Object libraries, again

A few weeks ago I made a post about the problems that arose with not so experienced EZ-Scenery users trying to change/alter object libraries. In the past few days I come across a few more discussions that relate to this and what I read there worried me a lot. So therefore this new post about the subject.

What worries me the most is that some people think about (or maybe even put into practice) the idea of decompiling libraries, to then put the objects back into new libraries that are organized according to their preference. So for example all hangars together.

Having a way to organise your objects is not bad of course, that is a very useful feature. But you should NEVER alter existing libraries during that process. There are quick a few good reasons for this.

  • When you create your new library, all objects will get a different identification number (GUID).  This is certainly not prefered. Think of the chaos that would appear when we end up with one object having dozens of different GUIDs in the end, because a lot of users made their own personalized library. You would never know from which library you are reading that object at the moment.
    It is also just against the reason of libraries in the first place. There are meant to be as a collection of objects, that can then easily be used in different sceneries.
  • In the end if would cost you a lot of disk space as well (and thus more downloading for the users of the scenery as well). Would you be happy if you had to download the same objects again and again? Of course not, it is much easier to download one library containing them all once and after that any scenery can make use of them.
  • By changing the GUID that the origional author has assigned you also break his backwards compatibility. Imagine that he uploads an improved version of his library. Any user that uses his origional one wouldn’t have to change anything, their placements refer to the GUIDs of the author and they can thus automatically use his new objects. But if you have assigned a new GUID to the object, you loose this.
  • When compiling the work of somebody else, you are usually breaking his copyright/user license. So you could get in trouble if you distribute this new library.

I am not saying that those EZ-Scenery users that come up with these ideas are to blame here. They probably just miss a bit of “education” about what an object library is and how you can use it. So maybe it would be worthwhile to put some effort into that. Maybe it should even be part of the documentation of object placement tools, especially if they aim at a broad public that does not only contain hardcode scenery designers.

I also want to give some attention to another issue that came up in recent discussions. EZ-Scenery does scan your entire scenery library for object libraries. And they are then all added to the list you can choose from. But what happens if you have an addon scenery installed that also makes use of an object library? It will also appear in the list of course. If that library has been designed for one specific airport that is not something that you want and if the library is part of a commercial scenery you don’t want it either. In both cases you could never distribute your scenery if it uses objects from such libraries. Simply because you can not distribute the libraries with it.

So I think it is better if object placement tools would only show objects from generic libraries that are part of FS and object libraries that have been designed and distributed with the purpose of being used as a general object library. For example all those libraries that have been created for use with Rwy12.

For the moment we should trust the user of EZ-Scenery and hope he has enough knowledge to make the shift between those generic libraries he can use and the specific or commercial libraries he can’t use. But as they all appear in his list, I am afraid this will go wrong some day.

That brings me to a last point. There is absolutely no difference between an object library designed for Rwy12, EZ-Scenery or ObPlacer XML. The only difference is how those tools read their information about the library. So wouldn’t it be nice if we could get some sort of collaboration between users of all those tools. I would hate to see more Rwy12 libraries or EZ-Scenery libraries appear at the big download sites. We should see object libraries for Fs2004. And it should not matter which tool you use in the end to place the objects.

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