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Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby frtps » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:43 am

Wow thanks for flying along the coast south of YSSY. Interesting. The cliffs south of Sydney are actually almost there in one spot. It looks like it is seeing the bare rock at the top and bottom (there is quite a bit of that if you look from above) and mixing those with the usual DEM to produce slopy rock to the water, as Terragear used to do. Niagara falls has better topography (ie obviously a cliff). If I were to guess I'd say that they have used waterfall information to infer a vertical surface but have not accessed cliff information (yet) to do the same.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby ludomotico » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:40 am

The detail on the scenery is really impressive.

Some things we can maybe enhance:

- Our tools (terragear) tend to smooth the land. It is not only "lack of detail" in data elevation (although it is part of the issue), but terragear consciously flatten small steps in the land to reduce scenery size or data errors. This is specially noticeable in the border between land and water, specially inner waters such as lakes and river sides. Maybe, terragear could be aware of inline water surfaces and low 1-2 meters the elevation there. Anyway, this is a difficult issue to handle automatically.
- The default tree density in FlightGear materials is WAY lower than current PCs can handle. This allows supporting low-end machines, but prevents high-end machines to show many more trees. Unfortunately, a high tree density involves manual changes in the material definition files and I believe this cannot be done dynamically with a user configuration switch. One possible (easy?) fix is decoupling Materials from the default FGDATA, allowing users to configure or install their own materials without changing the default FGDATA. This way, we can distribute materials with different levels of detail.
- Buildings. As much effort as the osm2city project has done, our generic models for buildings are still low detailed. We might increase the detail of the generic buildings in osm2city, specially roofs.
- I don't know whether the tree effect can be applied on objects, not only materials. This way, osm2city can create pathways with trees. This is supported by the building map in materials, but the generic urban materials don't look very nice if real openstreetmap buildings are set on top. Another possible solution is that terragear creates shoulders along roads and rivers, with the necessary material to put trees/bushes on them. Or maybe this can be done with shaders, I don't know.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby ludomotico » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:54 am

There is an effect to blend seamlessly dirty runways with the environment: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Procedural_T ... way_effect Maybe (just an untested idea), we can use something similar to blend riversides/coastline with the environment and put some bushes/sand/rocks over there.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby Thorsten » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:33 am

The default tree density in FlightGear materials is WAY lower than current PCs can handle.


It's a rendering setting - you can adjust the option in the dialog till it looks about right. Dense forests are actually no problem for a decent GPU, dense shrub vegetation however is...

I don't know whether the tree effect can be applied on objects


The tree effect is applied to instanced quads, not materials and not objects. So you need to add to the array of instanced quads (which probably is... tricky).
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby ludomotico » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:43 am

As far as I understand (and I'm probably wrong), tree density is adjustable up to the limit defined in the material, and current materials define a very low max tree density.

BTW, I have just tested "river shoulders" and the effect doesn't work as it does with dirty runways: patches are applied all over the water surface, not only shoulders. I guess it is related to the UV-mapping issue that the wiki warns.

BTW2: I have also tested the tree-density options, and "we are both right" :D The user can configure the tree density in relation to the max tree density defined in the material. "Ultra high" density is really ultra high for the default materials in "global-summer", but some regions lower the tree density for "ultra high" settings. I think this is as intended, and right.

Ultra high in rendering options, tree density to 14000 in materials (this is the configured value in some regions):

Image

Very high in rendering options, tree density to 400 in materials. Notice how "ultra high mode" showed more trees on the "shrub terrain" on the up-right, but less trees on the forest.

Image
Last edited by ludomotico on Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby CaptB » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:51 am

The reviews are up on steam, interesting read.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby wlbragg » Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:12 pm

All in all we're still doing okay with FligthGear.

After spending the day with it my impression was the same as yours. Yes there are some impressive achievements. I flew over Manhattan and it is rich and dense with buildings, roads and scenery. But my mid-range hardware started crawling on medium settings. So much so I decided not to post it. The longer I am in it the less of an impression I have. In a few short test flights I found a few bugs. There is a really weird reflection issue behind the compass on top of the panel that is visible in the water or on the windshield when flying over water and your view alignment changes in turbulence. It's a really bright unnatural glow, like a sun reflection, misplaced only behind the compass. You could see in the video the raised or elevated mound of water near the shoreline as I was turning to go over the Niagara Falls. I already reported the collision detection when trying to fly under the bridge near the falls. The truck that ran the car off the road, although that could have actually been a really bad driver. :) Missing road data we pretty much already solved with OSM.
I am disappointed that there are no tree shadows (don't know if it is a settings issue, but I doubt it.
Stock (unedited) areas show the level of detail I would expect from a paid group of artists and developers. It aligns with what I know to be true, and that is, our art is at the bottom of what it could be and it is still pretty damn good. With that I really mean it's it is about the least we can do. We all know we need more of it. In our world someone creates a proof of concept feature, pushes past that level a bit and then we usually walk away from it and say "great, it works, I'll let someone else clean it up and add the finishing touches", what next. I feel like most all the pieces are there, we are mostly lacking manpower and artist.
I bought the Deluxe or top end package and yet when I went to the store there was still a plane and several upgraded airports to buy. That turned me off immediately. Unless it's open enough I could potentially get in on the money. There are many missing features we have it doesn't have. I listed them in another post I did somewhere. The list was really pretty large. FG is feature rich for sure.
EDIT:
Oh, one more thing, i tried to spread my screen across three monitors and my GPU couldn't handle it on the lowest setting. It over heated almost immediately. It looked great for a second and a half.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby montagdude » Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:22 pm

erik wrote in Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:02 am:My first impression: The water shader is great, the water reflection shader is unrealistic and the trees make the scenery.
The scenery textures are still mediocre so covering them with as many trees as possible hide that a bit.

All in all we're still doing okay with FligthGear.

Erik

Scenery textures seem to look better in other videos I've seen. Apparently you need to be able to run on high settings to get that. I agree with you, though. FlightGear looks better than most on low-end/mediocre hardware, especially in areas with detailed scenery and osm2city, and it's always improving. I'm really excited about WS3.0.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby stuart » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:43 pm

Looks like they have some similar issues to us with scenery : https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2020/0 ... -to-visit/
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby Thorsten » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:46 pm

The user can configure the tree density in relation to the max tree density defined in the material.


Yes, it's a multiplicator - and basically it's a property, so you can set it to any value you like by adding to the commandline rather than using the rendering dialog. However, even a GeForce 1080 is sorely taxed in Alaska with rendering dense forests all the way to the horizon... so since I've often written the materials, I've done them in such a way that they're acceptable for a helicopter without killing you flat-out from airliner altitude... the proportion between materials is usually okay.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby Hooray » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:58 pm

ludomotico wrote:
  • Buildings. As much effort as the osm2city project has done, our generic models for buildings are still low detailed. We might increase the detail of the generic buildings in osm2city, specially roofs.
  • I don't know whether the tree effect can be applied on objects, not only materials. This way, osm2city can create pathways with trees. This is supported by the building map in materials, but the generic urban materials don't look very nice if real openstreetmap buildings are set on top. Another possible solution is that terragear creates shoulders along roads and rivers, with the necessary material to put trees/bushes on them. Or maybe this can be done with shaders, I don't know.


FWIW, there's the long-standing idea to create a dedicated "autogen" pipeline using effects/shaders and some dedicated Nasal/fgcommand hooks, such a setup would require very little tooling/interfacing, i.e. mainly effects/shaders + canvas + some Nasal/XML (property rules) - such a scheme could be bootstrapped by using something like PixelCity.

The very instant you can render into a Canvas, apply effects/shaders to the canvas, and then treat the canvas as a material to drape it over the scenery, "the sky is the limit" - i.e. it would be all possible in fgdata space using mainly XML and scripting.

Torsten wrote in Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:19 pm:Thanks for pointing this one out, it definitely looks interesting.
I just fetched the source and built and ran it. It really looks cool from the distance and close up.
Implementing it into FlightGear requires porting the OpenGL calls to be OpenSceneGraph compatible, probably by implementing osgDrawable.
The current implementation only shows night-time views, so this has to be tweaked, too.
Another issue to take care of is interaction with existing scenery models, so the generated buildings do not interfere with our scenery models. The same is true for our landcover, roads and elevation data.
Definitely worth some thinking. Probably as a google summer of code http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php/GSoC project?



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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby stuart » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:35 pm

Re: osm2city textures. For the simple buildings, the textures are read from the materials definition. Currently there are only two texture files, both of which were created by me and reflect my lack of texturing skills. There's documentation in README.materials on the texture format. For anyone with experience of a "paintkit" for an aircraft it should be easy to create an updated texture.

For the more complex buildings I think Rick is looking to create a much more extensive texture "atlas". Again, I'm sure he would appreciate assistance.

So there is plenty of opportunity to improve what we already have artistically before we consider further code changes.

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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby WoodSTokk » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:39 pm

@wlbragg
AFAIK the autogen algorithms has problems with hollow structures. We had allready some fun in the office with google earth last year.
Can you show the area around N48.216657 E16.395787? There is the Ferris wheel in Vienna and some roller coaster also.
Its interesting if the algorithm from MS do it better then Google or not.
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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby bugman » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:45 pm

wlbragg wrote in Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:17 pm:First impressions...


My first impression from this video, especially noticeable at 6:55 in, are the shadows. Photo scenery looks awesome. However I naturally use shadows to get a quick mental orientation. I enjoy flying low and I can get my orientation much quicker using shadows than by looking at the compass.

I suspect that others who do this are also very much put off by the major downfall of photo scenery - the incorrect and double shadows. At 6:55 it is clear that the darkest of the double shadows are from the sun orientation when the satellite took the photo. The secondary shadow from the simulation sun position is not as dark. The double shadows make me lose my orientation! This is not just a problem with this new SIM, but also all of the FlightGear photo scenery efforts.

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Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator returns to the skies

Postby wlbragg » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:39 pm

That's really funny you noticed that, you know why those sat shadows are round? It's because those are oil tanks and not buildings. I added them into the models database or maybe just my run of Kansas detailed scenery. At any rate they are a huge landmark in this area and for their AI to miss that is disappointing.
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