Sign in to follow this  
FalconAF

FSX AFX/AFCAD Question

Recommended Posts

I've only been using FSX for the past few months...had to wait until I got a new computer to be able to run it. I've got it running great now with Acceleration and SP2, so no problem there. But up until now, I've only been using "default" airport sceneries. So I'm "behind the power curve" on some of the general knowledge stuff concerning the new AFX.bgl files and integration.Tonight is the first time I started browsing the file libraries for airport scenery addons. I've noticed many of the "older" dated FSX airport zips contain AF2 files (for example, an airport addon dated Oct 06 for FSX). I thought FSX couldn't use the FS9-type AF2.bgl files.Are these included AF2.bgl files just "named wrong" by the authors? I'm hesitant to install any addons that have an AF2.bgl in them until I'm certain it won't hose up anything.Also, I recall reading somewhere there is a free "AFCAD" viewer for FSX AFX.bgl files...something like Lee Swordy's AFCAD2 program. But I'll be darned if I can find where I read it before. If someone could point me to this program so I could view FSX AFX files I'd really appreciate it.Thanks for any guidance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

There are three programs currently available to modify FSX airports. All involve some costs.AFX is a payware product published by Flight1 and developed by the fellow who did Instant Scenery. It is an all-in-one program which reads stock airport data and compiles its modifications into files usually named AFX.FSXPlanner is a free product, uses a Java based code, and uses the Microsoft BGLComp.exe to compile the final airport file. You much have purchased the FSX Deluxe version and updated the SDK to SP1 or SP2 - I'm not sure - to create/ modify airports with FSXPlanner.ADE - Airport Design Editor - is also a free product and also uses the Microsoft BGLComp.exe to compile the final airport files.Each has it's strengths and weaknesses. Each has some way to go before it's is a truely finished product. And in fairness to the three developers - AFCAD was never finished either.If you see a file names AF2 - try opening it with AFCAD. If it opens with AFCAD - it is an FS2004 file.You can use FS2004 files in FSX - but they will destroy most of the FSX additional features. They will probably no line up with the FSX airport buildings and ground polygons.There were many files created with a tool Burkhard Renk of My Traffic developed which decompled FSX airport data, stripped out the FSX specific code, allowed the airport to be edited with AFCAD, added the FSX specific code back and compiled the airport as FSX data.With the release of the new tools, Burkhard's tool is seldom used any more - a one step tool is so much easier. But I'm sure there are files still around created in that format.You will also see many airports / "AFCADs" which were created with none of the above tools - but by a combination of techniques producing XML code. Most of Jim Vile's airports were done that way, my CYRV and several others. These should not be edited with any of these programs.That is one issue due to the three main programs - AFX files should only be edited with AFX, FSXP files should only be edited with FSXPlanner, ADE files should only be edited with ADE.Personally, I prefer ADE - I've worked with each tool. I like the implementation by ADE better.Support Forums - ADE - http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=95FSXPlanner - http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=83AFX - http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_topics.asp?FID=31

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reggie,Thanks much for the above in-depth explanation. I wasn't aware of all the different naming conventions being used for FSX "afcad" files. Now at least I know that an xxx.ADE_PDS.bgl file is also an "afcad" type file. Never realized that until reading your post above.It should be made a sticky post as well. Without it, I'm sure I would have hosed up many things in my FSX install. And ended up with a few more forum posts begging for help! Great post!Thanks again.FalconAF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, there's also more than afx and ade. An AFX file is a horse of many colors, who knows what is in it. An ade file is ok, but it denotes what tool is used to MAKE the file, rather than what is actually IN the file. I think this is wrong, but of course that is my personal opinion.I use apx as in my naming convention for airport scenery...because this is what Microsoft uses to describe what is actually IN their airport scenery files:ICAO_apx_rb.bgl -- airport scenery elementsICAO_obx_rb.bgl -- objectsICAO_cvx_rb.bgl -- vector scenery elementsThe middle prefixes are the exact conventions Microsoft used, so I use them too. I don't specify what I used to "make" the files, which is actually often a text editor and bglcomp, and many tools, rather than one.I think that's the best way to go, keeping it simple. Too bad nothing is standardized. Everyone wants to name it after the tool used.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mace,Amen to that. What really confused me once I got to the point of looking for "afcad" and "airport" addons for FSX was the lack of a way to identify what the "afcad" file was. I was seeing AF2's, AFX's, FSX_ICAO.bgl...it was totally making my head spin. The AFCAD2 program was no help 'cos it won't recognize FSX "afcads". I finally caved in and bought AFX just so I could have a way of identifying which files were the "afcad" files in my scenery (yeah...I know...that's sad. But I was desperate! ;-) ) That's when I got the real shock. I did a search for an airport in SOCAL that I fly to a lot. AFX showed I had FIVE duplicate "afcad" files in my scenery for it! One stock, and 4 "mods" from various other sceneries I had added to FSX (MegaScenery, MyTrafficX, etc). I'm STILL trying to figure out how to organize all of this.Which raises a question. Some of the stuff I've been reading makes me thing that having "duplicate afcad" files in FSX might not be an issue like it is in FS9. FSX will only use the one in the highest priority layer. Is this true? If so, great. If not, I gotta go do a massive search and remove mission, 'cos I know with all my different addons I must have a ton of "duplicte afcads" in FSX.Is there a program for FSX to scan for duplicate "afcads" like the "ScanAFD" program for FS9?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this