Creating ground polygons for FSX with SketchUp

Over the last days I have been working on the Amsterdam Heliport for the NL2000 scenery. One of the tasks I did was to update the ground polygons of this scenery. Instead of using GMax for this, I decided to give SketchUp a try. In this blog post I will give an overview of my experiences.


  • If you use the SketchUp feature to load a background image from Google Earth it is easier to position your ground polygons at the right location in the world.
  • When you draw another polygon in SketchUp that is on top of an existing polygon, the new polygon is automatically cut out of the other one. So this means you need to use less layers in the end, since there are less polygons on top of each other. On the other hand, if you are using transparent textures and what two polygons in the end this can also be a negative feature.
  • I still find it more fun to model in SketchUp than in GMax, it just seems easier.


  • Mapping the textures is less convenient in SketchUp, especially since you can not alter the mapping of multiple polygons at the same time. So making sure the textures were mapped as I wanted took me more time than I wanted.


So if we balance the pros and cons, where do we end up? I am not sure yet if I prefer GMax or SketchUp for my ground polygons. At the moment I would say it is still 50 – 50. I guess I will have to do another test project to really find out. Maybe one with more markings and other features, to see how that works out.

3 thoughts on “Creating ground polygons for FSX with SketchUp

  1. I haven’t worked with ground polygons yet, but the ‘transparency limitation’ seems a showstopper to me if you want to make more complex scenery?

  2. perhaps there is a plugin for sketchup which gives more options for managing textures.

    in any case an excellent option to do so:
    export the model in collada
    open in MCX, adjust the texture (rename if needed)
    export to mdl fsx
    reopen mcx and use ground polygon withard for mdl file

    in my opinion it is not long and quite comfortable, compared to what we had left by Microsoft 🙂

  3. Francois, I think it is possible to get polygons on top of each other. I just have to figure out how. I think if you make them groups or components it should work. I just did not need it for this project.

    There might indeed be a plugin to ease the texture mapping, but I know that it is an often suggested feature to have something like UVW mapping in SketchUp.

    Btw, you can just load the COLLADA file in the Ground Polygon Wizard and then use the Material Editor or Mass Texture Editor to rename textures. No need to save to MDL in between.

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