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A New Simulator (June edition)


Staffan
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The FS interface should be the goal. X-plane is far too complicated for the novice.

I don't agree with this. I find the FSX user interface highly unstructured and something between a cheap game and a professional project. My idea is to keep the interface very straight, very simple. Very much default Windows. If you look at it from a distance and without thinking of a game the choices FILE | EDIT | VIEW | TOOLS seem to make a lot of sense for a simulation. File is where you load ans save stuff, Edit is where you configure your enviroment and aircraft, View is where you define how the setting that are set under Edit look.

Ah, the interface topic - while we're at it, I agree with you Mathijs, nice and simple. Can we please have something modern? A web 2.0 interface like twitter.com (or iPhone OX), where everything is big and simple. And please, please, use a text recognition interface, like Quicksilver for the Mac or Launchy for Windows. I want to be able to set up a flight only with keyboard by typing 'C172' tab '14:34' tab 'hamburg' tab 'today' and get drop down options when typing the aircraft and airport (you need to have a look at Launchy to understand this properly, but I recommend installing Launchy anyway, it's probably the biggest productivity tool I have on my PC).

The FSX interface is cumbersome and outdated - we need something different (though I'm not a fan of the X-Plane interface either).

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Thinking about how ACES designed FSX and how a lot of third party developers have problems understanding the SDK, it would be nicer to have an SDK that can be printed as opposed to a pure html version with no printable formatting. Certainly a simpler layout of an SDK might make developers more willing to read it, rather than go do their own thing.

Add to that a clear set of tools so that the right compatibilities are available for 32 bit and 64 bit - and please do watch the OS updating systems that microsoft have in place. They happen so often that a non-MS software might be compliant one day and not the next. Maybe it is even worth considering making a new sim operate in its own "virtual machine" completely free of the OS. Just the Intel assembler, nothing else. That way it could also run on Mac systems. It would make the sim more complex as a software, but if it is free of the OS overhead, you could then have another virtual computer running the OS in parallel for all thos "needed" apps such as a multiplayer, internet browse, weather and graphics programmes.

It would certainly be useful to have two completely separate environments on one PC. It may even become desirable for Sim owners to have a separate terminal and monitor (or even separate PC) so that the sim is uninterrupted while the user is doing other things - like navigation, using the cellphone, painting texture alterations for live testing.

...and while we're here, if this were to happen, then installing addons should be allowed outside of the OS, i.e. you would download and install a new item via windows and a web explorer, but it would not be added in the registry, but rather pushed into a separate sandbox where the sim resides.

I am thinking something that automatically puts the OS and all associated activities into hibernation while the sim environment is live.

OR AT LEAST ... a tool that really does kill all not-needed apps without any complicated learning requirements. Just a single command to "minimise Windows activity" and not have to worry if this or that strangely named activity is OK to kill or not.

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my wish list:

dynamic atmosphere - model wind that follows the terrain (up/down drafts; sea/land wind, etc)

realistic cloud lighting - sun illuminates clouds from below at sun set/rise

LOD vegetation a la SpeedTree

Other features on my wish list have been mentioned multiple times

On the technical side, I'd like the graphics to be at least like the videos I've seen for FarCry2. FarCry2 supports hang gliders apparently, it can page terrain on demand and it looks just stunning.

You will probably want to support Collada files which are quickly becoming the standard in 3D modelling and are supported by SketchUp.

Also, check out www.lenne3d.de. Biosphere3D has some great features, but is open source and has no flight modelling. I can easily introduce you to the guys behind it.

Christian

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I am at this moment almost 100% sure we should use the Open Flight format for all visible objects. It's a format we at Aerosoft are well acquainted with because all professional projects are delivered in this format. It also saves us a lot of issues with compiling as there are many compilers already available.

OpenFlight is not a bad choice. I'd suggest that you have a closer look at Collada (as mentioned above). Pretty much all 3D modellers I'm working with switched to Collada and it looks like it's going to become an industry standard. Since SketchUp is supporting Collada lot's of people are cranking out models at high speed and populate Google Earth that way. It's very much possible that Collada will be THE standard in 2 years time. Just coming from a 3D landscape conference and several developers were asked the question if their software supports Collada...

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Hi guys, I hope my post gets read by the number of daily posts here...

I'd like to see an impact of the weather on the environment. Stuff like wind's moving trees and windsocks. What about freezing lakes in a certain temperature? Or the wonderful effect of raindrops, splashing on the surface of a lake/river....

I also would like to be able to step out of the aircraft . Active Camera did the start of it. Wouldn't it be great to "start a flight" as a normal person in the Terminal, walk across the Apron or take a Apron-Taxi, walking inbetween aircraft and selecting one and actually opening the door to get into it? It would also be a great way to get out of the plane, do the outside checks and then walk back to the door/stairs and select "board" or so... I remember all those funny killer games ;-) where you get a little actions menu appearing whenever you pass some sort of active point.

My two cents to getting rid of ATC: Please no! Firstly: If you want to get rid of ATC, you'd have to get rid of AI traffic as well, otherwise there will be chaos. If there is no AI traffic, there will be no life in FS and that would be a terrible step back!

And secondly: I think Aerosoft knows the best that only a few percent of FS pilots are freaks like us who want to fly online. Some are too shy or don't want to do that online stuff, others can't effort a microphone or internet that is fast enough to get them connected. (there are enough countries in the world where broadband is luxury!) Everyone should be able to get the experience of ATC, because it is a central part of the reality - an we are simulating reality guys!

Ah, and what I just remembered: a platform like Simconnect is good, but not good enough. There should be a way to transfer any [cockpit]information you can think of through "the new simconnect". I want to fly ANY addon aircraft as shared cockpit. Shouldn't it be possible that simconnect just transfers all the data without the need to understand it, as long as the other pilot has the same addon which is able to interprete the data? I don't know much about programming.. I should probably shut up now.. But I hope you know what I mean.

And it got said often enough - spectacular plane crashs are great. :-D

Thanks for concerning guys!

cheers, Sabine

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well i have a suggestion. its [again] about high resolution ground textures and mesh grids.

as i read this topic it said it would take around 10TB of space for this to be possible. we can all agree thats not anywhere near possible.but i got this idea.. will it be possible to create some sort of "cloud computing" interface for this? maybe just one big server with all the high resolution textures that will be actively loaded into the simulator. while the simulator comes with only basic textures. most people have high speed internet connections so i think this is possible.

so to sum it up.

-the simulator itself will come with standard textures.

-the high resolution textures will be saved on a dedicated server for the simulator to download according to the place on the planet you are flying.

this is kinda like what TileProxy does to FSX but only this could be built in and optimized for the simulator for better results.

another bonus is this could motivate people to actually buy the simulator instead of downloading a pirated copy. i would really like a comment on my thoughts.

edit:

well and now stuff i would like.

1st would be the implementation of DX11. it is backward compatible so why not? by the time this thing gets released it would be something out of the ordinary

2nd i think would be great is some sort of simple Benchmark. you know..a simple render loop. this would be great for both costumers and the simulator itself. i am tired of guessing and searching forums for someone that thought of upgrading his PC the same way i did to see what FPS i would get. if you add a simple Benchmark system this would be solved and maybe Nvidia and ATI would try optimizing their cards for it. there is nothing better for them then a big "5% better then competition" sticker on the box.

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Stuff like wind's moving trees [...] Or the wonderful effect of raindrops, splashing on the surface of a lake/river....

Would you actually see that from a nice, safe, legal altitude? Granted, while on the ground, you would - but when was the last time you saw a tree on a ramp? Basically, I think there is much more important stuff (like raindrops on the windshield, along with working wipers ;)) - but keep the system open enough for third parties to easily add such things. Windsocks should at least align with the wind, of course, and frozen lakes would be way cool (as long as you can land on them and they interact realistically with the airplane).

a platform like Simconnect is good, but not good enough.

I think a system similar to X-Plane's datarefs would be a good start: a single, coherent hierarchy of every variable the sim knows, wether built-in or third party, named in a consistent, logical and descriptive way; and another of every command that can be triggered, again built-in as well as third party. I always though sim variables and commands in FSX are a bit of a mess, with multiple, largely overlapping and sometimes archaic ways (offsets, anyone?) to access them, no logical, consistent naming sheme, weird data types (how about BCD?), etc. If such a single hierarchy exists, just dropping the whole thing onto the network automatically takes care of any third party variables at no additional cost.

Judith

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The two weakest areas of FSX for me are the AI and ATC. I would love to see accurate ATC and intelligent AI in any new sim. In other words, ATC that doesn't stack 20 aircraft 10 seconds apart on approaches, and AI aircraft that know how to flare and avoid other aircraft both on the ground and in the air. Getting rid of ATC isn't an option to me. I fly offline 99.999999adinfinitum% of the time - I simply don't enjoy flying online.

If the sim could pick up real-world weather seamlessly in real-time, then blend the new METAR in rather than making an abrupt change that would be nice. Same goes for accurate atmospheric modeling, true volumetric clouds, accurate humidity and temperature effects on aircraft and engines - the list goes on.

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Mathjis

Is there anywhere that I can read up on this slowing effect of high end cards with FSX? I'm in the process of looking to get a new PC and the GTX 285 is high on my list. I've tried googling on this topic but not had much luck. I even have a vague recollection you might have mentioned this before?

Thanks

David

I don't think that there really is a slowing effect. I'm using a GTX280 and FSX runs much better than it did with the 8800 that I previously had.

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well i have a suggestion. its [again] about high resolution ground textures and mesh grids.

as i read this topic it said it would take around 10TB of space for this to be possible. we can all agree thats not anywhere near possible.but i got this idea.. will it be possible to create some sort of "cloud computing" interface for this? maybe just one big server with all the high resolution textures that will be actively loaded into the simulator. while the simulator comes with only basic textures. most people have high speed internet connections so i think this is possible.

so to sum it up.

-the simulator itself will come with standard textures.

-the high resolution textures will be saved on a dedicated server for the simulator to download according to the place on the planet you are flying.

this is kinda like what TileProxy does to FSX but only this could be built in and optimized for the simulator for better results.

another bonus is this could motivate people to actually buy the simulator instead of downloading a pirated copy. i would really like a comment on my thoughts.

Are you speaking about storing high rez- satellite imagery on a server or simply high-rez textures for the landclass formation?

Because the first one is almost out of the question since that would mean aerosoft would have to be the lisenced

owner of a planet size satellite imagery and if you search how much this costs you will understand its out of the question .

On the other hand the issue with landlass textures is not so much how hi-rez they are (in FSX it is high enough and theres not a big problem making them a bit more hi-rez in a future sim ) but how varied they are depending on season and place in the world .

Thats a whole chapter and i am sure it will eventually lead to the add-on developers delivering what the users will need for parts of the world

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I don't think that there really is a slowing effect. I'm using a GTX280 and FSX runs much better than it did with the 8800 that I previously had.

Bob

Thanks, that's reassuring. I also found this BufferPools tweak for 1GB graphics cards at the OrbX forums which indicates something interesting is going on: http://orbxsystems.com/forums/index.php?topic=9908.0.

Regards

David

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Are you speaking about storing high rez- satellite imagery on a server or simply high-rez textures for the landclass formation?

Because the first one is almost out of the question since that would mean aerosoft would have to be the lisenced

owner of a planet size satellite imagery and if you search how much this costs you will understand its out of the question .

On the other hand the issue with landlass textures is not so much how hi-rez they are (in FSX it is high enough and theres not a big problem making them a bit more hi-rez in a future sim ) but how varied they are depending on season and place in the world .

Thats a whole chapter and i am sure it will eventually lead to the add-on developers delivering what the users will need for parts of the world

well i think hi-rez satellite imagery is possible. aerosoft doesnt need its own satellite. like i said look the TileProxy. maybe some sort of agreement can be made with Google for google earth images or any other company that can provide the same.

and for the lanclass i remember seeing somewhere that you WILL need around 10TB of storage to cover the planet with all 4 seasons and the night textures for a 1m resolution if you want it to be nice and varied.

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Hello! My wishes for the new simulator:

Failures: I'd like to have system failures (I don't mean visual damage), for example engine overheating. The age of the aircraft or engine could be parameters: the older they are, the more likely you will encounter problems.

Better lighting: FS9 / FSX don't do it very well; virtual cockpits are often too dark. Weather: icing / rain: As mentioned by others, icing should be modeled and made visual (perhaps by layering additional textures on wings and windshield ?)

Airport database: Microsoft lets us choose an departure airport by Name, ICAO or City. Wow. I want to choose by many different parameters, e.g. actual weather conditions, runway length, altitude and so on.

Flexible cameras: Yeah, much more and flexible camera possibilities: X-Plane has a nice "shake" effect in spot plane view; what about a camera continuously circling around the aircraft...

Flexible status bar: For flying in outside view, the status bar(s) should be editable: e.g. altitude, speed, throttle, trim etc. Font size should be selectable.

Traffic patterns: These should be editable and saved into the airport file. Just like creating taxiways in AFCAD, edit traffic patterns as a polygon.

SID / STAR support: ATC could use these for user AND AI aircraft. Ah, and of course aircraft flying IFR should use real airways. Simply save the route for every AI aircraft in the fight plan. I think FS9 & FSX only uses "direct to" for AI – that's no good anymore. Editors: When delivering a global scenery with a new product, it is very likely that there WILL be errors and bugs in the landclass and mesh files. So please give us simple editors to correct or improve these issues (trees near the runway, "holes" in the water, "flying" airports - we all know about it...).

3D Object library: Probably most users will have their favorite airport(s). Please add a library with 3D objects (towers, hangars, vegetation...) so everyone is able and motivated to call the simple editor and add objects to the scenery.

ATC recordable: In FS9 / FSX, ATC sounds a bit monotonous... just 10 different voices aren't enough. You could include an editor for creating new ones. Let us assign these voices to a county, a region or specific airport(s). Then we can share them to the community.

Add-ons installation: Almost all payware add-ons come with their own installer. But most freeware does not. What would be practical is a container format (.zip?) so an aircraft or scenery add-on comes in ONE file and is installable within the main program. All you have to do is to include a tool that builds this container file when work is done.

Now the interesting idea: why not upload all freeware aircraft, new liveries, scenery, landclass and mesh fixes to an aerosoft server? Then we simply click on the "update" button in the main menu, and we see what's new out there. Choose the files you wish to download and click "install". The sim does ist all.

Extended ground texture support: In FS2004, we have one set of ground textures for the whole planet. FSX allows different texture sets per continent (is that right ?). The next step is to allow different regions having their own ground textures (and vegetation).

Texture replacement management: There are so many texture packs for ground, sky and clouds. I can't see any reason why this will be different in the new sim. So we need a texture management menu in the main program.

Trains: FSX finally has moving cars, bringing a bit life to the scenery. So now I want trains :-)

3D streets: In FSX, roads are much improved over FS2004. But they are all flat. We should have the possibility to edit street data. Please add 2 bytes for additional height information to every polygon point so we will be able to have bridges and realistic highway crossings in the future.

Game aspects: Please take care that add-ons like "Cargo pilot" are possible in the new sim – I think a lot of people would like to see these sort of "game" concept. Converter tools for FS9 & FSX: The worldwide community is one of the biggest features of Microsoft Flight Simulators. So many people have created add-ons. They should be able to simply convert their work for the new sim. It would be frustrating to start all hard work again from zero. I also can imagine that a fast-growing add-on repository will greatly help selling the new sim :-)

Animated windsocks & sloped runways: Ehm... did anyone mention these two features already?

One last word: It is obvious that things like trains and 3D streets simply can't be in the default 1.0 release. I just wish that we have the possibility of addings these things in the future – so please remind that when defining data and file formats...

Best regards,

Quaxx / Daniel

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Hello again:

Time for some more inane ramblings.

I have thought about this issue for a couple of years and i was wondering (i've never bothered to ask) about the manner in which FS loads scenery.

When i plan a flight in my PMDG B744, i do it all externally to the sim, in Flight Operations Centre in my case, and then i load the FMC with the FP and off i go. Now, when i fly, FS has no clue where i am going to, so it essentially has to load the entire world, all my add on airports and so on.

Here's my thought.

If i was to tell FS what my FP was, it would know where i was going to be flying and could then load the detailed scenery along my planned track, say 150 Nm either side of it for vectoring and re-routing, and not have to 'think' too hard about where i am going next.

I'm not sure if that is even at all feasable but surely if it could be made to work (it would also rely on an up to date AIRAC that matched my FMC and Flight Planner) it would definately assist in the CPU GPU overhead if the machine is pretty certain that it would not need to load up the whole worlds scenery.

I probably haven't explained the thought at-all well, so perhaps if someone 'gets' me on this they could be a touch more lucid on what i am actually trying to suggest.

Cheers

Paul

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I'm sure the future of flight simming is in the right hands here. Well done for taking it on.

I feel to have a chance of satisfying our high expectations- a modular system might be worth looking at.

Most copies of fsx were probably sold to those who only had a passing interest. I'm sure you'll need a basic/ complete game that will satisfy that market. For those fanatics like me, advanced modules that are completly compatable could follow. Advanced Flight planning, ATC, weather modules etc. Critically all using same updateable nav data- one input screen to initalise them all. (I take one look at programmes like proflt emulator etc and think there is just too much fiddling around before you can get going).

I must have 8 different navigraph databases at present. If you had one at the heart of the fltsim, you could make it accessable to aircraft developers- everything using the same information.

Dont waste time on loads of default aircraft (just enough for your passing interest market) & rubbish AI- team up with the best already available (all still freeware). Get the basic details right- so you are not working against it when you produce the addons. (i'm fed up with floating ai etc!)

Ofcourse the three most important things- framerate, framerate and framrate.

It's all too much to ask, but if anyone can do it you can, good luck (we're all watching!!)

Keith

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Now, when i fly, FS has no clue where i am going to, so it essentially has to load the entire world, all my add on airports and so on.

FS doesn't load the whole world at once - at least not in high detail. That just wouldn't fit into your memory. It loads a couple of circles/rings with ever decreasing detail around your present position. You only get the highest detail for a couple of miles around the aircraft. That's also the main reason for The Blurries™ and for pop-up buildings/objects: if FS can't load scenery fast enough as you fly along, you quickly leave the small area of highest detail. On the other hand, FS has to keep the nav and basic airport data for the whole world in memory for various reasons, including AI, the GPS, etc. I don't think you can get around that requirement easily (though I don't mind being surprised ;)). But then again, the nav database is quite small compared to the scenery.

Taking the flight plan into account would make sense, however, for any scenery downloaded on-the-fly, be it photo scenery, enhanced airports, or whatever. For example, when you select your destination and alternate airports in the flight planner, there could be a little button 'Search for airport addons' that would take you to the integrated app store - err, addon store - where any available freeware and payware addons for that airport would be listed, along with descriptions, user ratings and review. You'd select the addon(s) you want and click 'Add to on-the-fly download cart'. There could be another button 'Search for addons along the planned route' that would find addons for larger areas, like photo scenery, mesh enhancements, etc. Later, when you click 'Fly now', you'd be presented with your download cart, and would be asked for your credit card information if you selected any payware items. Or just for confirmation, for the credit card information could be stored with your addon store account. As you fly on your merry way, the sim would automatically download and install your new addons, and integrate them into the world below you right away so they would already be there when you arrive at your destination. If you didn't like your new addons, you could go to the addon store after the flight, view the list of recently downloaded items, select the ones you want to get rid of, and click 'Uninstall'. If it was a payware item, and the developer allows it, this would also get you a refund if you'd still be within a couple of hours after purchase. But beware - you can only get one refund per addon. If you'd later re-buy the same addon, you'd be stuck with it (though you could always uninstall it, of course). Moreover, if you'd make liberal use of refunds, you'd sooner or later end up locked from that feature for a certain amount of time. So no buy-fly-refund, buy-fly-refund, etc. But here comes the best: if you (or your computer) decide it's time to reinstall the sim (and thus lose all your addons), you could simply enter the addon store from the main menu, re-enter you account details, and click 'Redownload all my addons now' or 'Redownload all my addons during the next flight(s)', and would be up to speed again in no time.

Judith

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--One area in which MS really fell down was in the graphics department. The best hardware

usually cannot handle it properly, and it is still very cartoonish looking. And don't even

get me started on the blurries! I would hope that all these issues will be addressed. Knowing

Aerosoft's bias towards quality, I suspect they will be.

-- ATI - I don't particularly care myself whether or not it completely mimics the real

world to a T, but there should be some improvement over the FSX version for sure. I rarely

fly without it, and it does need a lot more polish and improvement, and a little bit of expansion.

--Weather definitely needs to be improved on - especially thunder and snow storms. FSX's

attempts were rather pathetic, though they were certainly an improvement over past versions. But they

still look terrible.

--Wind shear should be simulated.

--The ability to change settings on the fly would be most welcome - nothing more aggravating than to

have to exit the program to change them.

I think these things would give the sim the kind of realisim that most of us are looking for without having

to spend decades programming it.

Almost forgot - this is a suggestion I made to ACES who said they had at one time considered it but

felt due to the massive amount of disk space it would require it was a non-starter. That certainly shouldn't

apply in today's world of fast cheap terabyte hard drives. The idea is to layer the scenery so that you are

using photoreal scenery at elevations above, say 3000' or so, but then another layer or layers would kick

in below that. This would eliminate the problem with the horrible detail at ground level when using photoreal

scenery at low altitudes. I'd really appreciate any feedback you folks might have about this.

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I also think it is very important to find a good balance between realism and gameplay. Every simmer strives his own reality. There are 'after work' simmers, for who the Airbus project is being developed, and simmers who want everything... Either both possibilities should be in the new sim or a trade off has to be made satisfying both groups (of course, there are many types of simmers out there).

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Most of my ideas will have been already have been named by others.

Still, two thoughts on a new flightsim:

A new flightsim must be better than FSX in both, the looks and the potential realism of the simulation of the planes, atc and so on, or it will not be bought.

Especially, if there is no MS stamp on it.

As of today, it should even present better lighting and generic looks than FSX *with* addons that change the generic textures (like GEX or FTX for example) - which is a tough goal.

I'm not speaking of high-res scenery all around the world, but the overall apperance will have to be great in order to persuade me from my addon-loaden FSX.

Now, I'm not a real world pilot, so I'm looking at the graphical representation first.

But the same applies to the aircraft, the atc procedures, especially for those who like to fly more seriously than I do.

All in all, it is the construction of a "world sim" that Aerosoft is about to do ;)

Anyway, I wish Aersosoft all the best with the forthcoming sim!

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Me again, sorry...

I'm mid-way through a long haul down to SBGR from EGLL in the trusty 744 and the brain has been ticking over.

I'm an exclusively online flyer, mostly on IVAO these days but was also a vatsim nut a while back.

Anyway

I strongly beleive that the 'satco' parented networks do a great job in getting us as real as it can get. When you fly online and are subject to a heavy traffic load, ATC from CTR through to the Ramp and the unpredicatbility of ATC and Pilots it truly is as immersive as it could get. I know that some (1?) freeware developer in europe worked on an addon that allowed ATC control of the pilots scenery (although i am unsure as to the extent)....

My thought is that in the real world, VOR's and ILS fail, NDB's are turned off and so on. Within the sim this doesn't happen. I can always tune Compton at EGLL for example, whether or not the RW notams say its unavailable. I am perhaps pushing the limits of realism to the extreme here, but how about if the area controller for a network such as IVAO or VATSIM was able to turn off a VOR or the ILS as you're on short final? What if the CAT II & CAT III Holds actually worked and if there was an incursion the guy on the ILS could lose it for a moment?

These would all be items that would require a tickbox or something in the realism options, as many (the majority?) wouldn't want to suffer such trauma but food for thought anyway, and that's what these threads are all about.

While i am at it, how about an option where below certain WX minimums, the scenery automatically closes the airport by shutting down the ILS and the rwy lights?

Lastly (i'm going to keep plugging this one :unsure: ) Vapour Modelling. It really does affect so much with regards to realistic operation of an aircraft. Icing, Braking action, Visibility, Performance, etc...

And lastly (again) Sand Storms and smog. I live in the UAE and occasionally see the huge walls of sand that are sand storms, and in FS the descent into LAX doesn't quite feel right without the smog.

Cheers

Paul

@ Arista/Judith - Thanks for expanding on that for me :)

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I apologize if this has already been mentioned, I scanned the thread first:

A development SDK that is friendly for hobbyist scenery developers.

It should use standard GIS-formats for defining coastlines, terrain mesh, etc. (.dem, .shp, etc.)

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