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scott967

Slopes?

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Hello, all.Before I start let me say I searched the forum already for the answer to this and came up with nothing but tons of references to "flatten switches". I am not interested in flattens, so that said here goes . . . I installed the absolutely wonderful FSGenesis product into FSX last night (and for those interested they have a GREAT sale going on right now of global coverage at their web site). Everything looks literally awesome with the exception of my home airport, which ended up halfway on a plateau as a result of the 10m terrain setting. I bought FSG so I could take advantage of the FSG setting, but i am also attempting to create scenery of the industrial park surround my home airport for publication as Freeware on AVSIM.What I would like is to GRADUALLY slope the land from the plateau to BLEND the airport's elevation with the surrounding area while at the 10M resolution. I am not a code geek nor am I a programmer, so writing tons of lines of C++ code isn't going to cut it for me here.Are there ANY graphical editors out there that will allow me to visually slope the terrain in FSX? I absolutely love the concept of add-ons such as Instant Scenery and AFX, which i have both and love them -- now all I need for my editing tools is an interface of payware level that will allow me to edit these slopes.PLEASE tell me there's a program out there that I do not have to be a doctorate or bachelors in computer programming/cad design to operate! Any leads would be greatly appreciated. Price is not an issue.<> I also read the sticky here "Guide to Scenery Design" -- unfortunately the programs mentioned there are strictly for FS2004 and since FSX uses a completely different design system for scenery, I am looking for something FSX compatible. Thanks.Chris

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There are two products that can deal with making the plateau less obvious, FSX KML or SbuilderX. I would suggest SBX, as it will allow you to work with FSX connected, providing "in-sim" reference. Then you would make polygons with different elevation points to better match the hi-res mesh.

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Many thanks.Those elevation points -- will they result in gradual slope (like mesh) or just a bunch of flattens? I just want to make sure I have something that blends nicely as UT USA has animated traffic all around my airport. Looks strange with cars climbing "shelves" O.oI apparently have a copy of SBuilder -- troubleshooting that now. Can't find it on my system yet the installer says I have one installed and won't let me install it. Going to look into my FS9 directory to see if I have an older version.

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The first thing I would do is look very closely at the default airport flatten vs the fsg mesh in tmfviewer. It is common that the default flatten is kind of big. Try excluding the default flatten and then creating your own that includes less area. You might need to create separate polygons. One is just the flatten and a second one for the "maskclassmap" and exclude autogen features. The smaller flatten might reduce the plateau effect.scott s..

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I'm . . . uh . . . going to be hitting Google a lot on that one. 2/3 of that post went over my head.I do know that even if I make the flatten smaller in size, it won't cure the plateau effect. I will take a screenshot tomorrow and post it here to show what i am looking at. Basically the terrain where KPUB is located is a gradual slope from a nearby actual plateau, so the airport blends beautifully for the most part, but the southern borders are way up in the air. I dare not make the flatten any smaller because as it is most of my airport buildings are literally hanging off the edge of this plateau.If I dumb down the terrain to only 38 meters, the buildings manage to hangon. unfortunately where the setting should be -- 10 meters resolution - the cliff hugs even tighter and some of the buildings "fall" to the land below. O.oBasically all I am trying to do here is make the "cliff" turn more into a gradual slope, making the difference between the airport flatten and the surrounding terrain not seem so abrupt without compromising airport elevation or my 10 meter mesh resolution.Thanks for the info. Going to research as much of that as i can tomorrow. Sorry I am new to this area of scenery design.

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-SNIP->Basically all I am trying to do here is make the "cliff" turn>more into a gradual slope, making the difference between the>airport flatten and the surrounding terrain not seem so abrupt>without compromising airport elevation or my 10 meter mesh>resolution.>>Thanks for the info. Going to research as much of that as i>can tomorrow. Sorry I am new to this area of scenery design. Hi Cris,I've been in the process of removing the mesa effect at several airports I've been tweaking. KTPH, TNX, KSLV, AR51 and KVGT.I'm using SBuliderX to create "sloped flattens". That is to say they are multi-node polygons with individual altitudes on eachnode.So far I've had good results but have also stumbled upon some issues where logic doesn't seem to prevail. I'm still trying to understand the results I'm seeing in certain situations.Basically, what I do is create the polys bodering on the airportperimeter and extending out some arbitrary distance.I then set all the altitudes to the field altitude as a start.This is done in the "properties" of the poly ( set all points the same ).Then I use slew mode on FSX and move the aircraft to each poly node that is NOTon the aircraft perimeter. I note the altitude, convert it to metersafter adjusting for the aircraft height, and exter that ALT for thatnode. Then on to the next, etc, etc.It's rather laborious and you may find you need lots of nodes toget the proper sloping effects, especiall where the poly changes directions.There also seems to be a matter of when the poly crosses QMID gridlines. ( I display the QMID level 17 grid when working )I'll attach a couple of SBuilderX sceenshots of KTPH and TNX polys.Use the "set color" and "transparency" features of the properties whenworking with multiple polys. ( Also added AR51 south end )You can click on a spot in SBuilderX and select "Fly Aircraft Here"so getting the altitude mesurements at various points is a bit easier.I remember that Bill Lemming put up a tool for FS9 that was justa dummy aircraft folder which gave you a cross-hairs at the aircraft position and was at the ground elevation. I haven't tried itin FSX but methinks it will work and thus make altitude mesurements easier. I also need to see where I can make a change so both FSX and SBuilderX are using the same units. Right now my SBX is using meters and FSX feet.Overall, what you are wanting to do is achievable but you may windup creating several "QMID sized" polys so that all the altitudepoints are within the grid for all sides of the poly. Even then, I'vefound "unflattenable" areas, at the south end of AR51 RWY 32 ( I thinkthat is the correct RWY desig. ) I have about a half dozen polys ina small area around that point just to smooth the transitions to areasonably decent looking series of "rolling hills". PaulP.S. - the heavy blue lines in the AR51 screenie are guide lines.

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THAT I undersatood. THANK you. I don't feel so lost or in the dark now.I just got off work and am about to see if I can uninstall whatever my computer thinks is installed for SBuilder so I can atempt to install it and use it. I'll also look up that "dummy AC" by Lemmings so I can get those ground measurements easier.I will do whatever work it takes. I am a student pilto in real life and having proper scenery for VFR is very important. Airports on cliffs and plateaus take away from the challange of actually spotting the airprt (as many pilots know airports can actually be a pain in the neck to spot in real life). The more I can blend the airport into the surrounding scenery, the better i will be at spotting the airport in the sim as a real pilot would -- not looking on the screen for huge plateaus, but looking for runways, etc. instead.Once I master this, I plan to correct any and all Colorado Airports to correct for 10 meter resolution usage with FSGenesis and distribute these corrections as a freeware package on AVSIM.

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>THAT I undersatood. THANK you. I don't feel so lost or in>the dark now.-SNIP->Once I master this, I plan to correct any and all Colorado>Airports to correct for 10 meter resolution usage with>FSGenesis and distribute these corrections as a freeware>package on AVSIM. Chris,Sounds like a very ambitious project. I'm working my way through Nevadaat the moment :)You might want to popinto the forums over at:http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/The Scenery and Tools forums have alot of information and many verytalented people "hang out" there. The developer of SBuilderX included.Good luck with your project! Paul

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Chris,I just found a couple of time-saving features of SBuilderX thatshould make creating sloped polys alot faster.The first is the ability to copy & paste polys and lines. I found the procedure posted at fs-developer by Luis Sa', the creator of SBX.This describes using the "line tool" but it works the same for polys.He is describing how to "test" this with an empty project but instead,just open your project and follow step 2-6."Here are some tips. Please:1 - start SBX and create an empty project2 - change to the Line tool and create a line with 3 or 4 points; note that the "Copy Tool" is disabled but as soon as you3 - select that line (so that it becomnes green) you can use the "Copy Tool". Copy it!4 - then you will notice that the "Place Tool" (PLACE NOT PASTE) is enabled. So Click on Place on the Edit menu. You will notice that the mouse icon changes to "Place". 5 - You have entered a special mode. While the mouse shows "place" you can place the copied line wherevere you want. Just make some clicks to see the copied line to be placed in new positions.6 - to exit just press ESCAPE or do a right mouse click. You will re-enter in Line mode and the cursor will show "Line" again.Finally note that you only can copy/place lines polygons and objects."The other time saver is the ability to ADD nodes in a poly. The greataspect of this feature is that if the two adjacent nodes have differentaltitudes, SBX will create a new node with an altitude that is scaledrelative to the two adjacent nodes. This makes creating progressiveslopes very easy by defining the start and end altitudes and theninsert as many intermediate points as required.To add a node, select the poly tool, click on the poly to highlightthe existing nodes, press "Insert" on the keyboard and then place thecursor on the poly edge at the new-node position and click. Youcan reposition the cursor and contine to click to add more nodes.When done, deselect the poly tool.To delete nodes just highlight the desired node and hit "Delete"on the keyboard. I've found out while dealing with KVGT today that I needed to createmultiple polys to get decent slopes from the airfield altitude down tothe surrounding terrain where the slopes would cross QMID Level 17boundries. Especially when the slopes ran north to southfor somereason. I just created sloped polys that ran to the QMID grid thecreated more polys on the other side of the grid line. I'm still encountering some strange aberations but for the most part I'm gettingdecent results. Paul

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Paul you are a savior. Thank you. I am starting to understand this a lot better thanks to the leads you gave me.Unfortunately I got sick suddenly today so I'v ebeen laying down all day watching CSI and not the computer. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some time to soak some of this in and research the leads you gave me. I printed some material from those forums you linked above (fsdeveloper) and am planning to read it while laying down some more.Hopefully the slopes I create will blend well with various settings of FS. I set the terrain to 38 meter in the US when flying airliners to get performance, but when in GA aircraft I crank it up all the way, and with the awesome FSGenesis add-on I get AWESOME terrain taking full advantage of 10 meter resolution. If I can blend these airports at that resolution -- well -- all I can say is wow :-) I'd be one happy camper.I am glad you are getting decent results, so there is hope for me yet. I know I can do this -- I just have to teach myself a new area that I never explored before. Up until now my specialties have only been aircraft painting and AFCAD work for airport corrections using Google images.

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I took a look at your KPUB problem, and see the efault airport is set to 1440.5m, which is just about the highest point around the area. I d/led the 1/3 sec elevation DEM data from USGS into my GIS software (Global Mapper 7). Then I modified the elevations with an offset, such that the lowest elevation is now 0m. It worked out that the highest is 134m which is what I want, because now I can represent it as grayscale. I built a flatten at 1440m and laid it over the DEM. I also created contour lines to get a better idea of things. I now have an image that can be manipulated as a grayscale. The problem is, I haven't figured out a good way to mod it. I have been playing around with gradients, but nothing that is making sense as an approach so far. As you can see, the SE corner is the worst.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/182416.jpgscott s..

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Hello Paul,Thank you for explaining how you can set altitudes for polygon's points with SBuilderX. I would like to say that you can go to the FSX menu OPTIONS>SETTINGS>GENERAL>INTERNATIONAL and set the units of measurement to meters.I also would like to add a more technical note related to slope polygons as follows. There is no problem in adjusting individual point altitudes when the polygons have 3 points. If there are more then 3 points, the points may not stay, in the end, in the same plane. Note that SbuilderX uses the shp2vec tool from the FSX SDK. According to the SDK we need to pass the absolute positions of the points (lat, lon and alt) to shp2vec and, in addition, SlopeX and SlopeY parameters. I do not know what shp2vec does with the SlopeX and SlopeY values. If all the points of the polygon rest in the same plane, then SlopeX and SlopeY can be exactly evaluated. If they they do not, then we need to approximate somehow these values. I paste in the end of this post the routine to find SX and SY (the slopes). I can explain it further if anyone gets interest in it. Basically it takes 3 points. One point is point #N1 (the left most point). The second point is point #N2 (the most to the right). The third point, #N3, is the point whose distance to #N1 and #N2 is the greatest. Using these 3 points, SBuilderX computes the slopes of the plane defined by these 3 points.Finally, I think I could change SBuilderX to introduce the possibility to get point properties from the aircraft (please see the Objects menu and "Position from FS"). I would need to add a button "Position from FS" to the Point Properties window. I also would need to add a parameter to the INI file called "AircraftHeight". The altitude shown in the Point Properties would be the altiude read from FS minus the "AircraftHeight".In that small change I would also add the parameter "LOD" to the Tiles section of the INI file for better control of photo scenery generation.Kind Regards,LuisPrivate Sub GetHPXSlopes(ByVal N As Integer, ByRef SX As Double, ByRef SY As Double) Dim Flag As Boolean Dim K As Integer Dim X As Double Flag = True X = Polys(N).GPoints(1).alt For K = 2 To Polys(N).NoOfPoints If X <> Polys(N).GPoints(K).alt Then Flag = False Exit For End If Next If Flag Then SX = 0 SY = 0 Exit Sub End If Dim NP, J As Integer Dim N1, N2, N3 As Integer Dim X1, X2, DX, DY, D As Double NP = Polys(N).NoOfPoints N1 = 1 N2 = 1 X1 = Polys(N).GPoints(1).lon X2 = Polys(N).GPoints(1).lon For J = 1 To NP If Polys(N).GPoints(J).lon < X1 Then N1 = J X1 = Polys(N).GPoints(J).lon End If If Polys(N).GPoints(J).lon > X2 Then N2 = J X2 = Polys(N).GPoints(J).lon End If Next X1 = (Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lon - Polys(N).GPoints(N2).lon) X1 = X1 * X1 X2 = (Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lat - Polys(N).GPoints(N2).lat) X2 = X2 * X2 D = System.Math.Sqrt(X1 + X2) For K = 1 To NP If K <> N1 And K <> N2 Then X1 = (Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lon - Polys(N).GPoints(K).lon) X1 = X1 * X1 X2 = (Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lat - Polys(N).GPoints(K).lat) X2 = X2 * X2 DX = System.Math.Sqrt(X1 + X2) X1 = (Polys(N).GPoints(N2).lon - Polys(N).GPoints(K).lon) X1 = X1 * X1 X2 = (Polys(N).GPoints(N2).lat - Polys(N).GPoints(K).lat) X2 = X2 * X2 DY = System.Math.Sqrt(X1 + X2) DX = DX + DY If DX > D Then D = DX N3 = K End If End If Next Dim z00, z01, z02 As Double Dim x00, x01, x02 As Double Dim y00, y01, y02 As Double Dim a1, a2 As Double x01 = Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lon - Polys(N).GPoints(N2).lon x02 = Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lon - Polys(N).GPoints(N3).lon y01 = Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lat - Polys(N).GPoints(N2).lat y02 = Polys(N).GPoints(N1).lat - Polys(N).GPoints(N3).lat z01 = Polys(N).GPoints(N1).alt - Polys(N).GPoints(N2).alt z02 = Polys(N).GPoints(N1).alt - Polys(N).GPoints(N3).alt If y01 = 0 Then If x01 = 0 Then SX = 0 Else SX = z01 / x01 End If Else a1 = y02 / y01 z00 = z01 * a1 - z02 x00 = x01 * a1 - x02 SX = z00 / x00 End If If x01 = 0 Then If y01 = 0 Then SY = 0 Else SY = z01 / y01 End If Else a2 = x02 / x01 z00 = z01 * a2 - z02 y00 = y01 * a2 - y02 SY = z00 / y00 End If End Sub

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>I took a look at your KPUB problem, and see the efault>airport is set to 1440.5m, which is just about the highest>point around the area. I d/led the 1/3 sec elevation DEM data>from USGS into my GIS software (Global Mapper 7). Then I>modified the elevations with an offset, such that the lowest>elevation is now 0m. It worked out that the highest is 134m>which is what I want, because now I can represent it as>grayscale. I built a flatten at 1440m and laid it over the>DEM. I also created contour lines to get a better idea of>things. I now have an image that can be manipulated as a>grayscale. The problem is, I haven't figured out a good way>to mod it. I have been playing around with gradients, but>nothing that is making sense as an approach so far. As you>can see, the SE corner is the worst.>>>>scott s.>.OH yeah I recognize that trrain all right. That is a VERY accurate representation. And yes that SE corner is a killer when it comes to blending this terrain.You can barely see it on the top of the image, but there is a huge plateu there which covers much of the area to the North of the airport. The Arkansas River is just to the South, running west to east. Basically this airport is in a very wide river valley which is why the land here is so sloped. The airport itself is flat, but the terrain gradually comes up to the airport boundries although in some areas it is sharper than others.In fact the only spot in real life where the terrain does not blend withthe airport elevation is a small area by the Blitz Hanger (where my flight school is located for Pueblo Community College). There is about a 10 foot elevation drop in that area to the terrain below.Chris

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>I do not know what shp2vec does with the SlopeX>and SlopeY values. If all the points of the polygon >rest in the same plane, then SlopeX and SlopeY can >be exactly evaluated. If they they do not, then we >need to approximate somehow these values. Hi LuisShp2Vec itself does not make use of SlopeX/Y - they are passed through the BGL stream to the game as attribute data.SlopeX/Y are precomputed data used for extrapolating elevation of terrain mesh vertices where they do not fall exactly on a water polygon vertex in lat/lon space.-Doug

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>>I do not know what shp2vec does with the SlopeX>>and SlopeY values. If all the points of the polygon >>rest in the same plane, then SlopeX and SlopeY can >>be exactly evaluated. If they they do not, then we >>need to approximate somehow these values. >>Hi Luis>>Shp2Vec itself does not make use of SlopeX/Y - they are passed>through the BGL stream to the game as attribute data.>>SlopeX/Y are precomputed data used for extrapolating elevation>of terrain mesh vertices where they do not fall exactly on a>water polygon vertex in lat/lon space.>>-Doug Luis, First, thanks for the additional input/insight on polys. Also, the additional capability to have SBuilderX get the altitude, etc, from FSX would be a VERY usefull addition and a great time saver for the sort of operations being discussed here! Doug, Does this mean that the actual altitude of each point in a poly with >3 nodes is used? That seems to be the case that I am observing. The areas where I am noting inconsitancies is with large ploys that cross QMID Level 17 boundries, as displayed in SBuilderX. I have determined by experimenting, that to get the desired slopes in those cases I must create multiple polys in each of the affected QMID grids. It seems that there needs to be nodes defining the altitudeslope within the grid otherwise I get humps or valleys at the grid boundries. I'll attach a screenshot of the "quilt" I created for KVGT, which contains a good number of polys. In some cases, 3 or 4 in a given level 17 cell. I haven't determined if just a single poly in each cell would do the job or not. I was wanting just a slope from the airfield level down to the "street level" a couple of blocks away. :) I also extended the stock FSX KVGT boundries to include some additional ramp area and roads not included in the original. For this I used the AB_Flatten_MaskClassMAp_ExcludeAutogen with all points set to field altitude. For the others, a simple AB_Flatten sufficed. I'm also not sure just how many (few) points I could have gotten away with. My polys are probably overkill in this respect. Any additional inputtips would be appreciated. Paul

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My "mesh smoothing" method seems to have some promise. I had tried this as a proof with KLAS in FS9. In FSX it's a little easier due to improvements in resample.exe, but it still isn't something that is automated.For a general description of the work flow, this is what I did (I use Global Mapper GIS, I assume other comparable software could also be used).1. Obtain elevation data for affected area (I used the NED 1/3 sec data which is probably the same used in creating the addon mesh).2. I loaded elevation data into Global Mapper. GM has a number of "shaders" for elevation. I used the gradient shader, setting the range from black (0 meters) to white (255 meters). I turned hill shading off.3. It is necessary to get the elevation range in the area of interest into the range of 0-255 meters, so that there is a correspondence to grayscale (I don't know of any other easy way to edit an image if more than 8 bits are used). I looked at the elevations around the airport (flatten is 1440.484m) and found that if I applied an offset of -1384.76m that the elevations were within the 0-255 range (GM allows you to do this easily). After the offset, the airport flatten is 56 meters.4. To obtain the flatten area, I decided to extract the FS9 flattens (I don't know of any easy way to extract FSX flattens at this point. An alternative is to create a new flatten.)5. I imported the flatten as a shapefile polygon, which I filled with gray value 56. At this point I have displayed a grayscale representation of the elevation data with the flatten overlaid. I exported this as an image.6. I opened the image in GIMP 2.4. I found the best approach was to use the gradient tool set to radial and lighten only. (In this case, the airport is on a plateau, and hence what is desired is to raise the elevation smoothly to the flatten elevation from the surrounding, lower elevation. Graphically, this means to lighten the affected areas. The range of my gradient I set to 56 (height of the flatten) to 25, which appeared to be the lowest area that I had to smooth to. Generally, I applied the tool to an area extending outward from the flatten towards the area of lower elevation. 7. Once I was done, I loaded the edited image back into GM. In GM, I converted the data from image data to elevation data (takes a couple steps but nothing special). 8. Now I just reversed the offset, adding back in the 1384.76 meters to restore my original elevations. I then saved the elevation data as a 16 bit elevation GeoTiff which resample can use directly. 9. I ran my file through resample using LOD equal to the addon mesh (FWIW the addon mesh was LOD 12, and I set the parameter to LOD= 9,12), and also sent my flatten through SBuilderX to create a new flatten bgl. I placed my new mesh file and flatten in a new sceneryarea (higher priority than the addon mesh) and it worked as expected.scott s..

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Looks interesting.... Question - does this provide straight line slopes from the flatten to the multiple NED points around the airport? Thus any intervening bumps or valleys may require additional attention?Regards,Dick BoleyA PC, an LCD, speakers, CH yoke

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It's a straight line, so any terrain details are lost. That's where some artistry comes in, in fine tuning how you apply the gradient.scott s..

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