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rhumbaflappy

Converting Waterclass to Landclass

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As a rank, if fairly keen, amateur in this, I tend to use EZ-Landclass to make changes I want in FS9 - it's a great programme with a very gentle learning curve.However, it won't change waterclass to landclass, something I quite often want to do to correct coastline errors. For this I have to use Ground2K4, which is not so easy to use by half. I have had successes with this, but 75% of the time I find my efforts wasted and no WC-LC change happens - for what reason I never know. Does anyone know of a programme like EZ-Landclass that would let me change WC to LC without the angst I go through every time I try using Ground2K4? (And I do have the Grounbd2K4 for beginners guide too!).Thanks,Martin

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(Also have LWMViewer2 - can't see how to change between LC & WC here, though maybe I am missing something obvious).M.

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Hi Martin.Landclass and waterclass are two entirely different things. All areas of the planet do have both LC and WC. The problem is that for much of the world, the ACES team used value 100 for much of the world's landclass value... which happens to be an ocean water landclass. They should have made it rock or beach, then you wouldn't be confused that there is a landclass that is water. You can look at the world's landclass with TMFViewer and see that 6/10ths + is configured as water. You can also view the world's waterclass. ( worldlc.bgl and worldwc.bgl )Whether we see the landclass or waterclass depends on the LWM bgl ( land/water mask ). But if value 100 is the underlying landclass, it will look and behave as water. That's why you need to change it to a different value in order to perceive it.But if you had studied the SDKs before you started your project, Martin, you would most likely have already found your answer. Many of us use the tools, like SBuilder or SceneGenX or EZLandclass, without the slightest idea of the "rules" underlining re-design of the sim.Now for a timely rant:The ACES team does a great job with FS, but they do not design it from an Addon perspective. If they were involved in making addons that changed LWMs, VTPs, or airports themselves, they would have caught the design errors that re-designers face every day. I don't mean this so much as a criticism, but as a simple explanation as to why these things happen. The ACES team is creating the sim... not re-creating it... they are not paid for addressing re-design issues.LWM Areafills crash the sim unless they are in the base LWM bgl. Runways cannot be easily placed at new elevations. LWM bgls flatten the terrain, and the original mesh cannot be re-established. Excludes behave oddly concerning taxiway signs, and attached effects. VTP "end hooks" were never explained in the SDK, and our design of VTP lines sometimes causes autogen problems. There are VTP poly texture problems concerning night textures. And there is a "water" landclass, which should have been rock, sand or mud, to display the ocean bottom... letting LWM polys display the waterclass itself.Much of my hobby-time, as well as many others in this forum, is spent finding and explaining work-arounds to these "re-design" errors in the sim's terrain "engine".The ACES team has indicated there will be a release of some SDKs and tools with, or even before the release of FSX. Hopefully, the "re-design" issues will be eliminated in the new sim, and the SDKs will be complete and error free. Otherwise the timely release of SDKs will not make much sense.For the re-designers of the sim, we'll all do well to study these SDKs before we launch into our projects ( and use the search function of AVSIMs forums to find answers to common problems facing re-designers ).Dick

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Hi,I have to say I can see the (or possibly a) reason for having a 'water' landclass. Firstly, if there there were LWM polys covering most of the planet, it would be nigh-on impossible to alter anything covered by them without getting into the usual mess with replacing or altering default files.Second, it allows a very useful shorthand for 'sea level'. For small areas such as coastlines or lakes, the height specified by the LWM is going to be accurate but for larger areas you need to include the effects of the planet's curvature if the display's going to look right. If an area is marked as ocean, you can make assumptions about its contents and curve appropriately. If it's an LWM, how do you tell whether it's a flat one or a curved one? You could store them as pre-curved I suppose, but then you've got a huge amount of extra data to store and work with.I must admit that in writing the display engine for LWMViewer2 I've often hit a situation where I've gone "Aaah, so *that*'s why they do it that way". Other stuff... well, as you said, there's a difference between testing the supplied terrain and testing features that are built on top of it.I'd certainly welcome seeing the new SDKs as soon as possible instead of spending a year reverse-engineering the files :D I don't have a problem with the SDKs as they stand, apart from the tmfcompress bug in 2002 and 2004 where it creates empty files occasionally. Oh, and the spotty schema definitions in BGLCOMP. I think the documentation would most benefit from an overhaul.Is there a coherent list of all the bugs/misfeatures anywhere?Martin, to set a location to land in LV2 you need to first use the context-menu to select 'Edit Landclass'. It will create a new editable area under the cursor. Pick the landclass type you want from the editor palette (F4 if it's not already displayed) and just paint the landscape. When you're done, click 'Save' and it will offer to compile it. You might also want to switch the gridlines on and blending off, this will make it much more obvious where the individual landclass tiles are. It may also help to work in top-down mode.Note that the water category of landclass (100) affects a larger area than other landclass categories seem to. They all extend out beyond ther visible boundaries to allow for inter-tile blending, but Water/100 just blats the entire area so you lose a bit of all of the surrounding tiles too. You may need to edit a little further from the coast than you'd expect.What you see in LV2 *should* give you a good idea of what to expect in FS. Just remember to put the created BGL to somewhere FS can see it. If you need to re-edit it, you can't reload the BGL for more editing so keep the .RAW file around just in case.Cheers,Jim

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I will try out your suggestions. Thanks.Had a go with Ground2K4 yesterday, but although I follow the instructions to the letter (honest!) I keep getting error messages, or else everything goes through but no bgl file comes out when I click the generate bgl button. I waste SO much time with Ground2K4 I hardly ever use it these days - probably a lot of it my fault, but I do thing that something has happened to my Ground2K4 installation - I shouldn't be getting so many error messages. I ought to try reinstalling it - maybe something has been corrupted. (Problems usually start when I try to generate the NW/SE co-ordinates - the programme says 'NW searching' and stays like that till I cancel. So I add the co-ordinatesas decimals, like 45.33556 - but when I click OK I am told I haven't set the co-ordinates. But I have, exactly as in the examples! Drives me nuts!!!).Clearly no one could comment on what is happening in Ground2K4 unless they stood over me and watched me using it. As I say, I do occasionally get a useful bgl at the end (so I must be doing basically the right things), but not often! I'll try the LV2Thanks againM.

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Hi Dick,"The problem is that for much of the world, the ACES team used value 100 for much of the world's landclass value... which happens to be an ocean water landclass. They should have made it rock or beach, then you wouldn't be confused that there is a landclass that is water."I assume that you know this but Class 100 has a very important function in the sim: for the areas beyond LWM/VTP display boundaries it allows the terrain engine to show the approximate location and shape of water bodies and their different colors as defined in the worldwc.bgl. In other words, Class 100 is used to blend worldlc.bgl and worldwc.bgl.Cheers, Holger

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Hi Holger.I am aware of the terrain engine using the landclass value for distance viewing... and it supports my viewpoint. Had the design team been forced to remake landclasses everytime they redesigned a coastline, they would have found another means to determine water at a distance than using value 100 landclass!Dick

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