In a review of FS2 I read that "you can add your own scenery". I have made scenery for FS9, totalling around 400 or so and almost all in Canada. Before I investigate the technical details (I scanned the document, and then put it aside) I would like to know one thing. Can FS9 scenery be loaded for use with FS2? I understand there could be a conversion process, but I would hope for one that "converts existing" rather than making one start from zero. Of course the best answer would be that scenery can also be used direct from your own hard drive,and does not need to be "steamed". Dream on.
The Aerofly FS 2 is not based on the FSX or FS9 game engines so the sceneries are not compatible. Its like trying to plug a usb stick into a wall outlet, it's just not possible. At the moment I am not aware of any tools that could convert a FS9 or FSX scenery to the Aerofly FS 2. If you have a 3D model of the scenery its probably a bit of work but doable. You don't need to redo that model you might just need to update it so that it can be used for the Aerofly FS 2, too.
One approach to moving FS9/X scenery objects (especially simpler ones - not an entire airport probably) is to use the Model Converter X from fsdeveloper.com to change the BGL or MDL format to 3ds, obj, or ac (AC3D) format. Then if you have 3DStudioMax or AC3D (inexpensive), you should be able to use that object for scenery in FS2 using their content converter. I would imagine that their might be a few hurdles to jump over though.
I am not sure what you mean by "a 3D model" of the airport, but:
I use a programme called SceneryGenX to make scenery, and what this produces upon compiling is just one scenery.bgl that includes all the information regarding the airport including buildings, vehicles, fuel tanks, windsocks, aprons, runways, etc. The only separate information is for the ground textures on which the airport is placed, such as grass. And of course the textures for the buildings.
Is that a 3D model? GenX is, by the way, very good in that I can see all of the relationships, such as "Is all of that hangar on the apron, or is it partly on the grass?"
And the second response leads me to believe that I can remake a scenery, using the already-made buildings that have been converted. Correct me if I am wrong, and now that I am writing this I cannot go back and read again what was written.
Thanks for those responses.
A 3D model that I am speaking about has complete source for all the elements of the scene/aircraft including vertices, faces (collections of vertices), texture mapping coordinates for each vertex, normals for each vertex, materials for each face etc... However, with FSX/P3D, you can easily make a scene with just many GUIDs (unique identifier) references to someone else's object (like a hangar or windmill) in a BGL library and maybe a few of your own objects. As of yet, I don't know of any library object capability in the FS2 SDK but I think that will eventually be available. Any conversion from BGL to ac or some other format that can be imported into AC3D or 3DStudioMax will probably be one object at a time for now.
I think that what you are describing is exactly what is contained in the scenery.bgl produced by GenX. I have seen scenery made for FS9 and FSX and they contain several bgl's in the scenery folder, one for each scenery object etc. The single scenery.bgl produced by GenX wraps all of that into one. So, it seems at least possible, (or even probable?) that this 3D model bgl be converted into FS2? Or maybe it is impossible to say for sure one way or the other? In any case I am not about to plunge into this immediately, but a year from now........ I want to have a plan and VR has to be a central part of that plan, plus being able to fly in areas I am familiar with, in Canada and Alaska.
Well currently the Aerofly FS 2 SDK doesn't allow for scenery making in the sense we know from FS world, there's not even a clear structure to prioritise layers in the architecture.
The current tools hardly allows to place a runway and a few bits of an AD in an existing scenery.
IPACS is developing the SDK and we must be somewhat patient, it is currently light years away from a standard level like we've been used to in MS FS world.
However, from what I read in the few available information they currently sort of compile mesh, photo base and 3D objects together, which if true would be pretty bad news for 3rd party scenery integration. Let's hope I'm wrong.
the only thing that is currently not possible with the SDK is the fact that users cannot add new aerial images to Aerofly FS 2, this is planned for a future update of the SDK. Besides that and without limitations, the SDK allows you to model a complex airport or even a complete city. The two example airports of the SDK should work as a starting point.
Its up to the designer if he want the aerial images to blend through the ground or not.
The way we design airports and the MS FS way are quite different, this is something a user who comes from the MS FS world has to learn.
You used the word "make" while my initial enquiry was about "transforming" an already made-scenery for use in FS2. I have maybe 400 airfields already made, plus at least another 400 made by others, almost all in Canada and Alaska. If I have to "make" all these again then..... It isn't going to happen! And flying over a Canada that is unpopulated means that I will stay with FS9. Comments?
Thank you IPACS Support for your reply.
I still tend to understand from your answer that to IPACS scenery making mostly means adding an airport here there and locally featuring a more or less dense city center as an eye-candy.
Ok this is part of scenery making, but featuring an airfield or a city skyline in a flight simulator only makes sense if they are integrated to a regional scenery forming a flyable zone. An airfield is only a start point or a destination for a flight. But 95% of the flight time is to be spent flying above the ground. Otherwise we're not talking about a flight simulator...
To speak with an image, it's like if you want to build a garden but currently you only have tools to place paveways and benches. It's cool to have a paveway to reach the bench, and a bench to sit and watch your garden, but as long as you have no tool to place grass, trees flowers, etc. you cannot build much of a garden.
Don't take it the wrong way, I fully understand that the SDK is under development. It'll take time and I'm very patient. I'm sure more tools will come.Quote
(...) the SDK allows you to model a complex airport (...)
Well, one thing which is great in AeroflyFS is that runways don't have to be flat, unlike MS FS. In some cases like LSZH Zürich, for instance, you modelled a very nice curvy runway, featuring a very realistic feel.
In some other cases like LSGL Lausanne, you totally flattened out the ground, probably due to an inaccurate mesh. As a result, the typical and somewhat challenging slopy runway in Lausanne is totally flat in Aerofly FS (both versions), beside the fact that the airport is totally naked in the sim.
Looking at the architecture and the available tools, I see no technical possibility to deactivate the current runway and flatten, locally correct the mesh, place higher resolution texture, model a new, more accurate runway, in other words create an airfield, not even complex.
The SDK only allows me to purchase a yearly licence for a 3D software nobody else uses to model buildings and static aricraft from scratch and compile and place them onto the existing ground, that's not what I would call scenery making.
Or I missed something.
Beside that, I fear that you somewhat misunderstand the needs of 3rd party editors. Everybody is overjoyed (and me in first position) that a new and very powerful flight simulator comes. I was very excited by AeroflFS 1 and the 2 is already definitely better.
Everybody is aware that add-on making will necessitate new tools and new compilation formats, there's no question regarding this.
But editors have been working hard for years investing in tools and DATA (mesh, aerial photographs, cadastral data, librairies of objects, lightweight-optimized airframes, buildings, etc.) and the base condition for them to potentially step in Aerofly FS is they must be able to generate add-ons based on their existing sources, without having to redo everything from scratch. Otherwise, it'll be a no go. Even for OrbX.
Going in Rogwen's direction, we cannot ask the tools to convert MS FS bgl files into an AeroflyFS format, but the raw material Rogwen used to compile FS bgl and texture files should be usable with a reasonable amount of work to generate material for Aerofly FS 2.
I really don't want to sound negative or to spread false information - please correct me if I'm wrong. I just take the opportunity of the current development phase to try drawing your attention to the 3rd party editors needs (either free or payware, it's the same).
Once again, successful simulators like MS FS and XPlane only live from their community. Without 3rd party add-ons (both free and payware9, they would be history just like the brilliant but unfortunate Flight Unlimited, or Aerofly FS 1...
Keep up the good work !
Interesting. I will be here again in 6 months time to see how it has progressed.
Antoine: Thank you for your long reply. Just to give a short reply here: Some of your conclusions are not correct, e.g. you can do more with the SDK than you think is possible, we tried to make this clear with our initial reply. You can do complex airports, curved runways and add new airports to any place in the world, the only thing you can't do yet is adding aerial images, but this is something we might add in the future.
As far as MS FS airports goes: We are not sure yet if we can support some easy tools to convert existing airports without any further work, but we might be able to provide some tools to ease this job.
Dear IPACS team,
Thank you for your detailed reply. I'm afraid there's a misunderstanding.
Yes you can place an airport where there was none, but that doesn't make a scenery, it's only a local feature in the scenery.
Yes, the ground photo texture compilation tool is not yet available and it will come in the future.
But there's no tools yet to :
- generate a replacement mesh
- define exclude zones and scenery clear priorities.
- edit existing autogen or generate replacement vegetation + buildings autogen
- place 3D objects from existing librairies (landmarks, bridges, powerlines, etc.)
All basic tools to start building or improving sceneries for AeroflyFS 2.
It's clear to me that it takes time, my only concern is there's unfortunately no hint that such tools will ever come in the future.
No talk about vectors, traffic, water, procedural 3D, etc.