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Aerazur

Time spent on design vs systems

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Hi guys !This morning I had a very original conversation with a Slovakian friend (Im' French). We are both student and we were attending the helicopter course when,suddenly, between two performances exercices, we started to talk about the B737NGX (see how pmdg gather men Big%20Grin.gif).The debate was the following : On the Slovakian side, it is said that 80-90% of the work for such add-ons is design (ie modelling)On the other side, the value are 50% of modelisation, 35% systems and the rest for tests.So, what do you think ? And if PMDG can answer directly to the question taking the NGX or other addons as example would be great ;)Thanks !Ben.

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Multiple people work on PMDG products at the same time, thus I think time is divvied out equally among all areas of the simulation. However, there are more programmers than there are modelers, giving the impression that more work is done on the systems than the modelling. My thoughts... :(

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Its much, much easier to build a 3d model than it is to program accurate and bugfree systems. When you model a 3d model you just follow the blueprint. It doesnt really require any effort, other than knowing how to use the tools available and of course various techniques for optimising performance.

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It doesnt really require any effort
Oh my...

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Its much, much easier to build a 3d model than it is to program accurate and bugfree systems. When you model a 3d model you just follow the blueprint. It doesnt really require any effort, other than knowing how to use the tools available and of course various techniques for optimising performance.
You have obviously never done it.

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OK, does anyone here did both at the level of PMDG?I'm a software developer and i know that is quite difficult to have a bug free code.Now, i don't know if it is more difficult to build a 3D model 'cause i never done it.

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Its much, much easier to build a 3d model than it is to program accurate and bugfree systems. When you model a 3d model you just follow the blueprint. It doesnt really require any effort, other than knowing how to use the tools available and of course various techniques for optimising performance.
That's incredibly wrong. The VC and external model have both taken a ton of time and effort and I know both Vin and Jason would be offended by this statement that what they've done took no effort quite. They'll still be tweaking the models right up until release actually. Both the VC and the external took well over a year to build from the time we had all the source material in place. There's more things than I can count that went into both that you likely will never know about. (I wish we could do a "Making of the NGX" documentary or something)

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(I wish we could do a "Making of the NGX" documentary or something)
And with the 777 you'll have that chance :(

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You have obviously never done it.
I have built many 3d models and I have also built many computer programs and its of my opinion that its much easier to build a 3d model. You just model according to the blueprint. You dont have to be a genious like you have to be when you are trying to replicate aircraft systems. Perhaps saying it requires no effort to model the gfx is wrong; it does require an effort. It just doesnt require a genious

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I have built many 3d models and I have also built many computer programs and its of my opinion that its much easier to build a 3d model. You just model according to the blueprint. You dont have to be a genious like you have to be when you are trying to replicate aircraft systems. Perhaps saying it requires no effort to model the gfx is wrong; it does require an effort. It just doesnt require a genious
Again, you're incredibly wrong when talking about what we're doing at this level. If it's so easy why aren't you working for an addon developer?

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Again, you're incredibly wrong when talking about what we're doing at this level. If it's so easy why aren't you working for an addon developer?
Are you saying that it requires more effort to model the 3d than it does to program the systems? Exactly which part of my post is "incredibly wrong"?

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We are not here to statute about what is the most difficult task but how the time is spent between them (roughly).Btw I'm both impressed by modelers and developers.

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Are you saying that it requires more effort to model the 3d than it does to program the systems? Exactly which part of my post is "incredibly wrong"?
They both require an equal amount of time it's isn't as easy as you think to just follow blueprints the team have mentioned before that they even took laser measurements in order to give ultimate realism.

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Sekstifire, I think that you're forgetting that developing a 3D model, doesn't just require making a 3D model. What else do you have to do? You have to take tonnes of reference pictures, at this level it requires you being there on survey trips, having the official documentation from, in this case, The Boeing Company, rather than looking on the internet and using whatever you find first. It also means using exact measurements and inputting that into an incredibly complex CAD programme, then that might not match up exactly to the official documents from Boeing so you have to tweak, render it, see what looks best, maybe make a compromise, render it again, tweak it again and again and again? Then you have the optimization process, see what looks good but is fast. I can go on and on. Of course this is the same as the systems, and PMDG have told us most about that hence maybe why you said this? I don't know, but the systems requires a lot of knowledge too, a lot of reading, for example all the work that was done on the lighting, and the voltage etc. The statement that you made saying it doesn't really require any effort is totally, most definitely, wrong.

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I have built many 3d models and I have also built many computer programs
Such a convenient thing to append to your comment.

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Its much, much easier to build a 3d model than it is to program accurate and bugfree systems. When you model a 3d model you just follow the blueprint. It doesnt really require any effort, other than knowing how to use the tools available and of course various techniques for optimising performance.
3d modelling at this level is no walk in the park. These guys are at the top of their game and it takes years to get to this level so perhaps they make it look easy but its not. Making a blurry inaccurate model is one thing and are ten a penny. but to create work of this quality is a whole different ball game. Getting a nice smooth fuse (with out using smoothing tools) thats accurately contoured and correctly proportioned is no mean feat. Many have got it wrong in the past in various payware and freeware projects. Tweaking adjusting constantly to get it right can be a laborious and tedious process and one that take enormous skill and a good eye for detail and proportion(one of the common areas that lets a project down time and time again). Then you have the animation/ custom animations which are a whole mission by them selves. Also lets not forget the high res texturing which takes hundreds and hundreds of hours of painstaking work to UVW map and then create economically arranged texture bitmaps whilst trying to maintain that balence between performance and resolution. Same goes for the modelling where its a constant battle to get shapes looking good yet achieving this with the fewest possible triangles & verticies. All this whilst keeping in constant contact with the rest of the team as there are many areas that cross over between the modelling and the programming and ensuring a smooth transition between both. I used to be on the other side before i started 3d modelling myself and then i was able to see how much is involved. Its easy to dismiss something that you have not really done your self(well at least not at the same level ) 3dsmax is easy to get hold of you can even get a legal free student licence for 3 years from autodesk if you want to learn it. Its definately a good eye opener to see how well you can do your selfKav

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Whilst the phrasing may have been not very complimentary, I know what he is intending to say with regard to modeling, so there really is no need for anyone to take offense at it.Yes it does require skill and experience in modeling to create something good, and a good modeler will do a better job than a poor one, but the task at hand is more clearly mapped out ahead where the modeling task is concerned, whereas it is not quite so clear-cut how one would go about getting the complexities of a modern airliner's systems to work within the confines of something such as FS, often it requires stepping outside it and running additional stuff. Some of how such limitations affect the creative task is also true where 3D modeling is concerned too of course, but again those limits are generally known. The tricky part - i.e. the bit that separates the good from the merely adequate - is knowing how to use what you know to best advantage, and there really is no substitute for intelligence and experience in that aspect.And for the record, I am someone who trains advanced courses on numerous design software packages in a professional capacity as my 'proper job', including 3DS Max and Photoshop, so I do know what I'm talking about here and have no wish to diminish the effort 3D modeling requires, for if it was easy to master, I'd be out of a job. The one thing I always tell anyone whom I train on any software, is that you can look as hard as you like, but you will not find a brain on any of the toolbars or menus - you have to supply that yourself!Al

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Well buddies.Question directly to the PMDG guys.If you can split time among issues done to finish 737NGX what would be the percentage for them ?

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You use 3DMax to do all the modeling buthow do you do the programing?
That would probably be Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Visual C++.

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This is a classic question from someone who genuinely wants to know what is involved in making an incredibly complex add-on, with that question directed right at the people who do it. Instead, everyone else chimes in with what they think the answer is. It's no wonder Ryan and the rest of the team sound like they are getting fed up with this forum.

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Folks,I feel I need to chime in from a modeler's perspective...As a 3D modeler, I can tell you the stuff we do is NOT easy. It takes years of experience, a keen eye for detail, incredible patience and a good ability to convert something from 2D to 3D. Vin has been a 3D modeler for many, many years, I have been doing this stuff since the days of FSDS. 3DS max is just a tool, there is nothing automatic that gives you a defined object, it is the modeler that gives the model the definition. Its like a woodworker turning a simple piece of wood into a fine piece of furniture or whatever his imagination makes. You have to keep in mind polygon optimization, have a great understanding of UV Mapping and yes I would say you need to understand how FSX works. In the case of the NGX model, it is richly detailed yet it is an optimized model. Knowing how to do UV Mapping properly yields performance efficiency, you cannot simply slap on textures and map however the way you want, you will have performance issues in FSX. There is a hard limit in FSX when it comes to the number of animated parts and how many polygons you can have in a model - gotta watch out for that. I have spend hundreds and hundreds of hours on the NGX, studying photographs, reading the engineering drawings, making lots decisions in how much detail should be focused on an item or two, back and forth discussions about why something is not working, why the exporter breaks etc. Not just that, but tweaking, optimizing, adding more detail, changing textures, re-mapping and on and on. Vin has spent more time than me on the VC, not only the modeling but also the 2D panel bitmaps and coming up with really crazy ways of making things work. So to say the NGX was an easy project for Vin and I, I assure you, your completely wrong on that. Features that we wanted to add, FSX throws a fit, we have to find a way to make it work, there's hours and hours of fiddling and testing. There isn't anything on the NGX that we've decided not to include because it wouldn't work. Lastly but MOST importantly, it is the coding team that makes many of the visual things on the exterior model, VC and of course the systems, FMC, hydraulic, electrical, pneumatics tick. They are what makes the NGX operate, without them, our work is just a shell. They are the ones that deserve most of the praise. For that I aplaud their tremendous efforts to make the NGX the most incredible product I have ever seen in the history of FSX commercial airliners.Anyway long story short, FSX has greyed Vin's and my hair, we've lots a few hair follicles in the process but the team surely hopes that our efforts will be all worthwhile to all of you. Cheers,

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This is a classic question from someone who genuinely wants to know what is involved in making an incredibly complex add-on, with that question directed right at the people who do it. Instead, everyone else chimes in with what they think the answer is. It's no wonder Ryan and the rest of the team sound like they are getting fed up with this forum.
Except that it wasn't aimed solely at the PMDG developers. The original question (with my underlines added):So, what do you think ? And if PMDG can answer directly to the question taking the NGX or other addons as example would be great ;)The OP clearly asks what do we think (note the position of the question mark), then adds 'And' to additionally pose the question to the PMDG developers.Al

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I could almost say that 3D modeling is easy because my first 3d model was a quite good a380 made with sketchup in 8 days only without any prior experience with the software. You can see it here. But I like drawing and I have always been interested in 3D modeling but couldn't afford nice programs such as 3ds max. But when I was able to try it. I knew I could do far better job with that software. Nevertheless it took me 2 years of hard learning and a lot of time to master I would say 80% of 3ds max. So it's not easy at all. At least the learning part does require a lot of time. And if you think programming is harder that may be true in some way, but still, it's harder to find 3d modelers than programmers. It's an art.

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You want to hear something really funny? I was training some guys from JCB recently (the company that make all those great big excavators and tractors), and one guy was telling me that he'd been on a Cinema 4D training course a few weeks earlier with some other training company, where they'd jammed into five days a course which was supposed to take people from complete beginner, up to expert level. In C4D, in five days LOL. You can imagine my reaction (this is the polite version): 'really? you've got to be joking', but he wasn't. Needless to say he told me the course was preposterous, going through everything at break-neck speed with no time to take anything in at all, and not surprisingly, it didn't deliver what it promised.There's no circumventing experience with 3D modeling, you have to do it a lot to get good at it, although as you say, Sketchup is a pretty decent intro to the concepts, especially since you can extrude AI vectors from it, which is a major plus point, especially for a freebie, although it's not quite so good exporting unless you get your hand in your pocket for the payware version.Al

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