3D Model Overview

So im trying to create a custom airport. But there are so many 3D Models included in the sim, that its hard for me to get an overview and pick the right one for my actual needs.

Yesterday i needed a special hangar type, so i started to look into the hangars wich are already included. There are soooo many that it took a long time to find the right one.

I dont want to model own hangars. My principle is to use the included models as far as i can. Only when a included model absolutely doesnt match, i have to model or import another.

Is there any list or logic wich can help me to find models/objects faster?

regards from germany :slight_smile:

For starters, if you don’t have it, you might want to get yourself a good open-source XML editor that can display XML tables and create schemas to help you understand structure (have a comment about Excel and MS Access or other database software at end).

Here’s a recent review of free XML editors (I have a different pricey one that doesn’t come free). https://appuals.com/the-5-best-free-xml-editors/

XmlPad appears to have a lot of what it takes to view an MSFS xml file and make sense of it. Here’s the 30-mycompany-biomes.xml file in the vegetation folder (path is MSFS SDK\Samples\SimpleBiomes\PackageSources\vegetation) displayed as an XML table:

Here’s a diagrammatic schema of the XML structure prepared by XmlPad:

To avoid the diagram running on forever from left to right, elements at a certain level that contain further nested elements are left unexpanded and further branches descending down the tree are diagrammed on subsequent lines as for BiomeRule + (red circled item) and other elements down the tree.

You can also import XML files into Microsoft Excel and map XML elements to columns in a table but I’m afraid my remembrance of how to do that with nested structures is about a decade old and mostly forgotten. XML files can be imported into a database like Microsoft Access, too, but I think a good XML editor, like XmlPad seems to be, can be a quicker, easier way of understanding XML structure and the type of data associated with particular elements at a particular level in the XML tree. XmlPad can export tables in .DBF4 database format and .CSV files and Excel and Access can read both formats as well as XML directly. The regular folks working on the MSFS SDK can probably offer better suggestions.

Here’s the SDK SimpleAircraft.xml 3D model parameters viewed only partially in an XML table and XML tree in left navigation pane in XmlPad:

Here’s also a partial view of the old-fashioned DTD generated by XmlPad for the SimpleAircraft.xml file (found at the following location (MSFS SDK download folder)\Samples\SimpleAircraft

I presume that you’ve been poring over the documentation for the SDK, which explains a lot about the modeling for MSFS. Found at \MSFS SDK\Documentation\Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 SDK.chm
(you may have named your SDK download folder something different from “MSFS SDK”). The nice thing about the .CHM file is that it opens in Windows 10 as a HELP file and has an index and is searchable as well, just like in the good ol’ days.

Reading the MSFS SDK is like reading the Bible. It’s going to take a while. Here’s a short primer I found on the aircraft model as it exists in FSX. Since FSX airplanes are ~importable into MSFS, it should be a quick but not necessarily 100% correct primer on aircraft for MSFS (see article #2 on PBR in MSFS, for example). I’m interested in learning about this stuff, too, so my suggestions are just the result of silly fooling around as an ignorant newbie. Hope it helps you somewhat. There is tons of stuff in the forum and elsewhere online.

  1. https://www.mindstaraviation.com/AircraftContainerSystem.html

  2. https://www.simflight.com/2020/08/25/scenery-design-in-msfs-an-interview-with-fsdreamteam/

  3. https://www.blender.org/ (you might want v2.83 LTS instead of v2.90 or maybe you can get the free license for the educational version of 3ds max?)

  4. https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/resources/blender2msfs-toolkit.256/

  5. https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/search/?domain=Transportation&subdomain=Aircraft&hl=en

  6. https://www.cgbookcase.com/textures/how-to-use-pbr-textures-in-blender

(then if you qualify for an academic license there is always):
7. https://www.substance3d.com/products/substance-painter/

If you search the forum on “blender import” (without the quotes) you can find various threads discussing the ins and outs of importing Blender and Sketchup 3D Warehouse models into MSFS and it ought to be instructive on how 3D models work in MSFS (learn by doing).

This might be what you’re looking for (although it’s only a sample file in a tutorial, it seems, and just shows services for airports). It’s the Asobo LWcfg.xml file and in it the general properties of objects in the “living world” appear to be defined by world region and there is a column (branch of xml tree) for airports as categorized by world region with the different service element properties of airports by region.

It’s found at \MSFS SDK\Samples\LivingWorld_Config\Asobo_LWcfg.XML

So this would be the sort of thing if you could get the properties of airports you’re interested in and filter on the airport table, you could figure out how those properties vary by world region, airport type, and (great application of pivot table analysis) how the properties that you’re interested in having are cross-correlated and where you need to go in the world and the airport label to look for to find an airport with the properties you want.

Here is a screen capture of PART of the XML table for that file with the Airports column expanded:

And here is a screen capture of part of the old-fashioned DTD schema for that file:


  1. Comments up and down in thread on how to customize your own airport, most enlightening comment (for me): Airport editing 'for dummies', please? Other parts of thread seem to say built-in airport objects currently not reusable?

  2. The source: Guide on creating airports, sounds like you create your own buildings and refer to existing scenery textures: [GUIDE] How to create a new airport (version 0.3). After constructing your airport, you can search for specific types of scenery for textures for your various airport objects and for specific objects to add, a giraffe and firetruck in example given (Edit 2, version 0.3).

Seems like if using 3ds max there will be a powerful material filter plugin available but otherwise the material editor in DEV mode can search for a type like “asphalt” and show a bitmap preview.

Further Update: Preview scenery object before adding/placing - SOLVED