Methods for importing an existing scenery database into X-Plane depend largely on what you have for source resources. If your data exists in a proprietary format, you’ll need to build a toolchain to do the conversion, either directly to the final X-Plane formats or to intermediate public formats that we support.
If the scenery is already in X-Plane’s format, adding it is as simple as unzipping any folders (if needed), and copying the scenery files within to the Custom Scenery folder in the X-Plane directory folder.
In the case of 3-D models, there are a number of existing converters from public formats to our OBJ8 format. Note that X-Plane .obj files are not the same as Alias|Wavefront .obj files.
For instance, if you use Blender for your models, you can use Jonathan Harris’ XPlane2Blender (prior version 3.20) scripts to import and export X-Plane .obj models.
If instead your models are built in AC3D, you can use the official X-Plane AC3D plug-in (for Mac, Windows, and Linux, version 6.1 and later) to read and write X-Plane .obj files.
Importing scenery and airport data is often more difficult
Microsoft Flight Simulator scenery packages can be converted to X-Plane overlay scenery using Jonathan Harris’ FS2XPlane with varying degrees of success. Note that using overlays like this is not the most efficient way to build scenery; due to large differences between the way the two sims build scenery, though, this is the easiest way to import. For more on the differences between MSFS and X-Plane scenery, see the Scenery System for MSFS Developers article.
X-Plane uses a mix of the following in its scenery:
- An apt.dat file, which describes basic airport structure. These use X-Plane art assets.
- DSF overlays, which let you use your own art assets to model anything you want at a lower level.
- OBJ files, which contain 3-D meshes. These are useful for anything that needs to be modeled.
Note that World Editor allows users to edit both airport and DSF overlay data. Version 1.3 is currently available on the Scenery Tools page.