EZ Scenery and my dream of the Ultimate design tool.

Over recent days, there have been a lot of posts about a new design tool called EZ-Scenery from Abacus.   This new tool gives scenery designers something that I have been pushing to be a standard in Flight Simulator releases for quite some time.

The tool allows you to place size and manipulate library objects within the Flight Simulator “world”, and I have to admit is a very clever bit of coding from Konstantine Kukushkin.   

Now, I am going to take this a whole step further, and go off in to dream mode for a while.    Could you imagine if you had a whole design tool built into Flight Simulator…    You could click and drag mountains and hills, create lakes and coastlines, draw taxiways and runways all within the FS Engine?    Wouldn’t that be cool.   

I also note that Arno has a post up that raises a very valid point about lots of designers ending up with conflicting GUID’s and multiple objects.   I think that the sooner some kind of control of these issues is tackled the better.

  4 Replies to “EZ Scenery and my dream of the Ultimate design tool.”

  1. January 4, 2006 at 2:36 am

    EZ-Scenery is indeed a very nice tool, as you can very easily align different objects in the sim without endless restarting of it.

    But I guess we differ a bit on our dream tools. Personally I don’t think that a full integration with FS would be very useful. I have a few reasons to think that:

    – Performance. Now with a complex photo scenery the sim already loads rather slow. It can just do it’s flying task, so I don’t think a lot of slewing and other stuff for designing is easy then.

    – My biggest fair is probably that just a thing would be made too easy to use, but as a result of that would loose most advanced features. When designing scenery I am not looking for a tool where I can drag a point to get a hill of roughly the correct altitude or to draw a taxiline at approximately the correct position. I want to be able to load real world data that contains this information.
    I guess each designer is different in that case. Also when working with GMax for example, I see that some of the NL2000 team members create a building till it looks right (for example while making a texture). While I prefer to calculate if it is right. So I determine a resolution for my textures and then create them with that resolution.
    The entire point I am trying to make is (I guess) that a design tool should be flexible enough for different kind of users.

    The one thing I do hope for, is that we will have less design tools in the future (see also my blog entry about TerraVista). It is such a mess now that you have to use a lot of different tools, I surely hope that we get a good integration of mesh and XML in one tool. And if that is standalone or integrated in FS does not really matter, as long as it is powerful enough.

  2. January 4, 2006 at 11:15 am

    Scenery creation as you describe is possible, if MS would take a look at how Auran, the makers of Trainz Railroad Simulator did it.

    You can design everything from the ground up within Trainz. All scenery bits can be designed in GMax exported into Trainz. Streets, bridges, buildings etc all can be added. Want to create a mountain, valley, gorge or plain, it can all be done within the Surveryor, Trainz design tool.

    Check it out at http://www.auran.com

  3. Mike
    January 4, 2006 at 11:20 am

    Yes, that would be cool. I have thought that this sort of functionality built into Flight Simulator, as long as user created scenery would be sharable, would transform the application. This in essence, would allow a much broader portion of the user community to participate in scenery design and the creation of “everywhere in the world” might be better achieved. In addition, if the application could support time-based scenery, it could allow for the creation of anywhere in time in the world, which would bring to the flight sim community, the ability to create scenery from the past. For instance, we could have airports designed based on the 1950’s and if the user selected a date in the 1950’s then the applicable scenery would display. Better yet, people could even create scenery for the future and provide somewhat of a new dimension to flight sim in futuristic operations along with futuristic planes. This may bring a higher level of appeal of the product resulting in a broader potential market. Anyway, some of this sounds quite realistic, and some sounds a little out there, but no there is no harm done in thinking creatively. Your post does beg the question of whether that feature is part of FSX. I certainly hope so. Also, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your and your collegues hard work on the Flight sim application. I read the forums pertaining to the app and a lot of people seem to think that FS is an easy product to build, and that the entire workforce at MS is involved in creating it headed up by Bill Gates himself. I too am involved in software development, from a business side, and understand that it is build by good people like yourself. Thanks.

  4. Matt
    February 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    If you’re using this program under Vista, prepare for irritation: there’s an issue with the “EZ-____” products that forces you to keep re-registering them (entering the registration code) every time you exit and restart FS2004. I’ve checked with Abacus’ tech support, it’s a Vista issue that is supposed to be gotten around by disabling UAC but I had no success with that. LOVE the software, but went back to XP due to being SICK of having to deal with entering the code all the time…

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