Last night I posted new versions of WorldEditor, MeshTool, and our command line tools. Follow the “tools” menu on this page to find them – is the official home of our Laminar Research’s scenery tools.  (We’re migrating and to just be on this site.)

Please remember that the scenery tools bug share the gateway bug reporter; please search the gateway bug reporter before you report a new bug – maybe your bug has already been reported. (You do not need to log in to Jira to search!)

WED 1.4 Beta 2

I have packaged a README with WorldEditor, and including release notes on all fixes since beta 2; bugs filed to the gateway reporter are also updated.  Unfortunately I do not have release notes dating back to 1.0.

At this point there are still a number of Linux UI bugs, and Geo-JPEG 2000 support is still out.  At this rate I expect to not ship Geo-JPEG 2000 support in WED 1.4 at all.

MeshTool 3.0 Beta 1

This is the first public beta of MeshTool 3 – so far there aren’t new features compared to MeshTool 2; the main change is that MT3 builds X-Plane 10 style DSFs using X-Plane 10 land classes.  It is therefore appropriate for add-ons that target X-Plane 10 only.

I have linked to the config and land class files for both versions of MeshTool on the download page; it is important you use the right land class and config files for your project. (Upgrading MeshTool without replacing the config file or land class data won’t work.)

Scenery Tools 15-3

This is a recut of the command line tools.  Not much has changed.

  • ObjConverter is no longer included; right now we don’t have a compiling version for Windows, and frankly I can’t think of a good reason to use this tool ever.*  If ObjConverter was, for some reason, part of your workflow, you can still download it from the 12-2 tools release; email me and I can also explain how to use a different, better option to convert your objects.
  • DDSTool now defaults to sRGB gamma on input files. Both the old and new version read gamma information from your source PNG file, but if the PNG file is not tagged properly (and it’s very easy to have tagging go wrong, particularly when Photoshop** is involved) you would get classic Mac gamma in the old version. This is basically never what you want; the new recommended work-flow is to always work in sRGB, use the new DDSTool, and you’ll always get the right results.

* ObjConverter tried to convert 3DS and DXF files directly to OBJ. But since there is no standard encoding of animations, materials, and other X-Plane specific data in 3DS, the converter could only copy the mesh and texture map. This made it appropriate only as a way to get from one 3-d program to another.

But even this use is not a good way to move your data, because it strips out animation and meta-data. My suggestion is that you export directly from 3DS using an export script, or open the source 3DS or DXF file in a modeler that has native X-Plane support like Blender or ac3d.

X-Plane’s OBJ format is not meant as a way to move your models between programs; it is meant only as a final destination format for shipping your scenery.

** The problem with photoshop isn’t that it writes the PNG files incorrectly, rather the problem is that Photoshop is way too smart; it writes a full color profile when libpng only understands a few simple constructs like sRGB and gamma. So what I was seeing was libpng not understand the sRGB color profile from Photoshop because the encoding was too complex.

Defaulting to sRGB is a bit of a band-aid, but it also is what everyone should use all of the time.

About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.

12 comments on “Lots of Tools Posted

  1. If I’m understand this correctly, with the new DDSTool we will have not the alteration in gamma from the png source as in the previous version, right? Taking in account that the png file is in sRGB colour profile.

    1. Well, if your png files were correctly marked, even the previous version would get the gamma right. But with the new version, sRGB should always work.

  2. I’m curious how workflow is going to be affected, AC 3-D has not been updated in ages, some of us do not work in blender. It’s just too foreign of an application, especially when you’re used to working in Max. So really the question becomes is AC 3-D going to be upgraded, or where do we get the export tools for Max that work correctly? I’m also curious as to how this affects aircraft creation, I see a lot of commentary on the creation of scenery assets. So when are the aircraft creators going to get some love? Or is it all one in the same.?
    Inquiring minds want to know

  3. Why not make use of DDS?

    Second is it possible to convert from obj-8 to obj in x-plane – That way we could use all 3D program that support it..

    PS.. Any good links to using Mesh Tools?

    1. Hi Tom,

      I don’t understand your comment re: obj8->obj in x-plane. It should really never be a goal to convert _from_ X-Plane’s OBJ8 to any other format. OBJ8 is a “final” format for shipping in X-Plane, it’s not an editing format for user work.

      MeshTool’s README contains a lot of info but there aren’t any tutorials – it’s an advanced tool and not easy to use.

      1. Just delete this after reading

        It was the other way around Ben, convert from obj to obj-8 🙂
        Reason for asking if the reversed way was if it was possible to convert over to using obj instead of obj-8 as default file format?

        If you feel like answering, please use email or this thread/post
        Thank you..

        1. Ah – so is the actual question:

          “Why don’t we use a more common 3-d file format like Alias Wavefront OBJ for modeling, instead of a proprietary modeling format like X-Plane OBJ8”?

  4. Ben you mention support for Blender 2.7. Correct me if I am wrong but so far I’ve had feeling, that the only support for Blender is via XPlane2Blender tool shich as of 3.20 does not have even import functionality and is only able to export OBJ files. You Ben did an excellent AC3D plugin back in a day but no official support for Blender as far as I know. Or is the XPlane2Blender considered as the one?


    Aslo from the post I understand that OBJ file should not be the one coming out of modelling software but some other format. DXF is mentioned. Does other X-Plane tools support the format or what should be the correct file format to transfer models from desing tools to X-Plane world for integration into sceneries/airplanes?

    1. Hi Rein,

      Currently the 3.20 XP2Blender script is the only Blender 2.7 script. I do not know if we will extend this script or create a new one; I have been in contact with Ondrej in the past and he has been a good collaborator – I have on my todo list to ping him again.

      Re: OBJ files, I think you may have gotten the intent of my post exactly backward – I will try to write a new post explaining this in more detail, but the correct work flow is:

      1. Work in modeling program.
      2. Export your modeling program DIRECTLY to OBJ8 for X-Plane, no intermediate stops.

  5. Ben,

    Many developers use Blender for creation 3D objects and ac3d for animations which seems to be much easier (from what I have read).

    Are there any plans in the future to update the ac3d–> .obj8 plugin along with the included documentation?

    Or at least documentation?



    1. I think my reply to Jim covered this; there are no plans to update the ac3d plugin, and to be blunt, it doesn’t make animation easier because ac3d has no native animation support.

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