I realize this blog post will probably just inflame a bunch of email about how the scenery tools aren’t available yet, but I’ll answer the question and take the flames, because it’s a fair criticism and scenery tools are a fair feature request.
The long term direction of scenery tools is this:
- Scenery tools will be separate from the X-Plane distribution, free, and open source. (This separation allows us to post scenery tool source without posting X-Plane source, and to use GPL code in the scenery tools.)
- A few very basic editing functions (like adding nav-aids) are integrated into the sim to allow instructors to correct nav data during a training session.
- WorldMaker therefore is no longer a scenery editor at all.
So why haven’t we killed it? We’ve been tempted to. But it will serve a long term purpose in the scenery tools ecosystem: it will be a small-footprint 3-d scenery previewer.
Because the scenery tools don’t use X-Plane code, the scenery tools will have two limits to their previewing capabilities:
- There is always the risk that with different code, the tools will preview scenery differently from X-Plane’s final render.
- Because the scenery tools don’t use X-Plane’s renderer, we basically have to rewrite viewing code in the scenery tools from scratch. That’s a lot of code, so for a while the preview in the tools will be limited.
Running X-Plane and the scenery tools at the same time isn’t a great option – since X-Plane loads a lot of scenery, and a weather model, and a plane, and then tries to run at max fps, it tends to be a bit of a pig in terms of system resources. WorldMaker will be a viewer that can reload your scenery quickly so you can have a 3-d view of what your end result will look like that will match X-Plane.