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bob.bernstein

SCASM Dot Command and the FS2004 update

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SCASM Dot Command and the FS2004 UpdateHas anyone noticed the difference in the night display of SCASM Dot commands between the original FS2004 and the update?I am finding the DOT's much bigger and more solid when viewed from a distance and more solid when viewed up close. Before the update, the lights had a more natural diffused appearance and were barely noticeable at large distances. In my opinion the DOT command was much better in the origianl FS2004. The DOTs now look pretty ugly and detract from the night views of sceneries that use them.I seriously doubt that MS will consider a patch, but it would be welcome.Does anyone know of substitute ways to achieve lights that are less intense and more diffused?Jim Jones

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HiWhen FS2004 came out both Dot() and Light() lost visibility range. As per your finding, this could be considered, in a way, a correction. I wonder if the Brightness() command will affect the Dot() visibility. I never could get Brightness() working.Regards, Luis

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Hi Jim,>I seriously doubt that MS will consider a patch, but it would>be welcome.I think the Dot command is considered as obsolete by MS and officially no longer supported (although it still works). More modern commands to make lights are Light or the use of effect files. But I have not yet found a good light command that gives realistic results.

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Thanks gentlemen for your comments.I never was able to get brightness commands to work either. FS2000,FS2002, and the original FS2004 DOTs are smaller and more realistic than those with the updated FS2004.Arno, I'll need to review the Light command and Effects you mentioned and learn how to use these tools. I currently use SCASM 2.60, but have found the Light command in SCASM 2.85 documentation. After some testing I learned the following about the DOT command when used in FS2004 the updated version:I have been able to improve my scenery using DOT commands a little. I discovered that the use of the DOT command within an AREA( 5 .....gave a larger and more opaque dot than if it resided within anAREA( b ...A very unexpected result. The red dot seems to be about 2/3 the size when used within an AREA( b.... and is more transparent giving a more realistic result.Red DOTs are the brightest, followed by orange, yellow, green and blue.DOTs created with a REF command containing no v1 can be seen at further distances as a function of the z value in the DOT( x z y) command.Dots created with a REF command containing a v1= value can be seen at further distances as a function of the v1 value and seems to be independant of the z value.Colored DOTs using no v1 value and a z value of 100 meters can be seen as follows:Red extinguishes ( suddenly disappears) at about 16500 ft distanceOrange and yellow fade away at about 6300 ftBlue fades away at about 2500 ftGreen fades away at about 1500 ft.Thus the distance ratios are about 1, .38, .15 and .09 for red, (yellow and orange), blue and green. These fade distance ratios may hold at other values of z.The extinguishing distances for Red DOTs when v1 is NOT given:z (meters) distance(ft)2 140020 380050 8300100 16500200 33800The extinquishing distance for Red DOTs when v1 IS givenv1 distance(ft)300 730500 15002000 65005000 1640010000 3280020000 47500

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Hi Jim,If you are designing for FS2004, I am surprized SCASM 2.6 would give you any good results. I recommend you use the latest 2.91 or the beta 2.95f - Hot News.W. Sieffert

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Jim.Very interesting findings. Despites SCASM being "two generations older", it is very useful and handy!However I do not understand your references to the z argument. Is it not the altitude of the dot?Regards, Luis

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Yes, Luis, the z value relates to the altitude of the DOT.I appreciate Mr Seiffert's heads up about the latest versions of SCASM and have downloaded v2.91 to see what it contains. I doubt that it will change the coding of the DOT command. SCASM continues to give good results on my scenery and so far the DOT command is the only one that seems to have changed from FS2004 and it's update. We are lucky that MS has allowed those old commands to continue to work. Perhaps there would be a huge howl from the flight sim scenery designers if they were to abandon them.I've had some success with gMax on the simple stuff, but I envy those who understand and use gMax on complex objects such as planes.

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>SCASM continues to give good results on my scenery and so far>the DOT command is the only one that seems to have changed>from FS2004 and it's update. We are lucky that MS has allowed>those old commands to continue to work. Perhaps there would>be a huge howl from the flight sim scenery designers if they>were to abandon them.Hi Jim,I agree 100% with you. The only problem with SCASM is if the author gives up supporting the tool. This was not the case up to now and I hope it will keep that way. In my modest opinion there has been some confusion about MS writing in the SDKs "... this instruction is obsolete" or "this will not be supported in future versions of MSFS". May be this only mean that more complex features will not use these commands anymore. Do you invest on a powerful wordprocessor if it would not open TXT files?I hope that some fellow designer in this forum will soon develop a tool to convert old models in usable FS2004 format. I consider a complete waste of time to remodel some objects that I made in the past just because I can not call it with XML code.Regards, Luis

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>I hope that some fellow designer in this forum will soon>develop a tool to convert old models in usable FS2004 format.>I consider a complete waste of time to remodel some objects>that I made in the past just because I can not call it with>XML code.As Luis is aware of I am planning to work on such a tool :). Only time is a bit limited lately. I do agree that it would be a waste of time to have to design the same object again.At this moment I am working on two different tools that are needed for such a conversion. One is a tool that is capable of reading an object (SCASM code, API macro) and give you a collection of textures, polygons, etc. This data can then be used to write the same object in the new format.The second tool is a compiler that allows us to make MDL objects in the new Fs2004 style using SCASM code.If anyone has ideas, suggestions or whatever (or maybe wants to help :D) let me know, all feedback is welcome.

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I'll help you test your programs. I would think getting the textures to stick in the correct locations would be the biggest problem to overcome.As I said before, I failed stick figures in the first grade. I have a heck of a hard time just texturing a rectangle in gmax.I think I would rather practice stalls in a real aircraft than design and texture in GMAX. And I don't like doing stalls in the real aircraft. :-lolW. Sieffert

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Arno,I wonder if it has sense to make converter for older, non 2002+ compatible SCASM commands. I guess You can make converter for the new FS2004 SCASM commands a lot faster although there are a lot of people that will be very happy for converter for old code.If You need my assistance, please don't hesitate to ask.Otherwise I do agree that Dot() command is obsolete and should be replaced with Light() command. But really as the question was raised, for how long Microsoft will support even FSDS 2.2x SCASM code, maybe only for FS2006... It would be a pitty since SCASM code is nice to read and understandable although ASM isn't so far away either.Best regards,Goran BrumenFS Slovenija teamhttp://slovenia.avsim.net

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Hi Goran,What I have in mind is that the tools reads any SCASM code (Fs2002 floating point commands and also older integer point commands). Based on this information a new object is then written using the Fs2004 RIFF format.I would like to say once again that SCASM code is not obsolete just because it is SCASM. I have already made a test version of FreeSC that allows me to make a fully Fs2004 style object with SCASM code. There are some problems with this version of FreeSC, so it can not be released as it is now. But it indicates that we can make new style objects with SCASM code. At this moment I am looking at other alternatives to get a SCASM compiler for the RIFF format.If there are people who are really interested in this or have done some experimenting with this, I would like to invite you over to my website, where we have a user group to discuss this subject.

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:-lol That is a much more efficient way to say what I am trying to explain :).

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Back to the DOT subject.After several hours of frustration trying to understand what has happened to the DOT command in the FS2004 update I have a few moreconclusions. However, since no one else has commented on seeing thesame problems my conclusions may be suspect. Perhaps I have a corrupted FS2004 update installation or the graphic card used in the tests (an nVidia GeForce TI4600) displays differently than other cards.The following are some observations:The FS2004 update DOT command displyed a brighter, rounder DOT thanthe original FS2004, FS2002 or FS2000.If the DOT was NOT directly over a StartSurface area it showed at itssmallest, most diffuse appearance regardless of the type AREA in which the DOT was coded.Some DOTs appeared bigger and more opaque than others. If the DOT was on an object, such as on the upper corner of a building, and the building was above a surface created with the StartSurface command sequence, the brightness could be affected. The brightest and most opaque DOTs seemed to appear with an area command other than AREA( b ..... and with an underlying influence of a Surface.It seemed there was a contradiction how the Surface influences thebrightess/diffuse properties of the DOT. In one case of an airport, the taxiways created with StartSurface commands, appeared first in the SCASM coding followed by buildings using DOTs. Those DOTs were within an AREA( 5 .... and on buildings above the Surface and appeared larger and opaque. Replacing the AREA( 5 .... with an AREA( b.... made the smallest, most diffuse DOT.In another case, where a base Surface was coded first followedby the DOTS on a building, the larger DOTs appeared. Changing thecoding so that the Surface followed the building then yielded thesmaller/most diffuse DOTs.The size of the DOTs was observed by moving as close to them as possible. The following measurements were made using a 19 inch screenand with the FS2004 update.Biggest DOT within an AREA( 5 ... influenced by a StartSurface = 0.5" DOT after using Area( b ... with a StartSurface influence = 0.4"DOT after using Area( b ... corrected Startsurface influences = 0.3"Moving away from the closest point the DOT quickly appeared smaller.At some distance and beyond the size seemed to stabilize. At a set distance from the DOT the size did not change with the ZOOM.The smallest and most diffuse DOT was the one I was trying to achieve. It appeared round and diffuse and with distance away from the DOT it began to fade to a dim glow. The bigger/opaque DOTs did not fade, but extinguished once beyond their range.As a comparison the FS2002 DOTs have more of an 8 sided star shapeemanating from a center circle. The diagonal points are longer than the vertical or horizontal points such that they seem to fit in arectangular area. They are diffuse and even though they arebigger than the FS2004 update DOTs their diffuse quality make themappear less bright.There may be other conditions that affect DOT brightness but theones mentioned above were the only ones discovered while tryingto achieve minimum brightness/maximum diffuse DOTs in my own scenery.Its seems unreasonable that the DOT command should be a function ofthe AREA type used or whether or not it appears over a Surface or the sequence that the Surface is coded in relation to the DOT command. Could it be MS messed up with the DOT or do I have a faultyFS2004 update installation? I'd appreciate confirmation of some ofthese odd observations or failure to see them from a scenery designer.

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