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About Claviateur

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    Aviation, outdoors, cinema and visual art

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    Scenery developer / Lebor Simulations

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  1. Yes the engine is light years ahead of anything else used for flight simulation on the market today... And no matter what technique they used to render the atmospheric light effect, it works beautifully... And speaking of shadows, I hope scenery developers will finally abandon and stop implementing these overdone "baked" shadows" / HDR resulting in gloomy looking architecture that feels as if covered by an invisible stormy cloud... Plain textures with the proper brightness/contrast and color saturation should be the norm in my opinion in such a dynamic atmosphere...
  2. I think they mentioned MSFS has some code from FSX as well as legacy flight dynamic mode as far as I understood. This means backward compatibility is highly probable either with an SDK that allows coversion or not. Maybe by simply loading an FSX aircraft model, it will probably load and flies in MSFS without errors, but, probably not optimized to the best visual look and performance and its flight dynamics behavior might be the ESP one... This also means that 3rd party developers will adapt their models to the new platform without worrying about recreating many complex add-ons from scratch (dev budget). They can optimize and adapt for sure and this is possible if the good practices of the new engine are applied. Usualy 3rd party commercial group do that without any problem. Same goes for scenery. 3D is 3D no matter in what sim object format you export it to. But then you have to adapt the material specs to the new engines (1 texture sheet vs multiple or other specs). And the airport ground overlays must be done using the new SDK. This is the case of X-Plane 11. Many commercial add-ons were adapted from ESP (FSX and P3D) to X-Plane 11 especially scenery. Creating a scenery or aircraft from scratch for every platform is not very profitable for any commercial group I think... This brings me to say that unfortunately, and usually, the adapted add-ons that are not well converted, are usually the freeware stuff. So I am not worried about complex commercial add-ons being adapted in a cross-platform process... It's the freeware (adapted) material that might be a jungle of mixed bag...
  3. X-Plane 11 controllers / keyboard and mouse GUI is nicely done too in terms of usability.
  4. Let's not forget that most of the time, what affect simulators performance the most, is the tangled layers of add-ons we wildly install. If, "out of the box", this version of MSFS delivers landscapes and skies that are great enough for IFR and VFR virtual flights, I think many types of add-ons that were a must for previous versions of FS, will be obsolete for this one (i.e: clouds and environment add-ons, global scenery add-ons etc.) But then the main add-ons, as we all know, fancy Aircraft add-ons, will certainly still affect performance depending on the complexity of their cockpits...
  5. Some users are probably not familiar with the difference between what packages like X-Europe feature in terms of Autogen vs packages like SFD Global or even default X-Plane 11 Autogen. X-Europe uses the certainly outdated and dull type 1 facades to convert Open Street Map footprints (when available) to infrastructure. The Type 1 facades are plain and simplistic with no other details than a repetitive texture for the walls and roofs. The facades match perfectly the shape and location of an infrastructure on an orthophoto simply because it was generated from the footprint of the building shape in the aerial photo (ortho) Default Autogen of XP11 as well as the SFD Global package (that replaces the default), are 3D generic objects with detailed walls (balconies etc.), roofs, yards (swimming pools etc). They are grouped in a library and placed using a procedural method along roads and freeways. Unlike the facades, these 3D objects do not match the exact spot and shape of any infrastructure we see in aerial photos (Ortho). Although simplistic in their shapes, facades can "ruin" fps/performance because they are unique shapes (a lot of them) stored one by one into memory. 3D autogen (SFD or default), are limited shapes, repeated here and there, thus loaded once in the memory. Even the default Autogen of XP11 looks way better than any facades based autogen. When mixed together, we see two generations of autogen technology and the landscape looks odd. I much prefer the default autogen and for sure SFD for performance and details. By the way the new MSFS seems rendering procedural landscapes using facades like technique but their facades look more detailed and refined. Only XP11 Type 2 facades could look as good if we get urban kits. For now they are reserved to airport infrastructure (i.e: Terminals)
  6. For sure... The MS Azure AI that generated the footprints I mentioned in my previous post (with links) show the impressive data that can be automatically extracted from Bing's aerial material using such an advanced process... However, companies like LR have no choice but to use the OSM...
  7. Well I am not mentioning the default XP autogen (plausible) that uses pre-made fixed shaped houses, buildings and other infrastructure and that are part of a library to be placed anywhere. These are random indeed. Yes, what I was talking about is the old (Type 1 ) facades techniques in XP that as you said, 3rd party tools likes World2Xplane or Ortho4XP use to generate overlays. In this case, the footprints are transformed into plain infrastructure but with the exact shape of what we see on aerial image and at the right spot.
  8. I paused the video of Oct 10 at key moments and observed the procedural scenery. Yes, it has the quality of what one can excpect from OrbX but I think, if used offline, probably there won't be orthphoto (Bing aerial) but rather procedural ground textures (just guessing). Also, for procedural areas, I noticed that the human made infrasrtucture is generated most probably using a technique similar to what the Facades are in X-Plane. However, as far as I could see, the "facades" type of 3D infrastructure in MSFS video, look waaaay more detailed and refined than the plain 3D facades of XP. For those who do not know what Facades are in XP, they are simple extruded 3D shapes from Open Street Maps (OSM) footprints using the attached tags if any (type of building, height etc) and with a repetitive texture wrapped all around to render windows and doors and a flat repetitive roof texture as well... Now 3rd party global procedural scenery for XP use this method (like SimHeaven X-Europe). Again, in MSFS video, if the used technique is similar, they look way more detailed... Now I think in the case of MSFS as well, to generate such extruded infrastructure, footprints shapes are required usually. And speaking of footprints, it could be that MS is using its own footprint data generated, yet again, from Azure AI to create this procedural world. In fact, I heard that MS released a couple of years ago, a huge database of footprints for the US and Canada. And unlike OSM footprint data, where contributors trace every footprint by hand over aerial imagery (as a reference) for their favorite city, MS used its AI to detect in aerial photography the shapes of the infrastructures and it gave a very accurate result. This is very fascinating indeed... So if my observations are correct as for the used technique for the procedural autogen, I suppose they generated footprints for other places on the planet than US and Canada and used these to create the 3D infrastructure... Again, I am just guessing from observing the videos and screenshots... Links to MS footprints: MS US footprints MS Canada footprints
  9. This is a great video update, very useful for us scenery developers, especially that it's narrated by someone who knows what he is talking about. As a scenery developer and a very long time user of MSFS, I am pretty sure that this breathtaking MSFS version will most probably make me live again memories and habits related to this software title... And I mean by that staying late, flying or working on scenery addons as well. In fact this happened precisely for the first time in 1991 when I discovered something called MSFS V3 on my uncle's PC and I was in high school, in 1998 when I discovered that I can learn and create scenery for MSFS myself instead of waiting for someone to do it for me and I was at University, and in 2011 when I was working along with a friend on one of our freeware scenery for FSX while trying to reduce the noise produced by the keyboard and mouse as my 1 year old son was sleeping... I am sure I will stay late this time too to learn how to craft scenery for this version and enjoy all the wonders of this virtual world... 🙂
  10. I think we will be able to modify the procedural part of the world but certainly not the photogrammetry one... In X-Plane 11, the terrain components are baked together and require some rocket science to compile a new one. However, using a tool like World2XPlane, we could write config files with rules to generate specific overlays for the terrain (roads, autogen types, vegetation etc.)... Usually we do this using OSM data as is (or modified using tools like JOSM) and we compile a complete 1x1 tile....But there are no tools available to manually modify a small area in XP11... The most flexible way to customize a procedural terrain in MSFS, is to have both, the tools to batch generate terrain components on a large scale using procedural rules and other tools to manually edit small areas as well... Hopefully and ideally, all this is already done for us using Azure AI and then we will simply add the custom 3D landmarks here and there. 🙂
  11. They mentioned that they could use some of the code in FSX that used to work well. I think the ATC in FSX was a fairly good, out of the box, feature for users to get some kind of basic clearances... Of course there is always room for improvements but at least it's something that could be used somehow and not re-written. Another altnernative is to buy/license some ATC simulator framework out there and implement it 🙂
  12. It all depends on what an SDK means. We might get a kit of simple apps to help us convert from one format to another, 3D software export plugin and some command line tools like the ones we had for FSX. And then we will wait for 3rd party tools (based on the SDK commands) to be available... Now I keep mentioning Unigine as a similar engine to the one MSFS is using in terms of technology. Unigine has some user friendly native editing interfaces for terrain and other components. Although I think that MSFS engine could have these types of native editing interfaces, I do not believe we will have access to these because that would require a license for the engine for the purpose to create a whole sim/game with it and not add-ons for a specific title... Or, perhaps, there is a developement license or extra fees that make such in-engine editing tools available for those who pay for this type of license. Or a deal between MS and some commercial add-on developement groups to have access to advanced engine editing capability. Just guessing of course.. This is an example of in-engine editing tools in Unigine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT7duARx-TY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_Wb-oylt_Y
  13. Dev here in Canada are in the range of what it was mentioned for Europe. The 100K is reserved for team leads and such... But if the 60$ subscription for 12 month will be implemented for this new gen of MSFS then it should be a wonderful deal especially with the new business model they mentioned (evolving software). But I am curious to see if additional fees will be applied to people like me who want to have access to the SDK for scenery developement and if they will give a different SDK for freeware developers compared to commercial ones (i.e: different development subscription fees)
  14. Again, it all depends how the Azure AI works and/or is used. But as far as I understood, it's able to tag natural or human made infrastructure in the massive database of Bing aerial photos. But then a combination of multiple data sources could be required to make the tags more accurate, maybe not. The rest is a matter of how many 3D assets they developed for the new MSFS scenery libraries and how the world is divided in terms of regions and continents and how many rules are being applied to generate the diversity we wish to have. As a scenery developer, I hope the MSFS SDK will make the basic procedural terrain components accessible for improvement. Something that is reserved to an Elite in XP11. Yet for XP11, thanks to the World2XPlane 3rd party app, I created and tagged OSM areas with different residential types in JOSM and then used the W2XP rules to have specific architecture for each of these types.
  15. When I flew with my cousin who was a commercial pilot, back in the late 90s, here in Canada, the winter flying experience (VFR) is a different story from the summer one. Add some haze and falling snow and you will have to look in a monochromatic landscape for the small airfield runway with the snow patches all over it... Fall season implementation can wait but the snowy one makes a huge difference especially with such a great engine...
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