- Warnings / Requirements
- Known issues
- Data Sources / Acknowledgments
The “X-Plane 11 HD Mesh Scenery v4” is completely free to download and free to use. I call it Donationware because if you like the scenery, you can donate for it (but you are definitely NOT OBLIGED to do so)
Para los lectores en español, Daniel “Wolf” – muchas gracias – proporciona esta traducción: Readme_espanol-HD_Mesh_Scenery_v4
DO NOT REDISTRIBUTE / MODIFY / OR CHANGE (for 3rd party purposes) any parts of “HD Mesh Scenery v4” without asking for permission in advance!
(usually – especially for non-commercial use – I allow almost everything, but I like to know about it!).
- Europe (from the Canaries and Iceland in the west up to Moscow an and most parts of Israel in the East)
- North America (USA, Alaska, Canada)
- South / Central America
- Hawaii and most of the tiny Pacific Islands
IMPORTANT: Coverage to the north ends at 73 N !!
HD Mesh Scenery v4 can be seen as a vastly improved version of the default scenery shipping with XP11. It is using/referencing the exact same set of artwork files (textures, object, autogens, forests) which ship with XP11, so you do not need other art assets to be installed while HD Mesh Scenery v4 will also benefit from any artwork improvements (autogen, texture) coming with future XP11 versions.
The most important advantages of HD Mesh Scenery v4 are:
- The triangle mesh resolution is far higher than in the default mesh and even a bit above the level of the previous HD Mesh Scenery v3::
- this give – obviously – better DEM (elevation data) representation (slopes, mountains etc.)
- BUT this also vastly(!) improves the landclass data representation (which in X-Plane is very closely coupled with the triangle size in the mesh). This is most obvious with forest detail.
- The vector data simplification is less aggressive than in the default mesh (where Laminar needed to do that to limit the overall size of the global scenery). Thus road / railroad bendings are more accurate and the same is true for rivers, shorelines (but where the OSM raw data is bad, this can’t help much either)
- HD Mesh Scenery v4 also has the new “high buildings” feature included, which I introduced with Laminar in XP11. This puts all (well, with some filtering of not reasonable stuff from OSM) buildings > 20m “height” or > 5 “building:levels” as some “high building” object (with a more or less correct height – as defined in OSM) in the scenery (“building:levels” are simply multiplied by 4m to get an approximate height). This usually gives most cities a much better look (New York is a great example, where in OSM almost all buildings already have a height defined). This same approach also “imports” antennas / masts from OSM (as antenna obstacles)
- OSM data is updated (its “date stamp” is 1st October 2017) . Which makes it newer than current XP11 default mesh data and of course much, much newer than the data in HD Mesh Scenery v3.
- Most of the Landclass data has seen an update (which already happened with my work for the XP11 default scenery … but HD Mesh Scenery v4 can represent the high res landclass data much better)
Warnings / Requirements
- The scenery requires at least X-Plane 11.00 !!! IT WILL NOT WORK WITH X-Plane 10.xx!
- Please only download a smaller ZIP file at the beginning! Then test if it works for you and only then continue downloading other tiles! Do not unnecessarily overload the hosting providers! If possible, use the BitTorrent option at flightsim.com!
- You might need a very long time to download all tiles. Single file sizes go up to multiple GBytes! In the map you can see the size of each tile.
- Your X-Plane 11 FPS might become very low (if you already have FPS problems, this will not improve your situation!)
- 16 GBytes of RAM are highly recommended (32 GBytes are optimal)! Although some areas might work with 8 GBytes of RAM too.
- 4-6 GBytes of VRAM (on you graphics card) are recommended, esepcially if you use other add-ons too. But by lowering rendering settings, you might get away with less VRAM too.
- HD Mesh Scenery v4 is OS independent. It runs on Mac / Windows / Linux!
- PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY, as most of the problems result from an incorrect installation!
You can click on the desired tile in the following, dynamic 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!)
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).
IMPORTANT: Coverage to the north ends at 73 N !!
If for some reason the map does not work, the following links will bring you directly to the list view on the respective hosting sites:
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: !
To make using and grabbing those 174 torrent files much easier, we are now offering a single ZIP file containing all 174 torrents at once (the ZIP file is only about 2,5 MBytes). You can grab the at one of these mirrors here and feed the torrent files in what ever client you use :
- flyawysimulations : HD_Mesh_Scenery_v4_torrent_bundle.zip
- ISDG: HD_Mesh_Scenery_v4_torrent_bundle.zip
Via USB delivery
X-Plane 11 HD Mesh Scenery v4 is also available on physical media (USB) from FSPilotshop.com:
The price in the shop is only there to cover the work / USB media / deilvery costs of FSPilotshop (and NONE of that money comes to me!), so it still remains freeware / donationware!
Please follow these few steps as closely as possible (otherwise you can easily end up with a hosed installation – and might not even notice):
- IF you have HD Mesh Scenery v3 installed, remove it first (you definitely do not need that with v4 installed). It suffices to delete the complete folder from “Custom Scenery” (X-Plane will then remove it form the scenery_packs.ini automatically)
- IF you have UHD Mesh Scenery installed, you can keep it but make sure to have it placed above HD Mesh Scenery in the scenery_packs.ini)
- (only once) Create a Subfolder called zzz_hd_global_scenery4 in your Custom Scenery folder (using the zzz_ prefix should highlight, that this package should load at the “bottom” of your scenery list!)
- (only once) Create a Subfolder called “Earth nav data” in your zzz_hd_global_scenery4 folder. It is very important to name it EXACTLY – without the quotes – “Earth nav data” and don’t make any typos (it is case sensitive)!
- (for each ZIP file) Uncompressed the ZIP file(s), put the resulting scenery folders (they should have names like +50-130,+30-120,+40+010 etc.) in the previously created (sub)folder “zzz_hd_global_scenery4/Earth nav data/“!
- 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 packages/regions visible):
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 HD Mesh Scenery v4 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 HD Mesh Scenery v4 package … All other packages are going in the same Custom Scenery folder, so they don’t need extra attention)
- For HD Mesh Scenery to work well with other Scenery Packages, its best to put it at the bottom(!) of scenery_packs.ini! Simply use any text editor coming with you OS
- If you start X-Plane 11 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 11 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
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 the Avsim Forum:
How to know if the installation was correct
I highly recommend all new HD Mesh Scenery users to at least once do this check!
Quite often people have a broken installation and do not see/use HD Mesh Scenery (even though 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 HD Mesh Scenery (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 HD Mesh Scenery 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_hd_global_scenery4” (or the EXACT name you called the installation folder inside “Custom Scenery”).
- If you find multiple lines, which look like “DSF load time: 5940727 for file Custom Scenery/zzz_hd_global_scenery4/Earth nav data/+20+080/+26+087.dsf (1633010 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 HD Mesh Scenery installation.
- If you do NOT find any such line mentioning loading HD Mesh Scenery v4 DSFs (with “DSF load time …. for file Custom Scenery/zzz_hd_global_scenery4/Earth nav data/ …”), then something went wrong and you should carefully re-read the installation instructions!
- Spikes in the landscape
Very rarely, it can happen that a “bug” in the raw DEM (elevation) data can manifest itself as an unnatural spike in the terrain. Most of them could be already fixed, but it might still happen that someone finds new ones.
- Large – often rectangular – area cut around airports (and smoothed / flattened down).
Some airports tend to have an unnaturally wide are flattened around them. This usually happens, when the airport has a bad boundary defined or its missing entirely (in which case the scenery generator approximates a boundary, which is often not how it should be in reality). Here the airport should get a correct boundary which then can be respected in a future mesh re-cut.
- 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).
- Deep, cut-out canyons around narrow rivers
In some very rare cases, the river smoothing / flattening algorithm goes haywire. Yes, riverbeds need to be take care of via some algorithms as the original DEM (elevation) data is rarely optimal along narrow valleys OR the OSM river vector data is not perfectly in sync with the DEM data. An algorithm tries to “correct” these issues, but in some – rare – extreme cases it can be too aggressive in the wrong place. This is very, very hard to take care of thus I accept it “as is”.
- Steep cuts along coasts, rivers
Misaligned DEM and OSM river / coastline data are the most common culprit. If the elevation data does not exactly overlap with the coastline depicted in OSM (which in some places is indeed inaccurate or simply wrong), then the water flattening algorithm can “cut out” chunks of the mesh. This cone more often be observed along the jagged coasts of Alaska (especially at some glaciers) or Norway. Again, this is something which is hard to take care of, but ideally it should happen via correcting / improving the source OSM data.
- Extremely high buildings
A new feature of HD Mesh Scenery v4 (just like the default mesh in XP11) is the depiction of high / higher buildings from real life (that is OSM) data. Most buildings (buildings with non-appropriate tags filtered of course) higher than 20m (“height” tag) or having more than 5 level (“building:levels” tag) are represented via one of the many building objects from the XP11 artwork library (and they even get a more-or-less correct height in the sim).
If however someone managed to dial in some absurd height info in OSM, then of course, this can lead to inappropriately tall buildings in HD Mesh Scenery v4. I did some basic cleaning of OSM data (directly in OSM after some trivial height analysis) but its impossible to completely avoid such errors (and users add such wrong height values over-and-over).
- Road visible but town (autogen) missing
Road (and railroad) data are all coming from OSM, but they alone do not make a city appear in HD Mesh Scenery v4. It also needs some correct landclass information from the – mostly non OSM – landclass sources. Even though I went a very long way to make sure, that the landclass data is as good as possible, there are still for sure many places (usually smaller villages) where this information was missing (and I couldn’t correct it).
- Bigger steps in DEM data
The DEM (elevation) data is sourced from Viewfinderpanoramas.org (as declared in the “Data Sources” section) and usually has a very good overall quality. Nevertheless, in a very few places it can have strange, bigger steps. This usually comes from the fact, that the Viewfinderpanoramas.org data is not based on a single source, but is the result of a very complex processing / mixing / merging of different sources. Where ever this aligning of sources fails (or was overlooked) you can easily find a larger mismatch between adjacent areas, which in the end leads to larger, visible steps in the scenery.
- Missing water features (rivers, lakes, islands)
All the water features (rivers, lakes, islands, coastlines) in HD Mesh Scenery v4 come from OSM. Thus, if one of them is missing, the it is quite likely due to the fact, that it is missing in OSM or was missing at the time when I sourced the data! In a few cases it might happen, that the water feature was there, but might have some very strange / uncommon OSM attributes assigned to it. This might result in its removal, as – for data quality reasons – I apply quite a few filters during data pre-processing (for example this lead to the removal of the complete Lake Constance / Bodensee in the default beta scenery of XP11 … which was since then fixed in OSM too). So, if you are missing a water feature, please first check Openstreetmap.org!
- An – already reported – example is “Choctawhatchee Bay” (Florida) which has been re-tagged as “natural=bay” (instead of the usual “natural=water”). I learned too late that “natural=bay” is indeed a correct (although very, very rarely used) OSM tag. So, water bodies tagged “natural=bay” are missing from HD Mesh Scenery v4 (and will only re-appear in some future versions).
- Missing roads, railroads
The same (as for water features) holds true for roads / railroads / power-lines. If they are missing, or in the wrong place, then its quite likely an OSM data issue. Please first check Openstreetmap.org!
- Missing forests
Forests are – contrary to common belief – usually NOT coming from OSM, but from different, large scale landclass / forest cover data sources (check the “Data Sources” section). These sources are usually quite reliable, highly detailed and available – mostly – globally (contrary to OSM forest data) but are still based on remote sensing data and complex interpretation algorithms. Thus, they can never be 100% perfect which – in the end – can result in missing forest patches in the scenery.
- Thin land “bridges” are observed in some locations
This is usually a small “data bug” coming from OSM (all water features in the mesh come from OSM) and is usually not easy to diagnose (in online OSM viewers you can barely notice it – but its possible … and should be easier to spot in dedicated OSM editors). The problem is that that inland rivers or bays are represented as a separate polygons from the ocean and at the seam, where they meet, has not been been perfectly aligned (and I really mean, perfectly aligned! Because “small” errors introduce these dreaded gaps). This small gap is then “re-created” by the scenery generator as a land bridge. The best way to fix it (and this is “best practice in OSM” terms – and topologically correct) would be achieved by sharing the nodes between the inland water polygon and the ocean “coast” (this guarantees, that no gaps can crop up)! Or if this is too “complicated”, then at least make the inland water nodes snap exactly to the nodes of the coastline nodes! This – of course – is not a quick fix, as it will only show results when the mesh is re-created from fixed OSM data … at some point in the future.
Here are the official screenshots accompanying the release of HD Mesh Scenery v4. Just follow the links to my Google Photos albums:
Difference between HD Mesh Scenery v4 and photoscenery (like Ortho4XP)!
The main difference is, that HD Mesh Scenery v4 does NOT use any custom orthoimagery (as used by photoscenery) but instead is based an a finite set of generic, landclass based textures coming with default X-Plane 11!
Thus, you will not see your house in the ground textures 8as you might with good quality orthophotos).
The advantage of landclass based scenery is:
- limited storage needed for texture (whereas orthoimagery covering the same area at high res can easily bring you in the TBytes region)
- consistent texture quality over the entire scenery (whereas orthoimagery is extremely dependent on the data source it uses … and can show a wide range of artifacts / issues depending of the data source)
Using HD Mesh Scenery v4 with photoscenery like Ortho4XP
Very important: both HD Mesh Scenery and usually any other photoscenery (like from Ortho4XP) qualifies as mesh scenery. X-Plane has the rule, that in the same location (and any 1×1 degree tile counts as the “same location”) at the same time you can always and exclusively have only ONE mesh active (and thus rendered). If you have more than one of them in the same location at the same time then X-Plane never mixes or merges them “on the fly”. Instead, X-Plane shows you the one with the highest priority in the scenery_packs.ini! Every other mesh or scenery (airports etc.) below the highest active mesh layer will not even get loaded at run time!
If you want to use HD Mesh Scenery v4 as you “generic” base layer for large areas (which is a good idea) and photoscenery (like Ortho4XP) for selected areas, then make sure that all of your Ortho4XP generated mesh tiles are sorted above(!) the HD Mesh Scenery v4 layer in the scenery_packs.ini!
Why is region X not covered?
The main reason is, that I do this project in my free time and need to set some constraints which maintain some manageability. Even now it is already at a size, which makes it quite a complex task
Additionally, for some world regions, data quality is still not “optimal”, thus they would not show as much of an improvement with DH Mesh Scenery as I / you would expect.
Nevertheless, the coverage might (or might not) change / extend at any time in the future.
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):
- Elevation data:
- Viewfinderpanoramas (90m DEM data)
- Land cover data:
- Europe, CORINE 2012 v8.5 from EEA
- Europe HLR Layers (to improve forest detail, wetlands, grassland)
- USA, NLCD 2011 from MRLC
- Canada, Land Cover, Circa 2000
- World, ESA CCI Land Cover dataset (v 1.6.1)
- Landsat Tree Cover Continuous Fields 2013 (improving forests in Worldwide data, making them more detailed)
- New Zealand, LCDB
- Japan, ALOS Land Cover v16.02, from © JAXA
- Himalaya Region Land Cover Mapping
- Some partial OSM landuse information mixed in (industrial, meadow, landfill, orchard, quarry, vineyard, commercial, glacier, shingle, residential, scree)
- Europe, CORINE 2012 v8.5 from EEA
- Vector data:
- OpenStreetmap (roads, railroads, powerlins, city parks and water features like rivers / lakes)
- CanVec from GeoGratis (Canadian vector data used to have a complete coverage of – almost – all water features in Canada! There, its the single source – instead of OSM – for water features.)
- Popultaion density:
- Glacier data (to differentiate between snow and ice):
- Irrigated, non-irrigated land:
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!
(for those who carefully read trough the full page)
X-Plane 10 Tree Lines and Farms v2
You might consider adding another – free – little add-on from this site, which helps to improve the overall feeling (especially in large, agriculture / pastures dominated regions!):
Bonus experimental (dense) forests
Experimental, dense XP11 forest replacement! This is the same package as from the HD MeshV3 download (so, if you have downloaded it from there, you do not need to do it again)!
If you want to try out a bit more dense forests in X-Plane 11 (maybe together with the above HD Scenery), then you might be interested this:
- Download this ZIP file: http://alpilotx.de/data/xp10-dense-forest-replacement.zip
- Unzip it (you should get 261 FOR files)
- Put the 261 FOR files in the X-Plane 11 folder: /Resources/default scenery/1000 forests/ (if its warning you about overwriting existing files, then you are doing the right thing – otherwise, you have chosen the wrong place)
- Before overwriting, you might consider backing up the folder! But any X-Plane update would restore it to its original anyways (if you allow it to do so)
A few things to consider with this experimental(!), dense forest replacement:
- It will probably make your FPS worse! (depending on your 3D card, this effect might be more or less strong)
- At each update, X-Plane will ask you, if it shall overwrite the contents in the /1000 forests/ folder (restore it to the original, X-Plane “default)! You can always deny, or accept it (this way, you can get bet the default, even if you didn’t do a backup). And from time to time, you SHOULD go to the X-Plane default, as it will be improved too (over time), so you might miss out on improvements there!
- PLEASE DON’T REDISTRIBUTE this forest replacement pack! Its experimental, and should remain as such. Over time, I think we will tune X-Plane 10 default forests to a point, that you won’t even consider this pack anymore.
Have fun with it!