• X-Plane's Core Libraries

    X-Plane's Core Libraries

    By Dominic Smith

    As many will have noticed, X-Plane's popularity as a mainstream sim has increased greatly over the years. With more and more users adopting it as their primary flight simulator, the world of X-Plane has never looked healthier!

    One of the reasons why it has become the sim of choice for many is because of its accessibility. Yes, X-Plane's menu system and initial setup still causes issues for some but...when it comes to content creation, it is unparalleled in terms of both usability and flexibility.

    No more so is this evident than when it comes to scenery design. This is due to a number of reasons. One is the fact that X-Plane includes its very own scenery creator: World Editor (WED). Another, is that when it comes to scenery building, X-Plane has a multitude of wonderful object libraries to choose from.

    These libraries, generously contributed by passionate and enthusiastic individuals, help create the atmospheric sceneries so prevalent in screen shots and videos. Similar to Lego, the more pieces you have to choose from, the more unique your design can be.

    In the early days of X-Plane, there were only a handful of libraries to choose from, which meant that unless you were a model maker with the ability to design your own custom buildings, etc. you were left with only a few objects in which to create your scenery. This meant that many sceneries looked similar, especially when it came to towers and hangars.

    However, times change and so too does the world of X-Plane. Today, there are countless libraries for developers to choose from, each one containing scenery elements unique to that particular library. The end result is that 'Lego' sceneries can often be as appealing as those made with custom elements.

    For new users of X-Plane, especially those coming from different simulator platforms, i.e. the MSFS series, object libraries can be a bit of a grey area and one that causes quite a few initial problems. The reason being, the majority of MSFS sceneries are usually self-contained packages, with everything you need included in their own 'Scenery' and 'Texture' folders. X-Plane, as we've discussed above, does not (for the majority of sceneries) work in this way.

    If you explore the X-Plane sceneries here at FlightSim.Com, you'll usually find a whole list of libraries included in the description (Figure 1).

    X-Plane Core Library Figure 1
    Figure 1

    As you can see from Paul Mort's EGHE, he has used quite a few libraries to 'build' up his scenery; 7 in total.

    In the above case we are lucky that the developer has listed the sceneries used, but sometimes developers forget (they are human also, remember) and so we are left guessing what sceneries are actually required.

    When a scenery has a loading issue, it's normally because of a missing library object/element. When this happens, X-Plane brings up an error like the one in Figure 2.

    X-Plane Core Library Figure 2
    Figure 2

    In most cases the scenery will still load, but will be missing certain library elements. To find out which of these are missing, users are required to navigate X-Plane's Log.txt file (Figure 3). For new users this is often daunting and can (in many cases) lead to frustration and an unwillingness to pursue X-Plane further.

    X-Plane Core Library Figure 3
    Figure 3

    So, how can we avoid an issue like the one presented above? Well, because of the very nature of how the libraries are incorporated and used in X-Plane, there is no way to eliminate it entirely. However, in saying that, there is a way in which users can lessen the chance of it occurring.

    To do this, users should always have what I call the 'Core' Libraries' installed in their X-Plane Custom Scenery folder. The reason I refer to them in this way is not because of their importance, but rather because of their frequency of use. They are also rarely updated, and so another reason to have them always installed by default.

    The following X-Plane libraries are the ones I would deem to be Core Libraries:

    Having these libraries installed in your X-Plane Custom Scenery directory will go a long way in preventing scenery load issues from arising. This is especially true in the case where libraries are not mentioned in the scenery description.

    As X-Plane continues to evolve there are going to be, undoubtedly, more scenery libraries added to the already impressive list. This is great news for scenery designers as it means more bricks to play with; the reward for users, more detailed sceneries. The only downside? Maybe the small effort in keeping non Core Libraries up to date.

    A very small price to pay!

    More For X-Plane Users

    1. aputech's Avatar
      aputech -
      Excellent piece, Dominic!

    1. Rupert's Avatar
      Rupert -
      I'm a FSX guy considering X-Plane and have a few questions.

      These core libraries, are they all freeware? I'm assuming they'll continue to grow in number. If they're there will X use them without a lot of linking?

      I've built a bunch of high end computers but am not good at software issues. Does using add on scenery, plane, etc. with X involve a lot of user software links?

      Are there any 2-d cockpits in X? I currently fly with a 2d cockpit on my center screen then use the aircraft's left and right wing views on my side screens to provide a wrap around effect. Is there a similar way to do this with x-Pane?

      Thanks in advance!

    1. Msiipola's Avatar
      Msiipola -
      Thanks for the article!

      I'm a totally new user of XP.
      I would be fine if the article explains little more about those "standard" libraries.
      What they contain and how to install.
      Probably this is explained somewhere, but some references would help.
    1. Nels_Anderson's Avatar
      Nels_Anderson -
      It I thought the article did explain what they contain...the libraries include the buildings and other objects that make up the scenery.

      As for installation, they install the same way as any other X-Plane scenery.
    1. BostonElf's Avatar
      BostonElf -
      To install you unzip the file into a folder such as C:\TEMP then move the whole folder into an Xplane folder called "Custom Scenery" - then there is a file you edit to inlclude a reference to the new folder, just see the example in the file itself and mimic the lines. If you have edited and installed scenery in FSX it should be no more bother Good luck and dont sue me if it doesnt work. For me it was EASY
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