VTP Polys, Photo and GroundMaker

#1
Hello guys! Its my first post in here.

I'm creating a scenery of my local airport. The terminal model is done, but to continue the project, i need do understand certain things.

1) What's de difference between VTP Polygons and Photos ( im using Sbuilder )? Both of them are used to put images at the ground right? So what's de diffence?
I'm aking this question because i want to create my own texture for de airport ground, something like this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v385/Fergo/fs3.jpg

Notice that the airport ground texture is very beautiful, with a great resolution, different from the FS2004 default texture. How to do that? ( note that the taxiways fits very well with de ground, don't look like a layer over the grass ( like FS2004 defaults ).

2) Trying do get an answer to my question, i found an app called GroundMaker. Its seems to do exactly what i want, but it doesn't work with FS2004. Any chance to make this program work with FS2k4?

Basically this is what i want: put a high quality texture on the ground of the airport, add custom runways ( with tire marks on it ), taxyway signs and painting.

I'll be very thankful if someonde could told me how to do this thinks or post a tutorial link, etc...

Thanks!
Fergo
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#2
Hi Fergo,

Welcome to the forums.

Fergo said:
1) What's de difference between VTP Polygons and Photos ( im using Sbuilder )? Both of them are used to put images at the ground right? So what's de diffence?
VTP polygons are a way to place the photos, but you can for example also use them to place a polygon like the grass on the default airports. But the resolution of all these mesh scenery elements is limited to 4.8 meter per pixels.

So if you want to place a really high resolution photo on your airport, you will have to use a different polygon. For example using the Fs2002 gamepack of GMax. These polygons work best on a flat area (which your airport in general is).

Fergo said:
2) Trying do get an answer to my question, i found an app called GroundMaker. Its seems to do exactly what i want, but it doesn't work with FS2004. Any chance to make this program work with FS2k4?
If this is the GroundMaker tool from www.groundmaker.org, then I don't think it will be updated anymore. I have had contact with the author a few years ago about updates, but at the moment the tools seems very death.

Scenery created with this tool does still work in Fs2004, but it is indeed better to use the more modern scenery commands like GMax can create. These give you also more power over the mapping of the texture.
 
#3
Thank you very much arno!

Ok, my mind is a bit cleared now, but one question remains. Ok, lets say I have a high quality image of the airport ground. I should use the FS2002 SDK to put that image on FS2004? I didn't understand very well. Do you have tutorial links talking about it ( so I wouldn't be taking your time to answer me )?

Oh, just another thing: when do I use the button "Photo" in SBuilder?

Thanks again!
Fergo
 
#4
In sbuilder, there is the concept of VTP photo scenery and Hi-res photo scenery.

VTP photo scenery creates a square polygon covering an entire LOD13 extent (approx 1.3 km on a side). You must assign a terrain layer for this polygon. Generally the default is OK, unless you are creating other polygons in that same LOD13 in which case you will need to coordinate (higher layer number is drawn over lower number). The default photo VTP layer is set so the poly will NOT display over water, instead the defined waterclass for that LOD13 will show. These polys are drawn on the mesh. Sbuilder will assign a landclass to each of the polys created of type "custom". It will then crop your background photoimage into the appropriate bounds, 1 for each LOD13 selected and resample it to 256x256 pixels, which equates to about 4.8m resolution. If you do not use an alpha image to provide blending with the underlying landclass, it will convert the phototiles into DXT1 format, 43k per photo. These photos look like special landclass to FS, and hence must be in world/texture folder with the rest of the landclass textures. If you specify apha blending, sbuilder will create 8bit palletized with alpha format textures.

Besides VTP photos, VTP can be assigned any other default landclass, and also texture numbers from the config file terrain.cfg. Some of these will have autogen, some not. Note that many of these textures are designed for linear features (roads, streams, coastlines) rather than true 2d areas. In sbuilder VTP polygons with default textures is created with the polygon tool, not the photo tool.

Hires photos use scasm to create ground poly objects. This method uses the layercall command and then DrawTriList to create textured triangles The coordinates of the triange vertices are determined by a LOD8 mesh bmp that you load into sbuilder. I think you can make these ground polys without a mesh, especially if they are going on an airport flattened area. This technique creates 128 triangle polys to cover a LOD13 extent. These polys are textured with a selectable 512x512 or 1024x1024 texture file. To make these polys lie flat on the ground, it is necessary to place flatten terrain polygons under them sbuilder does this using a combination of LWM2 and LWM3 flatten polygons. Each poly is the same location as the textured ground poly that will sit on it. The difference of the flattens is that the LWM3 format allow the poly to be "tilted" -- this is where the mesh bitmap comes in. These photo ground polys are NOT terrain. They will "cover up" terrain. You must use alpha to allow water or any other terrain to "show through". Also, FS9 XML ground polys (airport scenery) will not be displayed either without using alpha.

scott s.
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