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Coming soon: FSX Time Capsule - - Mount St. Helens Pre-1980 Experience - Part Two: The Opening Act

Last night was a significant achievement and the successful completion of a major personal milestone, and in many ways the culmination of a years-long dream to be able to successfully replicate this look in the sim.

As I've been working on this project, I've scoured gigabytes of USGS data and data from public domain government entities who directly oversaw the Mount St. Helens eruption. Part of this research also includes going through the dozens of books I've collected over the years about the 1980 event. In one of my books on Mount St. Helens, there sits on page 48, a high-resolution aerial photograph of the volcano taken on May 2, 1980. The photo, taken by a U.S. Forest Service-contracted U-2 aircraft at an altitude of 60,000 feet, shows an ashen-gray peak with ash-stained, and cryptodome-cracked snow. The bulge shows prominently in that photo.

Last night, I scanned that image into a PSD file, then spent a few hours aligning that image with the existing pre-1980 image overlay, just to make sure everything meshed properly. The image also had to be color-corrected, as it was an infrared photograph (meaning vegetation was red instead of green). Once the image subset was generated for the terrain overlay, I created a scenery call file with some custom effects to simulate a phreatic steam and ash eruption.

Just for reference, I've included a Forest Service photograph, taken the same day.

This is an extension add-on to the pre-1980 experience scenery package already in development, and will require that scenery package to work properly.






I've since renamed this phase of the project "The Warm Up Act," and as part of that process I've decided to go in and modify the May 17, 1980 aerial image by overlapping some elements of the May 2, 1980 aerial. Namely, the snowfields on the north side of the volcano. This gives the May 2, 1980 aerial a much more polished, realistic look.

A website in the works right now, highlighting all three phases of the project, will launch tonight. I am also actively seeking beta testers.