Personalizing Xplanet

Now that Xplanet is installed, we can start to personalize Xplanet.

By the way, I’m making available the directory structure and the necessary custom files at the end of this guide in the Summary.  Or you can follow this guide step-by-step.  Either way, you will still need to make a few edits and download a few files.

I make a strong assumption in this guide and in my scripts that you will install everything somewhere in your home directory.

echo $USER

If the above command shows you as the correct USER, then you’re all set.  If it does not or if you want to place the scripts and images somewhere else, be sure to change any line that references $USER to your desired location.

Xplanet’s OS X Home Directory

Since we installed Xplanet using Homebrew, the files Xplanet needs to render an image are located at /usr/local/share/xplanet.  These are, by nature, static files and can get over-written when updating or upgrading Xplanet.  The beauty of Xplanet is its dynamic nature in showing cloud formations, weather patterns, and geophysical events.  I, therefore, prefer to add the data files that are dynamic in nature or personalized for my taste within my home directory.  Xplanet can pick up my customizations from here and pick up anything else from the stock directory.

Xplanet on OS X, by default, uses ~/Library/Xplanet as its home directory.  And this is perfectly acceptable.  My preference is to use ~/.xplanet which is Xplanet’s default directory on a Linux/UNIX installation.  It really doesn’t matter and you can use whichever you prefer.

cd ~
mkdir .xplanet

In addition to creating the Xplanet home directory we need to mimic certain directories Xplanet expects to find for its renderings as well as add some personal touches.

cd .xplanet
mkdir arcs images markers personal logs

The arcs, images, and markers directories contain the actual map and marker files.  The personal and logs directories are additions I use to store maps, scripts, logs, and temporary files.

cd personal
mkdir images scripts scripts/plist scripts/temp

The Xplanet directory structure is now set.  Please remember that you can customize the location of the directories to what you see fit; just be sure to make the necessary modifications in the rest of the guide.


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