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What are FSC and AFX files?

Discussion in 'Tools programming' started by Breegle, 12/3/08.

  1. Breegle

    Breegle

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    Hey guys,

    I've been tasked with making a flight simulator, however I've only had minimal 3D graphics experience and I'm scrabbling around for a starting point. My boss tells me he had models for the aircraft, and when I asked him what he meant by that he specified Microsoft Flight Simulator models. After some googling I found that these were AFX and FSC files, which I know nothing about.

    Can AFX and FSC files be used outside of Microsoft Flight Simulator? If so, how do you interact with them? Are the file specifications readily available?

    Cheers,
    Breegle
  2. scruffyduck

    scruffyduck Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    First I have to say that writing a flight simulator is a huge task :) Second AFX and FSC don't mean too much and in neither case are they likely to refer to 3D models. AFX is a term for an airport factilities file, these define how an airport looks and works in the simulator. I think FSC files are associated with FSSC - again a design program but very out of date with respect to sims like FS9 and FSX. The format that Microsoft uses to define scenery elements and aircraft models are proprietary - the community may have some information about them but you are going to run into a lot of copyright and other legal issues especially if the intention is to make your product available to the general public. I would be looking at publically available formats like that used by DirectX. That brings us to the next point which relates to the grahpics engine you would use and it goes on.... :)
  3. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    Hi,

    I think in this context AFX refers to source files for the Aircraft Factory design tool. FSC refers to FSDS source files.

    So these are probably just the 3D models of the aircraft. With that you only have a visual model, no dynamics, performance, etc. As a starting point for a flight simulator I think that is almost nothing and probably not the most of your worries at this moment :). This could only be useful when you want to use FS as a basis for your simulation I guess.
  4. Breegle

    Breegle

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    Luckily it doesn't require any kind of physics engine or other such things since the aircraft will be driven not by the user but by data from an actual aircraft. "Flight simulator" is a bit of a strong term for what I have to do, but I figured saying "pushing a 3D model of a plane through some scenery" would just obfuscate my post, though it's more accurate.
  5. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    OK, that makes it a little more clear. But then still the file formats you have are for those specific modeling tools. It is not a format that you can read by the graphical engine that has to visualize it in general.

    Do you already know what you will use to visualize your models? Is it some own development or something existing? Then depending on the formats it can read I guess we might be able to give some advice if you can use the models easily or not.
  6. Breegle

    Breegle

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    That's actually exactly what I needed to hear; that means I can forget about the Microsoft Flight Simulator models and find other solutions.

    I haven't decided what I'll be using, I've been looking at Delta3D which is the favourite at the moment. Also Ogre or OpenSceneGraph. I'm open to other suggestions as I haven't started any programming at all; I've got a lot more reading to do before I can even think about that I'm sure.
  7. Burkhard

    Burkhard

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    I think you have three general options:

    a) build all you want inside of FSX. Than you will be able to find hundreds of people who will provide you with items that are many months of work each for a little price, including 3ds or gmax sources.

    b) Use ESP if you want to go outside of FSX. While this is a brand new product, this gives some extendable option, while you may be able to use what others have done.

    c) Start it from your own. In this case you either have a big team or many years, or still better a big team for many years.

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