We have not been adding features into X-Plane specifically to aid conversion of scenery from MSFS (and I don’t think we will), but sometimes features we want outright help solve conversion issues too. Here are two new features I expect us to ship in version 10 that should help the conversion of overlay scenery packs.

Draped Geometry: I’ve mentioned this feature before; basically in X-Plane 10, the horizontal geometry that sits “on the ground” can be marked for real 3-d draping, rather than just polygon offset.  Draping is the process of actually cutting and shaping that geometry to perfectly ‘hug’ the ground – it’s how we can put a runway or taxiway on top of non-flat ground without Z thrash.

In X-Plane 9 you can create draped geometry, but you have to use .pol files; this can be awkward if you want to put an element in many times, share an element with other authors, or have an element on the ground match a 3-d object.

In most of the cases where I have seen serious Z thrash in scenery conversions, simply changing ATTR_poly_os to the new proposed ATTR_draped will fix the problem.

OBJ Elevation Control: X-Plane 10 will allow you to position an object vertically as well as horizontally, probably with something like this RFC.

For scenery conversions, this means that a scenery pack authored to a specific height elevation can be duplicated precisely.

For authors creating new work, this makes certain kinds of scenery possible that would have been very difficult before.  For example, we get asked fairly often about LPMA. which features a runway on pillars.  You can model as this as an OBJ with a hard surface, but in X-Plane 9 it’s very hard to predict what height that OBJ will be placed at. (Hack/work-around: place the OBJ in the water and model the geometry offset from the runway location.  Most scenery packs should have the water at MSL 0.)  With elevation control, the runway can be built at the real runway surface height and will be placed their explicitly.

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.

9 comments on “Two Features for Scenery Conversions

  1. I often find myself dreaming of ATC controlled, alpine white little sheep. And Ben riding one of them. They perfectly follow earth’s contours.

    Also, could you pretty pretty please post some more screens showing us XP10- features?

  2. OBJ elevation control. Yay!

    (Handy batch utility to add the ATTR to several OBJ files at once? Big yay in waiting…)

  3. Now, if only Marginal would turn up again on the X-Plane Scenery front and adapt his wonderful set of scenery tools to the new possibilities

  4. The ATC thing sounds cool and all, but I’m not finding any info on an issue that I think most will find a bit more important as it is one of the most annoying things about X-Plane, and that is seasons. So, will there be seasons in XPX?

    1. X-Plane 10.0 will not have any new seasonal enhancements; seasons are deferred in favor of other changes to the global scenery. We have to pick our battles. Seasonal support in the engine is in that big list of “after 10.0 ships” features, to be evaluated after we ship.

      1. My God I’d love to know how you’d implement seasons. Isn’t real weather enough? It would have to involve some sort of colours overlay, to say, give an autumn look? Snow? Or as a scenery developer, I’d have to make 4 .pngs!…Agree, seasons can come later, just get that Global lighting perfect.

        I keep going back to those neighbourhood screenshots- I notice all the different shadow positions, even for shrubs, at different times of day. Is it really that good?!

        1. We didn’t make that shot up. 🙂 That’s global shadowing, but it can hit fps…the real question isn’t “can it look that good” but “how much do you get for X computer.”

          Re: seasons, the straw man proposal we’ve always had is a dataref-driven texture selector. A texture selection (in any text-based art asset file) would specify multiple image files and a range of dataref values for when to use them. This would then allow terrain to be date responsive, temperature responsive, weather responsive, etc.

          (For the global scenery it’s more complex because seasons occur in different places in different climates.)

  5. very interesting, but i want to ask something which has nothing to do with this subject Would it be possible to add some motion blur in xp 10? only a little just to give that extra speed effect at landing and take of or at a low altitutude flying , like in real life maybe it would be interesting to look next time you go on a plane if there’s some of it.
    And will they be some snow textures ?

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