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misho_TerraBuilder

Question re: new TB Gmax terrain functionality

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I've seen the press release regarding the new TB v.3, including the VERY interesting Gmax terrain mesh function. I'm wondering about the specifics of this, however. It sounds as though the module receives altitude data in the same format as we'd use for creating FS mesh, converts it to a 3D model for manipulation in Gmax, then outputs the data back to the stock FS terrain format. Is that correct? If so, that alone would be worth the purchase of TB for me. If, however, this module only writes native FS-style terrain bgls, then we'll still have the problem of the low res 4.8m/px ground tiles, yes? Just curious.thanks,

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Hi Bill,Let me clarify:This is a MESH module, not TEXTURE module. Therefore, it produces meshes at any level, or, the highest level FS can display (unfortunately), LOD11. This has nothing to do with Photorealistic sceneries - it only produces topography.This version of GMAX plug-in creates a patch of terrain to precisely fit one LOD grid (LOD of user's choice). For now, it does NOT read any data in. It can, however, use GMAX's "Displace" modifier to accept altitude data in the form of a 256-grayscale altitude map. So, If you convert the fs data into a grayscale map, you can then use that to model a patch of terrain and adjust and tweak on a vertex level. Then, using MS's MAKEMdl, it is exported as any ordinary MDL file, which is then read by Terrabuilder and converted into BGL terrain.Once in GMAX, however, your options are limitless. You can keep adding adjacent LOD patches to create larger area. Also, Displace modifiers are ADDITIVE - you can keep adding more and more altitude maps into the same mesh...It is truly wonderful - I am very excited about the possibilities.I am now in the finishing stages of testing - it works very well! I am using it for modelling of completely new terrain for my TerraBuilder Moon Project.Hope this helps,MishoP.S. I will investigate if it is possible to import a RAW type altitude file into a mesh...

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Interesting, Misho. Will you be providing any guidance for creating the displacement map from existing data sources? I've done a little mesh design, but I'm still fuzzy on the details. Can't wait to try this module out!thanks,

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I think you can use Microdem (available for free) or a similar tool to save imported terrain data into a grayscale bitmap. Then, all you need is minimum and maximum values. I will look into importing RAW data as well, sice that would be a more natural step, as most designers start out with raw data anyway.Misho

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Yes, of course - I will have a step-by-step tutorial ready with the release. Sometimes that's more work than the actual coding...Also, confirmed: There WILL be an option to import numerical altitude data, in the text form. The structure will be very simple: space or newline delimited, data in meters. These files can be easily extracted from the data sets using Microdem or a similar application.Misho

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Excellent. What are you doing on this forum? Get busy finishing up the next TB! :-) ;-) :-)

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Trust me Bill, I am hard at it. You would not believe how complicated it gets working with GMAX - it has some unexplained limitations. But, I have almost overcome that...

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