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martinlest2

Where should AFCADs go?

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Hi. Is there any advantage in having FS9 AFCADs in the addon scenery/scenery folder, rather than putting them into the individual scenery folder of the airport in question?Martin

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Well, it's hard to say . . .From a bookkeeping standpoint, it's nice to have them all in one place, but if it suits you (for any reason) to have them in the Same Scenery folder, that's cool. The granddaddy of ALL scenery creators: Frank Betts, uploaded all his FREE sceneries with the AF2 in the New Scenery folder. I find this cool. Remember: this is where FS9 is going to look FIRST for the AF2 file. I put any New Airports I create in AFCAD2 into their own scenery folder and ADD them from menu so I can place Exclude and Flatten switches once the New Scenery files are Built in the FS9 Scenery.CFG file.IMO, FS9 doesn't care where they are: If any BGL is anywhere in the folder tree, FS9 will find it and load it. Generally, I keep all my AF2 files in the folder recommended in the FS9 Learning Center.=end=

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I asked as some ReadMe files stress that the AFCAD must go into the defaultaddon scenery/scenery folder; others don't mention this and leave their AFCAD in their own airport scenery folder (i.e. the one paired with the texture folder).Maybe, as you say, it makes no difference in FS....

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Two reasons to put them in the addon scenery folder.The big one is bookkeeping as noted above.At some point you are going to have two AFCAD files for the same airport and they are going to cause a CTD.If you keep them in one folder they will be much easier to find.The second is the default scenery layering which FS2004 does, something which FS2002 and previous versions did not do.FS2004, and it looks like FSX, will be able to recognize parts of an airport with scenery from an addon .BGL and from a .BGL with the airport header data. That way some taxiways can be default textures, and some can be custom textures. If the AFCAD file - the .BGL with the airport header data - is in the addon scenery folder, FS knows to replace any sections with custom .bgl files with those files.If the AFCAD is in the same folder as the scenery .bgl, you can have layering issues because the AFCAD created .BGL may be read and placed in FS after the .bgl with the custom textures.This is a rare occurence, but can happen.The biggie as I noted above is that at some time, you are going to need to scan all your AFCAD files, and that is much easier if they are in the same folder.

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Thanks for this. The layering issues explanation is interesting. Maybe I should search out any stray AFCADs in my 3rd. party folders and put them into addon scenery/scenery. But when is an AFCAD an AFCAD, so to speak? If it is in AF2_XXXX.bgl format or similar, OK; but a lot of airport sceneries code their runways etc. into files called 'vancouver.bgl', for instance. A bit confusing when searching.I use ScanAFD so the above is not really a problem in practice - it finds airport data files whatever they might be called, so I am well aware of any duplicate AFCADs (I put 'extras' into a backup folder that is not active in FS. I don't keep my 3rd. party scenery folders in addon scenery BTW - I made another folder for those and activate them from there. I won't go into details but I've done that since FS9 came out and it works well for me - a lot more organised).Thanks again,M.

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when is an AFCAD an AFCADAn AFCAD is file with a portion of the required FS2004 airport data compiled with a FS2004 non-compilant program AFCAD2 by Lee Swordy.Airport data information files are those which have an airport header and can contain much of the same information types as AFCAD, but often include many essential airport elements, which AFCAD cannot edit.AFD files can be compiled by many different programs, though almost all the others use fully FS2004 compliant.SceneGenX is just one program many people use, though it is possible to completely update/ change airports with just Notepad to write XML code.The issue becomes when people include data with AFCAD can manipulate in files with data which AFCAD cannot manipulate.The AFCAD program will 'see' any file with an airport header placed in a scenery folder higher than the default folders.But if these files are not AF2 files, AFCAD must not be used to edit them. Because AFCAD will destroy all the elements it does not recognize. This can include many things, but taxiway signs are among the most common. FS2004 used three different methods to place taxiway signs, thankfully in FSX they all appear to be XML in the airport data under the airport header.It is possible that the runways data you are speaking of is just the runway textures.It is essential that the entire airport taxi network be included in one file under one airport header. That includes the runway definitions, all the nodes - including the parking spots, the link lines between nodes and the start locations. All of those have to be in the same file for FS to find and use them properly.If AFCAD or ScanAFB finds different files as 'AFCAD' files - open those files in AFCAD - but do NOT save them.If AFCAD displays no information, the file contains information which Lee purposely left out of AFCAD, and will not conflict with taxiway network data from AFCAD.If AFCAD displays information such as runways, nodes, links, parking spots, etc - then there is a conflict. The 'non-AFCAD' file needs to be decompiled and checked to see if it contains data which AFCAD will destroy.There are several addon sceneries where we have had to take apart .BGL files to separate the AFCAD editable elements and the non-AFCAD editable elements.One other thing which occurs is some scenery designers include several airports in one file. This is very efficient, but again, the AFCAD program will destroy any airport data except the one being edited.So to answer the basic question - any file can have AFCAD type data, but AFCAD can only edit it's own files. Other files have to be decompiled and edited by other means.

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It's good of you to go into so much detail.What I meant was that AFCAD data can be hidden in what seems to be an airport bgl file: if you open up a particular airport in AFCAD2, using the ICAO code to search, it is not rare that the AFCAD is incorporated into a general airport scenery bgl. I use AFACD2 to change any runway, gate, taxiway etc. etc. detail. And I use SCASM, BGLCOMP_SDK and so on to decompile and recompile other data, like static aircraft or whatever.A great pity that AFCAD2 seems to have stopped at the current version - Lee had originally said that the next update would incorporate the ability to add and edit airport buildings and so on. I suppose we shouldn't hassle the poor guy any more, he's done so much for FS as it is!Thanks again for your time on this post,Martin

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"There are several addon sceneries where we have had to take apart .BGL files to separate the AFCAD editable elements and the non-AFCAD editable elements."Yes, that is exactly what I meant,M. :-)

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There are a couple schools of thought as to why Lee stopped with the current version of AFCAD.The buildings is one. Like Navaids, buildings are not in the airport files - but many are in the OB file, some in the AP files but not under the airport header. Lee's concept of including all the airport information / data under one file under the airport header doesn't really work in FS2004.Another consideration is that Lee did all this fantastic work 'in the blind'. When MS finally got around to releasing the BGLComp SDK - Lee saw how far out of compliance AFCAD was and how much work it would take to completely rebuild it to comply with FS2004 standards.Also the AFCAD beta period was a bit contentious and some of it was quite demanding on Lee. He was very strongly criticized for not including some people's preferences in AFCAD. There were also several things he wanted to do and preserve familarity with FS2002 AFCAD users, which did not work out for FS2004 AFCAD, and some people were very unhappy about that.Lee has given a tremendous amount to the FS community, unfortunately he has given so much, that very few people explore beyond his tools to the areas he did not cover.AFCAD is an essential tool. I use it frequently to generate data for FSX XML files. But I'm also aware of it's capabilities and problems.

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Hi,I think that moving all AFCAD files from addon airports into the Addon Scenery/scenery folder is the worst idea I've heard of in a long time. I don't know how this FS legend got started, but AFCAD files for the same airport but in separate scenery layers do NOT cause CTD's, and never have. Worse, moving them all into the Addon Scenery/scenery folder is MORE likely to cause duplicate AFCAD files in the SAME scenery layer, and this DOES cause CTD's! I've only used ScanAFD to find out if I have duplicate AFCAD's in the SAME SCENERY FOLDER, usually the Addon Scenery/scenery folder.I have up to 5 AFCAD files for the same airport, but each one is in it's own scenery layer (usually the folder for a given addon scenery). I have never had a CTD. This includes mods to default airport AFCADs in the Addon Scenery/scenery folder, from PAI and other sources. Thus there are AFCAD files for the same airport in more than one active scenery layer. No CTD's.I have released scenery packages downloaded by hundreds of people, which all create duplicate AFCAD files for that airport for most people. But, they are always in their own scenery layer. Not one complaint about a CTD.With each AFCAD file located in its scenery's folder, I have all AFCADs right where they need to be - if I deactivate an addon scenery, the modified default AFCAD in the Addon Scenery folder takes over. If I have multiple addons for a given airport, I can pick and choose them as I wish, with the AFCAD file working just like the rest of the scenery BGL files.So in summary, this phobia about duplicate AFCAD files is:1. Way overblown2. Making things much more difficult than they need to be3. Usually not a problem at allHope this helps,--Tom GibsonCal Classic Propliner Page: http://www.calclassic.comFreeflight Design Shop: http://www.freeflightdesign.comDrop by! ___x_x_(")_x_x___

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That's my logic too but Ihave to admit I've been completely confused on this issue since day one which wasn't all that long ago. All I can say is thank goodness for ScanAFD.exe.

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Well, yes, but I am at a loss to see why anyone would want more than one AFCAD for a particular airport. I locate the best one (or the correct one, more likely) for the scenery, and use that. Having five AFCADs for one aiport, whatever layer they are in, seems, well, bizarre to me. (But, hey, that's just IMHO !!). Why would you want that? To switch airport sceneries at will maybe? General FS concensus is that you have one AFCAD only, after all. (Only one is going to load up properly in any case).I get ScanAFD to scan all scenery folders, not just the default, so I am always aware which AFCADs are where; mostly I know in any case where they are - as I put them wherever they end up!M. :-)

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Tom has an exceptional wonderful 'time shifting' setup with sceneries for some airports in the 1950's, some in the 1960's and others today.I don't think he has all the various AFCAD files, and sceneries, for the same airport active at the same time.Most of the time in my experience when people have CTD issues with AFCAD, its because of two or more ACTIVE AFCAD files for the same airport. Usually one of the AFCAD files has some error - and often it's an error which AFCAD's fault finder will not catch.If you have scenery for an airport you will have active on some flights, and not active at other times - then you will need more than one AFCAD, and the AFCADs should not be in the same folder.Tom is correct, efficient and effective management of scenery layers and folders precludes the need for one folder for all AFCAD files.However, my experience is that most flight simmers do not want to exercise that level of care with their FS setups.

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Well, would you believe it?! No sooner do I read this than I start up FS9 to go to an airport in The Bahamas (testing the Freeflow.com Bahamas scenery - very nice too!), than I get a blue screen crash. Same thing every time I go to the airport.As if I needed any more encouragement, I shifted all the Freeflow AFCADs back to the FF scenery folder, out of the Addon scenery folder. Annoyingly that hasn't stopped the CTD. Just this one airports as far as I can see (MYBC), though I only have one AFCAD.Well, not sure it's worth hours of troubleshooting for an airport I may visit once every other blue moon. The odd thing is (and I have nearly always found this with a CTD) that if I go to the airport through the opening 'Choose a Flight' window, the whole PC crashes to a blue screen, If on the other hand I get them some other way (e.g. slewing from a nearby airfield) and then save a flight from there, clicking on the saved flight gets me to the stricken airport without any problems at all. As I say, that nearly always is the case. Not sure why. Any thoughts?M.

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Hi,I've been asked why I would want more than one version of an AFCAD for an airport - for LAX I have:1. The default airport, which I use when I'm testing scenery enhancements that people have sent me for the default. Always active (default scenery layers).2. The PAI improved airport AFCAD for the default, which I used to use when I didn't have an addon for LAX. Always active (Addon Scenery/scenery).3. The AFCAD that I use for my addon modern LAX (purchased addon scenery with customized AFCAD). I use this when people come over and want to fly in the modern day. Active only when the addon scenery layer is active.4. My LAX 1958 scenery. This uses the old terminal, where the cargo facility is now. I use this when flying in the 50's using my old timetable collection. Only active when 1958 scenery is active.5. My LAX 1963 scenery. This uses the new satellite terminals, but in their original configuration. I use this when flying in the mid to late 1960's using my old timetables. Only active when 1963 scenery is active.So two AFCAD's are always active, and when I'm doing 3-5 there are three active.Yes, I agree that defective AFCAD files can lead to CTD's and that having more active at once will increase this chance. I test each AFCAD file I create or download *before* I put it into my "system". A GoTo Airport to that airport will usually be enough. I just wanted to stress that deleting all but one AFCAD file on your computer for a given airport limits your flexibility with multiple addon sceneries for a given airport and in the case of time shifting as I do, will harm your scenery.Hope this helps,--Tom GibsonCal Classic Propliner Page: http://www.calclassic.comFreeflight Design Shop: http://www.freeflightdesign.comDrop by! ___x_x_(")_x_x___

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Hi Tom. I see the logic of having multiple AFCADs - it gives you flexibility. But I am not sure about having more than one active at the same time. You clearly have them arranged so that you won't get CTDs , but FS is only going to load one AFCAD at a time. So why leave more than one active in your setup, rather than have a few which you can change around?As I install new AFCADs, I always back previous versions up so that I can revert to one or another if necessary - but swapping them around can easily lead to traffic ending up in odd places, so I am sparing with this.Still, if your setup works and it's as you want it, great.M. :-)

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The 'default' AFCAD is always active - it has to be because the addon AFCAD files don't have a lot of necessary data which is only in the default file.It's Addon AFCAD files saved with AFCAD2 which are the potential issue.The first part of every file created by AFCAD2 after the airport header identification data is a series of DeleteAirport statements.These tell FS to ignore any data from lower level files about: Apron LightsApronsFrequenciesHelipadsRunwaysStartsTaxiways (this includes all Nodes and parking spots in AFCAD)

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What a fascinating thread this is. Thanks to everyone for their input so far.For the record I am one who has always filed addon AFCADS in the Addon Scenery Folder and have never had a CTD. (fingers tightly crossed)

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"The 'default' AFCAD is always active - it has to be because the addon AFCAD files don't have a lot of necessary data which is only in the default file."Reggie, I am not sure this is always true. (I am assuming that by 'default AFCAD' (??) you mean the AP*******.bgl file in fs9/scenery/scenery? Correct me if not, but I can't see what else the term could refer to). There are quite a number of airport addons which I have installed (and many, many more which I have not) in which you not only have to install the scenery and AFCAD, but also remove the AP bgl file from the above folder. The problem then is that if anything is wrong with the new AFCAD installed, expect CTDs. This has happened to me more than once.M.

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The default is in the AP9nnnn0.BGL file.These files often contains scenery objects, buildings, approach coding, taxiway signs, waypoints and navaids.They can also contain several other airports.Modifying the default AP9nnnn0.BGL file is always a bad idea. It can be done carefully, but there is no 100% decompiler for these files, so they can never be recompiled completely as the original.Personally I will not replace a default AP9nnnn0.BGL file unless I can see exactly the changes made in the replacement file. Often I can find better ways to use other files to achieve the same result.There are about three people I trust, and many more who I consider their modifications .... poor.

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I agree Reggie, you have to be careful and I too have my 'trusted' scenery designers when it comes to removing AP, HP etc. files.But to get things into perspective, as long as everything you remove is backed up, if you don't like what you see or problems ensue, then restoring things to how they were is just a few mouse clicks away.In addition, I regularly back up all 'sensitive' FS folders (e.g. 'aircraft', with all my modified cfg files; scenery; addon scenery; texture etc. etc.) to an external drive, via a batch file script which detects newer file dates, plus Acronis image files every month or two, so I feel fairly secure. (Tempting fate a bit saying that, aren't I?).M.

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From what I have seen, developers have only suggested deleting a default AP9 file to fix an elevation problem. Normally they provide a replacement that has been edited to be placed in the regional scenery folder.There are items in the default AP9 files which neither AFCAD nor the sdk BGLCOMP can create. For example, there are airports with multiple ILS equipments servicing a single runway (see KSTL for example). Only one ILS is "attached" to the runway (primary or secondary) via the available tools.This is besides many scenery objects in the AP9 files which AFCAD doesn't know about. For example, ILS elements, VORs, NDBs and markers all have scenery objects (antennas and shacks) placed with them.As far as placement, I have played with "AFCAD" files (with and without deleteAirport element) in sceneryBASE and sceneryworld and had bad results (but no CTDs).I have changed elevations with AFCAD files placed in the regional files, as long as the file name comes after AP9 (I use ZZ_).I have never had an issue with CTDs when AFCADs are placed in any other scenery folder. I do ensure deleteAirport is used when necessary. I can see problems with duplicate parking stands if taxiways aren't deleted in an AFCAD which includes them. Don't know if that causes CTD or just problems for the AI.scott s..

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I've read this whole thread twice now and have tried to form an end conclusion for myself but apart from the necessary dodging of CTDs by having only one AF2_ file per airport with e.g. extra (AI) parking spaces, edited taxiways and the occasional extra ILS etc., this has now become rather difficult because of all your different technical views.The following has been my own method uptil now and I invite the technical experts to give their opinions. Right from the beginning of FS9 I have used FSNavigator and in order to get all my own AF2_ data correctly included in it's data base creation process, I removed any (edited or not) AF2_ files from addon airport scenery folders and placed them in a single dedicated scenery folder AND gave it the highest priority in the FS9 scenery library. For FSNavigator itself this method works fine and I took it for granted that this would also ensure correct use by FS9. However, the only thing which I have found uptil now that does not work 100% correctly is ATC which sets me up for a "visual" approach to a runway which, according to FSNavigator, should have a "home made" AF2_ ILS approach. This ILS can however be used normally but a small amount of ATC cheating remains e.g. by giving ATC the "Runway in sight" answer when required. But even this problem can be avoided by e.g. changing the wind direction at the destination airport so that ATC will direct you towards the official ILS end of the runway. As far as my almost four years of experience with FS9 goes, this seems to be the best method for having the least amount of problems.... and no CTDs .... yet.Hans

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