Difference between HD Mesh Scenery v4 and photoscenery (like Ortho4XP)

I’ve been getting interested in various scenery enhancements for X-Plane 11. The two major varieties that I am currently aware of are HD Mesh Scenery v4 and photoscenery like Ortho4XP. I have already downloaded and have tried HD Mesh v4 for the region around KBTV. I am now in New Zealand with the Quest Kodiak that I bought in FSEconomy and using some special scenery there called Lyndiman’s New Zealand Ortho Photography Set. Here is the creator’s description:

This package is an orthophotography scenery package for X-Plane. It will replace ground textures with images derived from aerial photographs that should make the simulator much more immersive.

This package features:

  • High quality Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) aerial photos processed at zoom level 17 (a good balance of quality vs size)

  • From my testing this scenery has no visible impact on FPS (check image gallery for FPS)

  • Intensive photo processing to balance colour, replace patches, for a seamless experience

I downloaded this scenery from here. The North Island portion was recently updated to Version R3. I have downloaded it and am currently running it.

Here is a description from alpilotX.net of the HD Mesh Scenery v4 from the alpilotX web site:

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!

Next, I would like to try creating some of my own photoscenery using Ortho4XP. This article on the AVSIM forums seems to be the goto article to get started. I hope to study and get started in the near future, so stay posted.

Author: korkiley

Systems Administrator at University of Vermont (retired as of 7/1/2012) Married Favorite Activities: Condor Glider Online Competition, Developing web sites, making espresso, and keeping a blog

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