Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Team

I've been busy in recent days modeling some crew members for my FS/CFS creations. I am totally new to modeling people or character creation. They're fairly low res with the exception of the goggles which are about 470 triangles. The heads otherwise come in about 900 triangles including helmets.

Initially reduced versions of these will find their way into the external models of the Biff and Snipe in both FS & CFS (Snipe in CFS3 anyway).

The guys in these preview pics have still to be texture mapped. I have created multi sub-object materials and applied them to polygon material IDs. I'm also going to have a go at rigging them for animation. Overall so far it has been a productive learning experience and not bad for a first effort.

I intend to resume work on the FS9 Bristol F2B this coming weekend. This has been placed to one side for a number of months. The FS X gmax SDK is due out this week some time so it will be all hands on deck to get the Snipe out for FS X and CFS3 before christmas. I guess there will be much to learn for FS X. BTW I find FS X immensely satisfying. I have been spending much time flying it. I'll post a bit more in my other blog when time permits. I'd love to do a new Biff for FS X but that depends on time.

cheers for now


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

3DS Max 9 arrived

3DS Max 9 arrived today. It's nice to be among the first to use this new version. I'd like to say yippee, as was the case when Max 8.0 arrived last year - but yippee's are on hold for the time being.

Edit: Actually I was initially disappointed that there was a complete lack of documentation of new features. Previous versions included a new features guide. The new features guide in Max 8.0 was very helpful and I still find it useful a year down the track. There is not even a pdf or help file on the new features with the product and none as yet available on the Autodesk site. Initially Autodesk's web site informed there was no printed documentation for this product however today I was able to order a printed tutorial manual. Light at the end of the tunnel :)

This year's release is a bit light on new features. I guess main concern at the moment is the value of the Autodesk subscription to me. In 2005 subscriber's received a cloth plugin and later a hair/fur plugin and updates in the form of Max 7.5 and of course Max 8.0, was a great upgrade for me. This year the subscription offered the very useful ProBoolean & ProCutter tools and Max 9.0. As I do not have a 64bit processor I have yet to readily to experience any direct benefit for this release. Hopefully that will change as time passes. I won't be upgrading to 64 bit until next year and am sitting on the sidelines to wait and see what happens with Vista.

The problem with the Autodesk subscription system is that Autodesk do not announce ahead of time what will be included in the next year's subscription. It's a bit like a lucky dip.

Additionally most scenes created in Max 8.0 have corrupted meshes when loaded into Max 9.0. Max 9.0 disagrees with some Max 8.0 modifiers. Thus one has to flatten the mesh in Max 8.0 before loading in Max 9.0. Even then I have experienced problems with meshes appearing to load and display correctly in Max 9.0, collapsing when I convert an mesh object to a poly object or place a modifier on the mesh. Existing WIP projects will remain in Max 8.0 for the time being

The other bummer is that all plugins will have to be re-compiled with this release and some publishers such as Cebas indicated that they will charge for doing this. I was one of the last customers to purchase the ACAP TurboToolkit and am waiting to see whether there will be an upgrade. I will still be using Max 8.0 for some time to come.

I have also checked the Max plugins included with the FS X SDK in Max 9.0 and of course they do NOT work. The reason I mention this is I notice people various FS forums talking about moving from gMax to the full product. It's best for anyone contemplating purchasing 3DS Max primarily to develop for FS X, to wait until Microsoft ACES release new, Max 9.0 compatible, plugins before purchasing an expensive product such as 3DS Max 9.0.

Anyway Max 9.0 will hopefully reveal its worth in the coming months.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More on the Me P1112

I'm in the process of mapping the Me P.1112. Here's a Max quickrender which I find very pleasing.

While it was fortunate that WW2 did not last any longer than it actually did it is a great pity that this design did not take to the skys. Whether the intakes would have been totally effective I don't know but this is a beautiful clean aircraft.

That one can create facsimilies of these designs and fly them in a flight simulator is both a fascinating and incredibly satisfying experience. I would like to do more of these projects but at this stage I cannot commit myself beyond those already announced. As mentioned in an earlier post I'm hoping to have the BV P212.03 and this released before Christmas 2006.

PS ...... don't expect the detail of the Snipe :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Messerschmitt Me P.1112

Just showing off some WIP pics of the Messerchmitt Me P.1112 including 3DS Max quick renders and in game shots. Had WW2 continued into this aircraft would have been Germany's primary jet fighter. So far it's about 2 days work and only about 5000 triangles. Interestingly there is little difference in FPS, in CFS3, between this and the Snipe which has 69,000 triangles in the LOD100 mesh.

The external airframe mesh is complete save for undercarraige and wheelwells. Next step is UVW mapping and breaking the model apart to create control surfaces the UC and wheelwells. We'll see what the weekend brings as to further modeling opportunities.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Postscript and a few links to Flight Modeling info.

I have just, somewhat belatedly, come across a post by Winding Man at Sim-Outhouse, where he somewhat belatedly responded to my post of 21st August, relating to the perception of speed at low level in CFS3 and the OFF team's suggested possible solutions at that date. I am not going to enter any debate or retort on any possible issues. I don't really have any issues LOL. I leave it to the reader to read my August post and the relevant threads at Sim-Outhouse and form their own conclusions. I have provided some FS Flight Dynamics links below and I recommend reading Mike Zykowski's paper on Microsoft Flight Simulators which should be compulsory reading for anyone contemplating creating add-ons for FS/CFS including those who like to speed things up ;) I have also just added a postscript to my original blog article - which I stand by - for what it's worth :).

As can be seen by my blog posts throughout the month September my projects are ongoing including the CFS3 Sopwith Snipe.

Since September 2005 it has always been my intention to model and develop for what is now Flight Simulator X. However we are still waiting on a full SDK for that product and FS X is just hitting the stores. I have always been a fan of CFS3 and hope to support it as long as I possibly can. Once we are up and running with the FS X SDK it will be easier to create aircraft for both FS X and CFS3.

However to create aircraft one has to find such activity rewarding and with me that means that hopefully people appreciate what one produces. Some people do :). I note from WM's post that OFF phase 2 remains closed to 3rd party aircraft from the campaign perspective. Given that and my primary FS X focus, whether it's worthwhile producing WW1 aircraft, beyond the Snipe for CFS3 is open to question.... we'll see. I tend to think there will be CFS3 versions of some of my FS WW1 and other aircraft but FS X will be the primary focus and anything for CFS3 will be an afterthought. By then maybe we'll know about the next CFS.... just joking .... LOL.

The Luft '46 aircraft I am currently making are intended as fun aircraft and at this time I do not intend to create serious flight models for them - probably just basic cockpits too. The Boulton & Paul Defiant is intended [hopefully] to have a detailed visual model and cockpit. Hence I am taking my time. Once the visual is complete - and that will most likely be next year - I may try and interest the Aviation History guys in doing a flight model for it if they are still around - when and if I hopefully complete the model :)

As to flight modeling for Microsoft Flight simulators I hope to blog some of my attempts next time around when it comes time to create a flight model. I am in full 3D modeling mode at this point in time. The two activities are not mutually exclusive but I do work more efficiently with FM's when I have the time to give them my full attention. This blog will evolve to become a general development blog for FS and CFS. I will of course post the occasional dev related items in my other blog the Wing Fell Off.

In the meantime here are some useful links on the topic of flight modeling:-
The following forums may also prove useful :-

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Snipe VC mesh completed at long last.

It's been a long haul but all the mesh creation and parts is now finished for the Sopwith Snipe.

I've started UV Mapping and then comes the texture art. It will be a while yet.

I can't say when the Snipe will be released. The CFS3 version will be first. As for FS X there is still no documentation pertinent to aircraft modeling and export in the final product. We have some cool tools for 3DS Max 7/8 and no documentation on how to use them to create fully featured FS X aircraft using the new material and animations systems.

Here are a couple of pics. These will be the last I'll post of the Snipe until it is textured.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Busy week

The last week has been busy from the modeling perspective. Not just one new aircraft started but ... two, and true to my word resisted temptation to work on anything related to WW1. All in all it was good practice. I also created tail surfaces for the Defiant. Now it's back to the Sopwith Snipe which I hope to have completed Oct/Nov sometime. The two jet designs will not be as detailed as my WW1 creations but hopefully will be out by Christmas too... anything else will be a bonus.

PS.... I would say the Defiant would be completed sometime in early 2007. If it looks like being sooner I'll let you know.

Here are a few pics.....