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N_Molson

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Table of Contents

Definitions and "key concepts"

Add-on : generic term used to describe anything that "adds content" to Orbiter.

Plug-in : a plug-in is a .dll (Dynamic Link Library) file that "plugs" into Orbiter to add content. Most plug-ins can be toggled on/off directly on the Launchpad.

Module : a module is a .dll (Dynamic Link Library) file that can be used by Orbiter to simulate a specific vessel. Building a .dll file requires a C++ compiler, such as Microsoft Visual Studio.

Configuration file : a configuration file is a simple text-format file with the .cfg extension. Those files are used by Orbiter for various purposes, and support a lot of parameters, even allowing a simple simulation of celestial bodies, surface bases and vessels.

Script : a script is a small program written in the LUA programming language in text-format. While not as versatile as C++, LUA allows to write real programs. While mostly used for things such as mission challenges or ascent programs, it is possible to simulate a vessel through a LUA script (Orbiter 2016 beta).



1. Meta-plug-ins

Those plug-ins cover many aspects of the simulation, which makes them uniques. Graphic clients, Sound engines, various editors and builders fit in this category.

2. Miscellaneous plug-ins

Those plug-ins are used to simulate specific aspects of the simulation. MFDs and other in-simulation tools fit in this category.

3. Celestial bodies configuration files and texture packs

This category regroups addons that simulate planets, moons, or planetary systems. They should usually come with texture packs. Note that Orbiter 2016 changed the way planetary surface textures are managed (the tree system), therefore compatibility with previous versions is not guaranteed.

4. Surface bases configuration files and texture packs

This category regroups addons that simulate various surface locations, such as launch complexes, airports, landing sites or any place of interest. They usually come with texture packs, and in the case of Orbiter 2016, elevation maps. Note that Orbiter 2016 changed the way planetary surface textures are managed (the tree system), therefore compatibility with previous versions is not guaranteed.

5. Vessels plug-ins

This category regroups addons that simulate specific vessels. Such vessels are usually vehicles (but also living beings) that can be of any kind. They usually - but not always - are the player "point of view" in the Orbiter universe. Amongst those are rockets, spacecraft, probes, satellites, ground vehicles, ships, astronauts in EVA...

6. Scenario files and challenges

This category regroups scenario files that can be selected in the launchpad. Those are configuration files that describe the state of the simulation at a precise moment in time, and list which vessels should be present in this instance of the simulation, along with their relative status. Scenario files can be associated with LUA scripts to allow "challenges" or "missions" in which the player has to validate a specific set of conditions.

7. Other configuration files

This category regroups add-ons that provide basic simulation of vessels or surface bases through configuration files.

8. LUA scripts

LUA scripts are simple text-format programs that can be interpreted by Orbiter. LUA being an API by itself, those can cover many aspects of the simulation, from ascent programs to full vessel simulation.
 
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