NZPP ugrade

When I first worked on the original Real NZ Wellington for FSX, I intended to release NZPP (Kapiti Airport) as part of the payware package, but as it wasn't finished in time, I released it soon after as a standalone freeware. I am thinking about updating NZPP mainly for use with FTX NZNI, once again as freeware. At the moment I don't have any plans to rephotograph the airfield, but I do have a nice new aerial image courtesy of the Kapiti Borough Council.

The previous NZPP was an exercise in full FSX-compliance, without using any techniques from previous versions of the simulator -- such as the FS2002-style ground polygons for the runway and markings etc. Instead, it used a high resolution aerial image to define most of the airport facilities, rather than the default Airport Facilities features such as aprons and taxiways. This kind of worked, but it does mean that you can't easily define the type of surface under the aircraft -- so your aircraft tends to kick up a lot of dust even when taxiing on asphalt or concrete. These days a lot of developers accept that the old FS2002 ground polys are a better option, so this time around I'll throw compliance out the window..

I doubt I'll get to visit Paraparaumu this time around. If anyone regularly visits the airport, though, and is happy to photograph bits and pieces for me, I'd appreciate it. Just contact me via the Godzone Store contact page.

KapitiGISIn a previous post I talked about how things have changed since I began scenery design -- now there is a huge choice of tools and resources. The original NZPP benefited from a good quality high resolution aerial image, supplied by the Kapiti District Council, and they have agreed to supply an updated image (2013) as well. I found the new aerial image via their website's GIS system. It really is amazing how far these online resources have come. I always intended to model the little hill where the control tower sits, but all I really had to go on back in 2007 were the photos I took at the time -- I kind of knew the rough shape and height of the hill just from studying the photos. Now we have access to things like the online GIS for Kapiti, so I can have it display the contours overlaid on the aerial image, and export the result in a choice of image formats.

I can use the saved image as a background template in GMAX to build a more accurate hill, in a lot less time.

The new aerial image gives a LOD 19 file, which is the equivalent of 7cm scenery, but I may restrict it to LOD 18, as the higher LOD gives a file size four times bigger. Since I might make seasonal changes to match FTX NZNI colouring, the scenery can easily grow into a monster, and I'll have trouble finding a host library!

Seasonal changes are a bit of an issue for me, I tend to end up changing the tone/colour of the aerial photo simply to match the surrounding land class area, despite the fact that the surrounding land class doesn't always have any real bearing on the actual colours of the area. It doesn't really make sense to me to change an actual photo, adjusted for natural colouring, to something unnatural just to have it blend better -- especially if it increases the size of the download by a huge amount for very little real benefit.

Anyway, that's a decision I've yet to make.

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