mikealpha

shouldn't Addon developers commonly decide where to install ?

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Just one example, found my Addon sceneries are spreaded in 9 different folders.

Some developers (FSDG) install in the P3D Addons folder in c:\Users\documents.

Some developers (Pacsim, Tropicalsim, FlyTampa) install their own folder in the P3D main directory. Simmarket sceneries get spreaded everywhere, in Simmarket folder itself (Justsim), in Prepar3D v4 Add-On folder inside main P3D folder (JetStreamDesign).

Ad oh, yes, some go to the Aerosoft folder, some go to the Addon Scenery folder (Drzewiezki).

Quite often you can't change the folder during installation. What a chaos...

Mike

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I totally agree with you - all these players need to follow a standardized approach.  Only LM can force them now

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And don't forget ORBX. They have their very own "installation philosophy" ...

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Yeah, you`re right, forgot ORBX.

And just found, Creative Design studios (Night Environment) installs to C:\Users\Appdata\Local\..

So that`s 11 different folders just for sceneries...

Mike

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And if you install products purchased from Flight1, it creates a root folder named "Flight One Software" directly in C: with the license files. That's even more chaos!

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Yea, sounds logical but when you look at the other side, many simmers want to install where they want to install... maybe it's a special named folder organizing their own special way, maybe they are out of disk space and need to install on a separate drive (can't count how many "extra" drives I have had over the years).  Maybe some developers need to find certain files at a certain location in order to work properly.

Not sure what is the best way or if there is a correct method for all developers.

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28 minutes ago, Afterburner said:

And if you install products purchased from Flight1, it creates a root folder named "Flight One Software" directly in C: with the license files. That's even more chaos!

Actually that's not a big deal. Many addons install relevant files in areas outside the main install folder. License keys, etc. The issue is to ultimately have a standardized install process which LM is working towards. As with any change, there will be chaos somewhere in the middle but ,IMHO, LM has put the writing on the wall. I expect the next version to have mandatory install options.

Think about it though, it probably is a PITA to the developers who have to redo their installs but ultimately it will be better for them AND the sim community. If LM *KNOWS* where third party stuff is going to be they can code many things differently possibly resulting in some great enhancement down the line that would be impossible with stuff strewn all over the place.

Even with this minimal change in V4, due to various testing I've had to reinstall a few times and it's a snap. With one or two minor exceptions, P3D picks up and installs all my stuff right away.

Vic

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2 minutes ago, Clutch Cargo said:

Yea, sounds logical but when you look at the other side, many simmers want to install where they want to install... maybe it's a special named folder organizing their own special way, maybe they are out of disk space and need to install on a separate drive (can't count how many "extra" drives I have had over the years).  Maybe some developers need to find certain files at a certain location in order to work properly.

Not sure what is the best way or if there is a correct method for all developers.

I agree Clutch but that is not an issue. Other than installing in the P3D root, you can install your stuff anywhere you want - the only requirement is that you have an add-on.xml file in Documents that tells P3D *where* they are.

I have my system set up in groups, Generic Aircraft, Specific developer a/c, large scenery groups like Toposim, etc. I have them all on a dedicated drive in dedicated folders. The xml file has the path - no big deal.

Vic

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I agree. I mentioned in another thread that some installers create a product folder for you, but other installers will install sub files to the directory you pick. You never really know what you are going to get until after the installation is complete. I also think file naming conventions should also be standardized. Check out your downloads at Simmarket LatinVFR is the only one that I have noticed that includes a version number in their file name. Another issue that has been brought up is addons that overwrite default files. Installers should warn you if default files are modified.

A common set of standards is something I mentioned a few years ago. I think an entity like AVSIM could spread head this initiative (in collaboration with other sites). Developers could receive accreditation - Flightsim Standards Compliant Addon (FSCA) or something like that. 

 

 

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They wont.  look at the tweaking you have to do with active sky and pmdg and fsl to stop issues.  I've been saying for years they should work together to fix issues but I guess it's too much to ask a bunch of computer programmers to have social skills.   An example of this is for every say 50 flightplans I upload onto edi-gla.co.uk I probably get 1 or 2 thankyous so I now rarely upload any now

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46 minutes ago, vgbaron said:

I agree Clutch but that is not an issue. Other than installing in the P3D root, you can install your stuff anywhere you want - the only requirement is that you have an add-on.xml file in Documents that tells P3D *where* they are.

I have my system set up in groups, Generic Aircraft, Specific developer a/c, large scenery groups like Toposim, etc. I have them all on a dedicated drive in dedicated folders. The xml file has the path - no big deal.

Vic

I've been generally successful at relocating my add-ons with this approach, but the sound gauges (most are DD based, even if they're propriety ) path names always give me grief. The relative path names to the Sound folder always seems to break when relocating the add-on, requiring me to go into the panel.cfg set an absolute path manually. 

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1 hour ago, tooting said:

An example of this is for every say 50 flightplans I upload onto edi-gla.co.uk I probably get 1 or 2 thankyous so I now rarely upload any now

Too true. If you are in this for thank yous, kudos or money - you are in the wrong place.

I recall several talented freeware developers who quit because some people would complain because a rivet was out of place on an aircraft.

Vic

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Hi @ll,

"agree where to install" - I would phrase it differently. All developers should first and foremost simply follow the spec. The P3D Learning Center is very specific about where and how developers are to install their products, down to the actual folder naming conventions. The recommended way to distribute addons is via external installation with an add-on.xml configuration file

Learning Center -> SDK -> Add-ons -> Add-ons Overview -> Distributing Add-ons

Learning Center -> SDK -> Add-ons -> Add-on Instructions for Developers

Way down at the bottom is an interesting part:

Quote

NOTE: Please be aware that Prepar3D's base installation files should never be modified by developers. Instead, use an accepted way of distributing Add-ons.

(Accepted = Recommended = as described in "Distributing Add-ons")

"Developers" are not only the big and small names in payware. Everyone creating a scenery, an aircraft, a gauge etc. is a developer and should know his/her way around the spec.

Best regards

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"NOTE: Please be aware that Prepar3D's base installation files should never be modified by developers. Instead, use an accepted way of distributing Add-ons."

Hmm. where does that leave PTA? I wouldn't mind betting many of us, (LM included, although they would never admit it) would be reluctant to fly without our chosen modifications to those 7 base installation files held within the ShadersHLSL folder. Maybe not a good example, as the situation is easily recovered following a Client update, but the principle holds true nonetheless.

MIke

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4 hours ago, vgbaron said:

Actually that's not a big deal. Many addons install relevant files in areas outside the main install folder. License keys, etc. The issue is to ultimately have a standardized install process which LM is working towards. As with any change, there will be chaos somewhere in the middle but ,IMHO, LM has put the writing on the wall. I expect the next version to have mandatory install options.

Well, to me it is a big deal, because some add-ons (Flight 1 included) give the user no control over the installation folder of the key files. If I relocate the files from the intended folder to a different one, the add-on no longer works. Imagine if more add-ons would install some of their files indiscriminately in a root folder of the very C: drive. In this regard, I am in favor of LM establishing a standardized installation procedure for the future that all add-ons must follow. Even though it would force the developers to spend some time on recoding their installers (ORBX, to name one of them), but the benefits are huge, e.g. being able to uninstall and reinstall P3D without uninstalling the add-ons.

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6 minutes ago, Afterburner said:

I am in favor of LM establishing a standardized installation procedure for the future that all add-ons must follow. 

Amen to that.

Kind regards, Michael

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1 hour ago, Afterburner said:

In this regard, I am in favor of LM establishing a standardized installation procedure for the future that all add-ons must follow.

But they already did, please have a look at my post. That developers are ignoring the recommended procedure it is not the fault of LM. There is always more than one way to skin a cat - which is why there are mandatory specifications in all things IT (and everywhere else too).

Would you really want LM to encrypt the base installation files so no external installer - and no user - could modify them ever again? I imagine that many people would be very unhappy with this. For example everyone using SceneryConfigEditor or Simstarter - tools like these would simply be dead.

About PTA: shaders can be included in an external add-on.xml definition too. But I have no idea if anybody ever tried this or if it would work.

Best regards

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28 minutes ago, Lorby_SI said:

I imagine that many people would be very unhappy with this. For example everyone using SceneryConfigEditor or Simstarter - tools like these would simply be dead.

About PTA: shaders can be included in an external add-on.xml definition too. But I have no idea if anybody ever tried this or if it would work.

Overall agree with your comments. Simstarter NG latest version has the tools to support XML based installation. Wouldn't surprise me if Matt/PTA is looking at XML install too.

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2 hours ago, pmb said:

 

Amen to that.

Kind regards, Michael

I believe it has been set for the past 15 years. However, in V-4 , they decided to change things.. Why? No idea !

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4 minutes ago, joemiller said:

I believe it has been set for the past 15 years. However, in V-4 , they decided to change things.. Why? No idea !

LM started changing the installation locations and options with V2 if I'm not mistaken. I bought the IRIS T-6B a LONG while ago and it used the P3D standard for installing in "My Documents" at that time. LM has, for a very long time, had a particular focus on easing the intermediate upgrade procedures, eliminating the need for full re-install. They came close to this with P3Dv3 but the only way to future proof this process is get the addons completely out of the program structures. XML is a logical choice for the files tracking the addons. LM did not just start this idea nor have  they been deceptive about their intent.

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10 hours ago, Lorby_SI said:

But they already did, please have a look at my post. That developers are ignoring the recommended procedure it is not the fault of LM.

But even those who follow the "recommended procedure" arrive at different interpretations. I've been informed that. for example, FSDT installers seem to install all the scenery into the Documents folder! Who would want that? By default the User Documents folder is on your System Drive, really the wrong place for scenery. I know a different folder can be selected, but many people just leave it to default. 

Then I understand there is confusion between all the places AddOn XML and AddOn CFG files can be. Some in the Documents folder, others in the User\AppData folder and yet others in ProgramData. And really you can't put all the blame on the implementers as the documentation for the "system" must be one of the most complex and confusing piece of technical writing I've encountered, even surpassing my own!

Without your excellent AddOnOrganizer program I'd have given up!

Pete

 

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LM has given developers the tools, developers don't care.

You only require a single entry per developer in the documents folder, then the XML can be edited by the developer to reflect the entire library of addons provided by that same developer. If you're lazy you can even create a single entry per scenery. Addon data can be placed anywhere on the user's computer and pointed to by that same XML configuration file. NOTE: This works for everything - Aircraft, sceneries, sounds, effect files, etc etc.

It's easy, you just have to work on it and developers are (AGAIN) being lazy. Remember all those FS2002 SDK compiled sceneries sold as 'P3D compatible'? I do, and we still have them being ported to P3Dv4, no wonder people are having issues with the new rendering of dynamic lights and such... Developers (most) just copy stuff over and over instead of properly converting their models with the new provided tools, then s**t hits the fan.

So, once again, LM did their job really good but it's being ignored over and over again by people who want to live by their own rules. I am a software developer and i refuse in my professional life to live under such chaos.

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I tend to agree to Peter, I'm also not a big fan to install stuff on the system drive. It's easy though to relocate the c:\Users\Documents folder to a place you want.

In case of FSDG, you can NOT change the path during installation. So it gets forced into C:\Users\Documents. 

The most irritating so far were the Night Enviroment installers. They ask for the location of P3DV4 (SSD disk H in my case), and then install to c:\Users\AppData\Local\..., without giving you the slightest idea about it. I ended up with my system drive almost down to 0 bytes, completely unexpected.

Just relocating, and changing Scenery Library path doesn't do the job completely though. Should you ever want to uninstall things, these uninstallers use registry path entries. So you have to change them as well, and making changes to the registry is somewhat error prone. But without doing that you end up with useless path entries cluttering your registry.

BTW, how do Addon organizers deal with that ? Do they change registry entries ?

Mike

 

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One feature of P3D v4 that puzzles me (based on what I have been told) is that LM have implemented a new XML based scenery addon system that does not enable the user to change the order of each addon in the Scenery Library. That sounds a bit daft to me, considering that certain addons need to be above (or below) others in order to work prioperly. Is this true, or have I misunderstood?

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9 minutes ago, Christopher Low said:

One feature of P3D v4 that puzzles me (based on what I have been told) is that LM have implemented a new XML based scenery addon system that does not enable the user to change the order of each addon in the Scenery Library. That sounds a bit daft to me, considering that certain addons need to be above (or below) others in order to work prioperly. Is this true, or have I misunderstood?

I use scenery config editor to add, move, or remove scenery. P3d v4 does have a scenery order that I can edit via the xml, and orbx allows you to place FTX sceneries bellow what ever scenery you want in the scenery.cfg. So it's not true in my case.

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