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MSFS Custom Aerial Scenery - trying to remove default land "detail" texture

Meanwhile I wonder if I'd better gone thru an Aerial Imagery/Projected Mesh process (acquiring and then photoshopping the default tiles) as - again - @rhumbaflappy demonstrates in this thread?
Any hints or advise?

So - This is a year old thread, and I've been since "acquiring knowledge" the hard way, i.e., learning by trial and error ;). Let me share what I've picked up along the way. The overall scenery design workflow is:

Package Sources -> [build] -> Packages -> [move] -> MSFS2020 Community Folder -> Fly

First of all, let's cover some design do and do-not essentials:
  • Do NOT trust how things look inside the Scenery Editor. If you want to see how things will look "in the end", MOVE your scenery from "Packages" folder to MSFS2020 "Community" folder.
  • When you are using SDK and loading/working on sceneries, make sure you don't have your scenery inside your "Project" folder and "Community" folders at the same time. If you do, the scenery will be DUPLICATED.
  • When you are working on your scenery inside "Scenery Editor", (that is, NOT designing Aerial Imagery scenery , but using polygons, lines, 3D objects, aprons, etc.), you load the scenery using "Load in Editor" button inside Inspector. IF YOU HAVE YOUR SCENERY in the Packages folder as well, the scenery will, once again, be DUPLICATED. You don't want that. ANYTHING YOU WORK ON, you need to remove everything in Packages folder.
  • However, if your scenery uses custom materials or 3D assets (or anything else), which you are currently not working on, those assets SHOULD be in Packages folder, because your scenery will need them.
Now - to your specific question: do you want it to look good only from above, while flying, or do you want it to be a "boots on the ground" scenery, that looks good from up close?
I've been working on a rather expansive and detailed Kennedy Space Center scenery, which is a "boots on the ground" scenery, as opposed to the aerial imagery scenery, meant to be viewed from far above. The best way I found that works for this type of scenery is to create an Aerial Imagery scenery and properly insert it into the MSFS2020. Then, I use it as a GUIDE to lay down Aprons, Polygons, PaintedLines, 3D objects etc. While overlaid, these objects can be tweaked and fine tuned to get the exact desired effect. For example, I use Apron objects with grass materials to achieve the effect of grass patches with varying levels of grass density. That is accomplished by adjusting apron's transparency. The underlying aerial imagery will slightly show through and will actually control how much grass the patch will display in different areas, depending on how much grass was in the underlying aerial imagery. This works very well, in my opinion.

Here is a screenshot of my scenery (work in progress), first, with the underlying aerial imagery only:
VAB_01.png


Notice that the black areas are custom 3D building footprints, used to precisely position them when I insert them. Also - In this image, I spent a LOT of time removing all the shadows (from the trees, buildings, etc) and ALL the cars parked in the parking lots. That is the majority of the work, but if you want this done right, you should invest time into this.

Next, here is the actual scenery overlaid on the aerial imagery above:
VAB_02.png


You can see how the grass is not entirely covering aerial imagery, but showing through some of it, which in turn defines the density of the actual grass. I've also used the underlying aerial imagery to define the exact locations of the parking lots, roadways, etc. This, in my opinion, is the best way to design "boots on the ground" scenery. I also have extensive experience designing pure aerial imagery scenery, last year I created Kilimanjaro Aerial Imagery scenery which is now on the Marketplace.

Anyway, I hope this helps and clarifies things a bit. If anyone has any tips on this topic, feel free to share (or correct me ;))
 
This is a year old thread, and I've been since "acquiring knowledge" the hard way
That is exactly what I was hoping for! ;)
Your mentioning of duplicated scenery gave me indeed some hope for a quick solution. But since I develop on my office PC and then move the packages to my dedicated sim platform (where addons linker links it to the Community folder) my testing environment is clean in this respect.
If you ask me about usage/intention of my historic scenery: It's going back to the thirties, so a typical scenario would be a low level flight in a pre-war biplane. You see, neither with 'boots on the ground' nor very high. But wrt quality and resolution I'd assume that aerial imagery could do the trick. Maybe I should go back to field one and go for aerial imagery (which I haven't yet used)?
 
For something like a stretch of fields I wouldn't do aprons or attempt custom images in aprons. I'd go straight to making a CGL aerial image. That should squash any attempts by the original image to fight back.

Size is the main problem of course but it shouldn't be too huge if it's a small section.

Looks like you already have the right aerial image so that's the tricky part already done.

Though this video is now ancient everything still applies - www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzAsfAvFK0k
 
For something like a stretch of fields I wouldn't do aprons or attempt custom images in aprons. I'd go straight to making a CGL aerial image. That should squash any attempts by the original image to fight back.

Size is the main problem of course but it shouldn't be too huge if it's a small section.

Looks like you already have the right aerial image so that's the tricky part already done.

Though this video is now ancient everything still applies - www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzAsfAvFK0k
Sure - but -this brings us back to the original topic of this thread - the annoying "details" the sim introduces to the aerial imagery in order to supposedly make it look better. These are not as noticeable from far above, as they are from low flight levels. So, we are back to the same dilemma: What's the best approach to designing the detailed low level scenery?

I actually think that the best compromise in this case would be a "projected mesh" approach.
 
I'd go straight to making a CGL aerial image. That should squash any attempts by the original image to fight back.
Ohh, how I like to hear that! These words are balm for the tortured soul. No need to say that I'am now convinced CGLs will be the only way to ever achieve my intentions. Though, it took me 18 min to watch Flying Teston's video, but it'll take me a good 18 hours to put into practise.
And no, I actually do NOT yet have the aerial images that I want to work with. And to minimize blending issues it will probably be the best to work with the original bing photos. Is there a way to grab the original tiles from FS in their highest resolution? And if not and I'd have to use bing maps for that, does it have saving options similar to Google Earth Pro? I must say saving hires screenshots there worked like a charm.
Second question: I assume I need to alpha cut out all waterbodies? They have such a green tint both in Google and Bing maps...
 
I actually think that the best compromise in this case would be a "projected mesh" approach.
Do you think of an 'Independent' PM? I have never use projected mesh's, but seems I have to look into that, too.
So you experienced the original ground pic to 'fight back' and shine thru aerial CGLs with the ominous 'details'?
 
Do you think of an 'Independent' PM? I have never use projected mesh's, but seems I have to look into that, too.
Projected Mesh is literally a flat grid, created in 3D (Blender, 3DSMax), with a material (texture(s)) applied to it. The sim then lays down this grid to conform to the FS2020 terrain. It will give you the same resolution as the aerial texture CGL, BUT (as it is my understanding) it will not give you the artifacts that I was asking about in the original post of this thread. Those artifacts are added by the sim (they look as if the ground is cracked in my case) and kind of "dirty up" the original aerial texture. I was asking if those can be removed from the CGL approach, but the answer seems to be that no, they cannot be. Therefore, to get the CLEAN texture, projected mesh may be the answer.

So you experienced the original ground pic to 'fight back' and shine thru aerial CGLs with the ominous 'details'?
No, there is no original Bing imagery that shows through CGLs. As CGLs are designed to replace and cover the Bing imagery, that would be counterintuitive. However, as I mentioned, the sim ADDS some kind of a detail texture (dependent on the location) that is intended to enhance the look of the CGL texture. However, it doesn't always work, as it was the case with my parking lot with smooth asphalt, on top of which the sim added a texture that makes it look like a dried, cracked up ground (see the image in my original post, where the red arrow is)
 
And no, I actually do NOT yet have the aerial images that I want to work with. And to minimize blending issues it will probably be the best to work with the original bing photos. Is there a way to grab the original tiles from FS in their highest resolution? And if not and I'd have to use bing maps for that, does it have saving options similar to Google Earth Pro? I must say saving hires screenshots there worked like a charm.
Second question: I assume I need to alpha cut out all waterbodies? They have such a green tint both in Google and Bing maps...

I've yet to find a way to get Bing images in the same way you can grab Google ones.

It might be worth checking Google. Most of the time I used that instead and it looked fine. The easiest way to get full fat images from there is with this - https://sasplanet.geojamal.com which will download an entire area in one gulp, but you can't find historical imagery with it which I assume you might need.

The flying theston thing is straightforward once you get going. The most time consuming stuff is editing the image and georeferencing it in qgis.

If there's water then yes it's better to get rid. With water masks you need a softened border to blend. If it's all land then I stick to the road or field boundaries.

There's a squishened example.
 

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Hi again; "bumped" for more edits to my 'mega-post' above in this same thread: ;)

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/t...efault-land-detail-texture.456765/post-912411

GaryGB

AHA! OK! Wow - I did NOT know about this option! That's it - that does the trick!! That's the answer to my original post, thank you, sir!

Ok - the ask now is, is there a way to embed this switch somehow in the CGL scenery, so it works on per-CGL basis, not globally? Because I don't want to have users resort to this globally, so that ALL the scenery globally gets the detail maps removed.

Also, this is available only if users have SDK enabled, which I am sure not many users do... and I don't think SDK is available in XBox version at all. So...

Can this switch be somehow applied to a specific CGL only?
 
Gary is so knowledgeable and I have to apologize because I am kind of dyslexic and I get confused by edited posts, I know he tries to be clear. Anyways, it looks like you are looking for the "drawDetail" flag, determining whether to draw the detail texture surface on polygons. If so, that is part of the <Apron> element of the airport.XML which is defined by the developer during creation.

https://docs.flightsimulator.com/ht..._Facilities/Airport_Definition_Properties.htm ----> once at the page, you can click the <Apron> topic on the left to advance the page to that section.
 
Gary is so knowledgeable and I have to apologize because I am kind of dyslexic and I get confused by edited posts, I know he tries to be clear. Anyways, it looks like you are looking for the "drawDetail" flag, determining whether to draw the detail texture surface on polygons. If so, that is part of the <Apron> element of the airport.XML which is defined by the developer during creation.

https://docs.flightsimulator.com/ht..._Facilities/Airport_Definition_Properties.htm ----> once at the page, you can click the <Apron> topic on the left to advance the page to that section.

I like the idea of being able to control display of a mapped Detail texture attribute in "local" individual custom terrain scenery objects.

As to whether this attribute toggle can be used "globally" in individual custom Satellite / Aerial Imagery CGL files, I have not yet tested that.


If we use a web browser to search the SDK Docs here:

https://docs.flightsimulator.com/ht...Definition_Properties.htm?rhsearch=drawDetail

...we return only (2) hits (as of today's date ;) ):

* Taxiway Definition Properties

...in which, via a web browser's 'find word in web page' feature, we see a drawDetail flag at:

<TaxiwayPath>

...and:

* Airport Definition Properties


...in which, via a web browser's 'find word in web page' feature, we see a drawDetail flag at:

<Apron>​


As both the above refer to MSFS default "Airport" infrastructure (vector ?) objects, one might wonder if Asobo has not yet acted on this: :scratchch

Here is Asobo's reply on Dec 15 2021, to yet another report on the issue of Detail Maps:


https://web.archive.org/web/2022051...-rid-of-surface-type-detail-map-textures.html

Sasa avatar image
Sasa asked • Dec 14 2021 at 5:22 AM | Sasa answered • Dec 16 2021 at 1:35 AM

How to get rid of Surface_Type detail map textures?

When placing a texture on the ground (be it projected mesh or polygon) there's always a detail map on top.

I'm aware details maps have been discussed to some extend here but my question is how can I get rid of that detail map overlay (or potentially even replace it by a custom one)?

I have been searching the MSFS folders + the SDK inside out for hours for the location of the detail maps but cannot find any further information. No matter which SURFACE_TYPE I select (including "UNKNOWN") there's always one of these detail maps as an overlay:

screen.jpg

What's most frustrating is that this is even the case for the "snow" and "ice" types, which shouldn't have any stones/soil/asphalt overlay. Since I' working with skiways, all these detail map overlays heavily spoil the immersion.
scenery
screen.jpg (1.4 MiB)
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FlyingRaccoon avatar image
FlyingRaccoon answered • Dec 15 2021 at 5:10 AM Expert AnswerEXPERT ANSWER

Hello

No ways at the moment to have no detail map or define a custom one.
This subject is discussed on a regular basis, even with our internal artist team so I'm hopeful it'll be improved at some point.
But I just can't tell yet how it will be prioritized.

Regards,
Sylvain
Sasa avatar image
Sasa answered • Dec 16 2021 at 1:35 AM

Hmm... that's disappointing but I guess nothing I can do much about at this stage. Except for maybe creating the airport as an elevated 3D model that comes with the usual downsides of performance loss and different lighting to terrain - all that just to have the detailmap gone.

Fingers crossed this will be fixed rather sooner than later. :)

Again, I ask: Where is the equivalent of the FS2Kx "Terrain.Cfg" file for MSFS located, and can we edit it ? :rolleyes:

< uh-oh... If there is 'one', please tell me there is actually more than just (1) per installation of MSFS to define custom content ! > :yikes:

GaryGB
 
Last edited:
Gary is so knowledgeable and I have to apologize because I am kind of dyslexic and I get confused by edited posts, I know he tries to be clear. Anyways, it looks like you are looking for the "drawDetail" flag, determining whether to draw the detail texture surface on polygons. If so, that is part of the <Apron> element of the airport.XML which is defined by the developer during creation.

https://docs.flightsimulator.com/ht..._Facilities/Airport_Definition_Properties.htm ----> once at the page, you can click the <Apron> topic on the left to advance the page to that section.
Yeah, not sure if I am making myself clear, I am asking about a flag to remove detail texture for aerial imagery, which are CGL files. Aprons are scenery elements which get compiled into BGL files. In the dev mode, where you can view your aerial imagery project and compile it, there are no options for the removal of the detail texture.
 
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