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AFCAD or ADD A GATE?

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So here I sit, still contemplating the jump. I pondered TTools too until some folks here encouraged me. And it is very cool! Remember all the questions here in Dec regarding the AI mystery. Thanks Lee!But now, there seems to be differing opinions regarding each program. There's a huge supply of AFCAD produced files in the library. Virtualy John's Add-A-Gate is in 2nd place, it seems. John noted that AFCAD can corrupt certain files and then the sim won't run, or some other kidnapping of visual scenery occurs? Yet some seem to be happy builders in AFCAD.So what's the opinion? I'm no computer expert and I am paranoid of fatally injuring FS2K2, especially after the HUGE number of hours it takes to TTool all the hub cities in N America.So what's up with this? Any opinion or tip will help me off the fence. Much appreciated!Rick

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First I'd like to acknowlege that Add A Gate might be in 2nd place but that equates to saying I came in second in a two man race :)In regards to 'notes' that AFCAD can corrupt certain files:AFCAD obviously isn't corrupting files, end users are corrupting files with AFCAD.As a programmer I feel as if every application written and given to the general public must be 'dummy proof' (written in such a way that the end user can not make any damaging changes to files edited or other applications which require those files). Having said this let me explain what MUST take place when a file which contains airport facilities data is changed. [ol][li]The BGL file must have it's GUID changed if the file size changes[/li][li]The BGL file contains an INDEX at the end of the file which points to every airport/vor/navid (etc) within the file. The beginning location of these items must be changed to equate to their new byte location[/li][li]FS2K2 must rewrite internal indexes which show these new location if they have changed, and although all indexes are equally important, I have found that index_file to be the 'most' important as index_file is FS2K2's 'fast' way of locating the exact location of an airport within the FS2K2's bgl files[/li][/ol]In order to PRESERVE these indexes AFCAD requires that the USER take the necessary steps to do so. And please, DO NOT forget to take these steps or you will end up with CORRUPT BGL files as AFCAD uses these indexes as well. After saving any BGL file with AFCAD either close out both AFCAD and FS2K2 then reopen FS2K2 FIRST then reopen AFCAD - or - Close AFCAD then in FS2K2 click on WORLD then SCENERY LIBRARY and finally close the window by clicking OK. After the indexes are rebuilt you can then (and only then) reopen AFCAD.To make it 'dummy proof' ... Add A Gate should NOT be ran while FS2K2 is running (there's really no need anyway). Add A Gate checks FS2K2's indexes and if they have been rewritten since the last time Add A Gate was ran Add A Gate creates its OWN indexes which point to the airports within the BGL files. Why? So that you don't have to open / close FS2K2 to have these indexes rebuilt and so that Add A Gate does not mistakenly corrupt FS2K2's indexes. After saving any airport with Add A Gate you can manually rewrite Add A Gate's internal indexes by clicking on File/Rebuild Index. Will FS2K2 ever NOT rebuild an index after saving an airport with Add A Gate. Not to my knowledge. As long as you launch FS2K2 at some point you will have your indexes rebuilt BEFORE you need them automatically thereby never allowing you to run FS2K2 with 'wrong' indexes.Working with wrong indexes causes the following problem:The index states that airport KCMH (for example ... hehehe ... I love columbus) is at location 3517c in usglaf02.bgl. IF any airport was edited ABOVE that location and the indexes were NOT rewritten AFCAD nor FS2K2 would not find this airport. IF you search for the file by going to the "specific bgl file" and look for it "manually" you would definately find the file and could continue editing. However, there appears to be deeper issues if the wrong index is used as there are many people who have complained about 'missing airports' after editing with AFCAD on this forum and others. Exactly what those issues are and how can they be solved? I can not say as I only use AFCAD to make uncontrolled airports controlled or to close runways to make for multiple runway use.Which program is better? My judgement is tainted so I refuse to comment :) however, to make a better decision for yourself I've explained in detail why I have made the comments about AFCAD and faulty indexes (my basis for doing so).-john

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>In regards to 'notes' that AFCAD can corrupt certain files: >AFCAD obviously isn't corrupting files, end users are >corrupting files with AFCAD. John, your response is even handed, and quite accurate.As I have said, my personal experience with AFCAD bears out your conclusion that AFCAD does not, of itself, corrupt bgl files. It is the USER who fails to read and - more importantly, follow! - the detailed directions in Lee's excellent documentation that corrupts files...Having said that, I must confess that it is easy to become disoriented and get the precise sequence of steps out of 'synch,' as I've done this myself. Fortunately for me, as soon as the edited airport wouldn't show up in AFCAD, I realized what I had done and immediately had FS2k2 perform a re-indexing of the files.I particularly like the fact that Add A Gate uses its own, internal database, because of the built-in "safety feature," but do get a bit annoyed at how slow the process is running over a network... :)

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>>In regards to 'notes' that AFCAD can corrupt certain files: >>AFCAD obviously isn't corrupting files, end users are >>corrupting files with AFCAD. >>John, your response is even handed, and quite accurate. I rarely reply to my own replies, but wanted to make this ADDENDUM to my initial comments.A prudent person using *either* program will immediately *export* a copy of the original airport as a backup precaution!I have two sub-folders that I use for this purpose:Airports Original files xxx.bgl xxxairport.txt (or .dat) Modified files xxx.bgl xxxairport.txt (or .dat)That way, I can 'restore' a specific airport without having to loose all my other edits within that specific bgl file...Or, if I do have to restore the default bgl for any reason, I can 're-import' all the relevant changes more easily.

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