I have been busy with life in general and have been job searching. 3D Aircraft modelling projects are ongoing in my spare time.
Work on the CFS3 Sopwith Snipe continues. Most of the external model is now mapped and I have been planning on how to approach creating the airframe with a completely enclosed mesh and no open edges (manifold mesh) [i.e. if I choose to go ahead with a FS X version of the Snipe.] On open fuselage aircraft this involves use of the 3DS Max 8 shell modifier. At the time of writing not much is known about aircraft creation for FS X but I do notice that aircraft in the demo have opening doors etc. It will be interesting to see how FS X accomodates open edges from the model creation perspective.
I have also been working on a new model of the Bristol Fighter possibly for FS X. As with the Snipe I am hoping to create a manifold mesh - no mean feat with an open biplane. Interestingly the Gennadich Team have previewed pictures of a Fokker Dr-1 cockpit model for its forthcoming WW1 sim, showing self shadowing in the cockpit. I would be interested to know if this was a manifold mesh. I have read that some modern game engines no longer require manifold meshes to support self shadowing.
I have been assuming that FS X would have been improved to the extent that its model export tools would have equaled or surpassed what is currently acheivable in CFS3. At the time of writing this is not known, so it is perhaps best not to assume. If the capabilities and short comings of the export tools and 3D engine in FS X remain similar to FS 2004 then I will have to revise my current modelling plans as it will mean a different modelling approach for FS X to that which I employ for CFS3.
FS X looks very nice and makes use of modern shader technology on its aircraft and scenery objects. FS X also introduces enhanced animation techniques. However under the surface it is based on the existing FS engine. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.