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Prefab airports: installation and use

The following is covered:


- Installation
- Exclusion method
- Use of FSEconomy airports
- X-Life
- WorldTraffic
- Flat terrain
- Customizing
- Surface type of the ground textures
- Selection of airports
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Installation
These are the usual steps when installing custom scenery, but step 5 is important:

Step 1
Please delete all previous versions of Prefab Airports: look for any Prefab folder and remove it from
your Custom Scenery folder.

Step 2
Make sure you have the OpensceneryX installed (at least 2.1.1). If not, please update or download it
here: http://www.opensceneryx.com/
Do the same for: 3D people library (version 3.8 or higher) and the Autogate plugin (optional).

Step 3
Extract the files you downloaded from my website and place them in the Custom Scenery folder.
The structure should look like this:
X Plane 11 / Custom Scenery / x_Prefab_XXXX/ Earth nav data etc..

Step 4
Run X-Plane and close it again: now the scenery_packs.ini file is updated.
Step 5
Open the file scenery_packs.ini in the Custom Scenery folder with a text editor. Here you will
see all the custom scenery that you installed. OK, the exact order in which X-Plane loads these is
important: airports of lines at the top will overwrite lines at the bottom!

The correct order from top to bottom is:


1. Your own (other downloaded) scenery
2. Aerosoft airports
3. Global airports
4. x_Prefab_XXXX and x_Prefab_Library
5. KSEA Demo Area & Terrain and LOWI Demo Area
6. OSM sceneries: w2xp, treelines and farms etc
7. Add-ons + libraries: OpensceneryX, ff_library etc
8. Photo mesh
9. Other mesh files (HD Scenery Mesh v3)

Just copy & paste the lines in the ini file in the right order and you are ready to go (image shows older
version of the packages)!

New exclusion method


X-Plane 11 has a very functional exclusion method. The Prefab packages are build using this method.
If you followed the instructions above you will only see the Prefab airports if no other custom
scenery is present at that location!
BUT one important remark: there are a few old scenery packages that do not contain an apt.dat file
(they use the data of the X-Plane default apt.dat file). There is no way for X-Plane to know what
airport (ICAO) that folder is referring to -> not surprisingly in these cases the new exclusion method
will not work! You should update this packages or get rid of them.

Use of the FSEconomy package


X-Plane knows some airports in FSE under a different ICAO / name. The ICAO/name that FSE uses is
added to X-Plane but with transparent (invisible) runways, so you can use the X-Plane version of that
airport.
Example:

So, in the example to fly from 00AL in FSE you need to select 3M4 in X-Plane.

It is also possible that X-Plane knows the same ICAO, but at a totally wrong location for FSE
(sometime even 100 miles away). The right version for FSE is included in the package with an extra X
or XX in the ICAO code. Example for LECH -> LECHX + a list of some other examples:

X-LIFE
All the Prefab airports with 1 runway have ATC routes in the apt.dat files. At the moment X-Life
cannot handle apt.dat files with multiple airports. So, to make them work with X-Life you need to
create a small data file for each airport you want to use with X-Life and place it in the X-Life/Airports
folder.
Fortunately, making this data files is quick and easy -> you can find a video tutorial on my website in
which I explain how to do this. My website: www.4xplane.nl.

WorldTraffic
All the Prefab airports with 1 runway have ATC routes in the apt.dat files. To make them work with
WorldTraffic you need to create ground routes. I have tested with the tool XGRC 2.5 made by Sca1ey,
but there are other methods as well. More info can be found in the X-Plane forums: forums.x-
plane.org.
Flat terrain
X-Plane 11 has no longer a "Runways follows terrain" as a global setting. Flattening of the terrain is a
setting per individual airport. As my code has no idea about the terrain where an airport is placed I
decided to leave this setting off. As a result some airports (i.e. in mountains) will have problems with
height differences.

Customizing
Everyone uses X-Plane differently so it is possible that some features do not fit you. Some elements
of the Prefab packages can be managed through the library in the x_Prefab_Library folder. Open the
file library.txt with an editor (like NotePad++).
The library links the definitions I put into the scenery files to the objects, textures and facades in the
x_Prefab_Library folder. By changing this link you can change what X-Plane shows at runtime.

Here is how to change things (more details are in the library.txt file):
- All lines are build up as: EXPORT | Definition | Object used
DONT change the definition ONLY the object used!
- Fence
The fence can be removed by linking to a blank (empty) faade by removing and adding a #
sign: just open the library.txt file and you will see (its easy).
- Ground textures
NB: X-Plane already draws a different ground texture (mesh) at airports, but the layout of the
Prefab airports do not always match so you could use the used ground textures (turned off
by default).
- FlyBy planes
I have used FlyBy planes (you will see them in the air) -> if you want you can change or
disable them in the same way as the other objects.
- Scenery
If you dont like some of the sceneries you can disable or replace elements. You can use:
o Other scenery elements (mix them any way you like, BUT keep in mind that the
taxiway does not change: not all scenery is connected)
o Blank / empty element: nothing is shown
o Tree element: just some vegetation
o Platform element: an empty platform with some vegetation
- BUT DONT remove any lines in the file: this will probably cause X-Plane to CRASH
Surface type of the ground textures
For easier taxiing I changed the surface type of the ground textures to asphalt. Of course this is less
realistic, so if you want to change this you can!
Go to the ground folder in the x_Prefab_Library and open the gnd_xxxx.pol file you would like to
change. Remove the # before the line with the correct SURFACE type and put a # before "SURFACE
concrete". Thats all.

Selection of airports
As the Prefab package is a sort of one size fits all solution, I had to filter out airports which wouldnt
fit in. The following criteria are used to select the X-Plane airports:
- Land based
- Default airports (airports in the Global airports folder are excluded)
- Runway length > 200m
- Max. 3 runways (including helipads)
- No water runways
- No other airports (very) close by (example: EDBM and XDBM)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Crashes
The packages work without any problems for a lot of people. BUT: it is complex and a lot of data so I
cannot rule out small glitches (but these should not result in crashes). Furthermore it is a one size fits
all solution, so if it works for 1 airport is should work for all airports.
I will gladly help to figure out what goes wrong but then you have to PM me and attach the log.txt
and your scenery ini file. A specific airport where it went wrong could also help...
Airport / grass layout
If you don't like the airport / grass layout you can remove the ground texture: you will only see the
underlying mesh. Instructions: see above.

General
To create this package I made an .NET application (with a lot of code) which sorts out all the data and
then calculates all the necessary points to create the apt.dat and dsf data that X-Plane needs to draw
an airport. Everything in X-Plane is based on individual coordinates, so every airport and every point
has to be processed separately using the location of the runway(s) as a starting point.

I tried to create variation by changing the scenery and the ground texture, but then the same
formula is used to calculate the rest (it is a bit more complicated than that.). The resulting shape
differs based on runway sizes and layout....

The scenery I created uses AGP files. AGP files are "container" files for objects, facades etc. and a
ground texture of max 2048*1024 pixels (hence the shape of the scenery). Unfortunately Laminar
uses the AGP format for the nicer hangars etc in the X-Plane library and AGP files cannot contain AGP
files -> so I could not use these. Maybe Laminar is willing to put the underlying objects in their library
as well...but I didn't ask.. I had to use OpensceneryX and other objects creatively..

It is not so difficult to understand the AGP format (although the documentation is very very limited),
but making them is a something different: I made a small tool to create them.