Friday, December 09, 2005

A "real" Scenery Blog

I am converting the "scenery blog" to a real blog, meaning one that uses real blog software for RSS feeds, trackbacks, comment posts, all that good stuff.

A brief intro: I work for Austin Meyer on X-Plane, a cross-platform flight simulator based on real physics, developing the scenery system, scenery engine, 3rd party development kits, and the algorithms used to create the default scenery.

We just shipped the new "global scenery", a rendering of the entire world from 54S to 60N using SRTM2 data. Sergio (our lead artist) has posted some screenshots here. I'll try to post on topics of interest to scenery authors and X-Plane users.


CATTilley said...

Global Scenery looks spectacular. Great Job. Technical question. How does X-Plane utilize the CPU and GPU? How much performance would I gain from upgrading my video card? currently p4 3.6ghz 2 gig ram and an ati xe800 128mb pci express video card. I'm looking to upgrade to one of the new ati cards preferably the 1800 with 512mb. Would I see a huge difference.

John said...

My copies of the new X-Plane 8.21 with the global scenery rocks. I am spending hours just going to cool places on the planet Earth.

I've started a little webshots page of X-Plane screenshots I made over the past year or so, including some with the latest scenery. The URL is

Benjamin Supnik said...

CATTilley -- I'm afraid I'm not sure how much benefit you'll get; you're using hardware that is way more powerful than anything Austin and I have, so we don't have good data.

I can tell you that more VRAM will only help if you want to increase your res. For example with 512 you might be able to run on 'extreme' without texture compression. (This will also tax your system RAM - all VRAM is backed up in system RAM - that's just how OpenGL works.) But in terms of going from one graphics card to the other, I can't say. You might also be able to run higher FSAA, etc.

Shelton said...

Also, the most important thing to consider is the Memory Bandwidth throughput - which means, how much faster is the GPU clock, how much faster is the Memory Speed, How many bits to the Memory - is it 128 BIT or 256 BIT. I would consider the amount of RAM on the card as secondary.