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rhumbaflappy

Terrabuilder Status?

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Are any further developments planned for Terrabuilder. The News Section of the web site is dated December 2000. Is this the end of the line for this item?On another note, I continue to have problems with the use of the scripting produced by TB. I use TB to develop the INF file and then my own script to compile the scenery. Windows XP.The lack of Autogen is somewhat of a drawback. The relatively poor blending of Terrascene (if you use that) is another.Then, the 4.9M/pixel seems to be slightly less clear than the normal textures.Not much you can do for Terrascene textures and blending. An excellent product but at the end of the trail. Lots of potential there since it has processes for digesting USGS and other source geographic data.Autogen is a tough one. There is data out there but someone would have to create a program that produced appropriate AGN files for the new texture tiles based upon location. Or get the Terrascene Java source to use its processes.The 4.8M clarity may be the result of resampling. Not terrible just a bit less clear in my view. Maybe there is a problem in my use of the native resampler from FS2000. No hint that the next FS incarnation will improve on that specification.Perhaps further photo-real interest could be developed if there was a good "free" source of color aerial photos similar to the black and white Terraserver. Or, a simple program that could auto-color the Terraserver images under a "best guess" scheme keying from the grey/gray scale.Dick

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Further improvement is definitely slated for TerraBuilder, but some real-life priorities have taken precedence for a while.I am not sure what the issue is with the scripting as I am running XP without any problems whatsoever.4.8 meter issue: There should be no clarity difference between default textures and photoreal textures. Of course, if you "let" resampler resample your imagery, you will wind up with a blurry result because resampler doesn't do a good job of enlarging imagery. You should work with source imagery that is as close to 4.8 m/pix as possible, so that resampler has "nothing to do". One way of accomplishing this is to resize your imagery in a good-quality image-editing application, according to instructions given when the "scenery issues" option is activated.

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Hello Dick,You may want to try applying a sharpen filter to your image before passing it through Resample. Just sharpen as much as you can - use the default ground textures as a guide. You should see a difference in the final result.Best regards.Luis

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Dick, we're working with custom imagry, and therefore autogen should be custom also..I just use the annotator from MS SDK. It works ok. Sure its a pain, but I don't know another way to achieve the custom placement I'm looking for. I don't think this is reasonable to expect it from Terrabuilder.I seem to make imagey that looks equally as sharp as the default, so that's not really about Terrabuilder either, more about how you handle your source image.Also...color vs b/w...this is also easy to overcome. Experiment in your graphics program...seems each one I try offers the needed features, including the free ones...gimp and pixela....make layers of constant color...greens, browns...assign each layer to a different background darkness level range. Give each layer about 50% transparency. Play with this for a few hours, once you like the result, save the file as a template. Then for a new image, just size the "template for the new image, and copy it into the lowest layer in place of the original image. voila! Colored image in seconds once you figure out how you like the first one to look.Bob Bernstein

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Hi Dick and all,As far as the 4.8m/pixel textures go Misho is right on the money as far as NOT having resample err a.. resample your image, if as Misho says you use Photoshop or whatever other image program you prefer do the resampling the results are mush preferred over the SDK tool and as was stated the proper use of sharpening will go along way in producing very good results (even better then stock).I agree that there is/should/could/needs to be another method of adding Autogen, the landclass data could be used as a reference to cover photorealistic with good results provided we are able to control what types of autogen are placed by the landclass data.For example the ability to cover forest areas with random trees (as this should match up pretty well) would no doubt go along way in adding to the realistic look and "feel" of a photorealistic area especially when you consider the sheer size of some of these scenery projects with the hundreds to thousands of custom textures the task becomes too daunting to contemplate without some sort of helpful program. Take Care.

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I apologize for the unreasonable reference to Autogen in the context of a Terrabuilder message. I was simply trying to illustrate that the lack of Autogen was a drawback to photoreal. I was hoping that some skilled person might take available data and sprinkle some Autogen items on obvious textures such as forests or scrub lands. Areas that are un-populated since populated areas have more "organized" textures where random placement of items would appear odd. City scapes are an easier manual Autogen challenge due to the smaller number of texture cells as compared to a large 500 square mile area.I would be VERY pleased if I could just use the roads and water areas produced by Terrascene to overlay atop FS2002 textures. Excluding the original roads , etc is easy but I have not found a way to create an FS2002 transparent background texture in Terrascene that will permit me to see thru to FS2002 except for roads or other specific items. My interest is in large areas for VFR flying and the roads of FS2002 are dismal.I did get Terrabuilder to work as a total process under Windows XP just after a fresh re-boot. I would also loke to apologize for any critical tone that may have been produced by my remark reletive to this function.I did do some work with Photoshop 7 and found that it produced the best BMP rendition when compared to the two other programs I had been using. The clarity was quite acceptable after converting TGA (Terrascene) ro BMP. The other processes left a more unfocused appearance and thus carried it through the Terrabuilder process. However, the lack of texture blending in Terrascene continues to displease me.Dick KLBE

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Hello Dick,There is no easy or perfect solution for autogen annotation. But, there are some workarounds.For example, you can take one of the default agn files, just copy it a whole bunch of times, and rename the copies to the names of your custom ground textures. This will not give you accurate placement (but, then, is this really that important?), but it will fill up your textures with trees and houses in a relatively quick and easy manner.Best regards.LuisN.B. My apologies to Paul Leatzaw - the idea of sharpening the textures before creating the ground textures is his. I have on a number of occasions in the past attributed it to him, but did not in this thread.As to resizing the image instead of letting Resample do it, it is good to keep in mind that the proper resolution is NOT 4.8 meters per pixel. Resolution varies depending on latitude, and vertical and horizontal resolution are not the same.

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>Dick, we're working with custom imagry, and therefore autogen>should be custom also..I just use the annotator from MS SDK. >It works ok. Sure its a pain, but I don't know another way to>achieve the custom placement I'm looking for. I don't think>this is reasonable to expect it from Terrabuilder.It actually is reasonable...I'm definitelly open to the addition of new features if warranted, and Autogen seems to be here to stay and it also seems like a lot of people are asking for this.I've never worked with Autogen - How do you place it and how do you define areas?Also - is it limited to rectangular areas or will any polygon work?

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Actually it is quite simple on a texture by texture basis, but tedious. Take a look at the SDK for Autogen from Microsoft (FS2002). The tool they provide works very well. You load a texture from the world txture file. It is displayed in an image size that you choose. You then can place building and vegatation by drawing rectangles over areas to be populated. You can also determine the types of buildings and vegation, as well as their density, with the tool.One texture at a time is the issue since the photoreal stuff is composed of many unique textures. However, as noted in another post (good idea) you could copy and rename some existing AGN files (in same world/texture folder) to the name of your new texture that is created by TB. The AGN file is the descirption/position of Autogen items for each texture. Please note that some textures have a fixed number of of items and cannot be altered. Forests are one of these.It is addictive "tuning" the various textures from FS2002 by placing more or less trees, houses, and buildings to your taste. Could take months to do all of the FS2002 textures. Some junior Microsoft employee had to do all of them. I do not recall seeing any "interface" that allowed you to programatically apply Autogen. If you crack the AGN file structure it would then be possible. Having said all of that, and thinking while I am typing, I doubt that any automated process would be as satisfactory as the present FS2002 textures which were either hand Autogened or there is a file somewhere describing the texture content. As an example, a treeline between farm fields. FS2002 has Autogen trees there now. I have no idea how you could ever do that automatically since the government data simply says that the area is cropland which is great for texture assignment but not detailed enough for Autogen.Dick KLBEDick

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Thanks Dick.From what I understand, MS provides the tool that does that and it is a "black box" process. That in itself prevents me from doing anything about it. I have the interface components that could easily accomplish this, but if the file structure is unknown, it is a non-starter from the beginning...Any other insight/input would be appreciated...

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More thinking... :)I could have user create a set of "stock" autogen files. For instance:"Trees 50%""Trees 75%""Trees 100%"...and then have the TerraBuilder ability to multiple-select LOD quads and assign the files above to a selection of quads. For instance, for a large forested area, user would select 10x10 area of photoreal LOD quads which are 100% forested, and assign a "Trees 100%" autogen file to all of them that were selected. Would that help?

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Misho,There is a thread called "annotator" from April, in the messages at the end, foges writes about a process that you may want to use.Bob Bernstein

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Yes, where a texture has a characteristic that lends itself to an "automatic" Autogen - forest, city, etc. that might be ok. You could not do the same thing for textures with specific and obvious sections of buildings and trees such as my treeline example. The user could use your sectioned BMP display to mark sections/textures for a selected a selected Autogen treatment. It would not be photoreal but possibly acceptable. Here an example that is contrary to this approach might be an area of 90% forest but a playing field sets in part of it Or, a small lake occupies part of a texture. You would be unaware of these intrusions of an otherwise total condition. To TB all textures are the same so even a 50% distribution of forest might end up with trees in the lake.In the terrascene case the use of FS2002 textures is possible and AGN Autogen descriptor files are already available for these. It is a matter of knowing that FS2002 textures were used in a Terrascene TGA file and naming hte AGN files to match the texture names you create. Still a nasty process.I am not convinced that the use of photoreal textures over a large area is really possible given the lack of wide area color photos, and no Autogen. While Terascene creates an artificial landscape its main claim to fame is accurate roads and water items at the scarifice of texture blending and Autogen. In a confined area such as a city photoreal is an excellent choice as demonstrated by FS2002's treatment of major population centers. here one needs to accurately place Autogen to a greater gegree than was done with the general FS2002 textures. The effort is less due a smaller area (less textures) and is quite rewarding.Dick KLBEDick

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>In the terrascene case the use of FS2002 textures is possible>and AGN Autogen descriptor files are already available for>these. It is a matter of knowing that FS2002 textures were>used in a Terrascene TGA file and naming hte AGN files to>match the texture names you create. Still a nasty process.Hi Dick,The above unfortunatly still won't work as the result of Terrascene is the same as photoreal, that is Terrascene will use the FStextures within the Terrascene program to "paint" a whole area based on the USGS data, the result will be a whole batch of TGA converted to Bmp textures that are custom and then you will still need to define how they will be used through the SDK tool just as one would for photoreal, So FS will have no way of recognizing where AG should go etc..FS is able to use its own textures >along:(Still, where there is a will there is a way...:)

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If you just want the city streets as CUSTOM, why not make them as grey on a black background, then resample ( with Terrabuilder ). Now place the city as a VTP2 poly with value #253. ( You can identify and save the city street slices using Ground2K to tell you the names ).Autogen the buildings and vegetation to the slices. Then process the slices for VTP2:Vertically flip, then colorkey the alpha channel to black, and save as 8-bit, mipped with Imagetool.Place the Autogen and slices in "C:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesFS2002SCENEDBWORLDTexture" with all the default landclass and autogen.This method allows you to specify the layer number for the streets, allowing landclass and other VTP2 polys and lines to be underneath the streets... as well as other VTP2 polys and lines over the streets. LWM masking provides the water.In this manner, you are combining CUSTOM with VTP2, autogen, GIS data ( in this case TIGER data for the streets ), and underlying landclass and VTP2 polys....Also, the Terrascene derived image ( using a "normal" texture set ) can be used as the georeferenced map in Ground2K. You can use LWM masking for water, VTP2 for lines, and the transparent CUSTOM for streets, and alter the landclass as you see fit for the countryside. It works. You could take things even further, and use a totally transparent 'sheet' as a slice, upon which to place autogen. Then draw the 'sheet' as a VTP2 poly ( value #253 ), to place autogen anywhere. The catch? Each LOD13 area needs it's own sheet and autogen, properly named.http://forums.avsim.com/user_files/13187.jpgDick

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