Now that I can use scenProc to easily create new autogen, the urge to add custom autogen models increases as well. To make the autogen even more realistic I want to add custom roofs, custom vegetation models, etcetera. But all these modifications to the autogen configuration files give developers some headache when trying to deploy their scenery. How to make sure that the end user gets these modifications as well?
The problem is that there is one autogen configuration that all developers modify. So if not done correctly a developer might wipe out the modifications done by another developer. There are a few approaches that are used nowadays:
- Some developers just copy their modifications over the existing files, whiping out previous modifications
- Some developers merge their modifications into the autogen configurations files
- Some developers merge their modifications and the modifications of sceneries often used together with their product into the autogen configuration files
Obviously one approach 2 is the right way! Approach 1 is bad because it just erases any modification done by other developers. Your scenery will work fine, but others will stop working. Approach 3 might sound like a nice service to the end user, but what happens if the other scenery you include the modifications from update their custom autogen configuration? In that case your product would still include the old one and in that case the order of install will determine the result the end user gets. That’s not good.
So I would say the only way developers should distribute their custom autogen configurations is to only distribute their own modifications (not the default MS configurations, not those of other developers). And developers should properly merge their configurations into the main configuration file.
But of course we will have the issue of developers who don’t play it nice and remove other developers modifications, how do we deal with that? It would be annoying that end users have to reinstall your scenery again just to restore the autogen configuration files.
So I would propose that we make a tool that mimics the behaviour the Microsoft should have added out of the box already. A tool that allows each scenery to have their own local autogen configuration files. Each developer will put his own modifications in a folder within his scenery and the tool will scan all these custom autogen configurations at startup of FS and merge them into one main autogen configuration file. And if this is done at each startup of the sim, developers who wipe out your configurations don’t do any hurt anymore.
I plan to try to create such a tool soon. But I would love to hear back from other developers if this sounds like a good approach. Do you have other use cases in mind that such a tool should cover? Or would you like to help me develop and test this tool? Just let me know!