Sign in to follow this  
Guest cwright

NovaSim vs. FSDS2 vs. gMax

Recommended Posts

The age old questions continue!I am interested in bringing my local airfields up to par by redesigning them inside FS2004.I have access to gMax through FS2002 (and I presume FS2004), but I am interested in how NovaSim and FSDS2 stack up against gMax when it comes to ground scenery object design! Does anyone have any opinions as to the ease-of-use (or lack thereof) with the programs above?I'd be creating airport terminals, hangers, and perhaps an out-building or two. I wouldn't be going crazy with every last detail, but I would have enough in there so you'd know where you were. :) I have used gMax in an attempt at this a year ago, but I gave up on it due to the decidely steep learning curve. I am probably looking for the easier of the two other programs. If they are equally challenging, then I may hold off on the project, as I do have other things that I could do to keep me busy! :)Thanks for any opinions you might offer...-Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Its hard to compare things like this. I used fsds ver 1, and enjoyed it. There were bugs, and some issues...and then I learned GMAX...took a while to learn, once it clicked I found using GMAX to be far more useful tool than fsds VER 1. But....of course in the meantime, FSDS came out as ver 2! From what folks say ver 2 has improved some of the things I didn't like...As I look at it, both will work fine. Both have some learning curve. One is free, one is not... both have forum community support, from experience, Louis was always available to help with my problem using fsds, where for gmax, you don't get to talk to actual discreet folks if you have a bug. Don't know anything about novasoft....Best,Bob B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi GregSounds to me like NovaSim may be the answer to your prayers. Much easier to learn and use than gMax, and designed specifically for FS scenery modelling - unlike its rivals (gMax wasn't even designed for FS and relies on a less-than-perfect 'translator' created by MS).I have to declare an interest here because I helped Rafael Sanchez in some aspects of the development of NovaSim (such as getting parts of the SCASM/BGL code generation right, and helping write the extensive manuals), but that interest is not financial - I gave my help to Rafael free of charge in recognition of his enormous contributuions to our hobby.Quite independantly of any association with Rafael, I just happen to think that NovaSim is far and away the best of the tools for FS 3D model creation. Not really surprising as it is the only one really designed specifically for the job, and it has a far wider range of tools ... none of which need any tinkering with add-on programs or BGLC code to get them to work correctly!Go to www.fsnova.com and see what you think!CheersGerrish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg, it certainly is an age-old question! I'll restrict my comments to Gmax and FSDS, as I have experience with those two. I used the original FSDS and it's an excellent program. FSDS2 has many improvements. I think its problem is the user interface. It's completely based on a defunct modelling program called Imagine. To give an indication of its age, I used Imagine on my trusty old Amiga 3000. By today's standards Imagine is completely obsolete. You couldn't even click on objects to select them. Unfortunately the FSDS interface is pretty well identical, in fact it's quite possible Abacus obtained the licence to use the Imagine code. That's one reason why it can be developed by a single very talented man, because the user interface was already available. In comparison the Gmax user interface is superb (it would have to be, as it is nearly identical to 3DS Max, one of the top professional modelling programs). For example, you can do all your modelling in the perspective windows if you want (and I do!) Probably impossible in FSDS2. FSDS had a dedicated perspective view window, but all you could do was look at the model! Also in FSDS you can't simply click on an object to select it, you normally have to select it from a list (I believe you can click on an object's axis to select, but you have to make all the axes visible, which would be confusing). In Gmax, click on an object and it is selected - and its axis automatically becomes visible, just as you would expect in any modelling program. But Gmax isn't perfect. Its learning curve is certainly steeper than FSDS - but it's not too steep. I would strongly suggest working through the first few included tutorials. Doing this, I found it pretty easy - and fun. Because of its complexity, it is possible to come up against frustrating show-stoppers. Usually the answer is very simple - but unless you know the answer it's still a show-stopper! There are dedicated Gmax forums where you can get help - one Gmax forum is specifically for FS. A big, big drawback to Gmax is the Microsoft FS exporter. It's actually quite dreadful. For a start it can't create macros for use in Airport etc. The interface is completely flawed. Fortunately, many problems are fixed by Chris File's Middleman - I regard Middleman as an essential add-on for use with Gmax. To be honest I simply couldn't conceive of going back to FSDS because of the archaic and limited user interface. I would recommend spending a few hours working through the standard Gmax tutorials. In other words, give it a second chance. You may be surprised. For a lot of people, me included, Gmax suddenly 'clicks' and then it's pretty easy. And, just as important, it's very enjoyable to use. Oh, yes - and it doesn't cost you a penny! One huge plus for FSDS that should be mentioned. Louis Sinclair, its developer, is active on the forums and you can get help directly from him. He helped me when I used FSDS (in fact I feel a little guilty when I promote Gmax!) There's no equivalent of this in Gmax. Best regards, Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have to agree with you that it is worth learning gmax, I have just overcome the learning curve and am begginning a couple of projects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I design mostly in FSDS2 since I have some legacy projects that I still update from time to time. So, let's assume that I have a strong FSDS2 bias.Well, I am here to tell you that if you have no experience in any of these programs, then you may as well learn GMAX. FSDS2 is fairly simple to use, but there is still a small lerning curve to it, and this can be frustrating. It took me over a year before I considered myself proficient with it. If I were starting over today, I would go with GMAX since it is a few nice features that FSDS2 doesn't have, and it is free. :)Eventually I'll get all the way over to the GMAX side, but for now I can't escape the ease-of-use of FSDS2.- Martin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martin, just a quick tip to anyone converting from FSDS to Gmax. In Gmax you can easily reassign key commands. One of the first things I did in Gmax was to reassign some keys so they were the same as FSDS (e.g. m, r and s for move, rotate and scale). That will allow you to manipulate objects very quickly - and at the same time it will feel reassuringly familiar! Best regards, Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this