Slovenia . X

Forums News & Upcoming Slovenia . X

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  • #422
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    S L O V E N I A . Xan ongoing project reports (add-on coming soon – first half of 2018)

    My home country deserves to be properly represented in the sim. Its immense diversity is also a challenging factor for sim developers – you feel you are developing four or five different sceneries, not one. Slo4FSX and SST (Slovenia Scenery Team) made a big leap forward in that direction. The Eastern part was and still is a great product, but due to the passing of the author, unfortunately not available anymore. His western part was never finished (only an underlay and special objects were developed) and this is where our product SLOWAGN filled the void. It was born out of frustration and necessity rather than fascination with the scenery design. But it became one, and an obsession, too.

    Slovenia X will continue, where SLOWAGN left off. Providing a complete underlay with an elevation model, all vector features, accurately placed generic buildings in all their complexity, with typical textures, the regions, natural features and even some special landmarks and landmark buildings. Landclass will be customized and seasonally different including the night lighting maps and lights in the settlements. It will basically establish a whole and a complete representation of the country and bring an independent, and I dare to say more advanced and up-to-date, product in regards to now unavailable SLO4FSX sceneries.

    In an unprecedented rush of enthusiasm the work has started in parallel on another project – Slovenia.X . There is also a reason for running two landscape projects in parallel: figuring out the processes takes times and relearning them or remembering the peculiarities of programmes, the exact settings that work, etc is a tedious task. Doing two elevation models in parallel is much easier than couple of months apart. Updates will follow.

    #424
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    Slovenia X is not a clean slate either. Much of the data and objects developed for SLOWAGN will be incorporated into the complete coverage. But it is also not merely an expansion, where we would only need to develop the east and the rest had been there all along. Not so: Slovenia X is and has always been more ambitious with its own custom landclass and complete vector coverage that has not been done for SLOWAGN.

    #427
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    Slovenia.X will bring an incredibly detailed elevation model with a resolution of 5 meters and height accuracy of approximately 2 meters, even less so in areas that are not covered with forests or buildings. At this level the railway embankments, underways, even piles of materials are discernible.

    #434
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    SloveniaX dobiva podlago. Fotorealna podlaga je najhitrejša in najbolj enostavna rešitev, ki v primerjavi z vsem ostalim ne zahteva veliko dela. Zato jih je povsod polno. Njihova edina težava je, da so povečini vse, razen od bolj znanih razvijalcev, nelegalne. Še posebej to velja za vse openfreeohinsploh.

    To, da nek program omogoča, da snameš visokokvalitetni satelitski posnetek in ga vtakneš v simulator, še ne pomeni, da ga lahko tudi uporabiš in če ga že lahko imaš za lastno uporabo, gotovo nimaš pravic za njegovo distribucijo in še manj prodajo.

    Po poti satelitskih posnetkov torej (žal) ne morem. Že nekaj časa pa sem bil mnenja, da se skriva še precej rezerve v custom landclass-ih, ki nikoli ne bodo dosegli točnosti ortofoto podlag, so pa lahko vsaj dobra alternativa, če do celotnih aerofoto podlag uradno ne moremo zaradi (pre)velikih stroškov odkupa pravic za uporabo. Da ne bo pomote, tudi za landclass je potrebno nakupit posnetke in jih zelo predelati, da bodo uporabni. Vendar pa z njimi tudi nekaj pridobimo, npr. letne čase, možnost uporabe vektorskih elementov, itd.

    SloveniaX bo imela custom landclass podlago, ki jo boste lahko vklopili ali pa ne. Na njej bodo vektorski elementi, ki jih boste lahko tudi vklopili in izklopili po želji, odvisno od podlage, ki jo boste imeli spodaj. V primeru fotorealističnih podlag so ceste, reke in obala že njen del, zato vektorskih ne potrebujete.

    Karta pokrivnosti tal, ki služi kot osnova za landclass (izvleček iz EU Corine Land Cover)

    Prvi poskusi so obetavni. Že s povsem default teksturami, ki sledijo natančni pokrovnosti tal Slovenije, odkrivam nove razsežnosti dobrega starega FSX. Preko je položena SLOWAGN brez fotorealistične podlage. Cest, rek in ostalih linij seveda še ni. Poglejte raznovrstno teksturo na hribih, ki postajajo precej veren približek svoje realne podobe (Storžič s Hudičevim borštom in pobočja Velikega vrha, Košute in Begunjščice). Zahod kažem zgolj zato, ker imam zanj že izdelan autogen iz SLOWAGN, govora pa je seveda o celi Sloveniji in še bolj natančnem autogenu za celoto.


    Zgoraj: proti Tržiču z AC, spodaj: Kranj (Custom LC + default LC teksture + SLOWAGN + custom elevation model)

    Kdor bo imel Orbx Ftx Global, bo videl zadeve nekoliko drugače. Orbx namreč poseže v samo jedro simulatorja in zamenja default landclass klasifikacijo in teksture s svojimi.

    Izvoz Brezovica, v ozadju Dolgi most (Custom LC + Ftx EU LC teksture + Ftx Vector + SLOWAGN + custom elevation model)

    Pokrivnost bo še vedno definirana z našo datoteko, medtem ko boste namesto nekaterih default landclassov gledali Orbx Global oz Orbx Europe LC teksture. Kot lahko vidite je v tej kombinaciji še bolj prepričljivo kot default (nekoliko preveč nemško morda). V vsakem primeru pa bodo slovenske landclass teksture vidne pri vseh različicah tako pri tistih, ki boste imeli default kot pri tistih z global ftx paketi. Nove teksture bodo izdelane za tisto tipiko, kjer default teksture bistveno odstopajo od realne podobe, predvsem gre tu za strukturo polj, pašnikov, vinogradov in nekaterih drugih slovenskih posebnosti.

    Prilet preko Domžal in Mengša z Brnikom v ozadju

    Toliko ta hip, naslednja faza so custom teksture za landclass, temu pa sledijo vektorski podatki, nato autogen in na koncu še posebni objekti.

    #451
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    After a pause in reports but certainly not a pause in building Slovenia X (still under this working title for the lack of a better one – I realize that many mistakenly associate it with scenery for X-Plane) again an intermediate report on work in progress, and a few pictures for raising your interest and appetite for what is to come.

    The landscape around Brnik airport through the seasons

    The underlay landclass (LC) part is finished. It took much longer than anticipated. As reported before I went down the landclass polygon road, with the 30 m resolution data on land cover. Initial testing of available classes was very frustrating. Slovenia lies in two regions in FSX: A and N. Only few actually appear in both regions. So, the N had to go and was substituted with A for the whole country. This does not mean we lost the variety and there are still different LCs for the coastal region but life was surely less complicated after this intervention. There is still an astonishingly limited number of LCs that remained to be customized. Several parameters are important for using the LC: regional availability and seasonal availability are the most important among them followed by the number of variety of textures that is coded into the sim. I did not want to change any other core sim file but my own (eg. terrain.xml and such). At the end, I made 18 custom LCs, (usually) with a complete set of textures for the 4 seasons, plus snowy conditions, plus night textures. Among them are the fields, vineyards, mountain rock, mountain scrub, planes, marshes, industrial areas, etc. The LCs for different kinds of forests and towns (and golf courses – yes, those are in, too) remained default, which will ensure unified look of the sim across the borders. You will also benefit if you have add-ons that enhance trees and LC textures (e.g. Orbx Trees, Orbx Global, Obrx LC Europe). By the way, the colours are attuned to Orbx with which Slovenia X blends in almost perfectly (the combination of the above mentioned Orbx products has been used in the majority of the pictures). The colour scheme also provides a certain vividness that we have lacked so far in default FSX and slo4fsx add-ons (pictures should speak for themselves).

    Here you can appreciate the variety of textures and rich LC polygon resolution – near Vogel, with Rodica in the background (left)

    It took so long because I decided to do seamless LC textures and wanted to have a variety of them for one LC. It is a very tedious, labour intensive, trial and error, rename until you drop process. They are not always as numerous as the default variations but there is also a much finer grained structure of the landscape cover to compensate for that (remember: polygonised approx. 30x30m in Slovenia X cover, compared to squared 1200x1200m default one!)

    Prekmurje region in all its colours

    Experiments with the default seasonal distribution were not satisfactory and new seasonal layout needed to be made to represent more accurate conditions that reflect Slovenia’s temperamental and various climate. Doing new ones had its benefits: the snow cover varies through November, December, January, February and March. The snowfall and cover is based on an actual data for the winter of 2012/13, the year that was very generous with snow.

    The variety of snow conditions in ‘snowy’ months

    Combined with the complete vector coverage of roads, railways, rivers, streams, inland and seawaters, we are starting to get a feel for the final appearance of the add-on. The autogen – actual representation of trees, buildings and other artefacts – is still missing in the majority of pictures. The jury is still out on whether the major towns will be included as photo real representations or not. I am toying with the idea to have them added later as free updates, depending on the number of add-ons sold. Those will provide funds to acquire the rights for the commercial redistribution of imagery, which can be quite expensive, as you know, especially for larger areas.

    Coastal region – Koper and the surroundings

    So far it has been tested in P3D4 – looks amazing (I have PTA but nonetheless), FSX:SE and FSX – looks good, not as sharp in the distance due to theirs and my hardware limitations, FSW – looks decent but extremely washed out (everything in FSW looks that way due to the current rendering engine of the sim, otherwise it would look good, too).

    Washed out colors in FSW, but otherwise a promising appearance

    Looking decent in FSX:SE, too, although not very crisp due to my low settings

    Night scenery is looking good but still not to my liking. Not because of the textures – they look good – but because of the vector roads being lit up by lights. This is an interference of the certain add-on and annoys me because it changes the global default road class, making Slovenia’s highways light up by night, which is not the case. Turning that off would require changing the terrain.xml file and I did and still do want to avoid that. There is no option to turn off the lights in the add-on except removing the add-on completely and the majority of the users, including me, will not want to do that. I will provide more accurate and very nice looking custom lighting as an option but it will be pointless to turn it on if you will not be using photo real underlay. I will be looking for a solution to this problem, although I am not confident I will be able to overcome it in a win-win easy-on-the-user way. It is not bad, just inaccurate and it bugs me.

    The night landscape around Ljubljana looks ok, but not completely accurate – highways should have no lights except for the links

    It still holds true that each user will have the possibility to simply turn on or turn off different aspects of the Slovenia X add-on, depending on his/hers computer specifications, possession of other add-ons such as underlays.

    Now we are off to vacation first, followed by the work on P3D4 installer and some minor visual updates for the free Drvenik islands scenery. Then the serious work will continue with the autogen for Slovenia X.

    #521
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    The work continues on the Slovenia X project. It took some time to develop new autogen buildings and textures. Although the geometries are not that demanding, the texture preparation and covering of the buildings with them require its time. We have got Slovenian blocks of houses in different length and height.


    Some of them are renovated and some still dull grey. They will provide the variety in the segment of 4 to 12 story buildings that was lacking in SLOWAGN and would be lacking should the default autogen be used. The problem of simulating Slovenian neighbourhoods are the sudden jumps in scale that happen in cells much smaller than the FSX cell of 1.2×1.2 km. While the correct height data is there, the resolution of the sim proved to be not fine enough. Such buildings will need to be generated as other ‘special’ generic buildings.


    New buildings have been added to the libraries of office and public buildings where they will join the existing default sim buildings.

    And some representative local shops were made, too.

    Next steps involve generating algorithm which will generate and place all generic buildings, special generic buildings and objects (such as cellular base stations, antennae, hayracks, traffic signs, jumbo posters, etc.), greenery and forests according to the GIS data. These steps will be followed by hand placement of crucial generic objects such as churches, gas stations, toll stations which serve as orientation points in VFR flying and which we do not want to be dependent on the autogen slider selection – they need to be always visible, regardless of the user settings. The process will again take its time, because there is an estimate of 6000 objects to be placed). This will conclude the generic part of Slovenia X and the alpha testing will start. Alpha release is expected in January 2018 at the latest and will be available as early-access. During the alpha phase, special objects and buildings will be created and added along with photo real underlays for the selected cities. The beta release is expected by the end of July 2018. Stay tuned for further updates.

    #582
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    If you have ever wondered why Slovenia X takes so long, here is one of the reasons: scenery development of large areas is so incredibly complex.. One of the time consuming tasks is making of new custom generic objects. There needs to be plenty of them not to be repeatative but also to transmit the local identity of the places you will fly over. The time invested in the textures and covering of the models cannot be shortcut and many of them have night textures as well. Quite a handful for one person. The Slovenia X generic objects and buildings library is now complete and compiled.

    With that done, we can move on to populate the whole country with these and the default buildings. And with the forests and greenery. After that, things will start to come together and the product will begin to resemble what it has been envisioned from the beginning. Much to do still.

    #610
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    Slovenia X has been generated for the first time in flight sim history! In addition, it is also for the first time that you are looking at it as a complete (soon to be) product, not just a part of something or an add-on to an add-on such as e.g. autogen. It sounds sort of historic and it actually is.

    Slovenia X has buildings and objects important for VFR orientation (churches, gas stations, toll stations, chimneys) that are generated independently of autogen (independent of those sliders and always visible). We have got the complete autogen, including the greenery in cities.

    There are still some GIS clearing and scripting tweaks to do, as well as running a couple of new iterations of autogen making. All in all the first looks are incredible. With the new blocks of flats really giving the look to Slovenia that has been missing.

    Slovenia X is starting to look and feel like real Slovenia, mind you, still without the photo real underlays. Special buildings and selected photo real underlays of special features and bigger towns are coming soon. The copyrights have been already acquired or licensed for the most of them.

    Special buildings will need a complete modelling overhaul though, and the photo real imagery will need to be cut, blended in and seasonally modified, night textures will need to be made, too. The preview is available in the video and accompanying pictures will explain more than my words. Do read the comments below the video about FPS. Personally, I am very pleased with the FPS of Slovenia X – it has been well optimized. I have never been able to run such add-ons at their full settings due to FPS drop, and I pretty much can do that with Slovenia X.

    #633
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    The work continues on Slovenia X. Highway cross has got all the bridges, overpasses, gas stations, toll stations, parking lots. On the border crossings, we now have appropriate infrastructure. The tv transmitters and antennas have been placed. Fine-tuning of the autogen has been finished, but the cleaning up of different buildings and trees as well as addition of hand placed ones still need to be done. The photo real underlays of coastal towns, Portorož, Lucija, Piran, Izola, Koper and other important regional centres such as Nova Gorica, Kranj, Celje, Novo mesto, Murska Sobota are in the works. They will blend in with the rest of the scenery and will have seasonal adaptations. The textures of the generic buildings are getting a facelift, too. With those out of the way, the product will be ready for a first alpha release to a select group of testers, while we will continue to work on special buildings, addition of generic buildings and objects in towns, where needed, config tool and installers.

    #647
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    Major settlements and some distinct landscape features have started to get their photoreal underlays. The underlays are seasonal with- and without- snow in areas covered with snow. They include night textures, too. Here are some examples of Bled, Kranj, Koper, Celje and Cerknisko lake. Still in the making are Ptuj, Murska Sobota, Novo Mesto, Nova Gorica, coastal towns with Soline, and later with enough copies sold, Ljubljana and Maribor.

    #701
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    After the photo real underlays finished, the huge task remained: cleaning and modification of generated autogen with additional placement of specific both default but also custom created buildings. When you go from northeast towards southwest, settlement by settlement, region by region, and cover the whole 20.000 plus square kilometres, you begin to understand how big and diverse Slovenia is. There were places I have not heard of, not to mention those that I have heard of but never visited. It helped me assemble the new mind map of my home country and that alone is a huge added value of this undertaking. The cleaning is coming to an end in the next week. What remains are the much-needed corrections of anomalies and errors that only the complete overview exposed (e.g. parts of rivers missing, some woods, some autogen on the border regions, roads misplaced, trees in the rivers and on highways, duplicate churches, wrongly orientated, and such). I am positive that a handful of mistakes was missed and will be only discovered through use (if ever). Nonetheless I would dare to say that 90% if not 95% of the buildings are placed correctly and that the overall fill of the landscape and settlements looks and feels right. Early access is thus in sight.

    #1193
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    After early access release the work continues on Slovenia.X. We have been quiet for a while but this does not mean, we have not been working hard. The Slovenian airports are in the making and the simple task of making a generic ones has overgrown into full scale, all out, custom buildings and objects spiced, time consuming endavour. They will include ALL airports and airfields, including tiny ones, with the exception of the biggest LJLJ (that one is nicely covered with a commercial addon by other publisher). At present count there are 43 of them! Besides the correct disposition of their elements and buildings, they will also be recognizable in appearance with custom buildings and will have lots of clutter (custom and default), including some localy typic static models of aircraft. At a later stage the seasonal 3D grass and (hopefully) other objects and some photoreal (seasonal) underlays will be added.
    Ilumium Simulation now has a dedicated facebook page, too, where we update you on the progress from time to time and our users are invited to post content and their experience with our addons: http://www.facebook.com/ilumium.simulation/

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