Scenery - V8
What scenery is available for X-Plane V8?
The scenery format has been completely
redesigned for X-Plane V8. It uses a variable elevation mesh that
much more accurate modelling of hilly areas with greater space
efficiency. It also allows much more flexible assignment of textures to
the elevation mesh and will make the creation of photo-realistic
Global scenery for latitudes from 54 degrees south to 60 degrees north
is now available as a 7 DVD kit. The kit is available from either the X-Plane order page
, or from the X-Plane.org store
. For details,
see the global scenery page
older single DVD X-Plane kit includes an earlier version of the
generation 8 scenery for the continental US and the old generation 7
scenery for the entire world.
Note that while version 8 supports version 7 scenery, it does not
support the autogen feature. This means that the generation 7 scenery
looks a little barren. The gen 8 scenery uses a different method
of representing structures. At present areas outside the continental US
also have no buildings. Buildings are defined in the scenery, but the
building objects are not yet complete.
How do I install the scenery?
Normally, installing X-Plane V8 off the
DVD will automatically install the scenery. If you've already installed
X-Plane without the scenery and now want to install it manually, see
the Installation and Upgrade page
Is the scenery available for download?
The gen 8 scenery is not available for
download. The gen 7 scenery is the same as the worldwide scenery that's
been in use since X-Plane 6.70. It is available for download at
Scenery Project. For download and installation information, see the
V7 scenery page.
There is an alternate global scenery
package available, the X-Plane SRTM
scenery. It is a remake of the V7 global scenery, using elevation
data from the Space Shuttle radar terrain mapping project.
Is there custom scenery available available?
There are many add-on scenery packages
available for download at the X-Plane scenery
registry. Caution! X-Plane scenery format has changed over time,
and different versions tend to be incompatible. Check the version
in the description. X-Plane V8 accepts scenery in the V7 and V8
Can I use scenery packages from
Microsoft Flight Simulator?
No. The formats are completely
But... There is a scenery plugin
available that loads MSFS scenery objects and custom textures into
X-Plane. This does not give you complete MSFS scenery in X-Plane, but
does populate the somewhat barren X-Plane default scenery with all the
How do I install custom scenery?
Simply extract the custom scenery archive
into your Custom Scenery folder. You should end up with a folder with
the name of the custom scenery package inside the Custom Scenery
For more information on how a scenery package should be structured,
The taxiways at my airport don't
look at all right
The taxiways on many small airports are
arbitrary. The problem is that while the runways come from US
Government data (DAFIF), there is no data for taxiways in a usable
encoding that anyone is aware of (or at least, available at a
reasonable price for use in X-Plane). The major (and other) airports
that have accurate taxiways are that way because someone sat down and
entered them by hand.
If you're sufficiently motivated, you can fix it yourself. See the Building Scenery
How is scenery structured?
All X-Plane scenery (with the exception
of the gen 7 default scenery) is organized into scenery packages. Each scenery
package is contained in a single folder with the package's name. The
package folder should contain the following folders:
Custom Terrain Textures
Custom Object Textures
Earth Nav Data
These folders contain the obvious data.
The Earth Nav Data folder may contain any of the nav data files
(apt.dat, nav.dat, etc.) It also contains numbered folders with ENV
7) or DSF (gen 8) terrain files. The DSF or ENV files control the
appearance and loading of the scenery package. They contain references
to the objects and textures that make up the rest of the scenery
You'll find a worked example in the
Custom Scenery folder named X-Plane Default Demo Area. Note that the
or DSF files in the package supersede their counterparts in the default
scenery. However, the apt.dat file is merged
into the default version. This allows you to include small versions of
these files containing just modified airports with custom taxiways, new
navaids, etc., in the custom scenery package.
What do the numbers
the scenery files and folders mean, anyway?
Scenery files and folders are organized
into a grid by latitude and longitude. Each scenery file covers one
square degree of the earth and is named according to its coordinates.
For example, the file +42-089.dsf covers the square degree that has 42
degrees North and 89 degrees West as its south-west corner. Each folder
contains all the scenery files for a 10 degree square. So +42-089.dsf
would be contained in the +40-090 folder. The numbered scenery folders
are contained in the Earth Nav Data folder of the scenery package.
X-Plane choose which scenery to load?
X-Plane searches the custom and default
scenery folders for DSF and ENV scenery files that correspond to the
area in which you're flying. It needs 6 files corresponding to the 3x2
degree area of the current local region. To find these, it searches
first the Custom Scenery folder and then the Resources/Default Scenery
folder in alphabetical order for scenery packages. Each square degree
loaded with whatever DSF or ENV file is found first. (Within a scenery
package X-Plane searches for DSF files before ENV files - this should
normally not be important.) If this search doesn't turn up a matching
scenery file, X-Plane searches the Resources/Earth Nav Data folder,
which is where the default gen 7 ENVs are.
Note: The use of the
Resources/Earth Nav Data folder is deprecated; only the gen 7 default
scenery should be put here.
I have noticed that when I am running X-Plane
every once in a while X-Plane freezes for several seconds.
X-Plane is loading new scenery. The
scenery is organized into one degree squares. The Local Maps window
contains a 3x2 degree patch of the terrain and X-Plane keeps you more
less in the center of that window by loading whole degrees of scenery
you move. Scenery loads take more time than just reading the scenery
all the scenery textures have to scaled according to the rendering
options. X-Plane makes multiple copies of the textures at varying
precomputed resolutions to optimize graphics performance.
I see only
water when I move out of southern California.
You haven't installed the remaining
scenery, or you have't installed it correctly. For details, see the Upgrade/Install page
There's one other gotcha which seems really dumb but happens
surprisingly often: If you have multiple X-Plane folders on your system
(i.e., multiple versions of X-Plane), make sure you're installed the
scenery to the right folder!
Why am I getting "missing
scenery" messages when my scenery is correctly installed?
This is new behavior in 8.60. Scenery
is packaged in one file per square degree of the earth's surface, but
there are no files where there is open ocean. X-Plane's local map
always shows a 3x2 degree area. If you are located at, say, a coastal
airport, then part of the local map may be open ocean and there will be
no corresponding scenery file. X-Plane reports this as a missing
scenery file since it has no inherent way of knowing whether there
should be a file there or not. You can turn the warning message off in
the Settings->Operations and Warnings menu.
flown a short distance in the San Francisco area, X-Plane crashes,
Parts of the
San Francisco area are water.
The same problem applies to a couple of
other areas as well.
There are a couple of corrupt scenery files for this area on the
original 8.01 DVD. (DVDs with later versions of X-Plane do not have
problem.) Replacement files are available at the scenery development
. Early 8.x versions crash with the bad scenery files;
versions after about 8.04 should be more graceful and simply not load
the corrupt scenery files. The following is the complete list of
corrected scenery files:
+27-082, +28-082, +29-085, +29-090, +29-091, +30-090, +41-125
+42-090, +43-088, +44-104, +45-102, +45-119, +45-120, +48-101
Why is there
water at the US border?
Even though I have both the US and
worldwide scenery installed correctly, when I fly just outside the US
(examples: Toronto, south of San Diego) there is no land.
This is a problem with the transition between the generation 8 and
generation 7 scenery; it's been seen elsewhere as well. The generation
scenery is limited quite literally to the continental US. However, the
X-Plane scenery (both old and new) is packaged in 1 square degree
Those that run along the US border are only partially filled (with US
territory) and omit terrain outside the US borders. However, their
presence overrides the use of the corresponding generation 7 scenery
For Toronto in particular, you'll notice that the gen 8 file
+43-080.dsf is only 311KB, indicating that it contains a snip of
New York and nothing else. (Other DSFs are typically several MB,
depending on the terrain.)
Until the global gen 8 render is available, you can eliminate the gaps
by removing or renaming just the border DSFs. (For the US/Canadian
border, the highest latitude available for each degree of longitude;
example, in the Toronto area, +44-077.dsf, +43-078.dsf, +43-079.dsf,
+43-080.dsf, +42-081.dsf, etc.) This is a trade-off. The gen 8 scenery
has better detail, in particular, much better road detail. So you get
your choice between good road detail out to the US borders or complete
terrain into Canada and Mexico.
What happened to all the autogen
The autogen scenery feature that was
present in versions 6 and 7 of X-Plane has been dropped. Version 8
incorporates buildings as part of the scenery creation process, rather
than having the sim populate the scenery with buildings "on the fly",
So where are all the buildings
outside the continental US?
Building styles vary by region, and the
building libraries for other parts of the world are not finished yet.
They will be released in future X-Plane updates.
How does X-Plane decide whether
an area is land or water?
In some scenery, some areas that look
like land act like water (i.e., you sink if you try to land on them.)
The answer depends on whether you're
using gen 7 (.env) or gen 8 (.dsf) scenery.
Gen 8 scenery is straightforward. It is divided into triangles, and
each triangle is either land or water, and has a corresponding
Gen 7 scenery is divided into squarish patches; each patch is either
wet or dry. However, the appearance doesn't completely match because
terrain texture boundaries run down the middle of the patches. Here's
the complete dope from Ben:
- All custom textures act "dry" period, regardless of how they look
due to alpha channels and water showing through.
- All open water (not under custom texes) act wet.
- Landuse terrain that is part of a border with water acts wet.
- Landuse terrain that is not near water acts dry.
Regarding this second-to-last point, X-Plane cannot "see" the alpha
channel, so it cannot know the precise land/water changeover point.
How do I edit terrain in the V8
You can't (yet). New open source
scenery editing tools are under development but are not yet available.
Where can I learn more about the
new scenery format?
Is there anything I can do to
customize V8 scenery now?
For some preliminary tools, tutorials,
and examples, see Jonathan Harris's scenery web
Don Ferree provides the
following explanation of how you can add custom objects to the V8
It is not simple and you need to convert the DSF file to text with
Open the text file with a text editor with a line numbering capability.
Scroll down and find the first OBJECT_DEF. This is the first object in
the default scenery. They are not numbered in the file but copy the
first to the last one and paste into your text editor and let your
editor assign line numbers. Scroll further down the DSF text file and
you will see OBJECT 1 followed by its lat/lon and heading for each
instance of that object. Scroll down until you see the last OBJECT line
followed by a number which should correspond to the number of the last
Your first custom object will use the next number in sequence. List all
your custom objects below the last default OBJECT_DEF and list each
instance of that object below the default OBJECT (#).
If you have an env file with the objects in them use "env2CSV" to
convert it to text and copy the lat/lon and headings to use in the DSF.
env2CSV in included in xptools; http://www.xsquawkbox.net/tools/xptools/
In order to force x-plane to display custom objects even if "insane
number" of objects is not selected, add the following line above the
first Property line in the file: PROPERTY sim/require_object 1/73The 1
is the priority and the 73 is the index of the first object you
want always displayed. I don't remember the other priorities and can
not find them now.
When done editing the text file drop it on DSF2text again to convert it
How are the Navaids defined?
Airport and navaid data is contained in
three files located in Resources\Earth Nav Data:
nav.dat, and fix.dat. Robin Peel
maintains this data; current copies are available at Robin's X-Plane.org page
All corrections to navaids and updates to airports (e.g., custom
taxiways) should be coordinated with Robin.
Back to the main scenery page
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