What are we missing when it comes to homemade photo scenery?

  • I tried my hand at geoconversion two years ago, had some success, but eventually gave up. I also tried flying the airliners at high altitude over geoconverted scenery, and gave up on that too. Why? Same reason. Well, it seems that nothing has changed, so I wonder what we are missing.


    Here's the issue.


    Take an airliner up to high altitude in default scenery, and you can see nice scenery of consistent resolution out to the horizon. However, take an airliner to the same altitude over geoconverted scenery, and you only see the new geoconverted stuff so far into the distance. After that the low resolution IPACS worldwide stuff always shows through. So here's my question. Is there a setting level that IPACS have not explained to home-made scenery creators? Should they be accessing another level and geoconverting a larger area at a lower res, just to produce a "carpet" that shows through instead of the IPACS global images?


    I open this up for discussion between IPACS and those who are currently creating their own scenery. No point in me getting into that discussion as it is too long since I tried my hand at it. But I do know this, this still prevents me from flying high in even the most recently created photosceneries. Maybe IPACS and Nickhod and others can find a solution that makes all the difference in the future.


    Whatever the answer, there must be one, or we'd not see such a difference between homemade scenery and IPACS default. See image below to help explain.


    - Kenneth


  • When you create a Photoscenery, you create squares (usually size 9). These squares, called grids, look different from the neighboring landscape, usually standard scenery with very low resolution. You will always see the transition, unless the self-created scenery covers very wide areas, such as whole countries or landscapes like Great Britain, Lofotes, Switzerland, Netherlands or very soon Italy.

  • Take an airliner up to high altitude in default scenery, and you can see nice scenery of consistent resolution out to the horizon.

    Default scenery is NOT consistent out to the horizon and so there is no difference in that regard between default scenery and user made scenery. The only difference is that default scenery usually covers a far larger area than user made scenery and hence you don't reach and see the border as soon: it may SEEM consistent but it really isn't: you will always get to a point where you will see low res scenery. So your assumption that default scenery does something better and than we need to apply some sort of setting or option to user made scenery is wrong. And hence there is no solution for this problem apart from creating high res scenery for the entire world... but even then you will see odd transitions because of changes in color (due to the source material). Even at 2500 feet btw, not only at airliner levels!


    You will always see the transition, unless the self-created scenery covers very wide areas, such as whole countries or landscapes like Great Britain, Lofotes, Switzerland, Netherlands or very soon Italy.

    When I fly at 6000 ft over the middle of the Netherlands I can already see the low res (or at least different colored) textures from Germany in the distance. The same goes for Swiss, Lofoten, etc.

  • I get the feeling that what is happening is Aerofly is showing a level 9 square directly below you and using level 7 adjacent squares.

    The level 9 is custom and the level 7 is stock Aerofly ground textures.


    When I wrote AeroScenery I looked at the lowest level used in the all the high detailed scenery (parts of USA, Switzerland, Florida etc) and noticed it was level 9. That then became the lowest level in the app.


    What I can't figure out is why it doesn't happen with IPACS scenery. In your example it looks like detailed textures as far as the eye can see. Why isn't it using level 7? If you look at the IPACS "CH" (Switzerland) folder the lowest level is level 9, exactly the same as custom scenery.


    Anyway .. paging Jet-Pack  drhotwing1 admin . As this is an annoying problem.

    Is there any way to make Aerofly use level 9 custom scenery as the lowest level, or do we need to figure out some way of replacing level 7 scenery?

  • Thank you. You have expressed exactly what I was trying to get at. However, since I had not done any geoconversion for a while, I had forgotten the terms. Yes, we need to be able to create a level prior to 9. Or the program needs to have the ability to push out the distance that level 9 is still visible, before kicking in the lower numbers.

  • Request received. Let us take a look at this entire situation and we will provide an educated response as soon as we have one

    IPACS Development Team Member

    I'm just a cook, I don't own the restaurant.
    On behalf of Torsten, Marc, and the rest of the IPACS team, we would all like to thank you for your continued support.


    Regards,


    Jeff

  • Is there any way to make Aerofly use level 9 custom scenery as the lowest level, or do we need to figure out some way of replacing level 7 scenery?

    Well, I already tried a couple of times telling you Aeroscenery shouldn't set Level 9 as the lowest limit since it won't load in the far distance. Compiling Level 7 helps in some cases.

    It compiles exactly as any other level...


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Well, I already tried a couple of times telling you Aeroscenery shouldn't set Level 9 as the lowest limit since it won't load in the far distance. Compiling Level 7 helps in some cases.

    I don't mind changing AeroScenery but I'm still not convinced on the issue.


    A level 7 sized square is huge; about the size of the Netherlands or Switzerland. In KJKsimmer 's screenshot, it looks like only one level 9 square is being shown even though adjacent ones are available. Showing the 8 adjacent level 9 tiles would take you to the horizon and solve the problem.


    The sim is over-optimising things, which probably makes sense on mobile, but it doesn't need to on PC, given that an average level 9 tile is under 3mb.


    Having to create single texture tiles that are the size of a small country is nuts.

  • The sim is over-optimising things, which probably makes sense on mobile, but it doesn't need to on PC, given that an average level 9 tile is under 3mb.


    Having to create single texture tiles that are the size of a small country is nuts.

    Why ? if there's no suited default coverage and want to fly in orbit over custom sceneries, then you need to compile wide areas if you don't want the scenery border to show up in the distance (I reckon the upper screen shows a place where default scenery is really poor).

    Or, if the default scenery is ok, then the custom scenery colours may be adjusted to blend and then there's no need for lower Levels than 9. That's typically the case over Europe or USA for instance.

    On other places, it's different.


    In the Antilles, even for cruising VFR at 5'000ft I had to compile down to Level 7 to prevent isles from popping up in visual range, because Level 9 only loads and shows up in a "far-but-visible" distance ahead.


    BTW if you don't have the sources for the complete Level 7 grid then let Geoconvert generate masks for the missing bits.


    In other sims this is solved with mipmaps and LOD levels...


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

    Edited 5 times, last by Trespassers ().

  • Why ? if there's no suited default coverage and want to fly in orbit over custom sceneries, then you need to compile wide areas if you don't want the scenery border to show up in the distance (I reckon the upper screen shows a place where default scenery is really poor).

    There is suitable coverage for the scene in the screenshot, namely the other level 9 tiles around it.


    The logic in Aerofly that is deciding to show, when above a certain altitude, a level 9 tile directly below you, and level 7 tiles everywhere else is a questionable choice. It's inevitably going to lead issues like this.


    Remember that a level 7 tile is putting the satellite imagery of an entire small country in a file <2mb. It's pixel mush. Showing it is a bad idea when there are higher res options available.

  • There is suitable coverage for the scene in the screenshot, namely the other level 9 tiles around it.


    The logic in Aerofly that is deciding to show, when above a certain altitude, a level 9 tile directly below you, and level 7 tiles everywhere else is a questionable choice. It's inevitably going to lead issues like this.


    Remember that a level 7 tile is putting the satellite imagery of an entire small country in a file <2mb. It's pixel mush. Showing it is a bad idea when there are higher res options available.

    The amount of pixels to display is a question of distance and resolution : if you try displaying too high resolution in the distance you get glitter.

    BTW between Levels 7 and 9 have you tried Level 8? As the case might be this could be a good compromize...


    Anyway that's what you have in AFS2 : Level 7 is visible in the far distance (at least without available Level 8).

    When generating hardwinter textures in Levels 9-13 over the Alps I systematically had summer in the distance => if we ever want to create a winter scenery we have to geoconvert down to low levels to prevent this...


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • If you look at Kenneth's screens you don't need for better resolution in the distance. What you simply see is a color mismatch when the Level 9 and upper tiles (custom scenery) don't blend with Levels 7 and lower (default scenery).


    There are 2 cases :

    - either the default scenery colors are good and then the custom scenery should be tuned to blend smoothly (easiest case)

    - or the default scenery colors are not so good and the lover Level tiles should be replaced with custom textures (extreme case, since you may need to much extend your coverage).


    The choice of up to where in the distance Level 9 is displayed is sure an optimization topic, but the L9 border will most probably ever show up in the distance at such altitudes...


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • The amount of pixels to display is a question of distance and resolution : if you try displaying too high resolution in the distance you get glitter.

    The theoretical visible distance in an airliner at cruise altitude is about 240 miles. Obviously some level 8 and 7 scenery has to some into play if Aerofly really simulates that kind of draw distance.


    My point, specifically, is that only showing *one* level 9 tile underneath you is a bad choice. They could be showing a grid of 9 or 16 and it would probably please 99% of users. It would be a smarter default.


    A level 9 tile is a 2 - 3mb file for an area about the size of London. It's already low res, I don't buy the argument that it would be too high res to show at distance.


    What I expect is happening is that Aerofly has one universal "what tile to display where" algorithm that works 90% of the time, but isn't doing what's (arguably) more optimal at high altitudes.

  • (...)

    What I expect is happening is that Aerofly has one universal "what tile to display where" algorithm that works 90% of the time, but isn't doing what's (arguably) more optimal at high altitudes.

    This I cannot tell, but I don't think its showing *one* Level9 tile underneath, it looks much bigger in Kenneth's screen.


    Kenneth is just seeing the border of the Level 9 display zone in the upper screen because colors don't match with the underlaying default scenery, while in the lower screen L9 and levels below match quite accurately so you don't see the difference.


    I cannot tell you whether this distance is optimal. At least when colors match you don't see that border, so in that sense it isn't suboptimal.


    Regarding display distance, I made once a quick test scenery to get a feel of it, and Level 9 already starts at quite short distance ahead... (cf. my unofficial reference document)


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

    Edited 2 times, last by Trespassers ().

  • Antoine, a very good test, which open ones eys for level blending effects.

    Do the empty areas between yellow and red mean that we always also should convert a level 10?


    Nick, thank you for generating a masked level 8. That should help for visible patches in the distance!

    It really would wonder me, if IPACS will change this behaviour soon (if ever).

  • Antoine, a very good test, which open ones eys for level blending effects.

    Do the empty areas between yellow and red mean that we always also should convert a level 10?

    Nope, it was a quick workaround because Geoconvert simply skips source photos when they're fully painted (it apparently kind of rejects "oversampled" photos) => I left a band of original HR photo to fool Geoconvert.

    Level 11 is actually displayed up to the border with Level 9.

    For photosceneries, Level 10 actually doesn't bring much, the Level 9 quality is good enough at that distance (Level 10 would just load the graphical engine for little visual benefit).

    For elevation mesh levels, it's a different topic though.


    Anyway, for such a test scenery I think it would be best simply painting a checkerboard color/photo over the whole surface and repeat it over a wider range.


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

    Edited 2 times, last by Trespassers ().