FSXA Converting old "sca" files

The latest version of ADE which I have downloaded contains a new command (as shown in the notes) -

"Convert bgl files created using sca compilers into FS9 or later format bgl files. Tools > Convert Bgl File" .

My question is - How do we know if we have a bgl file that has been "created by an sca complier"?

I still use Just Flight's Traffic X and Traffic 360 which come with scenery files with names like "AF2_LIMN.bgl" and "AFX-FADN.bgl". Are these files likely to be "sca-style" files? Or were JF just using a similar naming format?
 

scruffyduck

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well, ADE won't open an sca file. So that would be an indication that a conversion is needed. The function would accept xml style bgl fulness as the import, as I recall. So in that case what comes out is what went in. I have it on the list to automatically allow ADE to open sca files rather than throwing an error but it is not implemented yet.
 

scruffyduck

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AFX files will be xml based as I recall and so are af2. Neither is created using the MS compiler so there could be some odd stuff. ADE automatically handles the ones that I know about.
 
Thanks Jon - I asked this because the file you show in the graphic for this topic in the Release Notes is AF2_KPNM.bgl , so I wondered whether the "Traffic X / 360" files would be the same. As I can open (and frequently do) these files in my ADE, it has to be the case that JF must for some reason used a similar naming format for their files.

Their files are odd in that, when you open them, they contain Runways, Taxiways, Paths, Hold-shorts, Edgelights, Parking Spots, Boundary Fences, Navaids, Aprons and Comms but NO Scenery Objects or Taxi Signs.

In FSXA, all of the Scenery Objects and Taxi Signs appear so these must be coming from the Stock Files.

If I need to edit these I always use "Load Stock Data" to add all of the missing items back into the layout. I can then Save and proceed as normal.
 

scruffyduck

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AF2 files are made with AFCAD which doesn't handle scenery objects. AFX files are the same.
 

=rk=

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The prefixes used by JustFlight have no bearing on the format. They are used to identify the compiler software and also to organize. For reference information, all .bgl's included with AI traffic packages are airport .bgl's, exactly the same style ADE compiles and they do this to support the very extensive air traffic schedules the software packages include, because these added airports are not represented in the default simulator software and AI traffic will not render properly without departure and destination airports. The basic format of an AI traffic file is: vehicle type, origination airport, destination airport, departure time, speed/altitude and that is all. These included airport bgl's are considered to be as basic and utilitarian as possible, they are intended to interfere with existing airports as little as possible and most advanced users selectively disable these, for which they already have active versions in their scenery folders. AI traffic addons, btw, are the number one cause of multiple AI planes being parked in the same spot.

SCASM is an early scenery compiler, like AFCAD. The .sca file is it's proprietary working format, as AD4 is for ADE. These .sca or SCASM type files will always be ground polygons, here is a very good description from Arno in 2006.
My question is - How do we know if we have a bgl file that has been "created by an sca complier"?
So, from Arno's article we learn:
"To return to the SCASM question, it is very well possible to make a BGL file that is identical to a BGL file created with the Fs2002 gamepack for GMax. So in that case SCASM is just as good as GMax. For Fs2004 this is no longer valid, as SCASM has not fully been updated to the Fs2004 format. SCASM is able to create mesh elements (VTP/LWM polygons for example) and do object placement (like we can do with BGLComp as well), but it is not able to create the MDL scenery object files. This is because the structure of these files would require quite a big change in the internal workings of SCASM and it is rather unlikely that this change will be made."
Their files are odd in that, when you open them, they contain Runways, Taxiways, Paths, Hold-shorts, Edgelights, Parking Spots, Boundary Fences, Navaids, Aprons and Comms but NO Scenery Objects or Taxi Signs.

In FSXA, all of the Scenery Objects and Taxi Signs appear so these must be coming from the Stock Files.
It is a good observation, keep in mind the purpose of the supplied airport files. They are intended to provide runways, taxi links and ample parking ONLY, they exist to support planes that exist as scenery and it is generally understood by the producers that they will be replaced outright by users, but as the end user, you are perfectly free to use and customize them as you see fit.
 
OK, I thank Jon and Rick for their inputs - but now I could ask why is there a need for an SCA to BGL converter? Or perhaps I shouldn't ask ! :stirthepo
 

=rk=

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Some people think it is easier to convert old scenery elements, rather than reproduce contemporary ones, in other cases, the .sca is the only available source for the desired scene.
 

scruffyduck

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What Rick said. If the sca file is the only source for some work then it is likely to be a better place to start than from scratch
 
https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/converting-old-sca-files.446694/post-835783

SCASM is an early scenery compiler, like AFCAD. The .sca file is it's proprietary working format, as AD4 is for ADE. These .sca or SCASM type files will always be ground polygons, here is a very good description from Arno in 2006.
Actually, SCASM / ASM source code can still be used to create airports that display in FSX ...and not just G-Polys. :pushpin:

http://www.scasm.de/doc/sca_fs9ext2.htm


https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/converting-old-sca-files.446694/post-835777

well, ADE won't open an sca file. So that would be an indication that a conversion is needed. The function would accept xml style bgl fulness as the import, as I recall. So in that case what comes out is what went in. I have it on the list to automatically allow ADE to open sca files rather than throwing an error but it is not implemented yet.
Hi Jon:

Understanding that import by ADE of SCASM source code is on the wish list; which scenery objects will it import ?

* airports

* Area16N flattens

* G-Polys

...or:

* only G-Polys


Thanks in advance for sharing what your current considerations may be with this anticipated process. :)

GaryGB
 
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scruffyduck

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Anything that Arno's MCX conversion code can convert. The main intention is to be able to convert airport/scenery from sca to xml source format. Since at the moment it does just a conversion then it would convert whatever could be done. I planned import code for airport/scenery
 

=rk=

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Actually, SCASM / ASM source code can still be used to create airports that display in FSX ...and not just G-Polys. :pushpin:
I don't know that anyone would want to do any compiling with a FS2002 program, that does not support most of the FSX airport elements, to make an FSX airport, although they are certainly welcome to try. Actually, many softwares can do many things. :pushpin:

Alan Misiaszek says:
24 June 2018 at 17:38
Has anyone attempted to make a Cross Reference document to show how to code a file for use with BGLC based on equivalent coding for SCASM

arno says:
24 June 2018 at 18:20
I’m not aware of such a document, although most commands translate easily. Nowadays I would say both are hardly used, only for ground polygons.

In my mind, Arno has a pretty good take on the situation and I usually just let things go at that. Ground polygons seem to be the only thing I'd trouble my own self to not create from scratch, as well. Posting a correction to my statement of "always," as in, these .sca or SCASM type files will always be ground polygons, is probably just badgering, wrapped up in a thinly veiled question about information, that no one but you had raised, for which it would be easier to refer from the source, Arno's notes on his compiler, as opposed to compelling Jon to reply what is essentially the same.
 
BTW: AFAIK, Arno has not implemented his own proprietary "compiler" in MCX or any of his other FS utilities, and instead uses MSFS / LM-P3D SDK compilers, BGLC / BGLC_9, and SCASM to maintain as much compatibility as possible with the FS run time display engine for each targeted FS version BGL output type.


SCASM coded airport-specific (non-G-Poly) objects compiled into ex: airport "stub" BGLs continue to be used by some FS developers for FSX who have advanced knowledge of legacy methods, to achieve things which are not yet possible- or are otherwise difficult to implement- via BGLComp XML methods. :pushpin:


Regarding Ray's inquiry as to ADE having an ability to import Just Flight's Traffic X and Traffic 360 scenery files with names like "AF2_LIMN.bgl" and "AFX-FADN.bgl":

IIUC, as Jon indicated, most of such BGLs are already able to be processed by ADE's feature set, and even though BGL files bearing such file name prefixes are indeed compiled using proprietary compilers, the final BGL format written by those proprietary compilers is SDK-compatible, and thus readily de-compiled and processed by ADE, some of Jon's other FS utilities, and FS utilities by other authors ...including some by Don Grovestine (aka "gadgets").



FYI: Decompiling legacy format SCASM / ASM -compiled BGLs and then processing the *.SCA / *.ASM source code has a separate and often highly-complex work-flow involved which may require extensive editing of source code to disable conditional display implemented via poorly-documented default SDK- and un-documented custom end user specified- variables in output files that sometimes contain tens of thousands of lines of data.

It will be interesting to see whether Jon is ready / willing / able to implement a robust mechanism to successfully import non-MDL-based 3D objects, airport objects, and perhaps terrain objects, from legacy SCASM / ASM source code compiled into BGLs ...to a greater extent than Arno has thus far made possible (...in current 'publicly-available' versions of MCX). :scratchch

But, I believe we all wish Jon abundant success with this 'mission' - should he choose to accept it. ;)

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mission:_Impossible

"
  • Your mission Dan/Jim, should you choose/decide to accept it, ...
  • As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape/disc will self-destruct in five/ten seconds. Good luck,
"
GaryGB
 
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=rk=

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BTW: AFAIK, Arno has not implemented his own proprietary "compiler" in MCX or any of his other FS utilities, and instead uses MSFS / LM-P3D SDK compilers, BGLC / BGLC_9, and SCASM to maintain as much compatibility as possible with the FS run time display engine for each targeted FS version BGL output type.
Not sure what you're saying here. Possibly more clarifying of a nuanced point that matters only to you. Pretty sure it's patently clear, at this point. Arno has his own proprietary
MCX conversion code
and if that's not the end of it, it should be.
 
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