Friday, August 08, 2008

WED 1.1 Feature List

As 920 beta finishes up, I am working on some WED features. Future WED updates will be small and more frequent; I think it's more useful to get at least some features into WED quickly, rather than holding them until I have a huge update.

So this list is short - that doesn't mean that other features won't happen - they just won't happen as soon. In particular, I am very aware that WED needs better taxiway sign editing and better polygon editing. Those will have to wait though.

WED 1.1 will provide overlay editing. WED will not be a replacement for overlay editor - Marginal has done a really great job with his tools. However, having overlay editing in WED will allow people making airports to see complete apt.dat 850 data and overlay data at the same time. This is particularly useful for authors making custom scenery where the apt.dat format is augmented with custom DSF overlay pavement and lines.*

WED 1.1 will have 3 features:
  • Ability to edit these DSF overlay types: object placements, facades, forests, object strings, draped lines, and draped polygons (both tiled and textured with ST coordinates).
  • Very limited preview of those types. I know you will be able to see the texture for a draped polygon for orthophoto placement. I do not know if I will even have OBJ preview in 1.1. Editing will not be WYSIWYG. It will be more CAD-like.
  • Import and export of DSF overlay types to DSF overlay files.
Note that while roads and beaches are technically allowed in overlays, they are not on the list. The reason is that right now both of them require elevation data in the road and beach itself. Since WED doesn't have a base mesh, it can't sanely provide this information.

Eventually we will have some way to "drape" roads - at that point it will make sense to provide WED road editing too. But let's not delay at least some overlay editing that long!

I don't know exactly how long this work will take - my rough guesstimate is about 2 weeks. But...that depends on my working on WED for two weeks straight without interruption!

* Every type of element in apt.dat can also be created with custom-provided artwork and an overlay DSF -- draped polygons for taxiways, draped lines for taxiway lines, object strings for taxiway lights, etc. The idea is to provide a way for authors who want to extend realism beyond the scope of apt.dat 850 to insert custom artwork. Apt.dat 850 is not a modeling format, so you cannot provide PNG files with it.

If you look at the LOWI demo area, you'll see that some of the pavement in that layout is in the apt.dat file, but some pavement is in the DSF overlay. Creating this demo area required a bunch of DSF2Text hacking by Sergio and myself. With WED 1.1 it will be possible to do this completely using WED.

5 comments:

Dan31 said...

Thank again for your hard work for us.
Will it be possible to see hortophoto done with PhotoScenery (in DSF and not polygon) inside Wed. Because it is very difficult to put the hortophoto exactly at the right place, and I have to move a little bit the airport.

Benjamin Supnik said...

Dan31,

Not in WED 1.1...WED 1.1 is an OVERLAY editor, so it will show you overlay polygons. But it is not a base mesh editor.

Someday, I do hope to make WED a front-end for Mesh tool so you can create new orthophoto sceneries with it.

I do not intend to EVER make WED a base mesh EDITOR - see my previous posts...a base mesh is like a finished cake - once it is baked, you can't un-bake it and turn it into a pie. You need to start from raw ingredients.

Dan said...

Is it possible for WED to support WMS services in the near future?

I know of a few sources that allow you to download orthophotos to be used as layers in geo-software. It would make life so much easier and give better and more accurate layouts...

It's a pain in the you know what, to stitch and line up orthophotos in WED, and because there are services available that is more accurate and freely available, it would make things that much simpler if this could be implemented!

Anyway, glad to see new features added to WED, thanks!

Benjamin Supnik said...

Dan, depends on your definition of "near future" - for 1.1 - definitely not - feature list for 1.1 is CLOSED! But...if you can point me at a services spec that:

- Doesn't require too much proprietary goo to use and
- Supports a reasonably large area of geo-encoded images (from one or multiple sources) I will definitely investigate! Please send em a link to a service spec off blog.

Dan said...

Ben,

I'm not familiar with the technical aspect of WMS services, but it looks like Wikipedia might be a good place to start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Map_Service

There's a handful of links there, I bet at least one will be helpful.

This is how I think WMS should be used in WED:

Use of WMS services in WED should be optional, because there isn't one good source with high resolution images for everywhere, user would have the ability to add services in layers by referring to known wms services by URLs. Most countries or GIS data providers offers some sort of wms services, and even NASA offers high res satellite images of the world using WMS. The usefullness of wms depends on the available services, therefore one can not depend on high res orthophotos being available everywhere. It will be the end user who has to locate the source he/she wants to use. Since wms can be slow at times, it might me a good idea to cache the images fetched, but you probably already know that :)

I'm not sure if the projection used in WMS services will work with WED and vice versa, but the sources I have used are WGS 84...

That's about what I know, unfortunately... I don't expect this anytime soon, but if its possible to do in the next 6-12 months that would be a nice surprise!