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John Venema

announcement TrueEarth Washington - Reduction in size by 75% using a ZL16/17 combo

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Well, to my eyes they do look very close in comparison. That has me thinking though, what does a sharpened ZL 17 look like? ZL 18?  Love to see an example of that if possible.... :)  Cheers!

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Well, I just looked at these on my big 4k screen and to my surprise I think I prefer the zl16 with the sharpening. Didn't expect that, but there you go. So I guess that'll do for me.

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throw in the 4 seasons for P3D and I'm in.B)

1 hour ago, Stewart Hobson said:

Ain't gonna happen.  B)

 

thanks, Easy decision for me then. 

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I can definitely tell the difference maybe because I've used the graphics sharpening tool (Unsharp Mask).  It doesn't make blurry areas sharper, it only highlights the edges and overdone makes the image look worse.  ZL16 with sharpening doesn't look good to me.

 

The original discussion was ZL17 with one season or ZL16 with seasons.  We didn't get seasons.  Now we're considering ZL16 with sharpening and still without seasons.  Seems we're going backwards.  Please don't down grade your product.

 

I would still like to have ZL17.  Make it an enhancement pack if you wish please.  :smile:

 

Thanks for allowing us this discussion.

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 a few things:

 

first - symbolic links are not needed imo.  XP will work just fine in its entirety on an external USB3.0 drive using Windows 10.

 

second - I want as good of an image as I can get...I don't care how we get there.

 

third - I would swear the TE GB series looks clearer and crisper than Washington but it may be my imagination.

 

fourth --  what does it look like if you increase resolution to ZL18 and then drop color depth from  8 bits down to 6 bits per pixel if thats possible...16 million colors down to 4 million colors approximately?

 

 

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30 minutes ago, sightseer said:

fourth --  what does it look like if you increase resolution to ZL18 and then drop color depth from  8 bits down to 6 bits per pixel if thats possible...16 million colors down to 4 million colors approximately?

 

X-Plane only support DDS compressed files for textures and they're always exactly the same size no matter how you reduce the original image, so dropping the colour depth would make no difference

 

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@Tony Wroblewski I am getting confused a bit now as i see comments about seasons, or lack of. I have XP versions of the TE series and I believe that the P3D version of the only TEGB series is South, and that file and installation footprint was substantially less than the XP version. So, my question is, are we talking about reducing the size of XP or P3D versions, or both. If both then isn't/aren't the P3D versions relatively smaller anyway? My confusion is enhanced when we talk about dds format that when compressed for textures are exactly the same size and dropping the colour depth would make no difference. P3D deals in bgls does it not? Does the same theory apply to dropping colour depth with bgls?

Just seeking a bit of clarification as to which sim this proposed file reduction/ZL reduction is aimed at. It appears to me that it is not really required for P3D, but not having any TE for P3D I cannot confirm. maybe someone would assist and advise me of the install size of TEGB South on P3D.

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This discussion is regarding X-Plane only at present. P3D is able to store the imagery already compressed inside the BGL files, whereas with X-Plane we're stuck with fixed textures at a fixed size. The P3D versions have a smaller footprint overall

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Thanks for the samples (and including an example of tennis courts) JV, I must say that these Z16s look far sharper than my own efforts at the same zoom level.

 

Steve

 

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I waited for JV's images to appear before giving my opinion.  My vote is for ZL17.  The ZL16 is clearly over sharpened, giving a more artificial look to the scene.  I have slow download speed, will happily suffer through the download process to get the better image quality (and buy a large external drive to hold the Orbx scenery).  I think a dual path of two resolution levels is a good marketing strategy to provide for both types of customers. 

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21 minutes ago, Tony Wroblewski said:

This discussion is regarding X-Plane only at present. P3D is able to store the imagery already compressed inside the BGL files, whereas with X-Plane we're stuck with fixed textures at a fixed size. The P3D versions have a smaller footprint overall

Thanks Tony. Talk then of a P3D version then is not applicable to this particular topic at present but I suppose could be if Orbx want to try the reduced fidelity option for P3D.

In conclusion then I would like both ZL17 and ZL16 options to be made available. Hopefully the choice is not either/or but more like both which would satisfy all critics but also allow more customers for the TE series who for various reasons are looking for a "lite" version.

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I clearly see a difference, especially near trees and grass. Just looks worse on ZL16. Please, just stay on ZL17. Thanks.

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maybe a 4 tile demo area would help.  or 1 tile I guess...I dont remember how big tiles are in 'game space'

Edited by sightseer

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To me, the sharpened ZL16 version looks like a big step back in terms of quality. It might actually be acceptable in the urban areas, but if you look at the first scene, the sharpening completely ruins the blending of terrain and autogen, especially vegetation. Please, please stick to ZL17, or at least offer it as an option...

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How about an additional direction for the ftx installer?  Add putting the scenery on a separate HD and a "shortcut" pointing to the Xplane installation it finds?  This works for other scenery in Xplane.

 

Jerry

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I have to say I much prefer the ZL17 version, looks far more natural, especially in the first comparison. Is the question about having ZL16 as an option going forward? Or eliminating ZL17 completely from future releases?

 

If the latter then maybe offer ZL17 as part of future HD packs? Assuming that Orgen etc will be having HD packs similar to the imminent Washington HD pack release.

 

If its just an option to pick within FTX central after purchasing the product, then it doesnt really matter either way, people will choose what their preference is. ZL17 & Big install v ZL16 Smaller install.

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I just bought a 2TB SSD cause X-Plane was balooning, but it was worth it for the scenery. That said, I'll gladly welcome this change to a smaller disk footprint!

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2 hours ago, Daan said:

I clearly see a difference, especially near trees and grass. Just looks worse on ZL16. Please, just stay on ZL17. Thanks.

Disk space vs Higher Quality... no comparison for me.

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I see a big difference in resolution/detail in the buildings especially location C - ZL17 vs ZL16. The ground clutter and buildings look like mush. If there is no autogen to cover up the various ground clutter in the rural areas then it's going to ruin the immersion. Plus it does not look as natural.  

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Please also remember that all Orbx payware airports come with all circuit areas in either 30cm or 60cm resolution, so the argument about final approaches needing to look as good as possible are not relevant.

 

There are hundreds of airports in Washington State that are not covered by ORBX payware airports, so your argument makes no sense again. I think your only option is ZL16 for people that want to save disk space and ZL17 for people that want quality! If server bandwidth costs are issue then charge a little more for the ZL17. 

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Z16 looks lower in quality than Z17 and I will not purchase Z16 products (those days ended with FS2004). Microsoft is putting out a shiny new simulator next year while Orbx is considering downgrading ground resolution to pre-FSX days. Seems like things are going in opposite directions.

 

Orbx started over 12 years ago by introducing and subsequently putting out high quality 1 meter/pixel products. It seems concerning that because some people will not spend money on hard drive space (which keeps getting cheaper) or continue to believe that you must have a solid state drive for Orbx products, that many of us who appreciate the very best that Orbx has ever offered, have to downgrade.

 

The long term effect of this will be a large portfolio of low resolution True Earth products that will be offerings for years to come, WELL AFTER a time when hard drive costs are going to matter. 

 

Two questions worth asking:

1) How would people respond to having P3D landclass textures downgraded from 1 meter/pixel to 2 meter/pixel with a sharpening mask and if using lower resolution with a sharpening mask is a good idea, will Orbx do this for future P3D landclass products?

2) What happens in the next year or so when 10TB+ hard drives are available for $100. A single 200GB product represents 2% of that capacity. Let's look to the future, do we want people that are worried about 200GB-sized products creating a situation where all current and future True Earth products will be pre-FSX resolution?

 

I strongly petition Orbx to at minimum offer a Z16 and a Z17 option. I would not be too happy about having to spend more money on a Z17 product, but if I had to I would do it and I suspect many others would bite the bullet and pay a premium for 1 meter/ pixel True Earth products.

 

Thanks for listening.

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John -- Appreciate the option, size is a factor for me. I'm running both P3D v.4 and X-Plane 11.3. Eventually I'll migrate to one platform and consolidate then.

I have a new 1 TB SSD drive waiting for me to install [ when I have time], this is delaying my purchase of TE Washington, I don't have the free space at present for the download and install.

This new option is of interest.  Appreciate the thoughts and options.

 

Mike

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12 hours ago, John Venema said:

OK folks, here are the results. Judge for yourself...

 

would seem to me that you are using very subtle 'sharpening' with the 'ZL16 enhanced' - augers well - as 'over-sharpening' can give dreadful results...

 

seems to me the Orbx team is making very good & sensible progress with XP11+ TrueEarth deployment options...

 

thanks for the working examples - illuminating!

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Alright then take two :)

 

The comparision shots I showed earlier in this topic were not using Photoshop's sharpening algorithm but were from an open-source command-line tool that Tony was using.

 

I have since run the entire state of Oregon through a Photoshop batch process using the default 'Sharpen' filter. The results as you can see below, speak for themselves. The key to this is the texture quality slider. At the 'Maximum' texture setting there is no difference between ZL16 and ZL17. At 'High' texture settings there is blurring.

 

TIP - If you click on the first image to bring it to it's own viewing pane, you can then maximise your browser screen and use the left and right arrow to compare the three images.

 

ZL17 - Texture quality = "Maximum"

Max.png

ZL17.jpg

 

 

ZL16-Photoshop sharpen - Texture quality = "Maximum"

ZL16-PS.jpg

 

 

ZL16-Photoshop sharpen - Texture quality = "High"

ZL16-PS-Texture-Setting-High.jpg

High.png

 

 

The first two images are virtually identical.  If anything, ZL16 with Photoshop sharpening looks better and more defined. Notice that the vegetation and trees now do not contrast with the autogen anymore? This is the superior Photoshop filter at work.

 

ZL16 benefits:

  • Much faster loading (a quarter of the file sizes)
  • Less GPU memory being used (no stutters or pauses to swap memory)
  • Better FPS 

 

The third image definitely has image degradation, when running Texture settings at 'High'. You would only use this texture quality setting if you have a lower end video card with less than 11GB of VRAM.

 

I know that I personally won't be using the ZL17 version because it takes up 220GB of drive space and literally does not look any better at Max texture settings, which is my default setting. ZL16-Photoshop taking up 50GB of drive space is a much better solution. You can add the entire west coast of the USA to your library for less space than we provided TE Washington for.

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Definitely ZL16 for me.  The benefits far outweigh the minuscule (if any) loss of detail that may be visible if I spend all my time comparing the two versions in a split screen arrangement. 

 

I'll wager a decent sum with anyone that in a blind test, on a normal simulated cross country VFR flight, neither I nor the vast majority of simmers would be able to identify for sure which version is being used.

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4 minutes ago, John Dow said:

I'll wager a decent sum with anyone that in a blind test, on a normal simulated cross country VFR flight, neither I nor the vast majority of simmers would be able to identify for sure which version is being used.

 

This is my experience. Once you get to flight level it's very hard to tell the difference.. In the tests I've been doing with John, the difference is only noticeable as you drop the texture settings in X-Plane. Lower settings are noticable, but this makes sense since each drop in texture settings halfs the texture resolution in memory (I suspect)

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Thanks guys. Agree that image quality at max texture is negligible. My problem is that I can't run XP11 at high/max texture setting consistently but have plenty of hard drive space. ZL17 looks better at lower texture settings which puts less stress on my VRAM. I'm on a Mac with 8GB card, but XP11 is not optimized for AMD cards and Mac. This will change when Metal is ready based on the early performance stats from LR. In the meantime, I prefer ZL17 and medium texture quality. That said, I support the effort to reduce file sizes and I think this will be a great longer-term solution.

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1 hour ago, RCFlyer said:

This is good.  Do you have a picture of zl16 at approximately 1000 feet?

 

Danny

 

Here is some at 1000FT MSL. Again, I am hard pressed to see any difference to ZL17:

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.14 PM.JPG

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.17 PM.JPG

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.13 PM.JPG

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.06 PM.JPG

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.10 PM.JPG

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.08 PM.JPG

 

Screen Shot 07-23-19 at 03.07 PM.JPG

 

Edit: Just did a few VR flights in this area at ZL16+Max texture setting and it looks really nice. Not getting a sense of loss of quality at all.

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22 minutes ago, John Venema said:

Here is some at 1000FT MSL. Again, I am hard pressed to see any difference to ZL17:

I do a lot of flying in and around mountains and often get very close to  the mountainside. I also spend a lot of time flying in helicopters very close to the ground, around 100 feet above ground, and depend on sharp textures to assist in landing as this gives good visual cues. Could you please post some comparison shots of flying very close to cliffs or mountainsides, as well as very close to the ground for us many bush and helicopter pilots. Thank you.

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I think Id be perfectly happy with that (ZL16 'Max').  at least it'd be a quicker download and I cant tell the difference. 

but f you can figure out how to make it as high a resolution as your Global line -- that would be awesome! :-) 

Edited by sightseer

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2 hours ago, John Venema said:

The third image definitely has image degradation, when running Texture settings at 'High'. You would only use this texture quality setting if you have a lower end video card with less than 11GB of VRAM.

 

I'd rather spend 80$ on a bigger hard drive than 800$ on a 'video card with more than 11GB of VRAM'. Seriously, you guys think that we can afford 800$ on a 'higher end video card' but not 80$ on some more disk space? ... I'm sorry but that's just an absurd statement. I only have a GTX 1060 and I'm happy with how TE WA runs at ZL17 with my texture settings at high. I can't afford a video card that makes my X-Plane run with the texture settings on maximum, so spending my money on a hard disk would make much more sense.

Edited by Daan

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54 minutes ago, Daan said:

I'm happy with how TE WA runs at ZL17 with my texture settings at high. I can't afford a video card that makes my X-Plane run with the texture settings on maximum

 

Of course if you're running ZL17 textures on maximum settings in X-Plane you're going to need a powerful 11GB GPU, but running ZL16 uses a quarter of the memory for the same area, so there is more room to play here. I can run it fine on my 1070 on maximum (not maximum (no compression))

 

 

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Not to harp on an idea here but I think what we all are striving for ultimately is high resolution, which is something even ZL 17 does not provide at or near ground level. Earlier I asked the question...what does ZL 17 look like with the unsharpen filter applied?  Haven't seen an answer to that yet but if ZL 16 can look like ZL 17 - can ZL 17 look like ZL 18? I would gladly pay extra for that! When you watch the trailer for MSFS 2020 you realize the future is extremely high res and that means lots of data. No way around it, you can minimize the HD space but that is a moot point if you are ultimately trying to compete with something that is truly high res. I know there are limits and it's great to provide small and manageable downloads but I would love to see the option to truly push the boundaries. Hard core fanatics (not rich either) like myself are on board with bigger files which are going to be needed anyways just to compete in the future.

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17 minutes ago, Tony Wroblewski said:

 

Of course if you're running ZL17 textures on maximum settings in X-Plane you're going to need a powerful 11GB GPU, but running ZL16 uses a quarter of the memory for the same area, so there is more room to play here. I can run it fine on my 1070 on maximum (not maximum (no compression))

 

 

TE runs fine on my 1070 8GB on the same settings. When I look at memory usage it is often over  8GB and that's no problem even at ZL 17.

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For me personally ZL16 is not an option. Not everyone fly at FL altitudes and with HD space somewhat being an issue I much rather fly and remain in one or a few select Orbx areas with ZL17 than installing several more in ZL16. I just sincerely hope the remaining UK areas and WA for P3D will be ZL17. If not Ortho4XP and Scenproc will remain my future direction.  

Edited by Flygsidan
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1 hour ago, Tony Wroblewski said:

 

Of course if you're running ZL17 textures on maximum settings in X-Plane you're going to need a powerful 11GB GPU, but running ZL16 uses a quarter of the memory for the same area, so there is more room to play here. I can run it fine on my 1070 on maximum (not maximum (no compression))

 

 

That's not what I mean, JV is talking about ZL16 on maximum being the same as ZL17.. If you look at ZL16 at high it clearly looks worse. I can only run on high (both ZL16 and ZL17) and thus I would prefer ZL17 as opposed to ZL16.

Edited by Daan

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1 hour ago, BobT said:

Not to harp on an idea here but I think what we all are striving for ultimately is high resolution, which is something even ZL 17 does not provide at or near ground level. Earlier I asked the question...what does ZL 17 look like with the unsharpen filter applied?  Haven't seen an answer to that yet but if ZL 16 can look like ZL 17 - can ZL 17 look like ZL 18? I would gladly pay extra for that! When you watch the trailer for MSFS 2020 you realize the future is extremely high res and that means lots of data. No way around it, you can minimize the HD space but that is a moot point if you are ultimately trying to compete with something that is truly high res. I know there are limits and it's great to provide small and manageable downloads but I would love to see the option to truly push the boundaries. Hard core fanatics (not rich either) like myself are on board with bigger files which are going to be needed anyways just to compete in the future.

 

I agree, what does ZL17 with the (un)sharpen mask look like? Would be a good upgrade with little to no performance loss.

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