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Taildragger

Custom LandClassPoly Autogen

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Problem: For a southern Rocky Mountain project in FSX, how to create a landclass poly fill with say 90% aspen, 10% conifer autogen vegetation.The default poly fills with mixed evergreendeciduous all seem to use larch trees. While these give the correct Fall coloration, the percentage is not high enough and the models do not well represent aspen, when viewed in the texture dds files.As very nice aspen models do exist, one option would be to use the Autogen Annotator to change the vegetation mix in one of the default poly fills. However, this would mess things up everywhere else that fill is used, such as in the northwest where larch is appropriate.The ideal solution would seem to be creation of a new custom poly fill. But the SDK, tutorials, and forum posts I have seen do not make clear to my feeble mind how to proceed or whether this is even possible.Any advice would be most welcome.John

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Hi John,as a matter of fact, FSX allows you to create your own agn files for any land class set, even those that by default don't have agn files. The easiest approach would be to split your land class file into two, one that only uses the default classes and autogen, placed in a scenery folder without a texture folder.The other land class file only calls the class or classes you want to customize. You need to copy the default texture set (or make your own textures) into a texture subfolder that sits parallel to the land class bgl scenery folder. The last step is to make new agn files with the Autogen Annotator SDK by choosing the types of trees and densities you want (granted that Annotator "beast" is a marvel in non-intuitiveness but Luis Feliz-Tirado has provided us with a great tutorial for its use).FSX will also recognize custom agn files for land class polygons but they require a custom land class set of textures "underneath" to work properly, which might be overkill for your project.Hope that helps.Cheers, Holger

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Thanks, Holger -- that's a wealth of info. Let me make sure I grasp at least some of it.Your "easiest approach" sounds like the inverse of what I was planning. That is, instead of using aspen polygons to override the default landclass, it would first replace the default landclass with custom aspen landclass. Then I guess any necessary adjustment of the 1.2 km aspen groves would be done with polys filled with conifers, grass, rock, etc., as required.OK -- then the first step is just whatever bgls I need to create by modifying landclass using the default Olson table choices (and BTW your spreadsheet is an enormous help in working with those). No aspen yet.The second part I'm unsure about. To create the custom landclass, do I assign it one of the unused numbers in the table? How else would the sim distinguish it from the defaults? The SDK paragraph on custom landclass is not very enlightening.Finally, the autogen. Yes, without Luis' excellent tutorial, that would be a complete mystery. But how does the agn file I create with the editor get associated with the custom landclass? And does it go into the sceneryworldtexture folder?Again, your help is much appreciated.John

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Hello John,you can pick any (!) of the land class numbers from the table you wish, even the urban ones (if there's a reason to do so), and use that for your aspen class/textures. The classes and their names are "arbitrary" conventions; its the textures and agn files that define class content.As long as you keep your custom land class files separate from land class files that use default textures FSX will not get confused about having two classes with different content. In fact, one could set up a larger set of different custom land class textures all using the same class number; as long as each is listed in their own scenery/texture folder tree in the scenery library those classes would show their different contents in the sim. So which class to pick? That's where you consider the hard-coded aspects in which classes differ, based on my or other tables: number of variants (column Y), does each season has its own set (columns AB/AC), are there custom lightmaps (Z) and blending masks (AA), etc. Probably the most important consideration though is the slope-depending auto-switching of classes (columns G to V). Unless you want to also make custom slope classes (which you can) you should pick a class that suits your aspen class in terms of what happens when the slopes are steeper. If you want it to behave like regular forest (switching to rock only at very steep slopes) then pick one of the forest classes, e.g., #21. If you want it to switch on gentle slopes to mixed forest, pick one of the agricultural classes, e.g. #30. Or, if you want it to switch to open "grass", use class #44 or #63.For example, for one of my projects I have made a custom class for deciduous forest. I use an urban class, 115, because I want the deciduous type to switch to conifer at slope gradients of about 11 degrees. I've made dummy (black) night light textures and custom blending masks (described in my spreadsheet on an extra page) because that's what urban classes require. I've also created custom classes #6 and #23, which are my conifer forest. The result is a neat effect where terrain determines which type of forest occurs, offering a nice contrast of light and dark green. To create the autogen file you load the corresponding summer (_su) .bmp file of your aspen set for each variant (_su1, _su2, etc.) in turn and do the annotations. When you save each variant's autogen file Annotator will create the .agn file with the corresponding suffix.Cheers, Holger

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Excellent explanation, Holger. The mental picture is getting pretty clear.Hopefully, I now just need to read a bit more and experiment with the tools and procedures to see if everything clicks.Many thanks for your kind and patient tutoring!John

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