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**Ultimate Terrain, FSX and the Future **

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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: **Ultimate Terrain, FSX and the Future **
    Posted: September-06-2006 at 12:29pm

Now that Microsoft has lifted the NDA on FSX, we are free to give discuss with you a more detailed view of our future and how it will impact our users     Since FSX beta testing is still an ongoing process, things can change.    But, here is a snapshot of things to come based on what we know today.

 

Thank You To The Aces Development Team At Microsoft

 

The Aces Team at Microsoft are the developers of FSX.    While the primary goal of the developers is to get FSX released in a timely manner, these guys have really gone out of their way to provide support for the 3rd party development community.    A lot of this work is being done in their spare time.   Thanks for the support guys !

 

 

Continued FS2004 Support For Ultimate Terrain

 

Before I discuss FSX issues, I want to talk about the current versions of Ultimate Terrain (UT) for FS2004.   We are still working on patches to fix reported problems in the current UT products for FS2004.   I see the support of FS2004 as an ongoing process, as long as FS2004 remains a popular choice with our users.    However, any new technologies that we come up with will most likely be included in the FSX only products.      

 

Unfortunately, the current UT patch process is bogging down right now, because most of our time lately is being put into testing FSX from the addon developer standpoint.    There is a large group of scenery developers that are working together to test the new SDKs, and helping to make sure the FSX environment can promote the future enhancement of the sim by providing developmental flexibility.      The guys at Microsoft are listening, so it is critical that we take advantage of this opportunity to test what they are giving us right now.

 

The good news for all of us, is that the scenery developers on the FSX beta team, both commercial and freeware, are the absolute best in the business.

 

 

Will The Current Versions Of Ultimate Terrain Work In FSX ?

 

At this point, backwards compatibility with the current version of UT is not working in the most recent versions of the beta.   In other words, FSX does not yet support the FS2004 VTP/LWM format for BGL files.    However, it was mentioned very recently, that the current version of FSX, ( not yet released to us developers), currently has backwards compatibility working.   Specifically, it was mentioned that Ultimate Terrain was tested successfully in FSX.

 

Until we actually get a version of FSX that has this backwards support, I cannot tell you to what level Ultimate Terrain is supported in FSX.    One thing that I can tell you, is that you will not be able to install UT for 2004 to FSX directly.   While the scenery files may be supported in FSX, new tools will need to be written by us to support UT in the new FSX environment.  For example, the default FSX scenery files are in a different format and folder structure than FS2004.

 

So, if FSX does indeed end up supporting UTs scenery files, we will try and release some kind of conversion utility to port UT for FS2004 over to FSX.    

 

However, we will also be overhauling the Ultimate Terrain product line using new FSX tools and features.    I will explain this more in a bit.

 

 

The Value Of Ultimate Terrain In FSX

 

As you probably know, Microsoft has licensed Navteq data for use in FSX.   Navteq provides a very good road data set.   However, FSX will only contain highways and most major roads.   So, if you want additional roads (minor roads, dirt roads, some major roads), then you will need an addon like Ultimate Terrain.

 

In addition, with Ultimate Terrain, you will get better road textures and all that configurability.    In future versions of UT for FSX, roads will be broken down into even more numerous classifications, which will give you more control over which types of roads are displayed.

 

The quality of the Navteq water used in FSX is substandard compared to the water in Ultimate Terrain.    Navteq has provided excellent water detail to major metropolitan areas.   So, you will see very high quality water in the major cities in FSX.   Outside of the major cities, the water can be very poor (similar to FS2004).    In rural areas, like most of Canada, most users will not be happy with the water in FSX if they have been using Ultimate Terrain Can/AK.   

 

Also, rivers in Ultimate Terrain are drawn using polygon data, which represents the true size and shape of the rivers.   Most rivers in the Navteq data set are drawn using textured lines, which cannot be displayed in the correct size and shape.

 

The base landclass in FSX appears to be very similar to FS2004.    As you know, the Ultimate Terrain landclass provides a much more accurate portrayal of the cities.     We are currently working on improving our USA and Canada landclass even further for FSX.

 

Other Ultimate Terrain features for FSX will include things like improved coastlines and wave effects (similar to our UT Europe product).   Beaches will be added to the USA and Canada (already in UT Europe).   Plus, there may be a few new wrinkles added.

 

The Ultimate Terrain product line for FSX will deal entirely with the terrain scenery.   In the past, we have included our night lighting objects in Ultimate Terrain.   At this point, it looks like the night lighting may be moved to a new product line for FSX called Ultimate Objects For FSX.

 

 

Ultimate Terrain Product Lines For FSX

 

All Ultimate Terrain products will be completely rewritten for FSX using new tools provided by the Aces team at MS.   

 

Ultimate Terrain Canada Canada will now be its own product (with Alaska being moved to the USA).    Those UT Canada fans will be pleased to know that we will be using DMTI Spatial data for all UT Features in Canada.   DMTI Spatial data for Canada is just outstanding (the absolute best).   In UT Canada/AK, we used this data set for water polygons and railroads.   Now, we will be using it for all features.    Also, we will be expanding the Canada coverage area to include ALL of Canada, even the northernmost territories left out of UT Can/AK.      This will make UT Canada for FSX the largest UT product in terms of area covered.

 

Ultimate Terrain USA & Europe Ultimate Terrain USA for FSX will now contain Alaska.    UT Europe for FSX will include the same area currently provided in our UT Europe for FS2004 product.   Both of these products (USA and Europe) will be rewritten using the latest technologies for FSX.

 

More specific details on the products will be available in the coming months.

 

 

Ultimate Objects For FSX

 

As mentioned before, the Ultimate Objects product line will contain the night lighting objects, plus some new features using similar technologies.      These new features will be announced at a later time as more details become definitive.

 

We are breaking up the product lines (Ultimate Terrain and Ultimate Objects), because some users may want only terrain features, while others would only want 3D object features.    This gives newusers more purchase options.   And, it will most likely also result in a lower price for each product.

 

Like Ultimate Terrain, Ultimate Objects will also be broken into 3 different products:

 

  • Ultimate Objects for Canada
  • Ultimate Objects for USA
  • Ultimate Objects for Europe

  

Pricing, Upgrades, etc

 

If the released version of FSX is indeed backwards compatible with the current versions of Ultimate Terrain for FS2004, then we will try and write new conversion and configuration utilities to get you up and running in FSX.     .

 

When our new product lines are released for FSX, most users will probably want to upgrade to take advantage of the additional features available in FSX.    As we did in the past with our USA Roads users, I would expect upgrade pricing to be available for our current users.   The price of the upgrades should reflect the amount of work required to achieve the desired results.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

I am very excited about future opportunities for us in FSX.    We have a terrific relationship with our data vendors.    Our Ultimate Terrain product has been frequently demonstrated by our data vendors at various trade shows, to show off various uses of commercial data in simulator products.    In addition to our planned Ultimate Terrain and Ultimate Objects product lines, we have another product line that we are looking into that could completely change the way you look at cities in flight simulators (Ultimate Cities ?).

 

Over the next month or two, we will be buried with the continued testing of FSX.   So, we ask for your patience where possible.

 

As always, thanks for your continued support.    You guys make my job both interesting and fun.   There is nothing more satisfying to me than to release ground-breaking products for our users.

 

This is an open topic.   So, feel free to reply with your questions and comments.

Allen

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3ra_Luke View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 3ra_Luke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-06-2006 at 4:47pm

Dear Allen,

I have mixed feelings about this announcement: Im a bit sad about the un-compatibility between "old" UT products and FSX, but on the other side, Im happy because FSX offers more possibilities than FS9 for the addon creators, and opens a new world of options and quality.

I cant imagine now a FS without the great detail of UT products and I know will be a real pain the waiting for FSX compatible UT versions. Im a UT addict. ;-)

Thanks for the great effords you put on your work. You deserve a new great success for new UT products.

Also, mate, I hope we could be the same beta team. Collaborate with you was really great.

Best regards,

Jose

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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-06-2006 at 5:36pm

Hi Jose.   Nice to hear from you.

If what they say is true, and the UT scenery files are compatible with FSX, then this is a good thing for our users.   Of course, I won't know for sure until we get a copy of the latest version.

It should not be too difficult to write some newer utilities that will allow our users to use UT in FSX. 

Of course, with each FS release, new opportunities are created for addon developers.   FSX is no different.

For example, MS/Aces have put in a new XML attribute that will allow custom objects to co-exist with autogen.   What this means, is that the night lighting for FSX can be created so that it will not reduce autogen.    Unfortunately, the night lighting code will have to be ported over to the new .X file format used in FSX to take advantage of this new attribute.    So, porting the old night lighting BGL files over to FSX will still reduce autogen most likely.   This is just one example.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote robkeith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-06-2006 at 8:30pm
Thanks Allen, for your continual updating of information re UT.  I did notice that nothing is being mentioned re Australia.  Can I say I understand as a busness you must cater for the most profitable area's etc, I wonder with Ultimate Objects, in particular Lighting etc, why this could not be available for other countries like Australia, currently VOZ does a great job for scenery etc, but I love the UT lighting, any infor would be greatly appreciated, and thanks once again
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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-06-2006 at 10:38pm

Hi Rob,

I would love to still provide something for Australia if the need arises.   Christian Stock and I have been communicating regarding FSX related issues.   At one point, he mentioned that he was working on providing some of the things that Ultimate Terrain provides for Australia and New Zealand.

I have a lot of respect for Christian's work (and also the VOZ developers BTW).  He is a very talented developer.  If Christian is planning on filling in the Australia void, then I see no reason to create any type of competing scenery product there.

Now, I don't know to what extent Christian's plans are for Australia.   Most likely, they don't include a night lighting feature similar to Ultimate Terrain.   If that is the case, then yes we can create an Ultimate Objects type of product for Australia.   Or, just a night lighting product.

If we were to do only a night lighting product for Australia, then it would still have to be based on commercial source data.    This is where the cost issue comes in.

I will talk to Christian about all of this and see what his plans are exactly for Australia.   Maybe the two of us can work something out in this area. 

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote robkeith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-06-2006 at 11:33pm
Thanks Allen, that would be fantastic, no one has been able to perfect your point lighting as yet, and I look forward to hearing any good news on the subject, and thanks once again, as usual your response is timely and appreciated
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote markdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-07-2006 at 9:03am

Thanks Allen for that detailed announcement (I wish \ hope other companies will do the same!).

I'm fairly new to the flight sim world, and purchased UT Europe a few months back, and was amazed at the difference. Ever since then, I've been toying with the idea of getting UT Canada and USA.

So a couple of quick questions...

1) What timescales do you forecast for the new FSX versions of UT? (very roughly of course.. I'm a software dev. myself, so know how timescales can slide, and that you don't have the full info yet, but it would be useful to know if you expect to get them out in 6 months or a year or whatever). If it's quite a considerable time, then I could be convinced to get the fs2004 versions of Canada and USA and hope the patch works!

2) You mention that landclass seems very similiar with fs2004 - have you or anyone else had any luck with adding landclass to the beta version? It would also be useful to know if mesh addons work too - I've not been impressed with the mesh I've seen so far, and I'm sure my fsglobal and fsgenesis mesh would work a lot better.

Thanks,

Mark.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-07-2006 at 4:47pm
Originally posted by markdowner markdowner wrote:

Thanks Allen for that detailed announcement (I wish \ hope other companies will do the same!).

I'm fairly new to the flight sim world, and purchased UT Europe a few months back, and was amazed at the difference. Ever since then, I've been toying with the idea of getting UT Canada and USA.

So a couple of quick questions...

1) What timescales do you forecast for the new FSX versions of UT? (very roughly of course.. I'm a software dev. myself, so know how timescales can slide, and that you don't have the full info yet, but it would be useful to know if you expect to get them out in 6 months or a year or whatever). If it's quite a considerable time, then I could be convinced to get the fs2004 versions of Canada and USA and hope the patch works!

2) You mention that landclass seems very similiar with fs2004 - have you or anyone else had any luck with adding landclass to the beta version? It would also be useful to know if mesh addons work too - I've not been impressed with the mesh I've seen so far, and I'm sure my fsglobal and fsgenesis mesh would work a lot better.

Thanks,

Mark.

Mark,

I have not heard of any problems creating landclass for FSX with the new tools available.   And, I cannot remember if FSX is backwards compatible with FS2004 mesh products right now.

You might try Justin's forum regarding mesh in FSX(www.fsgenesis.net).    I am sure this question has already come up.

I do believe that the mesh in FSX is 76m (based on SRTM data).   This would put it in a class with FSGlobal and other 76m mesh products.   But, it would not be as detailed as mesh products that are more precise than 76m.

I don't know if the dates are attainable, but I would like to have the new versions of Ultimate Terrain for FSX out by the end of the year.   Some development has already been started.   The Ultimate Objects product line will not be completed this year.

In a perfect world, the Ultimate Terrain products for FSX would be out by the end of the year, and the Ultimate Objects products would start coming out in Spring of 07.   Those are the goals that I am shooting for right now.

Also, thanks for the positive comments.

Allen

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Cole View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-08-2006 at 4:58am
Originally posted by markdowner markdowner wrote:

(I wish \ hope other companies will do the same!).



Justin Tyme (FSGenesis) has made a few announcements too in this section of his forum:

http://portal.fsgenesis.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file =viewforum&f=19&sid=b8438c43092a8d11e88e5ce9f685e149

cheers,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PaulLazarus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-12-2006 at 8:23am
Hi Allen,

I am quite excited about the possabilities that FSX and the new UT will bring.

Now, as you may or may not recall, my interest is with the less developed parts of the world, Peru in particular, but the whole of it as well.

As Aces are using better road data, I wonder if you would be able to create a product relating to night lighting and objects.... for the rest of the world? This could be based on default FSX data.

Any thoughts on this?

Cheers,
Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-12-2006 at 5:44pm

Hi Paul,

I do not believe that FSX has better road data over FS2004 for many areas.    I believe Navteq only covers Europe, Canada, and USA right now.    I think that MS has also licensed better data for Japan thru someone outside of Navteq.

I think only TeleAtlas has a couple places available in South America (Brazil and another country that slips my mind).    If/when TeleAtlas adds more of South America, we will probably do a UT product for that region.

As far as generating night lights from existing roads, it would be very difficult to achieve the same quality.    A lesser product could probably be done though.

In generating the night lights, we use detailed road data such as flow-of-traffic, # of lanes, etc.   So, basing the lights off of just line data (with no attributes) is possible, but would not provide the same exact environment.

However, your idea is interesting anyway.  Perhaps we could create some kind of lower-detail night light product for the entire planet.   Hmmm.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gridley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-13-2006 at 8:37am
Thanks for the news, Allen!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PaulLazarus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-13-2006 at 8:58pm
Hi Allen,

Thanks for the info... shame we won't get any more road detail down here.... oh well... Peru only has 3 roads outside Lima... ( JOKE!!! ).

Here's the issue.... for these areas that are poorly covered, such as South America, what are the options....? Well very few... so we turn to you... as the guru of these things... hoping. OK, you say that there just isn't the data available, so then... again, what are the options...? Well, we hope that we can see at least a limited improvment with whatever you could put together.... so the idea of a product that covers these areas with some of your magic appeals.

So Allen, here's hoping for this limited scope product covering the "rest of the world" that your detailed products don't cover.

Cheers,
Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-14-2006 at 4:06pm

South America is a bit of a dilemma for us Paul.    I would not be surprised to see a large portion of the continent covered by TeleAtlas soon.

I wish we could just crank out products for all the areas that we can get commercial data for.   The problem has to do with projected sales figures.    

I have to negotiate commercial data contracts for each individual coverage area seperately.      And, there are guaranteed minimum royalties that have to be paid anually.    So far, all 3 of our UT products have had sales that exceeded the minimum amounts.     But, the cushion over the minimum is not that great.   UT Europe was a particularly costly project.

My fear, is that an area like South America would have only about 10-20% of our current average sales, which would not meet the required data minimum.    

Does anyone have any idea about the Flight Sim market in South America ?   I would be happy to try and bring a UT product to this area, as long as the product can sell enough to keep the data providers satisfied.

I have heard from several would-be developers that the commercial data is getting more difficult to obtain for flight sims.     I can understand this, as the commercial data vendors really don't make a large amount of profit from the product sales.   What really helps us with Ultimate Terrain, is that we provide a means for the data providers to really showcase their data.    There is nothing better than showing the road and water data in 3D.   All of our data providers have been using Ultimate Terrain in trade shows and presentations.    So, we are very fortunate that our products provide value to the data providers, in addition to the sales royalties.

As always, keep the feedback and ideas coming guys.     This is still a hobby to me, in addition to a business.  So, the almightly dollar is not necessarily the determining factor, unless it comes down to losing money because of sales expectations that are not met (regarding commercial data and/or paid contractors).

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PaulLazarus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-15-2006 at 10:41pm
Allen,

I would say it probably isn't financially viable to do a full detailed S AM.

Only comparable product i can think of is FSGenesis Andes product.... you could talk to Justin about his sales figures. Maybe there is interest from N AM and Europe which I expect are your core markets. Most sales would not come from within S AM, but from those core markets.

I still would like to see some improvment, so maybe this "rest of the world" basic product could be a viable project.

Thanks for listening.... lets see what FSX brings and I'm looking forward to the improvements you will bring to it.

Cheers,
Paul


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote INCA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-18-2006 at 5:24am

Hola Paul, I read your different posts and I share your interest for Peru. I am Belgian, and I have my family in Peru. It is an extraordinary country... Microsoft unfortunately never showed the least interest for South America. You can see images FSX of the Jorge Chavez airport (SPIM) with this shortcut: http://forums.flightsim.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=32&topic_id=4576&mesg_id=4576&page=

It seems obvious that as in the past , the airport of Lima is represented at its minimum... And what to say for the rest of Peru! I thus come here to support your request for the development (ultimate ground) for Peru. It is certain that in Europe, a lot of people will be purchaser. It's more interesting of developing addons for areas poorly represented in FSX. Why always develop the same places? People become tired to fly all the time over San Francisco and New York. What I 'd wish above all is to have an addon satellite/scenery of Lima area. I personally worked many weeks to that, on the basis of photographs from Google Earth. GE offers a splendid representation of many places of Peru. Especially Lima/Callao. Why not benefit from this splendid data base? I hope that Allen will take attention with our request...

Best regards,   

 Jean-Paul (Belgica)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alastairmonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-18-2006 at 6:07am
Hi Jean-Paul,

I do sympathise with you. Unfortunately, the geographic coverage does seem to be proportional to the number of simmers living there, which is clearly linked to the potential sales of the base product and any commercial add-ons.

Thus the USA is very well covered, with multiple coverage for the large airports and cities. We're spoiled for choice. Even Alaska gets quality treatment !

Europe isn't quite as well provided for, but there are large areas covered by such as UT-Europe as well as several payware packs for airports in the UK, France and Germany.

Australia and New Zealand have to rely on dedicated add-on designers to "boost" the default coverage, and elsewhere, such as most of Asia, Eastern Europe/Russia, Africa, South America and the Pacific, the coverage is pretty awful !

Take the West Indies, for instance. Other than Chris Wilkes' Islands of the West Indies series and a few other isolated packages, it gets little attention.

Also bear in mind that access to the areas also has its effect on what add-ons are produced. If a scenery maker can visit an airport and get good photos of the buildings and layout they will be able to produce a good product (whether it be payware or freeware.) Unfortunately, this is less easy in South America due to the obvious political/security realities and the lower population density.

Equally, as Allen indicated, satellite image data may well be more expensive, and of areas that are "less popular" so will not sell as well. Ultimately, if the product costs more to make than its ever likely to return (well below any "break-even point") then odds are that it won't happen. Allen has done wonders in a fantastically short time period, but even he has a limit as to what he can do !

I'm sure most of this you know already, its just a shame that these areas aren't better covered. Its almost "Catch 22" - because areas such as Peru are poorly covered, people aren't inclined to fly there, and as the areas aren't popular there's no urge to improve things.

Best wishes,

Alastair


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote INCA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-18-2006 at 6:33am

Hi Alastair
Thank you for your very interesting post. I agree with all that you say.  It is unfortunately the reality and also the difficulty. That will change with time. . . When all areas "of the Western world" will be developed until saturation, the public will ask for innovations, more exotic areas, little explored up to now in FS.

Best regards

Jean-Paul

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PaulLazarus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-19-2006 at 9:09am
Hi Jean-Paul,

Thanks for the link to that post. It seems that Lima again has missed getting any sort of "detailed treatment".

FYI there are some freeware offerings for the new terminals and even Lima landmarks.... plus Cusco.

http://www.artccperu.org/escenarios_disponibles_del_peru.htm

It has links to further offerings.

The photos you posted were of the old terminal that no longer exists.... now the airport is run by a consortium basd on the operators of Frankfurt and Singapore airports..... now it's one of the worlds better "small" airports.... but with expansion plans for a mega hub.

The payware scenery looks too green to me.

Where are your family here? I am in La Molina.

Cheers,

Paul
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Hi Paul,

I downloaded the scenery new airport Jorge Chavez, thanks to your shortcut. That will add more realism... I actually did not visit it yet, but my Peruvian wife passed by there last June. My last visit in Lima was in May 2000. It was then still the old terminal. My family-in-law lives in Callao (Urb. Los Jasmines) and in Andahuylas. I hope to find time to still work with the scenery (photo/satellite Google Earth) and to finish it. The area of Lima is splendid on Google Earth. I think that you already discovered it. I'm impatient to discover FSX (on next 12 October in Belgium.)

I hope that we will still have the occasion to exchange information together.

Best regards

Jean-Paul

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PaulLazarus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-20-2006 at 10:07am
Jean-Paul,

After 6 years I am sure you would see a huge difference to Lima as a whole, not just the airport.... it has improved greatly.

Yes Google Earth covers Lima very well.. right down to the water tank on my house.... and recently they have improved the general coverage of Peru.... with most urban areas covered well.

At least your family are near the airport... it can take me more than an hour to get there...

I've never been to Andahuaylas.... maybe one day.... and making sure Antauro Humala is not in town!

Cheers,
Paul
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Flying'sCool! View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flying'sCool! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September-29-2006 at 7:19pm

Hi Allen,

Now that FSX is a couple of weeks away, any news on when we might see UTX or an FSX compatability patch?

Should we be thinking a month or maybe next year?

Thomas Perry

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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-02-2006 at 10:30am

Thomas,

I really don't have anything new to add.   I (we beta testers) don't have a copy of the Gold version yet, which is supposed to have the backwards compatibility in it.  So, I can't really start working on a compatibility patch yet.

We are working hard on new versions of UT for FSX using the new tools.   These are going to be complete rewrites that will add some new capabilities, especially in configurability.   So, they are going to take some work.

Canada is a 100% complete rewrite from ground up using all DMTI data.    There may be something going on with Alaska that I will address later when it is confirmed.    

While I can't really give any time frame estimates, I want to get all the UT versions working ASAP for FSX.

I will try and keep you guys updated every couple of weeks.   I wish that I had more to add right now, other than a promise bust my tail getting things done as quickly as we can.

Allen

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Flying'sCool! View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flying'sCool! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-03-2006 at 10:02pm
Well, I'll tell ya, it's gonna be hard for me to load FSX without a compatible version of UT for it :)
Thomas Perry

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Jack2004 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jack2004 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-07-2006 at 6:37am
Purchased FSX Deluxe yesterday, its out in Canada.

Surprised to see the Fraser River in Hope B.C is missing !!
Anyway to try moving some UT Canada files for that area over to my FSX install?


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JoeD View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-07-2006 at 3:32pm

Originally posted by Flying'sCool! Flying'sCool! wrote:

Well, I'll tell ya, it's gonna be hard for me to load FSX without a compatible version of UT for it :)

Yup, I agree......FS (any version) just isn't complete without UT!

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Cole View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-08-2006 at 2:21am
Originally posted by JoeD JoeD wrote:

Yup, I agree......FS (any version) just isn't complete without UT!



right! but now that it's out (well, sort of ... ) - we'll soon see! Big%20smile
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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-08-2006 at 11:49am

Originally posted by Jack2004 Jack2004 wrote:

Purchased FSX Deluxe yesterday, its out in Canada.

Surprised to see the Fraser River in Hope B.C is missing !!
Anyway to try moving some UT Canada files for that area over to my FSX install?

When it comes to the water in FSX, you can only expect to see UT-quality water features in the larger urban areas.    As I mentioned earlier, FSX is based on Navteq data.    Navteq water is currently only detailed in the larger cities.  Outside of the cities, it is of the same quality as FS2004 (and worse in some areas of Canada, like Thunder Bay).

Canada users in particular are not going to be happy with the water in FSX.   In the USA and Europe, the water data in FSX is better because there are more urban areas.   But, outside these urban areas you will have some major missing water features.

Those users that have never had UT will probably be pleased with the water in FSX.   However, if you are a previous UT user, you will be taking a step backwards in FSX.

I just completed downloading the Gold version of FSX that has been made available to the beta team.   So, I have not yet had a chance to test out "Ult Terrain for FS2004" in FSX yet.   The problem with moving the current Ultimate Terrain files over to FSX, is that the default FSX scenery must be disabled.   Unfortunately, this can no longer be done by renaming the default scenery files, because FSX stores all the vector data in a single scenery file (water, roads, airports, etc).   So, if you rename the FSX scenery files to disable the water, then you also disable all the other features like airports, roads, etc.

I should know more about getting the current versions of Ultimate Terrain to work in FSX within a week or so (after I install and test the gold version).     Also, we have been working on completely new versions of UT for FSX for some time now.   However, I don't have any scheduled release dates available yet.

Allen

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Jack2004 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jack2004 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-08-2006 at 6:35pm
Thanks Allen. We have been spoiled with FS2004 and FSG mesh and UT.

I pointed FS-X scenery to the FS2004 UT Canada dir, and it looks much better now seeing the rivers and night lights, and it added in Banff etc, be great when you offer a fine tuned FSX product.





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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 11:52am

Originally posted by Jack2004 Jack2004 wrote:

Thanks Allen. We have been spoiled with FS2004 and FSG mesh and UT.

I pointed FS-X scenery to the FS2004 UT Canada dir, and it looks much better now seeing the rivers and night lights, and it added in Banff etc, be great when you offer a fine tuned FSX product.

Jack,

How did you disable the default water and roads ?

I ran some tests yesterday, and it looks like the current version of UT will work under FSX (pretty well).  But, it will require:

  • some exclusion files to be generated for the default scenery,
  • a conversion application to be written,
  • new setup utilities.

I think there is a good chance that I can get these done within a week for all UT products.    Of course, then I will return to working on the new versions of UT designed to work specifically with FSX.

I am going to be very curious to hear from more users regarding FSX.  There are going to be some decisions that have to be made, as to whether or not new products will be FSX only or support both FSX and FS2004.    In order to take advantage of some new FSX features, products generated for FSX will not be backwards compatibile.     On the other hand, products generated for FS2004 can work in FSX, but do not take full advantage of it's capabilities.   Because of this, we would have to developer 2 separate versions if we choose to go forward with new product development for FS2004.

 

Allen

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Jack2004 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jack2004 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 1:46pm
Allen, all I did was in FSX create a scenery entry pointing to the UTCanada dir, peppy197 posted the idea on avsim.

Screenshots below. One with Banff looking better than ever, note the golf course not does not run up the mountain and this is with the default FSX mesh, which I find looks fine, and has no issues with sunken airports etc.

The only issues Ive noticed are minor, around Chilliwack in the Fraser River it appears to have rocks around some islands, maybe its a double shoreline, it actually looks interesting.

2 Screenshots linked: Banff and Chilliwack.
More screenshots here including night: http://www.pbase.com/jackcnd/fsx

FSX, Banff with UTCanada:
http://www.pbase.com/jackcnd/image/68291259/original.jpg


FSX, Chilliwack UTCanada, note rocks in river:
http://www.pbase.com/image/68340137/original.jpg
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolgerS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 2:54pm

Hi Jack,

the rocks in the water are a new "feature" of FSX. Whenever mesh-clinging water goes above a certain slope steepness FS automatically switches to a rock texture, similar to what FS9 already did with steep land slopes.

We've had discussions about the usefulness/realism of this approach in the FSX Beta forum and there will be an updated terrain.cfg file (provided by testers) for those who don't like that feature.

Cheers, Holger

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Murray_CYHZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 4:43pm
Originally posted by akriesman akriesman wrote:

Those users that have never had UT will probably be pleased with the water in FSX.   However, if you are a previous UT user, you will be taking a step backwards in FSX.

Allen, you have something in common with a "crack" dealer... we tried your product and now we can't live without it! LOL LOL LOL

Murray

Thanks!

Murray
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote northtexas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 4:51pm

Originally posted by Jack2004 Jack2004 wrote:

Allen, all I did was in FSX create a scenery entry pointing to the UTCanada dir, peppy197 posted the idea on avsim.

I tried the same thing but unchecked everything except enhanced lakes, rivers, coasts and streams before pointing FSX to UTUSA. The problem I found was that rivers that are depicted as streams in FSX will still show the FSX stream textures running down the middle of the river. I attached an example of the Juniata River in Pennsylvania which is only a stream in FSX and the default Fs9.

 

Guess I'll wait for Allen's official patch or update.

 

 

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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 5:45pm

NorthTexas,

Yes, you will need to be able to disable the FSX stream data.   Navteq/FSX has many rivers depicted as streams/lines and not water polygons.

For those that are not comfortable with moving scenery files around, I would wait for the UT conversion utilities that I am working on.   I have the conversion application complete.   The next step is to modify the UT setup/configuration utilities to support the FSX location and the exclude files.

I am pleased to see that the current version of UT works pretty well in FSX.   Of course, the version we are working on for FSX specifically should provide some additional features and configurability.

Allen

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Pie Lot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pie Lot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-10-2006 at 9:22pm

Hi Allen,

Thanks for keeping us informed. I'm new to simming and bought FS9 only months ago so I couldn't justify purchasing any addons with FSX just around the corner. From what I've heard on forums and seen in screens, your Ultimate Terrain is a must have product! After flying my default FSX, I see it will be a must have once more!!!

My question is, as Ultimate Terrain handles roads, do you forsee any way of dropping some auto traffic onto them? There is only 1 road within 100 miles of my usual flight areas that allows traffic and freeways are far and few for large portions of the world. Seems like a waste of ashphalt to me.

Thanks!

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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-11-2006 at 1:59pm

Hello Pie Lot,

Yes, the new versions of UT written explicitly for FSX should have more roads with traffic than the current FSX roads.    At least, this is what I have planned.

One thing about FSX, is that it has been designed to be highly configurable.   As a result, you can count on the fact that our UT for FSX product lines are going to have all kinds of configuration possibilities ;)

I don't want to give anything away yet.   But, there will be more information as the product releases draw near.

In the meantime, our users can still enjoy the current versions of UT in FSX when our conversion applications are ready to go in a week or so.   As you have heard, some brave souls have already figured out ways to get UT to work under FSX.

I have seen some quirks with the current versions of UT in FSX regarding some of the textures (i.e. roads).    But, the water, lights and landclass seem to work well.

 

Allen

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redbaron View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote redbaron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-11-2006 at 7:32pm
I am pointing to UTCanada folder from FSX, but have no success particularly for islands in the st-lawrence river. They are not there for default FSX either.
I will certainly wait for Allen new setup files, but in the meantime is there anything I should do to bring up the islands ??
Thanks
Pierre
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Cole View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-12-2006 at 2:23pm
just been flying around default FSX Honolulu a bit ... FSX definitely needs your touch, Allen, those coastlines are awful ... ! Big%20smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MooneyN2996L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October-13-2006 at 8:29am
Still waiting for FSX and this time will get some sceneries instead of blowing $800 on aircraft.
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