Real road/rail network in Aerofly

  • If I have well understood the Life project from Jeff the path of vehicles movement can only be created manually under 3DS Max for now. It is the manual side that bothers me (in addition to the license of the proprietary 3D software). In the long run, could these paths be created automatically, for example from the OSM route network?


    Personally I would dream to have "vector" routes in AFS but unfortunately I do not think that is the idea of IPACS, right ?


    It is true that orthophotos are nicer but only at high altitude. At low altitude (especially for helicopter pilots) it is generally ugly, even with a resolution of 50 cm / pixel. Whereas with vectorial routes we could have generic textures of very high definitions for asphalt on every road around the world (and not only on some detailled aiport area). In addition to having a path network directly exploitable to move land vehicles.


    The ideal would be to have the best of both worlds:

    - low altitude: use of vector roads with generic UHD textures

    - high altitude: use of bitmap roads (orthophotos) only

    The complexity would be to have a transition effect as smooth as possible when switching from one to the other. But that could be done with transparency.

  • Indeed, I think there are two factors, if ameliorated, will make Aerofly looks much more realistic: clouds and roads. Now that street lights can be implemented based on road data, perhaps it’s viable to do the same with road texture. Hoping the developers can pay attention to this.

  • If I have well understood the Life project from Jeff the path of vehicles movement can only be created manually under 3DS Max for now. It is the manual side that bothers me (in addition to the license of the proprietary 3D software). In the long run, could these paths be created automatically, for example from the OSM route network?

    There are two things going on here, one is the routes for vehicles to follow, and the other is whether to render roads on top of ortho photo roads.


    Aerofly should definitely implement vehicle routes from OSM data. Given how well the animations work in Jeff's demo, with minimal performance impact, it's probably not a huge leap to read these animation paths from elsewhere. Seems like a relatively easy win to me.


    As for whether to render roads on top of orthophoto roads, I've never thought that roads in X-Plane look particularly realistic. Being vector, they're well detailed if you get close, but they generally stand out like a 'sore thumb' against the ortho backdrop. The asphalt, concrete and tarmac used on roads come in so many different shades that it never matches well.


    I noticed that the on the MSFS 2020 trailer video the roads show vehicles moving on top of high-res orthophotos. They haven't tried to render the roads as geometry.

  • As for whether to render roads on top of orthophoto roads, I've never thought that roads in X-Plane look particularly realistic. Being vector, they're well detailed if you get close, but they generally stand out like a 'sore thumb' against the ortho backdrop.

    Agree.


    Dont forget trains. We should have those as well.

    Absolutely. Orbx Innsbruck is a good example of some life before landing.

  • Yes all that discussion can be applied to road networks as well to rail networks, no real difference.


    And yes we have to distinguish two things: the vehicle movement paths and the rendering.


    About the first point I do not see how we could do without importing OSM vector roads if we want to have paths that cover the whole globe (or pretty much as the OSM data are not yet provided everywhere)


    About the rendering the debate seems more complicated.


    I really think that the rendering of orthophotos at very low altitude is a visual disaster, it is necessarily a mess of pixels.


    Trying to land a helicopter on such a surface is often a mystical experience because we're unable to appreciate the exact distance under the helicopter.


    The "vector display" with generic ultra hires textures is necessarily less bad than a porridge of pixels, even if the generic texture does not correspond exactly to the real color (note that we already have "fake" colors on buildings and vegetation with the cultivation).


    As Thomas has said we could imagine a transition from vector display to ortho display depending on the altitude: the switch from vector display to the ortho display would be when the altitude is above 100 meters if the ortho at a resolution of 0.5m/pixel, 200 meters if 1m/pixel, etc.


    For me it would be a huge improvement in AFS.

  • turman

    Changed the title of the thread from “Real road network in Aerofly” to “Real road/rail network in Aerofly”.
  • Trains should actually be easier. First they can be set on fixed path and timing, like back and forth between two end stations and that is already realistic, whereas cars not so much (not that anyone not following them would notice, but just saying, some people will check just for the sake of it.)

    Then I'm sure we could come up with some some coding of sequences, when one train passes another (double line), etc... So a fairly elaborate network that behaves pretty realistically can be achieved with reasonable work.

    My guess would be to code some of the network elements, and then code some of the trains, and the whole thing would behave pretty well by itself with quite a few complex happenings on the network, and the ability to provide for different requirements (Europe, USA, Japan, etc..) with the same engine.

    Cars are an entirely different subject, they pass each other, there are crossings with many possibilities, they are together at different speeds, the "AI" simulation coding would have to be much more complex.