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Automatic scenery install

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Does anyone know if there's a way to programatically add new scenery to FS2002 when the scenery is installed? I'd like to make an installer that doesn't require the user to go to their scenery library and manually add my scenery. I've noticed that some payware sceneries seem to self-install, namely those from Lago, but I'm not sure how it's accomplished exactly.thanks,

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I can't remember all the details anymore, but for our scenery we build our own install tool. Basically if you add the entry to the scenery.cfg file it will also be in the library.Arno


Member Netherlands 2000 Scenery Team[a href=http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen]http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen/banner.jpg[/a]

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So I guess the only real challenge is getting the next number in the array of layers so you can index your addition correctly... yes? I think I understand the concepts, but I'm a little hazy on the actual process.thanks,

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Yes, I think it was, but I can't really remember.Also, I have seen that the numbers in the scenery.cfg sometimes have gaps in between and it still works. I think I should have the source of our installer somewhere, if I can find it I'll have a look at how we did it.Arno


Member Netherlands 2000 Scenery Team[a href=http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen]http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen/banner.jpg[/a]

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If you decide to go this route, I have a suggestion: please don't make it an *.exe. There are still some of us out here who prefer to retain control over our own file systems; that is, we like doing things the old fashion way and install scenery and other files ourselves......install and uninstall are easier and no registry hacking is required.

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I agree there, I still like to have full control myself.But our install tool doesn't place anything in the registry (install is also still delete folder). It's just that there are a lot of people around who get confused by a manual install.Another point we found is that the installer can give runtime errors on some machines, so that's also some you should think about. In our case you can rename the exe to zip and after that you can install it as a normal zip file :).Arno


Member Netherlands 2000 Scenery Team[a href=http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen]http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen/banner.jpg[/a]

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Hi,I would also like to add to what has been said in the last two posts. Many users, including me, see red when there is an auto-installer in a package. I feel I want to have "control" over the addon that is being installed. If the auto-install performs something it doesn't clearly describe prior to that, it is really annoying. A bad example of this could be a certain aircraft addon that in all silence installs a certain camera addon apart from the aircraft itself (no names mentioned).

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Totally agree. Often you have to use them because there is no other way. Now I remember I installed a scenery once and without warning me it overwrote the default Fs2000 MS road texture without making a backup of it. That sort of things make me really angry :).Although we use a autoinstaller for our scenery (basically to prevent all those question and problems when people get stuck in the manual install) I always make sure while testing it that it is really flexible (can also install outside the FS scenery folder etc) and that it tells you what it will do (and make backup when needed of course).Think this yes or no for autoinstallers is just the same as discussions about Windows and if it should think for you and do things without asking or not (I strongly prefer to do the thinking myself :D). But that's another topic.Arno


Member Netherlands 2000 Scenery Team[a href=http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen]http://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen/banner.jpg[/a]

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I really appreciate all the viewpoints and suggestions here. It's always a balancing act when creating software for mass consumption. It's good for us all to bear in mind that we're frequenting the scenery design forum, which means we've probably got a lot more familiarity with computers and the guts of the sim than most people even dream of. Of course we all want to retain control over the install process -- we know what we're doing ;-)! But in my experience those of us who live the digital lifestyle often are just a tiny bit out of touch with how computer illiterate those around us are. I want to create add-ons that are as simple as humanly possible to interact with, and that includes installs. Making it simple means less support woes and generally happier customers, plus I think it's just a nice thing to do. Have no fear, I don't like the "evil empire" way of doing things any more than the rest of you. BTW, as an aside, Microsoft might be really good at stuffing things down our throat without our permission, but in my experience nobody plays the old "you don't need to know how that works" game better than Apple. Anyone here ever been a Mac head? Then you know what I mean. It's just that I see things all the time that should have been automated with installs but mysteriously weren't. Not to pick on anyone, but I recently downloaded an absolutely fantastic freeware aircraft for FS2002. It was a simple zip archive and seemed to be set up properly with regards to folders, so I just unzipped it into my aircraft directory and loaded it up. No gauges on the panel!?! So I peeked into the aircraft folder and discovered a "gauge" folder inside with the requisite gauges. It wasn't a big deal, and I remedied the problem within a few seconds, but what gives? Why didn't the authors take a few extra minutes to create the structure so that the gauge would just have gone into "gauges" on its own? Looking at the forums, a bunch of users were actually stumped by this and had to ask for support as to why their panel wasn't working. That's what I mean by not overestimating the computing public. Anyway, sorry for the long-winded rant. User interaction and ease of use is something I'm very interested in and have some strong opinions on. I'm not sure I'm going to make an auto-installer at all yet, but you can be sure I'll keep the power users in mind when I do, and not get out of hand with the automation.thanks,

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As you said there is a good reason behind autoinstallers, so as long your stick to autoinstallers that don't mess up things in others

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Ok, how about an answer to the original question? This feature has been requested by several folks in my VA.I'm trying to do the same thing. I'm using the nullsoft installer. All I want to do is have it create a directory with the source files in the addon scenery folder (done), then add the proper entry into scenry.cfg (todo)so the use just has to click and fly. To uninstall they just del the dir or click uninstall in side of that dir.

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Hi,Scenery install is not just copying files to ../SCENERY/ and ../TEXTURE/ folders. The installer should:- read the Windows registry to know (where FS is installed and) the place where scenery.cfg exists- add an Area to scenery.cfg- optionally install flatten switches- optionally install exclude switchesYou can download a programme that does this from:http://www.ptsim.com/en/support.htmand, if anyone is interested, I can send the VB source code.But if the scenery has lanclasses, autogens or phototiles, then you may have to install 2 different sceneries (one with a /scenery/ folder without a /texture/ folder) and may be you have to copy BMPs to FS default folders. The situation is even more difficult if you have to alter afd files, ...In conclusion, manual installation of sceneries is not as easy as it was before! Regards, Luis

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Hi AllI couldn't agree more with Bill, I'm all for allowing people the chance to install their own Scenery, afterall that was how I learn't to understand the structure of files and what makes Fs tick.When I released my Freeware Scenery in Dec2002, I got alot of emails requesting support for installation issues, and I'm happy to support people that choose to download my scenery, but that was using a *.exe so I'm more mystified than mostMay be some people just instal to a temp dir, so they can access the files, either way, explicit instructions even in 'MustReadme' files just don't seem to workI have recently been working with Instalshield Express 3.5, and creating these files takes some time, the program Luis mentioned is a nice little program, does it scan for Fs dir, because this must be the best way to instal. I think my last instal file enabled people to select the instal path, I would always want that control, but to instal to set sub-directories from the Fs root directory once identified sounds a good idea.As a matter of interest, should scenery be in F:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesFS2002scenery orF:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesFS2002ADDON SCENERY if the latter, how?I always instal to scenery root; may be this is a problem with usersA difficult balance I must admit

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I think every user does such things different. I have installed all my scenery out of the FS root. My Fs2002 is in G:Fs2002 and all scenery in G:scenery. This was easy when I switched from Fs200, as all my scenery was still there to be used.So I think there is not really a place where the scenery must be, depends on the user.For the other installer issues I think I have already given my opinion some time back, when this tread was started :).

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Hi LuisThanks very much for the link to your setup utility - very neat indeed! I have looked at a number of similar utilities and none seem to work just the way I want. There was a potentially very good one called USITool crafted by Arnt Helge Haaland from Norway, with many useful options. Unfortunately it had a small bug in its handling of folder creation that resulted in the creation of duplicate folders if required folders already existed. I pointed this out to Arnt but he was unable to find the time to fix it - partly, I think, because there had been so little interest in his tool. Seems a great pity because I would have been very happy to become a user if he could have put the problem right.I would be very grateful to receive the VB code to your tool and thank you very much for your kind offer. Perhaps you would like to send it to me at my own e-mail address of gerrish@flightsims.co.ukKindest regradsGerrish

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I checked out that program, however it seems to be for FS2000 and there is no clear entry in the setup.ini for setting the path nor does it specifiy where it's searching for FS. Maybe that's all in the source code. I would like to see the source as well.

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Hi Gerrish,I think Arnt stopped working on his tool. We used it to release our scenery. Guido, the team member that made our new installer, used some of the techniques Arnt also used (mainly the ability to rename the exe to zip and still be able to install manual after that).

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I have gone one step further than Arno in that I keep my scenery on a separate drive to FS2002. This is fine if the auto installer gives you the option to choose your destination folder but it is woeful for those installers that insist on putting scenery within FS2002.OK - I know it's not much of an issue to run the install and then move the folders to your preferred location. That is until the designer releases an update as an EXE file as well, which can't detect the original on your system and instantly quits. If you do decide to go for an auto installer make sure you get one that gives you flexibility to keep the buyers happy.boneshttp://fsaviation.net

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>I checked out that program, however it seems to be for FS2000>and there is no clear entry in the setup.ini for setting the>path nor does it specifiy where it's searching for FS. Maybe>that's all in the source code. I would like to see the source>as well.Hi,You are right on one thing! That programme was for FS2000! But if you download it again, you get the FS2002 version (just replaced the file - the new zip has the same name but a size of 41131 bytes).On the contrary:1) the programme checks the windows registry to get the location of FS2002 and aborts if FS is not present2) the user can specify the location of scenery and texture folders! In the ini file, the designer specifies default ones which are presented to the user at installation time. If the user does not like the suggestion, he (or she) enters folder names for the scenery.If you want the visual basic code, please write to luis@ptsim.comRegards,Luis

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