P3D v4 Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport KCHA

Hello all,

After some six months of work, I finally feel like I'm ready to show the first shots of my project of recreating Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (KCHA) and its surroundings. KCHA is a small airport serving the city of Chattanooga, TN. With regular service by American, Delta, Allegiant and United to major US airports including New York LaGuardia, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Orlando, there is a wide variety of short and medium haul flights, mostly served by CRJ and ERJ family aircraft, though Allegiant serves KCHA with its A319, and, back in the day, with an MD80. I aim to recreate all structures on airport grounds as well as those in the immediate surroundings, including the industrial estate just north of the airport. I'm also including a sizeable area of satellite imagery-based photoreal terrain of about 19 square miles at 1m resolution, though the airport and its immediate surroundings (about 5 square miles) will be at a 30cm resolution from high quality aerial imagery.

Current progress sees the photoreal coverage mostly done. This includes the blend and water masks, as well as autogen annotation (my P3D settings are not set to max, so there's a lot of autogen currently not appearing). I've also managed to get the 1m sat imagery to blend fairly well with the surrounding landclass textures, which has been hand annotated. Note that currently the blending has been done specifically for use with Orbx's FSGlobal. I'll likely include textures for use with default P3D textures as well at a later date. Underlying the photoreal terrain there is a high-res mesh. The resolution is goo enough to see individual on and off ramps, making it easy to construct things such as highway bridges, which therefor I will d=indeed also include!

The groundpoly is also mostly done. Most textures are at 2048x2048, and some at 4096x4096, wherever it made sense to that (runway surface, for example). Most surfaces include bump maps as well. This most likely will cause bright stripes and such at night when landing lights are caused, as people have witnessed as FSDT airports as well as FB's KPDX. I know there's people that hate that look - personally I'm not too bothered by it and I think it does make daytime textures look vastly more realistic. I did include a screenhot showing the effect of the landing lights on the runway surface. I do think it does look rather realistic, but I know some people will hate it... I will be including some more wear and tear marks, and I noticed the ground poly is not 100% correctly aligned with the underlying aerial imagery, so this will be fixed as well. Then there will be a bunch of texture tweaks (not entirely happy with some things), and I envision putting in water puddles and such as well.

I also included a screengrab from Blender, showing the terminal building. The modeling of its exterior is in a fairly advanced stage, but I'm also working on the interior of it. The industrial estate north of the airport is about 30% done, with regards to modeling. For all models I
l'll be including ambient occlusion, and I'm considering doing PBR textures for structures on airport grounds. However, given that this is quite literally my first ever foray into scenery design, and I haven't really done much 3D modeling in general, it's all rather new to me ;) The software required to make PBR textures are also not the cheapest, and while there are some free alternatives, I have my eye on Substance Painter for any PBR work. But, I'll likely only get this at a later point.

Amongst other planned features will be a heavily SODE'ed environment, with SODE-controlled jetways, airport lights, puddles and snow, windsocks...

Because of the current investment I made into the aerial imagery, I am considering this to be made available as payware (but not for a high price or anything like that - just enough that I can return on my investment).

As for a release, given that it took me some 6 months to get to this point, please don't look for a release any time soon ;) I'm very much learning as I go. Again, all you see here is the result of practice, training and research worth 6 months. Development is speeding up the more I learn, but there's still a ton to learn. Thanks to the community here, as well as some helpful devs that I have personally approached, things have been relatively smooth so far.

This airport will be released exclusively for P3Dv4, and most likely it will need to be v4.4 or above (whatever version we are at when this thing is released...).

Now for some screenshots! Enjoy.
 

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Oh oh OH OHHHH YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! uhmmmmmmm? lol
shouldn't that be ..WooooooooooooooWooooooooooooooWooooooooooooooooooo.............. :)
"Chattanooga Choo Choo"...for the youngsters


Bob M.
 
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Thanks everybody for the encouraging comments! It's great to see interest in this project :)

I do have a request: there's things that are hard for me to 'see' with the photographic imagery I currently have. While I approached one or two of you already by PM, if anybody wants to help get some additional material for me, that would be highly appreciated. This mostly concerns the ground signage at the gates, detailing the parking position of various aircraft. I was able to decipher some of the signage by pictures that I found spread out over Google, Foursquare, Yelp and god knows which other websites, but many of them are several years old. Current imagery of the gates and stands would be immensely helpful. Another thing is the taxiway signs, which I simply can't see in Google Earth, and pictures of this are - as you can imagine - scant. So, any help with those tow things would be amazing. Please let me know if you have any photographs of this stuff, or whether you're in a position to get some - perhaps on your next flight in or out of KCHA, or perhaps you have a friend working there ;)
 
Oh nice! Those buildings look good. Are you including any photoscenery for it as well? I don't foresee any issues with my scenery as downtown and the airport are some miles apart. I was thinking including some scenery for downtown - glad you mentioned you are working on that ;)
 
I just added buildings and removed the default buildings from that area. I have an ORBX vector and a base addons.
I placed the buildings on right places using Whisplacer and im not going to include photoscenery on this project at this time :)

If you want to test my scenery, i would send it to you via email.
 
I just added buildings and removed the default buildings from that area. I have an ORBX vector and a base addons.
I placed the buildings on right places using Whisplacer and im not going to include photoscenery on this project at this time :)

If you want to test my scenery, i would send it to you via email.
Sure yes, would be nice to see how the to sceneries work together. At a later stage I might make some photoreal coverage for it if you're interested? But let me finish the airport first ;) I'll PM you my email.
 
Just an update. The last two weeks I've spent on fixing errors in the groundpoly as well as adding some grunge here and there, though there's more work to do on it. I've also been able to get some shots of the gate 1 ramp area, and so was able to update the layout of the parking spots around there. Additionally, I added markings around the GA ramp, so with that added I believe the ground poly is essentially done... Just need to add more (and better) grunge. You might also notice that the taxiway tetxures were made to be more transparent, so now there's a rather nice blend of the detailed ground poly textures with the underlying areal image, combining the best of both worlds. Finally, most of the time was spent modeling the control tower and adjacent buildings, which I included a screenshot of. Also exported a first version of the terminal. As you can see, the exterior is mostly done at this point, but the interior requires a ton of work still. Finally, I intend to make all the buildings textures PBR, using substance painter. This will have its very own steep learning curve, but I'm pretty confident I'll figure it out. Do forgive the weird colors... These are the 'bare' materials, and texturing will follow later.
 

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So I thought I'd post a small update, to show that this is still in active development. I was working in Substance to get the hang of using that tool and making PBR materials, but I ended up frustrated and so I continued modeling instead. The texturing process will take a while to sort out... I did include an image below of the control tower in a sort of half-textured state, inside Substance. P3D will look almost certainly different though.

control_tower.png


So I continued modeling the various hangars and facilities to the south of the control tower, which includes the FedEx Cargo facility, among others. See the attachments below (images are kind of big, so didn't isnert them into the post as I did for the control tower...). I found out that there are two huge new hangars right in front of the control tower, but these were built probably in 2018, as they don't appear on my (older) aerial imagery. I have access to photographs of the area however, so I'm confident that I'll figure it out. Finally, one issue is that these structures aren't quite in the right place... which will get sorted eventually as well. I'll probably work on the FBO and facilities of Wilson Air Center next (it annoys me that that apron is completely empty!).
 

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Another thing is the taxiway signs, which I simply can't see in Google Earth, and pictures of this are - as you can imagine - scant.
Taxiway signs 'should' be in accordance with the ICAO standards so you could probably get away with close enough by using an airfield map and referring to the appropriate standard. Although where I work currently has a waiver because the taxi signs are too close to the runway...
 
Thanks for the nice comments, all!

Taxiway signs 'should' be in accordance with the ICAO standards so you could probably get away with close enough by using an airfield map and referring to the appropriate standard. Although where I work currently has a waiver because the taxi signs are too close to the runway...
That;'s a good idea. It seems to me that most of it should be as per the standards. In the meantime I did get some photographs that specifically show the shapes of the various signs, so I think I should be able to figure it out :)
 
Just a small update. Lately I've been working on a second project that I recently started. I like working on many things at the same time, and I decided that to understand PBR texturing I'd rather work on something a little bit simpler. And so I selected a place that's easy and in a continent where there's little scenery, but still is lose enough to airports for which there is scenery available: Asmara Intl in Eritrea. IT's really a tiny airport with one runway, a civilian apron, a military apron, and some two or three taxiways. There's only two kinds of surface: asphalt and concrete slabs. So, it's a great little 'tutorial' airport to get the basics down. And once I do that, I intend to 'port over' the textures I made to KCHA.

And so, here's a little preview of a few hours of fiddling around my new PBR texturing software: Substance. I was trying to make a water puddle that would be activated upon rain. I think I somewhat succeeded eventually, but needs to be refined.

water_puddle.JPG


Finally, just to show I have not forgotten about KCHA, here's a little preview of the GA apron and it's lockups/hangars.

GA_Hangar.JPG
 
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