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Project X Screenshots - USA

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akriesman View Drop Down
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    Posted: March-25-2014 at 8:38pm
As promised.  Here are some screenshots from a location in the USA.   This test area is Arlington Texas.
Allen

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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: March-25-2014 at 8:40pm
First, some night shots..


Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-25-2014 at 8:43pm
Arlington Stadium (baseball)




Houses in their real world location, not autogen

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-25-2014 at 8:47pm
Apartment complexes (repeated textures per complex)





Golf courses.   These are not generic golf course textures.   The holes, fairways, sand traps and other features are drawn from vector data and are accurate, not landclass.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-25-2014 at 8:49pm
One more from a higher level.   All buildings are accurately sized and positioned in their real-world locations.


Allen

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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: March-25-2014 at 8:55pm
And that is the basis behind ProjectX sceneries.     Buildings and other objects that are sized and positioned in their real world locations as custom objects, without killing frame rates.    

Each ProjectX scenery provides everything for each city in one bundle:  TexturePhoto terrain, tens of thousands of accurately positioned custom buildings, trees, lights, railyards, boat docks and mesh.    The TexturePhoto terrain consists of synthesized photoscenery drawn with textures to match FSX landclass.    So, the scenery blends in very well with the surrounding terrain, especially UTX products.

The TexturePhoto terrain can be removed and replaced with your favorite photoscenery. The ProjectX objects will then populate your old photoscenery terrain with tens of thousands of accurately placed objects with no more frame rate hit than standard autogen.

We will provide more specific details on ProjectX terrain in the coming days.

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gpost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2014 at 7:07am
Can you give us some metrics on VAS usage, especially with a VAS-heavy add-on like the PMDG 777?  Would like to see VAS usage flying the 777 over Arlington, either enroute to, or departing from, FSDT's KDFW scenery. The community is well-cognizant of the dreaded OOM errors from loading too many VAS-heavy add-ons together in the same scenario, especially the pitfalls of too much photoscenery. I really like the product and would jump on it in an instant as long as I can fly without OOMs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2014 at 11:23am
Jerry.  

I will try and see what I can find on Virtual Address Space usage with this product.   I can tell you that this product is VERY efficient when it comes to texture use and FSX object management.  

We use single texture sheets for each type of object (one each for houses, commercial bulidings, trees, lights, boxcars).

The only unique textures occur where we may create a couple of landmark objects that are missing in FSX.   For example, in Arlington we created custom textures for Cowboy Stadium and Arlington Stadium.

In addition to the efficient use of textures, ProjectX uses a new technology that we developed in-house that creates large groups of regional objects so that FSX sees them as a single object.   This vastly reduces the amount of work that FSX has to do during flight to manage the display of scenery objects.   To test the difference, we ran some benchmark tests on a large city that we created with our software.   Without our scenery optimization strategy the frame rates were in the 60's to 80's for the test area.  Without our optimizations, the frame rates were not even measurable (less that 1 FPS) and the sim was unflyable.

There are some tradeoffs that must be made when you create very efficient scenery for FSX for any flight simulator.  For example, the best looking scenery would have unique, real-world textures for each building.     But, this is not really feasible right now as it would lead to a extremely high number of draw calls in FSX and would kill frame rates.    

What we do is create SINGLE unique texture sheets that are appropriate for each city, but not exact.     For example, the commercial/industrial building texture sheets in ProjectX provide 64 different commercial/industrial textures that can be shared between commercial buildings.  For things like notable hi-rise buildings, we try and select the closest texture from the available texture sheet.    We also created a new tool that allows us to quickly create unique texture sheets that are custom for each city, if we choose to do so.    The key is to keep the number of textures used in a "scene" to a minimum.   But you can have unique texture across scenes (different cities) without hurting performance.

I know this may be a little too much detail.   But, I hope it helps.    I will check the VAS usage associated with this product as I am curious also.   But, I am pretty sure it will be on the low side.

Cheers,

 

Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vic_baron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2014 at 12:16pm
Looking great Allen!!

Vic
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gpost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2014 at 3:14pm
Allen:

Thanks for your detailed response. Indeed frames and smoothness are vitally necessary to a good FSX experience and I'm sure your efforts will pay great dividends in this area. VAS usage has become more critical these days as developers create ever more detailed add-ons and compete for the limited VAS available in a 32-bit program and demanding users attempt to cram the proverbial 10 lbs in a 5-lb sack. Another area to look at is how much efficiency you can achieve in releasing VAS as the aircraft leaves one of your areas and the scenery unloads to move on to a non-enhanced area. Thanks for your work - I've bought all the UTX products and enjoy them tremendously, especially given the great support your team gives the user base. I'm really looking forward to Project X.
Jerry Post
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeff Smith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-26-2014 at 5:34pm
Great shots once again Allen... I've been to some of those places when I lived in DFW.
Keep the Blue Side UP! - Flight1 Sales / Customer Support
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote signmanbob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-09-2014 at 8:31pm
I will be trying this for sure.  From what I understand, I can use this to place 3D buildings, trees, etc. on my MegaSceneryEarth v.2 photoscenery.  Is that correct?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jtwillia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-10-2014 at 1:38pm
I am very impressed.  These urban areas look much better than what I see in my FSX installation.  I do have some questions. 
I note that Project X will use "TexturePhoto terrain" which looks pretty good in the screenshots.  Will the "TexturePhoto terrain" have the 5 FSX seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Hard Winter)?  
 
I don't know if you have tested how Project X works with other scenery but here is my scenario. I am using Orbx Regions and FTX Global Textures.  I also have UTX USA and UTX Europe.  How well will the "TexturePhoto terrain" blend in with with FTX Global & UTX Landclass?,  with FTX Region landclass and textures? 
 
I will continue to follow this project with much anticipation.
 
Thanks.
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetblst Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-10-2014 at 10:33pm
(Sorry if this repeats) Did I read this correctly that Project X works well with UTX?  What about GEX?  Thanks!
Respectfully

Jet

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote quantumleap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-11-2014 at 4:31pm
Yes, Project X works with UTX (in the screenshots above the example areas are covered with Project X structures but when you move out of that area you blend back into the standard UTX scenery or other vector scenery).

As GEX are just ground textures and not vector scenery, in the areas covered by Project X, it completely hides the underlying ground textures, but again when you move outside the coverage area you would see the GEX ground texture (or any other ground texture replacements).

The Project X buildings should appear above photoscenery as well.

Jeff


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote signmanbob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-11-2014 at 9:44pm
That's great Jeff.  I'll buy this when it is released, for sure.

Bob
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-12-2014 at 8:25pm
Originally posted by jtwillia jtwillia wrote:

I am very impressed.  These urban areas look much better than what I see in my FSX installation.  I do have some questions. 
I note that Project X will use "TexturePhoto terrain" which looks pretty good in the screenshots.  Will the "TexturePhoto terrain" have the 5 FSX seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Hard Winter)?  
 
I don't know if you have tested how Project X works with other scenery but here is my scenario. I am using Orbx Regions and FTX Global Textures.  I also have UTX USA and UTX Europe.  How well will the "TexturePhoto terrain" blend in with with FTX Global & UTX Landclass?,  with FTX Region landclass and textures? 
 
I will continue to follow this project with much anticipation.
 
Thanks.

This is a great question.  And, the answer has changed in the last week.

The seasonal TexturePhoto was an issue.  We could easily create the seasonal variations.  But, the distribution/download size was an issue.   Also, given the fact that our user base is pretty split on what type of Landclass Textures they have installed (default FSX, GEX, Orbx, etc), it would be tough to provide our own textures and have them blend in with all the others.

Just last week we had an epiphany and came up with a solution.   I am currently changing the software to support the new idea.    What we are going to do now is have detailed vector ground polygons for all the vegetative parts of the cities.   The non-vegetative parts like parking lots, industrial yards, shipping yards, walkways, garden paths, building foundations, driveways, sidewalks, roads, etc will be drawn as TexturePhoto with transparency used for all the vegetative and water sections.   The transparent areas will allow the vegetation from the landclass textures to show through.

Using the landclass textures for the vegetation keeps us from having to release seasonal TexturePhoto.    We will not have any urban landclass.   The urban-like parts will be handled by the TexturePhoto.    Landclass textures will be used only for things like forests, parks, grassy areas, etc.  

The preliminary tests look great.  Now I am just making the switch.    It looks like a perfect solution.
Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-12-2014 at 8:30pm
Originally posted by signmanbob signmanbob wrote:

I will be trying this for sure.  From what I understand, I can use this to place 3D buildings, trees, etc. on my MegaSceneryEarth v.2 photoscenery.  Is that correct?

Yes.   ProjectX objects will work perfectly with Photoscenery for the areas we cover.   We provide a configuration tool that allows you to configure each ProjectX city differently if you wish.

For example, if you have PhotoScenery for a city like Phoenix, you can tell the ProjectX config tool that you are using Photoscenery in Phoenix and it will adjust things accordingly.
Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote laubdach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-15-2014 at 11:04am
WOW!
That is really amazing!
What a fantastic set of screenshots and what a real promising looking project!
One question though:
Are there any plans to eventually publish this all for X-Plane as well?
As for now and the forseeable future ahead i am (as many others) (still) a dedicated FSX user, but as FSX is getting older day by day i sure try to keep and eye on alternative, future platforms.
Now as P3D will most likely be supported by Scenery Solutions, which is super great, i nonetheless hope it is okay to ask this question regarding X-Plane as well, because again saying:
Project-X looks superb and if it were available for various flightsimming platforms would just be really great.
Although i fully understand that not all platforms can and will be supported.
... just asking as a matter of greatest interest though!
Cheers, Christoph
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 12:00am
Christoph,

I spoke to some of the X-Plane guys about a year ago.    They have been more than helpful and willing to help port our stuff over to X-Plane.   It is just been a problem of time for us right now, as we are a very small group.

I will say that when we designed the ProjectX stuff, we did so with the understanding that it should eventually be able to port to other platforms and not rely so much on features that are FSX specific (or P3D).   That is not to say that it would be a seamless port.  But, we are trying not to limit ourselves to one platform.   

I love the fact that X-Plane has been such a stable product in this industry all these years.   In fact, they are the only one :)
Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote laubdach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 10:22am
Originally posted by akriesman akriesman wrote:

Christoph,

I spoke to some of the X-Plane guys about a year ago.    They have been more than helpful and willing to help port our stuff over to X-Plane.   It is just been a problem of time for us right now, as we are a very small group.

I will say that when we designed the ProjectX stuff, we did so with the understanding that it should eventually be able to port to other platforms and not rely so much on features that are FSX specific (or P3D).   That is not to say that it would be a seamless port.  But, we are trying not to limit ourselves to one platform.   

I love the fact that X-Plane has been such a stable product in this industry all these years.   In fact, they are the only one :)


Thank You very much for Your informative reply here!
It is great to read that there is a real chance of having Your superb products available for X-Plane as well in the future.
Although i am totally aware of the fact that this may take some time, i remain confident and will keep on looking very much forward to any updates regarding future releases here - be it for FSX, P3D or even X-Plane now!
That's also superb as i am almost convinced that X-Plane may seriously have a promising future ahead as a broader flightsimming platform - and with great products such as the announced "Project-X" here, it all looks even better!
Fantastic!

Cheers, Christoph


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetblst Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 11:24am
Frames Frames and more Frames.

How will this effect frames rates?  I remember NickN commenting on how poorly scenery and add on aircraft had been written to further burden processors of the 2006 vintage. 

Now with better processors we can get decent frames of course, but my hope for further add ons of all kinds that they actually increase frames slightly rather than be yet another drag on an unacceptable frame rate people get today going into large city areas etc.

How is Project X going to work for older say vintage 2009/2010 ( state of the art then) equipment.  Thanks.
Respectfully

Jet

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ryanbATC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 1:49pm
So will this be sold per city? For instance, will Minneapolis show up at some point?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote quantumleap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 2:47pm
Originally posted by jetblst jetblst wrote:

Frames Frames and more Frames.... my hope for further add ons of all kinds that they actually increase frames slightly

To quote the lyrics from the famous song from 'Man of La Mancha'... "To dream, the impossible dream".

Saying that, one of the most efficient ways to draw objects in FSX is how it batches autogen scenery objects. What Allen has been able to do is place buildings in their real world locations and display them with the efficiency of batched autogen objects. So, if your system is capable of showing autogen at high levels it should be able to handle ProjectX areas very well. Trying to run FSX itself on FS9 capable hardware however will "not fly", so adding more load and complexity to the scenery engine cannot ever make it go faster (just like a car pulling a trailer, you cannot keep adding items in the trailer and expect it to keep going at the same speed, but you can tune your car, use good quality fuel, be careful of the weight of what you put in the trailer and streamline what you put in that trailer so you get the best possible performance out of the car - ProjectX is light and streamlined compared to others).

Allen and I both run on stock i7-2600k hardware (my system is mid-2011, and it was not state of the art then, just behind it), and I can keep a stable fixed 30 fps in the test area for my normal FSX settings (and there are definitely far more Project X objects in the scene than would be there with even FSX autogen and scenery complexity at their highest levels) i.e. it is extremely framerate friendly.

BTW, raw frames are not the most important thing, smoothness and stability of them is i.e. a stable 30 fps is better than ones which oscillate between 10-100 fps.

Jeff



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote quantumleap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by ryanbATC ryanbATC wrote:

So will this be sold per city? For instance, will Minneapolis show up at some point?

See Allen's reply in this other thread where he details that Project X is currently planned to be done in regions rather than individual cities.

Jeff


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-16-2014 at 5:55pm
"So will this be sold per city? For instance, will Minneapolis show up at some point?"

We have a very, very tentative grouping of products defined at this point.    Here is what a "possible" grouping of cities for the USA Midwest product might be.

USA Midwest

Indiana

Indianapolis

Illinois

Chicago

Kansas

Wichita

Kentucky

Louisville

Michigan

Detroit

Missouri

Branson

Minnesota

Minneapolis

 

St Paul

 

St Louis

Nebraska

Lincoln

 

Omaha

Wisconsin

Green Bay

 

Madison

 

Milwaukee


The exact amount of cities per product released with depend on 2 things:

1) The amount of work necessary for a project region
2) The distribution size for each product region.   I would like to keep it under 1.5gb download per product.

I will be honest in that each city area does not include entire metropolitan areas.   It depends on the coverage area provided by the licensed commercial data we use.

For example, here is the coverage for Austin, TX (shown in white).


As you can see, it is a large area.  But, does not include all the smaller cities that make up the metropolitan area.

For example, we don't have the entire Dallas/Ft Worth area.   But, we have the 4 largest cities in the Dallas/Ft Worth area: Dallas, Ft Worth, Arlington and Plano.

However, most detailed Flight Sim products of this magnitude generally only provide 1 modeled city per product.   We are trying to provide between 14 and 19 cities per product.

I think that these product lines will fill a missing gap in this industry.    You have some products that model individual cities in high detail (with a hurt on frame rates).    We want to provide lots of cities modeled semi-detailed with very good frame rates.

If you can run FSX with full autogen, you should be able to run any ProjectX city just fine.   In fact, the performance that I am seeing is generally better than running with full autogen.
Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gpost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-17-2014 at 6:26am
Not to be a nitpicker, but St. Louis is in Missouri, not Minnesota. I'm surprised to see no mention of Kansas City, a major Midwest metropolitan area. I much rather have Kansas City than Branson. Is it a question of data availability?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronhamilton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-17-2014 at 2:27pm
Will these Cities in Project X intergrate well with the Terrain around the boarders of the coverage area or will it just "stop" and look like you can tell where it stops.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-17-2014 at 3:56pm
Originally posted by gpost gpost wrote:

Not to be a nitpicker, but St. Louis is in Missouri, not Minnesota. I'm surprised to see no mention of Kansas City, a major Midwest metropolitan area. I much rather have Kansas City than Branson. Is it a question of data availability?

I just looked and we do have Kansas City.   It was just missed, but thats no big deal right now.  The assignment of cities to actual products has not even made it through the first pass.    The list above was a very quick attempt to group the hundreds of city coverages we have available.     I probably spent 2 hours total grouping them just to see how they "might" ft into products.
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-17-2014 at 4:03pm
Originally posted by ronhamilton ronhamilton wrote:

Will these Cities in Project X intergrate well with the Terrain around the boarders of the coverage area or will it just "stop" and look like you can tell where it stops.

This is the very last thing we are tweaking right now.    As you know, this is a problem with PhotoScenery.    But, as I mentioned somewhere else, we have changed things up recently.   We now use TexturePhoto (photoscenery-like) for all non-vegetation surfaces.    For vegetation, we create transparent areas in the TexturePhoto and then allow the underlying ground polygons (which we also define) to show thru.    This allows the cities to blend with the surrounding landclass, no matter which landclass texture product is installed (i.e. GEX, Orbs, default FSX, etc).   And, it keeps us from having to release seasonal variations because it is automatically handled by the ground polygons.

Right now, the cities still stand out a bit when the borders are square, because they are more dense and detailed than landclass with autogen.   I do believe it will help to release a set of road textures for UTX users that will match better with the ProjectX roads.     Also, the project X building textures seem brighter and more accurate than the landclass buildings, which also makes them stand out a bit.    There are a few options for improving this that we are looking in to.

We have spent so much time (years) developing this technology, that we don't want to leave any stone unturned.
Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronhamilton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-17-2014 at 5:16pm
Very good and thanks for the response, one more question if you dont mind. Will Project X allow us to see better performance in places like Seattle and New York? It is my understanding that the downtown buildings in many cities in FSX are modeled very bad and are hard on resources, I would assume we would get better FPS because of advances in modeling techniques and hardware technology.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetblst Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-18-2014 at 12:19am
Ron gave me an idea/thought/question Smile

I am hoping Project X will replace an area that we purchase?  As Ron is asking it would be GREAT if Project X can "dump" FSX poorly modeled areas like Seattle and start fresh. 

I would have to think this would give a good bump in frames no?

I have a little experience with Airport Design Editor which makes me about as educated as a caveman when it comes to scenery.  But if say I want to start over with an airport, like I did for my base airport at KCVC, we simply delete everything and start from the ground up, runways etc, etc, until we have the airport as we want it.  What I learned is that I can set the airport up to show all buildings in "Very Sparse".  Nice because my airport looks great but the scenery around is sparse giving me a nice frame rate. 

SO...My thought then is if ProjectX can come in with a clean slate most of our hardware technology ought to work better with MUCH better visuals as shown above?   I'm simply hoping ProjectX doesn't simply add in or enhance existing 2006 textures scenery etc?

(Disclaimer)  The above thought comes from a complete novice when it comes to scenery.  Thanks  !  Confused
Respectfully

Jet

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote quantumleap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-18-2014 at 10:20pm
To try and answer your questions (or help you answer them yourself), let's take a very simplified view of how scenery is built and visualised in FSX.

You start with a blank ball representing the Earth.

On top of that you lay an elevation mesh to describe the peaks and troughs i.e. the hills and valleys.

On top of that you drape image sheets in roughly 1km by 1km 'cells'. These images can be photoscenery i.e. aerial or satellite images, or they can be one from a limited number of different ground texture sheets (less than 256 of them). Which one of these ground texture sheets is draped in a cell is dependent on the 'land classification' (landclass) for that cell. Landclass says if the area is water or land, rural or urban, desert or forest, etc..

If the images draped on the mesh were not photoscenery i.e. you are seeing ground textures as specified by landclass, you can now draw vector lines or polygons scenery on top of these images to represent roads, railroads, water features like rivers and lakes, coastlines, etc.. You can also have vector polygons which show a different ground texture for special areas like golf courses or cemetaries, etc..

Finally you can place 3D objects on top of the scenery which has been build up to this point. In general there are three types of 3D objects which can be placed. These are autogen, generic buildings and custom buildings. Autogen (auto-generated) objects are tied to the ground texture cell images. The ground texture cells can be 'annotated', basically marked up, to say where a house, high-rise, tree, etc., can be placed. These autogen objects can be simple, efficiently drawn structures or complex structures These autogen objects always appear in the same relative location on the ground texture image wherever in the world it is used and have no relation to real world locations. The annotation of these objects also indicates the density level it would appear at as specified by the autogen density setting in the FSX graphics settings. Generic buildings are built using simple structures, and display generic images on their sides and tops. Generic buildings are placed according to specific latitude and longitude values to appear at very specific locations in the world. Finally there are custom buildings. These are complex 3D objects which can be high quality reproductions of a building or landmark e.g. Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge, Golden Gate bridge, Shuttle launchpad, etc., and can have special graphics features like bumpmaps and specular highlights. Custom buildings are also placed according to specific latitude and longitude values to appear at very specific locations in the world. If a generic or custom building is shown is based on a value which maps to one of the scenery complexity levels set in the FSX graphics settings. Autogen is by far the simplest object type to be drawn and the FSX scenery engine is very efficient in its display of these as it can 'batch' the draw calls to make them appear. Custom building objects are the most complex to be displayed, with generic falling in the middle. In addition to these static 3D objects you have dynamic ones such as AI road and water vehicles.

The other visual objects which get displayed are of course aircraft (whether your aircraft or AI controlled ones) and weather.

The FSX scenery engine has to manage and draw all of these objects into the scene you see. Nearly all of this is handled by the CPU in FSX and it does not make much use of the GPU on your video card to offload work at all. On top of this, apart from some bits of scenery loading, all of this is done on one core of your CPU (even if it is multi-core, which all modern ones are). The more objects it has to display, the more load is placed on the scenery engine and the longer it takes to display all of them. Highly complex structures like aircraft and custom buildings cause even more load than simple structures. The faster your CPU, the better it is at handling all the objects it needs to manage and draw.

So taking all of this into account:

- If you have an old, slow processor, it can never be made to display the same number of objects in a scene as a newer, faster processor.
- Reducing the number of objects to be drawn will generally improve performance (unless they are highly complex structures).
- Using highly efficient 3D objects which can be batched in with a limited number of 'draw calls' will improve performance over simple, generic or custom objects which are designed inefficiently or use increased numbers of draw calls.
- Just because a 3rd-party developer could exclude all the normal FSX scenery and add their own scenery from the ground up does not mean it would be more efficient if they individually placed lots of custom buildings into the cell, or added far more scenery objects such as vector or 3D scenery. Bad choices can be made which will mean performance is far worse than the default.
- The more load the CPU is doing for FSX related work (such as weather engines, AI aircraft movement, complex aircraft modelling, etc.) and non-FSX related work (like system tray items, startup items, background services, apps), the less able it is to process and display scenery objects in the scene.
- There will always need to be a trade-off between 'visuals' (what you see in FSX) vs. 'performance' (framerates). You cannot have one without impacting the other.

So how does ProjectX change things?

Allen won't say this as he is far too modest, so I will, but he has managed through his supreme wizardry to be able to place large numbers of building objects in close to their real-world locations and make them display highly efficiently with reduced number of draw calls so that you get accurate visual representations of large areas at a similar cost to autogen. No one else does this, and the images at the start of this thread indicate what he has achieved.

Jeff



Check out my aviation photography and digital art at Photisify
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jetblst Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-19-2014 at 7:59am
Wow Jeff!

Thanks so much for a very detailed answer.  So yes this answers my questions very well in deed. 

I would bet then (no gaurentee) but I would be then that the frames will be the same or better, in these sceneries.  I have a older machine that will be a great testbed for this.  LOL.

Thanks Jeff!
Respectfully

Jet

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronhamilton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-19-2014 at 2:37pm
So, esentially the answer is YES, you'll be able to take places like Seattle Downtown core, wipe them and start fresh and give us better FPS.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-21-2014 at 6:09pm
Originally posted by ronhamilton ronhamilton wrote:

So, esentially the answer is YES, you'll be able to take places like Seattle Downtown core, wipe them and start fresh and give us better FPS.

Originally posted by ronhamilton ronhamilton wrote:

So, esentially the answer is YES, you'll be able to take places like Seattle Downtown core, wipe them and start fresh and give us better FPS.

The answer to this is yes Ron.   Jeff did a very good job with his explanation.   But, I do want to add one thing.

Our top priority with these products are going to be efficiency and building placement accuracy.  And, we are trying to provide as much value as we can in each product.   By value I mean that instead of just modeling 1 city as a product, we are going to ship 15 to 20 per product.

Our performance gain comes from 2 things:

1) extremely efficient use of shared textures
2) A one-of-a-kind way of creating objects that appear as individuals, but are technically a single object which minimizes the number of objects that have to be managed by the sim.

So, what are the drawbacks to our technology ?

As you can see from the screenshots, the product looks very nice and pretty accurate.  And, while it will probably provide the most efficient performance of any product, given the vast numbers of objects displayed,  the individual objects won't be the most detailed on the market.   Very detailed objects are not the goal here.    A lot of free and payware developers have provided detailed landmark objects using custom textures.     Those custom textures and in some cases the object models themselves look very nice.  But, they can be the frame rate killer.

For example, take an object like the "United Airlines Center" in Chicago.   FSX has modeled this building pretty accurately.    Our model will not be as accurate because of the shared textures and the way the models are constructed in batch.    However, our model will be very efficient and will look better and more realistic than a generic arena autogen object or something like that.    It just won't be as detailed as a custom object built from scratch using custom textures.

Does this mean that you will loose the FSX landmark buildings if you want them ?   Not necessarily.   We will provide both options.    Users that want more detail can configure each city to use the FSX landmark objects (where available because only a few cities have a dozen or so of these).    Those that want better performance can opt for our versions.

I know some developers are going to say that you can get good framerates and detailed objects by using LOD.   While this is true for the typical scenery design methodology, we are not using a typical scenery design methodology so LOD does not apply in the same way here ;)

Hope this helps.   A while back we created an Austin, TX demo.  But, that was a good while ago.  I will post some screenshots of a large city pretty soon.
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-21-2014 at 6:12pm
"Does this mean that you will loose the FSX landmark buildings if you want them ?   Not necessarily.   We will provide both options.    Users that want more detail can configure each city to use the FSX landmark objects (where available because only a few cities have a dozen or so of these).    Those that want better performance can opt for our versions."

P.S.-This statement above was something that I came up with over the weekend, since Jeff's post on Friday.
Allen

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ronhamilton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April-21-2014 at 11:45pm
Good stuff, thanks again guys. I'll be buying when it's release.
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