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arno

SCENERY DESIGN steps?

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I am new to scenery design, but have done a lot of reading on the subject, but have yet to actually get going, which I am about to do. I have elected to use GMAX as the preferred scenery design tool because it seems as though using this will have the least impact on frame rates, provided of course the polygon count is kept in check. (Is there any truth in this assumption?)Since I have zilch experience in FS2002 scenery design, I am rather concerned that I will invest a lot of time in a project, just to find out later that there were alternatives. I suppose this problem goes with the territory at my stage!In a way, it would be helpful if an experienced scenery designer can relate to me the sequence of events in scenery design, say up to the stage when the scenery is compiled or exported to FS2002. For instance would it be better to individually make all the buildings and features separately, then group them together and after that make the runways, taxyways, aprons, etc to fit this group, or is it generally better to first make the runways, aprons and taxyways BEFORE adding buildings or groups of buildings. Is there any advantage to be gained by grouping buildings together (other than when one merges say a group of hangars to save on polygons)

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First I want to say that the best thing you can do is probably just start and try it. You learn much more from trial and error then from reading alone (and it is also more fun :)).Also every design has his own way of designing, so probably there are 100 ways to make a scenery and they all give the result you want. I'll give some tips on how I do it, but remember this is only one way and if you find another way that you think does the same in a way you like more, just use your own ideas :).OK, how to start a scenery project.....I think the first step is to get all the information you need. So find some maps and if you can find them some photos as reference and to make textures. This might take some time for some projects, but it sure is fun as well. If you make sure you have enough information before you start, the actual designing will be easier.I ussually split my project into two parts, one part is the buildings and other objects and the other part is the placing the apron, runway etc. There is no fixed order, ussually I work on both parts at the same time. Sometimes you just don't feel like making objects and then you go working on the apron etc :).For the making of the objects and buildings GMax is a good choice I think. The new floating point commands are indeed relative framerate friendly. FSDS2 also uses this code so that could be an alternative (but it is payware). I would advice you to make each object as a separate file. This way you can give each of them a visibility range and that is better for the performance. I make my objects in GMax and then put them in a library with FsRegen. Then I can call them from this library with a macro (which I place in the program I use to make the apron, runway, etc).I don't think GMax is a really good choice for making the aprons etc. This is because the code generated by GMax is only suitable for 3D objects, so need to tweak the source a bit to make ground polygons with it. I think it is easier to use a program like FSSC (http://www.avsim.com/fssc), GroundMaker (http://www.groundmaker.org) or Airport (http://www.airportforwindows.com) for this. With these programs you can also place macros and that gives you a good option to place your objects as well.So, I think that is enough text for now (I am getting tired :)). Just start experimenting with your scenery a bit, you'll see that you will learn a lot from just trying the ideas you have and then seeing how it works out. And of course it is a lot of fun (and that's why we do it :D).

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