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Guest davidglaister

Advice on releasing freeware scenery package

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Hi,I am nearing a position where I can finally release a freeware scenery package that I have been working on for the past three to four years!The scenery covers the Isle of Wight and Solent and comprises quite a few elements:New detailed coastlines and a few remeshed areas created with Slarti.3 detailed airports (with AFCAD files and AI Aircraft), Sandown and Bembridge are remodelled, and Lee-on-Solent (including SRN4 hovercraft at the Hovercraft Museum) which is not included in FS2004 has been added.Dynamic scenery includes a very detailed hovercraft running between the Isle of Wight and Southsea, Fastcat catamaran running between Ryde pierhead and Portsmouth harbour and car ferry running from Portsmouth harbour and Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight.Landmarks include the recentley opened Spinnaker tower at Portsmouth, Ryde pier and harbour, Hovertravel terminals at Ryde and Southsea, Solent Sea forts, Nab Tower Lighthouse, Bembridge harbour, Bembridge windmill, detailed Needles with lighthouse plus various other landmarks and static objects.Another feature included is a repaint of the Hampshire Police aircraft based at Lee-on-Solent (I have the permission of the designer of the original AI aircraft to include the aircraft if needed.)Also for the scenery to work correctly SRTM mesh for the UK is required.The reason for this long description of the scenery is I would like to ask advice on the following two questions:1. Would it be wise to ask a few people to beta test the scenery or just go ahead and release and fix any installation or other problems with patches.2. Keeping in mind that quite a few elements are included, mainly my work but also the mesh and Hampshire Police Islander, how should I go about packaging the scenery (installer, or asking users to install the various files in the correct locations etc.) and should I include the Islander and mesh or give users a link where the files can be downloaded.Thanks for any advice, Davidhttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134640.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134641.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134642.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134643.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134644.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134645.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134646.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/134647.jpg

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I persoally prefer installing it myself but know many prefer an installer... sorry thats not a clear answer.As to including those 2 files, better I think to give a link.So people who already have the 2 dont need to dl again.Beta testing is usually a good idea. Sometimes it can save some headaches. If you need a tester let me know, I'm not so far away from the loc you have done.Frosty

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Hi David,I agree with Frosty, preferably allow the installer to install anywhere then the user would have the option to do a temporary install then move to the required position.Again, regarding the aircraft, just provide a link.Regarding the mesh and coastline mods, are these necessary if the user has VFR Terrain installed? This includes a very accurate coastline and mesh.George

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I am doing much the same thing. I am revamping a large area of Washington State with reworked landclass files as well as replaced coastline and LWM/VTP data. Additionally, I am revamping several airports in Washington State as part of this package. I was set to release the project a week or more ago but I ran into some conflicting LWM/VTP data errors that needed to be worked out. In addition, I had to make sure it was compatible with Holger Sandmann's Columbia River Gorge scenery since his scenery package utilizes the exact same default **915150.bgl scenery files.I am currently taking a break from developing the package (I've spent the last six months on it and I need a much needed rest). When I near completion, I will release it to a few selected scenery developers who've assisted me in the project to see if there are certain bugs in the package that need to be fixed. I would surely recommend that you beta test your release as much as you can before release so that there are no "this feature doersn't work" or "I am having a problem with this part of your scenery" e-mails.As for the installers.. I can't speak for others, but I personally despise the use of automatic installers that many are starting to use. To me, they're too much of a hassle and when you remove it by clicking the "uninstall" button, you may end up removing some files that other scenery and/or aircraft files are dependent on. Oh, you might need WinZIP for the following...The best method - a method I have used successfully, is to include all the scenery-specific "*.fx" files into a separate "Effects" folder, and likewise for the master scenery directory, e.g. Mount St. Helens Scenery Package (with its respective scenery and texture subfolders within). Next, with the master scenery directory and the "Effects" folder selected, right click and select "Add to ".zip..." and it should create a ZIP file with all the necessary files contained within the ZIP file. Be sure to include instructions in the readme for a detailed unzipping and installation procedure, as well.And from the looks of it, it's an exceptional scenery package you've been working on! Keep up the good work!_Steve

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i think building a good installer is about as hard as doing the scenery, and not as rewarding. Unfortunately I have heard folks put up their hard work, and they get complaints about install. I know I am doing a little scenery. In the past I pretty much did stuff for my own use, but a couple folks were interested in my project goals so I will probably release it. I won't do an installer, though. I will provide (at least IMHO) good documentation. At least for me, I install a designer's hard work and if I don't like something, I try to fix it myself rather than nag the designer. Maybe I should be providing more feedback. Even if it is just a simple AFCAD with some added parking, if it helps me enjoy the sim then I appreciate the effort.Your screenies look really nice. In a perfect world, you would have a plain vanilla FS9 to test against, and maybe a couple key addons in another version. At least, you can guard against the problem of missing textures, which seems to be the easiest thing to miss because some were installed in generic or world or texture.The problem with beta testing, is that without a good knowledge of the system under test, I think it is hard to interpret the results.I don't normally fly in UK, but I now and then install stuff "out of area" just to see what folks in other places are doing (I do this with Japan, Korea, and Australia/NZ a bit). So at least for me, when your scenery shows up in the "latest files" I will take a look and enjoy the hard work of a fellow simmer!scott s..

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Hi,Thanks for all your comments and advice, appears to be the manual installation then.I'm not sure how the scenery will align with VFR terrain because many of the objects and AI craft are located on the coasts.I am just adding a few more objects (finding it hard to say "thats it, finished"), complete some documentation, and hopefully some of you will be kind enough to test the scenery.David

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DavidI am interested in whether it will fit in with the VFR Photoscenery and VFR Terrain, looks really good.Anthony(EGDC)

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If there is a popular UK VFR or terrain package which includes accurate placement of coasts, rivers roads etc, I would encourage you to consider a version that places objects in relation to the accurate terrain, simply because I suspect that folks most interested in your addon would also own these terrain enhancements. Of course, if you don't own the addons yourself, there isn't much you can do about that!scot s..

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David,I have both the VFR Photographic Scenery and VFR Terrain. If you would like me to test, send me a mail.George

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Hi,I have spent a week or so trying to optimise the scenery and working on the documentation.The scenery can be downloaded from:http://freespace.virgin.net/david.glaister/index.htmI would be most grateful if all those who offered to test the scenery, and check how the different addons fit with it, could let me know the results and any errors or missing files.David Glaister

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