WIP: FSX Solomon 1943 -- long --
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Thread: WIP: FSX Solomon 1943 -- long --

  1. #1

    WIP: FSX Solomon 1943 -- long --

    Guys,

    well, somebody just had to do it.
    After reading many books and researching, I started my first scenery design project and I'm about half way through.

    Outline


    The Solomon Islands were the showplace of a huge effort of forces from the US, New Zealand and Australia to push back the Japanese movement towards the south Pacific and New Zealand. It is also the showplace of great despair, suffering and violent battles. After reading books like “Jolly Rogers”, “Baba Black Sheep” or “Black Cat Raiders” I started to fly over the Solomon in FSX to get a feeling of the area. In the beginning I was disappointed, because the landclass was way off and the mesh not at all like the real thing. FSGlobal mesh and third party landclass did some good corrections on that part, but now the meager or non existing airports started to annoy me. Thanks to www.pacificwrecks.org (please donate, Justin Taylan is doing some great work and without this information FSX Solomon 1943 would not have been possible) and ADE – airport design editor – I was able to do some vital corrections and additions here.
    Most of my photographic reference data for the airfields date around the fall of 1943, so I chose the scenario to be around September 1943. The Americans had taken Vella Lavella already and were pounding Bougainville and Rabaul. The next airfield of the Japanese navy, the Ballale airfield island off the coast of Bougainville, was knocked out already (left to "wither on the vine") and the two airfields on the south coast of Bougainville were badly damaged.


    Recommendations


    I strongly suggest using a decent mesh for the area, like FSGlobal, FSGenesis or freeware. Also a correct landclass product is needed, the original FSX is horrible.


    Surprisingly, some of the nicest payware aircraft fit right into the scenario:


    Aerosoft PBY Catalina
    A2A P47-D Thunderbolt
    A2A WOP A6M Zero
    A2A WOP P40 Warhawk
    A2A F4U1-D Corsair
    A2A B17 Flying Fortress
    Vertigo Studios F6F Hellcat
    Vertigo Studios SBD Dauntless
    Sky Unlimited / Aeroplane Heaven P38 Lightning

    MAAM Sim C-47 Skytrain
    MAAM Sim TBF Avenger
    MAAM Sim B-25 Mitchell
    Alphasim B-24 Liberator or B-17


    There are also a lot of free aircraft to be had, e.g. a very nice H6K Mavis, a Mitsubishi Claude, Grumman Wildcats / FM2, Kingfisher and Grumman Duck, and so on.
    Unfortunatly a decent P39 Airacobra is nowhere out there…


    I left Vella Lavella / Barakoma out, because Jim Dhaenens did a great job of constructing this already. It can be downloaded from http://www.simviation.com et al. See http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforum...akoma-Released .


    You might want to download the FSX WW2 aircraft carrier group, which also comes with a nice FM2 (GM built F4F Wildcat). Historically it is dated after September 1943, especially the camouflage used later in the war, but it still fits nicely into the scenery and gives the opportunity of Coral Sea carrier ops.


    Special Scenery


    Thanks to the outstanding work of Justin Taylan from http://www.pacificwrecks.org, I was able to place all the important and still visible shipwrecks and even some aircraft wrecks


    Airports or Seaplane bases - Status

    The airfields have tower frequencies, prominent ones have NDB transmitters, and static planes in revetments and vehicles as well as other contemporary objects. They are designed after original maps and photographs of late 1943.
    already completed:

    Name Location
    Bomber 1 / Henderson Field Guadalcanal
    Bomber 2 / Carney Field Guadalcanal
    Bomber 3 / Koli Field Guadalcanal
    Crash Strip Guadalcanal none
    Fighter 1 / Lunga Field Guadalcanal
    Fighter 2 / Kukum Field Guadalcanal
    *
    Renard Field / South Field Russell Islands P38 and P39 bomber units
    Banika Field / North Field Russell Islands fighter units, F4U, F6, F4
    *
    Segi Airfield New Georgia fighter units
    Munda Airfield New Georgia fighter and bomber units
    Ondonga Airfield New Georgia fighter units, P40, RNZAF
    *
    Vila Airfield Kolombangara not used, destroyed
    *
    Gizo Airstrip Gizo not used until after the war
    Gizo seaplane base Gizo USN PBYs

    *
    Barakoma Airfield Vella Lavella F4U, F6F USMC, USN
    *
    Ballale Airfield Ballale Japanese Navy
    *
    Kahili Airfield Bougainville Japanese Navy

    *

    These are left to be completed:


    Tulagi Seaplane Base - Florida Islands - ex Japanese, small RNZAF base
    Halavo Seaplane Base - Florida Islands - RAAF, USN, RNZAF PBYs
    *
    Rekata Seaplane Base - San Cristobal - Japanese Navy
    *
    Tonolei Harbour - Bougainville - Japanese navy / seaplanes
    *


    Emergency Strip - Guadalcanal - n/a none

    Seaplane Base - Russell Islands - small PBY base, and ferry traffic


    Other work to be done:

    - I need to populate the airfileds - this is step 2 in my workflow

    - Ive never programmed AI traffic, so I have to do some learning on that part
    - I've never designed scenery objects... I will have to learn how to design and texture 3d objects
    - I need to gain some knowledge on how to define landclasses and redesign shorelines or build small islands and such. There is much to be done here.
    - I want to build a "destruction library" that will include bomb craters, destroyed planes and other equipment or scenery to populate the airfields with
    - I want to build "used look library" to make the airfields more lively (oil stains, sand heaps, wheel marks etc)

    AI traffic


    I will include traffic at many airfields (CAP combat air patrols), as well as long distance patrols or other missions. You will see PBYs patrolling the coasts of the islands, and Corsairs flying high altitude CAPs, as well as B-24s, B-25s or B-17s flying missions.


    You will also see high speed torpedo boats on patrols, as well as Fletcher class destroyers and supply ships on their missions. Submarines and small ships will also be seen, this includes Japanese traffic!
    A landable aircraft carrier with destroyers will cruise between the islands of Vella Lavella and Kolombangara.
    Japanese shipping will cruise around southern Bougainville and there will be some action around Tonolei harbour and Kahili.

    I have one plea to make: if anyone knows a source were I can obtain some decent static or AI planes or ships of that era, please let me know.

    Timeline:

    I guess I need some 6 to 8 weeks to complete this project. I hope !

    But now, here are some pictures of completed basic airfields.


    Cheers,
    Mark Schimmer

  2. #2
    some more images:

  3. #3
    Very cool!
    Intel I7 8700 16gb DDR4 RAM GTX 1060 3GB with Windows 10

  4. #4
    MCDesigns
    Guest
    Oustanding work Mark, very impressive! one of my projects was to do some airfields like this also. I did a collection of WWII objects and scenery for the donationware corsair project here for FS9. It's been my intention to recompile them for FSX and do a series or WWII airfields also focusing on as realistic visual experience as possible since Combat really isn't an option, at least not with my knowledge. My first airport was Munda based of some good photoreal data (see below) and my plans for the area was to redraw all the islands to more correct and realistic.

    It's very obvious you have much more data (and time, LOL) to work with and your package is much more accurate than what mine would have been, well done!! I look forward to enjoying your work, it looks great!

    Landclass is a easy fix, stiz has a good change in the library here that makes the Solomons more jungle.

    Attachment 739

  5. #5
    Master of Disaster
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    SWEEEEEEEET! My favorite place to fly is "The Slot"!!
    If government was the answer, it was a stupid question!

  6. #6
    good work so far, and I look forward to giving this area a buzz when ready. hope you can get some sleep over the next 2 months.

    good luck and thanks
    MC

  7. #7
    Thanks guys.
    I have a 15 month old baby here, so I only have a time slot around midnight to work on it for an hour or so, but I am progressing quite well now.

    Michael, you mentioned the Landclass from "stiz" - you know where it is to be had? I'd like to try it.
    I tried to alter the LC myself with Sbuilderx, but I had no luck on the first try. How would you do it? I also like the image you have attached to your post. Amazing! That looks almost real! I also wanted to use photoreal textures, but I could not find any decent ones. Besides that, I would have to regress their appearance to 1943.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  8. #8
    Master of Disaster
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    Please "regress" to 1942!!
    If government was the answer, it was a stupid question!

  9. #9
    MCDesigns
    Guest
    Hi Mark, belated congrats on the baby!
    I just realized the library is still offline because of the server change so I can't direct you to the landclass file, BUT doing it in SBuilder is really easy. basically there is the landclass button at the top and when you click it, you get the menu for the different types of landclass and next to that is the menu for how large an area you want when you click the screen to place it.

    As for the photoreal parts, yes, finding early 1942 imagery is the key, but there is a work around. basically it involves finding the spot you want the field to be, doing a high res sat image for that spot, doesn't matter what the image is, the key is to make a blank template for it at a good resolution. Then you open up that BMP and make it all sand/dirt. Then take a copy of that image and draw your runway/taxiway outlines on it with some blending on the edges, make them pure white and the background pure black and use this as your BLEND. This way when you run it all thru resample, and place the BGL in the sim, you will have the blended sand runways only on top of whatever landclass you use, it works quite well and was the method I was using. It's very similar to the technique the maskrider sceneries used in CFS2, just higher resolution and detail. The best benefit from this method over just placing landclass is you don't get the sharp lines and you control the textures. PM me if want to try it out and need help.

    I took a second and did a quick coverage of the islands in tropical foliage landclass, should give you a good canvas for your work., took all of a minute, let me know if this works for you.

  10. #10
    Michael,

    thanks for that LC correction, it really puts that landscape into the right appeal!! When I loaded Kukum airfield on Guadacanal, my first thought was "thank god, Honiara is gone!!". I hope, no one from there reads this.

    But unfortunatly, the new LC file also draws autogen trees (beautiful rainforest trees, I have to admit) over the new airfields. I placed the bgl file in a seperate directory structure and put it under a lower priority than my scenery. I thought that would put my "exclude autogen" - polygons into effect, but, alas, not so. I've got to find out what is the cause of this now.
    I thought I knew the rope about that...


    Cheers,
    Mark

  11. #11
    @ Mudmarine:

    this is what the scanerio will be, see attachment and the line at Sept 25, 1943.

    What's the deal about 1942? Which event are you refering to?


    Regards,
    Mark

  12. #12
    We should have some carrier AI to go along with this. Any suggestions for timetables and routes?
    David Wilson-Okamura

    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds.
    -- W. B. Yeats, "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"

  13. #13
    A couple of years ago we had a period aircraft "slot race" from Espirtu Santo to Rabul, stopping at all of the salient airfields. A lot of fun, will have to do it again with all of the new planes available.

    Cheers: T

  14. #14
    We should have some carrier AI to go along with this.
    David, I was hoping you would come in on this thread! Your carrier tracks are just what the Solomons needs in FSX. Would have thought US carrier battle groups to the northeast and south of the archipelago. IJN destoyers coming up (or down from the northwest i.e. Rabaul toward Guadalcanal) in the Slot at night would not be historically inaccurate, i.e. the famed Tokyo Express and Ironbottom Sound where there were many surface battles.

    Re ships, I can and I assume others can probably swap ship models or one's choice in and out of your track cfg's. It is a shame that "USIO's" great Japanese ships (CFS2 based models) do not appear to work in FSX. Also, while there are a few period carriers, destroyers and a battleship available (go to FS Shipyards etc), there aren't any good USN cruisers - yet - as far as I know.

    Regards

    expat
    Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.

  15. #15
    Very interesting concept, Mark. I am originally from Rabaul so am very keen on seeing how the project pans out. If you like, I can contribute a few of my 3d military-themed objects to your project. Here are pics of some objects which might be of worth.

    Let me know.

    Graham
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Edited for speeling..
    Visit the tribe @ islandsim.com

  16. #16
    ...landing crafts and sub...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Edited for speeling..
    Visit the tribe @ islandsim.com

  17. #17
    This is awesome. I'ld wish someone would add some FSX Missions to complete the whole package.

    Fantastic work!! Keep'em coming

    Cheers
    Martin

  18. #18
    SOH-CM-2021 warchild's Avatar
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    wasnt able to read through the entire thread because if i dont get this plane done your all gonna really hate me, BUT... since someone is doing the solomons, is there anyone who might be interested at all in doing the PT base that was located on an island on the north side of rendova?? It was John Kennedys base..
    Thanks..

  19. #19
    Warchild,

    that PT base is a must :-) It is on Bou island.

    I want to concentrate on the airfields and seaplane bases though. If anyone wants to jump in and design the PT or other navy bases or harbours, that would be fine! There come to mind:

    - Tulagi harbor
    - Makambo (Tulagi) PT boat base
    - Yellow Beach / Wernham Cove PT base on Banika
    - Todd City USN base on Lumbaria Island (near Rendova harbour)
    - Lunga point anchorage on Guadalcanal

    I also like the idea of carrier AI traffic !

    Right now I'm designing the Havalo Seaplane base on the Florida Islands, but I ran into some problems there. The coastlines are horrible, and two important islands are missing in the bay. Oh well...

    @ Wantok: pm sent.


    Cheers,
    Mark

  20. #20
    Check your PM, Mark.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Edited for speeling..
    Visit the tribe @ islandsim.com

  21. #21
    WIP Status:

    I'm busy with Halavo Seaplane base on the Florida Islands right now. I'm quite unsatisfied with the coastlines and the missing Islands of Tanangboto and Gavutu. This has to be corrected, but I first have to learn about coastline correction and island building.
    I also want to place some static PBYs on Halavo, and repainted a PBY as a black cat. But the black (i defined it as a dark grey) shows quite glossy, does anybody have a hint on how to get rid of that? I think it has something to do with the alpha channel and the type of file (dxt-x), but I'm not sure.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  22. #22
    Mark, you may already know all this stuff. But I was looking back through my freeware file and noticed these tutorials by Luis Feliz-Tirado, all from the AVSIM file library:


    Category: Flight Simulator X - Scenery Design
    Make photo-real ground textures

    File Description:
    It is very easy to create your very own high-resolution, custom (photo-real) ground textures. This document explains the concepts and techniques and illustrates the use of SBuilderX with which you can quickly and easily download aerial images and make this type of scenery. So, why hesitate? Make Flight Simulator scenery as real as it gets! Very sorry - no support of any kind is offered. Please do not write. For any questions, please post in the Avsim Scenery Design Forum.



    Filename: make_photo-real_ground_textures_in_fs_x.zip
    License: Freeware
    Added: 21st November 2009
    Downloads: 9602
    Author: Luis Feliz-Tirado
    Size: 2143kb


    Category: Flight Simulator X - Scenery Design
    Make Scenery with the Object Placement Tool


    File Description:
    The Deluxe version of Flight Simulator X contains a very easy-to-use tool for placing scenery objects visually within the game. Unfortunately, the Microsoft developers neglected to tell anybody. This document contains an illustrated explanation of this tool and how to use it. My most sincere apologies - I am unable, for lack of free time, to offer support of any kind. For questions or problems, please post in the Avsim scenery design forum.



    Filename: making_scenery_with_object_placement_tool.zip
    License: Freeware
    Added: 22nd November 2009
    Downloads: 1603
    Author: Luis Feliz-Tirado
    Size: 673kb

    Category: Flight Simulator X - Scenery Design
    Terrain Design

    File Description:
    Terrain Design for Flight Simulator X

    This simple illustrated document explains the basic concepts in Flight Simulator X terrain, and how to change them using SBuilder for FS X. Make new water bodies, roads, vehicle traffic, airport flattens, remove autogen, add more detail - anybody can do it easily and quickly.
    My most sincere apologies - I am unable, for lack of free time, to offer support of any kind. For questions or problems, please post in the Avsim scenery design forum.



    Filename: terrain_design_for_flight_simulator_x.zip
    License: Freeware
    Added: 14th December 2009
    Downloads: 11361
    Author: Luis Feliz-Tirado
    Size: 3991kb


    Category: Flight Simulator X - Scenery Design
    Using the Autogen Annotator


    File Description:
    The Autogen Annotator is a powerful tool for modifying the autogen of default ground textures or adding autogen to custom (photo-real) ground. This document illustrates the use of the tool, and includes a pictorial guide to all autogen object types. Very sorry - no support of any kind is offered. Please do not write. For any questions, please post in the Avsim Scenery Design Forum.



    Filename: using_the_autogen_annotator_264833.zip
    License: Freeware
    Added: 21st November 2009
    Downloads: 760
    Author: Luis Feliz-Tirado
    Size: 8930kb
    David Wilson-Okamura

    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds.
    -- W. B. Yeats, "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"

  23. #23
    Happiness Consultant
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCDesigns View Post
    ... I did a collection of WWII objects and scenery for the donationware corsair project here for FS9. It's been my intention to recompile them for FSX and do a series of WWII airfields also focusing on as realistic visual experience ...
    And I'm still waiting on your converted ww2 vehicles MC ... unless of course I missed the announcement that they've been converted and stuck in a library somewhere ...
    "Trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty!" John Adams 1772

    Snuffy / Ted

  24. #24
    David,

    thanks for the head-up. In fact, MCD already gave me some hints on that matter, and I think this will be the way to go - although this will mean that I have to start from the beginning and I will have to develop new skills along the way. But I think the result will be worth it - I already started.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  25. #25
    OK, so here we are. I finished almost all of the airfields I wanted in ADE. Look for example at Segi here as an attachment. The layout is quite authentic (based on original maps), but the coastline is horrible, the original landclass sucks, and the small islands everywhere are missing.
    Back to the drawing and planning board.
    I already corrected the landclass by overlaying satellite images on New Georgia and Kolombangara - see the attached images. I think that looks good now.
    I now will correct the coastlines and add islands, based on satellite images (lot of work). That will be from Guadalcanal to southern Bougainville.
    I also will reconstruct all the airfields photoreal - that means draw them by myself upon old maps and photos. Now that is quite a heap and never has been done before by me. So please bear with me. I have to learn a lot of stuff along the way. Since I am new to the matter, things might take a little longer. But I want to see this become (virtual) reality.

    Cheers,
    Mark


    PS: as Virgil is quoted:

    Possunt, quia posse videntur.
    They can because they think they can.

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