Probably the easiest question ever posted here...;)

#1
Or, could be the most difficult or controversial question ever posted here.

--------------- drum roll ------------------

What is the BEST software for scenery placement?

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Ok, that asked, let me qualify my question a bit:

I have used AFCAD, FSSC, Taxisigncreator, EZ landclass, and FSEnhancer 2004. While I love the ease of FSE, many people find it hard to use. I guess they are all brain dead since you just install it (free version) and turn on the player.

I really like FSSC as I can pull in photos of my airport and areas I am working on, and just add objects where I want them to be. I love the ease of doing flattens and excludes inside FSSC.

I use taxisigncreator to do my signs as it is pretty easy to use.

And ezlandclass is very easy for changing the LC of the area.

All that said, I would like to move up in the world a bit. I want to create scenery that everyone can use that doesn't require FSE or RWY12 and updated objects for those.

I have tried (well, installed) object placer xml, but for some odd reason, it crashes at start-up every single time. I read the pdf, and there is no earlier version, there is no config file to remove. I have uninstalled and re-installed 3 times. everytime the same problem. The program starts to load, I get the first title screen, then crash. Oh well, no biggie....

---

What I would love to have, is probably what every designer would love to have: AFCAD style program with ability to pull in a background pic and ability to place scenery objects as well. Essentially AFCAD and FSSC all in one.

But, with FSSC most likely NOT going to work with FSX, I may as well learn to upgrade now and get with the new methods (true xml.) I have pretty much every app for design I could find. I must say, I really don't feel like spending 100's of hours learning to do this, as it is a hobby... I have pretty well mastered all the intracasies of AFCAD (amazing app when you really get into it) which took, I must admit) about 80 hours of working with....and FSSC took me about 10 hours to get pretty comfortable with.

As those will most likely never be upgraded again, what should I be learning now. And while I have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, and one in Business Admin/law, I have tried many of the apps I have, and will admit, they make my head hurt after about 20 minutes with them.

ARNO, you and I have messaged many times on various things...you ask in an area what apps we would like you to consider making....well, you have my vote: AFCAD meets FSSC. That would be my dream design app.

Much appreciate any help in this area...I want to release 2.0 of my NKL scenery, but am thinking of waiting until I have it done in all new format, instead of my current method.

Lastly, on the subject, where can I find great objects to put in my sceneries... I know for the old stuff, I have seen 1000's of objects, buildings, people, autos, animals, poles, etc..... But where can I find things to use with the new apps?

Thanks again in advance.....

here to learn,


- Greg
 

arno

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#2
Hi Greg,

This is certainly not an easy question to answer, as each designer has his (or her) own preferences.

For example I have access to aerial photos of most airports I am working on. As I have also placed these in FS, I can easily use a tool that slews around FS to place my objects. I use ObPlacer XML. I do not need a tool that can show a background image, as I use FS for that.

But a designer in a different situation might want to use such a tool, for example SceneGenX. While I don't like the interface of SGX at all, I just find it extremely hard to work with.

As the choice of tools that use the XML format is still limited, I would advice an object placer like Rwy12 or ObPlacer XML in general (if you give me more detail about your error, I am sure we get it running).

About the objects. There is no API format anymore in the new standard, so most objects are now shared as libraries. Look at the great amount of libraries available for Rwy12 or EZ-Scenery, but you can also use these without those tools of course. All you need to know are the GUIDs (which are in the documentation normally).

And about that future tool, I would love to see something like that. But before I know more about programming a graphical interface with more than a few buttons, I will not yet give it a try myself :).
 
#3
Thanks for the reply Arno.

I knew it could be a hot topic, because I have seen that everyone seems to have their favorites... I was hoping someone would sell me on theirs along with the wonderful 'any help you need, I will help you' comment...8)

So you win. :rotfl: :rotfl:

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I also have aerial photos of my local airport. Very nice ones that are updated every 6 months... Airport manager gives me copies when he takes them. (good to have friends in high places.)

So I would love to use the pics in my scenery as well. I have tried photo scenery maker but found that it never worked. I followed the tutorial to the T and it simply never worked. So, please tell me how you do your if you would.

As for your program.... I don't know how to explain any more about the error.. I double click it. The main title screen comes up. About 4 seconds later, I get the 'sorry, but xxx has exploded and you are just screwed..' window. I have sent the error report a few times, and don't send it other times.

System is dual processor 3.1ghz pentium 4 I have 1.5 gigs available memory. I run XP home on this computer. 1.4tb hard drive space.

There is no error message other than the standard windows xp crash one...

I would very much like to try it... Do I take it then, that it creaates a nice xml or bgl file that can be then given to others in a scenery pack?

- Greg
 

arno

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#4
Hi Greg,

SpectroPro said:
So I would love to use the pics in my scenery as well. I have tried photo scenery maker but found that it never worked. I followed the tutorial to the T and it simply never worked. So, please tell me how you do your if you would.
I placed them on GMax ground polygons, because they allow for a higher resolution to be displayed. As the airports I work on are flat this gives no trouble.

SpectroPro said:
As for your program.... I don't know how to explain any more about the error.. I double click it. The main title screen comes up. About 4 seconds later, I get the 'sorry, but xxx has exploded and you are just screwed..' window. I have sent the error report a few times, and don't send it other times.
Sending the error report does not really help, as it goes to Bill and not to me :). Are you sure you have installed all required DLL files? You need to download some from Martin Wright as well.

SpectroPro said:
I would very much like to try it... Do I take it then, that it creaates a nice xml or bgl file that can be then given to others in a scenery pack?
Yep, it creates a XML file of your placed objects and in the end can produce a BGL file for you. If you share that to others (including the libraries you might have used) they can use your scenery as well.
 
#5
I am an admited moron when it comes to GMAX anything... so I wouldn't know what to do at all there...


As for dll's....I simply installed your program. Maybe I should read the files that came with it. LOL.. I didn't install anything else...thus, probably the cause of my problems.


And I am sure that Bill is very interested in this error. I mean, come on...they are telling me I need to pay them $45.00 for tech support so they can issue me a new windows xp home license because mine is no longer valid because I was selfish enough to upgrade my computer, and thus, the license thinks it's a new computer.. They (free hindu tech support) tell me yes, I own the license, they verify it, say I need a new one, but must call the pay support to get it!!!!!! WTF!!!!???!!!!???? So, since they make so much screwing us all this way, I am sure they at least care about this error! :banghead: :banghead:

- Greg
 

arno

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#6
Hi Greg,

SpectroPro said:
I am an admited moron when it comes to GMAX anything... so I wouldn't know what to do at all there...
Hehe, and I thought this would sound easier. In reality I wrote the code myself with a text editor and a little convert I made. But I thought that would sound to difficult and you can do the same in GMax :).

SpectroPro said:
As for dll's....I simply installed your program. Maybe I should read the files that came with it. LOL.. I didn't install anything else...thus, probably the cause of my problems.
Let's hope so. I thought I had added some code to check for these files, but maybe that is not working properly.
 
#7
Howdy Arno,
Ok...I got your app to install finally after I installed the other files I needed. Works like a charm....well, I guess, it runs; I just have not figured out what to do with it yet. LOL

Anyways, I found your blog. Very cool. And very cool on the job you have now. How sweet is that...something you love to do, you get paid to do for a living... NICE!!!!! I also went to school for Aeronautical Engineering....but I found I could NOT sit behind a desk and work for someone else, so I basically spent $80,000.00+ for a piece of paper..

One thing I read, was about the libraries and how they are all the same (or should be) but you shouldn't rip em apart. That makes sense... I have a couple questions though....

1) A library is just a group of xml object files put in one group, right?
2) If the GUID's for a library are NOT included in the docs for the library, is there a way to get them?
3-8) I have the pictures and GUID's that you have posted...I have found that these same ones are on several sites and various design packages... WHY is this list NOT complete? And why do all the places that have them, all have the exact same ones? Where are the rest? Why are there no lists of the others along with pictures of them? Why are the ones that are available, the ones that are available?
9) While ripping apart someone elses library may NOT be ethical or even totally legal..... if one was to do that, and use an item from that library in their own library, is there a reason they couldn't use the same GUID number? I read where problems could occur, but I thought that meant if you have a house with 4 diff GUID's....yeah, that could be a problem...but why would the GUID have to change just because you make it into your own library of items..??

Lastly.... Any help on great items I can get for some scenery work? I have tried quite a few sites, and many people seem to like OLD (pre-70's) looking stuff. I want a nice hangar, or three with nice terminals, etc... I can't find any that are not rusty sheet metal or wood.... I see very nice ones in FS, but no clue how to hunt them down, or find 3rd party ones.

Ok...enough for this post... Thanks for all the help...
 

arno

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#8
Hi Greg,

SpectroPro said:
1) A library is just a group of xml object files put in one group, right?
You can better describe it as a group of MDL objects collected together in one group (BGL file).

SpectroPro said:
2) If the GUID's for a library are NOT included in the docs for the library, is there a way to get them?
Yes, you can read them directly from the BGL file (but that requires a bit of knowledge or a smart tool to do that). Another option is to decompile the BGL file and look at the XML file you then get. It also contains the GUIDs, but not every designer likes it when you decompile his work :).

SpectroPro said:
3-8) I have the pictures and GUID's that you have posted...I have found that these same ones are on several sites and various design packages... WHY is this list NOT complete? And why do all the places that have them, all have the exact same ones? Where are the rest? Why are there no lists of the others along with pictures of them? Why are the ones that are available, the ones that are available?
The simple answer is that someone did all the hard work to make these pictures and not everybody finds it fun to do that :).

The list is rather complete, as far as the default MS objects go. There might be some other, but I haven't had much requests to add new objects for a while. The problem is that not each object in the default scenery can be used everywhere in the world, so we can not simply add them all.

SpectroPro said:
9) While ripping apart someone elses library may NOT be ethical or even totally legal..... if one was to do that, and use an item from that library in their own library, is there a reason they couldn't use the same GUID number? I read where problems could occur, but I thought that meant if you have a house with 4 diff GUID's....yeah, that could be a problem...but why would the GUID have to change just because you make it into your own library of items..??
Using the same GUID is a very bad idea, as it does confuse the scenery engine. In the end you don't even know anymore from which library an object is being read.

Using a different GUID is not that good either, as that makes it almost impossible to update a library. It might even happen that you end up using the same object from different libraries, very confusing.

It is best to use a library as provided, the entire idea of a library is that it is a collection of objects for easy use. Why try to extract them, instead of simply using them?

SpectroPro said:
Lastly.... Any help on great items I can get for some scenery work? I have tried quite a few sites, and many people seem to like OLD (pre-70's) looking stuff. I want a nice hangar, or three with nice terminals, etc... I can't find any that are not rusty sheet metal or wood.... I see very nice ones in FS, but no clue how to hunt them down, or find 3rd party ones.
If you find them in the default scenery, it should be possible to hunt the object down. After that you might be able to use it in your scenery as well. But it is hard to give a good advice here without knowing the exact problem.
 
#9
arno said:
It is best to use a library as provided, the entire idea of a library is that it is a collection of objects for easy use. Why try to extract them, instead of simply using them?
The reason I can see, is if I find a library that is say 8 megs in size and has many items. However, I only use 5 items out of that library. I then use 2 from another large library, and a couple from another. If I put those items into my own library for my scenery, I can distribute say 3 megs total instead of 30 megs. I know the standard: instruct the users they need said libraries, but I hate having to download a ton of extras for scenery use....much nicer to just have it all included in the package to start with.


arno said:
If you find them in the default scenery, it should be possible to hunt the object down. After that you might be able to use it in your scenery as well. But it is hard to give a good advice here without knowing the exact problem.
An example of something I want to do. NKL is an airport that I am totally redoing. If you have my first version, the changes are amazing. Now, I am about to release v2.0 and have made over 150 changes to the original version. One thing I want to do is remove my FSE scenery, and put in real scenery objects. Thus, all the questions. I need a nice real scenery object hangar and nice looking terminal building. Now, if you travel up to KHAO, the terminal building there (which will vanish for a new one once I start work on that (my local) airport) is what I would like to put at NKL. But I don't see it in the items listed. Same with some large maintenance hagars like Delta's at KDFW, KCVG, etc... I don't see this anywhere in the listings, and I would like to put a couple of them at my NKL. That, in a nutshell, is my problem.

Thanks as always!!!

- Greg
 

arno

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#10
Hi Greg,

SpectroPro said:
The reason I can see, is if I find a library that is say 8 megs in size and has many items. However, I only use 5 items out of that library. I then use 2 from another large library, and a couple from another. If I put those items into my own library for my scenery, I can distribute say 3 megs total instead of 30 megs. I know the standard: instruct the users they need said libraries, but I hate having to download a ton of extras for scenery use....much nicer to just have it all included in the package to start with.
I think we should see this as the old AFW default textures or so. You might not use them all, but in the end it is better for the user to download them all at once. So the user might have to download 8 MB at once, but else he would download 10 sceneries that each included 3 MB of the objects. So in the end he is better of downloading the library once.

Apart from that you can not include each library in your own distribution of course, that would require agreement from the origional author. So I think in the end it is easier to ask people to download a certain generic library.

SpectroPro said:
Now, if you travel up to KHAO, the terminal building there (which will vanish for a new one once I start work on that (my local) airport) is what I would like to put at NKL. But I don't see it in the items listed. Same with some large maintenance hagars like Delta's at KDFW, KCVG, etc... I don't see this anywhere in the listings, and I would like to put a couple of them at my NKL. That, in a nutshell, is my problem.
All these objects are contained in the OB* BGL files of the given area, so they are locked for use in that specific region as well. That is why object like this almost never appear in the lists, they are designed for one airport only. But you could still use them of course, once you have found their GUID. You might want to give LWMViewer a try, the latest version has a nice viewer for library files. That way you might be able to find the objects you are looking for.
 
#11
Arno,

arno said:
I think we should see this as the old AFW default textures or so. You might not use them all, but in the end it is better for the user to download them all at once. So the user might have to download 8 MB at once, but else he would download 10 sceneries that each included 3 MB of the objects. So in the end he is better of downloading the library once.

Apart from that you can not include each library in your own distribution of course, that would require agreement from the origional author. So I think in the end it is easier to ask people to download a certain generic library.
That makes perfect sense of course.... And as for inclusions...we always get written permission before including anything that is not specifically noted as totally freeware and free to use at will... But your argument for the large download does make sense... although, kills my ability to have a FSDU or SGPI main scenery folder with all the things we use in it..including libraries,etc... Otherwise, they may end up duplicating if they need the same library for something else.. Selfish, I know...but hey...hehehe

arno said:
All these objects are contained in the OB* BGL files of the given area, so they are locked for use in that specific region as well. That is why object like this almost never appear in the lists, they are designed for one airport only. But you could still use them of course, once you have found their GUID. You might want to give LWMViewer a try, the latest version has a nice viewer for library files. That way you might be able to find the objects you are looking for.
I will check out that program..thanks.. So, are you saying that even if I find the GUID for the building I want, I wouldn't be able to use it say in London? Not that I would, just curious if I read your post correctly.

- Greg
 
Last edited:

arno

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#12
Hi Greg,

SpectroPro said:
although, kills my ability to have a FSDU or SGPI main scenery folder with all the things we use in it..including libraries,etc... Otherwise, they may end up duplicating if they need the same library for something else.. Selfish, I know...but hey...hehehe
Using libraries like that is not a very good idea indeed. It would be best to let the user choose his own "library folder", to prevent conflicts between duplicate installations.

I must say that I do not really have a good view on how big this problem is, as I always design custom objects for my scenery projects, so they have their own "private" object library.

SpectroPro said:
I will check out that program..thanks.. So, are you saying that even if I find the GUID for the building I want, I wouldn't be able to use it say in London? Not that I would, just curious if I read your post correctly.
Yes, certainly objects are geo-locked, so they can only be used in the region of the origional BGL file. So you can't put the tower of Pisa in Los Angelos for example. For these specific landmarks that is no big problem, but most terminals as seen on the default airports are also geo-locked.
 
#13
That's actually a real bummer. A huge Theme Park here (Kings Island) has an eiffel tower that is 1/3 scale. I was going to grab the real one from the scenery and drop it in where the park is. 8(

I would LOVE to design all my own work, but that simply is never going to happen. I do NOT have the patience to learn how to do it. I have watched Sonja, our gmax instructor teach her classes, and while I could learn, I simply would rather ask someone else to do it or use someone elses work... why reinvent the wheel. 8)

I LOVE the layout work of the scenery design. AFCAD, FSSC, etc... but making the objects.....no desire here.

I'll be asking for more help soon, I am sure....as I keep coming up with new things I want to do with my secenery..... Very much appreciate that you and the others here offer the help you do...

Thanks,

- Greg
 
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