Scenery enhancement

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Note  As of December 2015 this page is still rather a listing of the topics of most of the articles in the category rather than an introductory summary of different ways to enhance the scenery.

There is many ways to enhance scenery in FlightGear.

The scenery in FlightGear consists of a terrain mesh, terrain materials (which includes textures) and scenery objects. The scenery is split into 1 x 1 degree scenery tiles. The triangular terrain mesh has some information like land class encoded in each triangle. Using that information the terrain is textured based on a material configuration, sometimes procedurally (in essence partially through configuration of algorithms and not by artwork alone). The airports are also part of the terrain mesh, in which the various runway, taxiway and apron materials are encoded as scenery mesh triangles as well.

In addition the scenery is populated with objects, either static objects that only occur once, or shared objects that are included with FlightGear and/or the scenery and are used in many places. Static objects are typically prominent buildings while shared objects are typically objects used often, for example power pylons.

All of this can and should be improved over time, and experimentation is both possible and encouraged (but work in small steps, so you can learn from small mistakes).

Description of the content of the articles by categories

This part is probably temporary, to help reorganize documents about scenery enhancement. If you add Feel free to add the description of your page.

General scenery

  • Next Generation Scenery: Brainstorm page about possible feature/enhancements in scenery (terrain, textures, LOD of the objects, etc...) and links to mailing list discussions and related projects & efforts.
  • Tile Index Scheme: How work the scenery tile system and calculate the tile index.
  • World Custom Scenery Project: (october, 16 2008 stub) Tools used for the World Custom Scenery Project.


Terrain building tools

  • Terragear: Building/installing Terragear ([[Es/TerraGear[spanish 3 lines translation]])
  • TerraGear_Documentation: Description of Terragear toolchain, tool by tool.
  • TerraGear_GUI: GUI to use Terragear toolchain. Installation and usage.

Technical concepts and experimental generation tools

Terrain databases


Airport signs


Airport design tools

  • WorldEditor: State of the art X-plane apt.dat 850 format and better airport creation tool.
  • TaxiDraw: Free taxiway editor for FlightGear and previously x-plane (Deprecated, use WorldEditor now)
  • AirportEditor: Java-based AI ground network editor for FlightGear
  • FGSignMaker: is a (X)HTML/JavaScript-based (a.k.a. web-based) tool to generate taxiway sign


This articles are stubs, not modified since long time and should probaby be dispatched, if there are really interesting informations ? :


  • XML XML format of the Models, basics 3d models are in AC3D files format (.ac) and fgfs XML define their behavior, this page describe general XML format syntax and common usage and one example to insert NASAL script code inside.
  • FlightGear_Newsletter_August_2012#Scenery_corner web forms and tools to import/modify/delete models in the official scenery database.

Creating or enhancing models


(see also : Category:Aircraft enhancement and Portal:Developer/Aircraft

  • SketchUp to AC3D exporter: Tool converting objects from SketchUp (used in Google Earth) to AC3D. Installation and usage.
    • Modeling - SketchUp: Redirect to SketchUp to AC3D exporter. The source of this page contains some information about modeling with Sketchup but is commented as deprecated and Blender is considered a more appropriate and compatible tool.
  • GMax2AC: Script for converting GMax models to AC3D format used in Flightgear.
  • Model import and export: General import/export page, with some external models (Blender and GMax) Marked as need cleanup
  • Blender: Interesting links to internal pages and externals tutorials about using Blender to enhance Flightger.
  • Wings 3D: Few explanation lines some external docs and tutorials links
  • K-3D: Only one line with a link to the project itself.
  • Pretty Poly 3D Modeller: Only one line with two links to the project itself
  • AC3D: Proprietary modler with limited trial version. Only one line with link to the site.
Modeling palette
  • To populate :

Populating scenery models

Howto:Place_3D_objects_with_the_UFO: Using the UFO flightgear airplane to interactivly place existing models in scenery (french full translation)

  • Howto:Add details to your airport: Placing objects in airport (same than in other place), but with more airport specific signs placements (The goal was airport builiding, but there is lot of details about general object placement and can be used to understand how to place models elsewhere)).