Making FS9 Look Great For Free Version 2
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Thread: Making FS9 Look Great For Free Version 2

  1. #1

    Making FS9 Look Great For Free Version 2

    I just completed the second version of my guide for making FS9 look great for free. This is an evolving document, just as my sim installs are evolving installs....as I find and test other packages, my installs and this document will change. But for now, this is it.

    OBIO

    ***EDIT since the attachments tend to get lost I have just added the text here to the thread.

    This is version two of my guide to making FS9 look great using freeware enhancements. Everything listed in this guide is free, is readily available from the major flight sim libraries (SOH, Flightsim.com, Avsim.com and Simviation.com). It will take you some time to download and install all of these enhancement packages, but the results are well worth the effort. Every single thing that I list in this guide is in use in my installs of FS9.

    NOTE: This may not be the last version of this guide. As I find and test other freeware enhancement packages, my sim will change....always for the better, always with frame rates in mind, and always for FREE!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++

    MESH:

    I use a number of freeware mesh collections in my installs. The first mesh collection I use is by Rhumbaflappy. This LOD5, LOD7 and LOD8 mesh was created for CFS2...but works like a charm in FS9 and is a huge improvement over the stock stuff. I use this mesh as the base mesh in my installs to prevent the odd mesh tearing seen when using higher level mesh..such as LOD9, 10 and 11. Rhumbaflappy's LOD5 and LOD7 mesh sets cover the entire world (except the artic and antartic poles) and the LOD8 mesh covers the Pacific and most of Europe (basically the parts of the world were WW2 took place for the most part). There are a lot of files to download in order to have all the mesh, but it is worth it. Final folder size when all three LOD mesh sets are installed is 2.67 gigabytes. Some of the files are multipart files that need 7zip to uncompress...it's a freeware compression utility. Oh, on Rhumbaflappy's home page, there are maps that show what parts of the world are covered by each LOD mesh set. I didn't know it until this evening that his LOD8 mesh covers a huge portion of Alaska!

    This mesh can be found at:

    http://www.ludowise.x10hosting.com/

    Since most of my flying is done in the United States, I also use the freeware FSGenesis LOD10 mesh for the United States. There are a lot of files to download to have the entire US mesh set, and at Flightsim.com's 48Kb per second download speed, it feels like it takes DAYS to get it all downloaded. Well worth the time and effort to download and install though. You can find the freeware FSGenesis LOD10 US mesh on Flightsim.com by doing a search for Justin Tyme.

    I have other mesh sets installed for specific areas that I like to fly in, such as Hawaii and the Greek Isles. There are a ton of other freeware mesh sets out there on the various sim sites. Depending on where you fly, you may want to look around on the various sim sites and find mesh for those areas. There are a lot of great mesh packages out there. Holgar Sandmann produced a ton of free mesh in LOD9 and LOD10 that I have heard nothing but rave reviews on...I just haven't installed any of it yet...but I will be soon!

    NOTE: I have all of Rhumbaflappy's LOD mesh sets installed in one folder outside of my installs, and I have it positioned just above the stock mesh in my scenery library. The FSGenesis mesh is installed in a separate folder outside of my installs and it sits just above Rhumbaflappy's mesh in the scenery library. By keeping my mesh (and all of my scenery and sound packs in folders outside of my sim installs, it makes it very easy to share the files between my various installs). If you need a more detailed explanation on how I have my mesh, scenery and sound packs set up, just shoot me a PM at Sim Out-House and I will be glad to give you the details.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++

    GROUND TEXTURES:

    The stock ground texture files that come with FS9 are bad...really bad. Blurry, fuzzy, crappy. Luckily there are a number of freeware packages that you can use to enhance the look of your ground. The first is Bill Lyons's Golden Wings/Silver Wings. These two packages were designed to roll FS9 back in time, which is really neat...but I don't use them any longer. But I do use the ground textures from the packages to dress up my FS9 installs. Here's what I did. I downloaded Golden Wings and the updates from http://www.theoldhangar.net. I installed Golden Wings to a dummy holder called GW3. Once I had all the packages installed to that dummy folder, I went into the GW3/SCENERY/World/Texture folder and copied all the files to the SCENERY/WORLD/TEXTURE folder in each of my installs. Easy as pie. Oh, this will also greatly improve the look of water in FS9!

    Now to take the ground textures one step further. There is another freeware package, called Photovg (Photoreal Vegetation Ground Textures). The package is by Gyula Kalcsó and can be found on Flightsim.com, along with a fix package. Download, copy the files into your SCENERY/WORLD/TEXTURE folder and you will have much much nicer looking farm land, woods and forest. Boom Bang Done!

    The cliffs in FS9 don't look all that great in stock form....stretched, blurred, distorted. But once again, I have the solution. Ben Hartnett has a package of replacement cliff textures on Simviation.com that make cliff faces look great. The package has four cliff types: Orange, Brown, Light Gray and Dark Gray. The Orange and Light Gray files can be installed at the same time, but the Brown and Dark Grey can not...they have the same file names...so you either have to move them in and out when you need brown cliffs or dark gray cliffs...or do what I did and just go with the brown cliffs...I think they look better than the Dark Gray. Extract the package, copy the cliff textures from the package and paste them in the FS9/Scenery/World/Texture folder and over write the originals.

    Download Link to the package: http://www.simviation.com/cgi-bin/sy...=newcliffs.zip

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++

    CLOUDS AND SKY:

    When it comes to improving the look of the clouds and sky in FS9, the man of the year is Pablo Diaz. He has produced hi-res clouds that do not cut down on frame rates...well, a bit when you are flying through some serious storm clouds. He recently released a second version of his package...called HDE-V2 or something like that. Direct download link:

    http://www.avsimrus.com/f/fs2004-eff...n=download&hl=

    Pablo recently released a new package for the sky and sun that is simply amazing: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VDVSTR79

    When used together, these two packages make the FS9 sky look almost as good as the real thing.

    Now that the sky look great and those storm clouds look really scary, what we need to do now is to improve the look of the FS9 storms. And there is a free package that will do just that. It is by Michael Woolsley and can be found on Simviation.com. There are two files to download, the main package and an update/fix package. Here's a link to the Simviation page the packages are on...the two packages are about 1/2 way down the page and called Massive Storm.

    http://www.simviation.com/fs2004scenery42.htm

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++

    RUNWAY and TAXIWAY:

    I found a nice package, yes another free one, that improves the look of the FS9 runways and taxiways greatly. The package is called aratsp.zip and is by Brian Neitzel. I can't remember where I found that package, but it is on one of the main sites (Simviation, Flightsim or AVsim...just go to those sites and do a search for Brian Neitzel and you will find it). Once you have the file downloaded, open it...go to the Texture folder and copy out the files pertaining to the runway and taxiway and past them into the main TExTURE folder in your FS9 install. Don't bother with the storm and lightning files...the ones in the package above are far better. Using the runway and taxiway files from aratsp.zip will give you some really amazing runways and taxiways. Cracks, patches, worn and crumbling edges. Very realistic!

    For grass runways...which I have a very hard time finding and landing on...I found a package of grass and dirt runway textures that make them stand out more....actually they stand out pretty sharply from the surrounding scenery, which some people may find unrealistic. I like it and think they look more realistic. That whole personal taste thing! The package is called newgbd.zip and is by Ian Thatcher. I think I found this one on Simviation.com...if not there, then on Flightsim.com.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++

    TREES:

    Are you tired of those 20 foot box hedges and 400 foot Maples that come with the stock FS9? Luckily, there is a fix for them. FengZ, a real world media artist and digital artist and digital art school runner, and a guy who has worked on some of the recent big movies doing prototyping and special effects or something like that....has a tree package that makes the trees and bushes smaller, look better and allows more of them to show up in one place....all while reducing the frame rate impact on your sim. Sound like magic? I think it is! The package is called TreeGen.zip and is available on Flightsim.com. 5 files in the package...and you will not believe the improvement those five little files will make in your FS9 appearance. And you may gain a bit of performance as well since these files are smaller in size than the stock ones.
    Last edited by Dangerousdave26; February 25th, 2014 at 11:45. Reason: Added text from original document
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  2. #2
    SOH-CM-2019
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    Thanks Tim :ernae:

    This will be very handy.

    Pete.

  3. #3
    Thanks!! I may have some of these, but I'll check them all out. Off to find Version 1 too.

  4. #4
    dandee

    No need to look for version 1....version 2 has everything that version 1 had and more. And version 1 was super wordy...must have written it after drinking some Mountain Dew or something...I was ziggity boo when I typed it.

    OBIO
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    Hey Tim, have you tried these, love them myself, at Flightsim, need both to do it right, works in fs2004

    FS2002 - FS2002 Misc. FS2002 Environmental Water Effects Library
    [ Download | View ]
    Name: oceansfx.zip Size: 20,689,432 Date: 03-12-2002 Downloads: 28,234
    FS2002 Environmental Water Effects Library. This package introduces seven dynamic animated water surface effects: dead calm, normal calm, restless calm, gentle breeze, light wind, moderate wind and heavy wind. The "wind" effects render realistic and seamless wave motion and can be loaded in any of four compass directions. Created in tandem with OCEANSTX.ZIP water textures in default format for zero frame rate hit. By Ed Truthan.

    FS2002 - FS2002 Misc. FS2002 Environmental Water Textures Library
    [ Download | View ]
    Name: oceanstx.zip Size: 5,883,232 Date: 03-12-2002 Downloads: 30,248
    FS2002 Environmental Water Textures Library. A complete package of 59 environmentally comprehensive, color balanced water texture replacements which preserve the complex bathymetric world water mapping present in FS2002. Tropical waters exhibit submerged reef structures; waveforms naturally grade to whitewater with depth. Created in tandem with OCEANSFX.ZIP water effects in default format for zero frame rate hit. By Ed Truthan.


  6. #6
    norab

    I haven't tried those...but I will.

    I have 4 installs of FS9. 3 are active simming installs, one for GA aircraft, one for Vintage Military aircraft and one for Modern Military aircraft. The fourth install is my Test and Tweak install. It is identical to my 3 active installs (minus the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of planes). Same mesh, same enhancements. When I find something new to try out (new meaning new to me...could be a 7 or 8 year old package that I have just found) it gets installed into the Test and Tweak install and given a good shake down cruise. If it makes the sim look better without harming frame rates and overall stability, that package will get incorporated into my 3 working installs.

    OBIO
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
    Nice Tim.....you da man

    Thanks bud

    Chris

  8. #8
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    Cool idea...It's probably possible to make up half a dozen different freeware based sims!
    Tried Howard's Mix?
    I used it as a starter, and changed a few bits, quite a good outcome.

  9. #9
    I've tried Howard's Mix...wasn't real happy with the package..can't remember why though. So I went back to using the ground textures from Golden Wings/Silver Wings then tossing in a couple other packages here and there.

    OBIO
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by OBIO View Post
    I just completed the second version of my guide for making FS9 look great for free. This is an evolving document, just as my sim installs are evolving installs....as I find and test other packages, my installs and this document will change. But for now, this is it.

    OBIO
    Hi OBIO, very interesting file, for sure I 'll explore that... Thank you !

    ...

  11. #11
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    Thank you!!...Vin......

  12. #12
    Already the document needs updated! The packages that norab pointed out a few posts above, the water packages...those are nice. The water looks amazing! I checked out the water at several points around the world...rivers, lakes, ocean...and I like it. However, I could not use the water effects. For some reason, those effects files threw my sim for a loop. The water would blink sort of....for a second the water looked incredible, then it would go all flat and pixelated for a second. Back and forth...Incredible, horrible, incredible, horrible. So I put the stock water effects back in place and just used the water textures...all is good. Water looks great, sim runs as smoothly as ever.

    One thing I forgot to mention in this version of my guide....what looks great on my system, may not look great on another person's system. What looks great in my sim installs may not look so good in another person's sim installs. There are so many variables involved that influence the final look and performance of the sim. And then there is the personal taste issues...what I like the look of another person may not like so much. My guide is just a guide, a list of suggestions that I have found to work very well on my system and in my install and that give me results that I am very happy with.

    OBIO
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
    WTH? You didn't mention my FREE (19.6m) mesh for Hawai'i? I'm hurt! (s/b in the library here...)

    A mention about layering, in case you have similar LODs of mesh for FS( the sim will use whichever is read first in the library. So the convoluted thinking goes "higher priority = lower in the library". Something that got "fixed" in later (ie 'X') versions of FS.

    I still have a version of FS9 on a DVD that I load once in a while just to fly around Hawai'i. Just looks better to me than what FSX provides, at least for now...

    Now excuse me while I sooth my hurt feelings with a double dose of desert!! Happy flying, free is good.:ernae:

  14. #14
    Meshman

    I have your Hawaii mesh installed, or at least I think it's your Hawaii mesh.....super nice stuff. I mentioned it in my document, but since I could not remember where I got it or who did it, I could not mention it in detail. Same goes with the Greek Isles mesh.....I can't remember who did it or where I got it. I really should start keeping track of where I download stuff from so I can find it again if I need it.

    OBIO
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    glad you liked the water, the effects work fine with my install so, as you say, each machine and owner has their own preferences.

  16. #16
    Thanks Obio! I will look through your assements and give them a try. As far as wordy I don't think you can beat me in that department. LOL!

    I am forever looking for some dark inland water textures that mimick the real thing. I've yet to find such textures.

    I tried my own hand at making a dark texture which is basicly one texture that has been renamed to replace all of the 001b2wa1 through 060b2wa1 textures with. The color of the single texture is right looking at the texture itself but it does not look the same after installing the repititioned texture files. It looks it's best in dawn and dusk time of day but as the daylight advances it begins showing up at progressively lighter shades of sky blue as the daylight progresses.

    Thanks for putting together and sharing your collected choice files Obio. :salute:

    If anyone knows where I can get some day-long sustaining inland water textures I would like to get them into my FS9. A nice very dark brownish mono-color would be nice. Like real tanin water. FSX seems to have it incorporated in that platform. Wish it were made available for FS9.

  17. #17
    I tried to get that water package to work a year ago. Looks like I'll have another run at it. My preference is for water without that pulse effect and with as small a wavelet as possible. I think I have Vilk's Water, vater.zip, with an ocean height field, newwave.zip, by Bill Lyons that looks superb. It has the most invisible patterning of anything I have tried so looks great from any height or angle.


    BTW Obio-- Another little improvement goes by the file name glacier.zip. It greatly softens and whitens those charcoal color splotches for all snow surfaces. That plus choosing the right detail1 file makes all the difference in snow but will make non-snow textures a bit blander.
    W7-64, 3GHz, 16GB Ram, GEForce 9400GT

  18. #18
    My apologies to all, had it on my system so long I forgot about it. This is a frontend for the water texture packages that let it work properly and effects be switched in FS2004, at Flightsim, please be sure to read the directions

    FS2002 - FS2002 Misc. FS2002/FS2004 OceanFX v2.00
    [ Download | View ]
    Name: ofx20sa.zip Size: 948,236 Date: 08-10-2003 Downloads: 5,351
    FS2002/FS2004 OceanFX v2.00 - Front-end for Ed Truthan's oceans effects and textures. Enables the user to select the desired waves and textures through the use of a Windows application. Compatible with both FS2002 and FS2004. Stand-alone version: requires OCEANSFX.ZIP and OCEANSTX.ZIP. Freeware by Johan de Vries. (Previous version had 5040 downloads.)

  19. #19
    Thank's well norab !!! HHAAA ! This thread is very interesting...! :salute:

  20. #20
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    Nice one Tim ! here's some more textures, I Use Trees V3 which I think are very realistic.

    http://sites.google.com/site/aimecreations/ALCreations
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  21. #21
    Those photorealistic trees look very good indeed, they are a quite famous addon for FS9.
    But in my opinion, nothing comes close to the visual impact of TreeGen. TreeGen will change your perception of distance in the sim, that doesn't happen with any other texture addon.

  22. #22

    Thanks! ... and got some screenshots?

    Hi Obio,
    thanks for the guide. Interesting collection, and an easy to follow guide for improving optics of the sim.

    Question: Would you have some screenshots that display how your sim looks like?

    I believe there is no question as to the benefits of detailed mesh.
    However, I am asking myself whether I could benefit from some of the free texture add-ons.

    Ideally shots focussing on one feature at a time, e.g. showing a region with cliffs, then different woods, grass, ec
    Mega-ideally comparing with default FS9, but that's probably too much to ask for...

    Alternatively (or in addition) you could also link to some of your previous representative shots in the forum to get an idea how your sim looks like. (did a search, but didn't come up with too many).

    My issue/reason for asking:
    I have a sim pretty beefed up with payware (that I found some of these in a bargain bin when starting with fs was a happy coincidence, but I disgress :d).

    Texture add-ons:
    Ground Environment (non-Pro) - Ground
    REX 2004 - Clouds, sky, airport, water
    (+ Treegen)

    (+ non-texture add-ons:
    FSGlobal 2005 mesh + more detailed local freeware meshes; UT Europe, USA, Canada; Myworld 2005 landclass +several local freeware landclass; AS6.5)

    I wonder whether I would benefit from any of the additional files, thus the reason for asking for some shots.

    Thanks! And good work!

    Gunter

  23. #23
    I can't give you any screen shots of stock FS9....don't have a stock install. But I can take screen shots showing various aspects covered in the guide, such as the cliffs, clouds, runways and taxiways, grass air strips, and the like. Give me a while to get the necessary screen shots set up and taken....luckily I have nothing to do today but laundry and the machines do 99% of the work involved in that.

    OBIO
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  24. #24
    OBIO,

    Question about the freeware mesh you listed. I bought FSGenesis World Wide a couple years ago and it puts most of the airports on plateaus. Does this happen with the freeware mesh?

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by OBIO View Post
    I can't give you any screen shots of stock FS9....don't have a stock install. But I can take screen shots showing various aspects covered in the guide, such as the cliffs, clouds, runways and taxiways, grass air strips, and the like. Give me a while to get the necessary screen shots set up and taken....luckily I have nothing to do today but laundry and the machines do 99% of the work involved in that.

    OBIO
    Vivat Oblio!

    Thanks for taking up the task.
    Waiting for the shots.
    And I bet flying will be much more interesting than looking at the laundry machine... :isadizzy:

    Gunter

    > I can't give you any screen shots of stock FS9....don't have a stock install.
    Thought so, and as I have a beefed up sim already would just have been for general interest.

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