Newbie needs help

Very basic questions about VDL:
Purchased VDL 2.5 for son to compose and playback percussion music without knowing that a notation program is also needed.
What are my choices? only Finale and Sibelius? What about Cubase?
There seem to be issues with templates and Finale 12: are templates necessary?
Finale 12 has numerous percussion voices: do we need VDL 2.5?
We have a trial version of Finale 12 and know how to compose with it, but is unable to utilize (play through) VDL 2.5: are there tutorials for newbies?
System: Intel Q9550; 8GB RAM; Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.
Thanks for any suggestions, wikksmith.
Yes. Each new template includes a Read Me that is updated for that version of Finale and changes for the actual templates.
Thanks Ted:
Please tell me there will be an updated README file with the 2012 Templates!

The first message you are seeing is a result of opening a file created with an earlier version of Finale than the one you currently have open. Files created in earlier versions of Finale may be opened in later versions, but not the reverse.

I'm away from my computer but will get back to you Sunday evening for the other issue.

2nd question:

Similar to the first. This is not an error but a change in the application. Because you are using Finale 2012 with the 2011 templates things may not be exactly the same and this is one instance. The Instrument List has been replace with the Score Manager. Score Manager can be found under the Window Menu. 
The README file says to 1. Open the VDL Outdoor Template.
2.From the MIDI/Audio menu select Instrument Setup > Instrument List. Here you will see all of the staff names,
instruments, MIDI channel assignments, and Percussion MIDI Maps for non-pitched percussion.

";Instrument setup"; does not appear as an option under MIDI/Audio (see attached).
Thanks, Donald
I followed the directions in the README file and got the attached error message when I opened the the Outdoor template.  the templates came from the Windows folder, not the Mac folder. 
Please advise.
Thanks, Donald
The order of install should not matter. Know that since you are using the trial version of Finale 2012 you can move to the full version by purchasing the needed license online. Finale 2012 is the first version of Finale which does not require a hard copy (DVD) to install, it is a digital download/installer. Also, make sure you update VDL to the most current version 2.5.2. This is done through Native Instruments and their Service Center. You may even want to consider downloading the Kontakt 5 Player. This is a free and you can get more information about it through Native Instruments.
Thanks for the info; I 'll get rid of the ._ files.
I've ordered a copy of finale 2012 (using a trial version now) and plan to reinstall all the software (Fianale 2012, VDL 2.5, The Write Score Template 2011).  Does it matter in which order I install them?
Thanks, Ian

You can safely ignore the ._ files and trash them. And yes, the folder named FIN11_Templates is the one you are looking for to copy.

The purpose of copying these files to the Finale Templates folder is to allow you to use them as though you had a notepad with fresh pages. There should be no need to open a template score file, Save As so as not to lose the original, then begin work. It is one of the option available in Finale when starting a new score or file, ";New from Template";.
The Finale11 Template READ ME says ";locate the folder called VDL Templates. This folder contains the three VDL/Finale template files.  Copy and paste this folder in the ���common�۪ Templates folder (���common�۝/MakeMusic/Finale 2011/Music Files/Templates).";

I do not see a folder named ";VDL Templates.";  I do find a folder names ";FIN11_Templates"; which has 2 sets of 3 Template files (again, with 1 set preceded with ._).  These are Finale Notation Files names ";Battery ONLY,"; ";Indoor"; and ";Outdoor.";
Is this the folder I paste into the Templates folder? 
This seems far more complex than it needs to be!
Thanks, Donald
OK - thanks.  Please let me know what you find out.  My initial thought was that one set was the compressed and the other the uncompressed, but the file sizes don't made sense for that.  In the mean time, I'll copy both sets.

After some investigation, I'm also seeing the same issue. I will still need to test but my first suggestion would be to copy all of the files. The ._ files may be backups or a result of the compression program.

I'll need to look into the 'double' XML files. This is the first time I've heard of this issue.
Happy New Year!
I have updated Kontact Player to and the VDL libraries to 2.5.1  I've purchased the 2011 Finale template.  I'm now ready to install the XML files, but find that there are 2 versions of each file, e.g., ";VDL Snareline"; and ";._VDL Snareline.";  Which do I copy to the MIDI Device Annotation folder?
Thank you for your patient help.
ps: I build my own PCs.  I have installed, updated, upgraded, patched and used dozens of applications, mostly relating to sound and video editing.  But, I've yet to encounter such an arcane set of programs as Finale and Drumline!
The templates for Finale 2012 should be available in early January but I can't give a firm date. As far as cost to purchase or upgrade, I don't have any information at this time.
OK.  About when will the template for Finale 2012 be available?
What will it cost to update from the 2011 template to 2012?
Thanks, Donald
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