X-Plane 10 UHD Mesh Scenery v1

The “X-Plane 10 UHD Scenery Mesh v1” scenery is completely free to download and free to use. I call it Donationware because if you like the scenery, you are invited to donate for it:

Donate to alpilotx.net!

License

DO NOT REDISTRIBUTE / MODIFY / OR CHANGE (for 3rd party purposes) any parts of “UHD Mesh Scenery v1” without asking for permission in advance (usually I allow almost everything, but I like to know about it!).

Update

Nov 7, 2016

Statement about the compatibility with X-Plane 11. UHD Mesh Scenery v1 will be fully compatible with X-plane 11 and can simply be moved from the old X-Plane 10 “Custom Scenery” environment to the new X-Plane 11 “Custom Scenery” environment. You only need to make sure, that in the new X-Plane 11 scnery_packs.ini the ordering remains correct (as recommended in the installation instructions).

Introduction

Covered Regions (see coverage on the download maps below):

  • Europe – Alps
  • Europe – Pyrenees
  • Europe – Scandinavia
  • USA – Colorado Mountains (parts of New Mexico)
  • USA – Canyons and Mountains in Arizona / Nevada
  • USA – Mountains in Montana (5×5 degree area)
  • USA – Sierra Nevada (Yosemite etc.)
  • USA – Washington
  • Canada – West
  • Japan – new since April 2016!

In Europe:

europe_coverage2

In USA:

usa_coverage2

In Japan:

XP10_UHD_Mesh_V1_Japan

The general characteristics of UHD Mesh Scenery v1 are identical to those described in HD Mesh Scenery v3 (please read all the details by following the link).

The main differences (and improvements) are:

  • 30m resolution DEM elevation data instead of 90m DEM data.
  • (once more) massively increased mesh density … by roughly factor 2.5 to 3! This is not only beneficiary to the better representation of the higher res DEM data, but also – once more – improves landclass and forest detail.
  • Canadian Rockies, Scandinavia and Pyrenees use OSM data based around end of April 2015!
  • Japan uses OSM data based around mid March 2016!

Because of this, the UHD Mesh Scenery v1 Scenery is very heavy on hardware resources and will only run smoothly on modern, higher end PCs. See the warnings in the following section.

Warnings / Requirements

  • The scenery requires at least X-Plane 10.25 (beginning with 10.25 beta 1) which provides quite a few new terrain types/textures which this scenery relies on! Without it, your X-Plane will very likely crash on scenery load!
  • Your X-Plane 10 FPS might become very low (if you already have FPS problems with HD Mesh Scenery v3, then this will not improve your situation!). UHD Mesh Scenery v1 increases the pressure on the GPU by adding a lot more mesh to be rendered!
  • You need at least 16 GByte of RAM to enjoy this scenery (and this is no joke, it is a very serious warning)!!! And if you want to play it safe, you better have 32 GByte of RAM! Especially with the new, “extended DSF” feature since X-Plane 10.40, the RAM requirements can even double (because this feature loads twice the number of DSF files to make long range visibility possible)!
  • Do not even think of using X-Plane 32bit!
  • Do not download, if your hardware is struggling with HD Mesh Scenery v3!
  • PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTALLATION (AND THE SCENERY_PACKS.INI SECTION) INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY, as most of the problems result from an incorrect installation!

Tip: the least “heavy” areas are the Arizona / Nevada (yes, where the Grand Canyon is) region, because there is not much more than a complex mesh to be rendered (almost no urban area, very few roads, little forests – all of this add massively to the GPU load). So, if you are unsure, you should start with those (they need the least RAM, and are lighter on the GPU – on my higher end PC I could reach 50 FPS there even with high rendering settings)!

Download

Mirrors / Torrents

You can click on the desired tile in the following map, which will open a little balloon, including the file name / file size and the direct link to one of the mirrors:

  • flightsim.com (with offical torrents!)
  • isdg.com.au
  • aerosoft.com
  • x-plane.org (not offering hosting anymore, they link to ISDG via their DM)

where the files are hosted (the files are identical across all sites, you only need to download one of them). You can (and should) choose one of those sites with the least traffic bottleneck (you might try, and see how fast your downlaod goes).

flightsim.com supports torrents now out of the box! You can (and should if possible!) start using BitTorrent directly on the respective flightsim.com download pages (the links in the dynamic map will bring you there)! Look for the tiny, round, blue button with “qb” written on it: torrent !

flightsim.com also offers you a first class membership (which at $30 for a year is less than many other, commercial add-ons might cost you), which removes all bandwidth limits for direct downloads at flightsim.com (other than the ultimate, physical limit posed by their server / ISP environment which is shared among all users). The flightsim.com BitTorrent support does not need a first class membership!

Via DVD delivery

Not planned at the moment, but maybe www.fspilotshop.com will offer some DVDs.

Installation

You do NOT need to delete HD Mesh Scenery v3, just give it a lower priority in scenery_packs.ini than UHD Mesh Scenery v1 and they will go along nicely (this way you can easily remove UHD Mesh Scenery v1, should it make problems). The follow these few steps exactly as described (otherwise you can easily end up with a hosed installation – and might not even notice):

  • Create a Subfolder called zzz_uhd_global_scenery1 in your Custom Scenery folder (using the zzz_ prefix should highlight, that this package should load at the “bottom” of your scenery list!)
  • Create a Subfolder called “Earth nav data” in your zzz_uhd_global_scenery1 folder. Here, its very important to name it EXACTLY – without the quotes – “Earth nav data” and don’t make any typos (it is also case sensitive)!
  • After you have uncompressed the ZIP file(s), put the resulting scenery folders (they should have names like +30-110,+30-120,+40+010 etc.) in the previously created (sub)folder “zzz_uhd_global_scenery1/Earth nav data“! Some areas (Sierra Nevada / Arizona – Nevada / Colorado) have identical folders (they overlap on a 10×10 degree grid), but different files. So dont worry, and just let those folders being “put together” by your file manager (usually it will ask, if you will put files in an existing folder … you can confirm this).
  • Now you can continue with the scenery_packs.ini section if this is your first UHD Scenery Mesh v1 package! Otherwise (if you correctly edited the scenery_packs.ini previously) you can now start flying.

If you are still not sure, how your folder structure should look, it should resemble something like this (this is an example with only some of the files visible):

uhd_mesh_v1_folder_structure

Scenery_packs.ini

This part is very important! If you do not do this, you will very likely NOT see any of your other add-ons (airports etc.) in a given region anymore! The reason is, that a “base mesh scenery” (which the UHD Mesh Scenery v1 is) forms the base of your landscape and only layers above it will be rendered! Anything below the base mesh layer will not even be loaded.

(You only need to do this once, when you install your first UHD Mesh Scenery v1 package … All other packages are going in the same Custom Scenery folder, so they don’t need extra attention)

Beginning with X-Plane 10.10 there is a new “layer control”, which sets the order of the custom scenery layers explicitly. This happens with the file Custom Scenery/scenery_packs.ini and is documented here: http://developer.x-plane.com/2012/07/scenery_packs-ini-what-was-i-thinking/

WHAT TO DO (Here are the most important points):

  • If you start X-Plane 10 the first time OR deleted(!) the scenery_packs.ini, it will create a new scenery_packs.ini and populate it exactly in the alphabetic order of your current folder names in “Custom Scenery” (in this case, the zzz_ prefix helps).
  • If you already have a scenery_packs.ini (you have already run X-Plane 10 at least once), any new folder in “Custom Scenery” will be put automatically on the TOP (beginning) of scenery_packs.ini (which puts your new scenery folder at the highest level)!
  • You can (and should) always manually sort / organize the scenery_packs.ini, as X-Plane only rewrites it when you delete it
  • For UHD Mesh Scenery v1 to work well with other Scenery Packages, its best to put the UHD Mesh Scenery v1 at the bottom(!) of scenery_packs.ini BUT ABOVE HD Mesh Scenery v3 (if you use it)! Like this:
    • ….
    • SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/zzz_uhd_global_scenery1/
    • SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/zzz_hd_global_scenery3/
    • ….

IMPORTANT: KSEA Demo Terrain exception! Usually, with every XP10 install, you also receive the KSEA Demo Area. The problem is, that the KSEA Demo brings its own, 6 mesh tiles (which of course are at default mesh quality 🙂 ) … And if this entry in the Custom Scenery is above your UHD Mesh Scenery v1, then it will trump it. So, please make sure, that in the scenery_packs.ini you:

  • MOVE this: “Custom Scenery/KSEA Demo Terrain/”
  • BELOW this: “Custom Scenery/zzz_uhd_global_scenery1/”

OR

  • Simply change the line to DISABLED (in this case you do not need to move the line around):

    SCENERY_PACK_DISABLED Custom Scenery/KSEA Demo Terrain/

This will prevent, that X-plane loads the low res Demo Terrain (and instead you should finally get UHD Mesh Scenery v1 there

If you want to learn more about how to best combine different scenery types and how to best use scenery_packs.ini, you might read this useful tutorial over at ASN-XP:

  • http://asn-xp.aerosoft.com/?page_id=9708

How to know if the installation was correct?

After some time, it turns out, that more often than I thought (or hoped), people have a broken installation and do not see/use HD Mesh Scenery (even if they think so). There is a very easy and straight forward way (other than obvious or less obvious visual cues)  to check, if X-Plane is really loading the UHD Mesh Scenery v1 (and thus, your installation was correct).

  • After a – hopefully – correct installation and correctly setting up scenery_packs.ini (see above) start X-Plane at a location where you have added UHD Mesh Scenery v1 coverage (of course, it makes no sense to check where you do not have it)!
  • When X-Plane has loaded up your airport and you see the scenery, close X-Plane again cleanly (this makes sure, that really everything has been written to the Log.txt).
  • Now open a file browser, go to the root directory where X-Plane is installed and open the file Log.txt (thats where X-Plane logs everything good or bad).
  • Search for text like “zzz_uhd_global_scenery1” (or the EXACT name you called the installation folder inside “Custom Scenery”).
  • If you find multiple lines, which look like DSF load time: 20506020 for file Custom Scenery/zzz_uhd_global_scenery1/Earth nav data/+40+010/+46+013.dsf (3314511 tris)” (of course, exact dsf file name, and numbers will vary depending on the place you loaded up) then everything is OK! X-Plane is indeed loading DSF (Scenery) files from you UHD Mesh Scenery v1 installtion.
  • If you do NOT find any such line mentioning loading UHD Mesh Scenery v1 DSFs (with “DSF load time …. for file Custom Scenery/zzz_uhd_global_scenery1/Earth nav data/ …”), then something went wrong and you should carefully re-read the installation instructions!

If in doubt, please look at the small coverage maps included in each ZIP file, which show you exactly, where you can expect UHD detail and where not!

Known issues

In the meantime there are already quite a few known issues, which will (or will not) be addressed in a future update / release:

  1. Strange plateaus around airports or water running up the hills. In most (if not all cases), this is not an error in the HD Mesh Scenery itself, but a result of disabling “runway follows terrain contours” in X-Plane Rendering Options. So, whenever you see something strange happening around airports, first try to enable “runway follows terrain contours” before you report an issue! A short explanation: if “runway follows terrain contours” is disabled, then X-Plane flattens the entire airport area to a given – constant – elevation (the elevation values is by the way encoded in the nav.dat – airport data … and can be edited / corrected with WED).
  2. Airports have trees on them, their terrain is not appropriately smoothed or they have no grass on it. Usually this comes from outdated apt.dat (the basic information about airport layouts in X-Plane) used at the time of the scenery creation. This can happen at any time when newer apt.dat is introduced (sometimes even by airport sceneries themselves).
  3. Spikes or deep trenches might appear in very rare cases. There is not much I can do about is, as this is either because of some rare elevation DEM data errors (which might “get” fixed only if i – one day – can get hold of newer/better such data), or because the scenery generator itself messed up parts of the landscape as it was pushed far beyond the limits of its originally intended use (and design). Such spikes have been seen for example at the souther end of the Sierra Nevada. And one trench is known to exist “in the riverbed near Saint Auban in the Alpes / Provence in France”.
  4. Some DEM resolution issues in Canada West package. Approximately beginning on the eastern parts of the Canadian Rockies the DEM data quality drops a little bit, thus having less detail than most other UHD areas. I have researched this in depth, and it turns out that both in the NED 1sec data (I used here) and in the original CDEM data (which is obviously the source in the Canadian NED coverage) this issue is apparent. I even tried replacing some tiles with SRTM 1sec data, but currently available SRTM 1sec tiles in Canada still have their own data quality issues (with big data holes in the mountains) … which would have been an even worse trade off.
  5. Bumpy airports. A lot of airports tend to be more bumpy than they should be. Some investigation showed that this is the result of a mixture of very high mesh resolution (tiny triangles) and only having 1m accuracy in the raster elevation data included in the DSFs (which comes of the simple integer nature of that data). This then can introduce “too big” steps (at least 1m) over too short distances. In the meantime I identified a setting in the scenery generator which can help make the triangles at airports bigger, thus “spreading out” elevation changes over longer distances. So, this might help in future UHD releases (IF they come at some time).

Screenshots

Here are the official screenshots accompanying the release of UHD Mesh Scenery v1. Just follow the links to my Google Photos albums:

Videos

Sometimes I do create some showcase videos for the sceneries:

FAQ

Why is region X not covered?

This question has been asked so many times:

Nevertheless, its not impossible, that I will extend the UHD Mesh Scenery coverage in the future. BUT PLEASE DOT NOT ASK FOR REGIONS … Usually, I will decide this depending on data availability, quality, time etc. on my own to my best knowledge.

Is the scenery compatible with Windows / Mac OS / Linux ?

The simple answer is: YES!

The good thing in X-Plane is, that as long as a scenery only contains data (which is the case with this scenery) it is always completely OS independent (the scenery data is identical for all OS versions of X-Plane)! Only if a scenery uses plug-ins (which this scenery does not) can you have OS dependency.

Can you modify the mesh for your own scenery projects?

I have added a big FAQ topic to answer this question (as it is common to all of my mesh products). Read it very carefully, as it will address a lot of possible issues which you might face when deciding to make your own modifications:

Data Sources / Acknowledgments

The following data sources have been used to make this scenery possible (none of them has been used in its “pure”, raw form but all have been mixed / merged together in one form or other, to achieve these results):

Contact

If you need to contact me, you either find me in most of the well known X-Plane related forums (my pseudonym is: alpilotx) or use the e-mail address on the contact page!

Have a lot of fun!

Andras Fabian
www.alpilotx.net

Extras

Just like with HD Mesh Scenery v3 (find out, by following this link).

Have fun with it!