Heading into 2019

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Heading into 2019

Postby toprob » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:16 pm

It's been one of those clunky years, with nothing actually finished, but lots of progress made under the hood. It would have been a real coup to finish NZCH before the end of the year, but it will be a bit longer -- the main issue is that the 'look' in Prepar3d v4.4 has changed enough to force me to review the techniques I used. I did take a few days off this week, though, and coming back I'm a bit happier with the current look. I change my mind all the time, though, and may end up redoing the tarmac textures completely.

Here's a look at the current state of NZCH.

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Most jetways are to come, and there are still a handful of outlying buildings to complete. Every time I visit the airport, there's another major change, which I've decided just to ignore. The scenery will represent the airport partly as it was at the beginning of the year, and partly later, unless there's another aerial image release from LINZ, as the underlying photo defines how things look. For example, I've left the old No 3 hangar which was demolished recently, as I don't have an image of what's underneath.

When the aero club took me flying, I was lucky enough to grab a couple of shots of the new developments attached to the runways -- Garden City Helis, and the new NZ Post tarmac etc, which I always intended to include. Still some work to do on these, especially NZ Post, which I finally plucked up the courage to just drive in and shoot some photos from the customer-side... Marty, you'd be proud, didn't even come close to getting trespassed!

Image

Speaking of updated aerials, LINZ have just this week released a new (well, newish, it's early 2018) image of the CBD. This is a real bonus, as the image I've been working with shows the CBD at the very early stages of rebuilding after the earthquakes, so it's good to get something a bit more developed.

Here's a before (2015) and after (2018) look:
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Still plenty of work to do on 'clutter', including vehicles etc. NZCH is annoying in that you can't see out the front to the tarmac except for the International lounges, which I can't get access to, so my normal plan to just model what's there doesn't really work. For the same reason, I won't be modelling the inside of the terminals, but that's not a major loss, it just means that when you pull up to a jetway at night, you won't be able to see inside the terminal... how I'll represent that is a bit of a mystery at the moment.

I did watch the Orbx roadmap stream this week, but they didn't give a lot away about 'true Earth' to come. It would be great if they did a NZ region for X-plane and/or Aerofly, as it would allow me to just concentrate on airports. It may happen, John has said that they'll do NZ, as it is one of the few places with free access to aerial images and data. Still, I will go ahead with NZCH for both of these sims, hopefully, and worry about what it sits on top of later... I have no intention of doing photoscenery for X-plane, though, just airports.

I'll be working through the holidays, as NZCH really needs to be finished before the summer is over. I did promise an early beta before Christmas, and although I had something ready to go, I did decide to rethink the look of it due to the subtle changes in P3Dv4.4. If I do end up changing anything, bear in mind that I won't be adding PBR materials to NZCH, that'll come in the next airport project, whatever that will be. Redoing materials with PBR would add months to the development, which I really couldn't cope with.

I have been looking at ways to speed up development, which is always an issue for just one old bloke. I have thought about outsourcing some work for X-plane and Aerofly, so if anyone -- preferably local* -- want's to try a major project for either of these sims, or convert an existing scenery, let me know. There are some things to be considered regarding 'ownership', as plenty of my customers already own anything produced by Godzone for the foreseeable future, but any arrangement would be as generous as I can manage.

*By 'local', I mean within NZ, of course.

Have a good Christmas, everyone, take care!
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Re: Heading into 2019

Postby frostynz » Fri Dec 28, 2018 2:26 pm

Looks absolutely fantastic Rob.

Can't remember ever looking forward to an airport so much.

Pleased I missed out on Pre-pay as I would rather give you $40.00 bucks for it anyway.

Best wishes for the New Year.

Cheers Dave
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Re: Heading into 2019

Postby deeknow » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:31 pm

looks amazing Rob, cant wait. thanks for the newsy update too
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Re: Heading into 2019

Postby toprob » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:18 pm

Chur, bro's...
I normally skip New Year's Eve, not because I don't have any friends -- well, not only that -- but at least one night a year I like to be able to say 'I've going to sleep now, don't wake me until next year.'

Actually new year is THE time in Timaru, with the Caroline Bay Carnival. I'd never seen it until last night when I went for my normal walk through the Bay, and it was a real party atmosphere. I have always wondered what the rows of shuttered doorways were, but now I know they open up once a year with raffles, games, fast food etc. It was quite a lively place.

I walked past the soundshell where the concert was just starting up, and I was thinking it would be fun to stay even though I was on my own... but the first song they played was Michael Jackson, and I really felt the need to dance -- doesn't everyone? Well, obviously not, as everyone just sat there and didn't move. I would have got things started, but you know that one person who has the personality of a carrot, but when the music starts they just dance as if every other part of their being has been pushed aside to fit their rhythm? Well, that isn't me, so since I didn't want to end up on someone's new year blooper reel, I headed home.

As has been pointed out by someone else here (and Froogle), 2018 was not a great year, so 2019 wouldn't have to try hard to be great! I hope it gives you everything you wish for.
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Re: Heading into 2019

Postby toprob » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:13 pm

It seems like I've made no real progress during January, so no closer to giving a release schedule for NZCH. I did mention an issue with Prepar3d v4 following the 4.4 update, which has been driving me balmy, and no real closer to a solution. And of course summer's here with a vengeance, so sometimes it is just too hot to work!!! Also, all week I've been trying to solve an issue with my site downloads, which were giving errors to everyone. This has now been fixed, but for a while I was thinking that I'd need to move away from Cloudfront -- it's freaky how much I rely on them, and how little knowledge I have when things go wrong... still, as I said, it turned out to be an easy fix, it just kept me awake for a few nights.

I did another NZCH pre-beta release, just to check out how others got on installing this somewhat bigger than normal scenery, this wasn't a proper beta, so if you are expecting an invite to the beta team it'll still happen:)

All 4 testers mentioned the file size (3+GB) so I've worked to reduce the size. As I was planning on updating the photoscenery anyway (time has passed since I started this 15 months ago, and we have new imagery) I've now reduced the city resolution from 30cm to 60cm. Bear in mind that the city sits in a much larger photoscenery, covering a chunk of central Canty, including Banks Peninsula. I may reduce the size of this, it has always been 1 metre resolution, and really needs to stay that way. The airport will remain at 15 cm resolution.

I've also been working on a plan to spilt the download so that those who are not really into photoscenery can just install the city/airport. This became more of an option when Orbx announced TrueEarth NZ, as it doesn't make sense to include huge photoscenery areas for those who plan to purchase TrueEarth. Time has really moved on since I started this project, as I said:)

I've also tweaked the shape of the airport photoscenery so that it could be possible just to have the airport. This is aimed mainly at staunch Orbx supporters who prefer landclass to photoscenery. However as always, by default and sheer luck this matches VLC colouring a lot more than Orbx NZSI, which is just the way it works out. Just a heads-up, though, this will still be a single scenery license, so one-price-fits-all.
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