Having recently switched to X-Plane after decades of being an MSFS kind of guy, I was pleasantly surprised to find Laminar Research’s Scenery Gateway initiative, where anyone can contribute to X-Plane default airports making them more than just a flat 2D runway.
If you’ve been around the Flight Sim world as much as I have, no doubt you would’ve come across and used several freeware add-on aircraft or scenery, especially in the early days where Payware was really non existent. Ever felt like you’d love to give something back to the community? Well, with X-Plane, the Scenery Gateway and the World Editor it’s easier than ever!
With the World Editor being a fairly simple tool with limited object libraries, it doesn’t take long before you’ve grasped the basics and are laying down your taxiways and hangars.
If you’re totally new to X-Plane, your first stop must be X-Plane.org and its forums, a community driven site and content with everything you need to know about X-Plane, and this is where you will also find great content about Scenery Development using the World Editor.
Another great source of information and World Editor tutorials is from Jan Vogel’s YouTube channel. Jan has been a long time X-Plane user and content creator with about 500 airports to his name and published several hours of video tutorials.
So what are you waiting for?!
- Download and install the latest stable build of World Editor
- Register on the Scenery Gateway
- Register on X-Plane.org and its forums.
- Watch Jan’s tutorials
- Start creating!
Here’s a little development plan I’ve created to help me work through each airport build.
- Check X-Plane Scenery Gateway for status of the airport and if anyone else is working on it. https://gateway.x-plane.com/
- Check X-Plane.org forum scenery to see if airport exists. If it exists assess quality and decide on go/no go taking into consideration Scenery Gateway status. https://forums.x-plane.org
- Source satellite imagery to use for overlay
- Create new airport or import default from global scenery. (apt.dat)
- Import Overlay Image
- Access Road
- Airport Boundary
- Car Park
- Services (fuel, trucks)
- Exclusion Zones
- Taxi Routes
- Ramp Starts
- Verify and Test
- Verify with Scenery Gateway as target
- Export to Scenery Gateway
If you want to take your Scenery Development further, make it more detailed and add custom 3d objects, you can do so. But you will need additional tools such as 3d object editing tools, and keep in mind that only airports created using default X-Plane object library will be allowed to the Scenery Gateway and included in future X-Plane releases. Any custom airports you create you will need to publish yourself, and this can easily be done via the X-Plane.org community forums, or you can get involved in the various freeware scenery projects you might find on the X-Plane.org forums.