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Stoop :: Archived
A forum for Microsoft's Flight Simulator X
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401RCAF_Sly
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 8:01 am
Post subject: Stoop

Hi Stoop

Interested in your tile proxy experiments

I am not up to speed with ground textures in FSX, but if I wanted to fly a particular route is it possible to change texures along that route and use satellite images?

What I mean is can I make replacement ground texture tiles from satellite images and then replace them in my FSX textures folder... yep each one would be specific so how big an area does a tile cover?

How would satellite imagery look on a night flight?

Is The ground still light?

If tiles were made and darkened in photoshop would that give an impression of nightime in your opinion?

Any other ideas on how to get a reaalistic set of nightime textures for a trip from UK to Dresden 1943 style would be most welcome

Sly
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 5:02 pm
Post subject: Re: Stoop

Hiya Sly,

Well let's see....for starters, TP creates it's replacement scenery automatically in add-on scenery folders it automatically creates and enables (as you normally would do through the Scenery Library). So, as you fly a particular route the first time, the new tiles which are created by gathering sat images along the way and "collected" by being added to the scenery folders that TP uses. This way, the second and third time you fly a route, it doesn't go out to the source and re-fetch them. So yes, you can re-use those satellite images in a sense. Since the whole process of continually grabbing new sat images and converting them on-the-fly is very network-intensive, you're realistically limited to ground speeds of about 100-150 Knots (depending on your bandwith and sim setup) in order not to "outrun" the process and have the scenery keep up. One strategy to counter this is to have a very slow-flying plane fly a particular course on autopilto and "collect" the images for your later, faster flight.

However, a drawback is that the auto-gen scenery (buildings and trees) are a function of the default, normal FS texture tile set and since the tiles are being replaced by new sat images which don't include the layer that FS uses to look at what kind of auto-gen scenery to add, you completely loos all your auto-gen buildings and trees - the ground is completely flat, which actually is fine at altitude but looks very uninteresting when close to, or sitting on, the ground.

There are THOUSANDS of tiles, the size is only a few miles by a few miles, so on a very long flight, mixing and matching the sat image tiles by hand with the default scenery is an absolute TON of work - someone already tried to start doing this and has a very small area of France done, I think, but man, that's more dedication (and time) than most people have.

As for how the images look at night, well, they don't look all that hot. The whole purpose and advantage of TP is to collect and display highly-detailed VFR scenery whihc can be very breathtaking during daylight hours and especially in rugged, mountain terrain or city areas whihc have high-resolution sat images available.

At night, that benefit is lost and also the result of how the tiles look can depend on which two sources you assign TP to use. The author of the project prefers they remain unnamed (by proper name) lest any search-bots draw undue negative attention to this project and get it killed off by blocking access by this tool, but they are either G**gle Erth (GE) or Micrusuft Vurtyal Erth (VE). The GE sat images can be very high detailed but coverage and performance is a bit finicky in my opinion, VE is more stable but the images are in black-and-white and colorized on the fly by TP - generally they look very good, and I hear that VE has just added hi-res images for all of Germany this week, but the coloring for nighttime is "iffy" at best and nowhere realistic as the default scenery.

I suppose you could take the tiles and modify them in photoshop or whatever if you were really diligent and had a lot of time, theoretically of course. I don't believe it would be well worth it - I mean especially since you loose so much detail at night anyway. And the thing is, if you use either GE or VE and look at the sat images they offer, you notice they load in seperate "stages" of resolution - low, med, high, higher, etc as you zoom in. The same thing happens when flying over them in FS - in the distance they are low-res and then the res increases as you get closer, becuase TP is fetching the higher-res images based on your location drawing closer to them. So for each scnery tile, you'd have to process the different resolution sets the same way.

The count of scenery texture files in just one of the 84 scenery/texture folders is 86,015 files. I don't know which area this is for, since the folder name is 0101 which corresponds to somewhere on the FS world map grid that I don't know but have obviously flown in. So thats a lotta images to process, brother.

Personally I'd stick with the default scenery and focus on the planes and the flight planning itself.

Anyway, here's a sample image of a flight I tried at night, taking off from Biggin Hill an hour after sunset and heading toward Dresden (where they just make innocent little cuckoo clocks and oughta be left alone anyways IMHO Wink ) and as you can see it's kinda...yucky.....of course my TP setup is having problems right now, since SP1 came out the latest beta version of TP has been flaky for me and has been dropping out, and I keep having to restart it to keep the connection for the sat images going.

Oh yeah the other drawback is when starting a flight it can take 10 minutes or so just for TP to grab the initial sat images, at which point FS is displaying the "Loading Fllght" progress bar...so it's S L L O W W W w w w .....well worth the wait for daytime VFR in breathtaking places like Hawaii or whatever, but making it less worthwhile if the images are compromised by dark lighting.




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401RCAF_Sly
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 9:48 pm
Post subject: Re: Stoop

thanks Stoop... a ton of good info there


As you prolly guessed I want to fly a lanc to Dresden at around 15000ft and 200 knots at night Laughing

The nighttime textures are the problem and by the sounds of things there are gonna be an awful lot of em... but city lights didn't happen in Germany circa 1943... except by courtesy the RAF Laughing

Maybe the black and white textures from 15000 ft with some tweeking of the monitor luminesence might give a representative nightime scenario?.... because navigation would be attempted by dead reckoning its quite important to be able to pick out landmarks like rivers etc and adjustment of the FL to get the right level of detail / imagry would not be a problem..... neither would preflying the route..
the loss of autogen is not a problem,I have mine turned off anyways Laughing


One problem that I could forsee is that all participents would have to prefly the route.....
Is it viable to set up a full set of dummy texture folders in FSX, prefly the route which would then place the D/L textures into the dummies?....these could then possibly be redistibuted or at least I would know which textures were relevant to the route..

Will FSX load if there are no textures in the folders to start with?
Do the sat images require daata from the original textures to set the locale?.... I presume from scanning the avsim boards that it uses the aircraft position so hopefully that would not be an issue Laughing

Dunno if this will ever get off the ground but its an interesting concept...

Thanks again for your input

Catcha

Sly
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HF_SlowHand
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 10:10 pm
Post subject: Re: Stoop

Sly,

You may want to see if Fled cant dream ya up some textures to remove the lights... he has done some very nice things in fs9 with enviro pak etc....

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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 11:24 pm
Post subject: Re: Stoop

- 401RCAF_Sly

Maybe the black and white textures from 15000 ft with some tweeking of the monitor luminesence might give a representative nightime scenario?....


Actually.....you got me thinking here......there is a setting in TileProxy as to what level of 'colorization' it applies to the black & white VE-sourced images. Although it's a very simple control without any luminescence capability per se, but still maybe it might be possible to come up with something that approximates

- 401RCAF_Sly
Is it viable to set up a full set of dummy texture folders in FSX, prefly the route which would then place the D/L textures into the dummies?....these could then possibly be redistibuted or at least I would know which textures were relevant to the route..


You know, here's another idea on how it may be possible with the stock scenery.....in Phil Taylor's blog there's a tweak listed that has to do with dawn/dusk lighting and controlling at what phase it kicks in. Maybe, with luck, it's capable of turinging night lighting off completely? The tweak in question is this one:

For the dusk/dawn textures some people feel, subjectively, the result is too dark or too light. There are 2 items that allow the transition time to be changed:

[GRAPHICS]

DAY_THRESHOLD
NIGHT_THRESHOLD

acceptible values are 0 to 65535.

Defaults:

DAY: 32768
NIGHT: 4096

These represent the amount of 'ambient' light at the ends of the day/night blend threshold. Zero is perfect dark, 65535 is full day sun at noon in the summer.


Of course, this may apply only to the dawn/dusk threshhold and not the whole nighttime...haven't tried it.

- 401RCAF_Sly
Will FSX load if there are no textures in the folders to start with?


Oh yes, it certainly will! Trust me, I've had this happen when the connection to the sat image server gets dropped at the begtinning of the flight. Result is...YUCK, black empty square tiles. Your basic wartime blackout on steroids.

- 401RCAF_Sly
Do the sat images require data from the original textures to set the locale?.... I presume from scanning the avsim boards that it uses the aircraft position so hopefully that would not be an issue Laughing


The sat images don't require any data from the original textures insofar as I know. They act as complete replacements.

Pre-flying the route and collecting the images would be one way to go, then the question of sharing them with other users comes up since getting everyone to set up with TP isn't a likely proposition....but then, well, there's some questionable legality of sending the files to them since the images are really the "property" of the image source. Not to put a damper on the idea but it's something you'd want to be aware of.

I kinda like what Slowy suggests although it puts some pressure on Fled Wink ...maybe something along the lines of an altered envmap.bmp file might do tha trick.....not an expert there.

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401RCAF_Sly
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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 7:10 am
Post subject: Re: Stoop

Thanks Slow N Stoop

I think I've gotta try this Tile proxy and or night textures thing on a small scale to start with... Laughing
Ive not tried the tile proxy because I don't have sufficient room on my drive.... time for a clear out Rolling Eyes

I will have a try with night threshold etc and see what happens.. dusk/dawn are too dark on my machine anyways so I may learn something there Wink

Yep redistributing could be a problem, Thinking about it it could open up comercial possibilities of companies producing routes Airport to Airport if a licence was available to them

Thanks again all good stuff... I will drag Fled in here too, the more brains the better Wink


Catcha Sly
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