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Guest artmartin

First shot at GMAX

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Well, figured it's time to start a new post cause the last one we were in went way off its main topic of default buildings and into GMAX techniques. On that latter subject here's a sample of my first attempts at GMAX creation. In this flyover of downtown Phoenix I have two new objects, the Hyatt Hotel on the right of the image with it's rotating restaurant on top and the odd sculpture at Patriots's park that looks like a spaceship. These still have tweaking to do but it's definitely getting easier.Art Martinhttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/117580.jpg

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Looking really good, Art! From the screenie, it would seem you're getting the hang of Gmax pretty quickly.

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Art, excellent work! A couple of years ago I posted quite frequently on the pros and cons of gmax as well as comparisons with FSDS. I think gmax is a superb modelling program, though there is a bit of a learning curve. And the purchase price in dollars is rather good, too. I took to it like a duck takes to water but I know that many people found it a real struggle and probably gave up on it. Have fun! Best regards, Chris

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Thanks guys. Last night I went through the complete FS2004 GMAX SDK tutorial and created their little house and figured out a number of steps I was missing, especially in adding the textures. Completely recreated the Hyatt hotel and, within GMAX, the textures now fit perfectly and look really slick. However, now when I go to export the .mdl file out for adding it into FS, I get an error message that basically states (in the log file created) that the .x file is invalid. What in the world could I have done to invalidate this step? The objects are simple, just boxes and cylinders. I removed unneeded polygons. My texture file is a simple 512 X 512 .bmp file. The only other step I can think of that I did in this version that I didn't do in the previous one is to have set a default diffuse color as recommended in the tutorial. This is really scary. I put a lot of time into unwrapping those UVW's onto my objects and the thought of possibly doing it all over again would make my blood boil. Art

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Before you get boiling, there are some ways to figure out what happened and how to correct them. By chance did you drop the XML file onto the BGLC compiler? If so, you'll find that compiling via a command prompt will usually give you more verbose errors that can help you sort out the problem. If you can post the full text of any error you get, I'm sure someone here can help you out.

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Bill, this is happening prior to the .XML file getting created. I did a bit of research today searching forums and others that have had similar errors found problems that stemmed from objects with long names or ones containing spaces. When I get home I'll look into that. Also saw one reply that recommended exporting by selecting all objects and then using Export by Selection instead of simply the Export command. If I still get stimied, I'm going to save a copy of the scene and delete one object at a time to see if I can pin it down to one in particular. Of course all this cramming on a new program is going on at a time when my wife is stressed to the max on a Powerpoint presentation she's creating (for the first time) for work. She wants my undivided support for guiding her through that while I'm trying to wrack my brain on GMAX. She just has to do her work on my FS and graphics design workstation so I keep getting bumped off just when my brain is about to latch onto a new concept. I have to be nice to her though. Her birthday's tomorrow. Priorities, I swear. Art

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Well got past the bug although I still have no clue what the real problem was. Went through the building, deleting the boxes and cylinders one by one until program successfully exported the .mdl file. My guess is it had something to do with some experimentation I tried when texturing that object. I first told GMAX that the object should be UVW mapped as a cylinder instead of planar. Seemed logical. I then went in and did the UVW unwrap as I had done on all the other objects. Why that would not allow the export is beyond me. It certainly made the unwrapping so much easier at the time. Still think it's a terrible user interface. Only way you get good at the sequence of steps in GMAX is by rote - doing it over and over until it becomes 2nd nature. There is very little that is intuitive. There seems to be no consistency between typing in a value, right clicking the mouse for a popup menu or finding some cryptic button to push. When you should do one over the other seems completely arbitrary and I'd be ashamed as a programmer if I put out products that hard to master. That said I wish I had half the talent in complex 3D geometry that had to be present for the programmers to have created such a powerful tool. Good news is it's free. Art Martin

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