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Thread: Question on the "How to create Photoreal Scenery for FSX" tutorial

  1. #1

    Default Question on the "How to create Photoreal Scenery for FSX" tutorial

    Hi, I'm completely new to doing FSX scenery, and I'm following along with the "how to create photoreal scenery for FSX" tutorial. I've understood everything up to the "Part V - Working with SBuilderX Polygons" part, but I just don't understand that. My specific questions is, the tutorial author mentions (in step 4) to "move, not copy" a file called cvx9232.bgl out of the default FSX scenery directory and into the folder where we're working on stuff.

    This seems very odd to me - I assumed (?) that creating your own scenery wouldn't involve deleting default scenery files. What if I get rid of my created scenery - seems like there wouldn't be anything for FSX to show then because the default scenery file was removed?

    I must be missing something, because this just doesn't seem to make sense to me. Can someone help me understand?


  2. #2


    Disabling the default file is bad advice, don't do it. Instead use exclusion polygons to exclude default hydro polys and rebuild them to your liking with SBuilderX. I posted more specifics on page 8 of the thread.

  3. #3


    Awesome, thanks Jim appreciate the help. Haven't made it that far through the tutorial yet - maybe I need to step back and read through the entire thing, and then start up again.

    I appreciate the help - thank you!

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    Disabling the default file is bad advice, don't do it. Instead use exclusion polygons to exclude default hydro polys and rebuild them to your liking with SBuilderX. I posted more specifics on page 8 of the thread.
    Hi Jim, I'm afraid I'm still not quite catching the details you laid out. I read the post on page 8 to basically say that all we should need to do is add some "exclusion polygons" to get rid of the unwanted scenery bleeding through.

    So here's what I'm trying:

    1. In SBuilderX, I got rid of all polygons to start clean
    2. Then I'm adding a polygon over some of the ocean area where default scenery is bleeding through. But I'm uncertain how to set the properties to exclude the default scenery. EXCLUDE_ALL_TERRAIN_ITEMS seems to take away the ocean for the entire area (why doesn't it just do it within the confines of the polygon?). EXCLUDE_ALL_SHORELINES doesn't seem to work (would this get rid of the "waves"?)

    Could you give me an idea of what I'm missing? Still a bit lost. Also, maybe instead of throwing me a fish, could you maybe point me to some tutorials that specifically focus on excluding default scenery?


  5. #5


    These vector exclusions exclude whatever they touch so a 1m triangular exclusion can exclude up to a complete QMID 11 cell in the case of some hydro polys located in the middle of the ocean. You can figure out which cvx****.bgl you're working with and open it with TMFViewer to see the structure of the default hydro polys in the area you're working with.

    The wave effects are attached to a shoreline so yes an "Exclude_All_Shorelines" should get rid of them but again the exclude excludes what it touches so if your default shoreline is made up of many short segments you'll either need an exclude large enough to touch every segment or an individual exclude for each.

    I've reached the conclusion after doing this a few times it's best to exclude and rebuild an entire QMID 11 cell as a unit. This is because by design, all vector objects except traffic lines clip at QMID 11 boundaries. It has to do with the "fit of the replacement part", since all vector objects end at QMID 11 boundaries you know your replacement QMID 11 "part" will always fit whether your end user runs default vector, FTX Vector, UTX, etc.

    I usually click out my hydro poly and tag it "Hydro_Generic_Ocean_Perennial" or "Hydro_Generic_Bay_Harbor_Perennial" (it doesn't matter, wet is wet), then from that I right click and choose "Make line". The line becomes the shoreline and I usually tag it with "Shorelines Generic Bay Harbor" or "Shorelines Generic Ocean". (Shorelines Generic Ocean is the one with the wave effect attached)

    I do View > QMID grid > level 11, then in poly or line mode you'll find some "slice to QMID 11" and "fill to QMID 11" options on right click. I drag the edges of my hydro poly out beyond the QMID boundaries where I can and "slice to QMID 11" then delete the leftover strips around the edges. Somehow do the same with the shorelines.

    Lastly I make a small poly and tag it "Exclude_All_Water_Polygons", right click that and "fill to QMID 11". Do the same with another tagged "Exclude_All_Shorelines". That should do it, just compile and copy the .bgl.

    Show me where and what you're trying to do (an island?), I'll be able to give you a better idea what to do with a working example.


  6. #6


    Hi Jim, I'm just trying to work through the Nauru example, but without the parts where it says to delete the cvx9232.bgl file from the default scenery folder (folder 1104).

    Seems like I'm just not catching the drift, but I'll do a quick brain dump of what I believe to be true - can you correct any misunderstandings below?

    1. The FSX world in general is not "ocean" with land defined on top of it, it's land with ocean laid on top. Thus exposing an island means cutting a hole through the ocean to allow the land to show through.

    1a. What happens if you don't cut a hole, but the elevation of the island is higher than the water polygon, wouldn't it still show? i.e. if the land is at 200' high, but the water is at 0' high, why would I need to cut a hole? The ground is "above" the water.

    2. Water polygon excludes follow a rule that if any part of the water polygon is excluded, the ENTIRE water polygon is excluded. Your example was that a 1 meter water polygon exclude would completely remove any water polygon that touches it. Are all exclude areas like that? If I had a 1000 mile long road defined as a single line vector or whatever it is, would a EXCLUDE_ROADS polygon that barely touches it exclude the entire road, or only the parts under the exclude? I think this may be what's confusing belief is that it should only exclude the part under the exclude polygon.

    3. The area that has the island of Nauru in it seems to have (looking at cvs9232.bgl using tmfviewer) a enormous water polygon over it that covers 16*16 of the QMID 11 cells. Into this water polygon is cut a small hole for the island to come out of, along with some shorelines and a "airport bounds". The water polygon seems to behave as both a water polygon and a water polygon GPS, it shows up as either in tmfViewer.

    4. There isn't a way to just "cover up" the hole in the default scenery with a (much) smaller water polygon, into which a hole of the proper size for the relocated island is? I keep seeing references to "you have to replace the whole default water polygon" - why is that? If I do have to do that, is there a way to "copy" the original water polygon out of the default scenery, exclude the default, and put my own version into my BGL? If I were working the Hawaiian islands and wanted to do just one island, do I really have to redraw all of them? That seems time consuming. It would be easier if I could copy the default and just change the one island I wanted to work on.

    Sorry for all the newbie questions, I'm just trying to understand the high level "logic" and "rules" that scenery creation requires...and obviously I haven't hit on them yet. Any good references to help with this?

    Thanks again for your patience and help - I really appreciate it.


  7. #7


    Ok, I've been playing around in SBuilderX with this, and have completely gotten it to work. But the way I did it seems "to easy" compared to what others are posting, so I'm worried I've done something that will break items in the future.

    Here's what I did:

    Step 1: Create two QMID 11 sized polygons that cover Nauru island (top and bottom halves), set the EXCLUDE_ALL_WATER_POLYGONS. In FSX, this shows land instead of water, but I was pleased that it showed land only for those two QMID 11 squares - I was worried it would exclude the entire polygon in the default bgl, which is something like 16 * 16 QMID 11 cells.

    Step 2: just experimenting, I resized one of the exclude polygons to be much smaller than the entire QMID 11 cell. Looks like it still excludes the entire cell

    Step 3: I added a small hydro poly and recompiled the BGL. I noted in FSX that the water showed up ONLY where the hydro poly was - it didn't expand to fit the entire QMID 11 cell (I was afraid it would)

    Step 4: Based on this, I created two hydro polys that fill the entire QMID 11 cells that were excluded. At this point, My photoscenery is showing through, along with some shoreline info left over from the default scenery. I did NOT have to "cut holes" into the water polygrams to get my island to stand out. I wonder if this is because the island photoscenery is in a different BGL, or is it just that we don't need to cut the holes?

    Step 5: I created an EXCLUDE_ALL_SHORELINES polygon to remove the shorelines that were coming through from the original scenery

    At this point, everything seems great, but as noted it feels "too easy". Have I hosed something up that will bite me in the butt later on?


  8. #8


    The hydro polys should have a flattening effect, you shouldn't see the island except for some shorelines and stuff at the airport until you cut the hole for the island. Your photoscenery will always take priority over landclass though so even if you've turned the entire area into water your photoreal island will show on top of it (but it won't have any height). You should end up with a landclass island if you disable the photo.bgl, the only difference from default will be the new landclass island's shorelines will match the photoreal island.

    I just tested and noticed an oddity at Nauru, it's like the hydro polys set at "0" are submerged or something. I see land in the entirety of both QMID cells when I tried to repeat your scenario. I've never had to do this before but I "set altitude" of .01m on the hydro polys and everything fell into place.

    Try it like this:
    (disable your photoreal first temporarily)
    -Draw a huge poly encompassing both QMID 11 cells plus a few meters in all directions, tag it Hydro_generic_ocean_perennial, set altitude to .01m

    -Click out the outline of the island with another poly, polygon_of_type_none is fine

    -select the island poly, right click and "set as hole", click the edge of the huge hydro poly to define it as "parent", it should make a hole

    -select the island poly again, right click and "make line", set the line to Shorelines_generic_ocean

    -select the large outer hydro poly and slice to QMID 11

    -delete the poly strips left around the edges of the QMID cells

    -make another small triangular poly extending into both QMID cells, tag it exclude_all_water_polys, right click, fill to QMID11

    -make another small triangular poly extending into both QMID cells, tag it exclude_all_shorelines, right click, fill to QMID11


    -select > all polygons, select > all lines, compile and move the .bgl

    That should give you a landclass island with the correct shape. Now enable your photoreal and see if everything looks OK, you may need to adjust a shoreline here and there.

    If I had a 1000 mile long road defined as a single line vector or whatever it is, would a EXCLUDE_ROADS polygon that barely touches it exclude the entire road, or only the parts under the exclude?
    It would exclude the entire road but since roads clip at QMID 11 boundaries the most road you could wipe out with one exclude is about 16 miles long.
    Last edited by Jim Robinson; 02-26-2015 at 02:05 AM.

  9. #9


    I feel like I'm making good progress - I decided to just exclude "everything". Brought in SRTM mesh following a different tutorial, that seems working great, and I've got the SBuilderX stuff done and the island is starting to look great.

    I have hit one additional issue though - I'm at the part where I try to use ADE to move the runway, and even though I've moved it and compiled it, when I start in FSX my plane is still starting at the old location - which is now in the water. Not sure why this is happening, the new runway is definitely in the right spot, and I did add the runway start locations. Any ideas what I may have hosed up?

    Thanks again for all the help!

  10. #10


    Only thing I can think of is maybe start locations are hidden and you missed moving those too. Check under Veiw > Starts and see if they're unchecked.


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