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FSX Scenery Design

Discussion in 'Airport Design General' started by hecrowell, 27 Apr 2009.

  1. hecrowell


    15 May 2008
    Hi - I didnt know where to post this exactly so will try here. I have been fairly successful in freeware scenery design for FS2004 in the past. Now I would like to try my hand ar design for FSX. I have tries my YQI airport in FSX and although it works, there are some polys missing from a Dash 8 and Mooney static aircraft that I have placed there. God only knows where I got the static aircraft - maybe built them but can't remember 0 suspect they were something to be used with FS2002. The airport itself was built back in the days of Airport for Windows V 2. something and end of each runway - 24/6 and 15/33 in FSX now shows a short section of what appears to be a runway probably 80M or so long and not particularly aligned with anything related to the airport as far as RWs or Taxiways are concerned. ALso overlaid on my ramp is a large section of runway or ashphalt that runs from mid rwy 24/6 and ends midway on rwy 15/33. Ok - enough of that what I really want to kow is:
    What software is required for successfully building FSX scenery? I have heard a lot about using google earth for this along with some ??tools??

    Hope someone can help with this. THANKS
  2. scruffyduck

    scruffyduck Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    17 Sep 2005
    There are several areas and several tools that might work in each area. Here are some ideas that might get you started - just a starter and I am sure others will add to this!

    Airport Design Tools. These are tools that will let you design the layout of airports including runways, taxiways parking and so on. Each tool has different strengths and weaknesses so you might want to check each one out
    • AFX from Flight1 is a payware product that is very similar to AFCAD2 (used in FS9). It works in both FS9 and FSX. It does not require that you have the FSX SDK which is available with the deLuxe version and Acceleration Pack and also, I think with the Gold version
    • Airport Design Editor. This is freeware and there is a support forum on this site. Does require the SDK
    • FSX Planner is also freeware and have a support forum on this site. Does require the SDK

    Terrain Design Tools Under the airport you will need to clear and flatten the land, maybe create new roads, modify the land class and so on.
    • SBuilderX is freeware and is a development of SBuilder that is a well known tool in FS9. Can be downloaded from AVSIM. support is at www.ptsim.com and the developer can also be found here
    • FSX KML. Also free. Has a support forum on this site
    • Airport Design Editor provides basic terrain capabilities. Designed mainly for working under and around airports and is not suitable to large scale changes

    Object Placement. Tools that allow the placement of scenery objects such as buildings and so on.
    • Airport Design Editor provides object placement around airports
    • FSX Planner has object placement capabilities
    • Instant Scenery is payware from Flight1 and has the advantage of allowing in Sim 3D placement of objects. Works with both FS9 and FSX
    • Older FS9 tools such as RWY12 Object Placer will work in FSX
    • SBuilderX has good object placement capabilities
    • Whisplacer is a freeware alternative to Instant Scenery and provides in Sim placement. Not sure it is still being actively developed or supported

    Object Design. Tools to make your own 3D Objects
    • FSDS 3.5 from Abacus (I think!) Payware 3D designer that has a good following. Both this and GMax below have many experts here who can advise
    • GMax still available via TurboSquid I think although MS were not planning to continue with it and its big Brother 3DSMax is expensive
    • Instant Object Maker from www.flightsimtools.com provides basic 3D object creation using photo images
    • Several other 2D development tools for which there are converters to the formats that FS understands
  3. rhumbaflappy

    rhumbaflappy Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

    2 Jun 2004
    Hi hecrowell.

    I suggest you first go here:


    This is ADE, by Dr. Jon Masterson, PhD ( our own "scruffyduck" here at FSDeveloper ).

    In a few days, version 1.40 of Airport Design Editor will be available. Meanhwile you can read the tutorials, and perhaps download an earlier version, to get the basics going.

    ADE is similar to an "AFCAD" program for FSX. It goes beyond this to allow placement of objects and now some terrain design as well. It is the best airport building tool available for FSX, and it is free.

    The freeware object design tool of choice is still GMax, although there is an FSDS community here as well, if you wish to buy a program.

    Major terrain design is probably best done by SBuilderX, but again, there are alternatives, and good freeware ones at that. SBuilderX also allows placing objects, as well as a complete suite of functions for terrain design.

    Last edited: 27 Apr 2009
  4. hecrowell


    15 May 2008

    Thanks rhumbaflappy for that info and I will check out each item carefully. By the way - all of my modelling is done with FSDS V3.0 - I am used to that program and have tried Gmax several times but I cnnot get over the learning hurdle. Do you know (or does anyone know) if the models produced by FSDS can be imported into any of the scenery object placement utilities for fine tuning of their exact coordinates? In FSDS there is a provision for setting the lats/longs of objects, but these seem to be "rough" locations. I am building a wind power generation farm with 17 mills - using FSDS and the coordinates obtained from FS it will not place the mills close enough together. The farm is on a narrow peninsula and in FS, some of the mills are in the water even though coordinates obtained in FS clearly indicate they should all be on terra-firma.

  5. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

    28 May 2004

    With the latest version of FSDS you can export to the FSX MDL format using XtoMDL. I think it is version 3.5 that can do this (not sure if 3.0 has the option already). After that these MDL files can be used like any other scenery MDL. You can put them in a library or place them with the normal object placement tools.

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