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P3D4

Hundred Dollar Burger Scenery Update

The first of the two killer B’s (6B6 & 2B2) is going out to the beta test team this weekend, with Plum Island close on its heels. While we finish up the Plum Island facelift, here are some shots of Minute Man Field showing off that glorious P3Dv4 lighting…

The first of the two killer B’s (6B6 & 2B2) is going out to the beta test team this weekend, with Plum Island close on its heels. While we finish up the Plum Island facelift, here are some shots of Minute Man Field showing off that glorious P3Dv4 lighting…

Filed Under: 2B2 Plum Island, 6B6 Minuteman Field, FSX, Hundred Dollar Burger airports, New England Scenery, P3D4, Prepar3D V3, Prepar3D v4

Return of the 100 Dollar Burger

In the midst of all the announcements about large airport projects, a GA-loving person might despair that we’re abandoning our first love. Au contraire! As we steam towards KDAL and KPDX, our aim is to keep the flow of smaller fields going as well. And to prove that commitment, we’ll soon be releasing a dual-airport pack featuring an old favorite that’s been given a facelift (2B2 Plum Island), along with a new project that we’ve wanted to get to for a while now, 6B6 Minuteman Field.

Both airports are located in the US state of Massachusetts, and would make for great flights from Nantucket and The Heron’s Nest. Here are a couple previews of 6B6 just to kick things off…

And yes, those are 3D-modeled bottles of mustard in the second screenie. Details!

In the midst of all the announcements about large airport projects, a GA-loving person might despair that we’re abandoning our first love. Au contraire! As we steam towards KDAL and KPDX, our aim is to keep the flow of smaller fields going as well. And to prove that commitment, we’ll soon be releasing a dual-airport [...]

Filed Under: 2B2 Plum Island, 6B6 Minuteman Field, Announcements, FSX, FSX Scenery, Heron’s Nest, Hundred Dollar Burger airports, KACK, Nantucket, New England Scenery, P3D4, Prepar3D V3

Myrtle, fetch the mower!

Convincing sim airports are built of many things, most of which we can pretty much all agree on. Hangars are shaped a certain way, pavement looks like asphalt or concrete or gravel, vehicles either have the right look or they don’t. Where things get a bit more subjective are in the tiny, organic details – grass, for instance.

For some time now, there’s been an expectation that smaller airports (and for that matter, most larger ones) will at least try to incorporate some representation of grass. It might just be a fringe around the taxiways at an international hub, or it might involve a full-blown tangle of thick vegetation that threatens to overwhelm the whole field.

In our latest project, we asked ourselves, “what makes realistic grass look, well, realistic?” Since the airport in question is a smaller GA field, there was no doubt that the natural elements would play a key role in “selling” the believability. So rather than plunking down some grass from one of our existing libraries, we decided to go back to the drawing board and find as perfect a balance as we could between performance and plausibility. We’re pretty happy with the result.

They key elements were:

  • Coloring – The grass had to seamlessly match the photoreal ground beneath it. After all, that image is essentially a top-down view of the actual grass on the field.
  • Variety – Like most organic elements, there’s a lot of variation of color, texture, and density in a field of grass. In some seasons, that includes a splash of wildflowers here and there as well.
  • Performance – We’re trying to fool the eye into seeing hundreds of thousands of blades of grass while laying down a few hundred polygons. That means striking a balance between what’s actually there and what looks like it’s there.
  • Blending – After all that work, the last thing we want is for someone to look at a field and think, “yep, there are a bunch of polygons trying their best to be grass.” We want you to peer out through the windscreen and just think, “grass.” We paid a lot of attention to the best way to hide those straight 3D model edges the human eye has such an affinity for, but which look out of place in a natural setting.

Of course, in the real world many airports are meticulously maintained, including regular mowing. That means that the grass is seldom more than a few inches high. For our simulated environment, we’ve relaxed that standard a bit and let it get higher without being out of control. The result, we hope you agree, is quite believable…

Convincing sim airports are built of many things, most of which we can pretty much all agree on. Hangars are shaped a certain way, pavement looks like asphalt or concrete or gravel, vehicles either have the right look or they don’t. Where things get a bit more subjective are in the tiny, organic details – [...]

Filed Under: 3D Graphics, FSX, Hundred Dollar Burger airports, New England Scenery, P3D4, Prepar3D V3

Summer on the Island

Nantucket Island for Prepar3D v4 is turning base to final, so I thought I’d take a moment to share some pics. Just like the real deal, summer means traffic! The bizjets are starting to crowd the ramp, and there’s been a marked uptick in GA birds as well. All the ones shown in these pics are statics, and they really bring the airport to life.

This isn’t just a port for P3D4, it’s a complete reworking of the field. New grass has been added, the ground polys have been improved, and all seasonal textures and custom animations are now driven by SODE. And of course, there’s that juicy P3Dv4 night lighting…






Nantucket Island for Prepar3D v4 is turning base to final, so I thought I’d take a moment to share some pics. Just like the real deal, summer means traffic! The bizjets are starting to crowd the ramp, and there’s been a marked uptick in GA birds as well. All the ones shown in these pics are [...]

Filed Under: KACK, Nantucket, New England Scenery, P3D4, Prepar3D v4, SODE

A Note on iBlueYonder P3D4/FSW Compatibility

I just got back from a week of family business to discover that LM has announced the P3D v.4 release will be on May 30th. And of course, the preview of Dovetail’s Flight Sim World is already available on Steam as of May 18. This is great news for the sim community, and we’re really excited about it as well.

However, with any new sim comes the big question: will my existing add-ons work? In the case of Nantucket and The Heron’s Nest, the answer is a temporary no. No, because we rely on third-party technology to provide functionality that even at this stage of sim development isn’t available from the base simulators; things like seasonal texture swapping, conditional animations, and so forth. Temporary because our plan is to upgrade everything we sell to full P3D4/FSW compatibility in the very near future.

When these new compatibility mods appear exactly will depend on the work required and when the the maker of SODE can create a version that works with the new sims. Our requests for development insight and assistance from Lockheed Martin went unanswered, so we’re no more in-the-know than anyone else about how porting to their new P3D will work out. Fortunately, Dovetail were more forthcoming, and we’re working right now on versions of everything for FSW.

In the medium term, have no fear – if you bought one of our airports, your investment is safe. In the short term, all we ask is that you keep whatever sim you’ve been using active on your hard drives until we can work out the new versions, and please be understanding about the time it takes to transition. We’ll do our best to make the gap as short as humanly possible.

I just got back from a week of family business to discover that LM has announced the P3D v.4 release will be on May 30th. And of course, the preview of Dovetail’s Flight Sim World is already available on Steam as of May 18. This is great news for the sim community, and we’re really [...]

Filed Under: Announcements, Dovetail Games, Flight Sim World, Heron’s Nest, KACK, P3D4, Prepar3D v4