Setting up a Scenery Gateway like site for MSFS

Hey Flightsimmers!

I have been thinking about this since releaseday: MSFS needs a Scenery Gateway like site. Especially since I noticed the ingame marketplace does not allow freeware. Not to mention with the filters available in the marketplace it’s going to become a mess real quick. Other scenery sites are also annoyingly hard to browse due to the skope of the game and who wants to manage individual addons anyway? I contacted the MSFS team to see if they had any plans for something similar, but as expected I haven’t gotten a reply yet.

So I was thinking, how about we take the matter in our own hands set up a service similar to X-Plane’s Scenery Gateway?

The site would list scenery on a map rather than in a long list. Then the user can select areas he would like to download, (or get auto updates from in a later development phase) for example Tokyo, France, California or the Alps.

But in my opinion that’s only the start. We can further expand the service with features like:

  • A package manager
  • requests + voting on scenery that is yet to be made or improved.
  • limiting faces for best performance + voting to allow higher faces on specific buildings relative to others in the neighborhood (+ let the user set a max quality for buildings in his download)
  • categorizing stuff (airfields, airports, rural areas, cities, landmarks, terrain fixes, …) and letting the user pick which ones he wants. Perhaps have an IFR setting too so you don’t download low level scenery far from airports.
  • I’d encourage creators to make their scenery open source so others can improve it. (of course we check whether it actually is an improvement) But if the creator doesn’t want to, he doesn’t have to.
  • I’m going to contact the MSFS devs again to ask them if they could send a changelog with every update so we can check the quality of the game scenery against the our scenery and decide which one looks best.
  • ideas are welcome

What do you think about this idea?

Setting up a site with a ‘smart server’ in the background is expensive. I want to keep this service free. So I’ll probably set up a small advertisement banner. (I hate annoying ads myself, don’t worry) And then give the possibility to remove ads for as little as 50 cent per month or so. Perhaps with other premium features for slightly more. I’m sure the FS community is large enough now to let that cover the costs.

I will not be able to set this all up on my own. I’m willing to do this project with the help of 2-3 people and share the profit/costs (if there are any). I’m looking for developers who are familiar with ASP.NET for this. I’m willing to put up to 8 hours per week in this project myself. If you have a better idea than ASP.NET feel free to share, but I’m less likely to be able to help with coding. Still I’d be able to do UX, or the front-end (html/css) side. Contact me if you’re interested, then we can have a little chat.

Later on we will likely need some mods too, to check the scenery.

Also, we’ll be needing a catchy name. Feel free to share any ideas. :slight_smile:

Sounds like a great idea. Right now scenery fixes are so fragmented you have to go to 100 different places to get 100 different things. It would be great to get a world update from one place.

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Yes! We desperately need this a portal like this (that also covers more than scenery, as you suggests in your post).

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Would it theoretically be possible to use services such as GitHub or GitLab for hosting the service? I guess the scenery size is the biggest constraint, right?

It is possible, but I have a number of problems with a simple git.

First off, it allows anyone to mess up the folder. Possibly even upload harmful stuff.
There’d be no moderating to keep track of actual improvements or performance limits.
You’d either have to keep track of many small gits (per country for example) or you’d end up downloading a pack that’s too big (entirety of Africa while you just wanted to fly over the jungle once)
Lastly it doesn’t allow for more smart options like ignoring small airfields for IFR only players and such.

There are probably a couple more issues like these.

But generally, a git would allow you to keep track of changes yes.

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Ok, yeah - I see the issues now.

Sound a fab idea. Love to help out with the caveat my coding abilities might fall a little short

Do you have any experience with ASP.NET? (C#, SQL, html/css)

If not, we’ll still need mods and people maintaining social media. :slight_smile: