Author Topic: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?  (Read 1712 times)

Stearmandriver

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Hello all,

You were kind enough to point me in the right direction after my last slew of questions, and you know what they say... no good deed goes unpunished.   I'm back...  ;D

I hope this is a straightforward one:   is there a way to exercise control over the "draw distance" of an object?   I mentioned earlier I was looking for some runway edge marker objects for rural runways, and sure enough I've found several I like in the Misty's object libraries (I won't be distributing elsewhere).  But they all disappear when you get just a little distance away, and then "pop" into existence in pairs while you're on short final.   It's distracting and causes micro-stutters (on my machine, anyway). 

I see other sceneries that have similar objects that are visible from as far away as the airport is.   How do developers accomplish this?   Is there an easy parameter to tweak somewhere, is it a function of the size of the bounding box etc?

Thanks.. and thanks for the earlier advice.   In addition to learning object placement and autogen annotation by polishing up my sloping jungle strip in Papua New Guinea, I've managed to create a fictional sloping, uneven gravel runway high up a mountain valley in Misty's world with an intentionally tough approach.   Even have a little storyline idea for a series of these strips if it should turn out to have any merit.   Great fun!

stiletto2

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2017, 11:13:25 AM »
I don't believe the draw distance of a specific object is controllable directly.

Rod

ualani

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2017, 11:54:53 AM »
What are your machine's specs? FS or P3D? Generally speaking that if you're getting micro stutters it means that your video card is having trouble keeping up with what your processor is throwing at it. Do you have a lot of tweaks in your FSX.cfg? Many of them actually slow things down, are old and outdated, are placebos and aren't even necessary.

Specifically, what objects are you seeing that pop into view as you get near to them?

What is your level of detail radius set to?

"Is there an easy parameter to tweak..." If anything, and if there is, they would be defined in the object's model and can't be tweaked without decompiling (a no-no without the author's permission.)

While I'm not 150% certain, the bounding box as defined in the model determines the extent of the autogen suppression so I don't think the box size would have an effect on "popping" objects.


Stearmandriver

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2017, 06:35:55 PM »
FSX Acceleration
AMD Phenom X6 1045T 2.7Ghz (but overclocked a bit, around 3.0ghz if I remember right)
Nvidia GTX 460 V2
16gb DDR4 RAM

Nope, definitely not the best flight sim system.  I have no doubt my video card struggles lol.  I built this computer for photography work for the most part; never was a gamer until I discovered how real and immersive  flight sims had gotten.

That said, it does just fine running GA airplanes in ORBX sceneries. It'll slow a little in complex places like the Misty's add-on Ketchikan harbor.  It chokes running the PMDG NGX into Juneau unless I start pulling sliders down.  ;-) 

That said, I'm running the recommended ORBX settings:
LOD radius: Large
Mesh Complexity: 100
Mesh Resolution: 5m
Texture Resolution: 7cm

So I accept the performance stutters as a function of my mediocre system.  But the visibility distance is what I cannot figure out.  I'll use a simple jungle strip I've been learning on to demonstrate what I mean with some pics.  I'm modeling it on ORBX strips in the area (ORBX AYPY Papua New Guinea "Experience" package).  My strip is at Haelogo, a real-world village strip that ORBX did not build.

First, examples of an ORBX strip in the area:

Kagi, on the ground.  Note the white cone runway edge markers:





Here is ORBX's Efogi, from a medium final.  Note the runway edge cones (small though they are) are actually visible for the length of the runway at this distance:





Now here is my scenery (Haelogo) from an overhead view.  Note the white runway edge cones visible for the length of the runway (these are an object from the EZ Scenery library --> FSXP3D_Small_Airport_Objects2 --> item 5.  GUID: {31CA1643-4899-ACF6-ED01-C593EA8941AA}   )





Here is Haelogo (my scenery) on the ground.  Notice that the last couple markers aren't visible, even from this distance:





Here is Haelogo (my scenery) just after takeoff.  Notice that the edge markers have all disappeared already (contrast this with the distance the ORBX edge markers are visible from):






And here is Haelogo (my scenery) on short final.  Notice that only the closest couple pairs of edge markers are visible; the farthest have JUST popped into view at this point:






I'm trying to learn to understand object behavior from this example scenery.  I'm confused by the following:

1.  The similar-sized ORBX objects are visible from any distance that they'd be large enough to be visible.  Any similar-sized object I attempt to use (barrels etc) all behave the same way; they disappear seemingly too soon.

2.  But from the the overhead view of my scenery, my markers are visible from quite far away.  The overhead shot I posted looks to be a mile high and you can still see the markers.  Yet on the ground or in flight in a normal horizontal view, they disappear within a few hundred feet.

Can anyone understand why this happens?  Any ideas what kind of magic ORBX uses to avoid it?  I'm not averse to learning to build my own objects from scratch in GMax or Sketchup so I have control over all parameters... but what might I need to do?

Thanks for taking the time to read all this, guys...

Andrew




« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 06:44:06 PM by Stearmandriver »

ualani

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 07:42:42 PM »
My guess is (and just a guess) that since all of the markers are visible in your first screenshots and not the others, is that it isn't a function of something within the models but possibly a function of your GPU and CPU, which are pretty minimum for the demands of FSX.

What you are seeing may be the result of slow loading objects and textures. What happens if you pause for a bit and then unpause? Do they show now?

There's also a well know and inherent bug in FSX/P3D that some objects will disappear at certain viewing angles, but I'm not certain that this applies here.

I model in Sketchup and there are no parameters that can be defined that would apply to FSX/P3d; it's strictly a "drawing' program. After creation the Sketchup models are exported into a format that can be read by a conversion program, which in turn allows manipulation of your Sketchup model and finally the eventual export to a bgl that FSX/P3D can use. There's a large number of steps involved. I can't speak for modeling in GMax Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you want, send me a private message, we can discuss how you could send me your scenery files and I'll see if I have the same issues that you do.


Stearmandriver

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 09:38:04 PM »
Thanks for offering to take a look.   I'll toss the files in Dropbox and send ya a link later.

Now that I look at the pics side by side, I wonder if it's not just a function of object size.   I had the impression that the ORBX cones and the EZ Scenery cones were roughly the same size, but now I'm wondering.   The ORBX ones look bigger.   When I place bigger objects, they do remain visible - like those orange and white barricades at the runway ends.

I would suspect my computer if it weren't for the fact that the ORBX stuff displays fine.   There must be a difference.

stiletto2

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2017, 11:57:37 PM »
A couple of things......

1. Top down view renders differently than the front view so you can't draw any conclusions from what you see in top down versus front.

2. Do you use the SmallPartRejectRadius=n parameter in your fsx.cfg file? If you do have it, what is it set to?

Rod

Stearmandriver

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2017, 12:15:37 AM »
A couple of things......

1. Top down view renders differently than the front view so you can't draw any conclusions from what you see in top down versus front.

2. Do you use the SmallPartRejectRadius=n parameter in your fsx.cfg file? If you do have it, what is it set to?

Rod

Good to know about top down view, thanks.

I do have the SmallPartRejectRadius in my cfg.  It is set to 4.0.  Related?

ualani

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2017, 01:00:34 AM »
Yes. It's not really needed. Either remove it completely or set it to 1. This may explain your issue.

According to the FSX SDK

"SmallPartRejectRadius=N (default is 1) which determines the radius in pixels that an object has to be in order to be rendered. Increasing this size will cull more objects from the rendering pipeline"

I placed a line white EZ Scenery cone in a test scenery area and have no popping problems with them. I'd say that if they pop it's probably your graphics card working hard to render everything that it's being asked to. Try slewing at 500 mph and watch how things blur and pop as your graphics card is taxed to the limit. Your graphics card and CPU combination is working really hard.

Stearmandriver

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2017, 03:21:41 AM »
Ah hah, thanks guys.  I've been googling and experimenting with that setting, and sure enough, since I've tweaked it back to 1, things work better.  I still get popping on the cones but it's at a farther out distance, which I can accept as a limitation of my system.  It still seems object-size-related since my computer renders the slightly larger ORBX objects from as far away as they'd be visible, but at least I can see the full runway length of my cones now for takeoff ;-).

stiletto2

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2017, 11:13:34 AM »
Glad that you were able to improve the rendering of more distant small objects with a change in the config.  Obviously, object size also affects when the object gets rendered.

Rod

ualani

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2017, 11:36:49 AM »
In experimenting with this object I discovered that it uses 6 mipmaps. I've seen some textures use up to 9 or 10 of them, so I'm wildly guessing that the lower mipmap level has something to do with the cones popping in at a closer distance.

Another wild guess is that it may have something to do with the LOD levels assigned to the model.

This is an object that was originally created for FS9 and converted for FSXP3D.

I also want to take back what I said about them not popping in until getting close to them in my test scenery. They actually draw one at a time as you approach.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 12:26:35 PM by ualani »

ryapad

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2017, 01:34:56 PM »
The problem with the default object rendering distance has to do with graphics card power. I fly multiplayer with my friend, and his airplane model only appears when he is >0.2 nm on my low low end computer. On his high-end computer, he reports being able to see my airplane from around 5 nm. Airplane model drawing is the same as object drawing as far as SmallPartRejectRadius goes.
                                                                   
                                                                   Ryan
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 01:36:28 PM by ryapad »
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ualani

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2017, 02:10:05 PM »
In this case there's quite a bit more involved in the issue than just processing power, although it certainly factors into the equation. You'd have to have a smallparticlerejectradius set to an absurd number to have an effect on something as large as an aircraft.

Stearmandriver

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Re: Scenery design - how to control an object's visibility distance?
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2017, 05:53:29 PM »
Thanks for all the input guys.   Glad to hear it's not entirely my computer.  Ryan, I've always had that same issue with traffic visibility.   I made a little YouTube video once of an acro sequence at Streatham Farm in the Alabeo Waco, and it was tough keeping it tight enough to the field so, from the spectator view, you could actually see an airplane and not just a smoke trail lol.   Of course, that's a real- world challenge of airshow flying too, but exacerbated in this case.   I do think I'll knock that parameter back down to at least 2 though;  I have seen a little performance degradation with it at 1.  But then, I'm not flying much multi-player (which sounds like good fun, but my simming is all late at night, I'm lucky if there's even anyone on Vatsim lol).  Guess you'll just need to tighten up that formation ;-).  Nice lookin' 140 btw... yours?

 I guess the ultimate answer here is to build my own object.   I'm really amazed there isn't a default fsx object for rural airstrip edge markers.  Already read through a couple tutorials on Sketchup;  looks doable.   

Ualani, thanks for taking a look at it.  Yeah that airstrip has been a fun learning project.   I'm in the process of getting a feeling for the relationship between object density and performance, plus just exploring the object libraries - hence the totally random clumps of vegetation everywhere ;-).  It's all fun, but I think my favorite part so far has been the photoreal work.   I've created a fictional gravel strip in Misty's world as well, to see how I'd do at fictional strip placement (the jungle strip is just laid on its real- world location), and I'm happy with it as well.   Now THAT strip should make it into the public domain eventually, not because I've done anything special but because of the location.   It's on a flattish bench at the top of a steep valley about 30 miles north of Skagway.  The approach requires flying up the valley at 5,000 feet and making a curving left 100-degree turn along the cliff at the head of the valley;  you can't see the strip until you're rolling out on final.   I'm thinking it needs to be a strip serving a high mine location.  Needs a ton of object work to bring it near the Misty's standard, which means either I have a lot more learning to do or someone needs to help ;-)...  but it IS a cool location!

Andrew