However in this case: if it is really ONLY connected with the fact that FSDT does not know whether the new textures will look great in FS9 or not, it will be no problem! I (as FS9 - simmer) am very very content with the perfomance of FSDT sceneries in FS9 so far (until today), why is it not possible to make KLAX with THESE textures and THIS perfomance and THIS quality??
Already explained, I'll try to make it more clear because, apparently, it's not an easy issue to grasp:
- We are not planning to use 4096x4096 textures in FSX to increase the quality but, mainly, to increase FRAME RATE, because we are programming the same overall amount of data, but spread to 16 times less textures, which means 16 times less material state changes (that are expensive) and 16 times less drawcalls (also expensive).
Instead of having, let's say, 64 1024x1024 textures totalling about 64 MB in 64 materials, we might use only 4 4096x4096, totaling about the same 64 MB in total, but with only 4 materials. This WILL increase performances in FSX quite a bit.
- To use 4096x4096 textures, all objects/buildings should be modeled from scratch taking into account that BECAUSE it's not a plain resolution increase, it's a different texture/material arrangement, which affects the modeling itself and it makes for about 80% of the entire scenery work.
- FS9 doesn't support 4096x4096 textures. This is a fact and it's a limitation of its aging engine we have to accept.
- Until today (up to KDFW) we had to accept a loss of performance in FSX, because we used the "many 1024x1024 textures" approach, and all our sceneries were not performing as best as they could, because having to keep backward compatibility with FS9. At a certain point, we have to move away from this, because the majority of users, which are now using FSX, have the right to get a scenery as optimized as possible.
- Keeping the same actual resolution in FS9, would require a different modeling, to conform to the different arrangement of data that many 1024x1024 textures have compared to few 4096x4096. As I've said, this makes up for about 80% of all the modeling work, since it requires to manually remap every single object in the scenery.
- To make for an easy port to FS9, we should simply *reduce* the textures resolution 4x, which will allow to keep the same modeling, just at 1024x1024 res.
- Making a specific FS9 version and even selling it as a separate purchase, doesn't make any commercial sense today because, since FS9 users are now in the minority, in the same time it would take an FS9-specific version of KLAX, we could do another FSX scenery.
- We don't know much about MS Flight but, I guess its engine will support 4096x4096 textures as in FSX, since there's no modern video card that doesn't support it (it wasn't like this in 2003 when FS9 was released) so it makes sense to be prepared for it, and not being caught with outdated design methods that were a leftover from FS9, when the next sim will eventually hit the market.
There are SOUND technical issues why the FS9 version couldn't be done at the same resolution than the FSX one. There has to be a starting point when we really exploit FSX in full, and that time has finally come.
So, as it stands now, the most likely outcome is that there will be an FS9 version (unless we'll find it will look like crap, which I don't expect), but at a 4x reduced resolution. Note that, many FS9 users are accustomed to use our textures resizer anyway, which reduce the textures by 2x, and the general consensus is that you hardly see any difference. 4x might be more noticeable BUT, we are also using a new design style for the ground textures, that will rely MUCH less on photorealistic images, which means the textures should withstand compression and lower resolutions, without showing much visibile degradation so, we are confident the FS9 version might still look better than the Cloud9 version.
With the added benefit that, this extreme fps optimization we put in place because of FSX WILL apply to the FS9 version too (even more, because the texture memory used will be 1/16th) so, it might be the fastest big airport scenery for FS9 ever.
And, of course, since we'll have a Trial version, any FS9 user will be able to see it for itself the final result, and decide to buy or not KLAX.
BTW, this discussion is only the result of our openness, which starts with the developers backdoor and goes on with explaining techincal issues in detail. I'm quite sure that, if we simply released a reduced resolution KLAX in FS9, with textures carefully designed not to lose detail when resized (which is what we ARE doing anyway) without telling anyone, nobody would have noticed it, and would happily use it, wondering why it was so good on fps...