Advice/Guidance on how to share a project

#1
I suspect I, like many of the "lurkers" on this forum, have developed a fair number (hundreds, here) of airports for their own use--sketchup or gmax or blender buildings, ground polys, freeware objects, etc. While pretty amateur compared to Ray's, etc. they are a huge improvement over the default FSX. I'd like to offer some of mine on AVSIM or the like. No danger anyone would pay for them!!!

Tried searching but not picking the correct words as I thought I'd seen a thread sometime back

Not sure if this is the correct forum...if not, maybe someone could redirect.

If it is, I'll post back a number of my (probably very basic) about to get my AD4 or bgl, plus my models, others' models, ground poly's...
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#2
I was OK with it until I got to:
others' models
.If you are going to share your airports, you should either "scrub" them of "others' models", or obtain written permission from those "others" to use their models in your shared scenery. I suspect you find in the EULAs in many cases a prohibition of doing what you intend without permission.

Don
 
#3
Don, appreciate the response. I think I understand the limits on others' models and that I could deal with. I'm going to go on....

I'll just start with several of my basic issues.
1. What is actually in the bgl/cvx file? What else needs to be included and how? (Ray had libraries of his scenery in the past that were added, but not (I think) on some recent ones--how did he circumvent that?)
2. I understand the ground polys are part of the bgl, but are their textures? Or must those textures be on the users computer?
3. Most of the objects I use are hangars/buildings etc that I've made over the years with Sketchup MCX, with very inefficient texture sheets (multiple ones). On my computer I have object libraries by the year (2008--2016-- ie. gww2006.bgl) How much info of those is in the bgl file? Can the models and textures be included in the bgl, or must (I think) there be a separate library of scenery objects? If I make a new scenery library with Arno's Library maker, will the GUID automatically be the same (I assume) and visible
4. How about objects made with your lights or SAMM programs? I think taxi lights really add to some 3D effect--but what bgl/texture files are needed for a user to see them? And if the lights are made with your program, whose are they?
5. In same vein, how about static aircraft made with SAMM? what bgl/what textures? And, if it's my repaint of another model (HTAI for instance) can that be included?
6. I think my biggest obstacle may be testing. I have only one computer with FSX, and while my projects work there..... Do you (Don, but the community) have multiple computers to try, or do you just test with all of the scenerey idsabled (I have >100 items in the active scenery list, too bad there is not a "disable all/enable all")

This just cracks the surface of my ineptitude, and probably best serves to reinforce "just keep it on my machine"!

Gary
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#4
Gary, bottom line, you need to put in your distribution package all the files (save for stock files) needed on a bare system for the airports you intend to share. It doesn't matter what's in the files. If they're needed, they're needed! But you also need to consider the impact of already installed add-ons on users' systems such as ORBX, Ultimate Terrain, meshes and other wide-area scenery addons. And, unless you are going to provide an installer, those files must be packaged in the exact same way they are to be installed by the end-user, i.e., your installation instruction must be nothing more than "copy this folder there". You've got to tell the user exactly what to do and it must be simple. (And remember, even if you prepare very detailed instruction, half the users aren't going to read them so, overall, it's got to be intuitive.)

SAMM and ALFT generate scenery objects. Those objects need the .bgl files and textures those programs place for you. Re HTAI aircraft, Henry's EULA is very restrictive. In general, if you are going to include any work of others (not just the end product), you need their express permission (unless the EULA itself grants that permission).

FSX models don't work on FS9. Models based on legacy (i.e., FS9 or earlier) technology probably won't work on later versions of P3D- including AFLT's light models. Your airports must be customized for and thoroughly tested on each version of Flightsim with which you intend them to be used. (Since you ask, I have all versions of FS save for P3Dv1 - which is FSX in disguise - on my system and I test my airports on all of them. It's not a trivial undertaking, and watching AI for hours isn't as much fun as it sounds.)

Frankly, (and I don't mean to offend you), if you have to ask these questions, do you really think you are ready to share your airports - AND support them? Are you planning to provide sufficient additional trouble-free value that others are likely to use them over what's already available?

But, if you really want to pursue this, I suggest a good starting point would be for you to download airports of others of the complexity you intend and see what they've done and how they've packaged it. My airports all have installers, because manual configuration of the various combinations of static models vs AI, custom lighting vs stock lighting, compatibility with Ultimate Terrain/ORBX/etc. are beyond the capabilities of most users. Feel free to inspect my airport download archives to see what's required for a comprehensive multi-FS-version add-on airport. (The documentation includes manual installation instructions for those who don't trust custom installers.) Then, pick your most complex airport, develop an add-on package - with full documentation - and then install and test that package yourself. If after that, you are still interested, go for it!

Don
 

scruffyduck

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#5
Don makes some very good points. I don't release finished products but as the developer of ADE I have lost count of the number of ways that users can get it wrong. And more times than I care to mention I have been blamed (or rather my software) for wrecking a users computer or crashing their FS. I am still trying to figure out how ADE could wipe out a users entire collection of payware aircraft :rolleyes:

You might want to put a fairly simple airport into a release package and offer it here - folks are usually helpful and might test it for you. We all need someone to test our stuff before we release it. Even so someone will find something wrong however well it is tested.

This may all sound rather off putting and not what you want to hear but don't give up :)
 
#6
Hi,

Good advice from our Administrator.
I would say: just share it over on this forum and wait and see what the comments are.
But do it like this:
Specify you only tried it out in such and such simulator and that it is to be installed manually.
Then make a ZIP file of your scenery folder for that airport in which you already have a scenery and a texture subfolder.
If you are not using any 'foreign' object libraries or effects, then that is it.
You will probably get a lot of suggestions how to improve stuff.
When (not if) you receive response, be ready to also post your ADE project file and other things. I am fairly sure nobody will hijack them.
Rest assured it can hardly be worse than many freeware airports that I have seen on Avsim and Flightsim unless you are really, really basic:).
By the way: the airports of Ray Smith are basic though they are a lot better than some default ones where sometimes no airport layout is to be found at all.
Why don't you show us (as Jon said) so that we can have an idea of how basic your scenery is?
Many over here will try to help you out.

:)Fyi, Jon, here is a way I suspect could ruin your payware aircraft (and everything else): add them as a model in ADE or convert them into a bgl and add them to your object library (and that without changing the GUID) so as to have some static aircraft on your airport. Mind you, I am not sure because I am not that stupid.
 
#7
Thanks very much--to all of you. Don, I am most certainly not offended, just appreciative. The last sentence of my post "This just cracks the surface of my ineptitude, and probably best serves to reinforce "just keep it on my machine"!" probably sums up my perspective.

But it's a shame. A small upgrade really makes the small airports a lot better for GA fliers like me. I'd wager that on this forum there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of small "local" airports that would be great to share

Don, your comment about "trouble free value" is really a good one... I struggle to answer patient calls, and don't come close to dealing with all of my real-world emails. That is perhaps the most impressive obstacle

My projects are usually small GA airports with no or 1 parking spot in default. So not massive, but still 10-50 unique scenery objects, matching aprons/runways/taxiways/buildings (imagined renditions) based on google earth view. Then cars, lights, fuel tanks, vegetation

And Roby, one thing I'm sure of is that no one will bother to hijack any of my work!!!!:)

I can make a library of the objects. I was unsure about the ground polys with Don's great add on. Are those textures tied to the ADE generated bgl (for the scenery/texture folders) and so does the ADE.bgl is in the scenery folder require the gpoly textures in the corresponding texture folder?

I think about this every 6 months. I'll get over it!!!

Gary
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
#8
Hi,

Yes, the GP's require their textures be in the adjoining texture folder. When compiling ADE will automatically copy the needed textures to that texture subfolder if you tell it to (and include those in the correct folder within ADE).

The way you can avoid using libraries is to add the MDL files to the ADE models list and then use Add/Model instead of adding a library object. This places the model itself inside the ADE airport BGL file. If done this way, those model's textures must also be placed into the adjoining texture subfolder of the ADE BGL's scenery subfolder. This is a good idea if the custom objects are specific to that airport, and (almost) will never be used anywhere else (custom terminals, etc.).

But for objects that will be used at many airports (or many times at a single airport), a library object is a better choice (the object is only loaded once and displayed multiple times). For those that do not want to use a library object because other people can use them in their sceneries, you can use Don's GeoLock program to lock the object to a small radius around your airport, as long as it is only used at this airport.

And don't be too afraid to release your sceneries - as described above, simple airports can be contained in a single scenery folder with scenery/texture subfolders. This is relatively easy for the user to copy/paste into their Addon Scenery folder (for example) and add that pasted folder to their Scenery Library. As long as the objects are yours, you can include them as you like. For other objects, you can give download links for those objects and let the user get them. After a while the user will have built up a collection of such objects, making things easier and easier as they add sceneries.

Hope this helps,
 
#9
All, I am hoping this might be the correct forum as I and a colleague (who is in another city) have been helping each other out with some specifics on certain airport designs that each of us has created. Many of the objects that we use / created are MDLs and adding a specific MDL to ADE for a specific AD4 that is being reworked leaves the MDL with a file path as it appears on the originating system. Pushing the AD4, Scenery and Texture files to another has the issue where in the MDLs that were pushed to the other person, no longer work for that particular AD4 because the "path" to these MDLs as listed in ADE is not the exact same as on the originating system. Each MDL must then be edited to change to the correct path on the target system. Is there a way to correct this? (aka: is there possibly a "central repository" for MDLs in ADE).
If I am showing my stupidity...I fully accept that :) and apologize if this has been answered before...just point me.
Thanks in advance for any and all information / pointers.
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
#11
Hi,

Well, the model files do have to be found each time for ADE to be able to include them in the BGL file. As George said, one way to fix this is to create a library BGL containing all the relevant MDL files and then add that to the ADE Library Object Manager (LOM). Then you only need to add the *reference* to the object into your ADE airport (Add/3D Object) and the model files themselves will not be added to the ADE file. This has three advantages:

1. The ADE BGL file will be smaller, without all those MDLs added into it.
2. The ADE AD4 file is more portable, since there are no longer direct references to MDL file locations.
3. If these objects are used at more than one airport (and more than one time at each airport) it saves disk space and may help FS with memory management.

You do have to put the library BGL file (and the relevant textures) into an active scenery folder though.

Your other choice is to choose a standard location for your MDL files between you. An obvious location would be the ADE/FS9/Models and ADE/FSX/Models folders, but as those contain a few default objects you might want to create your own, something like the Models_User folder or something similar. This assumes that both your ADE folders are in the same path. If not, you are not limited to folders inside the ADE folder, C:\ADE_User_Models would work as well.
 
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