Table of Contents
We're providing an example airport with our SDK. Please check out the SDK introduction for the download links.
Kingman Example Airport
To get a better idea on how the whole process of creating an airport for Aerofly FS 2 works, we have provided the airport 'Kingman' with all required source files. Before creating your airport, the process of exporting via export plugins and then converting using the Aerofly FS 2 Content Converter should be tested. But before we export our Kingman airport we will briefly describe what the scenery definition file does, and we will summarize the different scenery mesh classes that our Aerofly FS 2 engine supports.
You will need 3D Studio Max or Cinema 4D to replicate these steps. If you don't have either you can skip this section. When you are familiar with AutoCAD 3D check out the scenery object tutorial.
Go ahead and open the airport 3D model file in 3D Studio Max or Cinema 4D, whichever is preferred. Then the runway, decals, objects and alpha-to-coverage (atc) object have to be exported one after the other. When one of these is changed in the future, only the affected objects will need to be exported again. Running the Content Converter will update the results afterward. To export the ground mesh follow these steps:
- Select the object 'kigm_kingman_rwy'.
- In 3D Studio Max select 'Export selected' and choose 'IPACS TGI/TSC Exporter' as a file type. In Cinema 4D use the menu option 'IPACS Scenery TGI Export' to export the selected object as '.tgi'.
- In the save-file-dialog browse to the folder 'kigm_kingman' where the 'kigm_kingman.max / .c4d' project file currently opened is stored, if not already in the right directory.
- Edit the filename to 'kigm_kingman_rwy.tgi'.
- Finally, click save to start the export process.
- In 3D Studio Max pick 'Scenery' in the pop-up dialog and set the scale to 10000.
To export the runway markings and taxiway lines (decals 3D objects) repeat the same process but this time select the object 'kigm_kingman_decal' and all subobjects and export them as 'kigm_kingman_decal.tgi'.
Next, the remaining objects like houses, static vehicles and so on are exported by selecting the 'kigm_kingman_obj' and all its subobjects. Save the .tgi as 'kigm_kingman_obj.tgi'.
Follow the same pattern to export the alpha to coverage '_atc' objects of the scene.
Finally the airport description file (.tsc) has to be created. Select all helper objects in 3D Studio Max or null-objects in Cinema 4D and export them into the same project folder as before by using the file extension .tsc or the export option 'IPACS Scenery TSC Export'. Name the .tsc file identically to the project folder name, for example 'kigm_kingman.tsc' for the Kingman example airport.
You now have all required intermediate files to start the conversion to Aerofly FS 2 using the Aerofly FS 2 Content Converter.
Notes using the Content Converter
Note - These steps have all been completed for the Kingman airport example. You just need to have the Aerofly FS 2 content converter installed to follow this step.
Before the Aerofly FS 2 Content Converter can be started, several conditions have to be met. Otherwise the Content Converter throws an error and does not proceed.
- The input and output folders have to be set to valid file paths that fit the specific folder structure of your machine. To configure these paths edit the 'content_converter_config.tmc' text file in the project folder with a UNICODE capable text editor.
- All files referenced by the 3D model file have to be in the input folder.
- They have to be 'flat' in the input folder, meaning that they can't be in a sub-folder. If a texture is not found in the same folder as the exported .tgi files, the Content Converter will interrupt the conversion process.
- Files that don't belong to the project, especially unused images can cause the Content Converter to fail. If an areal image was used as a positioning guidance it must not be contained in the same folder as the 3D model. Such files can be put into a sub-directory or somewhere else.
- All 3D models referenced in the airport .tsc file must have been exported as .tgi files beforehand. For the Kingman airport those are 'kigm_kingman_rwy.tgi', 'kigm_kingman_obj.tgi', 'kigm_kingman_decal.tgi' and 'kigm_kingman_atc.tgi'.
- The .tsc file has to be contained within the project folder.
- The Content Converter only updates the output files if the intermediate files are newer than the already converted output files.
Starting the Converter
When the above conditions are met the Aerofly FS 2 Content Converter can be executed.
Within a project folder right click on the file 'content_converter_config.tmc' and select the context menu entry 'Run with Aerofly FS 2 Content Converter'. The Content Converter will then try to convert all intermediate 3D model files (.tgi) and textures in .bmp, .png and .tif format within the current (input) folder.
The converted files will be saved in the output directory defined in the .tmc configuration file. Usually, this is the folder 'Aerofly FS 2/scenery/places' in the current Windows user Documents folder. Writing the files into these directories automatically installs the scenery or aircraft for the Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator.
The converter can also be started by a batch file with the scenery configuration file as a parameter for the Aerofly FS 2 Content Converter executable. An example batch file 'convert_kingman.bat' is provided for the sample airport Kingman, but the file should be edited (right click, edit) before the first execution to confirm the file paths within the batch file are set correctly.
After the converter has finished the scenery should already be installed ready for use in our user documents Aerofly FS 2 folder, inside the scenery/places/ sub directory.