Bing Map controls reanimated

Okay, it took me long enough for what was not more than a couple of evenings toil.

WED-O-Maker is now using the latest Bing Map controls.  Microsoft sent the old map controls into retirement over a year ago, and it finally died a few weeks ago.

I’ve done precious little testing on this – hopefully it was a straight forward swap, but do let me know if it’s not working for you.



Apologies in advance

I’m anticipating WED-O-Maker to stop working at the end of June.

But it’s temporary!  I will get it working again soon!

Microsoft emailed me a reminder that version 7 of their map api will be withdrawn at the end of June 2017 – I need to migrate to version 8 asap.

I’ve had no time to fix this – so, apologies in advance if WED-O-Maker breaks in July.

When I get back from holiday, and get some spare time (UK summer will have passed by then too, I’m sure) I’ll get it fixed asap.



Wedbing becomes WED-O-Maker

I thought Wedbing was the perfect name – its Wed, and Bing, put together simply.

So why the change?

  1. It doesn’t quite make sense as a ‘Does what it says on the tin‘ title if I add any new features.
  2. It’ll stop autocomplete keyboards changing wedbing to wedding (argh!).
  3. And right now, the new title amuses me.

I’d like to add a few more features, so I hope that helps justify the name change.

First is this new Font & Symbol system, which may or may not be a time-saver.  It’s in ALPHA now, feel free to download it and try it (although I really need to make a how-to video soon).

This feature will help with the next – a visual library generator, populating a place on earth with all the library items in the default library, and even other libraries (woops, thats not a feature just for gateway airports!).  From this I hope to make a video so people can scrub through at will, and see the objects / facades in a manor I hope makes it quicker to find what you’re looking for.

Following that, I want to add a ‘regroup’ feature to recreate groupings after downloading an airport from the Gateway.  Laminar’s current thinking is that these groupings are artist specific and should not be part of the Gateway’s data.  I disagree with this, but luckily there’s a way to re-group items that hopefully will look something similar to the authors original hierarchy.

The writing is on the floor

As I type, WED has no kind of font system for words on the ground.  You can’t paint numbers on grass runways, you can’t have signs painted on the floor.

If you’re designing for the Scenery-Gateway, you can’t just add bitmaps. So authors use WED’s polygon tool to fill-in (pun wasn’t intended). You can put certain polygons on taxiways and runways: The 20-or-so asphalt and concrete .pol files are set to be ‘above runways’.  The other default .pol files are set to be beneath runways and taxiways, so they can only be used on the surrounding ground.

And polygons seem to do the trick!

Wellllll, except, visually you don’t get the finesse of a bitmap.  Bitmaps will have mip-maps to help them display at oblique angles, like when taxiing. You’ll notice a shimmering effect of polygons, improved only by the more costly anti-aliasing rendering options.  And at small sizes, with only a few pixels to represent the polygon, well it’s all mush compared to a bitmap.

But at least polygons are viable and much better than having no markings at all.

So, here we are…   I have an alpha version of WED-O-Maker, with a new feature…

Ground Fonts and Symbols

Move the map over the words painted on the floor.  Pick a font, I have created ‘FAA Pavement’ and ‘FAA Runway’, enter the lettering/numbering, and press a button.  WED-O-Maker will create the polygons for the letters in your WED file (just as it does with the Bing ortho).  You won’t see them in WED-O-Maker though! Check them out in WED now, or just move to the next piece of lettering, type the characters, and hit the button again.

Once you’re back in WED, the lettering is grouped into each line you typed.
Select the group of letters in the group-hierarchy, and press M to use the marquee tool to scale and rotate them, hold Alt to rotate the letters, hold Cmd (or Shift+Cmd) to scale it without deforming it.  (Windows/Linux users, I’m sure you’ll work out the key combos).

(You may be interested to know, if you move the letter too far north or south it will become deformed anyway – lines of longitude are 111km apart at the equator, and 0cm apart at the poles – but within the scope of an airport you are unlikely to notice any deformation – just try to create them within 1km of your target!)

Its all black and white

No colours. The only .pol files in WED that are rendered above the runways/taxiways are the asphalt and concrete pols.  I use asphalt_1D for black paint, concrete_6L for white paint.

If Laminar don’t add a font system any time soon, I’d like to campaign for ‘paint’ .pol files – at least the common yellow and red (purple too I think I’ve seen at some airports).  But for now, we have only about 5 shades of grey.

Stop gap

I’m hoping one day WED will have a better system which means I can retire my font system.  But I have no idea if this is right around the corner, or years away!

Alpha version available in the download section, Google Drive link only for now.

Nearly two years on…

And WedBing, now WED-O-Maker is about to get a new feature.  But I’m not sure it should be added…

Unlike some, I have only submitted a handful of airports to the Scenery Gateway.

My local airports in the UK are Goodwood and Shoreham (what, I should do London Gatwick too?).  Two things happened.  First, I couldn’t find a way to put runway numbers on grass runways.  Second, there was writing on the tarmac of Shoreham, which the resolution of the Bing tiles did not resolve well.  Tracing that with a polygon would be very ‘hand drawn’, error-prone, and very tedious.

So, predicting it would take a long time before a font system would appear in WED, I thought I would create a passable font system that would save authors a bit of time.

But there’s so many compromises, especially using polygons which have lots of visual artefacts…

I’ll post more shortly.