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Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Questions and discussion about enhancing and populating the FlightGear world.

Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby stuart » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:59 am

The way scenery is created in FlightGear and how it can be modified can be confusing.

At a high level, there are two separate components of the FlightGear environment - the scenery itself and objects that site on top of the scenery.

Scenery

The scenery itself consisting of tiles representing the terrain, such as whether the the ground is a road, field, city or the sea. These tiles are built up from elevation data (SRTM-3), and data indicating the terrain itself (such as VMAP0). Airport layouts, such as runways and taxiways also fall into this category.

You cannot simply modify the terrain and view the results within FlightGear. Instead you must regenerate the terrain using a program called Terragear. This is sister-project to FlightGear. Instructions for running TerraGear can be found here:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php?ti ... ar_Toolset

Objects

Objects sit on top of the scenery and include buildings, bridges, aerial masts, hangars and trees.

An object in the FG scenery context, is a 3-D model placed within the scenery. Some 3-D models are quite generic (such as a tree) and therefore can be used for multiple objects.

There is a huge database of objects and models available from the FlightGear Scenery Objects Database (FGSDB) at http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/.

Most 3-D models are .ac files. You can create a .ac file using a 3-D modelling program such as AC3D or Blender. It is also possible to convert models created using SketchUp using Blender, or the SketchUp_to .ac_export.rb converter available from http://vicmar.weebly.com/downloads.html.

Once you have created your model (or found one in the FGSDB), you can place it on the terrain using the ufo aircraft, and then submit it back to the FGSDB for use by others.

Creating new models and objects is an easy way to increase the realism of FG and contribute something back to the community.

FAQ

Q: How do I edit an airport layout?
A: You can use TaxiDraw to update the apt.dat file. However, this won't change the terrain within FG. For that you need to run Terragear to generate a new tile.

Q: Why don't we use data from google maps/earth?
A: Google's data license is incompatible with the GPL which FG uses, so it isn't possible to use it as the basis for scenery. However, it is a useful resource for working out where to place objects within the scenery and what they look like from above.

Q: Can I import Microsoft Flight Simulator Scenery (.bgl files)?
A: Short answer - no. The toolchain is too different. Sorry :(

Q: I want to create new models, but I don't understand Blender, or want to pay for AC3D. What can I do?
A: SketchUp is a bit easier to use than Blender. It is possible to import files from SketchUp into Blender and export them as .ac files, though you have to edit the textures afterwards. There are posts in this forum providing instructions.

Q: I created a new object and placed it using the UFO, then put the coordinates in the correct file in the scenery folder. However, now FG doesn't load and freezes when "loading scenery objects",
A: Check to make sure that you have no spaces in the name of the model you have created. The space in the name confuses FG. Rename the model
so there is no space in the name.

Q: How can I distribute my new object?
A: The best way to have it distributed is via Scenery Objects Database. (http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/) This is a global database of all the objects in the FlightGear world, and is linked into the scenery generation process. Having your model added to the database ensures that it will be available for future releases.

Q: I've found this really cool model/texture I want to use in a FG object. Anything I should be aware of?
A: The major issue we have is with licensing. If you want your object to go into the main scenery, or the Scenery Objects Database, then it must be released under the GNU GPL. If your model uses anything that wasn't directly created by yourself, e.g. if it was based or converted from another file, or uses textures you didn't create yourself, you need to make sure that any license you received with the original file is compatible with the GPL. If in doubt, assume that it isn't compatible.
Last edited by stuart on Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby jentron » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:22 am

I've noticed the vmap0 data seems to have disappeared from the web. I found this link tonight and want to preserve it:
http://store.usgs.gov/

Stupid website won't let me link to a product. The product ID is 18907, do a search. :x
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby statto » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:10 am

The vmap0 data is still on our mapserver. Never fear.
Custom Scenery available from http://www.stattosoftware.com/flightgear
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby zakalawe » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:33 am

Just to add, exporting from SketchUp is easier than it used to be - I've written an exporter which handles textures correctly (materials need to be fixed by hand, but that's much easier than messing with textures). It's still a work in progress, and feedback is appreciated. For more information, see here:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php/SketchUp_to_AC3D_exporter
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby alfonsodg » Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:38 pm

Nope.... mapserver.flightgear.org doesnt works. Where we can get the vmap files?
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby Gijs » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:16 pm

alfonsodg wrote:Where we can get the vmap files?

Check: http://www.mapability.com/index1.html?h ... intro.html
(I'm not sure if I redirect you to the right spot, but atleast this page is also linked from the mapserver).
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby alfonsodg » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:28 pm

Gijs wrote:
alfonsodg wrote:Where we can get the vmap files?

Check: http://www.mapability.com/index1.html?h ... intro.html
(I'm not sure if I redirect you to the right spot, but atleast this page is also linked from the mapserver).



Hi.... Nope.... The reference is still to the nima.mil repositories which aren't available now. Another suggestion?
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby statto » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:58 pm

mapserver.flightgear.org is a working website. You must have hit it when it was down.
Custom Scenery available from http://www.stattosoftware.com/flightgear
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby alfonsodg » Mon Sep 08, 2008 4:28 pm

statto wrote:mapserver.flightgear.org is a working website. You must have hit it when it was down.


Hi... i am trying to download some files since past wednesday and the message is:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, johng@telascience.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby martin » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:27 pm

alfonsodg wrote:Hi... i am trying to download some files since past wednesday and the message is:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.


Please contact the server administrator, johng@telascience.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.


Hehe, John knew what he did when he put the "and anything you might have done that may have caused the error"-clause into this message :-)
Ok, I just went to the download page:

http://mapserver.flightgear.org/download.psp

I entered four numbers, -63.5 on the left, -62 on the right, 17 at the bottom and 18.5 at the top. From the list I've selected the 'v0_landmass' layer - because this is the one on top - and hit the 'Download'-button. What I get is a ZIP-file containing the shapes of some nice Caribbean islands (viewed in OpenJUMP).
Did you make sure you don't have an old error message in the local browser cache ?

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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby radi » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:22 pm

Q: Can I import Microsoft Flight Simulator Scenery (.bgl files)?
A: Short answer - no. The toolchain is too different. Sorry :(


As this answer initially kept me from *trying* to convert MSFS scenery to FG (but maybe it was just me being non-native speaker), may I suggest to add a long answer here? I feel we should at least tell new users that there's a chance to convert MSFS/X-Plane objects to FG. I'm willing to write a wiki article once I sorted out all shortcomings (and finished my thesis :roll: )

Long answer - there are tools that convert single MSFS objects to X-Plane's format, which in turn can be converted to FG's format using Blender: FS2XPlane, and XPlane2Blender, http://marginal.org.uk/x-planescenery/tools.html. However, you still have to place the objects more-or-less manually into FG's scenery.

(Though I've got some scripts to ease the last step somewhat.)
OSM buildings for LOWI, EDDC
Custom scenery for VHXX YMML
Edit .stg via the FG Object Placement Tool
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby curt » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:34 pm

It's great if there is technically a way to migrate MSFS scenery to FlightGear.

The one thing that we need to keep clear is that licensing terms of the result of this conversion are very ill defined at best. Often these objects, even if we have permission to use them are derived from other earlier objects by other authors, or incorporate proprietary microsoft textures or components. Once an object is in x-plane format, does x-plane claim some sort of ownership of that? So we just need to be very careful not to pollute the core FlightGear distribution with objects of questionable origin. If someone wants to do something for themselves, or offer the result on their own web page, then that's completely up to them and their interpretation of the corresponding licenses and authors' permissions.

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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby HHS » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:16 am

Hi,

I tried this method some time ago ( If I'm right I even mentioned here anywhere...)- for small building it was working quite good, for larger databases there was a lot of errors ... Nethertheless, there are a lot of converted MSFS-sceneries available for X-plane, so it should work.

I just quote the licence wich will you find inside the tool , so everyone can see if this is o.k.:
-Before using this application on a MSFS scenery package, you should check that this is allowed under the terms under which you obtained the MSFS scenery package. (Also note that reverse engineering for the purposes of interoperability is expressly permitted by law in some jurisdictions).

The most sceneries are made by users and freeware, so no battling with MS.
In all cases, ownership of the derived (X-Plane format) files resides with the copyright holder of the original (MSFS format) files. Therefore you may not redistribute the derived files without the express permission of the copyright holder.

We have to ask the author of the scenery we want to have.

As I can see we can use this tool, as long we regard the copyrights of the scenery-authors.

The DSF-tool is copyrighted to X-Plane, but we can't use this for converting to FGFS anyway.

But the bgl2xml-program is the best part: it is under GNU GPL- maybe we could use this so we don't need to use X-Plane tools?!

Conclusion for me: No problems with using it as long we regard the copyrights of the original scenery author ( in the most cases not MS ;-))

What do you think
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby theoldfellow » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:03 pm

It worries me that these messages are so old. Some of the links are broken too, e.g.:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/flightgear_w ... ar_Toolset

Is the forum being maintained?
R.
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Re: Scenery FAQ - Read This First!

Postby Gijs » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:08 pm

theoldfellow wrote:Is the forum being maintained?

Well, we do not check all 72072 posts every now and then to make sure all links are still working...
That's not the purpose of a forum.

Our wiki changed it's naming conventions (somewhere in those two years since the post was posted), resulting in this broken link. I've fixed it for you.

Cheers,
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