I'm going to tell you something that will change your life: you need a taller desk. Just wait til you find out how much better everything you do sitting works!
As counter-intuitive as it may read, a very high resolution mesh for mountainous ground like the Alps may lead to poor results.
This was an awesome post! Great contribution and thanks for the time you spent making those example gifs!
Another thought: I don't know if this is true of the most recent geoconvert version, but in the past, if you're converting large areas, having a computer with an SSD vs. a HDD can make a huge difference too. When I was converting a large area in the past, geoconvert used up all my system RAM and started writing to disk for everything else it needed. My PC was hung for 12 hours, making almost no progress. I re-started the process on a laptop with a slower processor, same amount of RAM, but with a very fast SSD, and the whole thing was done in a few hours.
"Also, here are the detailed values of that resolution limit, for each level and varying with latitude, in meters per pixel: resolution vs level vs latitude link"
Thank you @querty42 . I was always a bit curious about people giving the meter per pixel value without the latitude in mind. The consequence is also, in a 2024x2024 tile the lat resolution is different to the lon resolution.
Yep, that's correct! In those plots and the table at that link, the numbers I've shown are the most detailed resolutions for the entire tile, meaning the lowest value in units of meters/pixel for each. This takes into account the different lat and lon resolutions in a given tile. I presented it that way because it lets you know what imagery resolution you need in order to fully take advantage of a certain AeroFly level.
So making meshs for levels higher than level 11 is kind of redundant.
Please anyone correct me if Im wrong in this assumption
It's only useful to convert beyond level 11 if your starting mesh data is higher in resolution than an AeroFly level 11 tile.
In AeroFly & geoconvert, the 'levels' are really resolution levels. As you get closer to the ground, you need a higher resolution (level) to keep things looking good. As you get closer to the terrain, you'll see level 9 data, then level 10 data, then level 11 data and so on. If you're right on the ground or very close to it, you'll see level 15 data, assuming you actually have level 15 tiles converted.
Each 'level' in AeroFly has a certain resolution associated with it (this resolution actually varies a bit with latitude because of how the tiles are mapped to the spherical Earth). Your downloaded geotiff source data also has a certain resolution. If your source data isn't at least as high in resolution as the AeroFly level you're converting to, then it is indeed a waste of time because it won't gain you anything by converting it. It's like zooming in further on a photo when you're already seeing the individual pixels in it. It will still convert just fine, it's just that each successive level beyond the resolution maximum of your source geotiff won't have any more detail than the one before it. Hope that makes sense.
Also, here are the detailed values of that resolution limit, for each level and varying with latitude, in meters per pixel: resolution vs level vs latitude link
Also, if you bought it on Steam, most/all of the extra scenery regions are on sale right now. Some good deals to be had there.
Ultimately, the only person who can decide this for you is you. The rest is just other people's opinions. If you already bought it, reinstall it and try it. In the amount of time you'll wait for other people's responses and reading through their subjective commentary, you could just as well try it out for yourself.
There is 1 new IPACS helicopter. The rest is largely unchanged from 1 year ago, other than some new scenery available from 3rd parties as well as some 3rd party free and payware aircraft too. In performance it will absolutely crush X-Plane. In visuals, it will be better in some ways and worse in others. Same goes for flight models, flight physics, and aircraft selection.
All that said, if you ever found X-Plane in VR to be 'smoother,' I can't think of any possible explanation for that except some kind of issue with your installation or hardware. I own both, have spent hundreds of hours in both, and X-Plane (while great in many ways) cannot touch the smoothness and performance of FS2, period.
Texture Pack Southwest USA is installed
I showing you the difference between my aeroscenery google and the default with the highres pack installed
For me a quite significant difference
Is that gap between your scenery and the default being caused by a mask that was created when you converted your scenery? If so, you might not be seeing the default scenery at its max resolution, making it look worse than it really is.
Have you ever sat in a real plane of that size? You're basically a sardine in a can and it's indeed very cramped by most people's standards. In a Cessna 150 or 172 you're nearly shoulder to shoulder with the other person in the cockpit and touching the door on the other side.
That said, having the IPD of your vr device adjusted correctly can affect the appearance of scale. To me AFS2 feels very accurate in terms of scale.
Jet-Pack (IPACS) I just wanted to say thanks for your consistently helpful and receptive tone on this forum. Even when comments are critiques or criticisms, such as in this thread, and even when they are sometimes incorrect, I don't think I've ever seen you take on a negative or defensive position in responding to them. It's not easy to do that, so just wanted to highlight it and let you know it doesn't go unnoticed.
UPDATE: I've started using raster > extraction > clipper in QGIS to crop rectangles from my Geotiff, thereby avoiding the holes in the data. Each cropped Geotiff needs its own separate TFW file so it's quite time-consuming - but it does work. It also enables me to geoconvert all levels 12-14. Previously I was only geoconverting level 14, which was giving poor results in some areas - even though I had a base layer of level 11 derived from 50 metre data.
That sounds like progress! Nice job! Regarding the mask files for terrain, I just had a closer look at my stuff here and didn't realize before that the terrain height masks don't have a corresponding non-mask file. I was confused by your question about that before because I thought they came in pairs like the orthophoto tiles. So... I have no idea how or if the elevation masks actually do work Based on the limited testing I did before when I converted a whole bunch of elevation, I remember concluding somehow that it did look like they were allowing partial terrain tiles to be built, but I could have been wrong about that. One of these days when I have some spare time I'll dig into it some more, unless you beat me to it
Suppose you geoconverted 2 adjacent areas and the boundary bisected level 15 tiles .....
If your source imagery has data all the way up to the boundary, then it should work just fine. Geoconvert doesn't care if the source images are split across multiple source files, just so long as all of it is there.
But, as an example--if you have two source images that don't quite meet (maybe for some reason there is a 100m gap between the photo data), then a mask file will be created, if masks are enabled. If they aren't enabled, it will skip generating that tile since it doesn't have complete imagery to produce it.
Likewise, if your source imagery ends halfway across a tile, and masks are enabled, geoconvert will create a mask file to let the lower levels show through where your source imagery ends, and you'll still end up with half a tile of orthophoto imagery which displays correctly in the sim.
The orthophoto masks are actually very simple: they are just an extra hidden image layer that tells a converted orthophoto tile where it needs to be transparent. If you're familiar with using alpha channels for transparency in computer graphics, they work a lot like that.
They become confusing because there is so much else going on that it's hard to keep track of all of it (source imagery resolution aka zoom level, geoconvert levels, and the fact that it's not immediately obvious which level you're currently viewing when flying in the sim at various altitudes). And if you've built a bunch of scenery that generated masks, those masks will force any newly-generated scenery of the same level to still be transparent in the same places unless the masks are removed. That can become a very tedious process, so that's why some of us started suggesting that everyone avoids creating mask files altogether.
If you already have scenery that was converted with masks enabled and those masks were produced, it means you have some tiles that only had partial image coverage. If those masks then get deleted without removing their corresponding image tiles as well, that's when you'll start seeing the black areas, because there is no data there and the lower levels can't show through it without the mask.
Hmmm... AFAIK, the range from full black to full white in the geotiff directly maps to elevation. But it's not trivial to edit them, because they are 16 bit grayscale images rather than the 8 bit that most people are familiar with, and even using something like Photoshop they aren't easy to work with while preserving the 16 bit data.
My idea, which might be completely wrong, is that if geotiff supports transparency or something like it, and you already know where the 'holes' in the data are, the fix might be to remove those areas entirely from the geotiff. I haven't tested anything like this at all though. I just know that geoconvert is creating masks for terrain, and I think it's doing it correctly--it makes them where you don't have full data coverage within a complete tile.
Regarding masks, I think you've got it backwards, actually. For orthophotos, if you have a masked level 15 tile, then the next lowest-level that exists will show through. In other words, if you have a full level 14 tile and a partially masked level 15 above it, the level 14 tile will show through the masked areas. You only get black regions if you have incomplete tiles and *no* mask for the incomplete area.
The masks only create issues when you try to create adjoining scenery at the same level, because the mask blocks out the area it covers until it's removed, even if you replace the partial-coverage scenery tiles with full coverage.
So going back to the terrain tiles, assuming the masks are working correctly, then for areas that were masked in your incomplete level 15 tiles, you'd just have level 14 terrain data showing through in those places. The trick to solve, is how do we modify these geotiffs so instead of the missing areas showing up as 0 elevation, they show up as something that geoconvert recognizes it needs to mask...
Hey Ian, great work!!! I never tested this myself, but I wonder if you can use those empty voids to create masks for the terrain mesh. I know that Geoconvert generates terrain masks, and assuming they work like masks for orthophotos, you might be able to do this in a way that just shows the lower-level mesh in places where your higher-res stuff is missing.
The trick is, I don't know what geoconvert looks for to create masks with the terrain data. It's not full black, or full white -- does geotiff support transparency? Maybe if you leave those empty spots transparent instead of black, it'll mask them for you...?
This of course creates the issue of partial terrain tiles and masks, but that might be ok if your original dataset isn't going to ever fill in those voids.
Jet-Pack (IPACS) If you do change this, please do it in a way that leaves it as-is for VR, or gives us the option. The crisp HUD lines in VR are one of the differentiating factors that makes your F-18 look substantially better than the payware F-18 for X-Plane.
I'll try the integrity check thing - thanks for the tip.
I do have ORBX True Earth Netherlands - so I guess that could be causing the problem. Also I moved the Netherlands scenery tiles - I don't know whether that's of any significance. I never touched the Netherlands TTH files however.
What does deleting the "main.mcf" do? I have it at the back of my mind that it's a cure for some types of problem - but I can't remember which!
It stores certain preferences and configuration settings, and if it's gone I think AeroFly generates a new one when it starts. I can't remember if joystick mappings are stored in there, so if you try it you might want to back up your old one. Also you'll have to manually re-enter your auxiliary folder location back into it if you regenerate it. I doubt it will make a difference to what you're seeing, but it's so fast to check it's worth a try.
Weeeeird... I have no clue why it would behave that way. Have you tried having steam do an integrity check on your base AeroFly install? I wonder if something is corrupted with one of the default tiles...
Edit: Just had a thought... do you have any extra 3rd party DLC? Like ORBX stuff? I wonder if the load priorities on those are dealt with in a different way and could be conflicting?
i want to try and do a 5m dem of anchorage but i discovered it is not in .img format do you know how to do it ?
It needs to be a geotiff file, which is a specially encoded tiff, if you're following the youtube tutorial I made. Depending on the format, it might be possible to convert it, but I haven't attempted anything like that. Others may have, but in order to help you they'll need to know what format your files are.
Currently I am putting my elevation (TTH) tiles here .....
C:\Users\ian\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\scenery\elevation
Is there any reason why I shouldn't put them here .....
D:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator\scenery\elevation ?
Obviously I would put them in a separate folder so that I could move them if necessary. The reason I ask is that my C-drive is rather small in capacity. The D-drive would be a much better place for them.
Another question ..... I created a base layer of level 7-9 TTH tiles for a level 7 area north of 60 deg in Norway using 10 m data from Høydedata. Initially I put them in the C-drive location above and found that they didn't show at all in Aerofly. The terrain was completely flat - i.e. it was the default terrain at that latitude. It was only when I transferred them to the D-drive location that I saw the terrain as it should be. I noticed that the default terrain tiles on the D-drive are levels 7-10 only. I assume therefore that levels 7-10 have to be on the D-drive anyway to show up. Obviously it would make sense for me to put all levels (7-14) on the D-drive.
You can specify an additional path for custom scenery, aircraft, terrain etc. in your main.mcf file located in C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\. There is a placeholder for it in the .mcf file already. You just need to put your folder path there. For example, in mine I have this line:
I have subfolders in that extra user folder which match the structure of the default user folder (C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\). Almost all of my custom stuff is stored there, but the main AeroFly install is on my C drive.
I'm not sure what the issue with tiles 7-9 would be... I have some converted at that level up through level 14, but maybe it's not actually loading the 7-9 tiles. Given the coarse terrain resolution at that scale, it might not be noticeable whether or not it loads them, unless it's an area that doesn't already have any terrain mesh at all. If I get some time soon I'll see if I can reproduce your issue with mine.
Loving the VR with aerofly fs2.. but i noticed that now (maybe not in an older version), it defaults to split screen view when doing VR on the 2D display..
I'd like to be able to record flights using shadowplay.. so unless there is some other hack to do shadowplay without the split screen, the only way i guess to VR + record as of now would be a way to turn that off?
Is there a way, just curious..
Thanks in advance
I realize this post is really old now, but in addition to the config option mentioned above, if you're using a Rift you can also launch the file "C:\Program Files\Oculus\Support\oculus-diagnostics\OculusMirror.exe" to get a full screen, single-window VR view that doesn't seem to have a noticeable performance impact.
Are you sure it wasn't this issue I warned about on the first page of this thread? Creating terrain heightmaps
AFAIK any tiles with the same name in your custom folders replace the ones that are part of the default install at load-time, the same way the orthophoto tiles do. I don't think a duplicate mesh is possible for that reason.
It's also possible there was some bad value or spikes or something in your data you used to make the mesh. Not really sure, but I can say I have many areas converted from levels 9 and higher and I've only ever encountered issues at the outside boundaries where my custom mesh meets the default mesh.