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[SOLVED] Seasons

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537
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canada
Hi, All

This is for FS2004
Changing Terrain Texture
Using FS2004 Terrrain SDK, Resampler

Problem related to seasons, dates, etc.

If this is listed elsewhere, please forgive me and tell me where it is.

My problem is that all references in the SDK are to 5 seasons around the year, namely

Summer (su)
Fall (fa)
Winter (wi)
Hard Winter (hw)
Spring (sp)

plus the night light map (lm)

however, in the area I am working the ground textures change 6 times (plus the night map) during the year.

I have changes on

19 Jun
20 Sep
21 Oct
21 Nov
18 Apr
19 May

How can we enter the 6 season changes in the inf file?

Thanks

Fern
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
A little more info

Hi,

Just to add that the big problem is in the 18-April transidion.

I labled textures of one of the tile bitmaps "Su", "Fa", "Wi", "Hw" and "Sp" so I could actually see the letters on the ground and the day they changed.

All is well for all of the transitions except for 18-April. My texture "Hw" continues before and after 18-April, but the surrounding areas change a bit, with SOME snow disappearing in Some of the areas around the area I am working on. It seems to be there is an extra season between 18-April and 18-May.

Looking at it from a height it shows a change by latitude, but it is a very irregular line with patches of snow much higher and much lower than my area is.

How does FS do that? Any hints on how I could try to match that with my textures?

I can create a texture that will match, but how can I make it appear between 18-April and 18-May as an "extra" season?

Thanks

Fern
 

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
Country
ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

actually, seasons change on a monthly basis, meaning for each month (starting around the 15th to 22nd) FS uses a raster grid map at LOD10, which determines what seasonal texture variant is used at each raster grid cell.

The easiest way to check this for your area is to load the default seasons.bgl (in \Scenery\Base\scenery) into TMFViewer, load your project files (or the default LOD5 area) as overlays, and then cycle through the months (View > Seasons/Variations). That way you can determine which season is used where in which month and adjust your own textures accordingly.

It's possible to make your own local seasons file because it uses the same .raw format as land class files albeit at LOD10 scale instead of LOD13; the basic process is described in Christian Stock's TMFManual http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=fs2002sd&DLID=25267

Cheers, Holger
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
One-month season texture

Hi,Holger and everyone

I think I went through Christian Stocks text with a fine tooth comb. I couldn't find any versions that talked about the FS2004 Resampler, and Christian's text talks about FS2002 and FS2000. However, there are lots of information there.

Now, Christian doesn't seem to have an answer for that one-month season either, even though he did touch on the entry "Month=1" on page 32 of his pdf text. As he mentioned, that entry does something like create an extra texture for one month that starts on the 19 of a month, and that his experiments placed Month=6 starting on July 19 and "going far into August".

This could be my answer, but Christian didn't quite manage to make it work and was dealing with the FS2002 Resampler and refered to 12 inf files, etc., which is probably not required for the FS2004 Resampler.

I will try to use the Month=X entry and 7 seasons to see if works, but this, most likely, will send me down the yellow brick road.

If anyone has used this entry (Month=X) before, I'd appreciate to know more detail and what the [Destination] and the [Source]portions of the inf file looked like, especially in the part that says

[Source]
Type=Multisource
NumberOfSources=?????

Thanks everyone!!!

Fern
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
Photo Textures - Seasons - Month X

Hi, Holger and all

Just finished a few hours of trying to use the Month = x feature briefly mentioned in Christian Stock's text and found no way of adding a texture for just one month, which is what FS does. The resampler works, but it shows the texture all year.

Someone out there must know how to add this extra season texture...

Please...:D

Thanks!

Fern
 

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
Country
ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

can you give us the location of the area where you see the sixth season? I'd like to check this in TMFViewer with the default seasons.bgl. FS9 only supplies five seasons in its ground texture sets so this must be some kind of local mixture that appears to be a different season.

I believe you're misreading Christian's notes. What he states about the "month" parameter is merely that one needs a separate .raw file for each of the twelve months and that the start dates of the FS months are not the first day but rather towards the middle. He just uses month = 6 as an example.

It's not the inf file that determines the season at a given location and date but the .raw LOD10 grid raster files that are called by the .inf file. Each .raw file contains values between 0 and 4 in its LOD2 grid raster, corresponding to the five FS seasons. I've made several of my own custom seasons files this way. Granted, I've never tried using a value of 5 or higher so that's something you might want to try. However, even if that doesn't lead to crashes what names would you give your textures?


Here's what I do in FS9 (FSX is much easier in this regard):

* I have 12 .inf files like this:

===============================================
[Destination]
DestDir = "."
DestBaseFileName = "SEAK_seasons_01"
UseSourceDimensions = 1
LOD = 2

[Source]
Type = SeasonU8
SourceDir = "."
SourceFile = "SEAK_seasons_01.raw"
Lat = 67.500000
Lon = -150.000000
NumOfCellsPerLine = 257
NumOfLines = 257
CellXdimensionDeg = 0.1171875000
CellYDimensionDeg = 0.0878906250
ScaleInMeters = 1.0
Month = 1
===============================================

with the 12 corresponding .raw files.


* I have a .bat file that contains the following code:

===============================================
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_01.inf > errors01.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_02.inf > errors02.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_03.inf > errors03.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_04.inf > errors04.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_05.inf > errors05.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_06.inf > errors06.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_07.inf > errors07.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_08.inf > errors08.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_09.inf > errors09.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_10.inf > errors10.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_11.inf > errors11.txt
resample_v1 SEAK_seasons_12.inf > errors12.txt

tmfmerge SEAK_seasons.tmf SEAK_seasons_01.tmf SEAK_seasons_02.tmf SEAK_seasons_03.tmf SEAK_seasons_04.tmf SEAK_seasons_05.tmf SEAK_seasons_06.tmf SEAK_seasons_07.tmf SEAK_seasons_08.tmf SEAK_seasons_09.tmf SEAK_seasons_10.tmf SEAK_seasons_11.tmf SEAK_seasons_12.tmf

tmfcompress SEAK_seasons.tmf SEAK_seasons_c.tmf

tmf2bgl SEAK_seasons_c.tmf SEAK_seasons.bgl
===============================================

I use the resample.exe version of 1.0.0.1 of 5/1/2000, which I renamed to resample_v1.exe. In addition, my working folder contains tmfmerge.exe, tmfcompress.exe, and tmf2bgl.exe. If there are any problems during the compilation the errors*.txt files will give me clues.

That's all you need to create your own seasons file. I generate and edit my .raw files in Photoshop and then, before saving them, also create a .gif preview image, which allows me to quickly browse through the 12 months without having to load TMFViewer.

Cheers, Holger
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
Sixth Season

Hi, Holger and all

I appreciate everyone's patience with this.

I am attaching a picture of the sixth season. This is near CYYB airport (North Bay, Ontario). The dates when it appears are near 17 or 18 of April and 17 or 19 of May, depending on the year (2007 and 2008). The dividing line between snow and no-snow is quite elaborate and irregular, and it goes on "forever" if one decides to fly over it.

Holger, would it be possible for you to explain a bit more what you did and, perhaps, include the entire bat and inf files so I can see all the details?

Thanks

Fern
 
Last edited:

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
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392
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ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

my screenshot of seasons.bgl in TMFViewer shows that during month 4 (April 18 to May 18) there's indeed a mix of winter (gray) and hard winter (white) cells, which leads to the mixed ground textures visible in your screenshot. CYYB is the purple poly in the lower right quadrant of my screenshot. If you switch the TMFViewer display to month 3 then it's all hard winter whereas in month 5 it's all spring.

I've attached a folder with my complete set of files of the southeast Alaska project (Glacier Bay v2/Tongass/Misty). It also includes a text file that explains my process a bit more and gives the start and end dates for each FS9 month (Gerrish Grey deserves credit for figuring that out).

Let me know if you have any questions about those files.

Cheers, Holger
 

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  • seasons_month4_CYYB_NorthBayOnt.jpg
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Messages
537
Country
canada
Sixth Season

Hi, Holger

Thanks a lot. I will see if I can understand and make it work by myself (after all, that is part of the fun).

I should have mentioned that I recognised the Resampler tools you used as from the FS2000 SDK, which I have, but never looked at before.

I will be spending a few hours looking at your Alaska package. I really would like to make this work (and I wonder why, in FS, nothing is ever what it seems... Ha ha ha ha ha ha)

I will be back.

In the meantime, if anyone has anything to add that could help me with this sixth season, do not hesitate to add to the thread.

Thanks!

Fern
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
Seasons in Holger's Alaska

Hi, Holger

I am pretty sure I understand almost everything you did in your resampling, and I feel I can reproduce it for my area.

I have two questions before decide to use this Resampler instead of the FS2004, and create 12 "xxxxx.raw" images from my now Su, Fa, Wi, Hw, Sp.

1. How does the lm (night light map, to show the city lights) get in there?

2. Do you think your seasons change more or less at the same days as the surrounding areas (around the 18th of the month?)

Oh, and a third question... the "raw" format (I never used it) accepts black alpha masks?

Thanks!

Fern
 

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
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ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

making a custom seasons file is very different from compiling a photoreal image with seasonal variants and night lights. I believe you want to do the latter, correct?

The how-to for photoreal ground textures is described in the FS2004 SDK "Custom Terrain Textures.doc" in the Niagara-with-seasons part. It describes how to you build a multisource .inf referencing your .tga files with Alpha channels.

How this relates to the seasons file is that FS will pick the seasonal variant of your photoreal texture based on the season assigned to that particular location during the current day. So, yes, the photoreal tiles will change according to the seasons.bgl file.

Actually, what I'm not sure about is what happens in the case of two or more different seasons occuring in the area of your photoreal textures during the same month (like the April/May example above). Given that, in FS9, the photoreal textures are split into LOD13 tiles I assume that FS would display some textures in one and the other in the other seasonal variant but I haven't tested this myself.

The reason I brought up the ins and outs of custom seasons files is that you can make your own and thus directly control during which months which seasonal variants of your photoreal textures (and the surrounding generic textures) will display. Whether that is worth the effort in your case is something you'd have to decide.

Cheers, Holger
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
Seasons, still

Hi, Holger

I think I had understood the difference between the two processes from the beginning. But when one has a problem to solve, one has to try all possible solutions.

When I use the FS2004 Terrain SDK, which is what I use most of the time, the bitmap I use can be a photo or can be any bitmap I want, of course. I use the FS2004 Terrain SDK and the Resampler all the time. I didn't have the sixth season problem before because I either worked in areas where it is always summer (Rio, Sao Paulo, Australia, etc., where it is always summer) or in Canadian areas where FS behaves like a good kid and doesn't place that extra "snow-is-melting" season in April-May.

FS, somehow, sticks in there a sixth season and the FS2004 Terrain SDK has no control over it is what originated my thread.

I have "labled" my textures with the words "Su", "Fa", "Wi", "Hw", and "Sp", letters showing right on the bitmap itself, to be absolutely sure of the transitions of MY textures, and my Hw texture shows before and throught the sixth FS season. That means FS places that sixth season in there (approximately mid April to mid May) but the FS2004 Terrain SDK Resampler has no way of doing the same thing (creating a one-month extra season), from what I gathered so far.

Hence my looking into Stock's right-up on it, finding that "Month = X" thing, and ending up with your files. I can create my own "raw" images to be anything I want, including my photos, and that might do the trick because I can create 12 monthly textures instead of 5 seasonal textures and make it work that way.

Where I ran into more questions was, using the method you used (12 monthly texutes with the FS2000 SDK), what shows at night? That is important because I am doing an urban area that must have night textures (labled "lm" when playing with the FS2004 Terrain SDK), but there is no reference to night textures in the Resampler you used. If at night what shows is the darkened day texture, that won't work for me.

Thoughts on that?

Thanks

Fern
 

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
Country
ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

sorry, we're still not on the same page :)

There IS no sixth season!!! FS only knows five seasons. As my seasons.bgl screenshot proves, during month 4 around CYYB some cells are defined as winter and some as hard winter, which explains the mix of snow and no-snow textures in your screenshot. The airfield itself sits in a hard winter cell but some of the surrounding cells are defined as mild winter.

The month=X parameter we talked about is for seasons files only (at least in FS9, in FSX this has changed); the only way to create photoreal ground textures is the way described in the SDK (well, you can also use VTP2 polys but that has some drawbacks and it still uses the same input from the seasons.bgl file).

I'm still not clear on what the mismatch problem is during month 4. Which variant is used for your photoreal texture? I assume it's HW? Or does it change between LOD13 cells? If so that means that some of the LOD13 cells sit in the mild winter area and others in the hard winter area of the seasons.bgl. Or, if the photoreal is just one season then the mismatch is because some cells meet the gereric hard winter textures while others the generic mild winter textures. Perhaps you could post a screenshot of the mismatch?

In either case the only solution would be to create a custom seasons file for that area that doesn't have that hard winter/mild winter mix during month 4.

Cheers, Holger
 
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537
Country
canada
SixthSeason

Hi, Holger

A few remarks first.

I know how to make FS2004 Resampler take my 5 seasonal textures plus my light map and make them appear just like they should during the year. That is NOT the problem.

I'm only using the name "sixth season" for lack of a better description for it. Please let's call it that for a while. I'll explain what I mean by sixth season a bit further down.

I'd like to stop calling "photoreal". I am just changing the terrain texture of a certain area and I could be using any bitmaps. I rather call attention to "my area", of which I am changing the terrain texture, and the "surrounding area", which I am not working on, and whose terrain texture remains the original FS texture.

Let me see if I can explain what the problem is better this time:

When I change the terrain texture using the FS2004 Resampler, it gives me 5 season changes and that is it. The different textures I create appear properly, and change at the expected dates. No problems there. Light map shows at night, like it shoudl, and all seems well.

I can also edit my five seasonal textures applied to my area to mend (blend) with the textures of the surrounding area, which remains the FS default.

HOWEVER, the surrounding area (that surrounds my area where I am working) DOES CHANGE TEXTURES SIX TIMES DURING THE YEAR, NOT FIVE. We can call them seasons or not, but the fact remains that those textures change 6 times during the year.

And that is where my problem is. I can make the edges of the bitmaps that I am using in my areas with enough of a gradient to blend with the surrounding texture, no problem, EXCEPT FOR THAT SIXTH PERIOD. My FS2004 Resampler only accepts 5 different season textures, and only creates 5 transitions in the year, while the surrounding area has its terrain textures CHANGED SIX TIMES DURING THE YEAR by FS.
I have checked that, written the transition dates down around a circle, and verified. Screen shots are attached.

Even if one of the textures was repeated (which it is not), it would still amount to six seasons, because the textures change six times, not five.

Therfore, my problem is:

How can a create a sixth period for my area with a texture that I can edit so that it would blend with the surrounding area during that sixth terrain texture change that FS puts in there?

The other 5 periods (normal seasons) are OK. I can live with one month in April with a straight line between snow and no snow, but it would be nice to figure this out.

Let's see if we get on the same page:D

Please comment. Thanks!

Fern
 
Last edited:

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
Country
ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

got it, thanks.

It does appear as if you're seeing six different "seasons" during a year. However, the sixth season is just what I described: not anything different from the other five but rather a spatial mix between WI and HW textures. The reason it looks different in brightness is because of the different elevation of the sun (meaning the effect of the ground shader).

You cannot make your textures match this mix by creating a sixth seasonal set, rather you have to change the mix in the seasons.bgl to something uniform, meaning either all winter or all hard winter. The only way to do this is by making a custom seasons.bgl file like I did for southeast Alaska.

I believe it's possible to have "transparent" areas in a seasons file, just like with land class files. That means you don't have to create a file set that covers the entire LOD2 section, just something that changes the local conditions, with the remaining area assigned the value for transparency (254). Also, you don't need to create a complete set of months; you can compile seasons file with just one file for month 4 and FS will use the default seasons.bgl for the rest of the year.

Cheers, Holger
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
Sixth Season

Hi, Holger

Thanks for the reply! But we are not done, yet. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


(There is a question near the bottom. I bolded it to be easy to see)

Well, by whatever name, the fact is that FS displays six periods of terrain textures. They may be repeated (not in sequence) or a blend, but there are six periods. If all I can do is to create 5 periods (call them seasons or not), I cannot match that sixth one.

But I must pursue your remark about the "Month = x" thing you mentioned at the bottom of your message.

Here are two items:

1. I must change the texture of my area using the FS2004 Resampler so that I can have the texture I want.

2. That allows me to create 5 seasons, or 5 variations, or 5 periods. This way I can blend my borders with the surrounding areas for 5 of the periods, but that extra period (call it whatever) will not blend.

So, here is the question.

Can I use YOUR METHOD (Month = x) to create one more texture and make it appear for that single month?

I am not sure how to do that. If I use your files (edited to have just one month = 4 (or whatever number will do the trick) and create a bgl file and place it in the same folder where my other 5 seasons are?

I do not wish to change any of the default native files in this scenery because I will be uploading it for free distribution. If it comes to that, I will leave that sixth period unblended as it is and ask for forgiveness from the users.

Thanks, Holger, and thanks for your patience...

Fern
 
Messages
1,268
Country
us-hawaii
AFAIK, FS9 and X only know integer values 0-4 for seasons, and always maps these exactly to wi, hw, sp, su, fa. On the edge of two seasons in FS9, there seems to be some dithering done in the sim, not seen in tmfviewer view of seasons.bgl (needed, because the resolution of seasons.bgl is too poor any you would see many straight lines between seasons). In FSX, there is some dithering in the actual seasons.bgl and I haven't played around to see what impact that has in the sim.

I have a replacement seasons.bgl file on avsim FS9 library, that uses the actual snow cover in North America as reported on or about the 20th of each calender month. It does nothing for seasons other than hw, though. It was built using Christian's methods, using Global Mapper to prepare the source data.

scott s.
.
 

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
Country
ca-britishcolumbia
Hi Fern,

as Scott has reiterated, the Month= parameter is for seasons files only and cannot be used for any other type of scenery file, like ground textures (photoreal or not).

The dithering Scott refers to is not specific to the seasons; it's the normal "blending" process that FS uses for adjacent ground textures of different classes (the *m1*.bmp textures in \Scenery\World\texture.

Other than that all the information you need is in this thread. I still don't understand why your custom textures wouldn't blend properly with the HW/WI mix of Month=4 but if they don't then a custom seasons file is your only other option other than ignoring the issue.

Cheers, Holger
 
Messages
537
Country
canada
Give up

Hi, Holger

Well, I am not going to give up, not just yet. But it seems that I am just banging on the same key, so I will stop for now, and try again later.

In closing, just one more time, I will reply to your "I still don't understand why your custom textures wouldn't blend properly with the HW/WI mix of Month=4":

It is because I can only create 5 different periods of textures, and THERE ARE SIX PERIODS OF TEXTURES IN FX in that area.

Thanks!

Fern
 

HolgerSandmann

Resource contributor
Messages
392
Country
ca-britishcolumbia
Hello Fern,

it's actually a great idea to stop running in circles and instead do your own experiments and tests. That should help with determining the problem at hand and how to best solve or work around it.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out in CYYB.

For the record, I never told you to "give up", rather I provided you with plenty of information to solve the issue ;)

Cheers, Holger
 
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