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n4gix

3DS MAX FlightSimX Textures

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Using 3DS MAX I've been attempting to create a glass texture for my aircraft's windshield. The Opacity setting in the Blinn Basic Parameters section seems to have no effect when viewed in FSX. Is there some trick to making a part transparent?I also noticed there's a special FlightSimX texture in MAX. It looks pretty powerful & equally confusing. Has anyone had any success using it & perhaps mind sharing some basic how-to information?

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I recommend using the FSX Materials for your work. The "default settings" represent a good starting point from which to work.The "full SDK" should be ready late next week, so hopefully we'll all learn together... ;)

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Yes n4gix I've also heard that an improved SDK should be out soon. Yay! In the meantime, if anyone else is interested in how to create transparent glass parts using 3DS MAX & the special FlightSimX texture here's what I've learnt so far (thanks Andrey for the advice)...In the Material Editor create a FSX texture. Set the Opacity to whatever you need, say 20%, then scroll down the to the FlightSimX Texture section & look for Framebuffer Blend Frame. Hit the Set Default Transparent button. Apply the texture to your part then export the model using FS10 textures. Your part should look like glass.This is a very basic how-to. There's also stuff like secular, reflection, glossiness etc to be considered but this'll at least get that darn Opacity setting to actually work in FSX.

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>In the Material Editor create a FSX texture. Set the Opacity>to whatever you need, say 20%, then scroll down the to the>FlightSimX Texture section & look for Framebuffer Blend Frame.>Hit the Set Default Transparent button. Apply the texture to>your part then export the model using FS10 textures. Your part>should look like glass.Friendly speeking, pressing button will just set the combination of two parameters bellow his buttons (in drop down lists).... Looking on them you will got that 100 combinations possible...... so so so... MS have MUCH things to tell us! I'm really hope they will do that.Andrey Tsvirenko[a href=http://www.sibwings.com/]http://www.sibwings.com/banner/dev.gif[/a]

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GlassGlass is used for windows and light lenses. 1. Assign the diffuse image by checking the Diffuse Color box and selecting an appropriate diffuse color map. 2. Assign the specular image by checking the Specular Color box and selecting an appropriate specular map or assign the bump image by checking the Bump box and selecting an appropriate normal map. 3. Assign the reflection image by checking the Reflection box and selecting an appropriate normal map. See: GlobalEnv_AC_Chrome.dds file. 4. Under Fresnel Ramp assign Fresnel bitmap by clicking on map browser button and selecting an appropriate Fresnel map. Check the Reflection option box and the Specular option box. 5. Under Special Functionality, check the Blend environment by inverse of diffuse alpha box and the Use global environment map as reflection box, move the slider for Reflection Scale to 30, and move the slider for Specular Map Power Scale to 202. 6. Under Bloom, check the Allow bloom box, move the slider for Specular Bloom Floor to 0.9, move the slider for ambient light scale to 1.0. 7. Under Framebuffer Blend, click on Set Default Transparent. Source Blend and Destination Blend are set to SrcAlph and InvSrcAlpha, respectively.ChromeChrome is used for propellor spinners and landing gear sliders. 1. Assign the diffuse image by checking the Diffuse Color box and selecting an appropriate diffuse color map. 2. Assign the specular image by checking the Specular Color box and selecting an appropriate specular map or assign the bump image by checking the Bump box and selecting an appropriate normal map. 3. Assign the reflection image by checking the Reflection box and selecting an appropriate normal map. See: GlobalEnv_AC_Chrome.dds file. 4. Under Fresnel Ramp assign a bitmap by clicking on the map browser button and selecting an appropriate Fresnel map. Check the Reflection option box and the Specular option box. 5. Under Special Functionality, check the Blend environment by inverse of diffuse alpha box and the Use global environment map as reflection box, move the slider for Reflection Scale to 30, move the slider for Specular Map Power Scale to 202. 6. Under Bloom, check the Allow bloom box, move the slider for Specular Bloom Floor to 0.9, move the slider for ambient light scale to 1.0.

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Thanks for the info Bill. Unfortunately after spending a few hours attempting to following the steps you outlined above I'm not seeing any reflections in either my glass or chrome tests.I'm wondering if I've chosen "appropriate maps" for each of your steps. Not sure exactly what I should use I created for my glass diffuse texture a solid light gray 512x512 DDS using PhotoShop & ImageTool. For the secular map I created a 512x512 solid medium gray map then added a noise filter in PhotoShop to give it some bumpiness. Neither of these two textures had an Alpha channel (not sure if that's needed?). For the Fensnel Ramp I snagged the one from the FSX Cessna. After a little searching I found the GlobalEnv_AV_Chrome.dds in the main FSX Texture folder. I assume I can just leave that there? In testing I also tried using a 512x512 image of some mountains against a sky as a reflection matierial. Neither showed up as a reflection in my tests though :-( Perhaps I'm doing something wrong when converting my PSD to DDS? I've been opening the PSD in ImageTool, then hit Image > Create MipMaps > File > Save As DDS.To make sure FSX was reading my DDS files correctly I did a test by adding some coloured geometric shapes to my diffuse map. Sure enough I can see the shapes on my canopy so I'm assuming I at least have that set correctly. No sexy looking reflections so far though. Thanks again for outlining these settings however I guess I'm missing something. Any ideas?

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You can leave the GlobalEnv_AV_Chrome.dds file where it is, providing you copy the texture.cfg file from one of the default a/c's texture folder and drop it in yours. This file specifies the "fallback folders" to search if the exact texture isn't present in the current texture folder.As for the rest, those are from the beta SDK I'm testing presently, and I haven't actually "gotten there" myself (yet).Right now, I'm struggling with the blasted Animation Tool, and trying to discover WHY my nose gear suddenly will "dissapear" (become totally transparent) right in the middle of setting up the animation tags... I had everything working perfectly except for the "steering" (apparently c_wheel no longer will animate the nose gear), when I decided to try using "rudder_key" instead...POOF! went the entire nose gear assembly, except for two parts (axle and dummy node) that aren't textured...

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Yes I'm using a texture.cfg from one of the other aircraft that should have the fallback folders listed correctly.Those Glass & Chrome steps only work for the Beta SDK you're saying? If that's the case I'll stop beating my head against my monitor & wait for the new SDK. Time to get back to my new gauges then in that case.I've not had any luck getting my gear to steer although I've not really looked into that. I was happy enough to see it retract at least. That's some weird stuff you have going on there with parts going POOF. I feel for you :-(

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>Yes I'm using a texture.cfg from one of the other aircraft>that should have the fallback folders listed correctly.>>Those Glass & Chrome steps only work for the Beta SDK you're>saying? If that's the case I'll stop beating my head against>my monitor & wait for the new SDK. Time to get back to my new>gauges then in that case.>>I've not had any luck getting my gear to steer although I've>not really looked into that. I was happy enough to see it>retract at least. That's some weird stuff you have going on>there with parts going POOF. I feel for you :-(In reverse order. I've had it confirmed by a colleague that c_wheel is still working fine in FSX, so evidently my failure is caused by a short between my fingers and the keyboard.No, that isn't what I said regarding the "Glass & Chrome steps." They should work with or without the Beta SDK. What I tried to convey is that I haven't tried them myself (yet). I simply copy/pasted them from the documentation... ;)Finally, in my own experience, the texture.cfg file doesn't always seem to work reliably. For example, I tried using the "default" Fresnel ramp .dds file and it wouldn't work until I copy/pasted it directly in my texture folder, in spite of having the texture.cfg file present...

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Ummm let me back up and ask a very basic question:I've not installed FSX yet as I am building a system that will be adequate for it, but, am I to understand that the SDK now allows direct 3DS MAX export to FSX? (BGL or MDL) ? No more GMAX?

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Currently the FSX SDK has plug-in tools for 3DS MAX 7 & 8. These allow you to export an X file which may then be compiled into a MDL using the SDK's new XtoMDL tool. So its not a direct export exactly. There's also BGL support but I'm not as familiar with that process.From what I've heard, the FSX SDK MAX plug-ins do not function with either 3DS MAX 9 or GMAX. I'm guessing that will change though.

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>Currently the FSX SDK has plug-in tools for 3DS MAX 7 & 8.>These allow you to export an X file which may then be compiled>into a MDL using the SDK's new XtoMDL tool. So its not a>direct export exactly. There's also BGL support but I'm not as>familiar with that process.>>From what I've heard, the FSX SDK MAX plug-ins do not function>with either 3DS MAX 9 or GMAX. I'm guessing that will change>though.What you've heard is correct. My fellow beta team members and I are testing the GMax export tools now. The only major difference is that since Autodesk won't allow ACES to expose the .X files, the export process is seamless: it exports directly from GMax to a .MDL file in one step via the XtoMDL.exe compiler.The only annoying part of the new process is that - in order to make changes/additions to the modeldef.xml file (the MakeMDL.parts.xml replacement), GMax must be exited, changes made to the modeldef.xml file, GMax restarted, and the project reloaded, exported, tested in FSX, wash, rinse, repeat as needed... In other words, it's a PITA... ;)The reason for this isn't trivial. In order for the Animation Tool to be "populated" with the available animation tags, modeldef.xml file must be read, parsed, and locked. Obviously, if you ADD or CHANGE anything in modeldef.xml, then the file has to be re-read, parsed, etc. by restarting GMax. *:-*

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Nodd, I don't know if you finally solve the problem, but I can tell you what I've done to have transparent textures in FSX using 3DSMax7. No special effects are applied to the material but it looks fine.-Chose FlightSimX material-Set Blinn Basic Parameters as desired-Go to Flight Simulator Extended Parameters and don't use anything except for clicking on Set Default Transparent under the Frame Buffer Blend section. You should see ScrAlpha and InvScrAlpha below.That's all. You should see a transparent material for your windshield.Hope this helps.Germ

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