Understanding Airports

scruffyduck

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#1
OK - I make no promises whatsoever since ADE is in the middle of a development path for MS Flight Sims.

However while waiting for feedback on the latest build I have spent a bit of time looking at the file format for airports in FlgihtGear. At first glance I cannot see any particular reason why ADE could not generate apt dat files. I guess you may know that ADE is divided into two parts. The design engine and a data model that contains all the parts of the airport. At the moment there is no code in there to read or write to the FG/XP format. However it could be done without much difficulty and without really re-writing any code (other than that needed to tell ADE to work in FG rather than FSX, FS9 or whatever.

My initial reading of how it all gets put together leave me muddled (not difficult that :eek:)

Can anyone give me a 101 on how this all works (OK I know I am being lazy here :))

I see terrain separate from objects. Not that different from MS. I see a file that contains a lot of airport data - I presume that sort of matches the stock structure we have. I am not sure if an addon airport dat file can be generated and stuck into FG (there seem to be scenery folders that are separate from Data folders - is this the difference between stock and addon folders? Also how are objects added - did not find that yet.

Anyway I also see two tools TaxiDraw and TerraGear. Taxidraw does not look very friendly and TerraGear appears to be command line.. I also found a tool called FlightGear Scenery Designer that also looks rather old.

Can XP scenery tools be used with FG?

Sorry loads of questions but that is what comes of waiting for feedback on a release and also for the salmon to thaw so that I can put it in the smoker :)
 

scruffyduck

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#2
Bit of an update - looks like we would need to drive TerraGear from ADE or whatever - bit like BglComp??
 
#3
Just to keep things interesting, some FlightGear tools are only adapted for Linux! I noticed that TaxiDraw works for both FlightGear and X-Plane so it looks like you should be able to kill two birds with one stone; that is once you figure out one of the birds! :p
 

arno

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#4
Hi Jon,

We have been looking at the FlightGear airport data at work before as well. If I remember correctly X-Plane and FlightGear use the same data format to store the airport data. However how it makes its way into the simulator I am not sure about.

I am planning to do some related research on how 3D models end up placed in the work. In FS I know quite well how that works, but for FlightGear it seems you have to add some text (placement information) manually to a global scenery file. That seems not so user friendly, but I need to investigate more if it is also possible to have an addon scenery contain such placement information already.
 
#6
The way airport generation works isn't the same as you will find in Flight Simulator.

Last FS I used was 2004, but you could apparently edit or add an airport in AFCAD, put the airport file in the proper folder and launch at that airport.

In FlightGear, the airports are actually "cut into" the scenery, which means you must generate the scenery with the new airport file. Basically, each airport is its own separate 3D model which is blended into the scenery. The advantage of this is it makes it easier from a programming perspective to match the airport with the terrain - basically, no airports are flat.

Also, there aren't many different options for runways/curved taxiways at the moment because we're using an outdated data type in X-Plane 8.10 (new version 8.50). Someone is currently working on this.
 

scruffyduck

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#8
My current thinking is to use the Scenery Design Engine (SDE) that sits behind all my tools as the basis of a converter that will take in an airport in MS format (bgl file) and output and apt.dat file that can then be processed by FG (and presumably XP) tools.
 
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