GAME OVER for detailed airport ground ? UPDATE 5

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martin[flytampa]
Site Admin
Posts: 5195

Post by martin[flytampa] » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:30 pm

Guys, the FSX round earth Vs. FS9- flat ground scenery has been fixed since SP1. Its simple but not pleasing for developers: Use the FS2002 SDK and make sure the ground has a new poly/segment every 100 or so meters. FSX will do whatever it does to them at load/runtime. For all 3d objects the FSX SDK must be used.

TNCM was done that way.
OSS-J.Nielsen
Posts: 51

Post by OSS-J.Nielsen » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:56 pm

What is better about modeling based upon a round earth? It is better mainly because it is RIGHT.

I have only recently gotten into flight simulation, FSX being my first non-combat flight sim, and I was astounded to learn that MSFS prior to FSX was based on a flat earth. A simulation that purports to support worldwide flights and navigation, but uses a flat earth model is bound to run into severe limitations, as all methods of depicting a round earth on a flat map produce distortion.

How much distortion? Well, that all depends upon the mapping projection method(s) used. Let's take Mercator's projection (you know, the one where the globe is mapped as a rectangle, and Antarctica and the Arctic Ocean run all the way across the top of the map), among the simplest cases, as an example.

All north-south distances on Mercator's projection are accurate. East-West distances are accurate only at the equator. Thus all paths that are not directly north-south have some distortion. How much? Well, at 45° Latitude, an East-west line would be only 70.71% as long as measured on a map using Mercator's projection. At 60° Latitude, an East-West line would be only 50% of the distance measured on the map, or expressed another way, is 100% too long. On Mercator's projection, the North and South Poles are 25,000 miles "long", or are infinitely distorted.

As an exercise, how far is it from Reykjavik to Helsinki, or Reykjavik to Stockholm? In real life, on a globe?? How about in a straight line on the FSX flight planner? How about in the flight planner on previous MSFS versions? I'm looking for a volunteer here, as I don't have FS9 or earlier for the comparison.

Another problem with using a flat earth is, if I plan a route (again using Mercator's projection as an example) between two points at the same latitude, I will travel directly east or directly west in a straight line to get from the starting point to the destination. But that is not the way global navigation is done. The shortest distance between two points on the earth is found using the Great Circle Method. In short, stretch a tape measure across a globe between two points on it. Say, New York and London. Now, on a map using Mercator's projection, scribe a straight line between new York and London. Look and see what points the two lines pass by along the route, on the map, and on the globe. Different, ain't it?? Flattening the earth distorts distances, as well as distorts what parts of the world you will pass by or over along the route. If Captain Smith had thought about it at about five minutes until midnight on April 14, 1912, he probably would have wished the world really was shaped like Mercator's projection. But being busy, he probably had other things on his mind at the time.

Look on a globe and make that straight (not "straight", but "direct") path from New York to London. Goes over Nova Scotia, doesnt it? Now do the same thing on a map generated with Mercator's projection. Nova Scotia is several hundered miles off to the North doing it that way, isn't it? Land that should be squarely under your belly but is shown several hundred miles away would constitute a severe distortion of scenery, wouldn't it? Not to mention if you're simulating failures in flight, and en route from NYC to London, if a failure made you have to divert, say, to Halifax, it'd be pretty nice if Halifax were on the way like it really is, rather than several hundered miles off, no?

Now, I don't claim to know what flat mapping methods earlier versions of MSFS use, but the foregoing demonstrates that distortions due to flat earth modeling of a global environment can be quite large. There are other map projections that can reduce distortions, but they only reduce it in certain portions of the map, and it increases in others, and there would be a great many navigational and physics "fudges" and splices that would be necessary to minimize the most obvious effects. Lambert's conic projection would get you around significant portions with minimal distortion, but get to far afield from where the projection is valid, and the distortion gets pretty large. One could code the software to generate new Lambert's conic projections every so often in flight, I suppose, but then that would be in effect "rounding the earth under your feet" (or wings), after a fashion. But if you're doing some kind of in-flight correction like that, sooner or later it becomes easier to just implement a round earth.

I do computer simulation for a living. Autombile racing, to be exact, doing the full car simulation on a track. My simulated environment is seldom more than a mile across any dimension, and flat-earth modeling for my own purposes is sufficient. However, I do run into flat-earth vs. round earth issues. Lots of race tracks are unwilling to fork over design or construction drawings, and there isn't always time to go take direct measurements, so sometimes I use satellite imagery from the U.S. Geological survey or Google Earth to map out a track. Now, both organizations will do "perspective correction", prismatically/diagonally stretching the picture to try to present an accurate top-down picture, for photos taken where the satellite is not directly over the photographed area. If the terrain in the photo has significant elevation changes, and the satellite taking the photo was at a relatively low angle, the vertical information gets into the horizontal layout due to the perspective correction. So, elevation changes and banking end up looking like kinks in straight areas of tracks. Sometimes you can compare photos from two satellites and see different distortion effects because the vertical information is photographed at different angles.

It seems to me the main area that benefits from "flat earth" is scenery, and that is because photographs and site drawings present the round world on a flat surface, and it's mathematically easier to represent it that way. But, round the earth is, and sooner or later the "flat earth simmers" are going to have to come to grips with the round earth facts, much as did the post-1492 scientific world (although Archimedes presented the world the same conclusions some 2000 years or so prior).

Of course scenery is not a trivial thing. I mean, here I am at a scenery publisher's website and forum, looking for some good FSX scenery, so I identify with the gripes about the lack of good FSX scenery. I mean, I don't wan't my aircraft sinking down in the runway at both ends and hovering above it in the middle, just like you guys don't. But if I were generating the stuff myself, I'd doubtlessly want to work in Cartesian coordinates (flat earth), rather than sperical coordinates. But I'm sure tools can be (or even are being) developed that will make this easier someday. Perhaps not as easy as FS9, but easier than the present state of affairs.

And for any of you that don't get the Captain Smith reference, he was Captain of the Titanic. Had the world really been shaped like Mercator's projection, the ice fields and icebergs would have been several hundred miles to the north that night.

[edit(s)] fixing spelling mistakes along the way... too late at night, no coffee.

mdaskalos
In the scenario that we all envisioned and thought was going to happen, you are correct. And once again...for those that missed it before...ready everyone?:

We should have been able to STILL HAVE the current FSX feature list WHILE (meaning-at the same time) being able to create the same level of detailed ground work (at the time of release don't forget). That statement HAS ABSOLUTLY NOTHING to do with backwards compatibility. 99.9% of all readers still believe to this day that is what we meant. Please keep in mind also, that some things on this issue have probably changed somewhat. For a while now, I've just been an user like everyone else, and loving it, selfishly, I admit.

Unfortunately, 'life' has a nasty habit of getting in the way. You're coming in on a post that is several months old and involves other underlying issues and points which the end user (customer) should have never had to deal with. I'm sure you're well aware of these things being in a similar business.

It's an issue we're going to have to deal with until a viable solution is found. In the mean time we still have FS9 for those who cannot run FSX or who cannot afford new hardware just yet, or are just plain waiting so they can maybe justify the additional hardware cost when the FSX features and performance issues finally shakes itself out.

It's really just boils down to awful timing for all of us in the big picture, but most of us think that things will all shake out ok in time. We hope...lol It's easy for me to say now because I'm not in the business any longer. It's a lot harder for those still trying to make a go of it. For that we all thank them.

And once again I disclaimer the situation like I've always done with the fact that it just doesn't solve everyone's issues at the moment. It's just my own personal take, for what it's worth.

I'm not meaning to sound like I'm yelling at you or talking down to you, but your reply gives all of us a good opportunity to reflect a bit on the big picture.
skydvdan
Posts: 2121

Post by skydvdan » Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:33 am

paavo wrote:So if I fly above 60 degrees latitude or to the poles this round earth helps, in other words, round earth helps a few ( those you really fly to or in such places ) at the cost of the many ( people who like detailed 3rd party airports like FlyTampa makes ), I think I get it now.
Could you pour on the sarcasm a little harder? :twisted:

To be honest guys, like George, I really could give a rats ass about Flightsim right now. My creative juices have been flushed away by all this FSX nonsense. I'm sure my interest will come back eventually and I'll start designing again but for now I've found a new hobby to take up the majority of my time and money. Like Jeff and George, I probably needed the break anyway.

*I took this pic about 3 hours ago, after a 3 minute walk from my front door. So, flightsim...what is that? New hobbies are fun!!

@Paavo- check the shared folder. If this doesn't get you fired up for your vacation then nothing will. :wink:

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Last edited by skydvdan on Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
Ruahrc
Posts: 91

Post by Ruahrc » Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:47 am

Quite a discussion has stirred up again! Excellent explanation of the distortions that arise when projecting spherical surfaces onto flat planes, mdaskalos.

Allow me to translate some of it into the FS-realm. In doing so I will be a little more specific with the "distortion" I brought up earlier, as the latitude/longitude thing is what is causing the distortion I was describing previously.

The "old" MSFS world was divided up by longitude and latitude. This is the LOD system. I will not really describe it in too much detail but the important thing to remember is that the LOD system bases itself on longitude and latitude, which is a radial scale (degrees) and not a linear scale (miles or km). Basically, each "square" of landclass in the sim is an individual LOD13 square, roughly 1km by 1km at the equator. Remember, however, that LOD squares are not based on length but rather degrees. So in reality, each LOD13 square is defined to cover a certain arc of longitude and latitude (roughly 0.01 degrees of each IIRC). This is all fine and dandy in lower latitudes where in the real world one degree of latitude converted to km is roughly the same as one degree of longitude converted to km (i.e. if 1 degree of latitude is 100km, then 1 degree of longitude is also approx 100km). Again- this works great with MSFS's square ground textures at these lower latitudes and distortion is not noticeable. Notice how I said "not noticeable" and not "not there", because distortion exists at ALL latitudes except + and - 45 deg (the two latitudes where MS had tuned the size of the LOD13's to be exactly square)

This model starts to break down, however, as you head towards the poles- because all the lines of longitude converge at the pole! This is why if you are standing at the north (or south) pole, you can walk around all 180 degrees of longitude in just a few steps, but it would take many, many steps to walk around 180 degrees of longitude at the equator! What does this mean in terms of FS? Well it means that our previously square LODs at low latitudes are now highly distorted, because although 0.01 degrees of latitude is still say 1km, 0.01 degrees of longitude is only say 200m. Go further north and 0.01 degrees of longitude would only be 1m, then 1cm, and 1mm! Result? LOD squares are stretched north/south by an ever increasing amount, and hence their corresponding textures are stretched too. You can clearly see this in the sim if you go to nigh north latitudes, and it is noticeable even at semi-high latitudes such as 60N (approx the latitude of Anchorage, AK and Oslo, Finland). Load up the sim at Barrow, AK (70N latitude, ICAO:PABR) and press ctrl+s. Zoom out some and notice how the squares are all stretched out. This is the distortion that I was talking about earlier.

What is its effect in the sim? Well, The LOD tiles become so distorted that if you are flying east or west, the transition between successive MIP levels of the ground textures appear much nearer to the east/west of your aircraft, while they appear further away to the north/south of your aircraft. For some reason unbeknownst to me, cloud textures also get this stretching distortion, too. It looks pretty ugly sometimes. Fortunately, for most of Alaska it is mostly a visual thing, but as you go further north it gets worse. The distortion becomes more extreme, and again since you cover longitude much more quickly up here (because the longitude lines are converging as they near the pole) you get into those "flying sideways" scenarios that we have all discovered when flying waaay up north. If you are not familiar, this phenomenon is where you fly on a constant heading, but your aircraft seems to be flying sideways as if it were being blown by a severe side wind. Visual navigation becomes impossible at this point because the ground is literally sliding around underneath you and although you can still navigate by instruments it is very disorienting.

This all gets worse when you consider that airports and other "object" scenery appear to use some other system of display that is not affected by latitude. You can see this in action by trying to fly an approach at McMurdo station. Try to follow the ground and you get all messed up because it slides around underneath you. But, try to fly the approach by using the runway as your *only* visual cue, and you will see that you can fly to the runway pretty easily. This odd separation of object scenery and terrain at high latitudes basically makes the sim virtually unflyable at anything past ~75-80 degrees.

Lastly, the FS9 earth model ends at 89.5 degrees north. I don't remember the exact reason behind this, but I do believe it had to do with the increasing distortion and the impossibility of modeling a true 90 north in this system because at 90 degrees latitude you would be essentially crossing longitude infinitely fast. Imagine the flying-sideways effects that would cause!

So there you have it, my attempt at a more thourough description of the distortion problems encountered when flying near the extremes of the old world model. Now, if I may, here's my bit on why the round earth is IMO the most significant improvement in FSX. Flying up north may not be something you do regularly, or even at all. But just as you assume that there aren't many bush/northern fliers around, the same assumption can be made about heavy iron pilots and worldwide airline hubs. Not everyone is out there just hopping from hub to hub in jetliners either. Just because you don't happen to partake of one kind of flying, doesn't mean that others don't- and in addition FSX should not have been written with only your flying preferences in mind :). It is also important to point out that while the round earth model benefits bush/northern fliers, it does not detriment IFR/heavy iron pilots at all (and in fact benefits them with the high altitude curvature of the earth view) except for the case of converting old sceneries into FSX. And, as mdaskalos said, "it's better mainly because it's RIGHT". It finally models the earth properly for the first time, and elimiates all of these limitations that have been in the sim for years. Yes that exception can be pretty severe to some, and as I will say later on this exception has kept me myself from going to FSX, but think of it this way: if all of a sudden magically there were lots of excellent (FT-quality) sceneries created new from scratch for FSX, and magically there was a new patch for FSX that removed the performance issues, would you convert? Would you complain about the round earth? So it's not really the round earth that makes the sim bad, is it?

Now, about the inability to use ground photos in FSX... hasn't this been worked around already for a while now? Clearly, the use of custom ground-textures of very high resolution IS possible in FSX, as it has already been done! See Aerosoft's Budapest and Cloud9's Bergen. Don't they use photorealistic tarmac textures in FSX? I will admit that I don't know how this was achieved, or if it was done using a different strategy than FT used with their FS9 scenery, but the fact remains that it is possible to achieve photoreal tarmacs with FSX.

Now I can understand that it may not be possible for FT to convert their existing sceneries to FSX because they are using a different design method to create their ground textures, and I can also understand where they would not really want to go through the effort to re-do those parts from scratch, just for FSX. I too will freely admit (as I have said before) that I don't use FSX and yes it is because many of my addons (like FT) don't work in FSX. But the fact remains that although the round earth model is what's preventing our favorite sceneries from FS9 from being converted to FSX, it is not that it is impossible to recreate those sceneries in FSX. Rather the developers choose not to (and who have every right to make that decision). I do also agree that it would appear that FSX is a more difficult sim to make scenery for, but whether or not this was good/bad/expected/inevitable is a philosophical question that is way beyond the scope of this post:). And don't forget that things can always change. These methods that were used to create FS9 photorealistic ground were not known when FS9 was released, and were only developed after people had a few years of experience working with the FS9 scenery engine. Don't expect advanced techniques or clever "work-arounds" like this to appear right after the release of FSX either.

So yeah while the round earth model (or more accurately it's incompatibility with certain addons) is what is keeping me from switching full-time to FSX, truthfully it is enough of a benefit (along with other terrain engine improvements) to northern flying that I have considered getting FSX and using it for a bush flying/VFR platform.

Sorry for the huge post. Hope it makes sense! There were some great articles written about the LOD system and old MSFS world model but I can't seem to find them anymore. They explained in detail why that particular system was chosen as the earth model. I remember that FSGenesis had some great descriptions of the mesh terrain LOD system (similar but separate from the terrain textures LOD system) but apparently FSG is down temporarily due to a hackers attack.

Ruahrc
paavo
Posts: 1612

Post by paavo » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:26 am

Ruahrc wrote: Now, about the inability to use ground photos in FSX... hasn't this been worked around already for a while now? Clearly, the use of custom ground-textures of very high resolution IS possible in FSX, as it has already been done! See Aerosoft's Budapest and Cloud9's Bergen. Don't they use photorealistic tarmac textures in FSX? I will admit that I don't know how this was achieved, or if it was done using a different strategy than FT used with their FS9 scenery, but the fact remains that it is possible to achieve photoreal tarmacs with FSX.



Ruahrc
Yes, they lay down a photo of the surrounding terrain, but all the ground stuff ( ramp, taxiway, runway ) are default textures, at least it was on C9's first FSX airport ( Orlando I think ). Budapest ( for FSX ) is unusable for me due to very poor fps, and I refuse to buy anymore C9 products. The great FS9 airports are made up of layers, ground image, runway texture, runway numbers, lines, and tire/skid marks. This is what the round earth messed up, that is why you will have texture bleed thru when you put them in FSX. I understand it's been partialy fixed with SP1, but until I get a new computer it's pointless for me to spend any amount of time with FSX, so I haven't kept up with all the latest.
I see all your points about what good the round earth does, but as I said before, way more people fly to places like KBOS, KSEA, TNCM etc than the north pole. I think FSX tried to do to much and was aimed at a different market than us hardcore users. I would have been more than happy to pay 70 bucks for FS9.5, give me the 1m res, fix the blurries for photoscenery, update the ATC ( radar contact pretty much does this, so no huge loss if they didn't ) and better water like FSX has. Oh ya, since we now have round earth where are the sloped runways ?
martin[flytampa]
Site Admin
Posts: 5195

Post by martin[flytampa] » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:43 am

skydvdan wrote:*I took this pic about 3 hours ago, after a 3 minute walk from my front door.
How did you have them? Rolled or Habachi?
paavo
Posts: 1612

Post by paavo » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:47 am

martin[flytampa] wrote:
skydvdan wrote:*I took this pic about 3 hours ago, after a 3 minute walk from my front door.
How did you have them? Rolled or Habachi?
Hahhahaha, I think he needs to run them through photoshop first.

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skydvdan
Posts: 2121

Post by skydvdan » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:50 am

martin[flytampa] wrote:
skydvdan wrote:*I took this pic about 3 hours ago, after a 3 minute walk from my front door.
How did you have them? Rolled or Habachi?
Dude I can't eat Nemo!! :twisted:
skydvdan
Posts: 2121

Post by skydvdan » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:52 am

paavo wrote:
martin[flytampa] wrote:
skydvdan wrote:*I took this pic about 3 hours ago, after a 3 minute walk from my front door.
How did you have them? Rolled or Habachi?
Hahhahaha, I think he needs to run them through photoshop first.
I always forget to do that dude. Thanks again!! :wink:
Ruahrc
Posts: 91

Post by Ruahrc » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:50 pm

paavo wrote:Yes, they lay down a photo of the surrounding terrain, but all the ground stuff ( ramp, taxiway, runway ) are default textures, at least it was on C9's first FSX airport ( Orlando I think ). Budapest ( for FSX ) is unusable for me due to very poor fps, and I refuse to buy anymore C9 products.
This is why I did not mention C9's orlando. Because, yes, it does use regular textures for tarmac and runways. BUT, their subsequent release featured photorealistic tarmacs. So does the Aerosoft scenery. Therefore it's clearly possible to create sceneries to the visual standard you desire in FSX. Whether or not those sceneries are usable is a different matter, though (and again NOT related to the round earth!).
paavo wrote:I see all your points about what good the round earth does, but as I said before, way more people fly to places like KBOS, KSEA, TNCM etc than the north pole. I think FSX tried to do to much and was aimed at a different market than us hardcore users.
Again, to consider only those who fly jet airliners "hardcore" simmers is very narrow-minded. And it is exactly the kind of thing that makes real pilots in the real world angry too (http://airplanepilot.blogspot.com/2007/09/my-job.html <-- read the last paragraph in particular). And again, when you consider that the round earth model does not actually impact your airline flying desires in any way whatsoever, it is hard to understand why you do not welcome such a change to the engine. You need to distinguish your airline (or "hardcore", as you put it) simming from the separate issue of the round earth being incompatible with FT's sceneries. Certainly you should not expect MS to code their future versions of FS solely so that they are compatible with the sceneries of one addon company?

One of the points I was trying to make about the distortion was that it does not just affect the (very) few who actually want to fly to the pole and plant the flag themselves. It has deleterious visible ramifications well before the truly "extreme" northern reaches, and affects large parts of Canada and virtually all of AK, a region which essentially has the highest concentration of bush flying in the entire world. So the vast majority of bush simmers fly this region, and they all were affected. That affects the guy who's doing the mail run from Bethel to Fairbanks, or flying parts from Yellowknife to Goja Heaven. NOT just the guy who wants to do patterns at Alert, Nunavut or McMurdo Station.

Ruahrc
paavo
Posts: 1612

Post by paavo » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:44 pm

Ruahrc wrote:
paavo wrote:Yes, they lay down a photo of the surrounding terrain, but all the ground stuff ( ramp, taxiway, runway ) are default textures, at least it was on C9's first FSX airport ( Orlando I think ). Budapest ( for FSX ) is unusable for me due to very poor fps, and I refuse to buy anymore C9 products.
This is why I did not mention C9's orlando. Because, yes, it does use regular textures for tarmac and runways. BUT, their subsequent release featured photorealistic tarmacs. So does the Aerosoft scenery. Therefore it's clearly possible to create sceneries to the visual standard you desire in FSX. Whether or not those sceneries are usable is a different matter, though (and again NOT related to the round earth!).
paavo wrote:I see all your points about what good the round earth does, but as I said before, way more people fly to places like KBOS, KSEA, TNCM etc than the north pole. I think FSX tried to do to much and was aimed at a different market than us hardcore users.
Again, to consider only those who fly jet airliners "hardcore" simmers is very narrow-minded. And it is exactly the kind of thing that makes real pilots in the real world angry too (http://airplanepilot.blogspot.com/2007/09/my-job.html <-- read the last paragraph in particular). And again, when you consider that the round earth model does not actually impact your airline flying desires in any way whatsoever, it is hard to understand why you do not welcome such a change to the engine. You need to distinguish your airline (or "hardcore", as you put it) simming from the separate issue of the round earth being incompatible with FT's sceneries. Certainly you should not expect MS to code their future versions of FS solely so that they are compatible with the sceneries of one addon company?

One of the points I was trying to make about the distortion was that it does not just affect the (very) few who actually want to fly to the pole and plant the flag themselves. It has deleterious visible ramifications well before the truly "extreme" northern reaches, and affects large parts of Canada and virtually all of AK, a region which essentially has the highest concentration of bush flying in the entire world. So the vast majority of bush simmers fly this region, and they all were affected. That affects the guy who's doing the mail run from Bethel to Fairbanks, or flying parts from Yellowknife to Goja Heaven. NOT just the guy who wants to do patterns at Alert, Nunavut or McMurdo Station.

Ruahrc
I've spent a ton of time flying in AK with FS9, and have never noticed a "skew" or anything odd looking, maybe I'm not far enough north ( AK is a huge place afterall ).
Sure, maybe some of the limitations that round earth caused have been overcome, but we've lost George and who knows if Martin will do anything for FSX, and there sure aren't very many FlyTampa quality airports for FSX almost a year after fsx came out. Face the facts, FSX is not marketed or made for us hardcore simmers, and not every version of flightsim is a home run, this one happens to be a squibber back to the mound.
Honestly at this point I really don't care, vacation is a week away for me and I've got a brand new underwater housing and 2 weeks of great diving to feed my creative urges. I get to take the Divi Divi air BN 2 from TNCC to TNCB, with luck I can sit in the right seat and get some cool pictures like this one from my last trip.


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Awol
Posts: 45

Post by Awol » Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:42 pm

Ruahrc, you clearly have some insight into this, and I have to ask, do you have any idea why FSX is such a resource hog? You can't even fly with FS9 detail settings on an average computer (with road and water traffic off). My experience with the demo seemed to indicate it was the autogen that was bringing it to it's knees. Has it truly been optimized?

Talking about FS9, I have noticed that the clouds seem to be "towering" more in Alaska, but thought it looked cool. Never noticed the terrain being affected.
Ruahrc
Posts: 91

Post by Ruahrc » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:21 pm

I've actually never even flown FSX myself so I can't really say- but my guess is that it has to do with backwards compatibility. The core of the FSX engine is probably still the same one FS2002 (and FS9) just with some additional enhancements (i.e. the pixel shaders and higher ground resolution, etc). MS could have easily made a FSX that looked even better than it does now and runs faster, but the cost would be that NONE of the old addons or scenery would have been compatible. That is why it seems like "other" games like Half Life 2 always look way better than flight sim. They don't need to make sure HL2 is compatible with HL1. But for flightsim it is different, and I think that they simply are nearing the limits of the engine.

I think a similar thing happened back when FS2002 was released. FS2000 was a real crappy sim that nobody liked, and was likely a derivative of the older FS98 and FS95 (both of which had roots in the old DOS FS5 version!) that was simply reaching its max. With FS2002 MS rewrote most of the game engine with all-new terrain, rendering, and weather components. Autogen was first used, too. The result was that FS2002 was a fantastic sim that also ran pretty well considering the upgrades in graphics it received. Maybe a similar thing will happen with FS11 where it might get a major overhaul.

But again this is all heresay as I don't even own a copy of FSX :) These are just my best guesses going off of what I have heard/read, combined with my previous FS experience.

Ruahrc
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