IPACS - Please Consider Making GeoConvert Open Source

  • Laminar Research open source all their scenery tools for X-Plane. I believe IPACS should consider doing the same to encourage community development projects.


    If Geoconvert was open source under GPL or MIT I could bundle a custom build with AeroScenery and make the end-to-end experience seamless.


    Secondly, in my work writing AeroScenery I'm finding Geoconvert a pretty frustrating tool to deal with. It will happily tell you that the run was successful, but no output is generated and the logs give no clue as to why. If the tool was open source I'd have hung a debugger on it and stepped through the code by now ;)

  • I am not sure it was really a choice from LR to open source their scenery tools. AFAIR, they use libraries such as CGAL that are released under GPL, a contaminating licence, in their toolkit.


    Opensourcing code geoconvert would also let anyone reverse the process and extract potentially expensive proprietary imagery. That might be a problem for third party payware developers. And their might be a lot of IP exposed in these tools. I would also be afraid of "custom builds".


    Developers need high quality tools, and the best we can do today is report any reproducible bug with a set of files. I am not sure if this forum is the best place to track issues though...


    So while I am a fervent advocate of open source, I am afraid it is not going to happen. Let's hope IPACS surprise us!

  • So while I am a fervent advocate of open source, I am afraid it is not going to happen. Let's hope IPACS surprise us!

    No I don't expect it to happen either, but mainly because IPACS seem so busy with other development.


    Remember that LR document every X-Plane file format in detail. Ortho4XP actually creates XP scenery directly without LR tools. On balance, if they want to support 3rd party development, the file formats should be open.


    I agree, a proper bug tracker, at least for SDK tools, would be welcome.


    Whilst I don't hold out much hope for open source, I do hope IPACS find the time to fix some of the bugs and limitations with GeoConvert.

  • Of course, users creating their own scenery is a double edged sword, for payware developers. Even the creator of Ortho4XP is a bit rueful about it, since it now competes directly with his payware.....

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  • Of course, users creating their own scenery is a double edged sword, for payware developers. Even the creator of Ortho4XP is a bit rueful about it, since it now competes directly with his payware.....

    So please give me payware. :thumbup:

    The problem is that there is hardly any payware. And then we need tools to create our freeware. Or?

  • I think the payware scenery landscape has changed. Yes, it's harder for companies to sell packages like "Germany Parts 1 to 4" because everyone can download that with AeroScenery, Ortho4XP, FSEarthTiles or whatever.


    What's really changed is that free Google, Bing and USGS imagery is now better than many paid alternatives. ASTER GDEM v2 elevation data is now free and better than stuff that cost five figures to license a few years ago.


    There's still a market for highly detailed smaller regions, cities and airports though. I've already bought a couple of the Orbx packs.

  • What's really changed is that free Google, Bing and USGS imagery is now better than many paid alternatives. ASTER GDEM v2 elevation data is now free and better than stuff that cost five figures to license a few years ago.

    A good point. And I hope you get the little help you need from IPACS. AeroScenery is a long-awaited tool.

  • I am not sure it was really a choice from LR to open source their scenery tools. AFAIR, they use libraries such as CGAL that are released under GPL, a contaminating licence, in their toolkit.

    You can use GPL libraries in closed source software. If you modify the actual library then you have to give back the changes, but there is no restriction on using the actual libraries in payware software, so this wasn't the main reason AFAIK


    As for Geoconvert, I agree with the original poster. What would be more preferrable I think is to have specifications for the various files and compressed image formats. Developers could compile their own program, by passing the SDK, then it would make the entire process much less painful.

  • I think the payware scenery landscape has changed. Yes, it's harder for companies to sell packages like "Germany Parts 1 to 4" because everyone can download that with AeroScenery, Ortho4XP, FSEarthTiles or whatever.


    What's really changed is that free Google, Bing and USGS imagery is now better than many paid alternatives. ASTER GDEM v2 elevation data is now free and better than stuff that cost five figures to license a few years ago.


    There's still a market for highly detailed smaller regions, cities and airports though. I've already bought a couple of the Orbx packs.

    Absolutely correct. We have already experienced this here with AFS2 payware. I complained about the image quality of a small block around the mainland airport in the Helgoland for AFS2 and the developer just flat said he could not afford to pay the asking price for such a small return. I replaced the entire on land area, actually expanded the coverage with excellent free scenery. I guess for us, it is the best of both worlds.


    But, we did get the first add on from Aerosoft and we got windmills and moving ships.


    Regards,

    Ray

    When Pigs Fly. A steely-eyed Sierra Hotel record setting F-15E Strike Eagle simulator pilot. 8o

    ready for some voices in the sky? now available . . . Aerofly FS2 RC ATC https://afs2rcatc.com/


  • How can there be moving ships?

  • The ships have a speed and direction and add to the immersion. Give Helgoland a try. Lots of windmills onshore and off shore. You will have oil rig heliports ready to go once the helicopter is released. A security car drives around on the island and families walk on the beach.


    Regards,

    Ray

    When Pigs Fly. A steely-eyed Sierra Hotel record setting F-15E Strike Eagle simulator pilot. 8o

    ready for some voices in the sky? now available . . . Aerofly FS2 RC ATC https://afs2rcatc.com/


  • The ships have a speed and direction and add to the immersion. Give Helgoland a try. Lots of windmills onshore and off shore. You will have oil rig heliports ready to go once the helicopter is released. A security car drives around on the island and families walk on the beach.


    Regards,

    Ray

    That's great, but how did they do that, as AFS2 does not have 3D water?

  • That's great, but how did they do that, as AFS2 does not have 3D water?

    It glides along the existing flat ortho.

    Devons rig

    Intel Core i7 8700K @ 5.0GHz / 32.0GB G.SKILL TridentZ Series Dual-Channel Ram / ZOTAC GAMING GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti Triple Fan / Sound Blaster Z / Oculus Rift VR Headset / Klipsch® Promedia 2.1 Computer Speakers / ASUS ROG SWIFT PG279Q ‑ 27" IPS LED Monitor ‑ QHD / 2x Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB / Windows 10 Pro 64-bit /Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 Motherboard