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Introducing Orbx Central: Easy Installation, For Everyone


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I’m glad to hear that the backup facility is receiving a major update. I’ve always generated a backup copy when installing ORBX scenery and so was wondering if when installing Central v4, will it be able to incorporate existing backup files into its new backup folder? Also what if the drives are changed around, will we be able to edit the path in Central v4 or will it continue to look in the old position?

 

Regards,

John

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Thanks all for your comments and suggestions so far! Keep them coming! :)

 

9 hours ago, Dust2Dust said:

What about those who are already using the current installer and have already installed global, vector, LCs, regions and airports using it? After Orbx central is released, will they be able to use it to move global, vector, LCs, regions and airports out of P3D root folder and place them into whichever location they like? or will they have to remove global, vector, LCs, regions and airports manually by hand, uninstall the ftx installer and install Orbx central to do so?

8 hours ago, Sethos said:

Would like to know as well. Would be nice with a feature to convert from root installation to add-on method.

 

I answered this question a little earlier - there will be a "migrate to library" button which will move products out of the simulator without re-installing anything:

14 hours ago, Ben McClintock said:

On each product page there'll be a little button to migrate the product to a library:

image.png

 

A "migrate all" feature is on our list, but might not make it in before release ;)

 

 

9 hours ago, Nikhil Kumar said:

I use a symbolic link for ORBX in P3DV4. What would I need to do when ORBX Central is released? Would I have to get rid of the symbolic link or will the application do all of that for me? Thanks

There is no specific code in Central to detect whether the main "Orbx" directory is a symlink. It will work as if you have installed the files into your Prepar3D root directory.

 

7 hours ago, Dusterman said:

As the new Central incorporates the store function, how about including the capability to make additional purchases of a product under one account?

We don't have plans for this feature at this stage, but I've added it to the list and it will get done eventually.

 

4 hours ago, JohnVulcan said:

when installing Central v4, will it be able to incorporate existing backup files into its new backup folder? Also what if the drives are changed around, will we be able to edit the path in Central v4 or will it continue to look in the old position?

Unfortunately, backups and full builds created for FTX Central v3 are not compatible with Central. We've made a lot of changes to the way products are packaged with Central, which will ultimately make installation more efficient.

 

Should you move your backup directory, you can adjust the backup path within Central's settings:

image.png

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1 hour ago, Ben McClintock said:

There is no specific code in Central to detect whether the main "Orbx" directory is a symlink. It will work as if you have installed the files into your Prepar3D root directory.

So I won't need to do anything prior to using Central? I can just install it and start using it? 

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Hello Ben

This is really cool indeed and most welcomed and appreciated

 

I would like to comment some things

 

Cross platform

I noticed this:

n93De7h.jpg

 

I know there are several people who uses several sims, but some just one.

Can this field (above home) be enabled to select the sim when Central detects several sims installed? Like when current Central opens you have to select the one to you want to apply to?

 

13NJl1g.jpg

 

Is just a recommendation, for example if when it is opened it is set at P3D and the person just have FSX he might buy the product for the wrong sim (some work only for P3D v4) for not paying attention, for not seeing well, due to age or any other reason, even as simple as for not being familiar with it yet. For some people changes, new technologies and procedures mighty be chaotic, thus help/prevention for cases like this could be good... and could save you / prevent you from a lot of ticketing for wrong purchases.

 

The modern UI refresh I think is stimulating for everyone who likes to participate in the image contest, it fun, nice touch

The search /filter and automatic update options are great too

 

Purchasing

Will this be also possible from the site? will remain the same or could you only buy now through Central?

I was preparing a document for this specific topic for you, so if the method through the website still remains I'd like to send you some ideas based on my experience shopping there

 

Multi-lingual support

What about Spanish? :(

I would be pleased to help. Many people feel more comfortable/confident when they find their own language

 

Thank you all for such a great improvement

 

Cheers

 

Carlos

 

 

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2 hours ago, Ben McClintock said:

I answered this question a little earlier - there will be a "migrate to library" button which will move products out of the simulator without re-installing anything:

 

Ah sorry, I missed that. That's great!

 

Thanks Ben.

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Existing FTX Central V3 backup files - Thanks for clarifying the change in backup format, however this then raises the question of how will re-installs be handled? I currently have 315 GB of ORBX backup files and rebuilding my system will be a painful process if I have to download the whole lot again. While airports are not really a problem, Regions and TrueEarth products do concern me, so could there be:-

1) a conversion utility made available to create the Central V4 backup files from the existing FTX Central V3 backups, run as a one off exercise.

2) a cut down version of FTX Central V3 made available, so we can make use of existing backup files. Or better still, this could be built into Central V4 by asking if a FTX Central V3 backup is available before automatically starting a download, when a Central V4 backup is not present.

 

Regards,

John

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Hi Carlos,

 

Thank you for your suggestions!

 

3 hours ago, carlosqr said:

Cross platform

Can this field (above home) be enabled to select the sim when Central detects several sims installed? Like when current Central opens you have to select the one to you want to apply to?

This is how it works right now. Regardless of how many simulators you have installed, it will show you the simulator you currently have selected.

 

You can also see the other simulators that are installed, and switch between them without closing Central.

image.png

 

I hope this answers your question.

 

3 hours ago, carlosqr said:

Purchasing

Will this be also possible from the site? will remain the same or could you only buy now through Central?

I was preparing a document for this specific topic for you, so if the method through the website still remains I'd like to send you some ideas based on my experience shopping there

We'll definitely keep purchasing on orbxdirect.com indefinitely.

 

Feel free to email me your ideas: ben@orbxsystems.com :)

 

3 hours ago, carlosqr said:

Multi-lingual support

What about Spanish? :(

I would be pleased to help. Many people feel more comfortable/confident when they find their own language

Spanish would be great. Ideally, we'd like to have all of the major languages represented inside Central.

 

 

39 minutes ago, JohnVulcan said:

Existing FTX Central V3 backup files - Thanks for clarifying the change in backup format, however this then raises the question of how will re-installs be handled? I currently have 315 GB of ORBX backup files and rebuilding my system will be a painful process if I have to download the whole lot again. While airports are not really a problem, Regions and TrueEarth products do concern me, so could there be:-

1) a conversion utility made available to create the Central V4 backup files from the existing FTX Central V3 backups, run as a one off exercise.

2) a cut down version of FTX Central V3 made available, so we can make use of existing backup files. Or better still, this could be built into Central V4 by asking if a FTX Central V3 backup is available before automatically starting a download, when a Central V4 backup is not present.

Hi John,

 

In your scenario, I'd recommend using the "migrate to library" feature inside Central. This will move the product files out of your root simulator into a location you specify.

 

Then, when you uninstall your simulator, those files will remain intact in the external location. When the simulator is installed again, Central will intelligently link them back into your simulator - with no work on your end required.

 

We may need to make a tool for converting FTXC3 backups into Central's format, but we'll have to see if there's enough demand for this.

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4 hours ago, Ben McClintock said:

Hi Carlos,

 

Thank you for your suggestions!

 

This is how it works right now. Regardless of how many simulators you have installed, it will show you the simulator you currently have selected.

 

You can also see the other simulators that are installed, and switch between them without closing Central.

image.png

 

I hope this answers your question.

 

We'll definitely keep purchasing on orbxdirect.com indefinitely.

 

Feel free to email me your ideas: ben@orbxsystems.com :)

 

Spanish would be great. Ideally, we'd like to have all of the major languages represented inside Central.

 

 

Thank you very much Ben

I'll proceed accordingly

By the way I applied for the testing and just did a purchase ( receipt number is 5cdd44e6d85ff )

Can we install these under the new method?

Cheers

Carlos

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Dear friends, 

 

I have already sent the application and I would like to contribute with the translation to Spanish. Very good to see a new Central! Great work guys! 

 

Kind regards,

 

Carlos D. González

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Hi Ben

 

This is great  news!

Just a real minor question please.

 

In my case I have several SSD's which have my XPlane TE scenery and airports (Scenery on one, airports on another, and main sim installation in it's own directory). I did this , simply because I got a great deal from my Computer store and was able to purchase 3 Samsung 860 Evo's on a one day super sale ( Ended up with 3TB storage for the price of a single 1TB Evo).

 

From what I understand the change will allow one to have separate locations for the Sim  and Scenery. Have there been any thoughts regarding more than one location for scenery ?.  In any case , its not an issue for me, but I'm just curious.

 

I have also put my name forward for testing. I remember being a member of my corporations beta testing team when we moved from Windows NT to Win 7 .  I had hair then ( but a notable decrease over the 18 months of migration). However what started pre retirement  has now come full circle,   so I feel that I am now "safe" to participate in another beta test:D

 

Cheers 

Pete (aka "Renault")

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Hi Pete,

 

10 hours ago, renault said:

From what I understand the change will allow one to have separate locations for the Sim  and Scenery. Have there been any thoughts regarding more than one location for scenery ?.  In any case , its not an issue for me, but I'm just curious.

You can create as many libraries as you like across any of your HDD/SSDs and can choose what products you'd installed into each. You can have all your scenery in a single library or across multiple libraries. It's entirely up to you.

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Hello,

 

You indicate:

 

" Add-on packages
Recently, Lockheed Martin introduced the add-on package system into Prepar3D. This has a myriad of improvements over the traditional system of installing into the simulator directory, then hooking up the scenery in the scenery.cfg.
We can now distribute immutable add-on packages, which install in their own directories outside the simulator. "

 

But what exactly is this installation via "addon.xml" instead of a "normal" installation in P3Dv4 and scenery.cfg?
I can't really understand...
Everything is installed outside of P3Dv4? Even what's in the "Effects, Sound, or other" folders?
Where are all these folders/files if they are no longer in P3Dv4 and how is the declaration made if nothing is in the scenery.cfg?
Where can I find a complete explanation about this installation?

 

Thank you.

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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On 5/15/2019 at 8:22 AM, Ben McClintock said:

On each product page there'll be a little button to migrate the product to a library:

image.png

 

A "migrate all" feature is on our list, but might not make it in before release ;)

 

I already use separate disk libraries, one for TE and another for all other Orbx files. I then use symbolic links to these libraries. Will the migrate to library button delete the symbolic links in the migration process or will I have to delete each manually?

 

I have used backup files religiously. I was told that updates were not added to these original backup files so when I updated products the backups were still outdated saving some download only. Will this change? When I move to the new Central will these original backup files be updated or do I just delete them?

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On 5/15/2019 at 10:25 AM, Ben McClintock said:

We have plans for a grid view similar to FTX Central 3. However, that won't be available until after release.

Will my files also show products in a category that you don't own as the grayed thumbnails in FTXC 3 does?

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Really looking forward to installing ORBX scenery outside of the main sim directory, the fewer add-ons in there the better. Will certainly help make fresh installs of P3D so much more enjoyable! Greatly appreciate the work that has been put into it all, can't wait!

 

I'd apply for the beta but work is just so up and down... @Ben McClintock If you need any extra P3D V4 users to test, I could possibly find a little time here and there.

 

Andrew

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16 hours ago, Handie said:

But what exactly is this installation via "addon.xml" instead of a "normal" installation in P3Dv4 and scenery.cfg?

Hi Nadine,

 

Add-on packages are something that Lockheed Martin introduced in Prepar3D v3.

 

In an add-on package, there is an add-on.xml file which contains a list of all the scenery, effects, sound, textures that a particular add-on contains.

 

This means an add-on can be completely self-contained, without needing to edit various configuration files nor placing files throughout the Prepar3D root directory.

 

The main advantages of this, are that you can do a complete Prepar3D re-install, without needing to re-install Global Base (or any of your other Orbx scenery - as none of them are in the main Prepar3D directory anymore). Additionally, using the in-sim "add-ons" menu, you can disable all your Orbx add-ons and get a completely fresh, untouched, simulator.

 

16 hours ago, Handie said:

Everything is installed outside of P3Dv4? Even what's in the "Effects, Sound, or other" folders?

Where are all these folders/files if they are no longer in P3Dv4 and how is the declaration made if nothing is in the scenery.cfg?

That's correct! In Central, our scenery is installed into a "library". All of the files required for each of those sceneries is located in those folders.

image.png

 

All of the effects, etc, are defined in the add-on.xml:

image.png

 

I have a library (created via Central) at D:\Orbx Library. Central will automatically add D:\Orbx Library\p3dv4 as a "add-on discovery path" - Prepar3D will automatically detect the add-ons when you next start the simulator.

 

A full list of "discovered" add-on packages can be found at %programdata%\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v4\add-ons.cfg:

image.png

 

I hope this helps, feel free to ask for more clarification.

 

 

14 hours ago, paddler said:

I already use separate disk libraries, one for TE and another for all other Orbx files. I then use symbolic links to these libraries. Will the migrate to library button delete the symbolic links in the migration process or will I have to delete each manually?

Hi Paddler,

 

It's difficult to answer this without knowing exactly how your symbolic links are setup and which simulator this is for. The symbolic links should be transparent to Central - it will copy the files out of those directories, then run the normal "uninstall" script for each add-on you choose to migrate (which will most likely delete the symbolic links).

 

14 hours ago, paddler said:

I have used backup files religiously. I was told that updates were not added to these original backup files so when I updated products the backups were still outdated saving some download only. Will this change? When I move to the new Central will these original backup files be updated or do I just delete them?

This will change. With the new backup system, Central will add any files to your designated backup directory if they do not already exist there.

 

So, if you install a product v1.0, update it to v1.1, then re-install, Central will re-install v1.1 without requiring any downloads.

 

The original backup files won't be updated at this stage, I'm afraid. We've made some major breakthroughs in the way we distribute files to clients. This had the unfortunate side-effect of dropping backward-compatibility with the existing backups that people have made.

 

However, the new backup system is much more powerful, and doesn't require any user input to use (which is a major win for everyone).

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I'm just a bit concerned here Ben. If I understand correctly we will be required to have 

a back up of all our purchased files either one of the computer drives or an external drive

of some sort. I have a 1 T/B M.2 for P3DV4 and all my 80 ORBX purchases and a 500 GB

M.2 for the operating system and modest storage. I have just forked out $4500 on a new rig

especially for my flight sim. I simply cannot afford at this stage to add another drive, something

I hadn't planned to do for some time. I really pushed the boat out to get something built that will

actually run ORBX software as it is intended and thought once I have it all installed I will be okay

for at least 12 months or so. It looks like I might have shot myself in the foot.

 

Kevin

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2 hours ago, greybeard said:

If I understand correctly we will be required to have 

a back up of all our purchased files either one of the computer drives or an external drive

of some sort.

Hi Kevin,

 

image.png

 

As Nick mentioned, it's optional. You can either set a maximum size here, or you can un-check the "automatically backup product install files" button.

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2 hours ago, greybeard said:

I'm just a bit concerned here Ben. If I understand correctly we will be required to have 

a back up of all our purchased files either one of the computer drives or an external drive

of some sort. I have a 1 T/B M.2 for P3DV4 and all my 80 ORBX purchases and a 500 GB

M.2 for the operating system and modest storage. I have just forked out $4500 on a new rig

especially for my flight sim. I simply cannot afford at this stage to add another drive, something

I hadn't planned to do for some time. I really pushed the boat out to get something built that will

actually run ORBX software as it is intended and thought once I have it all installed I will be okay

for at least 12 months or so. It looks like I might have shot myself in the foot.

 

Kevin

 

Hi Kevin,

 

For storage purposes there is no need to spend a lot of money on SSD or M2 drives.  A HDD will do the job perfectly.  You can pick up a HDD fairly cheap these days.

 

Cheers,

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11 hours ago, Ben McClintock said:

Hi Nadine,

Add-on packages are something that Lockheed Martin introduced in Prepar3D v3.

In an add-on package, there is an add-on.xml file which contains a list of all the scenery, effects, sound, textures that a particular add-on contains.

.......................................................

I hope this helps, feel free to ask for more clarification.

Thank you Ben for all this very useful information.
What about the "Autogen" folder, do Orbx autogen files always "overwrite" the files in the original "Autogen" folder of P3D?

 

PS: Reading better the link " Add-on packages" you gave me, I think that the entry for the Orbx autogen should also be in the "Addon.xml" file, the one corresponding to the Orbx libraries folder don't I?
But what about the the "Terrain.cfg" file, for the lines added by Orbx?

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Is it possible at all, certain files like these from global base having outside the sim in which the same files ( being the stock ones) resides? How will this technique work? Deactivating them shoulddn't be the solution because I want to habe the original files untouched, should it? But you can't call a file withe the same name twice?! That would be interested for me how this will be handled.

 

Kai

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10 hours ago, Ben McClintock said:

Hi Paddler,

 

It's difficult to answer this without knowing exactly how your symbolic links are setup and which simulator this is for. The symbolic links should be transparent to Central - it will copy the files out of those directories, then run the normal "uninstall" script for each add-on you choose to migrate (which will most likely delete the symbolic links).

 

This will change. With the new backup system, Central will add any files to your designated backup directory if they do not already exist there.

 

So, if you install a product v1.0, update it to v1.1, then re-install, Central will re-install v1.1 without requiring any downloads.

 

The original backup files won't be updated at this stage, I'm afraid. We've made some major breakthroughs in the way we distribute files to clients. This had the unfortunate side-effect of dropping backward-compatibility with the existing backups that people have made.

 

However, the new backup system is much more powerful, and doesn't require any user input to use (which is a major win for everyone).

Hi Ben,

Thanks this clarifies a great deal. For symbolic links I have done the following. All standard FTX products are on drive (I) in an Orbx folder. All TE products are on a separate drive (F). Each of the individual files files for each TE product (8 in all) have an individual symbolic link into the Orbx  FTX EU folder on drive (I). The Orbx folder on drive (I) has a symbolic linked into the LM root on  drive (G). From what you have said when I migrate all my files they will be uninstalled and reinstalled automatically deleting the symbolic links (as they will not be needed).

 

I also understand then that all of my old backup files will be useless and will be replaced by the new backup files. So, is it best to delete my old backup files before migrating? I would use this drive for the new backups.

 

On my current (F) drive for TE products I currently have 8 unzipped files plus 1 that with a whole bunch of letters and numbers that I can't identify what it is for. I also then have a lot of zipped files (identified similar to  the unknown unzipped file. Do I also then delete these zipped files before migrating?

 

I really look forward to the possibility of being part of the beta trial, though I know that the focus on it is the single click purchase and install. Thanks for taking the time to answer all of the great questions in this thread. Central will be amazing!

 

Rick

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I just submitted my application...I'm about to do a complete reinstall of Prepar3D and I have been wanting to move the Orbx directories to another SSD, I look forward to that capability in the new Central!  And yes, the new backup/restore too.  Also, I'll be doing purchases of upcoming products soon, would plan to use the new Central for that.

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14 hours ago, Nick Cooper said:

Hello,

no, there is no requirement to have a backup.

It will be an option.

1.5 TB is really very little in today's climate.

Thanks Nick, I realise it is small capacity but it will hold all my ORBX stuff on the 1 TB,

or at least what I have at the moment. I fully intend to put another 1 TB in at a later date

when I can afford to do so. This rig is only for flight sim and I don't whish to use any drive that 

is not pristine to start with. Latest purchase GB true earth 30fps locked smooth over London

with no options disabled, very impressed.

 

Kevin

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Ben,

will there be a way to use Central 4 without having to keep our Credit cards on file. For security reasons I don't feel comfortable leaving my CC information on some server that can be potentially hacked.  

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On 5/20/2019 at 12:40 AM, Handie said:

What about the "Autogen" folder, do Orbx autogen files always "overwrite" the files in the original "Autogen" folder of P3D?

PS: Reading better the link " Add-on packages" you gave me, I think that the entry for the Orbx autogen should also be in the "Addon.xml" file, the one corresponding to the Orbx libraries folder don't I?

Hi Nadine,

 

For the Orbx Libraries (where our AutogenDescriptions are shipped), we will be using add-on.xml's autogen type. This means we won't need to overwrite the core simulator autogen files anymore - and we'll be playing nicer with others.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 12:40 AM, Handie said:

But what about the the "Terrain.cfg" file, for the lines added by Orbx?

Unfortunately we will still need to modify this. However, all of that will be handled by Central.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 12:58 AM, KaiUweWeiss said:

Is it possible at all, certain files like these from global base having outside the sim in which the same files ( being the stock ones) resides? How will this technique work? Deactivating them shoulddn't be the solution because I want to habe the original files untouched, should it? But you can't call a file withe the same name twice?! That would be interested for me how this will be handled.

Hi Kai,

 

This is exactly what is achieved with add-on packages. The textures that we supply in the Global Base add-on package take priority over the files shipped with Prepar3D.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 1:20 AM, paddler said:

From what you have said when I migrate all my files they will be uninstalled and reinstalled automatically deleting the symbolic links (as they will not be needed).

Hi Rick,

 

Based on the description of your setup, yes, you should be fine with this.

 

On 5/20/2019 at 1:20 AM, paddler said:

I also understand then that all of my old backup files will be useless and will be replaced by the new backup files. So, is it best to delete my old backup files before migrating? I would use this drive for the new backups.

 

On my current (F) drive for TE products I currently have 8 unzipped files plus 1 that with a whole bunch of letters and numbers that I can't identify what it is for. I also then have a lot of zipped files (identified similar to  the unknown unzipped file. Do I also then delete these zipped files before migrating?

At this stage, yes, they can be deleted. But it wouldn't hurt to keep those files around until Central is launched (just in case).

 

7 hours ago, FireRx said:

will there be a way to use Central 4 without having to keep our Credit cards on file. For security reasons I don't feel comfortable leaving my CC information on some server that can be potentially hacked.  

Hi FireRx,

 

Storing your card is completely optional.

 

It's worth noting that the company that processes your card details during a purchase (Stripe) is the same one that will be storing your card.

 

For more information on the security practices Stripe employs, you can read more in their documentation (particularly the section on "encryption of sensitive data and communication").

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22 minutes ago, Ben McClintock said:

...

For the Orbx Libraries (where our AutogenDescriptions are shipped), we will be using add-on.xml's autogen type. This means we won't need to overwrite the core simulator autogen files anymore - and we'll be playing nicer with others.

...

 

I look forward to testing how this works with my FranceVFR scenery combined with Orbx openLC Europe...I'm currently using the Autogen Configuration Merger freeware to merge the Orbx and FranceVFR autogen files together.

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I am afraid we (including me) will have to continue to use the Autogen Configuration Merger for this purpose, until France VFR decides to go the add-on.xml route, too. Can anyone more knowledgeable than me comment on this?

 

In any case, ORBX has done their homework for comatibility at this point and can't do anything more.

 

Kind regards, Michael

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5 hours ago, Ben McClintock said:

For the Orbx Libraries (where our AutogenDescriptions are shipped), we will be using add-on.xml's autogen type. This means we won't need to overwrite the core simulator autogen files anymore - and we'll be playing nicer with others.

Hi Ben

This said the ACM tool will no longer be needed right?

Cheers

 

Carlos

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