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Gmax to create objects instead of 3rd party object desi

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I've been reading several interesting posts regarding the usage of GMax in lieu of Airport/Architect2002/etc. I still use Architect 2002 because I developed a photoscenery area that is immense (2 million square miles) and A2002 made it easy to do this. Can Gmax be used to layout thousands of square miles of photoscenery easily? How would you get those thousands of 512x512 textures on there? Also, can gmax make the phototexture tiles have elevation? My current scenery is all flattened and fortunately the area i'm modelling is flat. Alternatively, can BGLC be used with Architect 2002 to generate a BGL? Can I use Gmax to create an object (say just a sign) and then use Architect2002 to place it on the scenery and then to compile? If GMax outputs BGL's, how would I get it into Architect if it only takes macros? If this is possible, is there an explanation written somewhere?I hope that someone can clarify all this for me. I'm a newbie to scenery development and I really know next to nothing about GMax.ThanksEnrique

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GMAX is a 3d modelling program. It outputs both bgls AND asm files, which you can capture if you check "keep files" in makemdl.exe.API macros can be made from the asm files using fsregen. Seach on logical keywords in this forum and the terrabuilder forum, the complete process has been spelled out many times.Constructing ground images like you describe is baffling to me, mostly because I thought the era of flat ground was over. photo terrain is not hard to construct, doing so uses the msoft tools resample.exe and tmf2bgl.exe from the fs2000 terrain sdk. Again, search the forums, and read...the process has been detailed several times.Bob Bernstein

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PilotWings21,Perhaps I should leave the answer to your multiple questions for someone that is familiar with ALL the tools you mention. But hereis a partial answer where Gmax is concerned.Gmax is a modeling tool that also has functions to enable animation of objects with the primary intent being to create animated action scenes such as is seen in various Action Games such as Quake for instance. It so happens that it is a great tool to build detailed aircraft also, based on how it's functionality operates. So for whatever reason, it was choosen by the Microsoft Flight Simulator Design Group to be the primary tool used in plane design.Further, it turns out that Gmax is also a good choice of tools to use to develope scenery type objects for CFS2/FS2K2 for similiar reasons. Basically, Gmax allows one to assign the required Identification Tags to objects used by the FS2K2 engine. For instance, one can assign a part of a gear assembly a tag named l_gear. This object ID is known by the FS2K2 engine as "left gear". So one can assign various attributes such as rotation and position within a time frame to this object in Gmax, with the resultant effect being that the simulator will move the gear assembly in a programmed fashion when activated (lowering/raising gear assemblies).Bottom line is that Gmax is the tool of choice to use for aircraft design for FS2K2 for many good reasons. That being said, one can also design complicated object scenery, and assign (using a material/color editor tool in Gmax, objects that will eventually provide special effects when loaded into the simulator (as a bgl file).Now, if one uses a tool called Middleman, one can use the code produced by it to create macro files that then can be further processed by a tool called RSREGEN, which ultimately allows one to create api macros for use by any scenery/airport tool that recognizes the code in the api file. By "uses a tool" I mean nothing more then downloading and installing it, per it's install documentation. It then is automatically accessed when one exports from Gmax.So what is Middleman? Middleman is a program that sits between the Gmax exporter and MakeMdl.exe programs. It converts (renames some objects for instance that will be used by another package to further process or use those objects in a specific manner), allows one to save what is known as a scasm file (asm extentions), that will be used by let us say the RSREGEN tool to make some object created in Gmax into a FS2K2 special effects object (lets us say a firework display), and then create a "final version bgl file" for use by the simulator.So with this being the case, one can also design special scenery that can be either placed specifically at a given Lat/Lon location or,further process the "asm" files produced by exporting the Gmax file into Middleman that then further processes it, then pumps it into the MakeMdl.exe tool to create a bgl file.Or, ignore the bgl file produced in the just mentioned action, and use the RSREGEN tool to further process the asm version of that Gmax file into a modified version of the original object(s) to become a beacon/nav/strobe light, a fireworks display, a area of steam or smoke coming out of a pipe, or lets say a area of transparent water that allows one to see the bottom of a lake area. Bottom line is the RSREGEN tool has a number of things that it can do with the original asm file that was created by Middleman/MakeMdl tools when exporting the source Gmax code to them. And lastly, the RSREGEN tool can also create a special macro file from the asm code that it assignes a 'api' extension to. There is a button in the RSREGEN tool that will automatically create a macro file for you that then gets put into let us say Airport260 API directory. So how does the above explainations answer your questions?1). Gmax can be used to create a macro file for use in any program that recognizes "api extention files", such as Airport or FS Scenery Creator. The object(s) can be a sign as you asked about. So the 'sign' object can be used anywhere you place the macro using a tool such as mentioned in this paragraph.2) Gmax can be used to "hard place" the sign by simply exporting it to Middleman/MakeMdl and have the bgl file created and put into the simulalators addon scenery directories, or not use Middleman and simply export to the MakeMdl program directly with the same results.3)Gmax can be used to create a sign object and while in Gmax lets us say also attach a couple of little spline objects to the sign, which will when using the "asm" file produced by Middleman/MakeMdl upon exporting from Gmax be loaded into RSREGEN to further process the sign object and let us say add pulsating red/green lights to the sign in the spots that the little "spline objects" where positioned on the sign in Gmax, and then have RSREGEN create a new bgl file for use by the simulator.Now, if Architecture 2000 can use "api" type files (that is the type code found within a api.........which is scasm code, then the answer to your question is yes. For instance, the api file may be able to be renamed to match the type extentions used by Arch2000, with no ill effects, if Arch2000 simply processes scasm type coded files.If this is the case then it would appear that the use of Gmax/Middleman and RSREGEN can be used to built sophisticated object macro files for use by Arch2000. HOPEFULLY, someone else will provide you with the answer to this portion of your question.Lastly. NO. Gmax is not the tool you would use to create large areas of scenery such as you mentioned. Gmax is a object designer tool. It is used to create three dimensional objects. It does not have the capabilities for instance to import some type of aerial map and convert pieces of images into some form of an object. The only thing Gmax can do is allow one to "load a bitmap file", (bmp extension file) into the user viewports in order to act as a guide as to where to place parts. For instance, load a airplane picture to act as a parts placement templete. The bitmap is not used in the actual design, that is it is not exported/compiled into the bgl or mdl file. There is a limitation in MakeMdl.exe that limits the size of the file it can process. Gmax will allow one to create huge detailed scenery files, but one will not be able to process them with the current limitation of MakeMdl.exe. So for instance, if you where to model a city that is a few square miles in area and contains thousands of buildings and other objects, most likely it will not be compiled correctly by makemdl.exe. Well, I hope the above provides at least a partial answer to your questions. If Arch2000 understands scasm then perhaps installing and learning how to use the RSREGEN and Middleman (screens) is worth considering. You will find many usefull threads in the MSScenery section of this forum as how to get all the element required to use said tools.Hope the above is written in a clear enough form so that it does not confuse you.cheers,George B.

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Hi Enrique.To add to George's reply:You really need to learn to use Microsoft's resample program to make mesh-clinging photoreal sceneries. And currently, TerraBuilder is the only 'frontend' program that uses resample to make that scenery. Architect2002 cannot make mesh-clinging photoreal scenery... only old FS98-style photoreal flat polygons.Why not browse the TerraBuilder Forum?

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Very good George your post does a great Job in explaining what does what and how it works the only thing I can add is the reason for FSnow using gmax is the A/C and 3D objects in the sim were I beleve done in 3DS max (like many titles are BTW) and by paying Discreet bigmoney for the delvoper version of gmax(a plug in of sorts for 3DS Max)they alow people like us to get out goodies into the sim.

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Thank you for that large explanation. I wish more replies were that comprehensive! I've saved the threat and will disect and research each part one by one. I have found no easy way to handle my project. GMax, turns out, isn't good for doing 2 million square miles of scenery. Architect2002, on the other hand, is ideal for the task. However, it will not let me elevate those textures past a flattened state. The new methods of creating scenery reaps the benefits of being FS2002 quality, but none allow me to create scenery as easily as A2002. Hopefully there will be a tool that supports all the new techniques combined with the ease of A2002. For the record, I bought TerraBuilder Pro but all it does it create photoscenery. It doesn't create taxiways or ILS's, VOR's, and so on. Thanks for your help and I'll begin reading more about the subject.Enrique

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Enrique, It must be our nature to look for one solution, but break thru that thinking. I know of lots of great designs taking place now, but I don't know Anyone who expects the scenery to emerge from just one tool.For my work today, I include bgls that are created from: FSSC, resample/tmf2bgl (which would be the same to you as terrabuilder), Airport, and handcoded scasm.No reason to delay quality scenery because terrabuilder doesn't make it easy to add taxiways, etc. Do that with Architect, if that works easily, and still use terrabuilder.Best of both worlds.Bob Bernstein

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I tried terrabuilder Lite but I got many errors in the process. I then gave up and suddenly a small tool was released called FS Terrain Calculator. It looks very basic but it does for you everything you need in order to make a photoreal terrain using the resample.exe tool.It worked for me !!!Bob, FSSC is FS scenery creator? Is this the same tool that was on Avsim news yesterday with infos about the 1.5 version and its new features? Is it freeware?ThanksMichel

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Hi Michel, you found Elrond's app to assist in using resample.exe directly. Fantastic. I use a spreadsheet I wrote in Excel to do the calculations for the inf file....that's the only work in using the msoft tools directly. I wouldn't have even bothered to write the spreadsheet, except I wrote it before Elrond released his app.FSSC is the tool with a new version coming out, and it is freeware. Looks like its getting exclude capability, and taxilines...which will be convenient. Funny how necessity drives learning, once I rejected ASD for design in fs2k2, I tried a couple different programs, but I liked fssc the best cuz it was the simplest...and I'd recognized that during the last few designs I used ASD for, I did very little with any of the features of ASD except place macros...so I wanted my utility to be free of complexity and place macros well. Given the limited functions of fssc, I taught myself to handcode scasm for taxiway lines and excludes. Having that skill pleases me, and I wouldn't have it if the gui was doing it for me. Funny.Bob Bernstein

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Hi Bob,While I appreciate the kind mention of me in the above post, I'm not the author of FS Terrain Calculator. I think you're confusing that tool with my FS Resample Tools - they do very similar things. I'm not sure who wrote Terrain Calc (can't verify that since the website to get it is down at the moment), but here is the link just in case you're curious:http://www.fsnordic.net/files/msfs/Miscellaneous/Others/Take care,http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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lol...thanks for the clarification, E...and apology to the true author of fs terrain calc..B

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