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prepar3d / fsx New announcement: GSX PBR Update

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New announcement: GSX PBR Update

 
 
 
 
 
 
Fsdreamteam is happy to announce the release of the long awaited FREE PBR update for GSX. This is, by far, the biggest update GSX ever got, and it has been in development for the past 6 months. 

Here's the release notes:

https://www.fsdreamteam.com/couatl_liveupdate_notes.html

Let's go through the main ones:

- Custom Pushback improved, with visual customization in the editor, using two modes, Snap to AFCAD lines and Free mode.

Yes, while the main focus was the PBR update, we would like to start with this "surprise" feature, which we kept under wraps so far. This is only the FIRST step of the planned Pushback Remake, which will hopefully be the focus of the next major update, but we wanted to start something as soon as possible, to give something to play with for all of you passionate about customization. And even if you aren't, we are sure there are many talented users and scenery developers that will share their creations.

The main improvement of the Custom Pushback is the ability to set custom pushback points visually, like other GSX vehicles, without having to insert Lat/Lon coordinates manually. 

In addition to that, the Pushback customization works in two different ways: Snap Mode and Free Mode. The Free mode is where the power really lies. Instead of being constrained by an existing node of the AFCAD, GSX can be set to use a final point that can be freely specified, both in location and in the final heading AND an "anchor" middle point, which can also be specified freely, through which a smooth curve will be automatically fitted, without being constrained by the location of nodes in the AFCAD.

This will allow GSX to do tricky Pushbacks which weren't possible before, especially in tight spaces, and the final point you'll specify, will result in the airplane front gear to be placed exactly where you wanted to be, with the desired heading.

This is just the first step of the overall Pushback revamping, we won't surely stop here, and push/pull and gate-to-gate will come but, we wanted to release it as soon as possible with the feature that affected the most those creating airports customizations.

- (P3D4.4+ only): Most objects remade in native P3D4 PBR format, with entirely new models and animations.

We haven't "just" updated the textures to PBR. Lots of GSX objects started to show their age and, the experience of working with PBR even before P3D4 got it, has told us that, "just" updating textures won't give very good results. For PBR to be really effective, the object must be remade, so textures could be generated in a coherent way, starting from the modeling, which affects the choice of materials and how they react to light. That's why this update took so long: after we started to see how much better the remade objects looked like, we keep remaking them, and this took the better part of the past 6 months.

Lots of human animations have been improved a lot, by using the native P3D4 SDK. Human animation never looked very good, because we were constrained by the old 22-bones skeletons to be compatible with FSX. Now, we remade lots of characters using skeletons with 64 bones, which moves more smoothly and less robotic. The better animation system, combined with PBR, can be seen in the Marshaller, which looks way better now (and we have 4 male and 2 female models, instead of just one), and in most of the drivers in vehicles, like the passenger stairs, the refueler, the passenger truck and the baggage truck.

- (P3D4.4+ only): New Towbarless Pushback models in PBR, with several color variations, which can raise/lower the airplane gear during operations.

You might have seen this in our last video, the new Pushback vehicle is much more detailed, and when seen up close, will show the mechanism raising the airplane nose gear.

- (P3D4.4+ with GSX Level 2 only): New Fuel Hydrant service vehicle.

This is the only feature which requires the Level 2 Expansion. This vehicle + animation alone took about 2 months of work, since it's very tricky to do, and coordinate so many parts like the two guys, the cable which goes on ground, the one which goes up with the platform, etc. It comes with several nice features, like a working fuel display which even shows the fuel price, pulling the cost of the crude aviation oil from the internet, and showing your fuel bill at the end.

- (P3D4.4+ only): Custom Camera system, to easily focus GSX objects activities.

This is a feature which uses some of the latest additions to the P3D SDK, and it brings up the level of immersion. Without having to use any 3rd party camera add-ons, each GSX vehicle now has its own custom camera views, because the new vehicles and characters are so much better, they deserve to be seen up close. And, it's very fun to be able to follow all vehicles, even those coming from far away, and look at them from different angles. Be sure to check the various 1st person views, which will place you in the driver seat. What we like most of this feature, is that it's a totally native P3D4 feature, made in the most clean way, with no hacks of any kind, and with zero impact on performances, since it just use the existing camera system of the simulator.

- NEW (P3D4.4+ only): Support for Attached Objects for better efficiency, performance and variety of characters.

This is a bit technical, but it's another way to use a very recent feature of the P3D4 SDK to get better looking stuff, better flexibility AND improved performances as well. Before, a character like a driver was embedded into its own vehicle. This limited the variety to maybe changing its vest, but not much more. Now, using some native P3D4 features, we decoupled the driver from the vehicle, so they can be choose with more freedom and without unnecessarily grow all the object sizes and polygonal count.

- (P3D4.4+ only): Vehicle customization system remade, using DirectX-based logos, for much easier user customization and flexibility. The old PaintKit is now deprecated in P3D4.

This feature is HUGE, and it uses our exclusive DirectX 11 rendering we introduced in GSX L2 for Jetway Numbers, and extends it to almost all the customizable logos. This gives us several big advantages

1) It's WAY easier to create a custom logo. Instead of struggling with rules and scoring like in the old PaintKit, you now simply pick up a .PNG or .JPG file, and the GSX editor will automatically convert to the proper .DDS format, and will use DirectX to render it on the logo. And this can be used for Jetways, Ground Operators and Catering operators.

2) We have a massive benefit in performances, especially regarding startup time, because we reduced the number of objects by about 7000 less. Before, each new operator added hundreds of new Simobject variations ("repaints"), but now we have only a few "Base" color variations, to which the operator logo can be applied to, so we gain more variations and we reduce the number of installed Simobjects in the sim by a big factor, which improves both startup times and speed up the airplane selection menu and the time it takes to GSX to find objects after its menu gets called.

3) Multiple Base colors + Unlimited user logos make it easier to represent most real world operators, not just in white. And, DirectX rendering allowed nice features like having ULDs, each one with their individual code plates.

- (P3D 4.4+ only) Several readouts which were made using multiple Simobjects (each one for each letter, which is the only way to do that in FSX), now used DirectX rendering, which is way faster, way reliable, and less impacting on performances. Some example are the Marshaller distance readout, the Fuel Counters and various information text in the parking customization editor.

(P3D4.4+ only): Custom cameras active when editing a parking or the airplane configuration, making it easier to move objects or customize doors precisely.

Lots of new ways for airplane developers to interact with GSX. We worked closely with some of the best 3rd party developers out there, like Aerosoft, FS Labs, Leonardo and others, which will release updates to their products to better integrate with GSX. We strongly believe that it's in the best interest of the community to cooperate, and all these improvements we added were made following suggestions from these fine developers.

Some of the things which will be possible for 3rd party airplanes are:

1) They can control exactly how many pilots and how many crew will board/unboard the airplane. And, they can even tell GSX NOT to disembark anybody (or, for example, leave the pilots on board, but switch the crew), to simulate short turnarounds.

2) They can check the exact moment the GSX Refueling Hose is connected, so they could synchronize their custom refueling simulation with GSX animations more precisely.

3) They can enable external power if a GSX jetway equipped with a Power Unit is connected, and they can even let the display on the Power Unit show the battery being charged, even if they use a non-standard variable.

4) They can check the fuel price and the name of the refueling operator used by GSX

5) They can check the kind of deicing liquid used by GSX, and calculate holdover times based on that.

Those are just the main new features. I suggest checking the release notes again to know what has been fixed, but the list is not even complete, those bugfixes are only the ones which were discussed a lot during these past months.

The manual has been updated too, and it has grown by more than 20 pages, because of all the new options added.

We thank everybody for having waited patiently for this update, and we hope you'll enjoy it. A BIG thanks to all our testers, and a special thank to Javier "Cartayna", who suffered through a very long beta testing cycle, and helped us find so many issues.

HOW DO YOU GET THE UPDATE ?

The update can be obtained either by running the FSDT Live Update from its Icon on the Desktop, or by downloading again the Full GSX Installer. There's not much difference, both methods are supposed to work just the same, and the Live Update will be run at the end of the Full installer just the same, in case we'll add some latest-minute fixes after the full installer release.

In general, we noticed that, due to the large number of updated files and new files to be downloaded, it might be best to use the FULL Installer method.

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You can view the full announcement by following this link:

http://www.fsdreamteam.com/forum/index.php?topic=21077.0

 

SOURCE INFO

DEVELOPER POST LINK :  

NEWS SITE ARTICLE LINK :  

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