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P3D v5 LOD and Runway/Taxiway lights

Messages
20
Country
netherlands
Hello everyone,

We have a complete airport ready, however we can't figure out the night lighting on the runways and taxiways. We made a halo texture and applied these. However these were far too small and disappeared far away. We made a bigger halo which was visible from far away however this was too big when you were close to it. What is the proper way of applying the lights+models on your airport.

What is the correct workflow and what is required. We don't really understand what LOD 100 means and the value behind it. Meters? Inches? Nothing? Do we need LOD's for the runway lights? Do we need mipmaps? How do I use mipmaps in MCX?

I'm really at a crossroads, looking forward to your help!
 
Messages
38
Country
southkorea
Others please correct me if I'm wrong, but the LOD's and Reverse-mipping are two separate methods you can use to achieve the desired effect. In the LOD method, you create sequentially larger models for the runway/taxiway lights so that when viewed from further away (i.e. LODs become lower), the size of the models compensate for the increased distance. In the reverse-mipping method, the size of the halo itself is large, but the MIPmap for the halo texture is made such that at larger resolution levels (i.e. closer distances) the actual halo is only a small portion of the image whereas at lower resolutions (i.e. further away) the halo takes up more and more of the actual image.

I too am not sure what the numbers behind the LODs mean, perhaps someone else can shed some light on that.

On my previous project I used the LOD method to physically increase the size of the halo as viewing distance increased.
1642732522186.png

In the screenshot above the model is at LOD100 and there are three halo planes - one for the ground (when viewing from above) and 2, oriented 90 degrees from each other, for viewing from sideways.
The "day" texture for these halos is just a transparent image with no content, so that there is no light visible during the day.
The "night" (emissive) texture actually contains the light. It also is a transparent image with alpha channel so that the halo blends in with the background scenery well. Also note that there is a separate night texture for the light bulb itself to make it appear bright.

This is a tedious process, but I then created 15 different models of the same light, but with increasing sizes for the halo planes. However, the textures for the planes are the same.
Eventually, at LOD40, I removed the light fixture because at that viewing distance there's no point in rendering the fixture.
1642733016726.png


That said, I created this model more than a year ago, and I've observed a few interesting facts.
  • P3D doesn't seem to render each LOD level, but instead seems to skip a few at a time. When I fly in the sim and fly away from the lights, I can see the lights getting farther away, then the "jump" in size and repeat this cycle until the next jump. Perhaps not all 15 LOD levels are needed, but closer to 5 (e.g. 10/25/50/75/100)
  • In my model, the halo at the lower LODs are way too bright (large). When viewed from ~10 miles away, the airport seems like a glowing ball of light. I will need to adjust the lower LOD's to a smaller size. Notice in the image below that the lights farther away actually seem brighter than those closer to me.
  • In my experience, the physical light fixture is unnecessary for LOD's below ~80. By the time the simulator is rendering those LODs, your viewing distance is too far for the light fixture to be even visible within a pixel.
2020-7-19_23-34-10-553.png
 

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Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
Messages
904
Country
germany
Hello everyone,

We have a complete airport ready, however we can't figure out the night lighting on the runways and taxiways. We made a halo texture and applied these. However these were far too small and disappeared far away. We made a bigger halo which was visible from far away however this was too big when you were close to it. What is the proper way of applying the lights+models on your airport.

What is the correct workflow and what is required. We don't really understand what LOD 100 means and the value behind it. Meters? Inches? Nothing? Do we need LOD's for the runway lights? Do we need mipmaps? How do I use mipmaps in MCX?

I'm really at a crossroads, looking forward to your help!
Hi.

Have you tried using the 3D lights yet?
They are based on sophisticated LOD technology and are freely scalable.

 
Messages
20
Country
netherlands
Hi.

Have you tried using the 3D lights yet?
They are based on sophisticated LOD technology and are freely scalable.

Hi Christian,

I was looking at these, however I was considering how to implement these quickly and efficiently. How would you suggest doing this? Place them in Blender etc.

Thank you!
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
Messages
31,307
Country
netherlands
Does MCX support adding multiple of these objects at once in a straight line with even spacing without having to eyeball it?
Have not read this entire thread, but are your lights effects you will attach or not? You can attach multiple effects and you could position them at even spacing using the coordinates of each effect (would be manual input, no advanced feature to calculate that).
 
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