I've encountered this issue quite a bit with those backcountry airstrips I've been playing with. Like Rodeo said, one way to deal with it is to define larger areas as airport__runway, beyond just the runways themselves. I've actually covered very large areas as airport__runway and it doesn't seem to have any negative effect on how the airports are built in the sim, it just flattens the terrain more.
There is one big problem with this trick though -- unlike airport__outside, when you define things are airport__runway it doesn't let the original imagery show through, so you have to apply an image to texture it. I've dealt with this by actually re-mapping the orthophoto scenery as textures in AC3D (honestly, a huge pain and takes a lot of time, far from ideal). AeroFly also seems to render texture colors quite a bit differently than terrain imagery, so I figured out the right combination of adjustments in photoshop to make the mapped textures look identical to the original orthophoto scenery. I had a thread a while back where I explained this and asked IPACS if they'd consider adding an option to allow airport__runway areas to be transparent when converted, or allow us to define a smoothing strength of the airport__outside regions.
The best way I've found to deal with it so far is definitely by refining the terrain heightmaps. It's actually a lot easier and faster than re-texturing the areas with the orthophotos, and the end result is a lot better too. Instead of forcing spiky terrain to flatten, you end up with a ground surface that looks more realistic and is already smooth enough that the normal runway flattening works perfectly.
Hi Ken, it's your choice really. In some places the Virtual Earth photos look better, in other places Google's do. They also tend to have a bit different color rendering.
I'm not really sure if we're supposed to be giving this info out due to copyright reasons, so if a mod wants to edit this out feel free, but: there are two other google server numbers you can try that are currently active, 748 and 781. For the most part they're the same but 781 has newer imagery in some areas.
I don't have the Odyssey, I have the Rift, so I can't give you specific feedback for your HMD. However I might be able to at least tell you what you should expect if things are working correctly.
Firstly, current gen VR devices (even the Odyssey and Vive Pro) are not going to look as sharp as any modern monitor. This is because they are using about the same number of pixels as a typical monitor to represent a MUCH larger angular field of view. (This isn't totally accurate but close enough for getting a basic idea.)
Because of this, you likely will be able to see individual pixels if you go looking for them, as well as the very tiny space between the pixels (this is referred to as 'screen door effect'.)
Despite this, you still shouldn't be having that difficult of a time making out the gauges in the planes. In a plane like the Pitts biplane where the gauges are very close to your face, they should actually look quite sharp, because they are taking up a relatively sizable chunk of your field of view and therefore are being rendered with many more pixels than if the gauges were further away from you.
As far as things that could affect the visuals in your HMD, I can think of a few very important ones:
(1) I don't know how it works with the Odyssey, but on the Rift and Vive there is an adjustable spacing between the lenses, called IPD adjustment (that stands for inter-pupillary distance). This is an adjustment that matches the horizontal distance between the lenses to match the spacing between your own eyes. If this isn't set correctly, it will not only make things blurrier for you, but also might contribute toward discomfort or headaches when using your HMD.
(2) Lens 'sweet spot.' It sounds like you're already aware of this, but yes, it's real. It's critical that you have the HMD placed at the right height in front of your eyes to get the central field of vision sharp. This is similar to the importance of IPD adjustment, except instead of adjusting the lenses sideways for sharpness, this is a matter of moving the lenses up and down relative to your eyes until you find the range of peak sharpness.
Again, I'm not sure about the Odyssey, but since it's higher resolution than my Rift, I'd expect it to look better than the Rift. If (1) and (2) are set correctly, then what you see in the center of your field of vision should be 'sharp', but somewhat pixelated. In other words, it won't look crisp due to being able to see individual pixels, BUT those pixels themselves should still look sharp, not blurred.
The last thing that makes a very substantial difference is supersampling. Supersampling is a method of anti-aliasing that can really clean up the visuals in VR but requires a lot of extra processing power to do so. There are two places where this is set--SteamVR has its own settings for this, and within AeroFly they also have a slider for supersampling (it's called 'Render Scale Factor' in the Aerofly menus). If your graphics card can handle it (and a 1080ti should definitely be able to), setting in-game supersampling to something between 1.5 and 2 should give you a clearer and crisper view of gauges and smaller text. Ideally you should only have this set either from SteamVR or within Aerofly, not both places.
If everything is working correctly and the above items are setup correctly (and assuming your own vision is good too), the gauges in all the planes should be readable from normal distances (though probably not as clearly as you'd like), and easily readable if you move your head a little bit closer to them. From your posts, I can't really tell if your problems are just due to your expectations being too high for current-gen VR systems, or if there is legitimately something wrong with your setup.
TL;DR Gauges in VR will definitely not look as good as even a 1080p desktop monitor--you will see some visible pixellation. However they should still be readable and if you move your head closer to them they should be *easily* readable.
But sure I have Pedals.
Good moment to introduce me a bit.
I had a break for two years from flight simulation but my first simulator was the C64 Flight Simulator 2. I really got started with the FS 2000, then FS 2002, FS9, FSX, XP 10, P3D. I designed the Dornier Greenland Whale, the 10t whale, the Dornier Libelle and an Extra 300L for the simulator, wrote article for the flight simulator magazines flightXpress and FS Magazine, organized approximately for 10 years the virtual aerobatic world championships, was once a speaker at an Aerosoft conference, presented at such an event a VR Solution at the time, the Oculus Rift was still in development.
In real live I am working in the IT as a software architect for business solutions and my hobby is judging at real aerobatic competitions. 2015 I was judge at the world aerobatic championship in France.
Wow! That's quite a resume! With a history like that you probably have several sets of pedals I guess I'm glad to see people like you, with so much existing flight sim experience and obviously a passion for aviation, are part of the community here. Gives me even more hope for the future of Aerofly
Did you bind a Rift button if show how and how and where is the setting for 'take screenshot w/o overlays'
I have a joystick + throttle and bound it to one of the buttons on that. It's under the control options in the sim but I can't remember exactly which category it's in. I do recall it's toward the bottom.
As Jeff said, you won't be able to do it with the Touch controllers, but you can map it to any other controller button (stick, throttle, xbox controller, etc)
AMAZING work Phil! I hope IPACS buys you lunch because this is exactly the sort of tool that will help Aerofly grow, and turn every user into a custom-content creator.
I can tell you've poured your heart into this and it really shows. I haven't tried it yet, but from watching the video it looks like you've created a very well thought-out UI that is clean, easy to use, intuitive, and efficient too. Getting all of this up and running with so much functionality and such a polished UI must have been an immense amount of work!
Thank you very much for all the time you invested into this, and for making and sharing such an awesome thing for us all to use. Great job / major kudos / firm handshake and a pat on the back!
Don't they just look like regular screenshots?
Yep, they do. If you look at any of the screenshots I've posted here, they were all taken in VR with a button bound to 'take screenshot w/o overlays'. The only issue you may run into taking screenshots in VR is the 'zoom' setting. It has no effect in the VR view, but does still affect the 2D screenshots, so it needs to be set to where you want it first.
I agree, I especially love flying in the Pitts in VR. It's a handful for sure, especially keeping it straight on takeoff and landing and preventing ground-loops, but the real plane is challenging in this way too. Do you have a set of rudder pedals? If not you should get some, they really enhance that sense of reality and immersion in VR
I really enjoy seeing the results everyone is posting here!
lenidcamper 'Moto-cross course' LOL That valley and the streets in it look much better now!
The Norway shots look great too! It seems that anywhere with mountains and flat valley floors benefits a lot by refining the mesh. And it has a twofold effect by improving the appearance of the imagery too!
This MESH thing is very interesting, however the gov servers are so dammed slow and right now not even accessible from here. I just wanted to try with one tile (region of Mammoth airport CA) which was about 250MB and I started the download. Indicated download time changed steadily between 11 hours and one day (!).
That's strange... You're downloading from the USGS NED data I used in the tutorial? Are you located in the U.S.? For me it takes <1hr to download 4 of the 0.3 arc-second tiles, usually. It's not blazing fast but it's definitely not 11 hours either. Maybe give it a try at a different time, they might have limited bandwidth and others may be using it too at peak hours.
I did a quick calculation to get an idea of the link: Level <-> meters / pixel
! Warning value can vary according to the distance from the equator but it already gives an idea ....
at around 15 ° latitude a Level 11 cell is about 18.4 km wide (see on a grid generated by AFS2 Grid generator) knowing that in the .png files generated to make .ttc and .tth files are a size of 2048x2048 pixels, I deduce (rounded values):
Level 7 -> 147.26 m / pixel
Level 8 -> 73.63 m / pixel
Level 9 -> 36.8 m / pixel
Level 10 -> 18.4 m / pixel
Level 11 -> 9.2m / pixel
Level 12 -> 4.6 m / pixel
Level 13 -> 2.3 m / pixel
Level 14 -> 1.15 m / pixel
Level 15 -> 0.6 m / pixel
correct me if im wrong...
I attempted calculating this once as well and from what I recall my results were pretty similar (except I did it at 45 deg latitude). The one thing I wasn't sure of was if the effective resolution really does change with latitude, or if there was something in how Aerofly handles it that somehow makes it more uniform for all latitudes. I suppose this makes sense though, because orthoimagery is going to be artificially stretched at higher latitudes anyway, which reduces its effective resolution, so maybe the two effects cancel each other out.
Now you've piqued my curiosity again... I might have to calculate this as a function of latitude and see how much it really varies. It is definitely useful knowledge to have, because there's no use in spending a ton of time downloading orthoimages at 1m/pixel resolution if you're only planning to convert them at level 13, for example.
An enormous thanks and a big hug to you qwerty42 and of course IPACS team for this master piece of simulator Your tutorial is excellent and the result is amazing !
My first tests on a French island of the Caribbean: Martinique ... From data of elevations of 1 meter! it's just huge !! a real pleasure for the eyes in VR
Awww, I love hugs! Thanks my friend. That looks fantastic Well done!
It is really amazing how much of a difference it makes to the visuals. Something else that I didn't expect is that it actually makes the orthophotos look better too, because when the terrain mesh is inaccurate, it also distorts the mapping of the images over their surfaces. It's definitely a worthwhile enhancement, I think.
Have you mapped a control to the steering tiller? Rudder alone won't get you much when taxiing a 747.
Finally, it took me in a little more time than expected because I had to review my code which was not very well thought for implement support of another type of file.
So now it should be possible (without bug?) with las t revision. still going in the "Folder Grid" tab. have fun...
Thank you for this update to your tool vogel69! Much appreciated.
Thank you again Qwerty42 for your great work and tutorial !
I followed them more closely and noticed that I did not put my .tth files in the right place so it explain what it did not work ...
After a few new quick tests on a small area it seems to work perfectly. Superb ! Thank you !
A small question in passing before embarking on a larger scale, may be have you already answered it before and I was still not giving enough attention to it
my ask: to avoid height aberrations between mesh, in which height unit should the geotiff be generated? meter or feet. ?
Yay! Congrats and I'm glad to hear you were successful I'm fairly certain the internal geotiff tagging is in meters, but I haven't tried creating one manually to be sure.
Also, at least between the default Aerofly mesh and the outer edges of your custom mesh, you possibly still will have those short invisible 'walls' I mentioned in an earlier post. I think this is a combination of small mismatch in terrain height & resolution combined with the stitching algorithm Aerofly uses to merge them, which creates artifacts right where they meet.
Yes, it appears so. Geoconvert automatically makes masked elevation tiles if needed. However I would avoid using them for the same reasons I avoid using them for aerial images -- they create gaps (either in imagery or elevation data) if you add adjacent regions, unless you delete the masked files and re-convert them to a full tile.
GeoTIFF has all geographic Information inside, so I really wonder why we have to deal with .tfw files.
It's a good point, and honestly I'm not sure if you do... I can't remember if I tested it without them first actually I will look into it. I'm going to feel really dumb if they aren't necessary, but I suspect you might be right!
Edit: Just tested it, you do indeed need the .tfw files. However, the creation of those is definitely something that could be automated/scripted instead of doing it manually.
Hi Ed, sorry, I wasn't very clear on that. By 'monitor zoom level', I meant only the 2D image you see on the monitor. In vr the only zoom is by moving your head closer to things
Here's a demo video I made of some of my converted scenery, airports/airstrips, plus the new topo meshes. I somehow messed up and only recorded in 720p and also forgot to enable audio recording -- sorry about that But, still gives a good demo of what you can get with high res orthophotos + AC3D + USGS elevation, and also shows how effective the VR hands can be! There's 4 different backcountry airstrips in the video for those who like that sort of thing too.
Credit to Jet-Pack and his awesome Cessna 172 mod which I fly in most of the video with the windows open
Just wanted to add... I love this sim and love flying in it! Thanks and great work IPACS team