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FS2004 aircraft mdl export

arno

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If a model part has more than 65k vertices you can export it to Collada (.dae) and import it in Sketchup.
Sometimes you can find a way to split it there in 2 or more parts.
 

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Like I said earlier in this thread MCX should also split it automatically, but that does not seem sufficient in all cases.
 

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Tom, good news, I have almost fixed the issue with the direction of the landing lights. Most of the work should be done as I understand how it works now :).

Once that issue is fixed I will probably make a new development release. And that is probably also the moment I can check the 64k vertex issue. I have already downloaded some of the ship models mentioned before in this thread to test with.
 
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Thanks, Arno.

I have a big list of the ships which I couldnt convert.

The passenger ships like OASIS OF THE SEAS,

Container Ships like all of:

ONE Shipping Company from Japan, with the lovely Pink livery.

Some Superbulker and many military Ships could not be converted.

For example large military Ships for Spanish Navy.

In the next release of Henrik Nielsen (GAST V4), the USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier will be included, and I already anticipate that it cant be converted because of the Max Vertices Problem.

Thanks and I m looking forward that you handle the problem!
 

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That's good news, looking forward to it. That you understand landing lights is more than I ever did - it was always very tricky and once I had a working set I just copied and pasted them into all my other models!
 
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Hi,

A new development release that has improvements for the landing light orientation and also the fix for some visibility conditions being lost will be online in about 30 minutes.
 

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I have a big list of the ships which I couldnt convert.
I had a look at exporting complex models to FS2004 again, but it is simply not possible. MakeMDL does allow a maximum of 65k vertices in one model. When there are more vertices it can't be compiled into the MDL format. That is way ModelCovnerterX checks the complexity of the model and gives an error when it is too complex. The only improvement I see is that I should check the limit per LOD and not for the entire model at once. I will fix that in a next release.

Some technical background where this limit comes from. When drawing the triangles the code in the MDL file specifies which 3 vertices from each triangle. This is done by referencing their number from the list of vertices. But these numbers are stored as 16 bit unsigned integers, which means that their maximum value is 65535. Any bigger number can't be expressed in the amount of space available. As MakeMDL puts all vertices of the object in one big list, this means you can not have more than 65535 vertices in each LOD, else they can not be referenced anymore.

I think technically this limit could maybe be avoided by splitting the vertices in multiple lists and have each part of the model use a short list of the vertices for that part. But it seems MakeMDL does not support that (I did some tests), so I don't see a way to work around this limit.

If you look at most models in FS2004, like the default aircraft, they are usually well below the 65k limit. You need to remember it is a sim that is about 20 years old and can not handle the kind of complex models we now have in MSFS.
 

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I wonder if the model could be split into multiple LOD models with the same LOD value?

And there was an unlimited size technique for building FS9 models, although I dont know if is applicable here. I think it also used the multiple LOD model trick as well.

 

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I wonder if the model could be split into multiple LOD models with the same LOD value?
I tried that already, but in that case MakeMDL automatically assigns a different LOD to one of the models (I tried with two LOD 100 and one became LOD 200).
And there was an unlimited size technique for building FS9 models, although I dont know if is applicable here. I think it also used the multiple LOD model trick as well.

Let me check that thread, maybe it contains some work around.
 

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Hi,

OK, using the MCX release dated 12/1. I am using the conversion of a native FSX aircraft to FS9, since this would be an obvious use of this feature (I had been using aircraft converted to FSX from FS9 using MCX, which makes little sense). I am using the KBT Lockheed L-188 Electra in Lockheed Aircraft Corp. demonstrator colors.

Good news, the orientation and position of the landing and taxi lights is now correct.

The taxi lights are coded as having the visibility conditions of a landing light, instead of a taxi light. I tried changing the visibility condition of the Attached Objects from light_landing_vis to light_taxi_visible but it didn't change it.

An odd one - in the previous version of MCX the props were exported correctly. Now they spin on a vertical (Z) axis instead of one facing forward (Y) (all except engine #2 blurred prop). Looks crazy. This is also visible when the converted FS9 model is loaded into MCX. If I try to modify the axis in the converted FS9 model and export they turn out even worse. :)

There are also some other issues with the left main wheel not rotating (problems with tire still and tire blurred) and the plane is transparent (needs to have the diffuse texture name in the specular slot), but we can deal with that later since you are concentrating on the lights at the moment.

Hope this helps,
 

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PS. The light mapping ini file should probably have the FS2004 landing light values changed - they are glaringly bright. I'm using:

fx_landing Landing_50_50_50_25

for now. However, the last number (which I assumed was opacity) doesn't seem to do anything.
 

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Hi Tom,
Good news, the orientation and position of the landing and taxi lights is now correct.
Happy to hear that, so that's one step forward then.
The taxi lights are coded as having the visibility conditions of a landing light, instead of a taxi light. I tried changing the visibility condition of the Attached Objects from light_landing_vis to light_taxi_visible but it didn't change it.
Which visibility condition or effect do they have in the FSX model? Maybe something goes wrong with the mapping there.
An odd one - in the previous version of MCX the props were exported correctly. Now they spin on a vertical (Z) axis instead of one facing forward (Y) (all except engine #2 blurred prop). Looks crazy. This is also visible when the converted FS9 model is loaded into MCX. If I try to modify the axis in the converted FS9 model and export they turn out even worse. :)
Oops, I was so focused on the lights that I did not really test the animations anymore. I just checked the DC-6 (I haven't downloaded your L-188 yet) and I see the same issue there. I understand why it happens, as I optimized how the transformations are written to the X file to get all lights and effect orientations right. But that has affected the animations that MakeMDL makes automatically as well I see. I was already working on a function to make sure these automatic animations have the correct orientation (e.g. for the wheels rotating in the wrong direction). That will fix this as well I think.
There are also some other issues with the left main wheel not rotating (problems with tire still and tire blurred) and the plane is transparent (needs to have the diffuse texture name in the specular slot), but we can deal with that later since you are concentrating on the lights at the moment.
How the textures are imported and exported has not really changed. So I was not expecting them to be transparent, as I thought this worked OK by now. I'll try to check.
PS. The light mapping ini file should probably have the FS2004 landing light values changed - they are glaringly bright. I'm using:

fx_landing Landing_50_50_50_25

for now. However, the last number (which I assumed was opacity) doesn't seem to do anything.
OK, I will update that in the default file that ships with MCX. If you have other suggestions for improvement just let me know.
 
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Hello Arno,

Thanks for having a look on the max vertices problem.

I hope you dont give up and try other work arounds.

I am not interested in all the ships which have the max vertices problem.
Just some of them.

Like Oasis of the Seas, ONE Container ships and
some military ships.

But it is strange.

I didnt have any problems converting all the large container ships with up to 400m length like those of MSC.

Or smaller Container Ships like those of CMA CGM, Maersk, Hamburg Süd and many others.

But the ONE Container Ships with the pink livery dont want to work.

I had also problems with the Cruise Ship

MSC SINFONIA.

I got the max vertices Problem, too.

But when I deleted the model which contains some passengers only on the promenade deck, I surprisingly could convert it.

I mean there were may be a dozen of passengers on the whole top deck.
I dont understand why such tiny elements can cause such big problems.

Thanks for your help.
 
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arno

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Hi,

I think it is quite obvious, those small details like a few persons probably have a lot of triangles and thus a lot of vertices. By removing them you get below the 65k limit and then exporting works.

The work around that Tom pointed to seems to use a modified plugin for GMax somehow (but the link is dead, so I can't check the details) and probably works around MakeMDL by modifying the ASM files in some way. I am not sure if it is worth the effort to put such a work around in MCX as well. I think it would make more sense to just simplify the models before exporting them to FS2004.
 
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Do you know how the GMAX plugin is called?

Are you in touch with Henrik Nielsen?

May be he could assist and help us solving this problem.

At least we know that many ships do work in FS9 as AI.
 

arno

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Check the link that Tom posted. It contains all the information.

I'm not in touch with Hendrik Nielsen about this. I don't know if he is interested in supporting FS2004 for his addon as well.
 

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Hi,

in FSX they use light_taxi_visible, as I recall. They definitely respond to the taxi light switch.

The FS9 conversion of the L188 has the FSX specular texture name in the specular texture slot, which doesn’t work in FS9. The FSX DC-6B did not use a specular texture since it was an FS9 conversion, so that is a different case. In either case, the diffuse texture name needs to be in the specular slot for any texture that is reflective. It also needs a night texture to avoid being transparent at night, but that has always been an FS9 requirement.

Those values I gave for the lights INI file are probably not ideal, and would vary with the aircraft. The L188 has double taxi lights on the nose gear which makes them quite bright. In GMAX I would use numbers like 100,100,100,50 but since the opacity doesn’t work I have to use a darker color.
 
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arno

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in FSX they use light_taxi_visible, as I recall. They definitely respond to the taxi light switch.
OK, I'll check what goes on there.
The FS9 conversion of the L188 has the FSX specular texture name in the specular texture slot, which doesn’t work in FS9. The FSX DC-6B did not use a specular texture since it was an FS9 conversion, so that is a different case. In either case, the diffuse texture name needs to be in the specular slot for any texture that is reflective. It also needs a night texture to avoid being transparent at night, but that has always been an FS9 requirement.
The question is how would MCX know from the FSX material that it is reflective? I thought all the possible values for that were supported in the conversion, but I'll check again.
Those values I gave for the lights INI file are probably not ideal, and would vary with the aircraft. The L188 has double taxi lights on the nose gear which makes them quite bright. In GMAX I would use numbers like 100,100,100,50 but since the opacity doesn’t work I have to use a darker color.
I just checked, but the alpha value as specified ends up in the X file for the material of the dummy triangle of the light. Not sure why setting the alpha has no effect than, it should affect the light power indeed.
 
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