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Mace

ACES and FSX

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Hi Bill.I hope this doesn't make you mad.Your reliance on AFCAD in FS9 is the reason you are now having problems with FSX.Had you accustomed yourself to using BGLComp and XML code with FS9, you could now easily reproduce that code for FSX, and use it's new features for airport construction.When simmers first started refering to airport layouts as "Afcads", I knew we had a problem. And now it is here to bite us all in the butt! They are not Afcads, they are airport BGLs. It doesn't matter at all if they were made with the AFCAD program, or with XML/BGLComp.The solution: learn to use XML and BGLComp. Then when new tools do finally arrive, you'll be able to use them, but also know just what they are doing... and protecting your knowledge of airport design for FS11.Don't expect Aces to do anything more than provide the basic tools they have in the past. Those tools worked pretty good. Use the SDKs to further your understanding, and future AFCAD-type programs will be even easier for you to use.You, and other Afcad users are not alone. Users of FSDS, Airport for Windows ( SGX ), Ground2K4, TerraBuilder, etc... are all having problems because those programs are not relevant to FSX.Designers that worked with more understanding of the old SDKs have not had these "transitional" problems. That's not to say there haven't been any problems, but we're not lost when looking at XML code, or dealing with the oddities of gmax, or the new resample.exeThe Aces team DID provide you with the proper tools... you just didn't invest the time to learn them. Now you must learn them, or wait for clever programmers to evolve tools to replace AFCAD ( and hope they don't charge too much ).Dick

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Dear Dick,I'm not mad, in fact, as I said, I enjoy using FSX. That said, your thinking on this issue is exactly the problem. You see, most FSX users are not programmers. This isn't laziness, just a lack of time and comprehension of SDKs, which are designed for programmers and not the casual user. Which is why, if you had read my earlier post more carefully, I said that ACES could have spared themselves the fury of the casual user if they had provided a free tool that would allow users to manage airport traffic. I don't think anyone cares if it's called AFCADs or something else, but please don't insult us by telling us we should all take up XML to adjust things that, up to now, have been relatively easy to adjust in both FS2002 and FS9.I am curious, though, why you felt the need to reply to a message addressed to ACES and then proceed to scold me for not learning XML? In future, if you don't want to make people

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BGLComp and XML code.........LOLAFCAD made it a simple and QUICK process to change and adjust aiprort layouts, add ILS's etc.As if asking someone to learn XML is a suitable replacement for this fantastic tool.Most of us don't have time to be messing around with XML coding and BGLcomp and trying to figure out the inners of the SDK.Heck, with two kids under 24 months old, I'm lucky if I get an hour to fly!

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Bill,Dick had some very valid points.However, your best bet at having the developers look at your message would be to send an email to tell_fs@microsoft.com. With this being a public forum, people are bound to chime in with opinion on the topic.J-

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rhumbaflappy I recall you are the author of bglc and as well versed as it gets ,none the less one of the elements that made FS9 " fun " were the myriad releases from non professionals that flowed through Avsimand other servers that covered a great many out of the way placeswith download options to improve the " Flight Sim Experience " .The back wards compatibility of old scenery and the new tools includedin the missions sdk ensure a supply of scenery for flight sim x but developing new product has been rendered an activity that requiresrelearning a great number of production methods that arecausing long term developers grey hair to come to terms with ,imagine the trepidation a newbee must face now when deciding to produce their first model ... and how many bits of software theywill need to get familiar with ... near scary .For the last couple of years i have been running an on line design school at WestCoastATC.com and was able to share files from the sdkfreely that now would be piracy to exchange and further the complexity level now such that courses in model production are limited to FS9 for the moment .In closing i feel the situation is going to greatly limit new production of freeware for the new platform and change the dynamicto a market driven form of addon development that consider marketability first and leave the niches to an ever dwindling numberof hobbyists who may find learning XML syntax as much a royal painas did i and anyone else who learns RPN. Chuck Jodry VJPL developer and Director of Research & Development at WestCoastATC.com .. P.S thanks Richard

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Hi Bill.I'm glad you're not mad. LOLThe reason I replied was 2-fold. One, is that you posted this on an open forum, and obviously wished to get a response from outside the Aces studio ( otherwise you would have contacted them on one of their blogs, or e-mailed them ). I'm qualified to give an intelligent response, and that leads to...Two, is that I meant everything I implied. I AM scolding the community for being lazy. If you learn the rules there will be less frustration down the road. Or else wait until the programmers can again make your design projects easier. Complaining to the Aces team makes little sense in this case. AFCAD was never their program... in fact it broke a few rules. Lee made the program before the SDKs were available. I think Lee did a fantastic job, and I also look forward to a good replacement for it.Dick

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Sure he did, if you're a developer. My point, was that AFCAD allowed non-developers to further contribute to the FS hobby by customizing airport data. If FS had included a small tool to allow that to happen, most of the complaining from casual users (again, performance issues aside) would have been mitigated. That's it, that's all I said. Anyway, thanks for the link.Cheers,Bill

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Hi Chuck.Actually, I didn't have anything to do with creating BGLC. What I did was to hack the FS9 MakeMDL and produce BGLC_9, which allowed tweaking of the ASM files for scenery object designers. With the help of Christian Stock, Jim Keir, and others ( including the SDKs ), I also authored the TDF macros for BGLC, to allow the creation of LWM and VTP terrain elements for CFS2, FS2002 and FS2004... and eventually helped freeware programs such as Ground2K4 and to easily produce terrain elements. It is true that the new SDKs are of no use to anyone unless they have purchased the Deluxe edition of FSX. I agree this was a step backwards, but MS has their own marketing strategies that even the Aces cannot influence. FS2002 required the Deluxe version for use of Gmax.Some of the complexity of the design process is caused by the community need for backwards-compatibility. But I don't think FSX is any more complex than FS9 regarding the number of steps to produce a BGL. And there will certainly be more programs that will ease the design process.I think the best scenery designers around, like Holger Sandman, Arno Gerretsen, and Jon Patch, take the time and effort to learn the SDKs and the more elemental aspects of the Aces tools. In some cases, the programming is not complex and requires only reading forum threads. In other cases, an online school would be a good idea. That hasn't changed.I hope you can find a way to continue your school with even more success in FSX.As far as freeware? Missions and scenery are coming along. Gmax is again available for objects and aircraft. SBuilder for FSX is available, as is FSXKML, for terrain elements. Photoreal and mesh are a bit different, but the new resample gives a lot more control and options. And the SDKs are pretty good this time around, and were delivered MUCH sooner. So I think freeware is in good shape for FSX.Dick

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>Sure he did, if you're a developer. My point, was that AFCAD>allowed non-developers to further contribute to the FS hobby>by customizing airport data. If FS had included a small tool>to allow that to happen, most of the complaining from casual>users (again, performance issues aside) would have been>mitigated. That's it, that's all I said. >>Anyway, thanks for the link.>Cheers,>Bill>I very much doubt you will see an AFCAD-style tool for FSX released by Microsoft. They have bigger fish to fry.I don't consider myself a programmer, but I have gotten myself halfway-versed in basic airport-related xml structures that BGLCOMP can understand. Also, what's this about there being no AFCAD for FSX? I have used AFCAD to design scenery for FSX. All it takes is one extra step, and that is using a decompiler to adjust the xml for use in FSX.I would love to know exactly what tools Microsoft used to create their scenery. I find it difficult to believe they made 1000's of airports by using a text editor and BGLCOMP. Surely some GUI was needed for ease and speed of production.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2310 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2 GB Corsair XMS 2.5-3-3-8 (1T), WD 250 gig 7200 rpm SATA2, CoolerMaster Praetorian case

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>Which is why, if you>had read my earlier post more carefully, >please don't insult us by>In future, if you don't want to make people>

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Hi Mace.Don't get Dick Boley into this! He'll never forgive us. ;)Dick Ludowise ( rhumbaflappy )

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Ahhrgh! I am sorry about that! I am in a hurry, as usual...RhettAMD 3700+ (@2310 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2 GB Corsair XMS 2.5-3-3-8 (1T), WD 250 gig 7200 rpm SATA2, CoolerMaster Praetorian case

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Hi Bill, Dick and All,As a Dutchman english is not my native language, so i hope that i can made myself clear enough in this, for me, rather difficult, sensitive and open discussion.Halfway Dec i wrote a thread in another FSXforum called"Very little FSX at Newest Files" with a lot and various responses and now, one month later, it's still the same situation.I've been a member of the Flightsim-community since 1994 and I've have never seen so little Freeware files at the various FSsites as now; they seem to just disappear.It's a shame..that most of the threads are about FSX framerates and other minor important items.Somewhere i read: There is a time and place for everything, including criticism and helpful suggestions.And i think that's now...I have read Bill's thread and the follow-up by Dick and others.And in my opinion in some way Bill is right from the "little designers of FSXfreeware" point of view,and at the other hand Dick is right form the "Developers of DesigningTools" point of view.I belong to the first group having used AFW,SGX,AFCAD,FSDS,etc. to build my own city and airportscenery AI , etc over the years.Now with FSX i am having a lot of problems to fix my own FS9-designs to use in FSX, which was not the case with the transitions during the FS7-FS8-FS9 period.And i have the feeling that when i am putting threads at the Developers- or other design-forums that i am delaying the real developers in their time consuming developers job.Altough I must confess, that the best designers,like Holger, Arno, Jon, Luis, Dick and many others are very willing to help whenever they can... but nevertheless i am not completely satisfied.The situation right now, for me as FSX-"littledesigner"/user is a little frustrated, much less freeware, less Add-ons, result less fun.And... i must confess that Dick's, sometimes rather "straight" replies, to the threads are not always having the positive impact that they sould have as a mentor with all those years of FS-experience.But that's all in the game and i still do love it!Bert EHTW

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Hi All,You think all this is bad, but what would happen if MS followed SOME suggestions for a total re-write of FS? That would mean NO backward compatibility, no old tools, no old files, no old anything! Then we would REALLY hear the P and M! SOME need to think about what they wish for and the consequences of their wishes!Jimhttp://www.hifisim.com/Active Sky V6 Development Team Active Sky V6 Proud SupporterHiFi Beta TeamRadar Contact Supporter: http://www.jdtllc.com/AirSource Member: http://www.air-source.us/FSEconomy Member:http://www.fseconomy.com/

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>Hi All,>>You think all this is bad, but what would happen if MS>followed SOME suggestions for a total re-write of FS? That>would mean NO backward compatibility, no old tools, no old>files, no old anything! Then we would REALLY hear the P and M!>SOME need to think about what they wish for and the>consequences of their wishes!>>JimYes exactly. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Everyone wants BOTH super-performance AND backward-compatibility. Unfortunately, we cannot have both.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2310 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2 GB Corsair XMS 2.5-3-3-8 (1T), WD 250 gig 7200 rpm SATA2, CoolerMaster Praetorian case

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>>I very much doubt you will see an AFCAD-style tool for FSX>released by Microsoft. They have bigger fish to fry.>It's something we'd love to be able to offer. To date, contractual obligations and a severe lack of usable time have prevented it.>>I would love to know exactly what tools Microsoft used to>create their scenery. I find it difficult to believe they>made 1000's of airports by using a text editor and BGLCOMP. >Surely some GUI was needed for ease and speed of production.>You're half correct. We don't use a text editor to author airports. We do, however, use BglComp. Extensively. Every APX, ATX, NVX, OBX, BNX and BRX BGL file we shipped went through BglComp - the same BglComp included in the SDK. And every CVX BGL file we shipped went through Shp2Vec - the same Shp2Vec included in the SDK. And every DEM BGL file we shipped went through the Resampler - the same Resampler included in the SDK.In fact, most of the SDK tools (with all their quirks) are part of our production tool set.So... let's see... we used (not including Art tools):- Importers for 3 flavors of aviation data (Jeppesen, FAA, DAFIF).- Importer for NOAA hazard data.- An in-house developed editing environment called MScenes to author, place and/or spatially reconcile airports, buildings, scenery objects, vector data, etc. The GUI, while somewhat quirky by today's standards, was designed for efficiency in authoring airports. In it's current state you'd need about US$40,000 worth of database hardware and software to use it.- A number of special-purpose command-line tools to process data (i.e. generate 55797 extrusion bridges, smooth shorelines, process roads, generate GUIDs...).- Lots of scripts.- An exporter for aviation and scenery data (generate XMLs which are compiled with BglComp).- An exporter for vector data (generate Shapefiles which are compiled with Shp2Vec).- BglComp (same one as in SDK).- Shp2Vec (same one as in SDK).- Resampler (same one as in SDK).- XtoMdl (same one as in SDK).- Annotator (same one as in SDK).- 3rd party GIS tools (i.e. ESRI ArcGIS).- A large spatial database server.So, Rhett, now you know.-Doug (Developer, ACES Scenery Tools)

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Ah, the burning question of many months at fsdevloper, and here at AVSIM, has now been anwered. My day is now complete. :)RhettAMD 3700+ (@2310 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2 GB Corsair XMS 2.5-3-3-8 (1T), WD 250 gig 7200 rpm SATA2, CoolerMaster Praetorian case

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