Specular and fresnel effects in preview

The next development release of ModelConverterX contains improvements to the rendering of the object in the preview. The two biggest changes are that the specular hotspot and the fresnel effects are now shown in the preview as well. I am not convinced that the fresnel effect is exactly like in FSX, but I think it is rather close at the moment. Besides those two changes there are other smaller improvements as well, for example reflections work more like FSX now and also some additional material settings now have an effect in the preview.

User interface change

I have changed the main user interface of ModelConverterX a bit, actually it has gone back to some of the concepts that the tool used in 2008 already. I did remove the tabs that were used for the preview, event log and options. Instead of those tabs the options are now on a separate form, which can be opened with the Options button at the top toolbar. The preview and the event log are both shown at the main screen. There is a splitter in between, so you can change the size of the preview and event log as you wish. … Continue reading User interface change

Problem reporting

user: He, your tool does not work. me: What do you mean? What are you trying to do and what goes wrong? user: When I import my object it crashes. You need to help me, I have to convert this object. me: What is the error message you get at the crash? Can you maybe send me the object to debug? user: Never mind, I fixed it already. OK, this is expurgated a little bit, but this is how a typical user interaction about a bug in one of my tools might go. Both for the user and for me it is … Continue reading Problem reporting

Correcting for the FSX curved earth

One of the main differences between FS2004 and FSX when it comes to rendering the earth, is that FS2004 assumes that the earth is locally flat while rendering the scene, while FSX uses the correct curvature of the earth as well. But this has some consequences for scenery designers. When you make ground polygons they are usually flat in the design tool, but putting them on the curve of the earth will mean that the ends will float in the sky. The ground polygon wizard of ModelConverterX does correct for this problem, by shaping your ground polygons to follow the curve … Continue reading Correcting for the FSX curved earth

Bye, bye, performance indicator mode

ModelConverterX used to have a render mode called performance indicator mode. With this mode you could spot where the texture mapping or normals were not so optimal. The recent updates to the preview have removed that mode. But I have now added two replacements. One is called the Normal Inspect mode and the other TexMap Inspect mode. In the Normal Inspect mode the colour of the object is determined by the normal, see the screenshot on the right. This means that as long as the normal is shared by different triangles smoothly you will see the gradually changing colour. If you … Continue reading Bye, bye, performance indicator mode

A bit buggy

The recent changes I made to the ModelConverterX preview turn out to be a bit buggy. To be honest that’s not a surprise to me. I am still learning the OpenGL shader language and also the fact that every graphics card might handle the shader code slightly different does not make the job easier. But I like the bug hunting and it helps me to learn more about the shaders as well. So a big thanks to all the users who encounter these problems and report them to me. Your reports really help and I try to iron those bugs … Continue reading A bit buggy

Updated ModelConverterX preview

The development release of ModelConverterX now contains an updated preview of the objects. It is now using OpenGL shaders, which as enabled me to add some cool new functions. Like showing bump maps and the reflection influenced by specular maps. Be aware that this is a big change, so it might have resulted a few new bugs here and there. Please let me know if you have any issues. And in case of big issues, you can always revert to the stable 1.3 release until I have fixed them.

ModelConverterX 1.3 released

Just a quick note that ModelConverterX 1.3 (stable version) has been released. It is the same as the development version of yesterday, but now with a updated manual. It will be the stable release for the near future, since version 1.2 was getting very old. You can read some more information here.

Ground polygon wizard upate

I have updated the ground polygon wizard in ModelConverterX. Two new features have been added to it in the latest development release: You can now specify which layer and visibility are used by default in the options. This should mean that you have to change less values while working on your ground polygons. An option has been added to convert the textures used on the ground polygons. This means they are converted to DDS (when using FSX) or DXT BMP (when using FS2004). Before you would have to do this conversion manual. In the screenshot on the right you see … Continue reading Ground polygon wizard upate

Reading X files

I have added a new function to ModelConverterX. It can now also read X files. This can be a X file generated by the FS2004 or FSX gamepack, but also a X file generated by another tool that does not contain the FS specific information. The following features will be read from the X file: Geometry, normals and texture coordinates Material settings (including FSX specific material settings) LOD information Animations This new functionality is in the latest development release. Let me know if you have any issues with this feature.