Howto:Place 3D objects with the UFO

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Placing 3D objects inside Flightgear scenery using the UFO

A very useful tool for placing objects within the scenery, created by Melchior Franz, is available with Flightgear 0.9.10 and later. It is an addon to the UFO aircraft which allows a user to place a new (or old) 3D object at any arbitrary location in the scenery with just a few clicks of the mouse.

The first thing you need is a 3d model file to place in the scenery; let's say we'll use a catii-iii.xml object. You must save it in a path where this UFO feature can find it. The UFO searches the objects in the Flightgear/data/Models/ directory. In this example, we create a subdirectory called Tabu and save our catii-iii.xml there.

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Now start Flightgear, and choose UFO as your aircraft.

Once Flightgear has been started, fly with the UFO to the place you want the model to be positioned.

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Let's say we want to position the catii-iii.xml object at the end of a taxiway. We stop the UFO just above this intersection and press the M key, a Select Model window will open up where the contents of the Flightgear/data/Models/ directory will be shown. Select your model from this list, then close the window. The selected model path/name will be display in green text at the bottom left of the FlightGear screen.

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Now you may point the mouse on the scenery ground and left-click again, the CAT II/III ground marking model will be positioned there. Of course, it does not have the correct orientation and it's partly covered by the surrounding terrain, but we can adjust that.

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Fly closer to the ground with the UFO, so that you can see it better.

Now press TAB (or Ctrl-I), and use the resulting sliders to adjust the latitude/longitude/elevation/heading of the model.

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Now that the model is correctly positioned, press the D key to dump the model position data to the terminal. A few lines will be printed on the console, providing the necessary orientation data. You will save those coordinates into a scenery objects file in the next step. If you don't do that, next time you run Flightgear it will know nothing about the new object.

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In the terminal window, you get three sections printed out by the UFO with very detailed information about what's going on, we need the line at the end.

e000n50/e008n50/3089154.stg is the secenery object file where this object's coordinates have to be saved. The default place where to find e000n50 directory is inside Flightgear/data/Scenery/Objects/. You just open the 3089154.stg file with any text editor, add the following line and save it the file:

OBJECT_SHARED Models/Tabu/catii-iii.xml 8.57928135 50.03667992 105.9972 111.1

Now you have your object's position saved, and it will appear inside the scenery every time you start Flightgear.