Bachian

Best way to add sceneries, Add-ons or Scenery Library?

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After migrating to P3Dv4.1, I started do add some sceneries that does not have a installer using the "Add-ons" method, like modern companies (A2A, FSDT, Flightbeam) are doing. In that way, I don't need to copy effects files to the sim folder, keeping the installation folders cleaner.

But after adding about 15 sceneries this way, I noticed some collateral effect. Some GSX vehicles loose their textures and even some aircraft like A2A and PMDG stoped to load their textures (and became black). Removing all the sceneries xml from the add-ons directory, makes everything comes back to normal.

Now, I'd like to know how you guys are doing. What's the best way to add manually installed sceneries?

1. Use the modern way, through Add-ons folder and xml
2. Use the old way, through Scenery Library

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It works both ways, via the addon method or scenery library method but NOT both so you need to be careful in this respect.  For instance, FSDT installers use the addon.xml so, if you were not aware of that (and I know you are), some would be looking in the scenery.cfg and not see the entries so would manually install them.  Not good.  So, if you want to see the GSX textures and the aircraft textures, get rid of the addon.xmls and manually install all of your sceneries in the scenery.cfg.  You may get a major issue though with using the SceneryConfigEditor though as P3D codes all of their configs and xml's in UTF-8 or some other coding and, if not in compliance, some or all of your sceneries will no longer load properly so you have to get it coded properly again.  This has happened to me a couple of times where I will have unexplained crashes or scenery not loading properly and I trace it down to the scenery.cfg when I run the Lorby_Si Addon Organizer and run the Check Encoding feature.  I fix that and no more issues.  So there seems to be some special coding that P3D can use.  The only way I was able to fix my problem with the scenery.cfg was delete it and let P3D rebuild a new default, then go into P3D and manually install each scenery.  This is why I have since gone completely to the Addon.xml method and use the scenery.cfg just for the default sceneries, Orbx, and UTX2.  I also constantly check the encoding to make sure the xml or cfg is compatible.

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I find that I'm less able to precisely control layering of scenery with the add-on.xml method, but that's likely my own ignorance.  Do you have to manually change the layers in each xml so they match exactly the number you want them to fit in the load order?  How do you modify that when you add new scenery?  These are simple solutions with scenery.cfg.  That said, I like the ability to have scenery/texture/effects/sounds/simobjects all in their own unique folders, so I try to use the xml version where it makes sense.

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Hi Gridley,

You cannot change the layering control with the Add-on.xml method.

For this reason some developers (like UK2000 for example) recommend using the standard method if you find any problems with their airports using the XML route (Note UK 2000 supports both methods), I am using the XML method with EGKK,  EGSS and London city because it is working on my system without any issues.

Best Regards,

Simbol

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13 minutes ago, simbol said:

You cannot change the layering control with the Add-on.xml method.

ok, @simbol - I'm puzzled again. :biggrin:

I added several of the Toposim mesh products via the XML method and I was able to place them exactly where I wanted in the order by specifying the <layer> in the xml file. I added some others the same way and they worked just fine.

I did notice however, if you have a greyed out block of sceneries you cannot insert into that block, you can layer before or after but not within.

Have I missed something?

Vic

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13 minutes ago, DJJose said:

I have complete control of my sceneries thanks to scenery config editor.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/fs-sceditor/

 

Not compatible and is not recommended to use with P3Dv4 XML add-on installation. Lorby-SI tool is, however, compatible and recommended to use with P3Dv4.

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38 minutes ago, vgbaron said:

ok, @simbol - I'm puzzled again. :biggrin:

I added several of the Toposim mesh products via the XML method and I was able to place them exactly where I wanted in the order by specifying the <layer> in the xml file. I added some others the same way and they worked just fine.

I did notice however, if you have a greyed out block of sceneries you cannot insert into that block, you can layer before or after but not within.

Have I missed something?

Vic

Maybe something changed with 4.1, but have you checked your add-on's manager? You might notice that add-on's order changes randomly every time you restart PD3V4.

I haven't checked this on 4.1 though to be honest.

Regards 

Simbol 

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I notice that I can't (maybe I can, but I don't know how) control the scenery layer order using add-on.xml method, and that's an disadvantage compared to the Scenery Library method. However, It would really nice to keep scenery/texture/effects/sounds/simobjects outside the main sim folder structure.

I'll try to learn a little bit more about it. I just found this:
http://www.prepar3d.com/SDKv3/LearningCenter/add-ons/add-on_configuration_file_formats.html

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11 minutes ago, Bachian said:

I notice that I can't (maybe I can, but I don't know how) control the scenery layer order using add-on.xml method, and that's an disadvantage compared to the Scenery Library method. However, It would really nice to keep scenery/texture/effects/sounds/simobjects outside the main sim folder structure.

I'll try to learn a little bit more about it. I just found this:
http://www.prepar3d.com/SDKv3/LearningCenter/add-ons/add-on_configuration_file_formats.html

That is also my personal experience, also be aware of what else the XML method does to PD3V4 in terms of effects, sounds textures, etc, read this:

https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/523111-change-prepar3d-v4-add-ons-dir/

Best Regards,

Simbol 

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This may be off topic - but someone mentioned black textures - was that for acft?  Ive been having a weird issue that sometimes addon acft textures will load black then all other acft textures of that model will load black both in the preview window then in the actual sim. 

I have some sceneries that install via xml and some via the old way. So LM is saying this is an issue?

 

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2 hours ago, Gridley said:

I find that I'm less able to precisely control layering of scenery with the add-on.xml method

I made the changes in the Lorby_Si Addon Organizer first and saved.  But it will return if you do not also change the layering and areas in the scenery.cfg so I opened the scenery.cfg and reordered the area/layering for all of the addon scenery there (currently just FTX and UTX2 stuff) and made sure they followed the layering I had in the Addon Organizer.  You will see when you open up the scenery.cfg that those addons are not in sequence.  I then save it and now, whenever I open up the Addon Organizer, the areas and layering are exactly the same (before they were being reorganized).  It is NOT the best solution as I now have to edit the Addon.xml Organizer and Scenery.cfg when I add new scenery or they get out of sequence.  I do not think LM techs designed it that way.  But, like Oliver at Lorby_Si said, he is very surprised some commercial developer has not come up with a commercial organizer that does everything.

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14 minutes ago, ryanbatcund said:

Ive been having a weird issue that sometimes addon acft textures will load black then all other acft textures of that model will load black both in the preview window then in the actual sim.

I personally do not think this is caused by the sim.  This is caused by very high settings just like it was in FSX.  I remember loading a lot of MegaScenery (photoscenery) and the loading took up so many resources it would not render the aircraft.  Disabled the photoscenery and the aircraft immediately showed up.  I think many are raising their sliders to the max or almost to the max because there is no fear of an OOM crash with 64 bit software.  However, if you are seeing this with default settings and with NO addons, then there is another issue involved and most likely with the installation of the P3D software.  I have my settings fairly high but have never ever seen black textures with PMDG or any other aircraft installed and I have tons of addon aircraft and scenery installed.  So, one has to ask why it is not happening to me and only happening to others. 

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2 hours ago, Henry Street said:

Not compatible and is not recommended to use with P3Dv4 XML add-on installation. Lorby-SI tool is, however, compatible and recommended to use with P3Dv4.

It is compatible and I use it regularly with P3d V4.1.

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2 hours ago, Henry Street said:

Not compatible and is not recommended to use with P3Dv4 XML add-on installation. Lorby-SI tool is, however, compatible and recommended to use with P3Dv4.

Wrong -- it is compatible (version 1.1.9) and works great for me. All you need to do is to make sure that your software is not installing both in the scenery.cfg and add-on.xml. Ultimately, I agree that the Lorby tool may be the only option but until LM enforces the xml method, SCE works great (and yes Jim and I disagree about this).

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2 hours ago, Jim Young said:

I made the changes in the Lorby_Si Addon Organizer first and saved.  But it will return if you do not also change the layering and areas in the scenery.cfg so I opened the scenery.cfg and reordered the area/layering for all of the addon scenery there (currently just FTX and UTX2 stuff) and made sure they followed the layering I had in the Addon Organizer.  You will see when you open up the scenery.cfg that those addons are not in sequence.  I then save it and now, whenever I open up the Addon Organizer, the areas and layering are exactly the same (before they were being reorganized).  It is NOT the best solution as I now have to edit the Addon.xml Organizer and Scenery.cfg when I add new scenery or they get out of sequence.  I do not think LM techs designed it that way.  But, like Oliver at Lorby_Si said, he is very surprised some commercial developer has not come up with a commercial organizer that does everything.

Jim,

Are you sure you're using the latest Lorby Addon Organizer. Currently, there are two versions...Addon Organizer 1.16 for P3D 4.0 or 3.3; (Prototype) Addon Organizer 1.18 for P3D 4.1 or 3.3.

I am using Lorby AO v1.18 with P3Dv4.1 and all issues you discuss about layering between xml and .cfg addons has been fixed. With AO 1.8 you can layer any xml and any .cfg scenery in any order, even mixing the two and the problem of them relayering when you open AO again has been fixed.

For example, I have my 3 fsaerodata layers (.cfg) at the top of my scenery list, followed by a bunch of airports sceneries (.xml), followed by Orbx airports (.cfg), etc. This works marvelously and it makes scenery management SO easy and predictable.

Before v1.18 of AO, indeed you had to manually edit the .cfg to coincide with .xml ordering.

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2 hours ago, pgde said:

Wrong -- it is compatible (version 1.1.9) and works great for me. All you need to do is to make sure that your software is not installing both in the scenery.cfg and add-on.xml. Ultimately, I agree that the Lorby tool may be the only option but until LM enforces the xml method, SCE works great (and yes Jim and I disagree about this).

I stand corrected, a victim of my outdated experience. Thanks for the update! Full disclosure: since my unhappy experience with un-compatible SCE, been using SimStarter NG.

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2 hours ago, somiller said:

Are you sure you're using the latest Lorby Addon Organizer. Currently, there are two versions...Addon Organizer 1.16 for P3D 4.0 or 3.3; (Prototype) Addon Organizer 1.18 for P3D 4.1 or 3.3.

I use V1.18 as I have V4.1 installed.

2 hours ago, somiller said:

I am using Lorby AO v1.18 with P3Dv4.1 and all issues you discuss about layering between xml and .cfg addons has been fixed. With AO 1.8 you can layer any xml and any .cfg scenery in any order, even mixing the two and the problem of them relayering when you open AO again has been fixed.

That's a negative.  Yes, it changes the area/layers automatically as you move them up or down in the list but it did not change the areas/layers in the scenery.cfg.  So, whenever I arranged the areas/layers in the Organizer and save.  It saved it but when I closed it and restarted it, I would find FTX Regions/UTX2 entries (located in the Scenery.cfg) would be in between the Add-on.XML scenery.  Only way I could fix that was to manually change the areas/layers in the scenery.cfg for FTX and UTX2 scenery.  You say 1.18 fixes that but it does not or at least it did not for me.  Oliver knows there are issues.  I think that's a major problem that needs to be fixed but only way I can see to do it would be to create Add-on.xmls for the FTX and UTX2 entries.  That would be impossible as you can enable/disable UTX2 entries via their utility and that could not happen if they were Add-on.xmls.  I think FTX and UTX are going to have to come up with a method to create the Add-on.xmls and the ability to disable them on the fly. 

My problem with the new Add-on.xml is that I only have a few minutes to play with it each day as my job here at AVSIM takes up most of my time.  I just discovered the above this past weekend.

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1 hour ago, Jim Young said:

It saved it but when I closed it and restarted it, I would find FTX Regions/UTX2 entries (located in the Scenery.cfg) would be in between the Add-on.XML scenery.  Only way I could fix that was to manually change the areas/layers in the scenery.cfg for FTX and UTX2 scenery.  You say 1.18 fixes that but it does not or at least it did not for me.  Oliver knows there are issues.  I

Hi Jim,

didn't know about that one. Unfortunately I am on a business trip and it will be a while until I can look at it.

Changing layers numbers in the scenery.cfg always worked just fine, and I have had no reports suggesting otherwise (except yours here). One issue is FTXCentral itself, because it re-injects the scenery.cfg entries all the time, shuffling the layers.

Best regards

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1 hour ago, Jim Young said:

I use V1.18 as I have V4.1 installed.

That's a negative.  Yes, it changes the area/layers automatically as you move them up or down in the list but it did not change the areas/layers in the scenery.cfg.  So, whenever I arranged the areas/layers in the Organizer and save.  It saved it but when I closed it and restarted it, I would find FTX Regions/UTX2 entries (located in the Scenery.cfg) would be in between the Add-on.XML scenery.  Only way I could fix that was to manually change the areas/layers in the scenery.cfg for FTX and UTX2 scenery.  You say 1.18 fixes that but it does not or at least it did not for me.  Oliver knows there are issues.  I think that's a major problem that needs to be fixed but only way I can see to do it would be to create Add-on.xmls for the FTX and UTX2 entries.  That would be impossible as you can enable/disable UTX2 entries via their utility and that could not happen if they were Add-on.xmls.  I think FTX and UTX are going to have to come up with a method to create the Add-on.xmls and the ability to disable them on the fly. 

My problem with the new Add-on.xml is that I only have a few minutes to play with it each day as my job here at AVSIM takes up most of my time.  I just discovered the above this past weekend.

Jim,

Indeed it does change the scenery.cfg order (actually, I guess P3Dv4.1 changes the scenery.cfg order...I just forgot one step...after adjusting scenery order with Lorby AO v1.18, make sure you launch P3D, go to "World", "Scenery Library", and simply click Okay, without making any modifications. P3D will do it's re-shuffle, rebuild indexes, and re-writes the scenery.cfg with the changed layer numbers.

When you open Scenery Library in P3D, you'll notice that whatever change you made in Lorby AO is reflected in the Library order...I guess it just takes P3D to actually confirm and write the new order to the scenery.cfg.

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35 minutes ago, Lorby_SI said:

Hi Jim,

didn't know about that one. Unfortunately I am on a business trip and it will be a while until I can look at it.

Changing layers numbers in the scenery.cfg always worked just fine, and I have had no reports suggesting otherwise (except yours here). One issue is FTXCentral itself, because it re-injects the scenery.cfg entries all the time, shuffling the layers.

Best regards

Oliver,

Same here...I'm certain it changed the layer numbers in scenery.cfg...but I wonder if that was with 1.17. I am positive, that with 1.17 I did a test, and visually checked the scenery.cfg after making a change with AO, and that it changed the numbering. Did 1.18 possibly break it again?

In any case, a temporary work-around is to do as I stated above, after making a change with 1.18, open the Library in P3D and just click okay...P3D will then write the number change to scenery.cfg.

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Is anyone familiar with a good tutorial explaining how to use the add on xml method? Specifically on how to add scenery which is present not only under the add ons folder but also contains files in P3D v4 general folders (effects, world scenery etc..)?

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11 hours ago, Jim Young said:

I made the changes in the Lorby_Si Addon Organizer first and saved.  But it will return if you do not also change the layering and areas in the scenery.cfg so I opened the scenery.cfg and reordered the area/layering for all of the addon scenery there (currently just FTX and UTX2 stuff) and made sure they followed the layering I had in the Addon Organizer.  You will see when you open up the scenery.cfg that those addons are not in sequence.  I then save it and now, whenever I open up the Addon Organizer, the areas and layering are exactly the same (before they were being reorganized).  It is NOT the best solution as I now have to edit the Addon.xml Organizer and Scenery.cfg when I add new scenery or they get out of sequence.  I do not think LM techs designed it that way.  But, like Oliver at Lorby_Si said, he is very surprised some commercial developer has not come up with a commercial organizer that does everything.

Also my experience. First noticed it when I started using Lorby_Si tool, and then went to FTX manager and saved their ordering preference. After that, I had my FreeMeshX between FTX entries. When I then sorted it with SCE, using FTX didn't move FreeMeshX entries. That was the "gotcha" for me.

I also wish we had an AIO, but until then, I have 0 problems using both to sort out the mess :biggrin:

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4 hours ago, Lorby_SI said:

Hi Jim,

didn't know about that one. Unfortunately I am on a business trip and it will be a while until I can look at it.

Changing layers numbers in the scenery.cfg always worked just fine, and I have had no reports suggesting otherwise (except yours here). One issue is FTXCentral itself, because it re-injects the scenery.cfg entries all the time, shuffling the layers.

Best regards

That it is, but it's possible to "solve" it, at least it worked for me. I have my openLC below UT Landclass - Urban, and FTX Entries at the top of the lib. FreeMeshX is placed above Bathymetry via SCE. And nothing shuffles neither through FTXCentral, nor SCE, nor AO.

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