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Guest JeanLuc_

Help with FSX Animation Tool

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I've been playing around with the FSX SDK plugins for 3DS MAX in hopes of creating my own FSX aircraft. I'm at a point with my project where I'd like to have the control surfaces animate. One of the MAX plugins is called FSX Animation Tool & seems to be the tool to use. Unfortunately the supplied documentation is quite lacking to say the least (don't get me started on what's completely misleading about it also).Anyway I was hoping someone might offer some tips on how to use the FSX Animation Tool. For now I'd be happy knowing what to do to setup the basics like ailerons, rudder, elevator & maybe gear animation? My aircraft model has separate parts for each of these. I just can't get the darn things to animate in game using this tool. Here's what the Animation Tool looks like in 3D MAX 8:http://www.scipie.com/fsx_animation_tool.gifCheers,Nodd

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Rumor has it that updated SDKs are on the way, complete with sample airplane (and gmax tools). From what I understand (and hope) maybe even better documentation of how to model an airyplane...I've heard dates of tomorrow, but, I'm not holding my breath.

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Without the full SDK, it's really not practical to fumble around with the Animation Tool yet.However, realize that the purpose of the tool is to somewhat automate the process. There's no absolute requirement that it be used!All animations in FSX are XML controlled, and all of the FS9 "Stock Animations" are already pre-coded in XML and available to use immediately.Like all FS9 XML animations, the "key to use" lies in the partname!For example, "prop0_still" is still the name to be used for the still prop0... The only thing "new" is that the part must be keyframe animated by defining the range 0 - 100 keyframes, and then "rotating" the part a full 360

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Bugstomper over on the fsdeveloper.com forums offered some how to info for the FSX Animation Tool. Based on his advice here's what I did to animate a control surface: Elevator ExampleIn MAX rotate the elevator part down from its neutral position say 45 degrees & set a keyframe at 0. Then rotate the elevator up above neutral 45 degrees & set a keyframe at 100. With the elevator still selected, open the FSX Animation Tool then hit Update Sel to let the tool know which part you're working with. Scroll through the Animation List & choose elevator_percent_key. Insert 0 in the Start field & 100 in the End field. Then click create. Close the tool, save your model & export making sure export animation is selected. This produces a xxx.X file & its xxx.XANIM. Use XtoMDL.exe with the /XANIM flag to produce a xxx.MDL. Thanks again Bugstomper for the advice. Bill thank you also for the response. I've been out of the FS loop for quite a few years now so I'm not familiar with FS9 modeling procedures. Back in the late '90s I created FS aircraft but things have changed so much now I'm pretty much learning everything again from scratch. You mentioned that the part name is important. Using 3DS MAX I named my test elevator "horiz st01". The Animation Tool didn't seem to mind what I called it. My guess is that its re-naming it in the background when I export to xxx.X & xxx.XANIM. But who knows? As you mentioned its probably not practical but I'm planning to continue to fumble my way through this learning curve, finding out as much as I can. Just checked FSInsider.com again & no sign yet of the updated SDK. Cheers,Nodd

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>In MAX rotate the elevator part down from its neutral position>say 45 degrees & set a keyframe at 0. Then rotate the elevator>up above neutral 45 degrees & set a keyframe at 100. With the>elevator still selected, open the FSX Animation Tool then hit>Update Sel to let the tool know which part you're working>with. Scroll through the Animation List & choose>elevator_percent_key. Insert 0 in the Start field & 100 in the>End field. Then click create. Close the tool, save your model>& export making sure export animation is selected. This>produces a xxx.X file & its xxx.XANIM. Use XtoMDL.exe with the>/XANIM flag to produce a xxx.MDL. Thanks again Bugstomper for>the advice.>You mentioned that the part name is important. Using 3DS MAX I>named my test elevator "horiz st01". The Animation Tool didn't>seem to mind what I called it. My guess is that its re-naming>it in the background when I export to xxx.X & xxx.XANIM. But>who knows?Undoubtedly that is what is happening then. Had you done the same keyframe animation and simply named the part elevator_percent_key the exporter would have "matched" that name with the following code in modeldef.xml and accomplished the exact same thing. Knowing this, I now question the usefulness of the "Animation Tool..." :-hmmm ....elevator_percent_key.......100..............................................ELEVATOR DEFLECTION PCT..................percent..................50...............................Using the "Animation Tool" in this fashion simply adds "more steps to the process" without actually adding anything to the process! :-eek

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"In MAX rotate the elevator part down from its neutral position say 45 degrees & set a keyframe at 0. Then rotate the elevator up above neutral 45 degrees & set a keyframe at 100."I may be mistaken, but surely that's all that's needed in GMax for FS9? Also, surely it's possible in FS9 to have different up and down values and to set the mid-point at keyframe = 50.

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Judging from what's been written about the animation tool, it appears to be a fancy "tag tool" script, with the main usefulness being to allow the modeller to tag the part correctly, with no typos.

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Then thats a good thing if it can be trusted , always cut and pastemyself ..even for XML variables strait out of sim1.dll having gotten bit by errors in the SDK too often it gets to be a habit.I will need to try it out , never used the tag tool come to think of it.

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I think there seems to be another useful feature of the tool: regrouping animations by groups. When dealing with one aircraft from time to time it is not much use, but when dealing with many aircraft over the years, this may help categorize and track down.

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