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.

Some autogen thoughts

I am going to spend some time on the scenProc tool again the coming weeks. It’s time to finish some of the features of that tool and make it even easier to make autogen. But of course there are some challenges left. One of the main challenges is that most FSX autogen must be rectangular. So for a group of houses as shown above that will work. It is not so hard to define a rectangle for each of them. Some have a small extension, but even if you ignore those the result will look quite good. For the buildings … Continue reading Some autogen thoughts

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

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.

MDL Tweaker

I have just added a new feature to the ModelConverterX development release. It is a MDL Tweaker that you can find in the special tools menu. Let me first explain how this tweaker differs from loading a MDL into ModelConverterX itself. When you import a MDL into ModelConverterX the object is read and stored in an internal representation. ModelConverterX then works with this internal representation when you make changes. In the end this internal representation is exported again to a MDL file. The MDL Tweaker works differently, it directly manipulates the binary code of the MDL file, without decoding it … Continue reading MDL Tweaker

Custom shadow model

A recent question by Don Grovestine on the FSDeveloper forum made me look more at the shadows of FSX models. As everybody knows, turning on the shadows in FSX can have a considerable influence on the performance. But the FSX MDL format also does allow you to specify a custom model that is used to render the shadow. I did some testing today to determine how big the performance difference can be. I started by making a rather complex object, with almost 6000 triangles. And I placed many instances of it at my favourite test location. The screenshot below shows how the … Continue reading Custom shadow model

Ending the rumours?

It for sure was an interesting week with the new announcements Microsoft made about Flight. Will it end all the rumours that have been going around for a long time already? Let’s see. The new announcement makes a lot of things more clear. Flight will have an integrated addon market and it is focussed around Hawaii. So those rumours were correct. The fact that it is free is something new. You will get 2 planes and one island of Hawaii for free. If you want more planes or more regions to fly in you can buy them in the market … Continue reading Ending the rumours?

Follow me

Last week I finished the model of the new railroad bridge near Zwolle for the NL2000 scenery. It was the first bridge model I made with SketchUp and it was an interesting experience. As most modelling tools SketchUp provides a lot of operators and I had not used all of them in my previous objects. One of the tools I have learned to appreciate more with this bridge is the follow me tool. As you can see in the screenshot below the bridge is partly curved and there is also a small side road (of course a bicycle path here in … Continue reading Follow me

It’s the scale, stupid

While working on the next update of the NL2000 scenery, I have learned some interesting things again. For this update I have worked on the road bridges we have in the scenery. These objects have been in the scenery a couple of versions already, but with the road traffic that FSX has added it became quite clear that the cars were not driving over the bridge, but through it. The solution for this was to add a platform to the road surface of the bridge. Adding the platform was easy, that could be done with ModelConverterX in a few seconds. … Continue reading It’s the scale, stupid

Small DrawCallMonitor update

I have just made a small update to the DrawCallMonitor tool. The change is that the user interface now has a status bar that will show you some additional information. The two main things are does this object have drawcall batching and does it have working levels of details. These two are related, but with this update you can quickly see how your object will perform. If the levels of details will not work, the text is red, if they will the text is green. Similar for the drawcall batching.