I would like to share a few experiences from my attempts of scenery design. Sorry if this grew too long. Let me start with a few shots.
These sceneries were made by someone who has been simming since 1991 but never did any serious steps into scenery design, except a hand full of Ortho4XP tiles. Given this was a low-res AeroflyFS2 pixel desert before, I think they speak for themselves, and I would sincerely thank Karl-Heinz "Rodeo", Arno Gerretson (probably not around here), Phil "Spit40", Jeff "drhotwing1", Uwe "admoore63" and all the others for their tools, bright ideas and tutorials.
I also would like to stress IPACS' superior display engine providing an amazing atmosphere and landscape experience, and all this with 120 fps without blurries or stutters - in my mind the best engine we have for a civilian sim today.
What I did was creating my homebase EDBJ, a smaller (27 km x 72 km) area of photoscenery around it and making cultivation for a larger part of it. Here are a few more technical questions and hints I collected during the making which maybe someone can answer. Please bear with me, I have been following the forum more or less from the beginning of AeroflyFS2 but certainly missed a lot.
1. FSET worked 3 h and Geoconvert 8 h for making the photo ground with 1 m/pixel. This is fine, however, my next project was my home state Thuringia being one of the smaller German states. After running more than a day I stopped as I extrapolated to need around 4 days for Geoconvert to finish. I might take the burden but not just for me but if I could redistribute/share the result for free. That's the same dilemma as with Ortho4XP, it's such a waste of resources having ever new people doing this stupid number crunching over and over. I am pretty sure there is no legally usable map material available from the German "Landesvermessungsämter" - or is it?
I didn't do a strict comparison, but I am under the impression Ortho4XP is "a bit" more speedy in calculating (comparable) ZL17 tiles.
2. I noticed the hard disk working quite heavily under Geoconvert, and much more than under Ortho4XP. I even got a bit worried and I certainly will not task one of my SSDs with Geoconvert. Maybe there is room for optimizations reducing the IOs?
3. Why is it necessary (or at least suggested) to make all the resolution levels of 9, 11, 12, 13, 14? When I create Ortho4XP sceneries for XP I only make ZL17, and maybe ZL 18 around the airports. And, btw., it would be lovely to have a similar possibility to define higher resolutions for certain regions like e.g. airports without having to restart the process.
4. I understand I can select a certain area on OSM for export, but this is rather restricted (by OSM). Is there a way to export larger regions?
5. Why have Cultivation patches to be bound to airports (or at least dummy airports) at present? Wouldn't it by better to just define an arbitrary anchor point?
6. While the first impression on the images is overwhelming, a closer look shows the variance of objects being quite limited. In general, there are quite a number of non-fitting (mostly too large) buildings. There are rows of (larger) apartment buildings concatenated to just one large one etc. Is there someone working on extending and differentiating the object library? (And to begin with, I didn't even find who maintains it )
7. I just foresee this to populate the AeroflyFS2 world quite quickly after people get used to it. There is certainly room for extensions like adding VORs, ILS, and the like. In the beginning, these might be simple, a VOR just needs an anchor point and a couple of frequencies - or is it more?
What is missing?
8. Have a look here.
That is a major landmark and it is badly missing in Jena. This is the question of general landmarks as Günther Kremp creates them for X-Plane. Now the models are all in the Warehouse, but I am afraid, contrary to the tools above, there is nothing available for a layman like me to convert them into AeroflyFS2. I would even be willing to spend a few Euros and learn something new but AC3 is without reach for me. Any chance I could import the Warehouse model of just that business tower?
I tried to understand the intended scenery creation workflow at this point. As far as I ses the idea is to
1. Make a low resolution larger Ceoconvert area, say something like 100 km x 100 km
2. Make an airport you are interested in within it
3. Build a higher-resolution (say 10-20 km^2) area around that aiport, add cultivation to the area
Finally: I do not at all intend to become a scenery designer but just want to understand how things work and, perhaps, help testing stuff. Nonetheless, I will try to pay back a bit in reporting in a few fora (not the technical issues, but the results, of course) as a little support for AeroflyFS2. However, given two updates for Prepar3d and FSW are pending and distracting people right now I'll better wait a few days.
Kind regards, Michael