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Everything posted by akriesman

  1. Thank you so much for posting this Ryan. We are trying to get the word out about XpressSim, as it is going to take some time to build up market credibility. Your screenshots look great and really do the product justice. P.S.-I don't have the time to follow the public forums closely these days. But, I do frequently search Google to see if XpressSim related material is getting around. This post came up immediately and made my day ;) Cheers all, Allen Kriesman Scenery Solutions
  2. Sad news indeed Rob. You have an amazing talent and will be missed. The Fly!2 days don't seem that long ago. Good luck in your retirement ! Cheers, Allen Kriesman Scenery Solutions
  3. >And Canada is not unique? (LOL) Oh BTW do say hello to Allen>Kriseman for me.>>Dan MartinHello Dan. Its been a few years. Hope things are going well.I don't get a chance to stop by here much any more. But, had to say hello when I saw your reply.Cheers,Allen
  4. Hi Guys, I don't often make it outside the UT forum much anymore. But, I wanted to comment on the price, since I have not yet had a chance to explain in the UT forum.It is a valid question, which I have not had time yet to explain in the UT Forums.Tony is correct about several things. The base data set was more expensive than before. Mainly, this is because TeleAtlas knows that they have the only precise water coverage for the Europe region. So, it took some longer negotiations and a higher price to get it. However, the commercial water data was still lacking in some areas. So, for some areas, we had to hire GIS contractors to hand digitize water from hi-res images. This added another couple of months to the process at a pretty significant cost.Lastly, the product is the largest download yet. So, Flight One has to pay for the additional bandwidth. To be honest, I feel fortunate that we can release the product at the current price. There was a point last summer when it looked like we would have to break up the product in 2 pieces.As far as comparing the different UT products, the size of the area covered is really not a good measuring stick to use. A better comparison would be the overall download size. More details = more work = larger downloads. Cheers !Allen
  5. For those that are interested, we have updated the official version of the USA Roads Scenery Enhancement Package #1 (11/3/04). This version should fix all reported problems.See the thread below for the download location:http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_post...p?TID=9168&PN=1If you have already installed the package, and just want to update your executable, you can get the beta at the link below (the beta version became the official released version).http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_post...p?TID=9163&PN=1Either way, you can reinstall over the old version(s). Thanks !Allen KriesmanScenery Solutions
  6. Right now, only highways and major roads cross water in USA Roads. We did this to simulate water crossings that had no bridge objects in FS2004.The negative to this philosophy is that you sometimes get both bridge objects and the flat bridges in USA Roads. FWIW, we are just a few days from releasing a patch that will remove all the roads from crossing the water in USA Roads. The patch will only be about a 2 or 3 mb download.Cheers,Allen KriesmanScenery Solutions
  7. >Allen,>>I have your USA Roads and love them. I would like to know what>your timetable is on the lakes/rivers/coastline project? I am>really looking forward to that one!Thanks !The lakes, rivers, streams, and coastline project has been in the works for a several months now (and is about 80% complete). It is a pretty large effort.The product will be based off very detailed commercial data. For example, the very small stock tank behind my neighborhood is part of the data set (I can easily throw a rock across it). If anything, we might have to scale back on some of the data to get it to work well in FS2004. Because of certain events that have taken place lately, we may have to temporarily switch some of our priorities a bit. Also, several users have brought up some valid concerns regarding coastline fixes (as Will just did regarding Hawaii).We are going to continue the project, but I don't have a definate release date as of yet. The misplaced water in FS2004 is something I really want correct (and enhance).Cheers,Allen
  8. Thanks for taking the time to reply Will. Your comments are definately valued, even if we are not in agreement on some things.Perhaps we should consider releasing an official darker version of our textures as an additional option. The concrete and asphalt colors were actually matched against high resolution aerial photos. I seem to remember even having to darken them a bit so they did not stand out as much.Perhaps in this case reality is not better regarding the texture colors.Cheers,Allen
  9. Thank you for pointing out your bias Will :-lolI do know that you and Jon have been rather outspoken about a couple of USA Roads features (flattening and major roads over water).To be honest, you guys are the only ones that have ever requested these features from us. Many more users have told us that they prefer the roads over water, because there are no FS2004 bridge objects for a majority of the bridge locations in the USA.I do agree that roads near the coastline look pretty bad over water, when the FS2004 coastlines are way off.It is nice that AD Roads allows you the choice to turn off the roads over water. We will be releasing a long planned patch for USA Roads users to turn off roads over water if they want. We may even release a patch for flattening, if a good many of our users really want that feature.No doubt the presence of AD roads is pushing us to add these features. The competition is good for all FS2004 users.I do, however, believe that the majority of users will greatly prefer the USA Roads appearance over AD Roads.The fact that AD Roads uses default textures, gives them advantages in flattening, utility pole/line enhancements, and maybe signs.However, our custom texture usage gives us a whole lot more flexibily in road appearances. We have 196 different night textures, 10 different day textures, 5 seasonal grass variations (beneath and beside the roads), plus usage of the default dirt textures for the dirt roads.- The choice of 4 different types of night lighting.- Transitional street lighting from the cities to the rural areas (lights in the cities, but not in the country).- Choice of lighter or darker pavement sets.- Roads that cross, but do not have a dividing grassy strip at the intersections. We put seasonal grass textures underneath the roads as a separate polygon layer, so the grass does not appear at intersections.Frank Bergstrom's 3rd party textures provide darker roads if that is desired. User's are more than welcome to modify and publish different texture sets.I know that you do say many of these things in your review, but you give the nod to AD Roads because of the flattening alone. I understand that is your opinion, but I would like to hear from others that have both USA Roads and AD Roads, because flattening has not been much of a requested feature.The FSGenesis web site will show this flattening effect in comparing their product against ours. What they do not show, is the differences in road accuracy, road appearances, and night lighting. I guess we will need to provide our own comparitive shots.I should also note that the free USGS data used by AD Roads is taken from older aerial images. I know this product very well, because I initially considered it for USA Roads. Many, if not all, of the recent roads will not be in the package.I hope you don't mind my rebuttal. It is certainly not meant to criticize you personally. And, you did mention that this is your opinion.I am very proud of USA Roads. I just feel like we need to give our opinion on some of these things now, since we have not spoken up about this new competition. Nor have we been able to show visual comparisons from our side of the fence.The AD Roads and Streams product looks like a very nice product. For the money, many people will be really happy with it.However, the fact that we use the most accurate commercial data available, plus the custom textures, does give us some distinct advantages.Anyway, I hope the Avsim users don't mind me giving my very biased opinion. I would really like to hear the opinion of others that have used both products.Cheers,Allen KriesmanScenery Solutions
  10. I am still planning on releasing an optional patch that puts all roads beneath the water. As you say, some users prefer having the major roads and highways cross water, some do not.
  11. "There might be other reasons for not providing the flattening effect but, technically, it IS possible to do this without having to alter the global terrain.cfg file. All that is required is a second copy of the road file with the texture set to one of the default road types (with or without autogen), at a width of "0", and a layer below the custom road. This doesn't have to be done for each road (actually, it's not desirable where the road density is very high) but for major highways and Interstates this would probably improve on your product."Very interesting idea Holger, and definately worth looking into. I would think that we could release a separate patch to accomplish this, at least for those that want it. I also agree that this effect should only be applied to the major highways and Interstates.Regards and sincere admiration,Allen KriesmanScenery Solutions
  12. Hey Guys,This is, unfortunately, the first I have heard about the new product by FSGenesis. So, these are my quick thoughts on the differences.It seems like there will soon be quite a bit of competition for FS2004 users in the coming months.In addition to the USA Roads, Scenery Solutions has also been working very hard on a slew of new products, which also include USA coastlines, lakes, streams, etc.One of the big differences between our products and the others will be the source data, and perhaps the price.We are in the process of signing a major deal with our data provider for global GPS data. This will provide the most accurate source of data available worldwide.USA Roads data is very precise. I looked very hard at the freely available USGS data before choosing the pricey GDT road data.I can tell you, there is a huge difference in accuracy between the data we use and the freely available USGS data. This is especially true regarding in road classifications.The road classifications tell us what kind of road to display. The USGS data is dead wrong on many cases. Also, and this is a huge difference, I do not believe that the USGS data provides true divided highway/road support. What this means, is that you will not see each side of a divided road wind it's own path. This will be especially evident where access ramps merge onto the highways, and at highway interchanges.Because USA Roads uses custom textures, I feel that we can blend in the road intersections much better. Also, night lighting with the custom textures will be far superior to the default textures, because we have much more flexibility. I guess we will also need to publish comparitive screen shots, to show these differences.Because we use custom textures, we cannot provide the flattening effect seen in some of the comparitive shots with the competing product.My personal opinion is that the improvement the custom textures provide over the default textures, exceeds the lack of flattening effect in USA Roads. This is of course my personal opinion, and each user will have to choose for himself. The Scenery Solutions products will cost a bit more, because we have to pay for the GPS quality data.There is a reason that GPS units do not use the freely available USGS data.FSGenesis does some really good work, so I am sure that they will have a fine product. I think for the users, it will all come down to an issue of accuracy vs price. Thanks guys,Allen KriesmanScnery Solutions
  13. Hi,Please disregard my last post. This issue seems to affect Canada, but not other countries. We will attempt to add this functionality if it is possible.Please check in periodically at the USA roads forums below:http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_topics.asp?FID=19If we can find a solution, we will address this issue.Thanks,AllenScenery Solutions
  14. The USA Roads product only disables the default roads for the continental USA. Other countries will not be affected.AllenScenery Solutions
  15. Bill,The product is based on very accurate source data licensed by Scenery Solutions. The source data is the same you might see used in GPS applications. This data typically comes at a premium cost to us.We have had some discussions with vendors regarding other parts of the globe. However, they have not yet been receptive due to the low cost of the product (what they consider low anyway).We will keep trying. If they see the product do well for the USA, they may reduce their demands somewhat.I can tell you that Canada would be a very strong possibility.Cheers,Allen KriesmanScenery Solutions
  16. >Michael,>Very impressive! Reminds me a little bit of TS2. No wonder>with Allen involved! The only concern I have is that it>appears the roads lay on top of the default ground textures.>This isn't much of an issue in rural areas but in>urban/industrial/commercial areas it would be noticeably. This>was the problem with using the orginal Fly II textures in TS2.>Still, it will be a worthwhile addition.>I wonder if you can select what classes of roads you want to>appear?Hi Dean,How is it going ? Its been a while.I had not thought about it previously, but it does remind me a bit of TS2. However, there was more room for artistic enhancement with TS2, because the roads were drawn into raster images (not on the fly like FS2004).On the plus side, the USA Roads package will provide roads for the entire USA, without taking over 500 gigabytes of disk storage (which is approx what it would take using all raster images).Despite some of the technical issues and visual anomalies one has to deal with using VTP2 roads in FS2004, I think the overall result is very good. I can also see the possibility of some clever artist creating a new set of landclass textures to use with it.There are many more screenshots coming, and a link to the website. There are some bandwidth issues that have to be resolved first.The one upgrade that I have always wanted for flight sims was a national road coverage.By the way, there are 2 data sets provided. One data set includes all the roads in the continental USA. The other data set includes only highways with access roads and major roads. Both sets have little or no noticable effect on frame rates (based on our tests).Personally, I prefer the data set with only the major roads and highways. Others seem to prefer the complete data set.In addition to the two data sets provided, you can toggle the standard FS2004 roads on and off using the included utility.Cheers,Allen
  17. FS2004 will not place autogen objects on top of roads. So, this is not a problem.Cheers,Allen
  18. Are you serious ? You have a top end machine. I doubt they would even bother releasing the product, unless it could run well on much less of a machine than you have :)Seriously, you should have no trouble at all with frame rates. As far as the load times go, any package that loads custom scenery textures will take a lot longer to load that the default repeated terrain textures. That being said, once the scenery is loaded, your machine should have no trouble at all.P.S.- I Don't have MegaScenery, but have done lots of work loading custom textures (same thing).Allen
  19. Hi Markus,I applaud your efforts and those of Lee. Also, thank you for the offer of assistance. Take care,Allen
  20. Bob, I agree that the SDK's are not Microsoft's obligation.However, I feel like they are obligated to let us know what is going on, since their statement following the FS2004 release was "soon to be released SDK's". What is soon ? 4 months is not soon.All I want is some periodic bits of communication from MS to their user base. Give us a target release date. If they can't make it, then tell us it will be a bit longer. Just tell us something !Allen
  21. Sorry Dick....I originally did not see where you were going with the closing line :)Allen
  22. Dick,Thanks for the reply. I have a lot of respect for your work and opinions. I have been holding the frustration in for a few months, and it finally got to me.Take care,Allen
  23. With all due respect Dick.....**** RANT ON ****I don't dispute that FS2004 is a fine product. I guess I am also safe in assuming that you have never downloaded additional aircraft or scenery for the MSFS series. Since you are happy with everything out of the box.You see, the small percentage of people interested in the SDK's, are the ones spending lots of their private time producing product for the large percentage of those people that are interested.I am a little hacked off after spending anywhere from 500 to 700 hours on a scenery design tool, which I ported over from another simulator. By the time I completed the tool for FS2002, FS2004 was released with the promise of a soon-to-be-released SDK. Right now, I am dead in the water with all of my time wasted for the last 4 months.And you wonder why some top notch developers leave MSFS. I could name them, but most serious developers already know who they are.If Microsoft has no need for 3rd party developers to enhance their product, and fill their pockets with $$$, then fine. At least they could have the courtesy of letting us know that ahead of time. Either release the SDK or don't, instead of keeping us all in limbo.What more could Microsoft ask for.....free labor from very expensive hard-core developers. Most other successful software firms understand the benefit of encouraging outside development.**** RANT OFF ****I really wanted to hear some feedback from the hard-core scenery designers on this. Sorry guys, I won't bring the issue up again, since I appear to be the only one bothered by the delay.
  24. After looking at Lee Swordy's wonderful AFCAD for FS2004, it is apparent that some people already have their hands on the new SDK. I looked at the file format of the new BGL files. And, as Christian mentioned previously, the format appears to have completely changed. Even the header has changed, making it just about impossible for us anxious developers to crack it any further.Since FS2004 is somewhat backward compatible, there must be 3 supported BGL header file formats now.I am now starting to wonder if there is a beta-test list for the new SDK. If so, I wonder who we contact ?With no word from Microsoft, we may be looking at days, weeks, or even months for the SDK.Am I the only one extremely agitated about this ?Allen
  25. "really tied the hands of FS2004 developers regarding many things. The FS2004 developers obviously are very prowd of their product"Should have read "really tied the hands of FS2004 3rd Party developers regarding many things. Microsoft's FS2004 developers obviously are very prowd of their product".
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