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jkanold

Scenery design in FSX

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So are any of the scenery designers getting hints and tips from MS about the new SDK that will be coming out or will we have to wait until long after the release to learn how to take advantage of the new features? It would seem to me to be in MS's best interest to give some at least technical hints to the development community before the product becomes available. I would imagine they'd get a boost in sales knowing that new aftermarket addons were ready when or shortly after the product is released. Art Martin

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Thanks Luis. I've been checking into the web logs from time to time.Art

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Hi Art!I'm with you on this FSX pre-release disclosure issue; see my "marching in the streets:-walksmile mini-blog post" on this after you raised the issue at:http://www.scenerydesign.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1938By the way Art, did you ever figure out a way to do the re-naming of default/3rd party data texture files inside your program routines so that we could use your astonishing autogen editor utility to put autogen onto our own copies of those types of texture tiles instead of just being able to use it for putting autogen on photoreal tiles? Certainly it is a major breakthrough tool of great advantage for photoreal scenery developers, but do you think it might be adapted to work for those of us freeware guys who still are trying to get the most out of the FS world which is not yet covered by photoreal sceneries?:-zhelpIt would be great to be able to use your utility for adding autogen trees around edges of fields and water bodies, put houses on default streets etc. like those seen in BEV: http://www.flightsim-bevs.com/and in a few tiles from Bill Lyons' "Silver Wings" VFR environment replacement: http://library.avsim.net/search.php?Search...=root&Go=Search. Incidentally, has anyone figured out how Bill got those grassy/grainy textures to appear in the normally magnified/aliased/washed-out ground texture areas we see when flying low and slow at treetop level in FS? I think Bill's apparent "texture within a texture" method shows great promise for developing new ways of enhancing the FS environment. I haven't seen anthing quite like this since Richard Goldstein's "moving grass" airport propwash effect in his outstanding Georender Orcas Island scenery released via FS-Addon at: http://secure.simmarket.com/product_info.p...products_id=737Here's hoping we can maximize our use of FS2004 file formats while we await the new FSX.GaryGB

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Gary, I've never had the time to really look into what you propose in my autogen program. As with most of us that create scenery creation tools, our primary motivation is to create the tool for our own use and suddenly the lightbulb goes on that someone else might just benefit from it. Unfortunately, for your needs, my own motivation in this has only included photoreal tiles. One of my problems incorporating tiles without the conventional photoreal naming convention that details the geographic position of the tile, is that I built in the ability to see those photoreal tiles in a mosaic grid to make selection easier. Without that positional information, the grid blows up. I'd need to do some extensive coding to ensure the different name formats were handled in a much different way. I'm certain it's not that big a deal but it's a question of where my resources go right now. Maybe down the pike I'll tackle that. Actually, my tool creation interests lately have gone in a new direction. I got a rude awakening when I released my product and found that existing airports didn't line up with photoreal tiles. I thought it would be a simple thing to use AFCAD to realign the airports but I was left with taxiway signs and airport buildings in even worse shape than had I left them alone. I'm experimenting with a method of taking a reworked AFCAD file, finding all the FS bgl files that contain sign, building, and winsock info for that airport and allowing the user to offset them by a given amount. It works right now for the taxiway signs since their info is easily found but the buildings and other objects are hidden and harder to locate. Calculating the offsets is a bit of a pain so I need to streamline that as well maybe with a FSUIPC link into FS and a graphical interface. All this while trying to come up with version two of my commercial Phoenix area scenery. There simply aren't enough hours in a day.Art

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Art:Thanks for the explanation on the current feasibility of adapting your autogen editor for data tiles; I had seen an older post you responded to elsewhwere indicating that special geo-referenced naming and re-naming would have to be used in order to do this with your program. I am sure it would be a great productivity booster to us data texture scenery tweakers when you get a chance to look into it; I for one would be glad to pay a modest fee for such a tool if it saves me a lot of my limited time.I think we will still be tweaking data tiles when FSX comes out because the default autogen placement may not properly depict areas we are intimately familiar with that we want to be "as real as it gets" without having to create both photoreal scenery tiles and all the custom autogen over same. Certainly if we were all lucky enough to have an excellent quality combined photoreal and autogen scenery like your "Simulating ART's Phoenix Metropolitan Area" at: http://www.flight1.com/esd-products.asp?product=simartphx which covered our own area of interest, we'd be happy campers. But even with the ingenious enhancements of "local landclass and contextually-derived sythesized autogen" offered to data texture users by UT-USA and BEV, sometimes it just doesn't adequately match what we know of a particular scenery area.It sounds like you are about to develop yet another revolutionary program which might solve the very troublesome "misplaced airport" problem many users have probably been agonizing over at great expense of time spent in trial and error. If you solve this, you are likely to be revered for all time in the FS Hall of Fame!:-bigangel Best wishes for a successful outcome on your current projects, and thanks for considering the possible future adaptation of your autogen program.GaryGB

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To return to the orgional question...>So are any of the scenery designers getting hints and tips>from MS about the new SDK that will be coming out or will we>have to wait until long after the release to learn how to take>advantage of the new features?Apart from the blogs already mentioned, there is very little information about the new FsX at this moment. Also for SDKs and design information, I would suspect that those are tested by their beta-testing teams first. And I wouldn't expect that to leak to a general forum like this. So I am afraid we will have to wait for the definite information till it really becomes available.But maybe once we see more screenshots and maybe get some general information on the feature, we can substract from that some useful information for ourselfs.It is of course in the interest of MS to keep addon designers happy and working on cool stuff, so I really hope that we get those SDKs as soon as possible. But on the other hand we don't want information at a to early moment when the product is not yet ready and things can still easily change.

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"So are any of the scenery designers getting hints and tips from MS about the new SDK that will be coming out or will we have to wait until long after the release to learn how to take advantage of the new features?"Remember that we only announced the product a little over two weeks ago..."Apart from the blogs already mentioned, there is very little information about the new FsX at this moment. Also for SDKs and design information, I would suspect that those are tested by their beta-testing teams first. And I wouldn't expect that to leak to a general forum like this. So I am afraid we will have to wait for the definite information till it really becomes available."And"So are any of the scenery designers getting hints and tips from MS about the new SDK that will be coming out or will we have to wait until long after the release to learn how to take advantage of the new features? It would seem to me to be in MS's best interest to give some at least technical hints to the development community before the product becomes available. I would imagine they'd get a boost in sales knowing that new aftermarket addons were ready when or shortly after the product is released. "A couple of points:It's true that the SDKs are tested by an internal team, but they are handed to the SDK beta group almost simultaneously (within a week or two). The SDK beta group has historically been comprised of a diverse selection of professional *and* amateur add-on makers. We add folk to that group from time to time, but from a workflow standpoint, from a signal to noise standpoint, that group is a subset of the overall 3rd party community.SDKs by the very nature of what they are, are completed near the end of the cycle (as code stabilizes). Obviously we've had mixed success (and failure) with how timely they've been released (please note: released, not "finished") in the past. Giving technical hints too early is a double edged sword-- especially if any of the "hints" turn out to be features or tech that get pulled from the product or changed signifigantly.All I can say to that is we're sensitive to the issue, and I believe you'll see some change in that venue this time around.I'm unable to comment much further, but I would point you to the FAQ released at announce:http://fsinsider.com/articles/flight_simulator_x_faq.htmWhich I hope you'll notice, contains for the first time in my recollection, third party offerings as a prime concern.Cheers,Jason

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Jason, thank you so much for your reply and all of your concerns make perfect sense. We all know that the product you possess at this time could look drastically different from the one that gets placed on the shelf. I do assume however that there are certain features that your team has set in stone as far as benchmarks of success and hurdles you must reach before you set a firm release date. Those are the hints we'd like to know as soon as possible. For instance, it would seem logical to me that you'd know up front what the resolution of your photoreal layer will be. If you didn't know something like that I'd think it would hamper all other devlopment tasks. For many of us creating photoreal textures, source photos are difficult to find and even expensive as the resolution increases. The development time to cover a new area can be very long and tedious. To know the target resolution or even a ballpark ahead of time could save a tremendous amount of time and resources recreating those images later on to increase the resolution. I am so impressed by the blogs your design team have begun and the real presence you're showing in these forums and I really trust that you'll get the tidbits we're asking for out in due time so please don't take my continued requests as nagging. It's just my mammy used to say, "If you don't ask......"Art Martin

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Hi there Jason one thing I might ask is will or is it possable to add a leading zero to all runways out side of the U.S. I.E it's never 9/27 it's allways 09/27 infact the only place in the world that uses single digits is the U.S. In other words would the team have to re-write a huge amount of code to do this ?. The above has allways been a pet peve of mine. I will of course understand if you post nothing in responce to this but do bring it up at the next time you and the team meet. Dan Martin Team Flight Ontario.

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Yup that's what I would see as well. Although nothing is simple I for one (like I said in my last post) I hope the kind people in Redmond will be able to get all runways out side of the U.S. to have leading zeros on all runway ends that start with a single didgit. Oh of course to add that to calls to the audio end of things so that ATC will be able to vector you to say runway 01 instead of 1. See like I said nothing is as simple as it first seems LOL. Dan Martin.

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>Hi there Jason one thing I might ask is will or is it>possable to add a leading zero to all runways out side of the>U.S. I.E it's never 9/27 it's allways 09/27 infact the only>place in the world that uses single digits is the U.S. In>other words would the team have to re-write a huge amount of>code to do this ?. The above has allways been a pet peve of>mine. I will of course understand if you post nothing in>responce to this but do bring it up at the next time you and>the team meet.>> Dan Martin Team Flight Ontario.Just so's you guys know, we're not at the point where we can really talk about features. ANything I say on this matter is to be taken with a grain of salt.That being said, I went to ask a couple of people to see what the deal was/is. I saw two airports in the database (we looked through a few only a couple had single digit runway numbers), one in the US, and one outside the US (if I remember correctly Australia...).Both single digit runways were preceded by a "0"That's no guarantee that all airports have the same thing-- it's all a function of the data we have. If the *data* says 9/27 and not 09/27 we'll get 9/27-- unless someone has convincing proof that it really ought to be 09.Don't interpret my remarks as a guarantee of what will ship in the game-- only that what I saw at two airports exhibited the behavior you desire.So *maybe* at least two. No guarantee.:)Cheers,Jason

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Hey Art, no worries.Since we've only just announced that there *will* be a product, and not a true feature set, I am not at liberty to talk to too much specifics--even if we think something's locked down.In part that's a marketing concern with some real weight behind it. I'm sure that sounds unsatisfactory, but it's what we have to work with. :)That being said, keep an eye out for my blog this weekend (no, not some huge announcement or secret, just keep an eye out).Cheers,jason

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