A user reported a bug: the 3-d buildings in all parts of the world outside the United States* are European-style, even in Australia, Canada, China, etc.

It takes two things to see 3-d objects in X-Plane:

  1. Location data in the DSF you are flying over.
  2. 3-d models (stored in OBJ files) that match the definitions called for by the location data.

Now we have location data for our “generic” objects (objects that are placed pseudo-randomly based on local topography and roads, to synthesize cities) for all urban areas that are covered by the 7-DVD global scenery set. But we only have two sets of artwork: a set of US-style buildings for use in the US, and a set of European-style buildings for the rest of the world.

So we had an unfortunate dilemma. Either we could have European style buildings everywhere, which looks funny, but at least it’s 3-d. Or we could use the European-style buildings only in Europe and have no 3-d at all everywhere else. Both options make some users unhappy and neither is very good. We chose to have the European buildings everywhere – my guess is that it generated slightly less complaints.

Well, the silver lining is: it’s actually really easy to remove the European-style builldings from the rest of the world (Canada, Australia, China, Russia, Africa, etc.). All you have to do is make a custom scenery pack that applies to the regions where you don’t want the buildings and maps them to a blank object. I have built such a custom scenery pack and posted it here. If you install this scenery pack, then Canada will be devoid of 3-d, but at least there won’t be mismatching architecture.

This begs the question: why not use the US buildings to populate some of those regions? The answer is that the US buildings are built to a different spec than the European ones, because the road grid data for the US is more detailed than the rest of the world. So amongst our current artwork, only the European buildings will work globally.

* When I refer to the United States, I really mean the continental United States. Sorry to everyone in the beautiful states of Hawaii and Alaska. This is just an artifact of how the data was imported – I could not get the Census data for Hawaii, Alaska, or the territories to import, so I reverted to the generic “global” data.

About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.

2 comments on “European Buildings Everywhere

  1. Hi Ben,
    Is LR intending on getting the art team to produce regionalised building objects for various parts of the world in time? I was under the impression that this was the case but the fact that you don’t mention it above makes m wonder.
    – Cormac

  2. Hi Cormac,

    I can’t make any statements about future products. So NO ONE should read anything on my blog and then six months later go “but you promised you would do X”. These blog entries are speculations and discussions about our intentions and insight into our process, not product announcements.

    With that in mind, Sergio and I have discussed expanding the coverage of our artwork to more regions of the world, but I don’t know how quickly that can happen – regionlized artwork takes a really long time to make.

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