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Gmax question and object visibility

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Hello!First I have to say that I'm an absolute beginner creating sceneries. I made my first steps using gmax to create gate numbers which shall be placed near the parking gate. After some try and error I managed to create a box object and a text object, assigned tecture to them,..., and finally this first object was successfully placed in my aiport using sbuilder.Now the problem. From the top view the number shows up correctly but from the spot plane view the texture (yellow) of the number is always scattered (see the two pictures).Can somebody tell me in a 'gmax for dummies - style' what I possibly made wrong or what and how to do it better?The second problem I have is that all objects (I use sbuilder and afcad) are still visible for a very long distance and even until now my airport do not have that much objects it starts already to stutter if I try to fly. Is there any possibility to define the range of visbility, especially for those nice rwy12 objects. For example to show the terminal buildings from farer distance and all the small items only if one is already very close?Mick!

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Hello Mick, Holiday seasons are slow times for internet fora. People are often away with their families and do not have time to stop by.Since I don't ski, let's see if I can help you.When you placed your numbers on the ground, did you give them any altitude or were they placed directly on the ground? Often, a texture placed on the ground will conflict with the ground texture itself, causing either flickering or part of the texture disappearing.If this is your problem, you can either:1. raise your object in Gmax, not much, perhaps a one hundredth of a metre (.01), or;2. raise it by that much in SBuilder.This will float your numbers slightly over the ground and avoid conflicts.As for stuttering, please give more information as to the type and number of objects that you have placed. There are ways to create different models for each object, each progressively simpler and using less polygons, that is displayed the farther away that you are.Best regards.Luis

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>Hello Mick, Hello Luis!>Holiday seasons are slow times for internet fora. People are>often away with their families and do not have time to stop>by.I didn't know that there are holidays. My child does not go to school yet and my last schoolday is 28 years ago ;-)>Since I don't ski, let's see if I can help you.Thank you very much!>When you placed your numbers on the ground, did you give them>any altitude or were they placed directly on the ground?All objects and the altitude in afcad are set to 208.8m above sea level.>Often, a texture placed on the ground will conflict with the>ground texture itself, causing either flickering or part of>the texture disappearing.>>If this is your problem, you can either:>>1. raise your object in Gmax[...]This one I tried already within sbuilder without success. The problem is, that the textures are already flickering inside gmax. I created first a box object, assign a texture to it. Then I create a text and give it also a texture. In the 3d window the in this case yellow of the text is already overlapped partially by the blue of the box more or less depending on the angle of view. Same as the placed object in fs9: from the top down view (90 degrees from above) everything looks good. As soon as I change the view position to a lower angle the yellow gets messed up.>As for stuttering, please give more information as to the type>and number of objects that you have placed.For creating my scenery I use only afcand and sbuilder. Within afcad I do all the usual runways, taxiways, aprons and some roads to the terminals. The whole object placing I do with sbuilder. Here are the sbuilder properties from my airport:Maps=1, Meshes=0, Photos=0, Excludes=3, Fills=0, Lands=0, Waters=0, Objects=103, lines=3, Polys=9- The map is only a callibrated screenshot from the airport afcad to make object placing within sbuilder more easy and will not be inside the scenery later.- The three exludes are to remove autogen etc. within my scenery.- There are three LMW-polys with water mask for three lakes which are missing in the original fs9 loacation. - Then there are two LMW-polys for flatten the scenery. - Then there are three VTP2-polys with textures for the ground surface of the aiport and other parts of the scenery. - At last there is one exclude-poly for streets and railways because the ones inside fs9 do not represent the original position very well.- The three lines are VTP2-lines for the corrected roads and railroads.- From those 103 objects are maybe up to ten standard library objects and all others are rwy12 objects.The strange thing is that I can fill in the V1 and V2 parameters for the visibility but they are lost when I review the object properties. So this feature within sbuilder seems not to work...>There are ways to>create different models for each object, each progressively>simpler and using less polygons, that is displayed the farther>away that you are.Since my abilities creating objects myself are still very little and I'm afraid will stay this way (family, job,...) I have to depend on the objects which are available in the freeware libraries...By the way, there is one thing I saw which makes me think that there must be a way to let rw12 objects disapear when a specified distance is reached. I placed four busses in my bus terminal two model a (Bus - No Texture; Objects01_lib By S.Legg) and two model b (bus_pcl; JonPatch_Objects_1). When I increase the distance in slew mode the model a disappears when a specified distance is reached but model b seems to stays visible for ever.Is the a way to patch those objects to make them disappear earlier?>Best regards.>>LuisThank you againMick!

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Hello Mick,Sounds like a great project. Very detailed and complete.Let's see, your first question was about flickering of textures. You have made a very interesting object that seems quite original. From what I understand, your text object is placed onto the box object, and perhaps this is the source of the flickering if the surface of both objects is at the same level.Two things come to mind:1. raise the text object slightly above the box object so that the two textures do not conflict, or;2. make only one texture containing the blue with text already on it, and place this on the box. Do not use a text object.Your stuttering problem is very likely due to the great number of objects that you have placed. Everything depends on the objects, of course. For example, I made a project of a small island that had over 2000 (!) objects, but they were very optimized. Frame rate loss was evident, but frames remained relatively high (about 20 on my low-end system). The objects that you are using are probably not optimized, and thus your problem.There are different ways to optimize objects. The best, and easiest for you to correct, is the size and format of textures. Take a look at the textures that are used by the objects. Often, designers confuse this with a Scenery Sim, or a Make-Your-Own-World Sim, and want the most perfect and detailed objects possible. So, they include very large textures. To remedy this, open the texture, resize it as small as you are willing to accept, and save it.Sometimes, as well, through misinformation perhaps, some textures are not in DXT1 format. Convert all textures to DXT1. If they have no transparency, be sure to use DXT1 with no alpha.See if this helps with the stuttering.There are different types of objects in our scenery world. Some were made according to previous techniques which allowed determing visibility using V1 (visibility distance) and V2 (visibility radius). The latest version of FS, while still supporting those object formats, now permits a different type of object that does not use V1 or V2. Visibility is determined by creating different versions of each object, each version progressively simpler and using less polygons. As the viewer gets farther and farther, the simpler models display, thus reducing workload for the graphics engine. These objects are called LOD models.Personally, I prefer the old style. It gives a simpler, less refined control of visibility, but is easier to implement. And I hate having to make various versions for each object. While I appreciate the efforts of the person at Redmond who came up with the LOD model scheme, I have only three words to say to him: te-di-ous!There is not much you can do about LOD models in someone else's objects. Either they were included or not, and to modify the object, you would need the original source files. Jon is a valued member of this forum, so perhaps he could give more information on his objects.So, it is useless to try to set V1 and V2 for these objects, since they do not respond to these parameters.In SBuilder, the Range variable on the object selection tab corresponds to V1 for the old style objects (API), and I am not sure that the V1 and V2 on the main tab work, since I have never used them. I set Range and put V2 in the calling macro, but I shall test this when I get the time.Best regards.Luis

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Hello Luis!>Sounds like a great project. Very detailed and complete.I start this project because of nostalgic reasons. I was living for seven years in Klakah/Indonesia and I loved this place. Therefor I love to fly with Fs9 in Indonesia and specially between Bali and Juanda (Surabaya). So I get the idea to create an airport at the place I was living...If it will be a 'great project' the future will show. It depends of the time I can spare. My five year old son, my wife and my job don't leave me too much of it ;-) And as I mentioned, I'm an absolute beginner in scenery design...>[...]your text object is placed onto the box object, [...]Exactly, that was the way I tried to do this sign.>1. raise the text object slightly above the box object so that>the two textures do not conflict, or;This I tried, but it was not completely successful. In gmax the flickering was gone with this method but it still flickered later in Fs9 in the scenery. But I'm not shure if I handled everything correct with gmax.>2. make only one texture containing the blue with text already>on it, and place this on the box. Do not use a text object.Thanks a lot. That was the idea which finally works out!!!But now I have to learn much more about Adobe Photoshop, which until now I used only to watch images :-)>Your stuttering problem is very likely due to the great number>of objects that you have placed.[...]The objects>that you are using are probably not optimized, and thus your>problem.I think that might be the reason.>There are different ways to optimize objects. The best, and>easiest for you to correct, is the size and format of>textures.An idea I will pay attention of. But if later I want to publish the scenery will it not violate the copyright of the original object creator?>Often, designers confuse this with a Scenery Sim, or>a Make-Your-Own-World Sim, and want the most perfect and>detailed objects possible.:-) I see what you mean and I'm afraid i would almost fit to this kind of scenery designer cathegory.>[...]open the texture, resize it as small>as you are willing to accept, and save it.I will try this.>[...]Convert all textures to DXT1. If they have no transparency, be>sure to use DXT1 with no alpha.Confusion again. Seems I have a lot more to learn than only placing the objects nicely. Those are expressions I have heard before but to be honest it doesn't really ring a bell :-)>See if this helps with the stuttering.I will try. For me at the moment scenery desing is anyhow nothing else but try and error...>[...]These objects are called LOD models.Actually a goof idea. For realism it seems to be the better way as in reality houses in a far distance appear first blur and you can see more and more details the nearer you come. But for amateur designer like me it means a work load which at least I can not fulfill.>[...]I have only three words to say to>him: te-di-ous!:-)>Jon is a valued member of this forum, so perhaps he could give>more information on his objects.If I go on with my little scenery I will try to contact him, thank's for the hint!>So, it is useless to try to set V1 and V2 for these objects,>since they do not respond to these parameters.Indeed...>[...]and I am not sure that the V1 and V2 on the main tab work, since>I have never used them. I set Range and put V2 in the calling macro,>but I shall test this when I get the time.Until now I do not succeed setting these parameters, they always disapear whenever I recall the property tab.May I ask one more (I'm afraid it will not be the last one) question? Is out there a tutorial like 'gmax for dummies' which explains the program itself, all parameters and ways of creating objects and so on? I have downloaded here tons of tutorials but almost all of them start at points where the user shall be more or less familiar with gmax itself already. And those don't help me as a gmax beginner very much. I mostly already fail with hints like 'set parameter abc at xyz' becaus I simply dont find the menues or icons to do so...:-)For my job in Indonesia where one big part was furniture design by order I did 4000 more cad drawings, many times in pseudo 3d (isometric view) so I'm not unfamiliar with cad. But gmax and real 3d is a complete new world for me...Mick!P.S.:I hope not violating the rules of this forum if I attach a work in process picture

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Hi there Mick gmax can seem to be a real steep hill to climb as one can get caught up with the great number of tools in a program like gmax. But your work with CAD will of use to you. What you have to do is think 3D that is think like you are working with clay and then think if I was really working with A pice of clay what would I do to turn a cube into say a simpe house you would probably add a little more clay and then shape the cube by pulling(think extrude here) the top so that you get the middle of the roof higher than the outside edges. Well all 3d programs have tools to do that. You will be createing models that are made up of triangles (called faces in gmax) two tringles together will make up a rectangle more triangles will make a more complex shape (called a n-gon)where the "n" stands for the number of sides the the polygon has although a triangle is a polygon the simplest of all polygons in fact. Now many people ask why triangles well they are simple to discribe with mathmatics and everything you create as you know is discribed with the math of geometry and if the math is kept as simple as it can be that means less work for your video card so that's why everything gets divided up into triangles no matter how you create it.Now you seem like many new comers to the art of 3d have many questions in regards to texturing as well and what and why things have do be done the way they are and again it's largely a matter of asking the right questions(and many people really never bother to ask the basic questionsabout what all the names for things really mean) because they think people will think they are stupid. All I can say is do not be afraid to ask!. People WILL help you. I make my living in 3d although not in the gamming end of things and I can really say I LOVE what I do. With tools like Max and Maya I can create ANYTHING I can think of and animate it and bring it to life in a way that could only dreamed of just a few short years ago It takes time to learn the tools but keep at it you will learn to love it. Once you get to see what you create come alive you get a real sence of dare I say pride when you see yourfinished project to fruition. Dan Martin

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Hello Dan!>Hi there Mick gmax can seem to be a real steep hill[...]Indeed!>But your work with CAD will of use to you.>What you have to do is think 3D that is think like you are>working with clay and then think[...]Actually I have no problems thinking three dimensional, because with AutoSketch I made hundrets of isometric view drawings and those have been colonial style furnitures. And without real 3d tools it's even more difficult to create 3d views, because you have to do it in your head instead of letting the computer do it for you... :-)>[...]and again it's largely>a matter of asking the right questions(and many people really>never bother to ask the basic questions>about what all the names for things really mean) because they>think people will think they are stupid.There is a proverb in germany: 'There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers!' But in this forum here I have the feeling that here are people who are willing to share knowledge, Ilike the atmosphere here!>All I can say is do not be afraid to ask!Don't be afraid, I will ;-)>I make my living in 3d although not in the gamming end of things and>I can really say I LOVE what I do. With [...]finished project to>fruition.Seems you are in the lucky position to have a lot of time for your hobby. Sometimes I wish to have more time for it too...The problem with gmax is that it comes without any useful manual for beginners, but on the other side it's free. The three, four tutorials which comes with gmax left, at least for me, more questions open than they answered.Every program has a system to define and organize objects, whatever kind of objects this may be (text, graphics, etc.). For me the main task learnig a new program is to get to know this system. For example AutoCad and AutoSketch have a complete different way to handle object groups and/or symbols. You have to know this philosophy and how it works to handle those programs. And with gmax, due the lack of a manual, I didn't find the entry-point yet...Greetings from Berlin,Mick!

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Wow, Mick, that image looks very good! Hard to believe that this is your first project. Please do post images of your work. We all do, as this is a good place to share with fellow designers.I have never been to Indonesia, but one of my many projects is to recreate Borobudur and the surrounding area. Here is a view in Gmax:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/139091.jpgPerhaps someday if I can find the time.For more information concerning the DXT image format, please see the pinned topic at the top of this forum, where you will find an excellent explanation of this matter by Martin Strong (Shaka), along with many other good commentaries by him.In short, DXT is a compressed image format - don't ask me what it means, though. After 30 years of computer acronyms, I do not pay attention anymore. Although it probably stands for Direct-X textures, or something. Anyway, it was originally developed by S3 for their Savage graphics cards (anybody remember that?) and Microsoft licensed it for Direct-X.There are various types of DXT formats, but for the moment, only DXT1 and DXT3 are native to Flight Simulator. DXT3 is used for aircraft, because it permits multiple levels of transparency, which serve for reflections or something. In scenery, we only use DXT1, of which there is one with transparency, and one without.As it is a compressed format, the resulting texture is much smaller in size, and thus places much less strain on graphics resource. This lessens stutters and increases frame rates.I recommend that you visit Martin Wright's web site for his DXTBmp. This tool will let you edit and create DXT images very easily.Of course, if you convert somebody else's textures, you cannot distribute them without authorization. But, you can include instructions in your scenery on how to carry out the conversion and let the users decide if they need to do this.You are right, there is no basic explanation of Gmax concepts for beginners. I had thought of putting something together, not a tutorial on making airplanes or scenery, but just the basic concepts and how to use the non-standard user interface. But, since Gmax is no longer to be supported by Autodesk, I have put this project off.Best regards.Luis

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Hi Mick,First, I just got back from being away for about 1.5 week and as this thread is rather long I just went over it. So if I say anything that has already been solved or so, just ignore me :).For your ground polygons, the best advice I can give you is to never do them with the Fs2004 GMax gamepack. The MDL object structure is really designed for 3D objects and is not suitable for ground polygons. But you can use the old Fs2002 gamepack if you want. With a little bit of source code tweaking afterwards you can make proper ground polygons with it. What you basically need to do is to layer them. So if you have different polygons on top of each other, they all get a different layer.

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Hello Luis!>Wow, Mick, that image looks very good! Hard to believe that>this is your first project.I want to create a scenery where I can not only land and start but I combine it with some ideas I have in my mind. Around this project there is a complete story in my head and I try to realise this in a virtual reality. Virtual, very virtual, because in reality nobody who is only a bit serious would ever build an airport at this spot in Indonesia ;-) So I created already a flight plan which shall be included within the scenery of a 45 minutes sight seeing flight over the three very beautiful lakes beside Klakah and as a highlight at the end of the flight a tour over the crater of mount Bromo.Flying with the flight simulator is for me not only the technical aspects of flying but also a big portion of fantasy and daydreaming...>Please do post images of your work. We all do, as this is a good>place to share with fellow designers.That's nice. I will if the project grows. It's good to have a place to share your work and ideas. And last but not least also receive critics about your work.>I have never been to Indonesia, [...]One day you should go there and take some weeks time. And if you want to have the nicest experince I advise you to learn the basics of the indonesian language. Speeking only a few words bahasa indonesia opens you a complete different world...>but one of my many projects is to recreate Borobudur and the>surrounding area. Here is a view in Gmax:That's simply amasing!!!>Perhaps someday if I can find the time.I really hope so. It would be a nice jewel only about one hour flight time from 'my' airport.>For more information concerning the DXT image format[...]Thank's for the hint, I will read this for sure.>[...]After 30 years of computer acronyms, I do>not pay attention anymore.;-) I know this too well...>I recommend that you visit Martin Wright's web site for his>DXTBmp. This tool will let you edit and create DXT images very>easily.It's from now on in my bookmarks!>Of course, if you convert somebody else's textures, you cannot>distribute them without authorization. But, you can include>instructions in your scenery on how to carry out the>conversion and let the users decide if they need to do this.I think so. But anyhow I will, if someday my scenery is ready to be published, mention all the authors of the objects I use. And maybe the one or the other will allow me to use their work in a modified way...>You are right, there is no basic explanation of Gmax concepts>for beginners.That's what I was afraid of. The problem is for me as a family father with a fulltime job that there is no time to step deep inside a huge program like gmax anymore. The times when I still could sit for twentyfour hours and more in front of my old Atari St, programming stuff in GFA-Basic and Turbo-C is simply gone...I receive already enough complains from my wife that I sit again in front of this #$$&@*!!^><@@-flight simulator ;-)>I had thought of putting something together,>not a tutorial on making airplanes or scenery, but just the>basic concepts and how to use the non-standard user interface.>But, since Gmax is no longer to be supported by Autodesk, I>have put this project off.What a big pitty!!! Maybe you have already some raw scripts. Might be useful. You know, sometimes it only a small piece which is missing in big puzzle.Mick!

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Hi there Mick like I said just ask the questions and if anybody knows you will get some sort of answer. Dan Martin

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>Hi Mick,Hello Arno!>[...], just ignore me :).I won't! It is not only about getting informations, it's also a question of politeness not to ignore somebody who is willing to help!>For your ground polygons, the best advice I can give you is to>never do them with the Fs2004 GMax gamepack.Let's say I don't want to create large areas with gmax, only tiny signs for gate numbering>The MDL object>structure is really designed for 3D objects and is not>suitable for ground polygons.But generally not impossible, or?>But you can use the old Fs2002 gamepack if you want. With a little>bit of source code tweaking afterwards you can make proper ground>polygons with it.I'm afraid that's the hook :-) I have absolutely no experience with those languages. But maybe I should give it a try. Will there be no compatibility problems with future versions of Fs9?>What you basically need to do is to layer them. So if you>have different polygons on top of each other, they all get a>different layer.This idea was also already in my mind. In my work with AutoSketch I used layers very much, but I did not find out how to do this with gmax yet...Mick!

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Hi Mick,>Let's say I don't want to create large areas with gmax, only>tiny signs for gate numberingIt doesn't really matter if they are big or small. Of course for small polygons the problems are less visible, but they will still be there. I have not yet come across any designer who made ground polygons with the new gamepack without trouble. Either the polygons flicker, or they rise while you move away (or the rest of the airport skins, that is how it looks).>But generally not impossible, or?Maybe someone find a clever work around someday, but at the moment I would have to conclude that the Fs2004 scenery MDL format is totally unsuitable for ground polygons. There is just no good way to let them act as proper ones.>I'm afraid that's the hook :-) I have absolutely no experience>with those languages. But maybe I should give it a try. Will>there be no compatibility problems with future versions of>Fs9?If you still have the old gamepack as well, I would certainly give it a try. The tweaks are not really complex, it is only a few lines you need to change. This article describes the changes:http://www.scenerydesign.org/wiki/doku.php...ygons_with_gmaxCompatibility with future version always remains hard to tell. The only thing I know for sure there is not a Fs2004 technique that allows us to place high-detail ground polygons. So in that case our only option is to go back to slightly older code. But as long as you still use the Fs2002 floating point commands, I hope we are safe :).>This idea was also already in my mind. In my work with>AutoSketch I used layers very much, but I did not find out how>to do this with gmax yet...MakeMDL does not allow layering for you, so it is not possible from within GMax. That is why the tweaking is needed in the end.

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>Hi Mick,>>[...]who made ground polygons with the new gamepack without>trouble. Either the polygons flicker[...]I think I would like to try the way you propose with the Fs2002 gamepack. There is only one little problem, I can not find this package on the microsoft server. Even with their search I always come to the Fs2004 version. Any idea where I still can find this.And, like always :-), a question. Can I install both versions parallel?>http://www.scenerydesign.org/wiki/doku.php...ygons_with_gmaxThanks a lot, this really doesn't sound too hard...>[...]But as long as you still use the Fs2002 floating point>commands, I hope we are safe :).Me too!>[...]That is why the tweaking is needed in the end.I think I will come along with this if I find the 2002 gamepack.Thanks again,Mick!

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Hi Mick,That might be the next problem :), the Fs2002 gamepack is not (fully) available for download. Part of the files came with Fs2002 Pro only. So if you don't have access to that, you need to find a workaround.I think there are people who intercept the X-file from GMax (can't remember which tools they yse for that) and then run that through the Fs2002 MakeMDL version.

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