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Thaellar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thaellar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-20-2009 at 10:31am
WOW...absolute must have. I love perusing the countryside. Thanks for the updates.
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alainneedle1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-21-2009 at 8:51am

OK! so if I understand this new project will overwrite landclass?

I am very interrested about this new project, I will probably be first in line to get it but I need to see a picture or two of New York city before and after (with framerate counter on)

If you can do that I'll will prepaid my order if you take prepaid order.

 

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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: April-21-2009 at 6:07pm
Originally posted by alainneedle1 alainneedle1 wrote:

OK! so if I understand this new project will overwrite landclass?

I am very interrested about this new project, I will probably be first in line to get it but I need to see a picture or two of New York city before and after (with framerate counter on)

If you can do that I'll will prepaid my order if you take prepaid order.

Does the picture of the frame rate counter have to be greater than 0 LOL   Just kidding.

NYC and other big cities will be challenging. The key will probably be to allow the users to fine-tune the scenery configurations in various ways to achieve an acceptable balance.    

 

Allen

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alainneedle1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-21-2009 at 6:48pm

Does the picture of the frame rate counter have to be greater than 0 LOL   Just kidding.

NYC and other big cities will be challenging. The key will probably be to allow the users to fine-tune the scenery configurations in various ways to achieve an acceptable balance.    

 

I understand, that is why I am asking for a pic or two of New York city with the frame counter on (does not have to be higher than 60FPS) LOL. Any problem doing that? Where are the pics, I have my plastic in hands........

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmountford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-21-2009 at 7:18pm
Originally posted by alainneedle1 alainneedle1 wrote:

Any problem doing that? Where are the pics, I have my plastic in hands........



Alain, I believe the shots are early preview shots of the technology, i.e. pre beta...
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alainneedle1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-21-2009 at 10:59pm
OK! will wait...........
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhoffman50 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-22-2009 at 9:46pm

 

WOW! This is going to revolutionize flight simming.  Just for grins I took a screen shot of Tyler in google earth and your preliminary work is extremely close to the real thing!

 

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alainneedle1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 8:58am

I hope you did something with the highway's overpass, that's one turn off for me......any comments?

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote quantumleap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 10:33am
Originally posted by alainneedle1 alainneedle1 wrote:

I hope you did something with the highway's overpass

As noted in the original message in this thread, this new product is related to building objects.

As for the technical nature of limitations in FSX extrusion bridge technology and use to build overpasses this was covered in this thread just this week.

Jeff


Check out my aviation photography and digital art at Photisify
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 12:01pm

 

 

As Jeff mentioned there are FSX traffic limitation issues with making 3D overpasses work... one of the reasons I personally do not use the Highway Interchanges apron in UTX (disable them) is that to me it makes it less visually apparent if the apron is not present and much better to view from the air. Some places have those apron areas in real life and others do not.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote c152flyboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 2:26pm
Allen, going by the following comment you made in an earlier post-
 The key will probably be to allow the users to fine-tune the scenery configurations in various ways to achieve an acceptable balance."
would i be correct that Project X will work in the same way that UTX allowed you to turn things on or off, like rural roads for example?
when you mentioned a place like NY city, it would be good if you have multiple levels of display for people.
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alainneedle1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 6:11pm

Hi! guys, I do not have any problem what so ever with having the choice of disabling anything to make the flight smoother or for any other reason but you have to make as much as possible (bridges, overpass or else) even if it is hard on FPS because a lot of people have high end PC and can maxout almost everything.

Not to compare other products because I like UTX a lot but FTX as a lot to offer as far as buildings roads and bridges with a natural feel.

Again don't get me wrong I love UTX but I am always looking to fly where it will look as real as possible.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmountford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 6:37pm
Originally posted by alainneedle1 alainneedle1 wrote:

Hi! guys, I do not have any problem what so ever with having the choice of disabling anything to make the flight smoother or for any other reason but you have to make as much as possible (bridges, overpass or else) even if it is hard on FPS because a lot of people have high end PC and can maxout almost everything.



I think there needs to be a realistic expectation set as to what is currently available in terms of dataset availability...

I wouldn't go expecting Allen to provide datasets that even the worlds top mapping companies don't have.

It's like photoscenery users for flight simulator... Some expect every aerial image to be perfectly color balanced, shot at high noon so there's no shadows from the mountains or buildings on the scenery, and they expect it to be continent or even global in coverage...

Expectations like those are simply unrealistic... First the datasets need to exist in reality, and large companies pay millions of dollars to generate such databases. Sometimes MSFS users can expect a little too much and don't always realize that the expectations go above and beyond even what military forces have...

I'm sure Allen's solution will have as much detail as is practical and available at this point in history... I can say though that in coming years more advanced and better datasets can be developed 'in house', but from what I've seen so far Allens work is far beyond anything anyone has done for FSX before...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-23-2009 at 10:51pm

Originally posted by c152flyboy c152flyboy wrote:


would i be correct that Project X will work in the same way that UTX allowed you to turn things on or off, like rural roads for example?
when you mentioned a place like NY city, it would be good if you have multiple levels of display for people.

Yes.  There will be lots of ways to fine-tune things to improve frame rates (if necessary).    I will always try and squeeze every little bit of performance out of things if possible.

At this point, you can already toggle different layers off and on.  And, the autogen and scenery complexity sliders are already being used efficiently.    Since the very large cities are hardest on frame rates, I plan on balancing out the number of buildings using a weighted scheme.    For example, setting the scenery complexity slider to "Normal" will affect the largest cities more than the smaller cities.   But, at the maximum setting all objects will be displayed.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2009 at 12:10am

 

 

How DARE you give us access to features for tuning Allen!

Shame on you!  Big%20smile

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alainneedle1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2009 at 9:24am
Originally posted by dmountford dmountford wrote:

Originally posted by alainneedle1 alainneedle1 wrote:

Hi! guys, I do not have any problem what so ever with having the choice of disabling anything to make the flight smoother or for any other reason but you have to make as much as possible (bridges, overpass or else) even if it is hard on FPS because a lot of people have high end PC and can maxout almost everything.



I think there needs to be a realistic expectation set as to what is currently available in terms of dataset availability...

I wouldn't go expecting Allen to provide datasets that even the worlds top mapping companies don't have.

It's like photoscenery users for flight simulator... Some expect every aerial image to be perfectly color balanced, shot at high noon so there's no shadows from the mountains or buildings on the scenery, and they expect it to be continent or even global in coverage...

Expectations like those are simply unrealistic... First the datasets need to exist in reality, and large companies pay millions of dollars to generate such databases. Sometimes MSFS users can expect a little too much and don't always realize that the expectations go above and beyond even what military forces have...

I'm sure Allen's solution will have as much detail as is practical and available at this point in history... I can say though that in coming years more advanced and better datasets can be developed 'in house', but from what I've seen so far Allens work is far beyond anything anyone has done for FSX before...

I understand what you are saying here, and I don't pretend knowing how to built a scenery because I don't have a clue of how to do that but if the builder can make fake houses, building or stadium can't they make fake overpass, shopping mall and stuff like that? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmountford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2009 at 10:01am
Well yes that's possible to do on an individual level, but imagine doing that by hand for every single bridge for the entire nation of the United States, as well as Canada, Alaska and Europe...

Let me break it down... Say it takes 10 minutes to code a bridge for rendering for FSX... Now say there's 10 million bridges in the United States alone... Not all of which are shown in continent wide datasets...

To code by hand would mean 100 million minutes to code manually... That equals 1,666,667 hours, or 69,444 days, or 190 years... Not including time for sleep and eating... Which means the system needs to be automated...

Under automation what needs to happen is image analysis and vector analysis needs to be done across the entire dataset for the USA, Canada, Europe and Alaska... This is something that Allen has programmed for but it can only be done feasibly programatically...

The other possibility is to form business deals with commercial grade data, which still as of this time in history doesn't have every bridge, house and building coded into a database... There's a few companies that have a lot of data, but the data is definitely far from 100% coverage...

The other alternative is to invest in high end image analysis software, and prices starting in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars... Not a real practical solution...

So for now, I think we should take those factors into consideration and understand that Allen has the best and most practical solution to these problems through his own technological development, Allen's technology is by far the best solution for any current home based flight simulator platform and even likely exceeds the databases that Level-D simulators have...

Basically he's giving us the world on a platter and it feels like we're asking him for more, and I think we're better to support him and understand the technical limitations and constraints of current 21st century technology and one day we'll see even more accurate datasets, but honestly Allen's done a spectacular job with this so far, all I'm encouraging us to do is ensure we're not expecting too much of the impossible, even though Allen has already achieved the impossible ;)...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote c152flyboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2009 at 11:26am
i for one think that Project X is already far beyond what is currently offered for FSX and i am looking forward to it.  i understand the issues that Allen has to deal with here and i think he is offering a great product.  if you want to see every bridge and house, go buy photo scenery.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-24-2009 at 11:27am

I understand what you'r saying and I have never asked for 100% accuracy on anything but it will be nice to have some overpass in a couple of big city like Miami, New York, San Francisco, Hawaii (Honolulu) and others, forget about Fargo.....Big%20smile

As far as the work Allen is doing I have no complain on it, I own all UTX + GEX + Scenerytech +++++ and I am very happy with these products, I was just making a suggestion to make all simmer's flight a little more real.

Best of luck on this new project......Thumbs%20Up

 

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-25-2009 at 1:56am

Originally posted by dmountford dmountford wrote:

Well yes that's possible to do on an individual level, but imagine doing that by hand for every single bridge for the entire nation of the United States, as well as Canada, Alaska and Europe...

Let me break it down... Say it takes 10 minutes to code a bridge for rendering for FSX... Now say there's 10 million bridges in the United States alone... Not all of which are shown in continent wide datasets...

To code by hand would mean 100 million minutes to code manually... That equals 1,666,667 hours, or 69,444 days, or 190 years... Not including time for sleep and eating... Which means the system needs to be automated...

Under automation what needs to happen is image analysis and vector analysis needs to be done across the entire dataset for the USA, Canada, Europe and Alaska... This is something that Allen has programmed for but it can only be done feasibly programatically...

The other possibility is to form business deals with commercial grade data, which still as of this time in history doesn't have every bridge, house and building coded into a database... There's a few companies that have a lot of data, but the data is definitely far from 100% coverage...

The other alternative is to invest in high end image analysis software, and prices starting in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars... Not a real practical solution...

So for now, I think we should take those factors into consideration and understand that Allen has the best and most practical solution to these problems through his own technological development, Allen's technology is by far the best solution for any current home based flight simulator platform and even likely exceeds the databases that Level-D simulators have...

Basically he's giving us the world on a platter and it feels like we're asking him for more, and I think we're better to support him and understand the technical limitations and constraints of current 21st century technology and one day we'll see even more accurate datasets, but honestly Allen's done a spectacular job with this so far, all I'm encouraging us to do is ensure we're not expecting too much of the impossible, even though Allen has already achieved the impossible ;)...

Excellent analysis Dean !    And, thanks for the kind words.   Ideally, I wish that every object could be highly detailed and hand positioned.   But, this strategy is not even close to being feasible as you mentioned, unless we release individual cities as unique products (this has already been done by others).

In order to release a product that covers a much larger area, most of the features need to be placed using automation based on existing data (POI data and road layers in particular).  For those items of importance that should be created and placed by hand, we have really sped up the process (150 - 180 an hour).    But, even if you could create 180 buildings that are accurately sized and positioned, you could not do this for a very large area at this rate.   So, we are currently concentrating the manual parts on large features of particular importance like: universities, schools, hospitals, malls, large strip centers, etc.   Other features will be placed based on the POI data locations and object types.

Overall, I think most people will be blown away by the results.   Our goal with this project is to provide a realistic and accurate (where possible) environment at low level flight, without turning FSX into a slide-show.   

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote katyp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-25-2009 at 1:13pm
Allen,

"Our goal with this project is to provide a realistic and accurate (where possible) environment at low level flight, without turning FSX into a slide-show. "

That's the hardest part to have people understand sometimes... Better results almost always end with more expectations
Best
Katy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmountford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-25-2009 at 7:47pm
lol that reminds me of two complaints with FSX...

A) it's a slideshow
B) not enough visual detail

I would just laugh and scratch my head and say well what do you want, high fps or every blade of grass?

The great thing is that new technologies are coming out to display imagery at high fps with low cpu/ram/gpu load, and at the same time GPU/CPU/RAM are all increasing in capacity...

i.e. smaller footprints computationally coupled with increased computing power will in the next few years lead to 3d rendering nirvana...   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-26-2009 at 2:22pm

 

 

That grass is a texture and bumpmap.. hardly anything that would effect perf at all

I do not use those 'global' replacement grass bump textures because they screw up snow and other surfaces.

They also make GEX blurry

Some scenery products use them where they only affect the scenery product area which is fine.

The issue of perf is based on rendering # of objects in a scene.

That is why trees are killer on perf, lighting too, and buildings are no where near as hard on a system as they are few in number compared to trees

 however when you start adding in more and more buildings it adds up fast.

There is no such thing as a free lunch with FSX.

# of objects rendered will always produce a perf impact and there is no way around that

 

 which is why the UTX boys give us settings to trim with their products.

 

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-26-2009 at 5:46pm

Hi! Nick, I agree with you on what you are saying but me I have no problem so far with screwed up snow and other surface, as far as GEX I don't have blurry....do you see them?

Mayby you will see them with a GTS 8800 512MB + CPU 2 core at 2.4GHz don't know.

I know nothing about making stuff for FSX but I can tell you right now than I will always buy what ever look good to me and so far I have all UTX + GEX + Sceneryteck and waiting for GEX Europe and I am very happy.

The grass bump texture is very nice and look very real compare to other products so if somebody come up with something better (visual effect) please let me know I have my plastic in hand.

Also waiting for project X.......

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-26-2009 at 8:57pm

 

 

Then the addon you are showing in those images is using the texture for grass and it shows no where else

 

If you are seeing detailed grass eveywhere in the sim then snow, roads and all other surfaces have that same bump to them

and you simply cant tell the difference

 

2x800GTX is useless to FSX.. you are only seeing one card in use unless running above 2000x+ resolution and 16x+ AA 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-27-2009 at 2:10pm

 

 

I think this is getting off topic..

and none of the imgaes posted will show the grainy snow and roads from that height assuming its a global addon

(and no I dont want to see it as I know what it looks like and dont like it) LOL

 

My point was texture addons do not drop perf regardless of the detail they may show

Perf is related to # of object in the scene

and although higher res textures (above 1024) will also effect perf it's object rendering that drives it.

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alainneedle1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-27-2009 at 2:25pm

The only products I used for the pics above is UTXCanada + Gex + Scenerytech and REX.

Pics are from Vancouver Canada.

Thank you for the good work.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 12:16am

I was working on the night textures today.  So, I thought that I would share a couple of shots :)

Remember, these textures are a work in progress.  But, they look pretty good right now.

Here is a good night shot of a suburban area.   Notice in the distance we have the default FSX suburban textures (the orange lighting).   You can see the big difference.   The UTX street lights were used here also for effect.  The suburban roads are accurate and houses line the streets.


Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 12:22am

Here is a dandy of a shot of downtown Tyler and the surrounding suburbs.  This shot has full autogen, the UTX lights and even light bloom.  So, you can imagine that it hits my older Dual Core machine pretty hard.  However, you can turn off only the houses at night (which are not very noticable anyway) and frame rates take off (no pun intended).

Allen

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Hello Allen,

Looks really good. Have you got any plans at this stage how large an area you would release in one package? I am thinking specifically of HawaiiSmile. Would a released area be the size of a state or like 4-5 enhanced areas for the US and Europe or something totally different?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pwheeler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 3:53am
Great shots there Allen. Having everything line up with the main roads with the UTX lights looks awesome!

I'm not sure that the main road textures blend that well. Will they be upgraded at all? Are the main roads from UTX or 'X'? i.e. will people need both products for the look you are showing or will the new product include lights etc?

Will areas such as main shopping high streets get their own textures with a bit more colour?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote c152flyboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 8:51am
Allen,
Very impressed with that first photograph showing the compassion between the FSX default and Project X suburban textures.  lt is amazing how much more realistic it is looking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 2:12pm

"Looks really good. Have you got any plans at this stage how large an area you would release in one package? I am thinking specifically of HawaiiSmile. Would a released area be the size of a state or like 4-5 enhanced areas for the US and Europe or something totally different?"

The size of the packages will completely depend on the amount of manual labor needed for each region.   We are going to try and automate as much as possible.   But, some things, like the semi-custom buildings will be hand drawn using our toolset.   While the latter is very fast compared to conventional methods, the labor time can really add up over a very large area.

Right now the goal is to figure out roughly (+/-20%) how long each part of the USA would take for the manual parts.   It is a balancing act to try and figure out which parts to automate and which parts to add a manual touch to.

For example, right now hospitals, schools, universities, apartments, stadiums, city centers and large strip centers have some element of manual work required.   Objects outside of these types are handled by automation that positions buildings based on POI (point of interest) data.   The commercial POI data positioning is done thru a process called address geocoding.   So, each object position will not be exact (but usually very close).    As a result, right now we are hand placing the most important objects (identifiable objects like schools, etc) and automating other types of object placement (like restauraunts, gas stations, etc).

We have several options available to use with this product line.  

Option 1:We could release a nearly-fully automated product, covering a larger area, which cuts out the semi-custom buildings (those placed by hand).   In this case, all buildings will be placed using POI data.   Then, we could release smaller addon packages for more detailed city areas.

Option 2:We could combine everything like we are doing now.   With this option, we would try and break the USA into something like 4 or 5 regions (hopefully).    The regions would be broken up by population centers, because the larger cities will take the longest to work.   So, the Northeast part of the USA would cover a smaller area than the Western USA.

Hope this helps answer some questions.   The protoype and development system are very nearly complete.    The question now is how we are going to package things that are best for both us and our customers.

Feedback will certainly beneficial to us on this matter.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 2:21pm

"Great shots there Allen. Having everything line up with the main roads with the UTX lights looks awesome!

I'm not sure that the main road textures blend that well. Will they be upgraded at all? Are the main roads from UTX or 'X'? i.e. will people need both products for the look you are showing or will the new product include lights etc?

Will areas such as main shopping high streets get their own textures with a bit more colour?"

The main roads and lighting will be part of UTX.   We might be create some alternate road textures for UTX users to blend in better if necessary.

In theory, this product should work pretty well with the default FSX roads also.  So, UTX is not required.   Of course UTX will give a much better overall look.

I am not completely clear on the comment regarding the high street textures.  maybe you could elaborate ?   Are you talking about major roads with a lot of commercial activity ?   If so, this would be kind of hard to identify because all major roads have no further classification available (i.e roads containing lots of businesses).    We could probably do this programatically with the POI data and road data together.   But, the street layers will be completely provided by UTX and not this product.   So, this would probably be more of a future UTX upgrade.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote c152flyboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-29-2009 at 7:59pm
Allen, let me see if i understand the two options you mentioned above.  option 1 is to cover more area with less accurate POI and less semi custom building and option 2 is better POI location and more custom buildings but for smaller areas?  if that is  the case i vote for option 2 myself.  the way i see it, if you are going to make a product that makes cities and towns look more realistic, though not exact, will be more closly done with option 2.  so say a north east, south east, north west, south west, and central section?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-30-2009 at 5:06pm

Originally posted by c152flyboy c152flyboy wrote:

Allen, let me see if i understand the two options you mentioned above.  option 1 is to cover more area with less accurate POI and less semi custom building and option 2 is better POI location and more custom buildings but for smaller areas?  if that is  the case i vote for option 2 myself.  the way i see it, if you are going to make a product that makes cities and towns look more realistic, though not exact, will be more closly done with option 2.  so say a north east, south east, north west, south west, and central section?

Thanks for the feedback.   Yes, I am thinking the sections might be similar to what you mentioned.      FWIW, the POI data is automated, except for some exceptions that we kick out for manual work.   The big question here is how many types of POI objects do we kick out for exception work and which types ?  It is those exceptions that will add lots of manual labor and cause smaller regional products.

Here is my opinion on what we are trying to do.  We want to give you guys an environment so that when you approach a city, even one that you are familiar with, you can say "yeah, I recognize that area".   And, you can fly VFR based on the roads locations, houses and areas of buildings that you recognize.   Now, as you get really close to an area (almost on top of it), you might not recognize things as much.

One of the most important technological features in the custom software that we developed is something we call Dynamic Object Positioning.   With this feature, the developer only has to mark off a portion of the satellite imagery that contains buildings of a similar type.    For example, the entire downtown area for Tyler was done this way.     I marked off the downtown areas, told the software that the downtown area was type "Medium USA City", then the software starting creating random objects to fill the downtown area as appropriate.   A medium USA city might have 20% hi-rise, 25% offices, etc.   Each time you rerun the software, the downtown area might change somewhat.

Apartment complexes are created this way, plus storage buildings, warehouse districts, etc.   I can create the entire Tyler downtown area in a matter of minutes.  Doing the downtown area manually would take hours using our software or days/weeks using off-the-shelf products.

Downtown areas are very large.  So, this method works perfectly from an efficiency standpoint.   Unless you know a downtown area well, you won't know that the buildings are different, because they look realistic and are placed in the correct regional location.

Personally, I think this product became viable when the Dynamic Object Positioning code was completed.    If not for this piece of technology, the USA would be far too big of an area to tackle.

Ok, with that description out of the way, I can talk about semi-custom buildings and other buildings that are positioned by hand.    The dynamic logic previously described does not work for all areas.   Shopping malls, schools, universities and other areas probably need more work, because these objects are VFR markers for a lot of pilots (IMO).   We could just rely on POI data to place these objects.   But, my feeling is that these types of objects are important enough to warrant more attention to detail, even though they are not detailed objects per-se.

A very good product could be created with just the Dynamic Object Positioning, plus the POI data (converted to appropriate objects), plus the houses.   The dynamic object positioning takes a little bit of manual work.   But, it is much less than having to create the semi-custom objects (or placing library objects by hand).    At this point, I think that adding semi custom objects for a select group of building types will add 4x to 5x the manual labor.   So, they really need to be worth the effort.

The housing part is almost fully automated now that the software is complete.

Hope this helps.   By educating you guys on our processes, I can probably get the best feedback.     The world is a big place and I think this will be a popular product.  So, would rather not get bogged down providing too much detail, which will cause products to be released very slowly.   I am trying to find the perfect balance between value and feature sets.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Axelb9 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-01-2009 at 2:36am

I know that this most probably out of question but I guess the world would be finished in a matter of a couple of months if there was some kind of a development kit released... Everybody would be most enthousiastic to create, customize and share their own area that they know as the back of their hands. So maybe the most efficient and fastest way would be to release large areas by you with the least amount of manual work involved and the most automation and then let the community to play around with the semicustom buildings, etc.

I know I would enjoy playing with this tremendously. And then of course the work of everybody could be shared.

Maybe even two versions: a cheaper basic one containing just the automated work and a more expensive one containing the possibility to customize and place the semi custom buildings...

I know I would opt for the more expensive one without hesitation.

The world would look fantastic in a matter of weeks including other continents.

Alex

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote c152flyboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-01-2009 at 11:25am
which type of work should be custom work you ask?  well from your list i agree universities and colleges should be because they are unique looking and i can see malls as well.  warehouse and industrial could also use more custom buildings but not so much as colleges and universities.
   
as i was looking at the first picture you showed of Tyler with Product X, i thought sure maybe Tyler downtown does not have those exact buildings in the exact location but if it is more representative of reality, then all the better.  my hometown of New Bedford Massachusetts has a population of 100,000 but a very small condensed Downtown located on the far south end of the city along the waterfront.  (BTW, new bedford is the most productive seaport in $$$ in the world)  it also has 23 schools and a large industrial complex in the far north end.  KEWB is located between all of this.  the next town over has a large mall and a large university that both sit under the ILS RWY 5 approach and are used for visual approaches.  I would like these things to be represented and sure it would be great if they looked somewhat like the real thing and i will be willing to wait a bit longer, pay a bit more, or purchase a smaller section to get it.

like you said it wont look exact as your flying over it but from a distance it should at least give you the impression that what your approaching are the real items in the proper locations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-01-2009 at 4:32pm

Originally posted by c152flyboy c152flyboy wrote:

which type of work should be custom work you ask?  well from your list i agree universities and colleges should be because they are unique looking and i can see malls as well.  warehouse and industrial could also use more custom buildings but not so much as colleges and universities.
   
as i was looking at the first picture you showed of Tyler with Product X, i thought sure maybe Tyler downtown does not have those exact buildings in the exact location but if it is more representative of reality, then all the better.  my hometown of New Bedford Massachusetts has a population of 100,000 but a very small condensed Downtown located on the far south end of the city along the waterfront.  (BTW, new bedford is the most productive seaport in $$$ in the world)  it also has 23 schools and a large industrial complex in the far north end.  KEWB is located between all of this.  the next town over has a large mall and a large university that both sit under the ILS RWY 5 approach and are used for visual approaches.  I would like these things to be represented and sure it would be great if they looked somewhat like the real thing and i will be willing to wait a bit longer, pay a bit more, or purchase a smaller section to get it.

like you said it wont look exact as your flying over it but from a distance it should at least give you the impression that what your approaching are the real items in the proper locations.

This is good.  It sounds like we are thinking along the same lines.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-01-2009 at 4:56pm
Originally posted by Axelb9 Axelb9 wrote:

I know that this most probably out of question but I guess the world would be finished in a matter of a couple of months if there was some kind of a development kit released... Everybody would be most enthousiastic to create, customize and share their own area that they know as the back of their hands. So maybe the most efficient and fastest way would be to release large areas by you with the least amount of manual work involved and the most automation and then let the community to play around with the semicustom buildings, etc.

I know I would enjoy playing with this tremendously. And then of course the work of everybody could be shared.

Maybe even two versions: a cheaper basic one containing just the automated work and a more expensive one containing the possibility to customize and place the semi custom buildings...

I know I would opt for the more expensive one without hesitation.

The world would look fantastic in a matter of weeks including other continents.

Alex

Alex,

Some of what you say is interesting.   So, I will give it some thought.   Perhaps, the semi-custom building portion could be released as a separate tool to our customers.    We could provide the downtown areas and buildings placed using the commercial POI data as a product, along with the tool to create the semi-custom objects.   While this sounds great, there would be obstacles though.

The first problem that would have to be overcome is the fact that during development, all 3 types of features are kind of related (semi-custom, POI buildings and houses).   The custom buildings are always done first, because they exclude the POI data buildings covering the same area.   Then, the custom and POI data buildings exclude the houses that might otherwise encroach on their territory.   So, there is an ordered development pattern that keeps things very neat.   Our software has a more efficient exclusion logic than what can be done by FSX at runtime (with exclusion files and layering, which might produce sloppy results IMO).

My other fear would be support for the tools.   I have written and distributed developer tools in the past.   And, the support can be very time consuming.   However, our users are very good when it comes to jumping in and helping others.   So, this might not end up being too big of a problem.

Another problem would be ownership rights.   Can we include user-created objects (using our tools) into future patches and versions of the product ?    What happens if we port the product to another platform (very possible future) ?

The last problem that I can think of would be the danger of the developer tools falling into the hands of those outside the UTX community.   Or, the tools being cracked by other developers.   This is only a slight concern.

Off the top of my head, those would be my concerns with distributing some of the development tools.   The biggest problem would be encorporating the user enhancements into the product so that they produce a clean result, without a lot of confusing clutter and excessive layering.

I think that a lot of people like UTX and products like it, because they don't have to contstantly download lots of small freeware packages to improve their environment.    UTX gives them a lot of functionality in one package.    I would like to keep this same mentality for future products.

Your idea does have merit, despite the potential hurdles.   I wonder how many users would actually share their work.    Or, maybe they don't share their work at all.  But, having the tool makes the product much more valuable to them.

One more potential problem....We cannot release any raw commercial data to our customers.  So, any distributed resource data would have to come from freely available sources.    This may not be a problem though from what I am thinking right now.   

Good discussion !

Allen

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