P3D v4 Blender ground layering techniques

#1
I'm modeling runway and apron in Blender. I know about Bill Womacks and other tutorials about layering but that's somehow outdated if I'm not mistaken. I also went through "Ground Polygon modeling in Blender" tutorial here on FSDeveloper but there's nothing about this particular issue. Are there any tutorials about making detailed and layered ground polys in Blender for P3D v4? I don't have any problems with modeling and texturing what I want to know is what's the technique for making several layers (base, markings, cracks, edge, noise,..) and how to export everything? Do I make each of those layers a separate object and then stack them on each other in Blender or MCX or somewhere else or how to go about it?
 
#3
Hi,

You can use the tutorial I posted in the previous thread.

This is my method roughly:
1. create everything as one .Blend model with all necessary features (Plane1, Plane2, ETC')..
2. Apply a material and texture to all the features (Asphalt base, Lines, Markings, ETC').
3. You need to set a "z-bias" value for each material in blender accordingly (Asphalt base = -4, Markings = -8 , ETC') to make sure they will be displayed in the correct order in the sim.
4. Select in the material section "No Z write" and "No shadow".
5. select all and export as .x file. Open in MCX GP wizard, You should see all "z-bias" values you set in blender.
6. Un-tick "Group polygons" and select "P3Dv4".
 
#4
Hi,

You can use the tutorial I posted in the previous thread.

This is my method roughly:
1. create everything as one .Blend model with all necessary features (Plane1, Plane2, ETC')..
2. Apply a material and texture to all the features (Asphalt base, Lines, Markings, ETC').
3. You need to set a "z-bias" value for each material in blender accordingly (Asphalt base = -4, Markings = -8 , ETC') to make sure they will be displayed in the correct order in the sim.
4. Select in the material section "No Z write" and "No shadow".
5. select all and export as .x file. Open in MCX GP wizard, You should see all "z-bias" values you set in blender.
6. Un-tick "Group polygons" and select "P3Dv4".
Thanks for that useful post Daniel, one question: I heard somewhere that the layers must be in steps of 4, and must be between 16 and 32 for P3Dv4 to display shadows properly (through I guess that would -16 to -32, since for some reason all the values are negative?). So, that would mean that the base sat image layer is at 16, the asphalt/tarmac at 20, any markings at 24 etc. Is that correct, or can I utilize any layer between 16 and 32, regardless of whether it's a multiple of 4 or not?
 
#5
Thanks for that useful post Daniel, one question: I heard somewhere that the layers must be in steps of 4, and must be between 16 and 32 for P3Dv4 to display shadows properly (through I guess that would -16 to -32, since for some reason all the values are negative?). So, that would mean that the base sat image layer is at 16, the asphalt/tarmac at 20, any markings at 24 etc. Is that correct, or can I utilize any layer between 16 and 32, regardless of whether it's a multiple of 4 or not?
Hi Benjamin,

For my current project I'm using the latest P3Dv4.3 SDK and I actually start from Layer 4 (Or -4). So My asphalt base is -4, after that lines are -8 and so on until -28 if I remember correctly. I don't think I have any problems with shadows with this method. But it's very easy to modify those values in the MCX GP Wizard and check for yourself ;) Also for development purpose I use all shadows on in P3D settings.
For the sat image I use the resample method. I Learned that from Captain-K-man on Youtube.

Hope this answers your question.

Cheers,
Daniel
 
#6
Thanks for that useful post Daniel, one question: I heard somewhere that the layers must be in steps of 4, and must be between 16 and 32 for P3Dv4 to display shadows properly (through I guess that would -16 to -32, since for some reason all the values are negative?). So, that would mean that the base sat image layer is at 16, the asphalt/tarmac at 20, any markings at 24 etc. Is that correct, or can I utilize any layer between 16 and 32, regardless of whether it's a multiple of 4 or not?
Hi Benjamin,

if I remember correctly, that was true for FSX but not P3D. I am using roughly the same process as Daniel (although I am not using steps of 4, just -1; -2; etc).
 
#9
Hi Benjamin,

For my current project I'm using the latest P3Dv4.3 SDK and I actually start from Layer 4 (Or -4). So My asphalt base is -4, after that lines are -8 and so on until -28 if I remember correctly. I don't think I have any problems with shadows with this method. But it's very easy to modify those values in the MCX GP Wizard and check for yourself ;) Also for development purpose I use all shadows on in P3D settings.
For the sat image I use the resample method. I Learned that from Captain-K-man on Youtube.

Hope this answers your question.

Cheers,
Daniel
That is useful information. I was wondering why you start at -4 and take steps of 4? In agreement with David, the P3Dv4 SDK seems to say that you can do -1, -2 etc. Just trying to figure out if I missed something :) I'm getting to the point where I'm going to export the ground poly for the first time so just wanna make sure I do it right!

Frankly, at first I thought that by 'layers' people meant the actual objects (such as an object that contains the runways, one that contains the taxiways, etc. I now understand that the layering is actually done through the materials, and these materials can be applied to different objects. So I was thinking about this all wrong and had to overhaul the texture sheets a little so that textures that should overlap are NOT part of the same material. Or did I do it all wrong now...?

Also, for the sat image you mention the 'resample' method, so I assume that the sat image is not a ground poly, rather a photoreal background? I have this too, though I'll use a ground poly with the sat image for the airport ground specificcally. I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this, but I'll post a specific topic for that :)
 
#10
That is useful information. I was wondering why you start at -4 and take steps of 4? In agreement with David, the P3Dv4 SDK seems to say that you can do -1, -2 etc. Just trying to figure out if I missed something :) I'm getting to the point where I'm going to export the ground poly for the first time so just wanna make sure I do it right!

Frankly, at first I thought that by 'layers' people meant the actual objects (such as an object that contains the runways, one that contains the taxiways, etc. I now understand that the layering is actually done through the materials, and these materials can be applied to different objects. So I was thinking about this all wrong and had to overhaul the texture sheets a little so that textures that should overlap are NOT part of the same material. Or did I do it all wrong now...?

Also, for the sat image you mention the 'resample' method, so I assume that the sat image is not a ground poly, rather a photoreal background? I have this too, though I'll use a ground poly with the sat image for the airport ground specificcally. I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this, but I'll post a specific topic for that :)
Hi Benjamin,

I actually don't have a logic answer to why I do steps of 4... guess I came across a post in the past that recommended doing it and it works fine for me.

You are right, each layer is a material with a texture sheet. And each material has the z-bias value that determines the order of display in the sim. Seems like you are doing everything ok.
You should take a look at Austin Sass' Youtube tutorial on Blender ground poly. It will clear it all out for you hopefully :)

I use the resample (Photoreal background) method because I wanted to cover some areas around the airport that aren't flat. This method has advantages and disadvantages . The main disadvantages are that it might suppress autogen and it requires high terrain texture resolution to be displayed decently (The slider needs to be at least at 7m i think).
If your plan for the photoreal around the airport is going to be on a completely flat terrain you can create it as ground poly. Soarfly Concepts Scenery made a great tutorial on Youtube recently, I can highly recommend it.

Daniel
 
#11
Hi Benjamin,

I actually don't have a logic answer to why I do steps of 4... guess I came across a post in the past that recommended doing it and it works fine for me.

You are right, each layer is a material with a texture sheet. And each material has the z-bias value that determines the order of display in the sim. Seems like you are doing everything ok.
You should take a look at Austin Sass' Youtube tutorial on Blender ground poly. It will clear it all out for you hopefully :)

I use the resample (Photoreal background) method because I wanted to cover some areas around the airport that aren't flat. This method has advantages and disadvantages . The main disadvantages are that it might suppress autogen and it requires high terrain texture resolution to be displayed decently (The slider needs to be at least at 7m i think).
If your plan for the photoreal around the airport is going to be on a completely flat terrain you can create it as ground poly. Soarfly Concepts Scenery made a great tutorial on Youtube recently, I can highly recommend it.

Daniel
Thanks Daniel! Good to know I've understood it correctly ;) I had watched Austin's tutorial, and indeed it was very useful. I'll have a look at SFC's tutorial, I don't think I've seen that one yet. Thanks for the recommendation!

That makes sense, regarding the photoreal background. Indeed in my case the surroundings are not at all flat. To deal with that my approach will be to use a downsampled photoreal background for anything immediately outside airport grounds (30cm resolution), so that the ground poly (15cm resolution) only covers the part that anyway has to be flat for the AI to work. And then at a further distance it's 1m resolution. I think that should give a nice 'gradient' of additional detail the closer you get. havent tested it all yet though...
 
#12
Thanks Daniel! Good to know I've understood it correctly ;) I had watched Austin's tutorial, and indeed it was very useful. I'll have a look at SFC's tutorial, I don't think I've seen that one yet. Thanks for the recommendation!

That makes sense, regarding the photoreal background. Indeed in my case the surroundings are not at all flat. To deal with that my approach will be to use a downsampled photoreal background for anything immediately outside airport grounds (30cm resolution), so that the ground poly (15cm resolution) only covers the part that anyway has to be flat for the AI to work. And then at a further distance it's 1m resolution. I think that should give a nice 'gradient' of additional detail the closer you get. havent tested it all yet though...
No problem :) Sounds great! Can't wait to see the result :wave:
 
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