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scruffyduck

GMax or FSDS

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Hi FolksI am trying to establish a set of tools to use for scenery design. I have settled on SBuilder for my main design tool and GIMP for my image editor.I have GMax and the latest version of FSDS. I also have EOD and Novasim. I would like to learn either GMax or FSDS in depth for oject design. I really do not have the time of brain cells left to learn both so I guess I am asking the very hard question - which one? I guess I want a tool that has some future proofing for future versions of FS and that means producing xml type objects. I am asl oaware that Autodesk are pulling the plug on Gmax in some way or other - though given the level of investment in it as the tool of choice for FS by Microsoft I can surmise that it will survive.Anyway to re-iterate the question - if you had to pick one to learn which would it be :-) (unfair question I know but...........)

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I've used both the original version of FSDS and gmax. Bear in mind that any comments about the user interface are based on FSDS 1, thouigh I don't believe the user interface changed much with the new version. gmax is closely based on 3dsmax, one of the top professional modelling packages available. Being free, it's a fantastic bargain, though as you already have FSDS, thet's a bit academic! The FSDS user interface is closely based on an old Amiga program called Imagine (I know this because I used Imagine on my trusty Amiga 3000 many years ago). And that's the first real problem with FSDS: the user interface is relatively primitive. For example, you can't do modelling in the 3D perspective view as you can in gmax. FSDS has a perspective view, but it's only for viewing the model, you can't do any editing in this view. In FSDS 1 you couldn't even select an object by freely clicking on it (I don't know whether this changed in FSDS 2). This alone made it unsuitable for modelling complex objects, particularly virtual cockpits. There's no question that gmax is far, far more powerful - though most likely much of this power is not needed for modelling buildings or aircraft. But I believe that the extra power remains in the background unless you want to use it, and it does not make the program more 'cluttered'. There is one drawback with gmax, though, and that's the learning curve. Many people simply gave up and probably went to FSDS. As in many fields of life, people who try to run before they can walk will probably end up flat on their faces. My advice to anyone taking up gmax is to take it in small steps. Don't even think about doing any FS design for several weeks. Instead, read the (excellent) manual and do the basic tutorials. At first it may seem a little strange, but hopefully it will suddenly click and it then becomes easy. I actually regard gmax as pretty easy, but that's after ascending the learning curve. The user interface is superb and I would never consider going back to FSDS because of its limited interface. I can't over-emphasise the ability to do modelling in the 3D perspective view. One small tip: be sure to assign these core functions to keys: move, rotate and resize for objects, and rotate and zoom for the view. FSDS users can assign the same keys as used in FSDS. Using these basic keys makes editing very fast and efficient. By now you've probably guessed my position: I would strongly recommend gmax. Providing you work carefully through the manual and tutorials, then there's a good chance you'll come to regard gmax as a superb and easy-to-use modelling program that is the equal of other packages costing a thousand dollars or more. Best regards, Chris

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I agree, even though gmax has a steep learning curve, you have more features. If your seriously into scenery design, you can check in your local bookstore for a book callled GMAX bible. It costs about 50 us dollars and will teach you every aspect of GMAX or 3dsmax. It is money well worth spending in my opinion

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I found a good used GMAX Bible at Amazon for 20 bucks + shipping.Farmer

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