1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Ideas for future versions of ObPlacer XML

Discussion in 'ObPlacer and ObPlacer XML' started by arno, 30/1/06.

  1. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    I have got a few ideas for future improvements of ObPlacer XML. This are for example things that I would find useful in the projects I am working on myself. But I would also like to know the suggestions and feedback of current ObPlacer XML users about these ideas. So therefore this thread will discuss them.

    Let me start by saying this is not something that will be ready next week :). At the moment they are only ideas and I am letting them mature in my brain at the moment. But all extra input at this stage is welcome.

    Line of objects

    The first idea is to add a line of objects feature. This would allow you to define a line and then place objects along this line. I think it would be cool if the type of object and spacing could be random. That way you could for example specify that your tree library should be used and it would result in a more natural looking line of trees, as the spacing, scale and type would not be constant along the total line.

    An extension on this idea is to also allow this for polygons. So you define a polygon and then a sort of random forest can be generated (this was an idea I got from a recent thread here). But it could also be used for other things than trees of course.

    For the implementation of this I have a few questions though. For example do you think it is practicle to define a line by slewing through FS? So you slew to a point and add it, slew to the next point and add it as well, etc. The alternative to this would be to have some sort of top-down view where you can draw the line by simply clicking on the correct points. Which of those would have your preference?

    Save format

    As a result of more advanced features as I described above, I don't think I can keep using the XML file as save file as well. It is just very hard to store things like lines and polygons in there. Especially as they are not part of the scenery, they need to be processed by ObPlacer XML.

    Do you think it would be a disadvantage to have a certain save file format for your ObPlacer XML project?

    User libraries

    Another idea is to make it easier to import user libraries into ObPlacer XML. I have two ideas here:

    1. Also allow the import of Rwy12 XML files (they are not the same as the library XML source that ObPlacer XML uses at the moment). The advantage of this would be that a library that has been designed for Rwy12 could much easier by used with ObPlacer XML as well.
    2. Allow users to select the library BGL directly and ObPlacer XML would then read the information about the objects in there. The disadvantage of this is that you loose the name information about the objects, as this is not stored in the library BGL file. So either the preview of the objects should be enough to see what it is, or some sort of catelog of object names should be maintained by the program. And the user can then rename his objects in there. Any more ideas/suggestions about this would be extremely welcome.

    Other

    I think that are basically the ideas I have for future released of ObPlacer XML. A can add a few smaller ideas as well, for example the addition of the XML windsock object to the list of available objects to place.

    But I am more interested in any other ideas you, as user of the tool, might still have. So please reply to this thread if you have some suggestions, comments, ideas or whatever :D.
  2. Stranger

    Stranger

    Joined:
    25/7/05
    Messages:
    120
    Hi Arno,

    Following are some comments and ideas.

    Line of objects

    It will be a great feature. In addition to random placement of objects along the line or polygon, it would be nice to have a possibility to place objects on equal distance from each other (line of houses or light poles along the street) as well as attached side by side based on actual object dimensions (fences).

    I think that the best and easiest way to define lines and polygons is still slewing through FS as this gives a good reference of surround area. Otherwise you’ll have to provide some kind of graphic representation of the area i.e. read scenery data.

    Following data input can be used:

    First object position
    Last object position
    Random / Equal spaced / Attached
    Number of objects
    Heading of objects (with default heading perpendicular to the line)

    For polygons additional option selection can be added:
    Fill / Perimeter

    Save format

    I’d prefer to stay with XML format although it can be somewhat extended by using of specially formatted comments where all necessary data can be stored. As comments are not processed by bglcomp there won’t be any interference. This will keep possibility to incorporate the ObPlacer XML output as part of bigger projects and allow its easy understanding and edition.

    User libraries

    Possibility to use RWY12 and probably EZ Scenery libraries directly will be a great help, although direct reading of bgl libraries can bring up a copyright issue as this will simplify access to scenery parts which are not intended for such usage.

    Other

    Preview of actual object models rather than picture would be nice. Any kind of sign which marks object default orientation will help a lot.

    Possibility to slew automatically to the selected (double clicked) object position in FS.

    Few things about current property editor:

    Value is not stored if focus is moved away from property editor.
    Selection of another generic building type resets properties to default values.
    Textures in preview do not match result as seen in FS.
    Some textures described in SDK are missing.
    Some adjacent texture numbers show same texture in preview.
    Same number can show different texture when counting direction is changed.

    Hope you find this useful.
  3. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

    Joined:
    7/4/05
    Messages:
    2,177
    Country:
    germany
    Great to know that you're working on a new version. :)

    First of all it would definitely be wonderful to have some kind of FS-map-view within OP, where you can just click on any spot and place an object there.
    I'd prefer this one over the FS-read/write position, because it's easier to handle.
    On the other hand, sometimes this also is very useful. Why not implement both possibilities?

    The idea with the line of objects is very nice, so is of course the idea with the poly. Would be nice to know what kind of algorythm you'd use to fill the poly randomly. :teacher:

    I always dreamed of a tool like the old, old FS-Designer (was it for FS4?), that worked kind of like FSEnhancer, but only much better. :D
    But ok, that's still a dream I suppose.

    I'm still not too happy about the limitations of placing objects. Why use commands like "place at the end of the object list"? Why can't I just doubleclick an object or drag and drop it at the point of the list where I want it to be?

    And please, keep the XML! It's so useful, most of all for placing fx, where I have to double all entries due to the FS-bug. It's so nice to rework the XML-file with the windows-editor. :)
  4. stevo

    stevo

    Joined:
    12/6/04
    Messages:
    296
    Country:
    unitedkingdom
    Hi Arno

    Line of objects

    Great idea, would work great for fences and things like taxiway/rwy edge lights.

    User libraries

    1. Reading the rwy12 file would be a great idea, seeing as most rwy12 packages are object librarys for free use.

    2. Directly reading the BGL :scratchch , well with my issue of EZ-Scenery doing the same thing, I would personally hate to see this implemented, I feel its just not needed for your program, the pure scenery designer who makes his own objects, already knows the GUIDs for them. For the scenery placer who enjoys placing objects, Rwy12 and the available library's are more than sufficent. And if you implement the reading of rwy12 libraries, whats the point in directly reading the BGL, if the authors of the objects in a particular BGL wanted the GUIDs for the're object to be known, they would have published them freely.

    Other

    Ability to disable one or more MDL objects so they don't compile. This will save losing the Co-ords/heading etc if you need them again.

    Abiltiy to change one MDL for another without needing to write the co-ords down, delete the MDL I've placed then select the new MDL and re-enter the co-ords.

    Taxisigns could be a good addtion

    cant think of anything else Stranger and Horst hasnt already said ;)

    Stevo :D
  5. Gianni

    Gianni

    Joined:
    12/6/05
    Messages:
    435
    Country:
    austria
    Hi Arno,

    sounds great. In addition to what has been said already I would appreciate another line-drawing feature:

    Would it be possible to draw the line and then assign moving objects? I mean with this feature it would be easy then to construct vehilcles on roads around the airport for example. The objects could be made of course within GMAX but the animation would be much easiert without the limitations of GMAX in terms of duration.

    greetz :wave: :wave:
    gianni
  6. Stranger

    Stranger

    Joined:
    25/7/05
    Messages:
    120
    Hi Gianni,
    As far as I know the animation duration limitation is more of FS issue than of GMax.
  7. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    First thanks to you all for this useful feedback. Here are my answers/thoughts/etc.

    I did not mention it, but of course you can also place them at a regular interval. For the purposes you mentioned that would be very useful indeed.

    That is indeed also an option. But I am a bit afraid that once a users starts to edit the XML file manual that my "save" information is lost or changed as well. So you run the risk that you change this information by accident as well. I'll think about this.

    Good idea. I was already thinking about adding the MDL preview as used in MDL Tweaker to ObPlacer XML as well. The suggestion to add a mark that shows the north direction of the object is a good one, sometimes you don't know which side is north.

    The option in the properties window is not enough for you? Using the double click option for it might be a nice idea.

    If I add a sort of mapview, I will not remove the current slew option of course. But I think it will take quite some time to add a good map view, so therefore I am interested to see if there is any interest in them. I think I can personally work fine without them (or maybe with a very simple map that shows only the relation between the objects placed with ObPlacer XML).

    I have no idea yet... :D. But it must be possible, I just have to think about a nice algorithm.

    Good suggestions. What was your idea for the double click? Should it add the object just below the one currently selected or so? The drag options sounds very nice as well, but that might be harder to implement, but I will put it on my wishlist.

    If I use a different save format, that does not mean that no XML file is created when you compile the BGL of course. So in the end you would still have an XML file (that you can edit). But using a different save format would mean that you get an extra file for your scenery projects of course.

    I will certainly not scan all your files like EZ-Scenery does, so the user would still have to manually add that BGL file. I was thinking this could be useful for libraries released for EZ-Scenery (but I might also be able to use their TXT file for that) and for the default libraries of FS. Now these last depend on a XML file I created, but it is certainly not complete. If I could just scan the BGL files of these generic objects, that would be a lot easier.

    And if I want to show a preview of the objects (like in MDL Tweaker), then I will have to read the BGL files as well. So the main discussion is if we should allow the users to scan a specific BGL file for the objects it contains.

    Nice idea. I think this should be seen together with the save file discussion, as it is very hard for me to save such information in the XML format (how do I know it is a comment or a disabled object commented out).

    That one was already on my todo list. For library objects this is already possible, but I forgot to activate the option for local MDL objects as well. Probably because I hardly use them myself :).

    Great idea!

    Yes/no. It would be possible, but the animation is in the MDL object, so this means that you would have to tweak the MDL object to get it moving along the path. You can't define that in XML. I have been thinking about extending CAT to do things like that (but due to lack of time never got it working), so I think it is possible. But I do not think it should be part of ObPlacer XML, as it is not defined in the XML file.

    That should work, I have put quite some time in it to get that working. Where do you move the focus to? Maybe there is a condition I have forgotten.

    Not completely. For each of the three types, the last building is remembered and that will be used when you create a new one. As the three types have different parameters, it is not very simply to take of the properties of one type to another type.

    If you can give me specific texture numbers for this, I can try to debug it. But to me, this sounds also a bit like a problem on your PC. If not all texture could be found or read during startup the preview will not be correct.
  8. Stranger

    Stranger

    Joined:
    25/7/05
    Messages:
    120
    Oh, just figured out this option is present. Thanks for pointing.

    That's good enough, so the question about XML format can be omitted.

    Clicking on any part of ObPlacer window except property editor clears entered value if it was entered in Edit control rather than SpinEdit or ComboBox.

    I'll try to collect some info on subject.
  9. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    OK, thanks, I will take a look at this. That is not how it is supposed to be :).
  10. sk699

    sk699

    Joined:
    24/7/05
    Messages:
    66
    Country:
    estonia
    I would like to see this:
    Sometimes ( quite often to be honest) i press the X in the upper right corner during placing process ( don´t know why but it just happens so often) and i get the option to save or not. I would like to see cancel included there too :)
  11. Mick

    Mick

    Joined:
    19/4/05
    Messages:
    116
    Great program! I just stamped out about a million trees over the weekend; this is the perfect tool for mass-duplicating Gmax objects.

    How's this for an idea for a future version: We're dealing with a technology that can automatically place objects at zero ft. AGL. So...Is there some way to trick it into placing individual vertices at ground level? For example, suppose you could define a line - either by slewing or by drawing in top-down view - and then have the program lay down a fence that follows the line, and conforms to terrain of varrying heights? This functionality could also be used to create driveways and parking lots that conform to uneven terrain, or maybe even replace those dreaded FS9 covered wagon trails with hard-edged streets!
    ________
    E-cigarette store
    Last edited: 19/9/11
  12. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    Hi Mick,

    What I was thinking about is that once you have define a line, ObPlacer XML will calculate the lat/lon positions of all the objects. So each of them would be placed at AGL for their location.

    This is probably not exactly what you mean, but I think it is almost impossible to do extra calculations to for example calculate a pitch value to tilt the object with the slope of the mesh.
  13. Georg Aubele

    Georg Aubele

    Joined:
    4/1/05
    Messages:
    535
    Country:
    germany
    I also have (again) some feature requests:

    "Find next": It's an option I learned to love in "CreatSign". You move your scenery pointer in FS to the object, you want to edit and press the "find next" button. ObjectPlacer should then highlight the object in the list next to the coordinates of the scenery pointer in FS.
    It would be a very nice feature, because sometimes, when you, for example, have a lot of objects of the same type, it is pretty difficult to find the right one in the list.

    Hot keys: How about some hot keys for "write position to FS" and "read position from FS". It would ease working with this features.
    Maybe even configurable hot keys?

    Faster mouse: It's possible that it is not real, but my mouse pointer feels slower, while Object Placer is the active programme.
  14. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    Hi Georg,

    I find the first two very good suggestions, I'll put them on my wishlist (currently looking at creating a new version for FsX, so I will consider it then).

    For the last suggestion, I did not any code that should affect the mouse speed. So I don't know about that one :D.
  15. Georg Aubele

    Georg Aubele

    Joined:
    4/1/05
    Messages:
    535
    Country:
    germany
    Please make them also available for a FS9-Version as I still code for it. :eek:
  16. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    The new version will probably have a setting for Fs2004 or FsX mode. They are quite similar, there are just a few small differences anyway,
  17. MarkkuS

    MarkkuS

    Joined:
    7/10/06
    Messages:
    125
    Country:
    sweden
    Hi!
    Suggestion:
    A function which can move an object in a certain direction and amount.
    Example: Move object XXX 1.6 meters in direction 125 degrees.

    An if I want to move all objects same amount:
    Example: Move all objects 12 metes in direction 94 degrees.

    Of course I can slew the aircraft and read the FS position for every object, but that's a much slower method.

    And if I want to move an object little, I find it hard to slew small amounts.
    Is possible set the slew speed slower?
  18. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    Joined:
    28/5/04
    Messages:
    20,581
    Country:
    netherlands
    Hi,

    Good suggestion, I'll put it on the list of ideas :).

    I would not know how to do that. Are you slewing with the keyboard or with the joystick? In the last case you might be able to make the axes less sensitive.
  19. meshman

    meshman

    Joined:
    25/4/06
    Messages:
    896
    withdrawn.
    Last edited: 29/6/09
  20. Tasmanet

    Tasmanet

    Joined:
    9/3/05
    Messages:
    214
    Country:
    australia
    Move everything in an Add On Scenery

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkkuS View Post
    Suggestion:
    A function which can move an object in a certain direction and amount.
    Example: Move object XXX 1.6 meters in direction 125 degrees.

    Good suggestion, I'll put it on the list of ideas .

    Move everything in an Add On Scenery in a certain direction and amount.:p

Share This Page