FAQ: The Celestia Motherlode

Table of contents

Questions and Answers

Question: Who is behind this site?

All is revealed on the Credits page.

Question: Where is the site hosted?

This site is hosted by ibiblio. It has a huge demand for traffic, so without them this project would not have been possible.

Question: I don't want to download sinlge Addons - is there some way to download everything at once? Can I get everything on CD/DVD?

This is not possible, for a number of reasons. First, we currently have about 12 GB of data - this is simply too much to offer as a single download. But even if this was feasible, you wouldn't want it - many Addons overlap, show the same object, some Addons are incompatible. Some Addons may not work with your hardware, etc. You'll have to select everything yourself.

We are hosted by ibiblio for free, please don't misuse their generosity and download only those Addons you actually want to use - you don't need everything! Mirroring the site is considered extremely rude and simply dumb. Don't do it.

Question: How can I increase download speed?

Many people use so called "Download Accelerators". Most of them are crap (at least from a technical point of view). If your download is slow, then there is a reason to it. Either it's slow because the connection on your side is slow - then a download accelerator won't help. Or it's slow because the server is overloaded. Then using a Download Accelerator will increase the server load even further, slowing it down for everybody else. The people who designed TCP/IP and HTTP were pretty smart - you shouldn't believe you know better. Even if you don't care about fairness many download accelerators behave pretty stupid. Some download more data than necessary (yep, that accelerated the download for sure). Others try to download files which aren't there - again and again, a hundred times or even a thousand times. Oh, and many come with adware/spyware, but that's not our problem.

There is however one good reason why you may want to use a dedicated program for downloading - to resume interrupted downloads. I've seen claims that GetRight is decent for this purpose, but I can't vouch for it.

Question: I downloaded an Addon, but I can't make it work. Can you help me?

Sorry, we don't provide support for the Addons on this site. Please try fixing the problem yourself, contact the Author or ask for help on the Celestia forum.

Sometimes it's hard to spot the difference between Celestia with and Celestia without the Addon installed - maybe the Addon consists of a far away solar system. Make sure you know what to look for, you may have to enter the name of a new body directly to find it.

Good Addons should work after extracting their contents to the extras-directory in the directory where Celestia was installed and restarting Celestia. However there are still many Addons which don't follow this simple rule, either because they are very old or because their creators didn't care.

Question: Where can I learn more about Celestia and Add-ons in general?

Check out our documentation page and the Celestia forum.

Question: I am preparing an Addon for upload. What should I consider?

There are various aspects you should consider. It helps to look at your Addon from the point of view of those who will download it:

  • Does it offer something new (check the catalog for similar Addons), or in better quality? Will other people find it actually interesting?
  • The Addon should work simply by decompressing it into Celestia's extras-folder and restarting Celestia. Only in rare circumstance should a user need to modify other files.
  • Keep in mind that Celestia is a multi-platform program. Other platforms (Linux/Unix) don't consider the file "abc.jpg" and "ABC.jpg" equal, so you should enter all filenames carefully with correct case. Make sure directories like "textures\medres" or "models" are written all lowercase. Keeping everything lowercase is probably the easiest solution. This is particularly important when creating 3DS or CMOD files.
  • Did you include a README file which explains all the details about your Addon, including installation? Always include an english readme, and provide other languages in addition if you want.
  • Try to keep the Addon small - not everybody has a broadband access to the Internet, and many big files put additional load to the servers the Celestia Motherlode is hosted at. Avoid PNG textures unless you need their special capabilites (like transparency). Use normal quality settings when saving JPG files, maximum quality only gives slightly better quality but much larger files. Don't artificially increase the resolution of textures.
  • Addons should be packaged in ZIP files with standard compression. Don't use RAR, ACE, self-extracting ZIP-files etc. Under rare circumstances other formats provide much better compression then ZIP, so other formats could be provided in addition - however this should be avoided unless necessary.
  • We try to avoid executable files for a number of reasons, so unless we have a good reason and some trust in it's creator we won't host executables.
Question: I want to upload an Addon I created. How should I do it?

If your addon is ready for the public, then upload it to the Celestia Motherlode:

please go to our Upload Form here. For big files you have to use FTP, so you may need a FTP client program, but in most cases you can upload directly via your webbrowser.

There is no size limit for the files you can upload. However some people had problems uploading very large files (>50 MB). You may have to split the file in multiple smaller ones before uploading, so we can join them again on the server.

But please see the above question for comments regarding the size - in short, try to avoid big files unless necessary.

Question: I've uploaded a file, but it isn't listed. What's wrong?

There is a number of possible reasons for this. Very often we are just busy and hadn't yet time to add your file.

Providing all the necessary information (this includes copyright information!) during upload helps a lot to get an Addon listed quickly. Providing a wrong mailaddress is a good way to ensure we ignore your file.

Question: I've uploaded a new screenshot, but it's not shown. What's wrong?

You should give us a few days to approve the screenshot.

Sometimes we reject screenshots because they have the wrong size (too big or too small), they have a bad aspect ratio (should be about 4:3), aren't screenshots or have other problems. Try adding an explanation when uploading if you think there is something we should know about a screenshot, this may help. home page