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UTX Night Lighting

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NickN View Drop Down
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    Posted: December-07-2007 at 2:28am

 

More about this located here: http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=23910&PN=1

 

I modified the latest GEX/FSX night textures. The defaults and the GEX textures are way too yellow/orange and they were a bit hazy so I reprocessed them getting rid of the nasty orange glow that depressed me about FSX, sharpened them up and remasked, reconstructed the intersection lights so they are much better lit, and then recompressed them back to DXT1 and installed.
 
 
 
 
The city looks ALIVE now, full of color with the right temp and variety of light, and best of all,.. is not under a gloom of burnt orange I HATED for so long 

 

 

I do not use UTX night lighting because it never worked and blended right with the lousy orange night glow of the FSX night lights but now the city really comes to life

 

I set the scale of the UTX lights to 25%. Any larger is simply too much. I would actaully like to see the intersections/traffic optional lights another 50% smaller. The road lights are the correct scale but the intersection traffic lights are way too big.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course my aircraft/airport light fix helps too      LOL

 

The popcorn balls for lights on the aircraft and airports were really annoying as well

 

 

Any chance of getting the intersection lights reduced to about 2/3rds-1/2 the scale they are now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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daveEM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote daveEM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 4:40am
Originally posted by NickN NickN wrote:

The city looks ALIVE now, full of color with the right temp and variety of light, and best of all,.. is not under a gloom of burnt orange I HATED for so long 

I do not use UTX night lighting because it never worked and blended right with the lousy orange night glow of the FSX night lights but now the city really comes to life



I think the real night lighting is in my sig.  At least early morning.


Rreal traffic shot, yes red roads in the morning.
Edmonton 06:47 hrs. 10/19/07
dave
Canada
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 9:43am

 

 

If that was a lapse/release image, or, a slower shutter speed, and/or there was a large amount of humidity in the air I can see that look but what I find is cameras are only as good as the person setting them up and making sure the FStops/shutter speed and filters are correct. The DOT cameras are junk and pick up glare the human eye would never register especially under wet or damp conditions.

 

I can see under certain conditions how that may look correct but for a clear morning or night I think that is not a correct representation of traffic and I would not want it to look like your image unless that was induced dynamically by weather and amount of traffic on the road. Spot areas giving off that effect under the right conditions would work but the entire sim looking like that would not. The sim would look like the surface of a lava dome with cracks in the crust allowing the red hot glow of the lava to show...

 

With this day and age many people are running higher res and wide screen like myself. Those running Matrox Triple heads and even higher resolutions already have problems with the sim and light sources being too large. With SP2 that problem is magnified and if you zoom back even a small amount with high res and wide screen the default lighting is way out of scale. UTX allows a scale change and it works very well for the street lights but the intersection/traffic is well out of proportion. I dont think traffic lights should appear 2x larger than the street lights which are much more powerful and larger light sources

 

As I said, there are many different monitors and resolution running out there and SP2 has changed how lights are rendered so what I was looking for was a way to control that a bit more.

 

 

 

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pwheeler View Drop Down
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I must admit that I agree about the size of the intersection lights and also the traffic lights. I actually think that they all use the same size model just different colours. I think it would look better if the red and green lights could be smaller. I run my street lights at 50% (with a different halo.bmp - the one found in UTX folder - looks great and reduces the size of the glare) but I think the red and green lights would look better at 25%.

Allen is there any way this function could be put into UTX - i.e. an independant size setting for street lights and intersection/traffic lights?

By the way nice texture mod Nick. I've always thought the world looked too yellow.

Paul.
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NickN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 11:03am

Originally posted by pwheeler pwheeler wrote:

I must admit that I agree about the size of the intersection lights and also the traffic lights. I actually think that they all use the same size model just different colours. I think it would look better if the red and green lights could be smaller. I run my street lights at 50% (with a different halo.bmp - the one found in UTX folder - looks great and reduces the size of the glare) but I think the red and green lights would look better at 25%.

Allen is there any way this function could be put into UTX - i.e. an independant size setting for street lights and intersection/traffic lights?

By the way nice texture mod Nick. I've always thought the world looked too yellow.

Paul.

 

I did not know UTX was using halo.bmp. If that is the case then my lightfix for FSX (which is beta and not released yet) is having an effect on the lights in my images. I have completely changed halo.bmp to correct airport and aircraft lighting along with re-design the FX files so strobes and beacons are not flashing at the same time on every plane in the air or on the ground at the airports.

 

If someone would tell me which quadrant of halo.bmp the UTX intersection lights uses I may be able to make a fix which works better but the UTX interface having the ability to scale them back would still be a good thing so they could be further tweaked.

 

 

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pwheeler View Drop Down
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Yes, UTX does use the Halo.bmp. I think its the top left quadrant but thats from memory as I'm not in front of my FSX pc. I'm sure Allen will tell you for sure.

Allen said he was going to release a custom halo.bmp with UTX but didn't because it effects the other lights in the sim. His custom one can be found in the UTX folder. It makes the UTX lights and taxiway lights look great, but I'm not too keen on the changes it makes to aircraft landing lights.

Paul
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Originally posted by pwheeler pwheeler wrote:

Yes, UTX does use the Halo.bmp. I think its the top left quadrant but thats from memory as I'm not in front of my FSX pc. I'm sure Allen will tell you for sure.

Allen said he was going to release a custom halo.bmp with UTX but didn't because it effects the other lights in the sim. His custom one can be found in the UTX folder. It makes the UTX lights and taxiway lights look great, but I'm not too keen on the changes it makes to aircraft landing lights.

Paul

 

OK that sucks because the top left is the aircraft landing/taxi lights used by AI and some of the default aircraft in flight. I cant change that or I will lose the excellent replacement I developed which scales perfectly for SP2, large/medium and small aircraft, distance and zoom

 

 

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Originally posted by NickN NickN wrote:

I can see under certain conditions how that may look correct but for a clear morning or night I think that is not a correct representation of traffic and I would not want it to look like your image unless that was induced dynamically by weather and amount of traffic on the road. Spot areas giving off that effect under the right conditions would work but the entire sim looking like that would not. The sim would look like the surface of a lava dome with cracks in the crust allowing the red hot glow of the lava to show...



I agree the sim would look like a lava dome and few if any would like it.

I'm not sure what causes it, - perhaps traffic (it's a helicopter early morning traffic shot).  Perhaps it's the street lights Edmonton uses although i think most places use high pressure sodium.

I don't fly so I don't know what real stuff looks like in the evening but every morning that helicopter sends back spectacular Clap red colored images of the streets and interchanges of my town.  The sig is just a snip of it recorded off the TV and I might add, it is as it looks on the TV.

This morning was another fine show.  Winter here.  Clear as a bell this morning.  -15 C, the sig shot in Nov the temp would have been zero C ore close to that.  Didn't get below freezing till Dec. 4th here.  Temp. might have something to do with it... or maybe they use a special lens on the TV camera.  I'll try and research that, maybe post a question to the TV station.


Rreal traffic shot, yes red roads in the morning.
Edmonton 06:47 hrs. 10/19/07
dave
Canada
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NickN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 12:19pm
Originally posted by daveEM daveEM wrote:

Originally posted by NickN NickN wrote:

I can see under certain conditions how that may look correct but for a clear morning or night I think that is not a correct representation of traffic and I would not want it to look like your image unless that was induced dynamically by weather and amount of traffic on the road. Spot areas giving off that effect under the right conditions would work but the entire sim looking like that would not. The sim would look like the surface of a lava dome with cracks in the crust allowing the red hot glow of the lava to show...



I agree the sim would look like a lava dome and few if any would like it.

I'm not sure what causes it, - perhaps traffic (it's a helicopter early morning traffic shot).  Perhaps it's the street lights Edmonton uses although i think most places use high pressure sodium.

I don't fly so I don't know what real stuff looks like in the evening but every morning that helicopter sends back spectacular Clap red colored images of the streets and interchanges of my town.  The sig is just a snip of it recorded off the TV and I might add, it is as it looks on the TV.

This morning was another fine show.  Winter here.  Might have something to do with it... or maybe they use a special lens on the TV camera.  I'll try and research that, maybe post a question to the TV station.

 

its the video cameras in combination with the area typical weather

 

 

 

Is this Edmonds, WA?   EDIT... sorry, I misread the sig 

 

 

 

I am on Bainbridge Island. We get clearer skies over here because we are protected from the convergence zone by the Olympics where Whidbey to the north and Seattle to the south are in that zone (Edmunds especially). It produces high humidity coming off the straits into the sound which is why its so wet this time of year over on that side. We get rain too but usually when its sunny on Bainbridge I can't even see Seattle and up your way because of the rain and moisture in the air this time of the year.  LOL

 

 

 

Yes, that effect is seen but it’s caused by the environment in combination with the lights and finally the camera being used.

 

EDIT: Sorry, misread the sig. I am not sure what your weather is like but I do know temp/moisture/type of street light and the camera filters can play quite a role in making a minor glow exagerrated. But then its possible that area diplays those colors like that. I have never been there. I have seen strange glows from the air but nothing that would be uniform everywhere on the ground.

 

Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote daveEM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 12:55pm
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Darn nice set of mountains we have.  Banff Alberta, well just about everyone goes there at some point in time.  I think all the movie stars come and play in the winter here.  The 'Trumps' of the world always come.

Dino bones till the cows come home in southern Alberta.  Northern Alberta has the oil... maybe we are # 3 in production.  If not we sure could be.  Because of the oil the province has no debt.  Lowest tax in Canada.  No sales tax. 

Winter time.  Can be cold... -40 C or F same at that temp.

Summer... nice +20 - 25 (70 - 80 F).

Now back to the roads, - I've posted a query on the flight sim newsgroup.  maybe some real pilots will have an opinion.


Rreal traffic shot, yes red roads in the morning.
Edmonton 06:47 hrs. 10/19/07
dave
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Nick,

My mistake. Just looked at my halo.bmp on my system. Its not top left - thats aircraft landing lights. I'm pretty certain its the bottom left quadrant. Hopefully Allen will clarify for sure.

Hope this helps.

Paul
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Bottom left is airport VASI lights and the runway lights which makes more sense because if it were using top left with my file the lights would have a halo glow around them as shown in my landing lights on the baron and the 1st image of the cessna above

 

Here is the problem with a few quick snags

 

 

Its all about monitor scale and zoom so we need a way to tweak them to our needs:

 

Zoom out:

 

 

 

zoom in: 

 

 

 

even zoomed in the intersection lights are HUGE compared to the car models. The street lights do not seem to display this issue (as much) so I assume it can be adjusted or made to be adjusted like the street lights. Perhaps they are set up with some type of tag which makes them work like the AI landing lights under zoom and distance conditions? 

dont know 

 

I guess it could simply be the colors that are making them look different but none the less, I expect the street lights to glow yellow and increase because they are large and throw light normally but the intersection/traffic lights should not expand like that. They should remain more pin-point and if they do expand, not so much.

 

It looks to me like they need to cme down at least 1/3 to 1/2 their current size, at leas for my monitor. I know they guys using Matrox and high res see this 2x as bad as I do.

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pwheeler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 2:57pm
Nick,

just tried to edit my halo.bmp in photoshop but it won't show up in FSX. Is there a specific format that the halo.bmp needs to be in? Can I do it from photoshop cs2?

cheers,

Paul
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 4:56pm

you have to use imagetool.exe to remove the mip maps first and save the LARGEST extracted single image as a .tga file to preserve the alpha layer, then open in photoshop to edit but you MUST make sure upon saving to .tga from photoshop to preserve and save the alpha layer too or it will destroy the texture and how it works.

 

Once resaved, open image tool and have it add the mips back in and resave as a bmp file

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolgerS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-07-2007 at 5:52pm

Hi guys,

the other option is to load the image in DXTBMP - http://www.mnwright.btinternet.co.uk/programs/dxtbmp.htm - and then send the RGB channel to Photoshop for editing (Image > Send to Editor). Save your changes and re-load the image in DXTBMP (Image > Reload after edit), then save as Extended 32-bit 888-8 format.

Obviously, make a backup of the original before doing any changes.

However, size changes probably won't do much. Instead, you could work with the mipmaps to decrease size, hue, or intensity at distance. That's because the main image (mipmap 0) will only be displayed if you're pretty much right next to the light source.

To edit mipmaps, use Imagetool.exe to extract the mipmaps, then edit the individual mipmap textures in Photoshop, then re-assemble the halo.bmp.

Then again, given that all changes will also influence a range of other important non-UTX lighting I doubt that there's going to be a suitable edit that works in all or most circumstances. I know that Allen experimented with editing halo.bmp too during Beta testing. Too bad that there's no way to avoid using halo.bmp in the first place.

Hmm. Hang on a sec. Has anyone tried placing an edited halo.bmp into a texture subfolder in \Scenery\UtCanLights or \Scenery\UtUsaLights? Maybe FSX would look in that folder first when calling halo.bmp? Might be worth a shot...

Cheers, Holger

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Thanks for the tip Holger!

 

SP2 changed how light is handled. Zoom and high res increases the light source much larger than in SP1. I know any light connected to halo.bmp by the sim creates the problem which is one of the reasons why I had to go back to the drawing board with my upcoming light fix

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More about this here:

The progress with my edits to GEX with UTX night lighting enabled:

http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=23910&PN=2

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I somehow missed this thread the last few days.....

Nick, I really like your light textures.  They are very similar in shading with what I originally had for the custom UTX night textures.   Then, I realized that the UTX textures clashed with the default FSX night textures.   So, I had to modify the coloring of the UTX textures to match the default FSX set, which was very unfortunate :(

If I actually had the time to fly these days with FSX, the first thing I would do is change the night textures like you have done.   Nice work.

IMO, I don't think that MS/Aces were going for reality with the current look of the night textures, because they certainly do not mimic reality.   Instead, I think they just wanted the cities to stand out more.  

Now, regarding the intersection lights.   The lights themselves are already as small as they can be (single light point).   The key to making them dimmer is to edit the HALO.BMP file, as you have already figured out.

We have tried lots of different HALO.BMP versions that really improve the night lights.  But, they also affect the aircraft lighting because the UTX night lights are actually NAV_LIGHTS.   If FSX can pick up a HALO.BMP file in the local scenery folders, then that would solve our problem.

Allen
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Originally posted by akriesman akriesman wrote:

I somehow missed this thread the last few days.....

Nick, I really like your light textures.  They are very similar in shading with what I originally had for the custom UTX night textures.   Then, I realized that the UTX textures clashed with the default FSX night textures.   So, I had to modify the coloring of the UTX textures to match the default FSX set, which was very unfortunate :(

If I actually had the time to fly these days with FSX, the first thing I would do is change the night textures like you have done.   Nice work.

IMO, I don't think that MS/Aces were going for reality with the current look of the night textures, because they certainly do not mimic reality.   Instead, I think they just wanted the cities to stand out more.  

Now, regarding the intersection lights.   The lights themselves are already as small as they can be (single light point).   The key to making them dimmer is to edit the HALO.BMP file, as you have already figured out.

We have tried lots of different HALO.BMP versions that really improve the night lights.  But, they also affect the aircraft lighting because the UTX night lights are actually NAV_LIGHTS.   If FSX can pick up a HALO.BMP file in the local scenery folders, then that would solve our problem.

 

You have an awesome product and I hope it continues to improve and grow.

I know Aces designed FSX to be a partner/developer product in which they expected the community to change things they did not have time to. They provide the platform and a base so it could be improved.

I managed to fix the dusk and dawn transitions with this texture mod. They still seem to come in a bit bright too soon but at least now it does not look like burnt orange/black halloween candy and looks like a light source LOL

The only lighing annoyace I have with UTX is the intersection lights which my wide screen, high res montior makes worse LOL  and I know with SP2 they become even more problematical. Could you tell me specifically which quadrant of halo.bmp is being called? I am not a model builder so I am not familiar with the mapping except for what I have personally dissected.

I have not worked with moving a copy of halo to the directory but will try that soon. If that works, we have a solution and I can further tweak the night environment

The only other gripe I have is certain highways. The little = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = in certain roads. That effect does not look right to me at all. There are roads with the 1/2 moon shape 'down-lights" which look fine but the roads with dashes don’t seem to do it for me and appear out of scale or too small depeding on the perspective and distance. I wish there was a way to remove them like I do the static cars.

If the idea was for those lines to represent the lane divide, it does not work (in my eyes) unless the rest of the lane details although I think the roads and encasements in your product are generated a bit differently than just a texture overlay, I may be wrong. Having the complete lane details (lines, dividers, arrows, etc) in the major highways would really complement the detailed GEX urban road and intersections.

Thanks for ringing in. You guys (Holger, you too sir!) are very talented and I thank you for the information.

 

 

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duhhh 

 

got it.. bottom left quadrant

 

Nav lights are the same as the runway

LOL

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Hi guys,

thanks for your help with editing the halo.bmp. I used it to make the UTX lights smaller and the result looks much better without effecting the runway lights too much.

By the way, is it just me or do the UTX lights not get smaller as you zoom out, they just change to a lower mipmap? Most other lights seem to get smaller as you zoom out, just as they should. But the UTX lights seem to stay the same size and just get more blurry, thus they look too big. Is this just a quirk of FSX?

Paul
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double post..

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Originally posted by pwheeler pwheeler wrote:

Hi guys,

thanks for your help with editing the halo.bmp. I used it to make the UTX lights smaller and the result looks much better without effecting the runway lights too much.

By the way, is it just me or do the UTX lights not get smaller as you zoom out, they just change to a lower mipmap? Most other lights seem to get smaller as you zoom out, just as they should. But the UTX lights seem to stay the same size and just get more blurry, thus they look too big. Is this just a quirk of FSX?

Paul

 

I can edit that quadrant too and use the FSX.cfg file to compensate with edits so the runway light scale can be maintained but I would like to try moving halo into the directory and see what happens. If that works I can redesign the graphic too. I am not at home right now so I wont be able to look at this till later today or tomorrow.

Its not the runway lights that are the problem, its the AI aircraft lights that will change. Many planes use halo.bmp if the model builder assigned a light to a spot onthe aircraft. Otherwise the individual FX files call FX_2.bmp from the effects\texture folder for lights

 

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"

The only other gripe I have is certain highways. The little = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = in certain roads. That effect does not look right to me at all. There are roads with the 1/2 moon shape 'down-lights" which look fine but the roads with dashes don’t seem to do it for me and appear out of scale or too small depeding on the perspective and distance. I wish there was a way to remove them like I do the static cars.

If the idea was for those lines to represent the lane divide, it does not work (in my eyes) unless the rest of the lane details although I think the roads and encasements in your product are generated a bit differently than just a texture overlay, I may be wrong. Having the complete lane details (lines, dividers, arrows, etc) in the major highways would really complement the detailed GEX urban road and intersections."

Nick,

Can you elaborate a bit more on this ?    Maybe with some screenshots ?   I am especially interested in what you are saying about the night road textures.

The FSX road textures are 4 times higher than they were with FS9, which is good.   So, we can get more detail.   However, the way the road textures get stretched by FSX still make it difficult to provide really detailed road markings.     Sometimes the center stripes work really well.   But, from certain angles, they may not.  

Allen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-10-2007 at 4:29pm
Originally posted by akriesman akriesman wrote:

"

The only other gripe I have is certain highways. The little = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = in certain roads. That effect does not look right to me at all. There are roads with the 1/2 moon shape 'down-lights" which look fine but the roads with dashes don’t seem to do it for me and appear out of scale or too small depeding on the perspective and distance. I wish there was a way to remove them like I do the static cars.

If the idea was for those lines to represent the lane divide, it does not work (in my eyes) unless the rest of the lane details although I think the roads and encasements in your product are generated a bit differently than just a texture overlay, I may be wrong. Having the complete lane details (lines, dividers, arrows, etc) in the major highways would really complement the detailed GEX urban road and intersections."

Nick,

Can you elaborate a bit more on this ?    Maybe with some screenshots ?   I am especially interested in what you are saying about the night road textures.

The FSX road textures are 4 times higher than they were with FS9, which is good.   So, we can get more detail.   However, the way the road textures get stretched by FSX still make it difficult to provide really detailed road markings.     Sometimes the center stripes work really well.   But, from certain angles, they may not.  

 

 

 

 

 

Thes

 

 

 

These look OK because they do not have a  = = = = = = appearance to them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NickN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-10-2007 at 8:48pm

 

gentlemen,

 

I have now confirmed moving halo.bmp to a texture directory in the UtUsaLights scenery folder will not work as shown below

with halo.bmp moved

 

without halo.bmp moved

 

 

 

There are those darn = = = = = = = = = = again in the main highway

 

 

 

LOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-12-2007 at 6:02pm

Thanks Nick.   That is what I figured.  But it was worth a shot.  

We heard some things from the Aces team that made us think this might be possible.    But, it was a stretch.

Allen
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