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Understanding aircraft animations in Blender (familiar with X-Plane development)

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20
Country
australia
Hi everyone,

I recently reinstalled MSFS again and it has always been on my bucket list to work through the SDK and port some of my X-Plane models over. I am reasonably proficient with Blender and have created 3D assets for various different sims and game engines. The MSFS SDK refers to a lot of 3DS Max terminology and workflows that seem a little different from what I am used to and I would like to make sure I understand things correctly before I dive in.

Traditionally I would use Empties (as bones) in Blender for all my animations. For an elevator for instance I would then parent the elevator mesh to the elevator empty and perform my animations on the empty directly. It is my understanding that the same workflow applies to modelling for MSFS using Blender. Using empties I could then nest complex animations for landing gear etc, while all are being driven by the same dataraf/sim variable.

Where the SDK starts confusing me when it states that elevator animations are handled in 3 frames (down, neutral, up). I agree with the keyframe states but I am not fond of using only 3 frames for my animations. Typically I would start at say frame 1 for down, frame 51 for neutral and 101 for up for instance. Seeing that MSFS (much like X-Plane) evaluates animation progress as a percentage, the number of frames between the keyframes should not make a difference. Am I taking the 3 frame approach as discussed in the SDK too literal?

If anyone here is familiar with X-Plane development and have gone through this process before, any tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated to help understand what the big differences for animations are.
 
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