| The background and planes and helos are all "photo-realistic".
`photo realistic' is overrated with respect to the current batch of
R/C flight simulators.
As for the plane, all (most?) of the modern commercial simulators
allow you to see the control surfaces move -- which is very nice. You
can also put `textures' (basically pictures) on the plane's surfaces
which basically makes it look more realistic. Displaying objects like
this in 3D games (with 3D hardware) has been `the norm' for several
years now, and most (all?) of the current commercial simulators do
this for your plane.
As for the scenery, several of the simulators give you flying fields
based on actual pictures taken there. RFG3 calls this `PhotoField'.
It's very pretty, but it's also rather limiting.
For starters, you can't even move. Since the pictures were all taken
from one location, you need to be sitting at that one location and
can't leave it.
Another problem is that you can't really `collide' with an unmoving
picture that's right in front of your face, so there has to be a 3D
world kept track of by the simulator in addition to that picture. The
problem is that this 3D world doesn't always match up perfectly with
the picture, or is very simplistic -- like a bunch of trees will be
modeled internally as a simple wall (sometimes going all the way up
too. I seem to recall crashing into the edge of the world in XTR
One advantage of this `picture scenery' is that it doesn't require
much CPU power to display -- and yet it looks really good.
The alternative is having the simulator model and display each object
individually. With modern computers and graphics hardware, this works
out really well -- it doesn't look quite as good as the photo-based
scenery, but it's really close. And more importantly, it's more
functional -- you can walk around, even get the view from inside your
plane. And collision detection is usually much better, since the
model used for collisions matches the model used for viewing exactly,
since they're the same model.
Also, that allows you to do things like edit the actual scenery -- you
can add objects, perhaps change the weather (clouds, possibly rain?)
-- stuff you can't do if your scenery is simply a bunch of pictures
with a blocky 3D model behind it.
| You can modify the planes' characteristics also, to make them fly
| just like your real model.
Well, you can try :) (Though really, the current crop of simulators
all have pretty good physics, and the planes fly reasonably
Doug McLaren, email@example.com
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