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Hi teecee, funny you need MORE stars. I have the impression that we would not be able to see the high default number of stars (the weakest are of magnitude 6 IIRC) with eyes not completely darkness adapted (after all the cockpit is dimly lit) and through mirroring windows. But I admit I never have observed it in real life from a plane.

The most annoying thing with stars in P3D is that they are visible way too early at dusk, the sky being still bright. That would require some shader tweak.

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Been reading up on this, and found Autostar, but to be honest it's beyond my old brain.. I used to be able to run stuff like this a few years back, but the skill has faded.. I did see a screenshot of someone's stars, and mine look as good or better, but still nor the Massed stars that I used to get in FSX. and to cap it off, I can't find the Southern Cross or The Big Dipper any more.. Yours in decline..:D. Terry.

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Being an amateur astronomer I used to really enjoy Autostar in FS9, and the auroras also. I lost it in a computer crash a year or so ago.  Re-upped hardware and software and now have FSX running better than ever.  I followed the link in this thread and re-downloaded Autostar.  Have not been able to get it to work yet.  Gave up after midnight last night, but will keep trying. 

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@teecee - Download Autostar, extract to a folder on your hard drive and also download and run:

 

http://download.microsoft.com/download/vb50pro/utility/1/win98/en-us/msvbvm50.exe

 

Load up Autostar.

 

In Flight Simulator Path - type the destination folder of where your stars.dat file is.

 

Mine is:

 

c:\programdata\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3d v4

 

Click on 'make stars!' in top left corner.

 

Run P3D as usual and hopefully you will have more stars!

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1 hour ago, Bullfox said:

Being an amateur astronomer I used to really enjoy Autostar in FS9, and the auroras also. I lost it in a computer crash a year or so ago.  Re-upped hardware and software and now have FSX running better than ever.  I followed the link in this thread and re-downloaded Autostar.  Have not been able to get it to work yet.  Gave up after midnight last night, but will keep trying. 

I have a friend who is HEAVY into observing. A couple of years ago he told me that while my wife and I were in Hawaii I really needed to drive up the mountain on Maui and look at the stars. We did and I sent him a picture complaining that I could only see one star. His response was a classical lecture of how observing conditions vary, a detailed explanation of atmospherics, and that I must just have been there on a very bad day. It never occurred to him that the picture I sent was taken at noon.....Doug

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Rivereveal, Thanks for that..I will give that a go tomorrow, the missus wants to watch a show and I have been simming most of today.

 

Triplane. Love it..nice trick..I used to see some wonderful starry nights in Alice, in the dead heart of Australia.. no distracting surrounding lights, saw something similar in the desert country outside Santa Fe, thanks to the state laws about light pollution. Teecee.

 

 

 

Edited by teecee

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17 years ago my wife agreed to move out here to Jeff Davis County in West Texas so that I could observe under some of the darkest skies in the US.

On a good night, you can see all of the stars in the Little Dipper and the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye.

A good test to see if your night sky is truly dark go outside on a partly cloudy night and if the clouds are black and block all of the stars behind them then you are in a dark sky site.

 

For me, I would need a program that had the stars in their right position or it would aggravate the hell out of me so I just don't worry about the star field.

 

Dale

 

 

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Well I got Autostarx to work, but I am not sure how.  Riverreveal is correct, but it seems that with some system more steps are required.  I just tried different things and suddenly it started working. If I can figure out what I did, I will post the info.  Anyhow, it looks better than the default star field and displays more stars with more color and better differences in brightness.  Autostarx displays about 16,000 stars verses the 9,096 that FSX displays.  In the process of getting Autostarx to work I was able to read the FSX star.dat file and discovered that it is not just random stars but in fact comes from an actual star catalog, the Bright Star Catalog revised 5th edition.  All stars brighter than 6th magnitude are displayed with correct positions, except that a few stars in the catalog are for unknown reasons not displayed, and visibility of the fainter stars is enhanced.   I think that is what makes the FSX star field hard to recognize, and why people think it is just made up random dots. 

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The amount of stars visible is very subjective and dependant on where you live. Many people have commented that the amount of visible stars in P3D is excessive but this is not necessarily true. I have been privileged enough to have lived and worked in 26 countries and have experienced vastly different night time/star conditions. In Australia (central) , the deserts of the Middle East, the central Steppes of Kazakhstan  I have seen the sky at night absolutely loaded with bright stars. In other places i have strained to see a few. It really does depend on the atmosphere and various forms of light pollution as to the amount of stars visible. The only comment I would make therefore is that P3D appears to have a sort of generic star display which covers the world. Some visions are realistic and others are not.

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I agree, but the point am making is that the earlier sims had better starscapes, and I find it hard to believe that a brand new sim has  overlooked this..I am asking if anyone knows how to get better stars?..Autostars might be a way, but sadly I cannot work out how to use it..Teecee.

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Autostarx is a program from 2006.  Some have said that it works in P3D.  There are features n the program that allow the user to dim the higher magnitude stars to make them less visible.  I tried to contact the gentleman who made the program but the email address is no longer good.  Now days, how many stars you see in the night sky depends mostly on light pollution.  Most people, I suppose, have never been under really dark skies so the large number of starts they see in the sims looks excessive.  However, there are places in the western North America that are still dark enough to see plenty of stars. 

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I've got it working in 4.2 you need to run the msvbvm50.exe linked above and point the app to the relevant directory's in P3D but other than that it worked straight off.

 

The flightsim path it asks for is slightly misleading as it's actually looking for the STARS.DAT file which on my system is in "C:\ProgramData\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v4"Capture.thumb.PNG.10e581f827d04deff06d72d1eaf377a0.PNG

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Hi gents, after some tests with the stars.dat generated by AutostarX my conclusion is, that it needs some handwork to get satisfying results on modern displays.

 

The problem is, that FSX/P3D uses single small dots to display stars, that is, different magnitudes of brightness can only be depicted by the color of the dots while the area on screen is always the same (depending on the PDI number of your display). AutostarX uses a trick to increase the possible brightness range of the stars: the brightest are displayed as 2 (or even more) single nearby dots (technically the same star appears twice in the stars.dat with slightly different coordinates). For the planets which are even brighter and bigger, arrays of up to 16 single dots are used. What worked quite well on the usual 1280x1024 displays of the time when AutostarX was written, is more or less visible as artifacts on the high dpi displays we use these days. Unfortunately, the author gave no user adjustible parameter for the coordinate offset. The only way to correct this seems to open stars.dat in Excel and recalculate the coordinates of these star arrays using smaller offset values.

Drawback: planets (that are static "stars" with positions calculated by AutostarX for the given date) cannot be displayed at their correct positions, as the approch of running AutostarX each day or week would require to recalculate the offsets in Excel each time. So I decided to delete the planets and live with only the stars (which is what default FSX/P3D delivers anyway).

 

I'm trying this now and will report back.

Edited by Meerkat

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What’s all this about stars, trust you teecee you people are never satisfied the next thing is you’ll be wanting a P3D space ship so you can go to the moon. Now there’s an idea. Derek.

Edited by Dadtom65

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Hi folks, after a lot of manual corrections in the raw file generated by AutoStarX I managed to get something reasonably well resembling the visible night sky (without planets). You are able to recognize constellations, the brightest stars are eye-catchers, but the overall brightness is not so high that stars are visible well before sunset which I found annoying. In the attached file there are the same number (some 9000) of stars as in default which is realistic, because stars of magnitude 7 are normally not visible to the naked eye.

Try it out, have fun or delete it if not.

Cheers,

Markus

stars-dat.zip

Edited by Meerkat
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On 20/03/2018 at 8:26 PM, Meerkat said:

 What worked quite well on the usual 1280x1024 displays of the time when AutostarX was written, is more or less visible as artifacts on the high dpi displays we use these days. Unfortunately, the author gave no user adjustible parameter for the coordinate offset.....

Hi Meerkat,

I'm the author of AutostarX. Although I haven't used FSX for quite a few years it's great to see that people are still using AutostarX.

There is actually a setting for the coordinate offsets. It's the Planet Size setting: if you increase it then the groups should be larger (more pixels), which would probably be suitable for higher resolution displays. It applies both to the star and planet groups.

 

Although I haven't used FSX for a long time, I've still been active with flight simulators. I've developed a sophisticated simulator that runs on Cry Engine 3.

Best regards,

Chris Wright

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On 25.4.2018 at 8:48 PM, cwright said:

Hi Meerkat,

I'm the author of AutostarX. Although I haven't used FSX for quite a few years it's great to see that people are still using AutostarX.

There is actually a setting for the coordinate offsets. It's the Planet Size setting: if you increase it then the groups should be larger (more pixels), which would probably be suitable for higher resolution displays. It applies both to the star and planet groups.

 

Although I haven't used FSX for a long time, I've still been active with flight simulators. I've developed a sophisticated simulator that runs on Cry Engine 3.

Best regards,

Chris Wright

Hi Chris,

thank you for this nice software and your kind words. With coordiante offset I meant the distance (in arc seconds or other unit) between the dots that a bright star or planet is composed of. If that could be adjusted one could experiment until the right compromise between "don't want to see pixel arrays on screen at normal zoom factor" and "brighter stars should be a bit larger" is found which depends on the pixels per inch number of the display (. Generally, I don't need larger groups of pixels. Furthermore, I found that your design of pixel groups (for instance, three pixels in a line instead of a triangle) could be improved a bit.

But for now, I have a stars.dat that looks nice on my display (however, without planets, as these would require doing the manual adjustments every few days again..).

 

As for your sim running on Cryengine - is there any sneak preview available? I'm very curious. I only found some older posts in the Cryengine forum, but alas, nothing new an no working download links.

 

Best Regards

Markus

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On 11/05/2018 at 10:27 AM, Meerkat said:

Hi Chris,

thank you for this nice software and your kind words. With coordiante offset I meant the distance (in arc seconds or other unit) between the dots that a bright star or planet is composed of. If that could be adjusted one could experiment until the right compromise between "don't want to see pixel arrays on screen at normal zoom factor" and "brighter stars should be a bit larger" is found which depends on the pixels per inch number of the display (. Generally, I don't need larger groups of pixels. Furthermore, I found that your design of pixel groups (for instance, three pixels in a line instead of a triangle) could be improved a bit.

But for now, I have a stars.dat that looks nice on my display (however, without planets, as these would require doing the manual adjustments every few days again..).

 

As for your sim running on Cryengine - is there any sneak preview available? I'm very curious. I only found some older posts in the Cryengine forum, but alas, nothing new an no working download links.

 

Best Regards

Markus

Hi Marcus,

  I think the Planet Size setting does what you want. Probably my explanation above wasn't very clear.

  If you double the value of the setting, then the stars that make up the planet will be twice as far apart. If you reduce the value then the stars will be closer, which is what I think you need.

  Try reducing the Planet Size setting and see if it does the job!

 

  If you are interested I would be delighted to give you more info on my simulator. I've noticed that in the Cry Engine forums there's far less interest in simulators compared to ten years ago, so I've thought of looking for more interest in the flight sim world. A brief description:

  It runs on Cry Engine, originally on CE2 (Crysis) and now on CE3 (specifically3.58). The current version of Cry Engine is CE5, but there are big problems transferring the simulator.

  It was originally a flight simulator (the first aircraft was a Spitfire). But over the years it has grown and now supports:

  Aircraft, trains, ships, cars/trucks etc and spacecraft.

  Aircraft include: Spitfire, Super Constellation, B-25, F-86, F-14, F-16, Mig-29, Piper Cub and quite a few others.

  Some unique features e.g.

  Player can naturally walk around the interior of vehicles even when they're moving or flying at high speed.

  Vehicles can automatically become children of other vehicles e.g. aircraft can land, taxi and take off from fully functional moving aircraft carriers.

 

  It now covers the whole world, using a landclass system to automatically generate terrain, textures and autogen. It has a sophisticated AI system and it also supports full combat.

  I'll post some screen shots in a later post. Here's an ancient youtube:

 

  Just be aware that this is six years old, and the sim is vastly improved.

  Many people have used old releases for CE2. If you or anyone here would be seriously interested then I could certainly release a demo.

  The sim is completely open. It includes my Aircraft Factory utility which automatically generates the Lua code for all the vehicles. It's very easy to create new assets etc.

  I hope you're interested!

Best regards,

Chris

 

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