New blog

I know this blog has not been very active in the last few months, but I haven’t stopped blogging. I hope to be able to post some interesting updates soon. I have however decided to move my blog to another site. So please update your bookmarks, from now on my blog is found at scenerydesign.org. All the old posts have been migrated already. So hope to see you there again!

Specular and fresnel effects in preview

The next development release of ModelConverterX contains improvements to the rendering of the object in the preview. The two biggest changes are that the specular hotspot and the fresnel effects are now shown in the preview as well. I am not convinced that the fresnel effect is exactly like in FSX, but I think it is rather close at the moment. Besides those two changes there are other smaller improvements as well, for example reflections work more like FSX now and also some additional material settings now have an effect in the preview.

Classify building footprints

I have been adding more built-in attributes to scenProc recently, to allow you to classify buidling footprints in different types. Then for each type you can make different kind of autogen. This work is not yet finished, but in this blog post I want to show what you can do already now. Please read the scenProc manual to see which attributes are available and what they mean. Below is a scenProc configuration file I used to create autogen around the city of Amsterdam: # Amsterdam autogen test IMPORTSHP|buildings_adam.shp|NOREPROJ # ADDATTRIBUTE|*|BUILDCAT|5|1 ADDATTRIBUTE|FCONVEX=1|BUILDCAT|4|1 ADDATTRIBUTE|FNUMPERPANG>3;FNUMNOTPAR<2;FNUMVERT<10|BUILDCAT|3|1 ADDATTRIBUTE|FAREARAT>0.85|BUILDCAT|2|1 ADDATTRIBUTE|FNUMVERT=4;FNUMPERPANG=4|BUILDCAT|1|1 # EXPORTSHP|*|bla # SPLITGRID|AGN # SETAGNBUILDINGHEIGHT|1.0;0.4;0.2;0.0 … Continue reading Classify building footprints

Built-in help

In the last two days I have made scenProc a little more robust. Before any mistake in the configuration file would usually result in a crash of the entire tool. That has been changed now. The tool will now check if you provided the right amount of parameters and give a warning when that is not the case. Sometimes it will also check if the parameters provided are of the right type, but that is not yet supported for all available processing steps. Another change I have made is that the tool now has built-in help. If you enter scenproc … Continue reading Built-in help

Some autogen thoughts

I am going to spend some time on the scenProc tool again the coming weeks. It’s time to finish some of the features of that tool and make it even easier to make autogen. But of course there are some challenges left. One of the main challenges is that most FSX autogen must be rectangular. So for a group of houses as shown above that will work. It is not so hard to define a rectangle for each of them. Some have a small extension, but even if you ignore those the result will look quite good. For the buildings … Continue reading Some autogen thoughts

User interface change

I have changed the main user interface of ModelConverterX a bit, actually it has gone back to some of the concepts that the tool used in 2008 already. I did remove the tabs that were used for the preview, event log and options. Instead of those tabs the options are now on a separate form, which can be opened with the Options button at the top toolbar. The preview and the event log are both shown at the main screen. There is a splitter in between, so you can change the size of the preview and event log as you wish. … Continue reading User interface change

Problem reporting

user: He, your tool does not work. me: What do you mean? What are you trying to do and what goes wrong? user: When I import my object it crashes. You need to help me, I have to convert this object. me: What is the error message you get at the crash? Can you maybe send me the object to debug? user: Never mind, I fixed it already. OK, this is expurgated a little bit, but this is how a typical user interaction about a bug in one of my tools might go. Both for the user and for me it is … Continue reading Problem reporting

Correcting for the FSX curved earth

One of the main differences between FS2004 and FSX when it comes to rendering the earth, is that FS2004 assumes that the earth is locally flat while rendering the scene, while FSX uses the correct curvature of the earth as well. But this has some consequences for scenery designers. When you make ground polygons they are usually flat in the design tool, but putting them on the curve of the earth will mean that the ends will float in the sky. The ground polygon wizard of ModelConverterX does correct for this problem, by shaping your ground polygons to follow the curve … Continue reading Correcting for the FSX curved earth

Bye, bye, performance indicator mode

ModelConverterX used to have a render mode called performance indicator mode. With this mode you could spot where the texture mapping or normals were not so optimal. The recent updates to the preview have removed that mode. But I have now added two replacements. One is called the Normal Inspect mode and the other TexMap Inspect mode. In the Normal Inspect mode the colour of the object is determined by the normal, see the screenshot on the right. This means that as long as the normal is shared by different triangles smoothly you will see the gradually changing colour. If you … Continue reading Bye, bye, performance indicator mode

A bit buggy

The recent changes I made to the ModelConverterX preview turn out to be a bit buggy. To be honest that’s not a surprise to me. I am still learning the OpenGL shader language and also the fact that every graphics card might handle the shader code slightly different does not make the job easier. But I like the bug hunting and it helps me to learn more about the shaders as well. So a big thanks to all the users who encounter these problems and report them to me. Your reports really help and I try to iron those bugs … Continue reading A bit buggy