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NickN View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Africa and the Middle East with GEX EU and NA
    Posted: November-15-2010 at 4:31pm

 

 
 
GEX Africa and The Middle East 
 
How this area will effect other GEX covered regions 
 
 
 
EDIT: There has been an recent update posted to this announcement here:
 
 

 

After we release the v2.0 patch for Europe we will be continuing on with the Africa and Middle East project. We started the AF/ME regions earlier this year in conjunction with the Europe patch.

 

As many of you already know FSX shares textures between areas. There is no such thing as, in example, "France textures" or "Canada textures". That issue can present a very large work order for a developer who must take into consideration  the worldwide use where a set of textures may appear. Some locations of the world share a great deal, others have specific zones assigned and only share what we call 'support' or 'rough terrain' textures.

 

The goal of this post is to inform users what to expect if they install Africa and the Middle East. By the name one would think this area would not share textures with green locations or other areas not associated with the general terrain description, but that is actually quite the opposite which has presented us with some serious challenges to meet in order to bring the defined area to life and maintain the correct look with respect to other locations around the globe.

 

 

Abbreviations in use here:

 

GEX NA = GEX North America

GEX EU = GEX Europe

GEX AF/ME or AF/ME = Africa and the Middle East

 

 

NOTE THAT: Specific installation information will be provided with the products/patches as they are released. This is posted as a synopsis to define what is coming and how it will work. The end-product(s) will be very simple to use.

 

 

 

For users who fly the GEX Africa and Middle East regions:

 

The product will cover the entire continent of Africa and for the Middle East it will expand into a large area to include Turkey and the Greek Islands where the sim defines the split between Europe and the Middle East. The coverage will stretch into parts of India as well. Areas such as Asia and South America will see 'some' changes but not 'covered'. A map of the Middle East to show the target area is located here

 

 

 

Of course the entire continent of Africa is included (not shown above) and the coverage will expand somewhat past the displayed map area.

 

If you do not use GEX Europe you will not see a seamless texture connection between Europe and the Middle East based on the map displayed above.

 

 

 

The next sections are broken down based on what you may have installed, GEX Europe, GEX North America, or, both products.

 

 

 

For those who use 'only' GEX Europe:

 

You must be on GEX Europe v2.0 in order to sync up with AF/ME. The EU patch will be available well before the release of AF/ME. With the EU v2.0 patch installed the Africa and Middle East product will have no visual impact on Europe, other than the locations displayed in the map shown above. If you fly the areas noted which border Europe you will see a defined change in those locations. Istanbul and the eastern Greek Islands, for one example, are split between Europe and the Middle East in the sim. The addition of the AF/ME package with GEX Europe will complete the areas for users who fly in those border locations.

 

Because Europe and AF/ME are designed using modern source data there are no conflicts between GEX EU v2.0 and GEX AF/ME.

 

There will be a discount for AF/ME to those who currently own GEX Europe (see below)

 

 

 

For those who use 'only' GEX North America:

 

Unlike GEX Europe, GEX North America will see substantial changes when the Africa/Middle East product is installed

 

Some users may like the changes, some may not. In order to make sure everyone is covered, instead of forcing NA users to accept the change with no other option we have come up with the following:

 

 

For NA users who like the changes in order to use AF/ME streamline with NA you must be running GEX NA v1.09 (or above). We are providing a UTX USA/Canada/Alaska 'sync' patch in the Africa Middle East interface for UTX users. Simply run that option to sync UTX USA/Canada/Alaska to the new package. The interface will automatically detect if you have GEX North America and the mentioned UTX products installed.

 

Once the install is complete, no switching between areas is required.

 

 

For NA users who do not like the changes, you will need to simply re-run the interface for the area you are flying, be it North America or Africa/Middle East, and install the selections.

 

For those who may fly intercontinental between these regions, you do not need to stop a flight or restart the sim. We will post the reload process when the product is released. The switch can also be performed before a flight is started as well.

 

This is an unavoidable issue due to the age of the source data of the original GEX USA/Canada product.

 

We expect most users will prefer the changes to North America given we are introducing new texture sets to Africa/Middle East that we think effect NA in a positive way, however, we also know that everyone has likes and dislikes, therefore this approach assures everyone is covered.

 

 

 

For users of both GEX North America and GEX Europe:

As metioned above, unlike GEX Europe, GEX North America will see substantial changes when the Africa/Middle East product is installed. With the introduction of GEX Europe v2.0 it is no longer possible to 'sync' GEX North America and GEX Europe due to the age of the source data for the original GEX USA/Canada product without a 'bridge' between the two products. When released, our upcoming region Africa and the Middle East provides a  texture bridge between North America and Europe in shared region texture matching. 

 

If you use GEX NA + EU and do not wish to obtain GEX Africa and the Middle East you will need to re-run the GEX MAIN selection in the interface for the region you intend to fly, be it NA or EU. Therefore what you have now in North America and what we may provide in a 1.095 patch for NA will not in any way change.

 

The switch can be performed 'in-game' and you do not need to stop a flight to restart the sim. We will post the reload process when the EU 2.0 patch is released. The switch can also be performed before a flight is started.

 

If you install and use GEX Africa and the Middle East as outlined above under: For NA users who like the changes, the switch process will not be required. Once AF/ME is installed and the UTX sync patch run (if you use UTX) no user change is required, all 3 products will work together in concert.

 

 

There will be an extended discount for AF/ME to users of GEX North America (see below)

 

 

 

Africa and Middle East Landclass:

 

GEX does not make landclass. As most of you know landclass and how well it is defined/developed determines the quality and complexity of how the textures are used to create the area with respect to real world terrain. There are two landclasses we know of for the Middle East and that is Xclass (Cloud9) Africa/Asia. and it was brought to my attention SceneryTech Asia includes the Middle East.

 

SceneryTech makes a landclass specifically for Africa as well.

 

As we have made clear in the past, a user must decide what landclass works best for the locations they fly. Sometimes the payware landclass products are best, other times the default landclass can be best.. and there are freeware libraries with such products too.

 

We are developing for the default landclass, SceneryTech and Xclass products so the majority of users have coverage for their choice in landclass. That does not mean other landclass products that may become available either payware or freeware will not work, on the contrary, as long as they follow the MSFS SDK outline for texture classification they will work just fine.

 

There is no such thing as the perfect landclass which is why we suggest users obtain as many landclass products for a single area as possible and then enable/disable them as needed in the scenery library.

 

 
As a side note, FSGenesis is releasing mesh products for the Middle East. I recently installed the FSG Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan mesh packages which are higher resolution than default mesh.
 

 

 

Price of the Africa Middle East Package and discounts:

 

 
UPDATE:
 
The price of this product after the initial 45 day current GEX user offer will be 34.95 and not 29.95 as was originally posted. This change is due to the extended development time of over a year and the addition of texture sets not originally slated to be in the product.

However, we will be offering a discount to those who already own another GEX region.

 

If you own GEX Europe, you will receive a 15% discount off Africa and the Middle East.

 

If you own GEX North America, because of the extended number of shared textures between these regions you will receive a 20% discount off Africa and the Middle East.

 

We believe this a fair offer since unlike EU, AF/ME has an exceptionally high impact on NA. If you own both products simply take the discount for NA instead of EU.

 

Instructions for coupons will be posted at the time of release. The coupons will be good for a limited time only, 45 days past the release date of the AF/ME product.

 

It is our way of saying "Thank You" for your support.

 

 

 

Release Date:

 

We can not post the exact release date for the package a this time. I can post we expect this to release in the latter half of Q1 this year. How soon will be defined by several development factors. 

 

 

In conclusion:

 

I hope this information has been helpful to you. We know that some areas of the world have a much larger user following than others. That can drive development direction. At GEX our goal is to get the entire world covered, one step at a time, and upgrade 'all users' flight experience regardless of location as quickly as possible with quality and low cost in mind. Based on how the sim is designed and how the textures are shared that means NA+EU+AFME covers a very large area past their target regions and as more than one GEX package is installed users receive far more than coverage for the area purchased.

 

 

The following locations will be directly effected by (but not completely covered) if North America, Europe and the AF/ME packages are installed as a set:

 

Asia

Australia

Central America

Mexico - 99-100% depending on the LC in use

New Zealand
South America

Tropics, both Atlantic and Pacific

 

As we complete new packages we will be refining and fine tuning the areas listed above. We may combine areas to reduce the cost to users too. Rest assured, all regions of the world will be covered. Our next area package has not been selected, we are looking at both Asia and South America. With South America we may combine Mexico and Central America as well as the Atlantic/Pacific tropics. We will post more about this as final production decisions are made

 

 

 

Thank you from the GEX Team!

 

 

 

 

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piliwi View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-15-2010 at 5:10pm
Just WONDERFUL news Nick, thank you for everything
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-15-2010 at 5:16pm
Great news, also glad to see New Zealand is on the menu.Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-16-2010 at 2:03pm
Very very very great news, Thank you Clap
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-16-2010 at 2:27pm
When can we expect the first AF/ME screenshot?????
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-16-2010 at 2:57pm
Originally posted by piliwi piliwi wrote:

When can we expect the first AF/ME screenshot?????
 
 
Sometime after GEX EU v2.0 is released. We developed AF/ME to a certain point to assure we had everything else in sync, then worked to complete EU. Right now several AF/ME texture sets are in draft form and not ready for display.
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-17-2010 at 7:07am
So i understand that the EU/NA textures that will show up in AF/ME are already correct for the new area AF/ME, and the specific AF/ME textures are not ready for display yet.
I am sure it will be worth waiting, so no complains here
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-21-2010 at 3:45pm
Nick,
 
Scenery Tech looks like it covers the Middle East in their Asia landclass package.
 
Buying Cloud 9 Xclass Asia/Africa is cheaper than buying Asia and Africa packages from Scenery Tech, but not having any experience with Cloud 9, I'm not sure what the better option would be. I have all the other Scenery Tech products and am happy with them.
 
Bill
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: November-21-2010 at 4:10pm
 
 
 
Did not realize ST Asia included ME..    I will edit the post to reflect that
 
none the less, as I posted its always best to obtain them all and simply enable/disable as you like. Just because one section of country may look best with LC 'A' does not mean that LC will work best everywhere and LC 'B' may be a better choice. We see that in the USA where ST does an outstanding job in the southwest but Xclass tends to do better in areas closer to Canada and in the southeast in Florida
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-04-2011 at 7:09pm
Any news here?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-04-2011 at 11:28pm
 
 
Originally posted by fafakan fafakan wrote:

Any news here?
 
 
I posted the target would be toward the end of Q1 for this project
 
Anthony has been working on the project while I was on hiatus and we will resume full production together after I get settled back in. You will see updates on this coming up this month assuming Anthony continues on schedule.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-05-2011 at 8:20am

Thanks for the reply Nick

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-05-2011 at 3:47pm
No problem      I will get updates posted this month and probably start a sneek-peek image thread. Right now I am trying to catch up with real world things right now being gone for several months but plan to get rocking with Anthony in the next week
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-05-2011 at 5:40pm
i look forward to your Africa/ME posts, Nick
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-22-2011 at 10:09am
On AVsim there is a very very good Africa Landclass file for FS2004. It works very well with FSX and YOU DO NOT NEED TO SWITCH with this landclass. Every FSX Customer i Know do not like Texture switches, so it would be better to include a good landclass file.
Marc
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-22-2011 at 10:14am
And:  SceneryTech landclass use a hacked lclookup.bgl, not compatible to the default and other landclass files...also this landclass and the afrika cloud9 landclass are not good !! Make a new one or ask the owner from the FS2004 landclass for including in GEX Africa.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-23-2011 at 9:57am
"Make a new one or ask the owner from the FS2004 landclass for including in GEX Africa"
 
Sorry about this stupid comment !!!  With the FSX lclookup.bgl, which is much mor better then the FS2004 Version, it should be possible to make new textures without switching.
Marc
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-23-2011 at 1:03pm
 
 
As I posted above, we do not alter any of the core files or produce landclass. If you found something that works for you then by all means use it. That type of scenery development is not part of our work, we make textures only.

And as far as I am concerned the upgraded lclookup.bgl in the SceneryTech LC packages does in fact improve things especially around mountains and where rock/dirt and ice are displayed. I also endorse the use of Richard Ludowise and Luis Tirado's upgraded FSX terrain.cfg file http://www.simviation.com/fsxscenery1.htm  and run it with the ST lclookup.bgl file. I always start my FSX installs by replacing the terrain.cfg with Luis's version after all FSX patches are installed and let UTX and other products add to that file instead of the default.


And, as was posted above, with all 3 products installed to their latest patched versions (NA-EU-AFME) there is no need to switch any textures...    and for those who do not use all 3 products many do not notice the texture clashes.. we have a critical eye for such things, many do not and do not notice or need to switch

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-24-2011 at 8:55am
"I always start my FSX installs by replacing the terrain.cfg with Luis's version after all FSX patches are installed and let UTX and other products add to that file instead of the default."
I recall installing this updated version with my RTM.  I think I read somewhere it was no longer needed with sp2.  Is this true? If no, is there a guide to installing on an existing setup? I have UTX (various). I'm assumnig I will need to either reinstall or update the products that write to the terrain.cfg.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-24-2011 at 11:18am
Originally posted by kagazi kagazi wrote:

"I always start my FSX installs by replacing the terrain.cfg with Luis's version after all FSX patches are installed and let UTX and other products add to that file instead of the default."
I recall installing this updated version with my RTM.  I think I read somewhere it was no longer needed with sp2.  Is this true? If no, is there a guide to installing on an existing setup? I have UTX (various). I'm assumnig I will need to either reinstall or update the products that write to the terrain.cfg.

You read wrong
 
The edited terrain.cfg not only corrects/adds items Aces omitted or did not use, it also fixes their screw-up with European river data whereby they compiled SP2 with old RTM data by mistake and never issued a patch to correct it.
 
To use the config, simply make a backup of your original, just in case, then drop the new one in the FSX directory..  open each version of UTX (one by one) and let it run through its initial scans, then close the UTX tool and repeat for the next area. With Orbx I would make sure all their interfaces are set to FSX default before doing that, then enable them after the change and running the UTX interfaces. Its that simple
 
You must be sure to install all the FSX patches before performing those tasks because the terrain.cfg is replaced by SP1 and again by SP2/Acelleration.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-24-2011 at 3:19pm
Thanks for the correct information and installation guide! I do own ST for EU and NA as well.  No interface that I can see. I'm assuming this would need to be reinstalled?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-24-2011 at 5:21pm
no need to reinstall ST.. the lclookup.bgl is always in use, but its my understanding Orbx being enabled will cancel that since they make their own lclookup.bgl which is why I suggest disabling ALL Orbx products when not flying their areas.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-24-2011 at 5:43pm
OK, now i changes these GEX textures 002b, 003b, 011b, 012b, 052b, 058b, 082b 
to  002e, 003e, 011e etc.  with using the rename tool joe
Texture 052e needs following:  rename 052e7 to 052e0 and then rename number 0-7 to 8,9,a,b,c,d,  .
Thats great for Africa with using GEX USA and GEX Europe
Sincerely
Marc
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-24-2011 at 7:14pm
Thanks again for the information.  No Orbx on my end but certainly good advice for others.  Back on topic, looking forward to the new AF/ME product.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2011 at 1:31pm
Hi there.  Do you still anticipate releasing this by the end of the 1st quarter (I know we're close so it's not likely, but one never knows)?

Do you plan on posting some screenshots soon?

Anyhow, really looking forward to this.  Thanks for your work.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2011 at 1:07pm
 
 
 
We are running behind the original schedule. Two things cropped up that were unexpected....
 
1. As I posted above, there are shared textures in use between North America and the Middle East and we have all of those handled with the exception of two very important "super tile" texture sets. One set we resolved the conflicts and just completed all seasons but hard winter, the 2nd set has presented us with a major problem since it covers a vast area of NE USA and SE Canada. Anthony had to scrap the first several design attempts of those tiles and start over.
 
The issue is maintaining the correct look for North America and where they play in AFME. The unusual but critical locations this set of textures is used and the vast area they cover requires a lot of experimentation with test designs to develop/deliver the right show in both regions correctly.
 
 
2. I was delayed several weeks returning to the project due to personal business however I am back now and on the project daily.
 
 
These delays have put us some weeks behind, and yes.. as soon as we get to a point where pics will reflect what we will be releasing I will post them.
 
I apologize for the delay, but it will be worth the wait over slamming out something in compromise.
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-27-2011 at 4:45pm
Can't wait.  I'm actually holding off doing the old Imperial Airways flights from England to South Africa with the flying boats until AF/ME is released, hence my excitement/impatience.

Thanks again.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-12-2011 at 12:04pm
 
 
 
I want to bring everyone up to speed...
 
After several weeks of intense development/testing we have found a solution to the shared region super-tile texture set mismatch issue. There is still work to do since focus on the shared region problem took time away from the rest of the project.
 
This unexpected delay has set us back but the solution for AFME and NA was well worth the time invested to develop.
 
We are no longer in a development holding pattern and moving forward again.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-13-2011 at 9:49am
Thank you Nick for sharing of this information.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-13-2011 at 5:15pm
Time is not important in comparison with the quality you always give us
So take your time...

Hans
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-17-2011 at 1:04pm
 
 
 
Most folks are already aware but just in case this thread is continued here with images....
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-28-2011 at 8:58pm
Product has been released..  
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