Static versus AI
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Thread: Static versus AI

  1. #1
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    Icon5 Static versus AI

    Hi All!


    This is a question for the scenery devs, repaint and flight plan experts.

    As stated in other posts I am currently working on a WWII scenery. I need to populate the field with aircraft of several bomb groups.

    is it best to:

    1. use static and AI aircraft?

    or

    2. Use solely static. (generic repaint as shown in screenie)

    or

    3. Ai only

    I know using flight plans you can set up the flight plans so the aircraft are at the field most times.

    my skills are limited as attested to by the screen shot.

    Need advice, comments, or opinions.



    This is a repaint I did by taking out the Nose Art, the id letters on the fuselage and placing the BG logo on the tail. It is a generic 307th BG the Long Rangers . They had no letters on the side.

    Come back to me.

    thanks in advance

    Joe
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails jm f-2017-nov-7-001.jpg  

  2. #2
    I prefer to use only AI aircraft for the reason that static aircraft have pretty much the same impact as AI. People with lower end computers can turn down their AI traffic and save frame rates if you use only AI.

  3. #3
    A base really comes alive with AI traffic, especially if you set up the parking spaces so that it groups the different aircraft/squadrons into their own areas.
    And, as Ed said, static impacts about the same as AI, so it allows users to adjust performance by reducing traffic density....or increasing it after they have upgraded their system.
    It's a win/win IMHO.
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  4. #4
    A base really comes alive with AI traffic, especially if you set up the parking spaces so that it groups the different aircraft/squadrons into their own areas.
    And, as Ed said, static impacts about the same as AI, so it allows users to adjust performance by reducing traffic density....or increasing it after they have upgraded their system.
    It's a win/win IMHO.
    Sums it up. I set up small custom AI environments manually with TTools/AIFP in FSX and PD34 - some GA, some military - and have some "static" always parked (fly out and back at 3am on a Sunday) and a few doing circuits or regional flights to give the area some life. I always turn off the default traffic.bgl and never have gone for the monster AI packages others do. Keeps the frames down yet adds a lot to the immersion.
    Well I've been to one World Fair a picnic and a rodeo and that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard come over a set of earphones.

  5. #5
    You can do both of course. If you find good static models you can repaint them and make multiple versions of them to have different serials or markings on them. AI models can also be converted to static by using SAMM, of course provided that their original developers will allow it. Then you can have the same model both as static and moving AI and mix & match.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by edakridge View Post
    I prefer to use only AI aircraft for the reason that static aircraft have pretty much the same impact as AI. People with lower end computers can turn down their AI traffic and save frame rates if you use only AI.
    That is interesting to know. I always thought that AI would have a greater impact because of the more complex models and textures.
    I need to get with the times.

    Thanks for your input.

    Joe

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Sums it up. I set up small custom AI environments manually with TTools/AIFP in FSX and PD34 - some GA, some military - and have some "static" always parked (fly out and back at 3am on a Sunday) and a few doing circuits or regional flights to give the area some life. I always turn off the default traffic.bgl and never have gone for the monster AI packages others do. Keeps the frames down yet adds a lot to the immersion.
    I have used TTools before for my personal addons. I downloaded AIFP recently and have been reading up. I think that is the way I am going to go.

    Thanks,

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimus View Post
    You can do both of course. If you find good static models you can repaint them and make multiple versions of them to have different serials or markings on them. AI models can also be converted to static by using SAMM, of course provided that their original developers will allow it. Then you can have the same model both as static and moving AI and mix & match.
    I am currently looking for AI models and practicing repainting. I am learning the ropes of working with paint kits that have layers.

    Thanks,

    Joe

  9. #9
    You also learn to look at the size of the model file and jettison things like interior vc models/textures and other unnecessary textures or files.

    One big limitation in P3D4 (64bit) is that you are very limited re AI as only native FSX models show up. There are fewer purpose built native FSX AI models than many realize. As a result, I have had to clone/cannibalize a number of older FSX models (e.g. Alphasim freeware) to make AI models. Also always scanning for the models being converted increasingly using MDX here (e.g. by Lazarus and others) and elsewhere.
    Well I've been to one World Fair a picnic and a rodeo and that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard come over a set of earphones.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jmfabio View Post
    That is interesting to know. I always thought that AI would have a greater impact because of the more complex models and textures.
    I need to get with the times.

    Thanks for your input.
    Joe
    The impact depends a lot on how that AI model was produced. Models developed specifically to be AI aircraft will, many times, be less detailed in many areas (no VC, lower poly count in the building phase and so on) so that the frame hit is minimized while still giving a decent representation of the aircraft type. With that type you can populate your airport with higher numbers and not be too concerned with the FPS hit. If you make your own AI using your current stable of aircraft (freeware or payware) you don't have the luxury of lowering the poly count so detail will be higher, initial process of eliminating unnecessary portions of the airplane is involved (deleting textures, removing panel folder, etc, etc), fps impact increases somewhat because you're using a much more detailed airplane and so populating a large area with that type of AI aircraft can be jeopardized. In that case a mix of static (low poly) and AI (high poly) is probably a better mix. JMO.
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  11. #11
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    The impact that models have is dependent upon three things:

    1) Compiler used: FSX native models have a lower impact than FS9 native models (both in terms of AI and static models).
    2) Drawcall Batching: I've had to do battle with this recently and it's actually quite a complex subject
    3) Levels of Detail (LODs).

    The first one is kind of self explanatory, but Nos. 2 and 3 interact in awkward ways and the results of both can vary. In simple terms, drawcall batching takes place when multiple models being drawn have exactly the same material applied,so if you have a number of identical models such as trucks, or buildings - or static aircraft - with exactly the same material, then they'll all be drawn as one drawcall, not however many individual drawcalls you have per model. This makes a scenery vastly better, but it's not perfect. It doesn't work with any model that has an animation block and it's the cause of the irritating problem when models vanish in front of your eyes, because while they're all drawn at once, if the object is too far away to be drawn when the drawcall takes place, FSX doesn't actually draw it. This results in floating windscreens while the rest of a model is invisible, for example.

    LODs are the other way of retaining detail while also retaining efficiency. They also have other uses (I use them to make my landing "T"s bigger when you pass them at a distance, for example) but a well LODd model will show a lot of detail when very close and you're only drawing one or two of them, then it'll show less and less detail as you move away. As an example, if you use player aircraft for AI, A2A's models you can have loads of before it becomes a problem. Aeroplane Heaven's, you can't have many at all, because while A2A use LODs, AH don't. Creating them is a huge amount of work, so not having them is far more common than having them!

    Personally, my preference would be to use specifically designed AI aircraft where possible, then use a handful of "user" aircraft as AI, then finally use statics. Statics have one use that you cannot do with AI, though. if you want to create a little diorama such as an aircraft being refuelled or rearmed, then statics are the way to go. Create the whole scene as a single MDL file and use SODE, you can even move the little diorama around at random, which is nice. I know my sceneries don't do this... yet. I'm working on it.

    Hope that's useful to you.

    Cheers,

    Ian P.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanP View Post
    The impact that models have is dependent upon three things:

    1) Compiler used: FSX native models have a lower impact than FS9 native models (both in terms of AI and static models).
    2) Drawcall Batching: I've had to do battle with this recently and it's actually quite a complex subject
    3) Levels of Detail (LODs).

    The first one is kind of self explanatory, but Nos. 2 and 3 interact in awkward ways and the results of both can vary. In simple terms, drawcall batching takes place when multiple models being drawn have exactly the same material applied,so if you have a number of identical models such as trucks, or buildings - or static aircraft - with exactly the same material, then they'll all be drawn as one drawcall, not however many individual drawcalls you have per model. This makes a scenery vastly better, but it's not perfect. It doesn't work with any model that has an animation block and it's the cause of the irritating problem when models vanish in front of your eyes, because while they're all drawn at once, if the object is too far away to be drawn when the drawcall takes place, FSX doesn't actually draw it. This results in floating windscreens while the rest of a model is invisible, for example.

    LODs are the other way of retaining detail while also retaining efficiency. They also have other uses (I use them to make my landing "T"s bigger when you pass them at a distance, for example) but a well LODd model will show a lot of detail when very close and you're only drawing one or two of them, then it'll show less and less detail as you move away. As an example, if you use player aircraft for AI, A2A's models you can have loads of before it becomes a problem. Aeroplane Heaven's, you can't have many at all, because while A2A use LODs, AH don't. Creating them is a huge amount of work, so not having them is far more common than having them!

    Personally, my preference would be to use specifically designed AI aircraft where possible, then use a handful of "user" aircraft as AI, then finally use statics. Statics have one use that you cannot do with AI, though. if you want to create a little diorama such as an aircraft being refuelled or rearmed, then statics are the way to go. Create the whole scene as a single MDL file and use SODE, you can even move the little diorama around at random, which is nice. I know my sceneries don't do this... yet. I'm working on it.

    Hope that's useful to you.

    Cheers,

    Ian P.
    Thanks for the info Ian,

    Most of that is way over my head and w-a-y beyond my skills. I prefer statics for exactly the reason you stated to make dioramas.

    I am presently trying to repaint a John Young AI B-24. Never having worked with layers and alphas is new to me, but I am muddling through. I should be able to see what it looks like in a couple of days.

    Thanks,

    Joe

  13. #13
    Another advantage of using AI (for me anyway) is they cast shadows without requiring the "scenery casts shadows" option, which can be a frame killer.

  14. #14
    Scenery cast shadow has an impact on the FPS, but it's not so big, even on my old computer.
    And it adds a lot to the quality of the rendering, the perception of volumes and such (not to mention the hangar in which the planes are no more illuminated by the sun )
    The "cast" option for autogen trees is the real FPS killer.

    That being said, I would also prefer these planes as AI planes... but only if the models are not in FS9 format.

  15. #15
    would be great to have a base full of AI aircraft, each with different serials, all taxiing out and taking off, and then later coming back again.
    Time flies like an arrow
    fruit flies like a banana

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jankees View Post
    would be great to have a base full of AI aircraft, each with different serials, all taxiing out and taking off, and then later coming back again.
    Right now that is my goal. I was able to get an aircraft list from the official 307th Bomb Group web site that has aircraft names and serial numbers, and model types. I have chosen total of 57 aircraft from all 4 squadrons plus the pool of planes not assigned to a specific squadron.

    Some of these planes require nose art and some don't. And from the same web site I have been able to obtain pictures of most of the nose art.

    Big job lies ahead. Right now I am still working on getting the kinks out of the nose art.
    Did I bite off more than I can chew? Possibly.

    It is a challenge that I welcome.

    Thanks all for the comments.

    Joe

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by jankees View Post
    would be great to have a base full of AI aircraft, each with different serials, all taxiing out and taking off, and then later coming back again.
    I have all my airfields (mainly RAF bomber bases based on IanP's great offerings, plus some others) set up (using AIFP) with three flights of six AI aircraft (I'd like to have flights of twelve aircraft, but that's pushing it a bit on my setup).

    'A' flight does air tests in the morning and flies off on a daylight raid at midday, returning late pm. 'B' flight does air tests in the afternoon and takes off on a night raid in the evening, returning very early am. 'C' Flight does secret circuits at around 04:00 as suggested by expat above, although more recently I have taken to using 'orphan' parking spots so the a/c simply never move.

    'A' and 'B' Flight aircraft actually do fly to 'targets' in Europe, although rather than bombing, they actually land and then take off again. And not all of them return to base of course. (They actually return to Manchester (Woodford) or Coventry and return to base as replacement ATA deliveries next day.)

    In addition to the operational a/c, I also have a couple of Ansons that take off from White Waltham and deliver ATA ferry pilots to Manchester and Coventry, and then visit each of the airfields later in the day to pick up the pilots that 'delivered' the replacement aircraft. Finally I have a number of DC3's that do circular routes from the factories to the airfields delivering parts.

    The a/c all have different callsigns, but I didn't go as far as changing all the liveries. There are limits !

    Keeping track of all this is something of a nightmare (I need to get out more), but it does ensure that there is always something going on. And I am constantly surprised by an aircraft I had forgotten about turning up in the circuit.

  18. #18
    A bit OT. I copied an FSX traffic.bgl found on flightsim for Fedex into P3D v 4 and also the various Fedex AI from several sources. All freeware, everything works. Mainly tweaking flightplans manually with the ancient Lee Swordy TTool - what would I do without it! (also have AIFP but use that just to recompile FS9 > FSX > P3d, then it's TTools mostly after that).

    Anyway, not being a tube guy but liking cargo jets, I had heard nothing happens around the Fedex HQ at KMEM until after dark. Last night found myself a corner of the air field with a great view and tuned in between 10 - 10:30pm. Man, oh, man, did things come alive! Aircraft in the pattern for landing, taxiing, strobes and beacons everywhere going, ATC going, the lights of Memphis in the background. It was an amazing and riveting display of light and sound. There some new add ons that make the sound much more dynamic eg on takeoff, landing, taxiing and also more sophisticated lighting that has landing lights on/off a the right time etc. Easily put together. All freeware. Yep, cheap thrills but good thrills. Try it out.
    Well I've been to one World Fair a picnic and a rodeo and that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard come over a set of earphones.

  19. #19
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    The one that I find interesting is the RAS Spit XIV AIs out of West Malling, which appear to have a registration transfer for the letter, so that not only does it change the callsign when you set it, it also changes the squadron code on the aircraft.

    I used to have a huge amount of player models (WBS and A2A aircraft) flying out of my Fowlmere in Squadrons. I also had 36 B-17Gs flying out of one of my bomber fields at some point. 12 Alphasim Liberators was a bit heavy on the FPS, though, oddly. I presume it's a LOD (or lack thereof) issue, but never bothered investigating further.

    If you get an aircraft with LODs - as I said above, like the A2A ones - then you can actually have a surprising amount of player aircraft as AI without destroying your framerate. I usually do my "overload" testing for taxiways and holds using 48 aircraft (the same 12 copied four times) and the sim remains flyable. Those are usually John Young's AI models, these days.

    Ian P.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Daube View Post
    Scenery cast shadow has an impact on the FPS, but it's not so big, even on my old computer.
    And it adds a lot to the quality of the rendering, the perception of volumes and such (not to mention the hangar in which the planes are no more illuminated by the sun )
    The "cast" option for autogen trees is the real FPS killer.
    Hi Daube - I'm a little confused. What/where is the "cast" option for autogen trees ? I only see the Ground Scenery Shadows option. I've always understood checking that option caused all ground scenery, including autogen (incl trees) to cast shadows ?

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by DickB View Post
    Hi Daube - I'm a little confused. What/where is the "cast" option for autogen trees ? I only see the Ground Scenery Shadows option. I've always understood checking that option caused all ground scenery, including autogen (incl trees) to cast shadows ?
    Ah, sorry about that ! In fact I have confused FSX and P3D.
    My comment was only valid for P3D v3 or v4, in which the options for shadows are more specific/detailed than in FSX.

    I don't remember for sure, but I think you are right: I also used to deactivate the scenery shadows back in my FSX days, because they were too heavy for the FPS, and they didn't look so good.
    Then your original remark about the advantage of AI planes compared to scenery planes makes perfect sense

  22. #22
    I did wonder if it was a P3D thing. Though I didn't realise that the shadowing option was split there. Now, if only my favourite a/c would work in P3D . . . .

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