Adding objects to FlightGear

This evening I took my first (baby) steps into scenery design for FlightGear. Having done scenery design for Microsoft Flight Simulator for such a long time, it takes a little time to get used to the differences. Let me start with the good news, in the end I was able to see my objects. In this blog I will describe some of the things I came across. Getting the objects in a format that FlightGear can read was quite easy. I was using two models I had made before for FSX. So I just imported their MDL files into ModelConverterX, … Continue reading Adding objects to FlightGear

Coordinate confusion – part 2

After all the theory I blogged about yesterday, I thought it might be a good idea to illustrate the difference today. So let’s take a quite common example. I have taken the threshold coordinates of runway 06-24 from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. And I have chosen the reference point to be near the middle of the runway. What are my XY coordinates of the threshold when I am modelling the runway in my 3D editor? The two screenshots above show the XY coordinates for the threshold of 06 (top picture) and 24 (bottom picture). In the screenshots you can see both … Continue reading Coordinate confusion – part 2

Coordinate confusion

OK, I got a question for you. What kind of coordinates does your 3D modelling tool use? I mean a tool like GMax, FSDS, SketchUp or 3DS Max. Ah, that is an easy question you must think now, all of these programs use a 3D axis system where you model your object in meters (or maybe feet or inches for the developers in the US). So that question does not seem so difficult, does it? But how do these meters related to the position of the object on earth? The earth is a sphere (or more accurate an ellipsoid) and the … Continue reading Coordinate confusion

AC3D support in ModelConverterX

I have added support for a new format to ModelConverterX today, this new format is the AC3D format. It is commonly used by FlightGear for aircraft and scenery models. In the next development release you will find a reader and writer for the AC3D format. There are a number of limitations at the moment: Shaded objects are not being read or written correctly. This is because the format does not directly store the normals of the polygons, but only if it is smooth shaded or not. I am still figure out how to interpret this correctly in ModelConverterX. Only geometry is read … Continue reading AC3D support in ModelConverterX

FlightGear on FSDeveloper

Last week we opened forums to discuss X-Plane development on FSDeveloper. And this week we have added a new subforum again, this time to discuss development for the open source FlightGear simulator. So from now on you can also discuss development of scenery or aircraft for FlightGear on FSDeveloper, we hope you enjoy those new forums.

Effects with an offset

A topic that has been raised frequently on the FSDeveloper forums recently is that effects attached to an object in FSX have an offset in their placement. Especially when you use these effects for your taxiway lighting or approach lights that is an annoying “feature”. So tonight I did a little experiment to see if I could reproduce these complaints. I placed three objects at 250 meter distance, each with an effect at the top. The last one was 500 meters from the reference point and as you can see the effect is not at the top of the object, … Continue reading Effects with an offset

Oops a mistake, undo please!

It’s probably on of the key combinations most used in computer programs, Ctrl-Z, to undo your last action. Until now ModelConverterX did not have any undo functionality. When I started with the tool an undo function was not really needed, since it was an object converter. You loaded an object and exported it into another format. If something went wrong you could just load the same object again. But over time more functionality has been added to ModelConverterX and now it is not uncommon to perform a number of actions on the object before exporting it again. For example change … Continue reading Oops a mistake, undo please!

Performance indicator render mode

I have added a new experimental render mode to ModelConverterX. This mode gives the object a colour based on the amount of texture vertices at a certain location. So this mode should help you to see where your object can be optimized further to increase performance. I have made a quick video to demonstrate it, since this is tricky to explain in words: [View:] When analyzing the result keep in mind that this is calculated per modelpart. So where two different parts, with different material, meet, you will not see a higher texture vertex count. That is by design. As I … Continue reading Performance indicator render mode

The return of DrawCallMonitor!

In my previous post I already mentioned that the object statistics shown in the DrawCallMonitor tool and in the Object Information form of ModelConverterX differ. I have done some more studying on this and it is hard to say which one is better. DrawCallMonitor gives the right statistics if you want to know how many triangles, drawcalls and texture vertices a specific MDL file has. ModelConverterX on the other hand gives a good indication of how many drawcalls, triangles and texture vertices you will get when you export the object from that tool. There can be quite a difference between … Continue reading The return of DrawCallMonitor!