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ADE and ADE-gp layer problem

Discussion in 'ADE - Ground Polys' started by robystar, 3 Jun 2013.

  1. robystar

    robystar

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    Hi Jon, Hi Don,

    I found a puzzle for you to hopefully solve.
    It concerns layers.
    The gp layers go from 1-60 if I am not mistaken and the ADE layers from there upward.
    What happens is that when, for instance, you make an apron with a gp polygon, taxi paths and apron paths do not show up. This is OK but it means their lines and lights do not show up either. The same goes for taxiways made with gp polygons or polylines.
    You can make lines with the gp-editor but you cannot make lights.
    As Jon said there is no way to change the layers of taxipaths and apron paths because they come on various layers, I can think of only one possible solution for that and that is when the gp-poly layers are not limited to the 1-60 range.

    Roby
     
  2. scruffyduck

    scruffyduck Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    Roby

    Please be careful not to mix things up. There are several sets of 'layers'.

    GP Layers have a specific use and determine which object appears above or below another. Thus a poly in GP Layer 10 will appear above a line in GP Layer 1.

    All GP objects appear above the XML generated airport elements such as runways, aprons and so on. They also appear above terrain elements like land class and airport backgrounds. The GP Layer is therefore directly translated into the order that GP objects appear in sim.

    The FS graphics engine draws things in a certain order also - in respect of airport design this is the order that airport elements such as runways, aprons, taxiways and so on get laid down. There is a fixed order for runways against taxiways against aprons. Inside each of runways and aprons there is a fixed order based on surface type. It is also generally true that all airport elements get drawn over terrain elements and under GP objects.

    Now the artifact in all this is the ADE drawing layer system. First to re-iterated the only way you can control what gets drawn above what is for GP Objects (well if you mess about with the altitudes of library objects then you can get them to show one above the other but this has nothing to do with drawing order)

    ADE tries to replicate the order that things appear in sim. This is the ADE drawing layer system that runs from 0 thru 149. To confuse (and this we only found out when we started working on ADE-GP) the lower the number the higher the object gets drawn in ADE. Thus something in Layer 0 will get drawn over all the other layers (1-149). I will call these drawing layers.

    ADE uses the drawing layers 0 - 4 for things like the aircraft sysmbol when connected to FS, temporary lines you see when you create a poly, vertices and so on. Drawing layers 5 thru 63 are assigned to GP objects and the actual drawing layer they get drawn in matches how they will get drawn in FS. So something given a GP Layer if 63 will appear over every other GP object and this should mimic what you get in FS.

    The remaining layers are used to mimic the display of airport elements and then terrain elements. So ADE should display aprons of different surfaces in the same order as FS does. To be absolutely clear ADE does not control this order - it is merely mimicing what the FS graphics engine will do.

    I realize this is somewhat complex. It however explains why you can't get aprons and taxiways and lights to appear over your GP objects. Also all GP Objects in the ADE drawing layer system are in layers 5 thru 63. None are drawn in ADE outside this range. Since the GP Layer order and the ADE Drawing Layer orders are reversed then ADE makes a calculation that inverts these. So GP Layer 5 gets drawn in Drawing layer 63 etc.
     
    Last edited: 3 Jun 2013
  3. robystar

    robystar

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    Jon,

    I read it three times (in the meantime five times answering you:)) but still am unsure what you are saying.
    I know that gp poly layers are inverted so that the higher numbered gets drawn over the lower numbered one and vice versa in ADE allright.
    But that is ADE/ADE-gp and not FS.
    You are saying ADE mimics the way FS draws things. Are you saying then that when it was still possible to change the layer constraints in ADE it was only for ADE but not for FS? In other words, does FS have fixed drawing layers for various kinds of elements and that those are not influenced by the layer number ADE could give them?
    Are you saying that Don cannot attribute other layers but those he already has and that others would not be honored by FS because FS will always draw gp-polys on top of other elements?
    Are all layers used by the FS engine? Are there some spare ones FS would recognize and where Don could make use of for certain gp-lines or polys?
    Sorry to be stubborn in this respect but it would be a real pity if this were impossible.
    Maybe there is another solution? I suppose transparency will not help either?

    Roby
     
  4. gadgets

    gadgets Resource contributor

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    Roby, the key message is that Flightsim draws GP objects on top of airport objects, irrespective of layer number. You can control the Z-ordering of GP objects using layer number (the layer number on the GP editor), but GP objects will always be drawn over airport objects. If this is a problem, you should use an airport apron, not a GP poly, and draw only required lines as GP objects.

    Don
     
  5. scruffyduck

    scruffyduck Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    Me too some days ;)

    Roby - forget what ADE does for a moment. In the GP Editor set the GP Layer you want the line or poly to be in. The higher numbers draw over lower numbers. Now just remember that ADE will draw them the same way in the ADE display and they will draw the same way in FS. So ADE will mimic FS but you control the order by using the GP Layer in the GP Editor. ADE and FS both just follow what you do.

    Yes. If you are using the new function to ignore layer constraints then you can move most things into any drawing layer to make working in ADE easier. NO order change in ADE will affect FS.

    GP objects will always draw over airport elements. If we added drawing layers to ADE (say to 200) then we could assign more to GP Layers in the ADE display but this would not make any difference. You cannot get FS to draw a GP object under an apron or draw a taxiway over a GP Poly. Nearly 60 layers to assign to GP objects should be plenty - I can't think of a situation where you might want to have 60 polys in order one above the other.

    I think you are trying to get the FS engine to draw GP objects under airport objects and the answer is still no. It does not matter how many GP layers we assign that just allows you to stack more GP objects above the airport.

    Well the solution is to build your airport using GMax ;)
     
  6. robystar

    robystar

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    But Gmax would not be able to draw taxi and apron paths on top of gmax built ground polys either, then, would it?
     
  7. tgibson

    tgibson

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    GMAX does not draw taxi and apron paths, ADE and FSX do.

    But if you are asking if you would have the same problem with GMAX-created ground polygons, the answer is yes - you would still not be able to draw ADE-generated apron and taxi lines over those ground polygons either. ALL ground polygons and lines will cover any ADE-created apron and taxi paths, no matter what.

    Hope this helps,
     
  8. robystar

    robystar

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    Hi Tom,


    Yes, that was what I was asking ( but you managed to understand:)).
    (Your time of the day to further explore the possibilities and impossibilities of ADE-gp?)
    Guess I touched the limits or the shortcomings of what FSX can do:(!
     
  9. tgibson

    tgibson

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    BTW, you CAN see the taxiway lines created by ADE located underneath a GP polygon if you make that GP polygon partially transparent by using a gray alpha channel in its texture. Also for things like lettering and cross hatching, if you use a black alpha channel between the letters the ADE taxiway lines will be fully visible.

    Runway and taxiway lights are the same - if you use a black alpha channel where the lettering should not be present, the lights will shine full bright. If you use a gray alpha channel, they will be dim.

    So if you use tiny black dots in the alpha channel where the taxi lights are located (making a tiny "hole" in the GP polygon), you can get your lights to shine again. A pain? Yes indeed, but that's what happens when you try to get more sophisticated than a standard ADE airport. :)

    Hope this helps,
     
  10. scruffyduck

    scruffyduck Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    Hmmm so a texture that is just black alpha will appear transparent and allow all the underlying stuff to appear. Not very useful of course.

    Note that I use stuff as a technical term ;)
     
  11. tgibson

    tgibson

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    LOL! Yep, everything would show through just fine.
     
  12. scruffyduck

    scruffyduck Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    So next time someone asks how to get the underlying airport to show through I can just tell them to use a transparent texture :eek:
     
  13. robystar

    robystar

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    Hi,

    A semi transparent texture, Jon. And on the contrary, very useful. And it depends on the degree of transparency whether the lights will show up or not. I have not figured out yet what the transparency should be like though.
    Thanks again, Tom.
    But of course the problem is when you have covered up an area with a tiled polygon! :(.
     
  14. tgibson

    tgibson

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    If you don't make little holes for the lights, the only other choices I know for taxiway lights are to place an effect light there, or use a 3D light that glows?
     
  15. robystar

    robystar

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    I know but both are a huge hit on the fps:(.
     
  16. gadgets

    gadgets Resource contributor

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    Roby, I use bgl lights at all my airports - and draw light standards as well, and the hit is not an issue for me.

    What is it you are attempting to do that is causing this difficulty?

    Don
     

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