• Overlay Editor Tutorial Part Three

    Overlay Editor Tutorial Part Three

    By Paul Mort

    Welcome back to Part 3 in my series of tutorials covering Overlay Editor. In our last tutorial we looked at how to manipulate objects in Overlay Editor. In order to have control over our collection of objects, we first need to know how to find them, how they are structured and importantly, how and where to add new items.

    Overlay Editor
    Figure 1

    The directory structure for a scenery package, in this case EGFP Pembrey, can be seen above (Figure 1). You can see by the location bar at the top that the whole package resides within X-Plane's 'Custom Scenery' folder (along with all the other sceneries we have created or downloaded). Also located in this folder are the libraries and objects (even one-off items) used to render the scenery. The objects folder highlighted in blue contains all the objects we have added to this package only and will be supplied to the user when published, making it self-contained.

    Overlay Editor
    Figure 2

    As you can see from Figure 2, every scenery object (.obj) has its required texture file (.png / .dds) in order to be correctly rendered. This texture file may not always share a common name. In the example of the third item down on the objects list; 'Helicopter', does not share its name with its texture file. A simple way to find out the name of an object's texture file is to open the object up in a text editor (Notepad, for example). The object's required texture file name will then appear at the top of the document (Figure 3).

    Overlay Editor
    Figure 3

    Here we can see that our 'Helicopter' object pairs up with the 'static206b.png' texture.

    To add, or not to add, that is the question...

    If we look back at the list of items contained in our objects folder, we can see three items from the JB_Library. They are: Hangars 28, 105 and 110. All three are required for this scenery. Why is this important? Well, here is where we have a choice to make. If we did not include these three items and their corresponding textures, we would have to inform users that they would need to download the entire JB_Library (621 items, 240 Mb) in order for the package to work.

    For those who already have the library that's fine but downloading over 240 Mb for just three items is wasting space on your drive, especially if you're not a developer and may never use it.

    My rule of thumb...

    It's entirely down to personal preference as to whether you add selected items from a library into your objects folder. You can do this or you can inform users that they need to download the entire library. As a rule of thumb, I usually add objects if there are ten or less from a single library. In the example of the CDB Library (which I use extensively), the amount of objects I use on a scenery can be many and so for this reason, I don't add the objects from that library but rather, make it a requirement to have the CDB Library. This is mentioned in the scenery description.


    2 Comments
    1. alfme's Avatar
      alfme -
      Great work Paul. Thanks a lot for sharing.
    1. RayH's Avatar
      RayH -
      Ah, I wondered why my VC10 was a red and white splurge, thanks.
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