Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Global Scenery Folder

Let me answer two questions right now:
  1. If you bought version 9 beta DVDs, you will not have to buy new ones when version 9 goes final.
  2. If you bought version 9 beta DVDs, you do not need to manually move around any of the global scenery files that our installers put on your hard drive.
Now about this global scenery folder...

X-Plane stores its scenery in packages - a scenery package is a folder that contains all of the files needed for a given scenery element, whether custom or default. In X-Plane 7, scenery packages were only used for custom scenery, and always lived in the Custom Scenery folder directly next to the X-Plane application. This provided an easy way for users to drag third party packages into a single location to install them. (Before the custom scenery folder, installing scenery could involve a lot of "put this file here, and that file there".)

X-Plane 8 added a second location, the Default Scenery folder, which is hidden away inside the resources folder; it acts as a repository for scenery packs we ship with the sim, such as the one that contains various airport elements, and the default road packs.

In X-Plane 7 the global scenery lived directly in the resources folder in its own home; in X-Plane 8 the global scenery lives in packages inside the default scenery folder...this allows us to use one piece of code (the package loader) to load all scenery, custom and global.

The only real differences between the default scenery and custom scenery folders was priority and intended use; custom scenery is loaded with higher priority than default scenery (so you see your custom add-ons replace our default work), and the intention is that the default scenery is for Laminar to update via the web-updater and custom scenery is for you to put things into that you download off the web, etc.

With X-Plane 9 we are introducing a third location for scenery packages: the "Global Scenery" folder. It will live next to the Custom Scenery folder and X-plane application and be the location for global scenery. Its priority is intermediate - higher than default but lower than custom.

Now here's the funky thing: the X-Plane 9 beta DVDs place the global scenery into the custom scenery folder. If you've ever looked at the ranking of scenery packages, you'll see that they come out lower priority than all custom scenery, regardless of the alphabetical sorting that is usually used. The sim recognizes the peculiar placement of the global scenery and effectively labels it "global".

Future DVD pressings will simply place the global scenery in the new global scenery folder. Thus we get to the original two answers:
  1. You won't have to buy new DVDs if you have the betas; the sim will continue to work with either the beta or the newer layout for global scenery for the entire v9 run.
  2. Because both layouts work you don't need to move anything around. I suggest you not move any files to lower the risk of breaking things.


Anonymous said...

I've been using X-Plane for quite some time so my X-Plane 9 installation has all the "Resources/Earth Nav Data" files from V7 & 8. I take it they could be trashed?


y-man said...

Does this mean that "Global Scenery" is the home for "-global *-" folders which were under "Custom Scenery" so far?

From which beta/rc, XP looks for them in
"Global Scenery".

I am tempted to try moving them, as I never liked those huge base scenery directories under "Custom Scenery".

Benjamin Supnik said...

Mark - your v9 folder should NOT be based on a v8 folder -- this means there can be files in the folder that interfere with the operation of v9. The v9 installer doesn't filter out and delete v8 files the way new updates remove unused files (from LR).

Y-Man: yes, the global scenery folder will contain the new -global terrain-, etc. folders. I don't recommend moving them.