Installing Scenery and Aircraft

How do I install the scenery?

If you installed X-Plane from the DVD, the installer should have installed the scenery. If you decided not to, or if you first got the demo download and have now bought the DVD, read on...

First off, it depends on which DVD you bought. There are four different DVD packages:
  1. Set of 7 DVDs containing X-Plane and global scenery, sold by Laminar Research and X-Plane.org. Also available as X-Plane 8 Deluxe, packaged by Graphsim.
  2. Set of 8 DVDs containing X-Plane and global scenery, sold by Laminar Research.
  3. Single DVD sold by Laminar Research and X-Plane.org. This package has been discontinued but some are still available.
  4. Single DVD packaged by Graphsim and sold through retail stores, including internet retailers.

Installing from the 7/8 DVD global scenery kit

Selectively installing scenery from the global scenery kit is possible but complex and tedious. You're best off simply installing the entire kit as a new X-Plane installation or over the top of your existing one. See the installation section of the global scenery page for details.

Installing from the single Laminar/X-Plane.org DVD

The DVD contains three sets of Zips. Each of these can be opened with WinZip on a PC or Stuffit Expander, ZipIt, or BOMArchiveHelper on a Mac. Extract the contents into the appropriate folder as follows: There's no requirement to install all of these - just the ones you want. If you're never going to fly above 50,000 feet, for example, the earth orbit textures aren't going to do you much good. Also, if you want to use the generation 7 scenery in the US, don't install the generation 8 scenery; X-Plane looks first for gen 8 scenery and falls back to gen 7 scenery if it doesn't find it.

Note: Each Zip contains a set of folders; they should appear in the containing folder described above. For example, for the generation 8 US scenery, you should have the following path: Resources\Default Scenery\US\Earth Nav Data, in turn containing a bunch of numbered folders. For the earth orbit textures, you should end up with a set of PNG files in the Earth Orbit Textures folder.

WinZip in Windows usually gets this right. On the Macintosh, Stuffit Expander and BOMArchiveHelper may create the resulting folder structure elsewhere, and you'll have to pick through it to find the right folder and move it. If you end up with additional containing folders, move the top level folder(s) from the Zip into the correct destination and discard the intervening folder(s). See the scenery page for a description of how the scenery naming conventions work and other information about scenery.

Installing from the single Graphsim DVD

The DVD contains three huge Zips. Each of these can be opened with WinZip on a PC or Stuffit Expander, ZipIt, or BOMArchiveHelper on a Mac. Extract the contents into the appropriate folder as follows: There's no requirement to install all of these - just the ones you want. If you're never going to fly above 50,000 feet, for example, the earth orbit textures aren't going to do you much good. Also, if you want to use the generation 7 scenery in the US, don't install the generation 8 scenery; X-Plane looks first for gen 8 scenery and falls back to gen 7 scenery if it doesn't find it.

Note: Each Zip contains a set of folders; the top level folder in the Zip matches the name of the Zip file and should appear in the containing folder described above. For example, for the generation 8 US scenery, you should have the following path: Resources\Default Scenery\US\Earth Nav Data, in turn containing a bunch of numbered folders. For the earth orbit textures, you should end up with a set of PNG files in the Earth Orbit Textures folder.

WinZip in Windows usually gets this right. On the Macintosh, Stuffit Expander and BOMArchiveHelper may create the resulting folder structure elsewhere, and you'll have to pick through it to find the right folder and move it. If you end up with additional containing folders, move the top level folder from the Zip into the correct destination and discard the intervening folder(s). See the scenery page for a description of how the scenery naming conventions work and other information about scenery.

I installed the scenery and I still only see water when I move out of southern California.

You didn't get the scenery folder structure right. Here's a picture of what it should look like on OS-X (only there's a lot more files and folders). You can see a similar display with Windows Explorer. (This discussion applies to installing scenery off the single DVD kit. The 7 DVD global scenery is installed as an integral part of X-Plane and it is highly unlikely that it will end up in the wrong place.)

The installation of the generation 8 DSF files from the single DVD kit should look like this:



The installation of the generation 7 ENV files should look like this:



For more ins and outs of handling scenery, see the scenery page.

Where do I get add-ons like aircraft and scenery?

There are three registries for X-Plane add-ons:
Also check out the links on the X-World page.

Where can I get the rest of Mars?

This used to be sold as a CD kit from Laminar, but is not currently available.

How do I install custom aircraft?

Planes built by other X-Plane users are typically packaged as compressed archives of the plane's folder structure. All planes can be used on either PC or Mac, regardless of where they were built. Most are packaged as ZIP archives. On a PC, you'll need WinZip or something similar. On the Mac, either Zipit, Stuffit Expander, or BOMArchiveHelper will do the job. Archives named .SIT are Stuffit archives from a Mac. Stuffit Expander is included with Mac OSX only through 10.3. You can download Stuffit Expander for the PC for free from http://www.stuffit.com/win/expander/index.html.; for Mac from http://www.stuffit.com/mac/index.html.

In the Aircraft folder, make yourself a folder named "Third Party" or "Custom Planes" or something like that. Put the folder for your new plane in here. You'll see why when we talk about upgrading.

If you're downloading planes from the X-Plane.org registry, check the version number. The X-Plane.org registry has separate categories for the major X-Plane versions, but planes don't always get registered in the right categories. Check the individual plane descriptions. The aircraft format changes regurlarly, and planes built for earlier versions will require conversion or fixups. See the Aircraft Format and Conversion page.

How do I install custom scenery?

Caution: The terrain file format has changed several times in X-Plane's history. V8 will accept V7 custom scenery packages but not earlier versions.

To install custom scenery, simply extract the scenery package archive into the Custom Scenery folder. You should end up with a folder with the name of the custom scenery package inside the Custom Scenery folder. For more information on how a scenery package should be structured, see the scenery page.

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