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Guest GalacticCowboy

First success with GMAX....progress at least!

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Well, its been a bit of a struggle, but I've finally gotten somewhat comfortable with GMAX. I've been immersed in studying every tutorial I could find, plus skimming the gmax bb....last night I figured out finally how to texture! Not that I have nothing more to learn! LOL cuz right now I have this, time to study the makemdl sdk, and George's fsregen!B

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Harvey in GMAX huh? Looks like you're on the right track at least. Speaking of Harvey, the kid passed his checkride there last week. Now all he has to do is finish building his Vans RV and he'll be all set. If he don't go broke first.jb

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your kid passed his checkride...yeehaw...sounds excellant...I thought after our experiments showed such a huge frame rate increase that I had to learn GMAX. Its been a blast, but the textureing had me bamboozeled for a while. The macros at Harvey were done with VOD, and the later ones in FSDS. I wasn't able with VOD to texture as well as I could later, so its logical to redo them. George figured out how to use GMAX models as library objects, which is next on my learning project...placing the models is confusing to me at this point.Best, B

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Bob,Looks like something I could do in FSDS. Any reason you can see to change TO gmax modeling? I know the talk about better fps but how much is this a factor in your opinion?With the high-end computers these days what I find are the fps killer objects are the gates and static a/c. Now the gates can be done in FSDS but statics are going to continue to be in the older format.Your thoughts?Shez

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Hi Shez...I like FSDS too...I've done all my complex macros in FSDS. I was planning to stick with it, kind of pooh poohing all the fuss over GMAX. Problem is I've always had to stop adding stuff to my airport designs when the frame rates drop on my modest computer. That's how I've judged when to stop. The recent testing George and I set up proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the BGLC coding is more efficient for the scenery engine. The figures weren't even close.So yes, learning GMAX just for frame rates...and it turned out its pretty fun. Not all that easy to learn...but fun. I like being able to cut edges into a polygon and extrude the smaller poly out, or use boolean complex objects, subtracting one from another...I can't tell you how many times I'd wished I could do that in FSDS. Cut a hole in a wall by building the inverse of the hole in solid and then subtracting one from the other. Best,Bob B

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I agree with Bob here.At first I also thought that with SCASM and FSDS I would be able to do the same, but after the test from George I continued exploring GMax a bit harder and now I really lile it.It provides much better modeling tools, like the compount object Bob already meontioned. That is really usefull when you are making a complex object.Also I like the feature that you can use texture repetition. I can now make for example a terminal building or an apartment with a small and detailed texture without having to split it up into dozens of smaller polygons to place the texture (I learned just some time ago that SCASM can also do that, but FSDS can not).ArnoMember NL2000 Teamhttp://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen

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Bob, Arno,Interesting. I am without my design computer so will wait until I get FS2002 back and get into GMAX. BTW is the learning curve as fast as FSDS? I found FSDS tutorials pretty good and got going with the program smoothly. Of course this was after VOD which was a nightmare to learn!Thanks for the point out.CheersShez

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Hi Shez,I think at first it is a bit harder to learn then FSDS (which works really easy).You first get a bit of an overload of buttons and options on your screen :). But once you know how to work around this it is quite easy to use. The GMax tutorials (that comes with the program) are also good, but they are not made for FS, you need to look on the internet for some FS tutorials.When you have become a bit familiar with the program (as I am now) you can start to try all the nice functions and you are really going to appreciate the program.ArnoMember NL2000 Teamhttp://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen

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I've been preaching Gmax for a while on many forums because my experiemntations revealed simply that Gmax generated BGLs (and MDLs) are much better for FPS then previous 3D programs including macros. macros are FPS killers in FS2002, I was extremly frustrated when I downloaded KDFW demo scenery and saw the very poor perfomance even on a fast machine like mine. I wonder how people can fly with this frame rate!!! I also downlaoded many freeware sceneries for test matters and those sceneries are full of ready-made macros and the frame rate was very bad. Alot of scenery desigenrs are not aware about this reality but unfortunatly old style scenery objects and textures (BMP2000 for exemple) are not very well digested by FS2002. Not mentioning that FS2004 will no more support old objects formats as I heard. I think for performance sake, scenery designers should focus on Gmax. It is a powerful modeling tool and I admit it needs some time to master but it is worth the switch! CheersMichel

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I found the learning curve steep...but I have lots of design work I want to get to so I just dedicated most of my free time for the last two weeks. There is a "stack", which is similar to the stack of events in Solidworks or Pro Eng, but it was unfamilier to me until I recognized the nature of it. The lingo is from 3d art design, not fs, so it takes some getting used to...the texturing took me FOREVER to figure out...but once I learned a couple of key points, its in some ways better. I end up doing each texture as a polygon texture in fsds, but you can zoom into the texturing tool, so its much easier to do with precision.The biggest reason I didn't want to make this shift was that I didn't want a seperate bgl for each object, placed with geographic coords. George has offered us the ability to make library objects of gmax models, which should remove this concern. that put me over the edge. I'll admit, I haven't made it work yet, but I just made texturing work reliably two days ago...and yesterday I learned how to use middleman and still allow for rotation of the object.The tutorials for 3dstudio max have been very helpful, and pretty plentiful.Bob B

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Hi Bob,Making the library is really simple with FsRegen. You just compile your object as normal, but make sure you keep the files. Then you can select which objects you want in the library in FsRegen by just selecting the asm source files and you give each object an ID. That's all :).ArnoMember NL2000 Teamhttp://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen

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Hi BobI only got started with GMax yesterday although I've been using FSDS and VOD for a few years.I find it very difficult to use so far and I've got so caught up in trying to get something on screen which looks like a building that I haven't thought much further - until I read your post.Am I right in saying that GMax doesn't produce api macros? Does it really produce a separate bgl for each object produced? What about the things it maybe can't create? In the past I've got carried away with FSDS and made a single macro covering many buildings only to realise that I need to add some ground textures, a road, a river etc. which I could only do in something like Airport. I would then have to import a huge shapeless api into Airport and guess the positions of the ground textures. Am I likely to get to the same situation in GMax.I guess the real question I'm asking is what is the concensus regarding the best way to approach a project which consists of several detailed buildings plus some ground textures. e.g. a town centre with buildings, roads, parks etc.David

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Hi David,It is true that GMax can not produce API's directly. This isn't even possible, as the code can not be expressed in SCASM and thereby it is never (until we get a new SCASM that supports all new commands) possible to compile it with eg. Airport.But there is a work around. With FsRegen you can make an object library of your objects. You can then make a simple macro in SCASM that call the object from the library and that way you can still place them using the normal tools.The only problem that remains then is that you will not see the correct shape, I have been thinking about making a little tool for that (I have also made a tool to make a better shape for FSDS objects). I think that's something I need to do and then it will be very easy to use GMax objects with the current design tools.ArnoMember NL2000 Teamhttp://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen

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>But there is a work around. With FsRegen you can make an >object library of your objects. You can then make a simple >macro in SCASM that call the object from the library and >that way you can still place them using the normal tools. >I think I'm getting WAY out of my depth here. Producing single API's and importing them into Airport was just about OK - but having to create libraries and directly create SCASM code to call the objects is not something that I would know how to approach.David

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It's not that hard as it looks. FsRegen does create the library for you (you only need to compile it). For the calling API you can use a simple template (they have been posted here) and then you only need to change the ID.But I think it might be a good idea to make a program that does so for you, I'll start working on that soon (I hope).ArnoMember NL2000 Teamhttp://home.wanadoo.nl/arno.gerretsen

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David, I agree that this idea of object libraries can feel daunting at first. I got into it with the help of an awesome tutorial at www.http://mat@combatflight.de/html/scasm-tut/scasm1_eng.html. Check it out, it references a free download of a small utility by Ralf Treibel that helps with the writing of the library commands and the calling commands. If you have any understanding of computer code, you'll probably get into this, I haven't coded since fortran in the 70s, but I had a ball learning scasm.And having learned it, now I'm going to obsolete its use! LOLBut at least the idea of library objects is comfortable for me. And it does look like the most convenient approach right now.I'm upgrading previous airport designs, which got me thinking. Imagine I'm starting with macro icons all laid out where they should be in your design program de jour (I use ASD, Airport, and FSSC). Each macro illustrates its general position and location by a somewhat gross representation. A macro filename is associated with that position.The design program is ignorant of the content of that macro file, so as long as you don't disturb the filename, the placement is already done.This worked like a charm when I began to convert standard macros into library calls to library objects. I'd create the library object. Then I'd edit the existing macro file, converting it into a calling file, and leave the filename the same. Kapow...the library object replaces the macro with no positioning effort at all.Sooooooooo.....until Arno provides a good utility........if you don't have an existing layout..Well, lets assume you use Airport or FSSC, which can import a background bmp. After calibrating the bmp, so you can trust locations in the design tool will match locations in fs, you could create dummy macros...like simple untextured rectangular solids in fsds as placeholders. you could do that in a couple hours, even for a complicated project. Once you've compiled that, you have the same starting point that I have with redesign work.Now create your actual complex objects in GMAX. Convert them into library objects. Using your scasm learned from the link above, you'll know how to take your existing macro files and just convert them to call your library objects and placement is taken care of.Well, enough musing....Cheers,Bob Bernstein

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You know what we need?A definitive idiots guide to gmax that tells you everything it can do in easy language; like the FSDS manual.

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I and a few others are working on that very subject I would needa list of what people think are the most important things to includein the above guide. (Oh and a everything gmax can do guide would NOTbe simple LOL) As you all are learning just covering texturing aloneis quite an undertaking and a big part of the problem lies not with gmax but with Microsoft for not documenting the new .bgl and.mdlformats(I.E. no sdk) the "sdk" such as it is is NOT a sdk but a how to use make mdl. Dan http://members.rogers.com/klasik2/danlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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Well, since GMax is basically 3DS Max "lite", supposedly you can use any good 3DS reference and 90% or more of it will transfer to GMax.

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Heh!I'm the one stuck with textures and a spiders web of white lines!Waiting for "gmax for DUMMIES"

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If I'm guessing rite with what u mean by spider webs of white lines, I'll bet you have applied a material (your fs texture) to your object with a uv map modifyer. Then you've added a uv unwrap modifyer. Then you've clicked edit and viola, the spider web of white lines a zillion vertices all connected together and no joy.rite?Two simple tricks to solve this I learned last weekend.First, when you see the spider web, highlight every vertex, and then click the button at the top called "break vertices"...it looks like a battery with a line thru it. Then click on the button at the bottom (looks like a triangle) called use selected surface, or something close to that.Now go back to your model and select a surface. click 'edit' now and you'll see only the vertices for that surface. Now its just the same as texturing in fsds..except better cuz you can zoom into the editor and get precision that was much harder in fsds.B

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Thanks! I understand the break vertices bit!P.S. the pic above is meant as humor, do not go running to your bookstore!!unless.we write one & publish it!

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