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#4102947 - 04/08/15 01:29 AM How do I get great scenery in X plane and FSX?  
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Tarnsman Offline
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Tarnsman  Offline
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I am getting more and more serious about General aviation simming and coming from the combat flight sim world, the GA scenery/terrain addon process has me absolutely confused.

I see absolutely fabulous scenery online and when I try to get the same for either x plane 10 or FSX I get lost between -- HD mesh, scenery, terrain, photoscenery, objects, layers, priorities, OBX, REX, W2XP, OSM etc etc etc. WTF!

I dont mind paying a few bucks if I have to, to build out my region but I am so massively confused, there are too many websites and its like everybody is speaking in Latin.

Please help.

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#4102993 - 04/08/15 06:18 AM Re: How do I get great scenery in X plane and FSX? [Re: Tarnsman]  
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Skycat Offline
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Pennsylvania or Montana
I can only speak to FSX, though I'm sure X-Plane is technically very similar...

1) Mesh is the 3-D shape of the terrain, particularly the mountains vs. valleys. Elevation data points are connected to create the topography. The closer the points of data are to each other, the more accurate the topography is.

Depending on what region of the world you are improving, mesh either gives dramatic results or very little 'bang for the buck.' FSX generally renders North America fairly well, but other regions--especially mountainous areas--can benefit greatly by adding good, high resolution meshes. Mesh is usually cheap, easy to install, and a good starting point for beginners. FSGenesis is an example of developer that specializes in mesh replacements. Some landclass products (see below) also include their own replacement mesh, so be careful of that.


2) Terrain textures are image samples of different kinds of topographical features (forests, fields, farms, parking lots, rocks, sand, apartments, shopping centers, swimming pools, etc.) that are distributed crazy-quilt style over the mesh. They aren't specific to a particular place; they are general and can represent any urban, suburban or rural area on the continent during every season that region would experience. Ground Environment X is an example of a payware terrain textures replacement product.


3) Landclass is the data that places all of the terrain textures, plus carves the coastlines and water bodies, places roads and railroads, and places the generic 3-D "autogen" features like trees, houses, factories, windmills, moving cars and trucks, etc. Ultimate Terrain X is an example of a landclass product, albeit a very feature-rich one, and it is designed to work hand-in-hand with Ground Environment X textures. Scenery TECH is another landclass developer.


4) Photoscenery is a different approach to 'painting' the mesh than the default Landclass method, and it replaces generic textures with a large aerial photo of a specific region. It's essentially like using Google Earth. The advantage of Photoscenery is that you can sight-see actual terrain features like your own house. The disadvantages are that photoscenery usually only represents one season; it looks pixelated at low altitudes; and using it eliminates autogen features like 3-D trees and buildings. The MegaScenery Earth series and the VFR Real Scenery series are examples of photoscenery products. (Some of the major airports in FSX use photoscenery as their base.)


5) Clouds and weather visuals can be improved with products like Real Environment Xtreme. You can download very high resolution REX textures if you choose, although these do take up a huge amount of hard drive space and will slow overall performance.


6) Specific sceneries like airports usually are prioritized to sit above the mesh, landclass and photoscenery.


As you can see, there are many options towards customizing FSX.

For simplicity's sake, I recommend that you consider starting with a combination of Real Environment Xtreme and ORBX Full Terrain products. The FTX modules are easy to install and use as a progressive build, and the scenery looks great.


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#4103239 - 04/08/15 04:36 PM Re: How do I get great scenery in X plane and FSX? [Re: Tarnsman]  
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For X-plane, as Skycat has said, it's pretty similar.

1) Mesh: http://www.alpilotx.net/ has you covered for this one. His HD Mesh Scenery v3 is free to download and use. And if you have some sort of Godzilla machine capable of running it, his UHD Mesh v1 is even more detailed. The files are pretty large so pick a region you like to fly in, download just the one for that and see how it works for you. Then add more later.

2) Terrain Textures: Don't know much about what people are doing for textures, but xFlyer's Winter Package will change the textures to a more wintery scene. This provides a solution to a problem that (I think) FSX doesn't have, in that there's no default variation of textures in X-plane for seasons.

3) Landclass: World2Xplane is your friend for this one. It uses OSM data to populate the scenery with accurately placed buildings, forests, train tracks etc. Together with some free-to-download add-on scenery libraries it will completely transform the experience of VFR flying in Europe in X-plane. OSM coverage in the US is a little patchier so the results aren't quite as impressive, but pretty cool none-the-less.

4) Photoscenery: Until somewhat recently, there was a little program called g2xpl that people used to make their own photosceneries from Google maps. I think it didn't have the right permissions to use Google's images so is no-longer available for free. I believe you may still be able to get a copy by contacting the author and paying a donation.
The website simheaven.com also had a bunch of downloadable photoscenery but has taken them offline for the same reasons.
There are some commercial scenery packages available online.

5) Clouds and Weather visuals: Your two 'must-have's in this category are
a) Skymaxx Pro, a commercial product which completely revamps the way that clouds are drawn in x-plane (and also has a nice bonus of increasing framerate). Most people who bought it would say that it's well worth it.
b) Real-Terra-Haze (RTH). A free-to-download plugin that fiddles with the atmospheric scattering to draw a more natural looking haze layer and sky color (plus other things).

6) Specific Sceneries: Just like FSX there are a bunch of free downloadable sceneries from places like X-plane.org and a bunch of commercial ones. I've seen the quality of the free sceneries rise a lot recently (some great examples including KSAN, KLAX and KSFO by MisterX6)


If you're looking to start simply, I'd recommend RTH, SkyMaxxPro and HD Mesh Scenery v3 (for the regions that you fly in).

#4103468 - 04/09/15 12:46 AM Re: How do I get great scenery in X plane and FSX? [Re: Tarnsman]  
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Gentlemen, Thank you.
This should be a sticky.

#4174784 - 09/29/15 10:05 AM Re: How do I get great scenery in X plane and FSX? [Re: Tarnsman]  
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g2xpl is back, and better than ever. Using it over the UHD Mesh V1 for Montana is great. Even have autogen on top of it. Now this is the first time I've used g2xpl and UHD v1 mesh. This is for Bozeman Montana. And what I immediately liked about it was that autogen just shows up over the photo scenery. I think that was all done with the UHD mesh.




Last edited by TerribleTwo; 09/29/15 02:56 PM.

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#4175168 - 09/29/15 11:24 PM Re: How do I get great scenery in X plane and FSX? [Re: Tarnsman]  
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Originally Posted By: Tarnsman
Gentlemen, Thank you.
This should be a sticky.


OK smile


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