to specific questions, and they can ask questions. If it's true that the tools change really quickly, then a FAQ about the tools may not be the best idea; a more general "readme" about FS' various elements of scenery design, and which tools, historically, have worked well for editing/creating them, is probably more along the lines of what I'd like to see.But again, it's different in here, and I'm glad to see it. If you "old-timers" could just share your secrets of patience, I'd be much obliged.Andrew

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Howdy,Andrew, the best document that I know of that summarizes the ins and outs of the FS landscape display engine is "tmf_manual.zip" by Christian Stock, here in the library. It doesn't talk much about tools - and those change frequently, as you point out - but the display basics haven't changed much since FS2000 and thus his manual is still very helpful.As for the "graphical editor" debate: not sure whether this got pointed out in the other thread but I believe the simple reason why there is no payware WYSIWYG tool for "non-experts" is that a programmer/developer stands to make way more money from selling add-ons produced with his/her utility than by selling a few copies of the utility itself. However, I would hasten to add that many of the available freeware utilities are very well designed and sufficiently versatile to create anything that can be done for FS. One important downside of any "simplified" utility is that it's a black box and thus the newbie user doesn't know why problems arise, if he/she even realizes that there are problems. Case in point are several faulty freeware mesh files generated with a click-and-drop tool like SRTM2BGL. IMHO, quality work requires background knowledge and lots of first-hand experience.Cheers, Holger

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<>Assuming you mean with the techniques of design...I just recognized that the fun of design is not the new flying location, its the learning process. If I end up with a new ability, or understanding the goal was reached. If I end up with a lucky break and a nice looking scenery, but I don't understand how I got there, nothing was gained.Assuming you mean patience with other people, well I'm not very good there, so I switch from teacher to learner on that one.Could be I don't have your perspective..since I've been designing scenery as an addiction for so many years, I don't frequent many other types of forums. I don't know any scenery design forum, thou, that has collated this faq concept, and there are quite a few design forums out there. This one is the most active imho. There are some wonderful design guides out there for techniques that are obsolete. I suspect that once those authors realized how quickly there work becomes obsolete, they hesitated to rewrite their work year after year.

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I do not generally participate in threads intiated by anonymous users. While this is an anonymous internet forum and everyone is free to not reveal anything about themselves, even a signature to their post, it seems to me that AvSim is all about generating a feeling of community, and anonymous posts run completely contrary to that. But, this is just my pet peeve and everyone is free to disagree, of course.Nonetheless, the initial poster (whatever his name may be) raised a valid point - beginners have no ready source of information other than asking vague and general questions.Because of this, I am in the process of putting together a list of essential scenery tools and links for beginners. Hopefully, some of the more experienced designers here (like Arno, Dick, Edgar, Holger, William, etc.) will consent to look it over when it is done and provide suggestions, comments, and corrections. Then, it will be a simple matter to get it pinned to the top of this forum.It may be a while before I can get back to this project, however, as my peacock has fallen deathly ill and I am presently ministering to him with all sorts of medecine 24 hours a day in hopes that he will recover.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/89675.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/89676.jpgBest regards.Luis

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>I do not generally participate in threads intiated by>anonymous users. While this is an anonymous internet forum andI don't know why you got the impression that I was anonymous or wanted to be anonymous. My profile has enough relevant information to find out where I live, how to email me, and to learn that I am a student pilot. With that knowledge (and with the information in my original post) you can probably guess that I do not want to make a career of scenery editing. I just want to update the area around my FBO so I can practice in the simulator and "see" the real landmarks that I do in "real life". For for my nickname, well, I've been using that for over a decade, and I'm more likely to get that as a forum ID than any variation of my real name. >Nonetheless, the initial poster (whatever his name may be)>raised a valid point - beginners have no ready source of>information other than asking vague and general questions.And I for one thought my questions were pretty specific. As a pilot and professional software developer, I always try to be as concise as possible. >Because of this, I am in the process of putting together a>list of essential scenery tools and links for beginners.This would be welcome and extremely handy!>It may be a while before I can get back to this project,>however, as my peacock has fallen deathly ill and I am>presently ministering to him with all sorts of medecine 24>hours a day in hopes that he will recover.Best wishes - you have a beautiful bird.

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>Assuming you mean with the techniques of design...I just>recognized that the fun of design is not the new flying>location, its the learning process. If I end up with a new>ability, or understanding the goal was reached. If I end up>with a lucky break and a nice looking scenery, but I don't>understand how I got there, nothing was gained.This is likely where our attitudes differ. I'm busy enough with my jobs and flight training - I really have no desire to understand how MS scenery *works* at a technical level (although I'm sure it's interesting, and if I had enough time and interest I would probably eventually talk myself into writing my own scenery editing program). This is why I came in looking for a ready-made program that would save me some time and effort.Now I realize I might have to mess around with a few data files, but there are also probably some slightly less amazing tools out there that will at least let me get close to what I want. I'm taking a look at TerraBuilder right now.You will have to accept that not all of us have the passion you do for scenery design - I just want to learn enough to help me with my passion, which right now is learning to fly.

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