Orbitandy

Creating groups in P4AO

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I've recently started and getting the hang of using P4AO to move all my addon airports outside the root P3D folder - I think it's going OK so far. No doubt, a handy tool!

I now want to start investigating, how to load into the sim only the regions I want to fly in, to reduce load times and increase performance as I've accumulated a considerable amount of addons over the years. I've created 6 groups (regions) covering the world and determining what each should contain.

Let's say I want to fly only in Europe; apart from the obvious of loading all my Europe related addon airports, do I need to add all the ORBX stuff (base, vector, EUR) and the default P3D scenery (world, base, 0001...) mesh and so on?

So each group should have a set of all the standard P3D scenery including all ORBX stuff (that I can see relating to the that region) and then the specific addon airports for that region - am I seeing this correctly?

thanks

 

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Hi Andy. To reduce load times, by omitting areas/regions of sceneries you do not want loading up when you fire up P3Dv4, just go into the Scenery tab you will see at the bottom, and untick what do you not require loading. Some are greyed out and some are un-tickable.

For example, I have a number of Orbx sceneries and airports. To save load times, I just un-tick the ones I will not be flying around in, thus reducing P3Dv4 load-up times. Hope this helps

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1 hour ago, Orbitandy said:

So each group should have a set of all the standard P3D scenery including all ORBX stuff (that I can see relating to the that region) and then the specific addon airports for that region - am I seeing this correctly?

Hi,

the "groups" in P4AO are only a shortcut for activation/deactivation, meaning, when you doubleclick a group, P4AO will disable/enable all the sceneries that you put into that group at the same time.

So you only put those sceneries into a group that you want to be able to activate/deactivate with a doubleclick. That basically means only addon scenery (mesh, airports, cities, photoreal). You leave the default stuff alone, that you would never deactivate anyway.

For example, you could make a group "Europe" and another one "NorthAmerica". To the Europe group you add the FSGUX Europe mesh product and all your european add-on airports, likewise for the N.A. group you add all US and Canadian stuff. Then you can disable all of North America with one doubleclick on the group. When you want to fly in Europe, you double click Europe to activate it, and doubleclick N.A. to disable that group of sceneries.

Best regards

Edited by Lorby_SI

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Got it, thanks very much to both. I wasn't seeing this the right way - it's just a handy shortcut as you say.

 

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6 hours ago, Orbitandy said:

Got it, thanks very much to both. I wasn't seeing this the right way - it's just a handy shortcut as you say.

 

The ideal approach would be to use add-on.xmls for this. You make one add-on.xml that contains all European sceneries, another one for North America, etc. Then you can just turn them on or off with the Options->Add-ons dialog in P3D itself. You can have the same scenery in several add-on.xmls at the same time, and you can add all other types of content too (like aircraft, shaders, textures etc.) so only your imagination is the limit of how you want to organize your stuff. You could switch between a 1950's sim and a 2019's sim (including scenery, user and AI aircraft, whatever) just by clicking two checkboxes...

Unfortunately, with automated installers etc. it is quite the effort to (re-) organize everything.

Best regards

Edited by Lorby_SI

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Indeed, so much that can be had. I tried out the group function and noticed reduced load times 😉 when switching between airports although initial boot up of P3D takes some time while it re configures the scenery indexes.

For now, I'm testing all addons I've converted to addon.xml for correct operation. So far so good.

off-topic --> There are some leftover stuff in the root P3D effects, simobjects, script folders...etc. How to sort out those out and transfer them out of the root folder to my dedicated respective addon folders? Some are obvious but others...

 

thanks again

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30 minutes ago, Orbitandy said:

Some are obvious but others...

Exactly. The only option to keep your sim clean is to install addons outside of the core folders right from the start. That also keeps your files safe from being overwritten. For example a texture replacement works just as well when being kept elsewhere and referenced by an add-on.xml - the external reference will always take precedence over the internal files.

A lengthy manual process would be to create a clean installation of the sim, maybe on another computer. You don't have to activate it, you just want the files and folder structure. Then either compare manually or use the "Sim Diff" feature of P4AO (create a checkpoint on the clean sim, then use it as the baseline to let P4AO compare it to a second snapshot taken from the "spoiled" sim). I always take a snapshot before running an installer, just to be safe. But it takes a while, so you need a lot of time on your hands.

Best regards

Edited by Lorby_SI

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Very helpful Oliver, thank you. I have a few incremental backups of my install, I’ll check how far they go back. Maybe it’ll help with comparisons.

 That’s a good tip regarding the sim diff function.

all the best 

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Obviously, I am not smart enough to work with groups. I have created a group called FTX_NA in which I put all relevant ORBX FTX NA titles, submitted it and saved it. When I close and re-open P4AO, the group and all its entries are still there. All good so far. When I now DISABLE that group (FTX_NA) and click on SAVE, P4AO message says "config files saved". I close P4AO and start P3Dv4.4. When the Opening Screen appears, I check scenery. But then, all my FTX NA scenery titles are still there. I expected them to be disabled.

What goes wrong? I am not sure if I really understood the concept.

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36 minutes ago, Nemo said:

But then, all my FTX NA scenery titles are still there

P4AO groups don't remove scenery. It is just activated/deactivated.

If they are in the scenery.cfg, then they are still there on the scenery library dialog, but they should be deactivated (unchecked). If they are in an add-on.xml, they disappear.

Best regards

Edited by Lorby_SI

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23 minutes ago, Lorby_SI said:

P4AO groups don't remove scenery. It is just activated/deactivated.

If they are in the scenery.cfg, then they are still there on the scenery library dialog, but they should be deactivated (unchecked). If they are in an add-on.xml, they disappear.

Best regards

Thanks Oliver. It was not about removing it was all about activation and deactivating ... But I got it to work: DOUBLE CLICK not sure how I could miss this ... my dumbness.

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49 minutes ago, Nemo said:

my dumbness. 

No, the logic really is quirky. A user requested the option of disabling groups (not in the sim, only in P4AO !), so they don't change their state. I'm not exactly sure why that was, probably when you stack groups inside of each other.

Doubleclicking is the way to go, so the sceneries turn red.

Best regards

Edited by Lorby_SI

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