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MSFS Howto increase drawing distance

Messages
90
Country
germany
I had the problem that the lighthouse of my scenery was popping up quite late. In particular, you needed to be as close as a few hundred meters in order that it shows up, which is of course not very satisfying for a landmark like a lighthouse. However, at the same time, the solar park is visible from quite a distance.

While the base area of the lighthouse is about 10x10m, the solar park covers an area of 500x300m. In contrast, the height of the lighthouse is some 60m, while the solar park is not even 2m height. Accordingly, the drawing distance seems to depend on the horizontal size of the object. My solution to increase the drawing distance of the lighthouse is now to create a plane of 500x500m below the surface (I chose -50m). I don't know if this is the intended way to do it, but it works :)

tl;dr To increase the drawing distance of an object, create a large plane below the surface.


I turned out that scaling was the issue. The lighthouse had the correct size, but I used an upscaled cylinder as base primitive, which e.g. had a z-axis scaling of 25. After applying the scale (in Blender: select all, Ctrl+a, click Scale) before exporting, the building shows up as intended.

So if you have problems with the drawing distance, make sure you building has a scaling of 1.

Thanks to Reddit user srinivasman for that tip.

With that said, it should be mentioned that the problem may still occur for small objects like runway signs. In this case, you can add a larger plane to the object and place it below the surface in order to improve the drawing distance. Make sure you set the MSFS material to "invisible" in order not to affect the rendering. Furthermore, it has been reported that the scaling method doesn't work under all circumstances. In this case, the method with the plane will help you as well.
 
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Messages
22
Country
italy
First of all, thanks.
Second, it didn't work for me.

I attach a picture. I have made a new pylon with a large plane at the bottom and put it next to the one which appears late. Result is, the new one appears even after the first :(

As I wrote on the other topic, once they appear they are visible as they should from far away...
 

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Messages
90
Country
germany
That's strange. I just did another flight to my scenery and the lighthouse was visible from quite far away.

Just to be sure: It isn't possible that you accidentally confused both pylons? Can you show a screenshot of your model in Blender (or whatever you are using)? What is the size of your plane? Did you assign some special properties to the plane?

It is probably worth to mention that the behavior differs depending on whether you use the dev cam, the drone cam, or the cockpit cam. For me, even the old model (without the plane) did show up in a reasonable distance when using the dev cam or the drone cam. But when flying with a plane, I needed to be pretty close. The latter is fixed with the suggested modification.
 
Messages
22
Country
italy
My problem is the same with all cameras.

I tried even with a cube, a bigger plane, a smaller one...I just plain added the plane to my model, join and export...
 

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Messages
90
Country
germany
Here is how it looks in my case:
1.jpg2.jpg

If not done yet, would you mind to test exactly the same parameters that I use:
  • Primary object in the center (0,0,0)
  • Plane size 500m x 500m
  • Plane position (0,0,-50)
  • No material assigned to the plane (dunno whether this makes any difference)
It could be the perspective of your screenshot, but it looks like your pylon is either not in the center (x-y directon) or it is not "standing" on the ground (z direction). Furthermore, your pylon looks much larger compared to the plane as it is the lighthouse in my case. Are you using the up-scaled version of your pylon? If so, I suggest to use the correctly scaled version in order that no additional scaling in MSFS is required.
 
Messages
22
Country
italy
Hello, first of all a huge thanks for your time.
Second, it worked!

Not sure what it worked. The only things that I changed, I removed the material from the plane, and centered the primary object (which wasn't at 0 on z axis). Than I did a plane exactly like yours 500mx500m but at -150 position in z axis because I had to put one on a mountain and the plane at -50 was visible.

A huge thanks seems still not much, but I can't do more than that.
I will thank you in the scenery readme too!

Bye
 
Messages
231
Country
unitedstates
Here is how it looks in my case:
View attachment 62674View attachment 62675

If not done yet, would you mind to test exactly the same parameters that I use:
  • Primary object in the center (0,0,0)
  • Plane size 500m x 500m
  • Plane position (0,0,-50)
  • No material assigned to the plane (dunno whether this makes any difference)
It could be the perspective of your screenshot, but it looks like your pylon is either not in the center (x-y directon) or it is not "standing" on the ground (z direction). Furthermore, your pylon looks much larger compared to the plane as it is the lighthouse in my case. Are you using the up-scaled version of your pylon? If so, I suggest to use the correctly scaled version in order that no additional scaling in MSFS is required.

When you say a plane... do you mean a polygon (as opposed to an airplane)? What options do you give it?
 
Messages
17
Country
france
No succes for me with this method , i don't understand why!
radar.png
 

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Messages
90
Country
germany
@IronMinion Good to hear that it is working now for you! And thank for mention me in your scenery's readme. Other users helped me already a lot in this forum. So I'm happy if I can help others when I find out something :)

When you say a plane... do you mean a polygon (as opposed to an airplane)? What options do you give it?
I was afraid that one can get confused between plane in terms of geometric primitive and plane in terms of an aircraft ;) As @karlo922 pointed out already, I was referring to the corresponding Blender mesh object. I didn't set any specific options, I didn't even assign a material.

No succes for me with this method , i don't understand why!
What is the size of your plane? It could be the perspective, but in your screenshot it looks like 20m x 20m. If so, please try to increase it to 500m x 500m.

*edit*
I just noticed that your screenshot is showing the properties and that your plane has the correct size. Some other idears: Do you apply some scaling to your object in the sim? Furthermore, did you verify that the plane was included when exporting the model? It happened to a few times that I forgot to select some objects when doing the export.
 
Messages
587
Country
france
An another method is to stay in Object mode, select on the object and clik on Add - Mesh - Plane ...
With this method the plane is attached to the object and no more problem when you export it.

You can also map the plane with the same object's texture : it works.

On FSX and P3D, I used the same trick: adding a dummy cube under the object :cool:
 

Vitus

Resource contributor
Messages
1,480
Country
newzealand
I'm not quite sure about the conformity of your method - it's not my area of expertise - but I would just like to point out that there's a material mode "Invisible" that you might want to try with your polygon. It should still count as extending your boundaries, while at the same having 0 impact on the drawcalls.

What I'm wondering though is why it's not enough to adjust the minSize in the xml file?
 
Messages
17
Country
france
@ SinusJayCee yes my plane is attached when i set it in my scenery (i can see it if i put it out of the ground). My scale is fixed in blender and not changed in the scenery.

@ Lagaffe I'll try yo attach it in object mode
 
Messages
17
Country
france
no change with the plane attached. I have even tried to join all obects before exporting but with no success!
 

Vitus

Resource contributor
Messages
1,480
Country
newzealand
When you generate the xml file, did you adjust the minSize for the different LODs? The exporter will only put some rough numbers there, it's expected that you adjust it for your model.
 
Messages
17
Country
france
it's ok now!
in fact i made a mistake attaching the plane to the object the first time but it work well!
thanks!

Vitus i don't see lines in the xml to set the minSize
 

Vitus

Resource contributor
Messages
1,480
Country
newzealand
This might be my ignorance on the topic of scenery development, but don't you also set up your LODs in the xml file?
Code:
<?xml version="1.0" ?>
    <ModelInfo guid="{2b36c051-c082-4654-71dd-c5757881ddbf}" version="1.0">
        <LODS>
            <LOD ModelFile="lod_test_LOD00.gltf" minSize="8"/>
            <LOD ModelFile="lod_test_LOD01.gltf" minSize="4"/>
            <LOD ModelFile="lod_test_LOD02.gltf"/>
        </LODS>
    </ModelInfo>

The minSize is a measure of how much of the vertical screenspace is occupied by the object for a certain LOD to pop in.
 
Messages
167
Country
germany
When testing it, the LODs did not change the point where the model first popped in. They only influenced which of the models (of different LOD) appeared. So this seems to have no influence on drawing distance.
 
Messages
90
Country
germany
@the nanard Good to hear that it is working now!

@Vitus I'm quite new to 3D modelling in general and scenery development in particular. So you likely know more than I do ;) This solution or rather workaround is quite strange and I'm not really satisfied with it. But I haven't found any other working solution yet, neither on the internet nor by trial-and-error. Thanks for the tip with setting the plane to invisible, I'll try out whether this still has the desired effect. I will also try to play around with the LOD configuration as well, maybe some configuration brings an improvement.

@all Did some of you evaluate the behavior of tall stock buildings like lite poles and the windmill? I'm wondering whether they pop up that late as well.

*edit*
I just noticed that there is a light pole model with three LODs that comes with the SDK examples (SampleScenery/PackageSources/modelLib/Light_Sample). Unfortunatly, I don't have 3DS Max, so I can't evaluate the original source file. But I'll investigate the behavior of this model in the sim tonight. For reference, its XML file / LOD configuration looks as follows:
XML:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<ModelInfo guid="{8396d176-1549-4772-a6e0-a54e5a0ee216}" version="1.1">
   <LODS>
      <LOD minSize="50.0"/>
      <LOD minSize="5.0"/>
      <LOD minSize="1.0"/>
   </LODS>
</ModelInfo>
 
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