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dominique

The dawn of a new age for flight simulation ?

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OrbX customers have a strong interest in having regional sceneries including airport surroundings the more real looking possible. OrbX has had an huge  impact there over the last 10 years. I've been doing small amateur sceneries and I've learnt  two things  it is an enormous (and sometimes tedious) load of work that needs teams but it is kind of a handicraft with imperfect and aged tools. People should remember that before complaining about late releases (that includes me :P!)

 

For this reason,I found this Microsoft interview  about using the Unity game engine in mixed reality fascinating. Does it spell the dawn of a new age for flight simulation, even if the word is not pronounced in this 15 minutes video ? We are not here yet but think of what we had before OrbX 10 years ago and think ahead ten years from now.  And we may see some bits of it in FS20. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Richard McDonald Woods said:

Hi Dominique!

My first impression is that there will have to be a great deal of 'market adjustment' by the current vendors.

 

Hi Richard

 

Yes indeed, even an understatement :).

 

Imagine, 400 "cityscapes" generated automatically maybe in real-time at 5cm/pixel on buildings ? Mountains grown the same way out of digital data.

 

As I said in my earlier  post, scenery making is today the digital craftmaship/wizardry of talented artists. This video shows that it enters into the industrial age. Very fast. I was merely intrigued by the FS20 announcement, not more. After watching this video, I wonder.

 

Of course flight simulation is not merely sceneries, we need great aircraft too . Still,...

Edited by dominique
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This is definitely the future of flightsim scenery.  These 3D areas will only multiply and increase in size over the coming years.  I can see drones being used all over the world to capture the necessary images to produce the 3D scenery.  Eventually, the whole world will be covered in 3D aerial imagery which can be displayed in the sim.

 

Pretty exciting.

 

Dave

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Some of the scenery already looks great and yes in time more of the world will achieve a much higher standard. I am guessing around airports we will still be using traditional 3D modeling and textures as these areas we see much closer in the sim, but for the rest of the world to fly over this technology looks fantastic

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Hey Lars

 

You made some good points in the OpenLC Asia thread that I bring back here to comment.

 

I remember that about 15 years ago, the German flightsim magazine FlightXPress speculated about the future of flightsimming and that we would be soon using technology based on Google Earth to have the perfect simulation of the earth where anyone would be able to find his own house accurately represented. The result would be a photo-earth with very few objects in it. A lot like FS 2002, perhaps.

 

The question is, why has this not yet arrived? Because using satellite imagery (aka photoreal scenery) comes at a high data cost and doesn't yield consistently convincing results. Think of the aircraft you can see parked on the aprons of the world's airports and cars on the roads. These are non-static objects that you have to hand-edit out of material. That's why Orbx invented the TE series, which is based on satellite or aerial imagery, but manually processed to give us the stunning results it does. After all, buildings and trees have to be handplaced to the appropriate locations. Well, maybe an algorithm is invented that does that for you, but still, these aren't perfect and would require hand-editing. You don't have this problems with landclass sceneries that consist of repeating tiles, which make them look less real, but also much easier to produce.

 

Your post  reminds me that since my childhood (I am 70 yo now !), I've read so many times about men dwelling under the sea and flying cars ;). ! Yes, there are predictions that never come to fruit. 

 

Kevin Miller made a youtube dissecting the MS trailer. He exactly shows the problem of moving objects in the Chicago harbour.  But I invite you to watch the video I put here. This is not anly about orthos. The alliance of collecting data at three levels (an important matter too often forgotten - sat, aerial, ground), the well known Unity game engine and Azure has the potential to be a game changer and that for any game FS included. Sooner or later. I'll hazard a prediction if I may . Sooner.  

 

MS had already modeled 400 cityscapes that can be put in a game ! look also how they grow a mountain from GIS data ! 

 

 

Edited by dominique
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From what I understand, the Azure AI engine will process the aerial and satellite imagery.  This will probably involve correcting the imagery e.g. removing cloud cover and substituting best-guess appropriate imagery in its place, color correction, other imagery error corrections, photogrammetry to place 3D objects such as houses based on the imagery e.g. scanning the imagery and detecting rooftops and vegetation and then determining from this what type of buildings and trees to render , etc.  This is just my speculation based on my own limited research.

 

The process won't be perfect, but over time it will improve and eventually be perfected.

 

I, too, am pretty satisfied with the current landclass scenery provided that it is accurate and utilizes realistic textures, which openLC and the region scenery does quite well, so I'm happy to continue using it for a few more years until the aerial/satellite imagery scenery matures.  However, I am convinced that aerial/satellite imagery scenery is the future, which is also evidenced by ORBX's foray into, and heavy focus on, the TrueEarth type scenery.

 

Dave

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I wonder what kind (and amount) of storage capacity this burgeoning technology will require in the practical sense for the average user?

Edited by Ezra

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57 minutes ago, dave302 said:

removing cloud cover and substituting best-guess appropriate imagery in its place

"buest-guess" is what makes me sceptical here. :lol:

 

13 minutes ago, Ezra said:

I wonder what kind (and amount) of storage capacity this burgeoning technology will require in the practical sense for the average user?

About 2 PB from what I've heard. They want to stream the appropiate chunks live onto your machine.

 

Personally, I can live perfecty without so far. This will also change the addon industry as you're going to pay the addon companies for unlocking something on MS's servers. You won't see a single KB of the actual data.

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37 minutes ago, Ezra said:

I wonder what kind (and amount) of storage capacity this burgeoning technology will require in the practical sense for the average user?

 

19 minutes ago, Captain Lars said:

 

About 2 PB from what I've heard. They want to stream the appropiate chunks live onto your machine.

 

 

Only the MS FS0 team could tell us anything, at that time as we don't know how and where (server vs user) the scenery construction will be done.

 

My understanding is that the 2 Petas are the amount of GIS (Geographic Information Sytem) data processed by Microsoft, not the user storage requirement. It is not that much considering that Goggle Earth uses around 20 Peta and you don't have any local storage in spite of a smooth experience. Well smooth if you have a better connection than me. Bandwidth not storage will be the issue IMO.  And if more storage is required it might more RAM than larger HDD or SSD.  

 

Getting back to this video, I also found telling that MS works not only with Azure but with Unity, a 3rd party game engine.  The access to Unity is relatively easy and cheap. I wonder how many dev' have already gotten themselves the free kit since the MS annoucenment ;).

 

 https://store.unity.com/?_ga=2.170346409.880227359.1562517489-580866265.1562517489

 

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By the time the release in 2020 it may be up to 3 PB of memory and growing every day. Yes a 5G would handle it just fine provided you have a reasonably priced package with your provider, scenery would end up being the bulk of your monthly downloads.

 

I am looking forward to 5G as it is already available in Auckland, won't be long until we have it in Wellington now

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15 hours ago, dave302 said:

I, too, am pretty satisfied with the current landclass scenery provided that it is accurate and utilizes realistic textures, which openLC and the region scenery does quite well, so I'm happy to continue using it for a few more years until the aerial/satellite imagery scenery matures.  However, I am convinced that aerial/satellite imagery scenery is the future, which is also evidenced by ORBX's foray into, and heavy focus on, the TrueEarth type scenery.

 

Dave

 

I am satisfied too. Flight simulation is not only about scenery. Aicraft and weather are equally important. It is a balance between all the three.  The addition of a LC region  + Vector (if  the region is an OpenLC)  + a good mesh does already a pretty good job for the suspension of disbelief with a good bird.  I was watching an interview at FsExpo where a  guy said, with our product (no name...) no need for imagination anymore. He lost me right here. Imagination is what FS is all about. Now, nobody says that better sceneries won't do the trick too because  they will ! 

 

About TE products, all we read says it is a transitional product. Like the CD which came between vinyl and streaming. We loved our CD, they were so much better than vinyl. They now gather dust on shelves. The appetite we all have to own things didn't stand the powerful tide of streaming.

 

 

Edited by dominique

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4 hours ago, dominique said:

We loved our CD, they were so much better than vinyl.

 

Cough, what!?!  :o

 

Vinyl is making a comeback.  I saw a mag-lev turntable advertised recently.  No more bumped needles.  :P

 

As you were, flight sim, new age, dawn...

 

:D

Edited by Mickel
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9 minutes ago, Mickel said:

 

Cough, what!?!  :o

 

Vinyl is making a comeback.  I saw a mag-lev turntable advertised recently.  No more bumped needles.  :P

 

As you were, flight sim, new age, dawn...

 

:D

 

Curses, foiled again  :lol: ! I hesitated to put that vinyl analogy saying to myself,  I will get some of the vinyl crowd on my back ! Sure thing, one comes after me ;) :) !  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mickel said:

 

 

 

Also I thought about that "dawn of a new age" thing which bothers you. We could change the topic title in two ways

 

For technocratic simmers : " Towards  a paradigm change in the elaboration of the multi-dimensional physical environment of air mobility simulation ?"   

 

Casual simmer : " is the hard stuff that we crash into all the time, gonna be much nicer to look at in the last seconds of our flights ?"

 

I leave to your imagination other titles.

 

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8 hours ago, dominique said:

About TE products, all we read says it is a transitional product. Like the CD which came between vinyl and streaming. We loved our CD, they were so much better than vinyl. They now gather dust on shelves. The appetite we all have to own things didn't stand the powerful tide of streaming.

 

My CDs only gather dust because I converted all of them to FLAC. I still buy them. I can't listen to MP3s or any other lossy formats offered by streaming services, quality is horrific. You can get lossless streaming, but you pay an arm and a leg for it. I miss my vinyl, quality couldn't be beat, nothing compares to analog, but I just didn't have room to keep it.

 

I'm kind of the same way about my flightsim. I want to own it, not stream it. What happens if they stop offering the service?

Edited by patful
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I'm with Dominique, the change is likely to be very large indeed.  Streaming 3D scenery if awesome in prospect, but as it is introduced I accept there will be hitches. 

 

However, in Australia, bandwidth on the public hard-wired network, or 5G if we can get it is absolutely unknown.  Internet access is a frustration in this country, and for the small sim community in this country,  it is going to be a challenge.

 

And Patful, I have stored P34.5 and all my downloads of scenery and airports...I can switch back at a moment's notice.  But recall, Microsoft is a big company with huge resources so I guess any decision to stop will relate to the success or otherwise of its market penetration.

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On 7/8/2019 at 4:05 PM, patful said:

 

 

 . What happens if they stop offering the service?

 

An excellent question. But an issue of balancing needs. Does the ability to stream HiRes imagery carrying HiRes 3D models and autogen constructed by photogrammetry overcome the real danger of  losing the service if some ill-advised manager decides to shut the service off ? Each of us has his or her answer.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, macca22au said:

I'm with Dominique, the change is likely to be very large indeed.  Streaming 3D scenery if awesome in prospect, but as it is introduced I accept there will be hitches. 

 

However, in Australia, bandwidth on the public hard-wired network, or 5G if we can get it is absolutely unknown.  Internet access is a frustration in this country, and for the small sim community in this country,  it is going to be a challenge.

 

And Patful, I have stored P34.5 and all my downloads of scenery and airports...I can switch back at a moment's notice.  But recall, Microsoft is a big company with huge resources so I guess any decision to stop will relate to the success or otherwise of its market penetration.

 

Same here, living in a village 3+ km from the exchange on ADSL 2. Awful :P.  

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It's ironic, I know, but ALL parts of the chain have to be complete, and relying on streaming requires top of the line connectivity.

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4 hours ago, macca22au said:

It's ironic, I know, but ALL parts of the chain have to be complete, and relying on streaming requires top of the line connectivity.

 The chain is always as strong as the weakest link, you are right. But everything is in the implementation. Look at Google Earth, even with a crappy connectivity you can zoom in from far in space to metric details on the ground. I admit this is going to be quite a challenge for a moving game though. 

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I remember when CD's were all the rage. My CD library grew exponentially in just a few months ..... so much so I had to buy new furniture to store them all. Sound familiar ?

 

Then along came computers and media players ..... you mean you can actually store 1000's of songs in mp3 format on a single computer disk ?  Wow, progress is wonderful. I uploaded all of my favorite tunes to my computer, got rid of my CD's and the furniture library housing them. Yes, technology is wonderful. My wall unit has been replaced by a USB flash drive. 

 

Then came something called .... music streaming. You can have access to virtually any song, genre, artist .... and all it takes is a subscription ?  No more keeping up with constant downloading of the latest tunes by the newest artists,  and no worries about running out of storage space on the computer drive.  Yes, a wonderful idea !  Instant access to everything .

 

Now, ..... what's this ?  MSFS 2020 ......  Someone has been patiently sitting on the sidelines, and taking notes for the past 14 or so years.  Yes,  the future looks bright (and interesting), indeed. Sure, there will be hiccups along the way and the MS way may not be for everyone, but, hey, ....  I am beginning to like the sound of this new tune.  BTW,  I also , still own a record player and some precious 'vinyl' ..... for that 'nostalgia factor',...  but CD's I honestly can live without.  My opinion, and as always, YMMV.

Edited by MZee1960
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