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Advanced Users: How can I add my own panorama flying site?

Versions: V1 and V2

  • The first step in making a new panorama site in FS One is to generate a full panoramic image in a spherical projection like the image shown below.Image of first step in making a panorama
  • Many tools exist for creating this type of picture, see PTGui
  • All panoramas installed with FS One have a maximum resolution of 8192 pixels wide by 4096 pixels high at the highest setting (see FS One options menu). A smaller maximum size could be used, but the basic full image must have horizontal and vertical dimensions that are based on a power of 2, e,g. 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192.
  • FS One will support full panoramas with resolutions higher than 8192 pixels wide by 4096 pixels high. The individual tiles for any full panorama can be no larger than 2048×2048 due to graphics card technology limitations.
  • For optimum performance, the full panorama must be broken up (sliced up) into tiles each of which is square. When these squares are all lined up, then the full panorama is seen. Example tile layouts are shown below:
    4×4 Tiles
    Image of 4x4 tiling
    8×4 Tiles
    Image of 4x8 tiling
    16×8 Tiles
    Image of 8x16 tiling
  • Any layout can be used along as the tiles are themselves square (some power of two, e.g. 128×128, 512×512, 1024×1024, 2048×2048). For example, a full 8192×4096 panorama could be created using 8 tiles laid out 4 wide and 2 tall, each being 2048×2048 in size.
  • The naming and numbering of the panorama tile files must follow the convention shown in the tile images above (click on the top image to see the file names). The first tile in the upper left corner is named Image_001.tga, then moving to the right, Image_002.tga, and so on until finishing with the tile on the lower right.
  • The file format of the tiles can be tga, jpg, or dds. The tga format will give the best image quality. The next best is jpg and after that comes dds. However, the differences in these formats (differences in compression) are not very noticeable in FS One. The dds format is preferred because it will load faster in FS One and uses less memory on the video card.
  • Note that in FS One the tga tiles must be 24-bit and uncompressed. For the dds files, the format needs to be: -dxt1c -nomipmap. Files in jpg format can be any level of compression, but it’s best to use low compression for best quality in the sim.
  • In addition to these tiles, FS One needs the images that are used in the GUI when picking the flying sites. The files are Icon.tga (256×128) and IconLarge.tga (1024×512). Again these can alternatively be in jpg format or dds format.
  • FS One uses three levels of resolution with panoramas, and the user selects the setting. For each of the three resolutions, there are file folders that contain the respective tiles, and these folders are named “low”, “med”, and “high”. The recommended approach with FS One is to setup these folders with the following files: 4×4 tiles each with a resolution of 512×512, 8×4 tiles each with a resolution of 512×512, and 16×8 tiles with a resolution of 512×512. However, any setup for the “low”, “med” and “high” can be used as long as the tiles are square.
  • When FS One looks for the tiles, it looks for them in this order: tga first, jpg second, dds third. So if the folder with the tiles has tga files, those are used no matter what else is there.
  • In addition to the tiles, FS One needs at least four other files to define the panorama. If the main pano name is “PanoExample”, these four other files are named PanoExample.fld, PanoExample.dom, PanoExample.ele, and LandingTarget.txt. The fld file contains information about the field (such as the starting position of the aircraft). The dom file includes information about the panorama files (such as the sun position and tile configuration). The ele file contains information about the ground elevation data, and this is not presently documented. The ground elevation file in the sample setup to follow is level ground. The landing file includes the position of the target for use in practicing landings in FS One (using the “L” key).
  • FS One puts the pilot eye at 6 ft above the ground, and this value is set inside the options.txt file in the Options folder. This means that to obtain the proper perspective, the original pano photos should be taken with the camera set at 6-ft high.
  • A sample pano file folder can be downloaded here: Once unzipped it will look like this:
    Image of file contents
  • To install a new panorama, the new pano folder should be given a name (“PanoExample” in this FAQ). Then the new folder should be be put in this location in the FS One install path:
    C:\Program Files\FS One\Fields\Pano\PanoExample
  • The new pano tiles after they are created should be placed in their respective folders (low, med, and high). The dom file should be edited to update the dome tile configuration. The fld file should be edited to have it point to the proper dom and ele files (see “DOM” and “ELE” lines). A new Icon.tga and IconLarge.tga files should be created and added to the folder (over-writing those already there from the zip file). These tga icon files must be 24-bit and uncompressed.
  • Fhe new pano should be added to the menu list here: C:\Program Files\FS One\Fields\Pano\List.cfg
    To add the pano, open the List.cfg file and start a new category at the top of the file and add the new name at the bottom (or put the new name in an existing category). Then end in the file with at least one blank line. These images show these changes using the example name “PanoExample” in the new category “Example”.
    Image of Pano Categories
    Image of Pano names
  • Now when FS One starts, click on the flying site. Then select the new category from the main menu. The new panorama should then appear in the “Example” category list and be visible when running the simulator.
  • When viewing the new panorama in FS One, the pilot view direction is based on the starting position of the airplane. To set the starting position of the airplane, taxi the airplane to the desired starting point and then press the single-quote-key ‘. This key will popup a widget with the current x-y position of the airplane in feet. Write down that information, stop FS One, open the PanoExample.fld file and enter the x-y position in this area of the file. There are entries for the first airplane (used in single player mode) and the second (used in two-player mode). The z-position should remain as zero in this simple example.
    Image of aircraft starting position
  • To change the direction of north in the pano, open the PanoExample.dom file and edit the Azimuth (deg) value. Changing this Azimuth value will rotate the dome (pano). Changing the Pitch (deg) and Roll (deg) in the file will tilt the pano and can be used to make the horizon in the pano line up better with the ground elevation (level in this example). To move the sun position, edit the Azimuth (deg) and Elevation (deg) values in the Sun section of the file. To turn on/off the lens flare, set the flag to 1/0. These sections are shown below:
    Image of pano dome positioning
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