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HELP... Basic Scenery Info

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Hello everyone... I am an aircraft painter that has graduated to scenery design... thanks!!!!!!!Im hoping to find some infor, tutorials on how to get started with remodelling an existing fs2002 airport scenery... I would like tomake my own buidlings etc... just don't know how to get started... any help would be greatly appreciated.RegardsDan m

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Hi Dan,If you don't get too many responses to your question, it is probably because there is no quick answer.I posted the same question about a year ago, and got no response. At the time, I wrongly assumed that it was because most FS2002 developers were unwilling to share their information.As it turns out, this is a great bunch of guys here, very willing to share information regarding specific issues.Since the FlyII development environment is very intuitive, I expected the same from MS. Boy was I wrong. FS2002 developer information is out there, but it is widely scattered. If you really want to understand the FS2002 development environment, I would start with the SDK's. If you have specific questions, I am sure that someone will be happy to answer it here.By the way, the developers here are very willing to share information. I think the key is to ask a specific question. If it takes too long to type, I doubt you will get too many responses.The SDK's can be a beating, but after a couple months I now have a pretty good understand of FS2002 internals. But, it does take a while :)Good luck, and take careAllen

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Hi Dan!It is true that answering to Your simple question is veeeeery hard. The first thing to know is that there are basically two approaches to design scenery:1. using SCASM :-hah; this is well known compiler with easy way to make many tricks to tweak Your scenery2. making averything with GMAX :-eek; GMAX is 3D design tool which is included with FS2002 Pro and You can do complete sceneries with it. But unfortunatelly has many many options and many people are confused when first trying to use it (like me :))Depending on the above decision You need appropriate tools to create scenery. SCASM has great support, modularity and so on, GMAX is beggining to have some of these. If You have time, try to understand GMAX, use tutorial found on msn.zone.com/flightsim or some other site.In SCASM work is done modularly:1. You get or make objects and save them as API's (via FS Design Studio or FSDS (www.abacuspub.com), EOD (www.echos.ch), NOVA(www.fsnova.com) 2. then You put these api's together in some scenery builder likeFS Scenery creator (www.fssc.avsim.com :-kewl), Airport for Windows(www.airportforwindows.com), GroundMaker, Schiratti Control Center, Airport2000, etc.Then You compile these BGL's and that's it. As I said, GMAX is for now a little mistery, hard to learn tool for beginners, tutorials are scattered around the net. SCASM is known for Years, with downloading SCASM (which is BTW included with many scenery design programs) You get good documentation, You can get great tutorial :-eek on www.combatflight.de and also arount the net.Hope this will help You for the start. If possible, try to ask specific questions and we'll happily answer them for You. But first try to search these huge resource here!Regards,Goran BrumenFS Slovenija 2002 teamhttp://slovenia.avsim.net

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There's also Mesh, Custom Ground Textures, and Autogen.Allen and Goren have given you some great advice. The SDKs are a great place to start and there are some tools that you'll need to use GMAX as well as do autogen, mesh, and custom textures.Mesh is the terrain that the ground textures are drawn on. Up till FS98 the ground was always flat. It was just closer or farther from you depending on your altitude. Now we can have hills and valleys! MS default terrain uses altitude samples about 1000 meters apart. That's more than half a mile apart which flattens the world out quite a bit. It is really easy to download 100m or even 30m data and build a much more realistic base for your scenery.Autogen lets you populate an area with nondescript trees and buildings. If you are doing a large area you will either have to model every building or... use Autogen!Custom textures add a whole lot of realism IMHO. It puts athletic fields, parks, golf courses, etc. WHERE THEY SHOULD BE!!! There are several methods of getting a very detailed picture of the area you are working on. Then you feed this picture into a program called resample.exe and it spits out textures and a bgl suitable for flying. The textures need a bit of tweaking to add mips maps and convert them to a format FS likes.Each of the above has it's own SDK.A couple of notes about Scasm and Gmax:What's difficult for one may be easy for another. Scasm has been around a long time and it's well documented. You will need at least a passing knowledge of Scasm because it has a command to get rid of existing MS scenery so you can put yours in. It also gives you complete control over every aspect of your scenery and put lots of stuff in one bgl file. But Scasm stands for SCenery ASseMbler (I think, correct me someone if I'm wrong.) It requires you to write scenery drawing instructions in a language similar to computer assembly language. It's really pretty easy but some of the programming concepts can be difficult if you've never done any programming. There is a graphical front end for Scasm called Airport For Windows that can make things a bit easier. For many years Scasm, Airport, and a couple of other programs were the only game in town. Without the work of the people who developed these programs we wouldn't have half the scenery we have.GMax is essentially a sophisticated CAD program. It is a VERY complex program that allows advanced users to create sophisticated CG graphics and animations. But Excel & Word are extremely sophisticated and allow advanced users to do amazing things. They also let beginners write notes and add a column of figures. GMax is like that too. Follow the tutorial and you should be able to build simple buildings in quick order. There may be some advantages in terms of frame rates for GMax sceneries also.There is also another program that comes with the SDKs called BGLC. It is an extension of Microsoft's Macro Assembler and is similar to Scasm. It is potentially the most powerful tool available. It is also poorly documented and somewhat bug ridden from what I've heard (I haven't used it)There are also some commercial products that bear looking at. Abacus makes one.Hope this helps.Good Luck,John

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love the reference to word and excel...lolI'll add one more comment to the excellant writing by all. GMAX modularity has been added now by a third party program, fsregen. Once you get used to it, it becomes a simple matter to make modular (macro) objects in gmax, and store them as .api files for use, exactly as folks do in scasm. The frame rate improvement is proven and significant in using gmax coded objects.B

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Thanks everyone for your time and input... i understand that this a difficult topic to reply to, I know this because when i first started repaintingit was essentially difficult as well. But I hope to get going with a GMAX version soon. I have some experience modelling in GMAX and I figure the frame rate improvments and the fact that theres soon to be another FS2004? it would mke sense to stay with something like GMAX... anyway... i appreciate all of your comments and I look forward to providing a finsihed product... thanks againKind RegardsDan

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The frame rate improvement is proven and significant in using gmax coded objects.Bob, This statement used to baffle me, because polygon efficiency is usually a result of optimized polygon counts.Since I knew that FSDS produced a very polygon efficient model, I thought that this was a bogus statement.If GMAX is proven to be more efficient, then I can only assume that it is using the floating-point BGL routines. Do you know if this is true ?By the way, I have spoken with the FSDS developer (Louis), and the new version due out this month will use the new floating-point BGL routines.Cheers,Allen

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I know both Louis and Rafael are incorporating floating point commands into their respective products. Perhaps this makes the difference. It was theorized earlier that gmax produces triangles for the display to show, while the scasm based products produced polygons that needed to be interpreted as triangles by the scenery engine.I don't know enough theory to know if this is the same thing.Way back a long time ago, I was adept at fsds, and was resisting the talk of improved frame rates with gmax so I requested a test. I supplied a safety barrel in fsds, and george (of fsregen fame) made a gmax version. Then he did a super job of organizing a matrix of 100 barrels of each and made flights so we'd take other factors out of the test. WIth Gmax, frames were around 25 for many folks, 17 using the fsds version.I'll find you a thread, you can run the test yourself, I suspect its all still there.Bob B

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check out thread #242 in the archieve, from April of 2002. Pretty interesting reading. Bob B

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Bob,That's very interesting. The BGLC floating-point routines are in fact based on triangles, not quadrangles (rectangles).I think what makes the floating-point routines so fast, is that they translate almost directly into the DirectX primitives.Thanks,Allen

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Yup they sure do both major G.L's (direct x and Open G.L.) are optimized for triangular "face" type meshes rather than the "higher"level polly types that all off the older tools used (Bob knows mefrom the above "arguement") I am that person who kept on saying thatfor 3D objects go with a "real tool" and stop useing FSDS,airport etc to do meshes and use gmax. your bud Dan

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>for 3D objects go with a "real tool" and stop useing >FSDS,airport >etc to do meshes and use gmax. Dear Dan,I think it is unfair to say that FSDS is not a "real tool" for scenery design. With the introducing of floating-point instructions in the new version of FSDS it will become also "frame-rate friendly" as many people say. Then, you will have, not a general 3D modelling tool, but one that has been uniquely designed for FS modelling. And, in addition, you will be able to generate intermediate SCASM code for which there is a widely available knowledge base. For me, this is a tremendous advantage.Kind Regards,Luis

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Sorry you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I do like FSDS but again but for meshes gmax is based on a industry standard set of tools(3DSMax4.x) it's not only that it gives good frame rates but it's tools are again based on a "real" industry standard. Do you think M.S used FSDS to devlope the meshes for FS2002?. When one usesgmax (for meshes) you are basicly useing the exact same tools thatmany game developers use. I will buy the new version of FSDS BTW as ther are many things I still like about it but as I do meshes for several different titles(useing 3DS Maxgamx) all I am trying to dois get people used to useing STANDARD tools not something devloped because (at least untill now) Microsoft never provided any of interfaceing in a relitively easy way the their core product ( no editor for example). Anyway thank you for responding!. Dan

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