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FastCargo

So you want to make a 3d object for Strike Fighters?

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FastCargo    392

As some know, and maybe more need to find out, the only program that will create a 3d object that Strike Fighters can use (with the ThirdWire exporter)is called 3DS Max, specifically 3ds Max 2009, 32 bit (noted as MAX), to make the latest versions of files the ThirdWire sim engine can use. NO other program can be used to create objects directly. However, 3DS Max is a four-figure cost program, and even the student version (if you can buy it) is a mid 3 figures. As such, it is out of legal reach to most.

 

So, some folks try to create files in other, cheaper (or free) programs and then convert them to something that MAX can read. However, most conversions result in loss of data or distortions, or worse, resulting in lots of work for the person with MAX, sometimes to the point that creating a new model would have been easier. Which means, a lot of times, most folks with MAX are not willing to take on conversions for other people.because of this.

 

The reason is that from the start of model building to the final export to the ThirdWire format, the following things occur:

 

Construction of the overall model

Cutting the model into specific parts (wings, ailerons, etc)

Smoothing the parts

Assigning pivot points (hinges)

Linking the parts together in a hierarchy tree

Animations where needed (landing gear, canopy, etc)

Texture mapping - telling the model how to wrap a 2-D picture onto a 3-D object

Assigning textures/materials to the model

 

Most 3d modelers will tell you that other than the actual initial construction and cutting of parts, the most time consuming, tedious part of making a model is the mapping. Unfortunately, most conversions from other formats lose exactly that...requiring the MAX user to rebuild the mapping from scratch.

 

I've done conversions from a few other formats before and dropped them because I had to redo the mapping...none for me thanks.

 

However, I have very recently come upon a technique that allows files made in Blender (a free and powerful 3D object program) to be converted to MAX with no loss of mesh data or mapping. Instead of conversations from other formats now consuming several days, a conversion from a Blender object to a object ready to be used in a ThirdWire sim can take a day at most. The MAX user need only reassign pivot points, animations, hierachies and textures...then exporting the file to the ThirdWire format.

 

What this means is that the bar for making custom aircraft, ships, buildings, etc, is now within anyone's reach. If you want a custom object...you can make it (including the 3d object building, textures, and ini entries) all with free, legal, open source programs. All the MAX user you ask politely to convert your model for you needs to do can be done in a day, or more than likely, just a couple of hours.

 

But you need to do the other work. If you're not willing to put in the effort...don't expect anyone else to help you get there.

 

Interested? Respond here...

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Wrench    3,061

I've always wanted to learn 3d modeling, but never had the time! (it being taken up with building 'The World'.

This is a MOST interestering development!

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+JonathanRL    889

I still have complete 3D versions of the Viggen & SK 60 I want converted. As long as they are in the game as 3D files, I think I can take it from there (prob with alot of questions asked here, but still...)

 

I am however most ignorant about the effort involved. Anybody want to help with this have my eternal gratitude. However, I am not sure if Blender can open these files.

 

So any Max user who would like to experiment with FastCargos method with already completed models, I got something you can use, if you kindly please!

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+daddyairplanes    1,341

I have the student version of 3DS Max and take 3D modeling course in the spring. but i would like a mentor here to start learning. got the tools now just need the knowledge......

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+HomeFries    24

I'm very interested. I just downloaded Blender, and I would very much like to create objects that can be added via FakePilot, so at least I'm starting with simple objects.

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FastCargo    392

Okay, some encouraging signs of interest so far.

 

Upfront, here is the technique used to bring a Blender file into 3DS Max:

 

http://wiki.openuru.org/index.php?title=Importing_Blender_Objects_To_Max

 

Note that most of the work is done by the person with MAX, but even then, it is pretty simple. I verified this technique yesterday and can confirm that it works a treat and imported the model perfectly (including the mapping).

 

Anyway, my goals are the following:

 

1) To remove most of the traditional barriers to modding...mainly, the cost associated with 3DS Max and therefore expand the range of talent.

2) To increase the portability of being able to mod. Due to recent circumstances, I find myself at computers that typically don't have or can't run what I use (3DS Max, Photoshop, etc).

3) To educate folks on exactly the effort required by letting them try it themselves.

 

To this end, I plan on using Blender for my next 3D project, and using Gimp for the templates for my current 3D project.

 

While I am educating myself on both Blender and Gimp, my plan is to upload an example of a Blender aircraft ready for conversion to 3DS MAX, and hopefully an example of a Gimp template to use to build textures. As well as find appropriate tutorials suited to Blender and Gimp for our purposes. What I won't be doing is making a tutorial here...there is simply too much to explain to be able to do it well, or in a timely fashion. The idea is that potential model builders need to simply get out there and flail a bit....that is really the best way to learn.

 

FC

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+HomeFries    24

One question: if the relative perspective/distance between nodes is correct in the Blender object, how difficult is it to globally adjust the dimensions (e.g. 95% size) in MAX? I ask because the nature of FakePilot objects means that the Blender object will need to be created without being able to visually QC the object relative to the LOD. Not a huge deal for a blade antenna, but something of an issue for a form-fitting object.

Edited by HomeFries

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FastCargo    392

Okay, first thing I've found for Blender:

 

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

 

Looks like a comprehensive guide to Blender...it can even be downloaded as a single PDF file. I will be using this as a basis for getting familiar with how Blender works (I went from GMax to 3DS Max, so I never got familiar with Blender).

 

Looking at just the basic beginning, the document already goes into common terms and usages for 3D modeling (coordinates, rotations, etc) so it's a good resource just for learning the terminology that modelers use.

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+EricJ    625

Not to hijack the topic FC, but thought this would be much better as a pinned topic so it won't get lost in the topics...

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FastCargo    392

I was thinking that myself there Eric.

 

Also, McFly's tutorials are for MAX, and some of them, especially the mapping tutorial, are very much out of date.

 

FC

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+Veltro2k    2,148

I was thinking that myself there Eric.

 

Also, McFly's tutorials are for MAX, and some of them, especially the mapping tutorial, are very much out of date.

 

FC

FC , just curious..What do you think of SketchUp 8?

ED

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Stratos    753

I tried to apply to a 3dMAX degree, but the school closed last month thanks to finantial problems. Complete planes can be a bit too much for me, but parts of the model like noses or wings can be a nice start.

Edited by Stratos

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+daddyairplanes    1,341

Veltro, what i think he's saying in the very beginning of this post is that Blender made objects crossover the best with little to no distortion in the process. right now i have blender on to give this a try later and Sketchup 8 for class on my system!

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FastCargo    392

All you need is an .obj or .fbx exporter. Almost every 3D package can import/export .obj.

 

The link I posted is for FBX. I have found that OBJ import/export from/to Blender/3ds MAX has resulted in more distortions than the FBX method. The main reason I am going to focus on Blender (and to a lesser extent, Gimp) is that:

 

1) They are open source, widespread, and free...no shareware, no time periods, no cost, not tied to any particular large company (which is why I don't use Sketchup).

2) They are powerful with comprehensive features.

3) There is widespread and detailed documentation on use.

4) They are portable...you can run both of them from a USB stick.

 

FC

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FastCargo    392

For those who have 3DS Max, but aren't sure how to build an aircraft, the Modders section of the files site has several aircraft, cockpit, ground objects, and missiles to download.

 

In addition, the PSD templates recently released with the CF-105 actually had a lot of the final touches done on them with Gimp. Also, for another project I am working on, all my textures and decals were done in Gimp...I hardly found anything in Photoshop that I couldn't do in Gimp, and there were even a few things Gimp could do better.

 

I'm still wrestling with Blender...I keep trying to skip parts or revert to habits I do in 3Ds Max...bad me! Bad me!

 

FC

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fruscella    0

Does anyone have a tutorial for model and terrain?

I dump Flight Simulaotrs 3D model with textures and would be great to add what needed for ailerons and animations (I dont know how to specify which part is the one) and also for statics or non flyable but dinamic 3D models.

Talking about terrain, I love to extract DEM files from Google Earth but wasnt unable to convert and use in SPF1, also how to add the Google Earth's tiles textures etc...

 

thank you in advance.

 

alfie1978 y a h oo

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+sophocles    282

For those who have 3DS Max, but aren't sure how to build an aircraft, the Modders section of the files site has several aircraft, cockpit, ground objects, and missiles to download.

 

In addition, the PSD templates recently released with the CF-105 actually had a lot of the final touches done on them with Gimp. Also, for another project I am working on, all my textures and decals were done in Gimp...I hardly found anything in Photoshop that I couldn't do in Gimp, and there were even a few things Gimp could do better.

 

I'm still wrestling with Blender...I keep trying to skip parts or revert to habits I do in 3Ds Max...bad me! Bad me!

 

FC

 

I can't seem to find the "Modders section of the files site" is it available to all?

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+logan4    383

To my knowledge that part is a "modders" only section, you need to have a modder status

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dare2    0

What i would like to do is to model a Rafale C/M cockpit, but i will have to team up with someone for this in order to integrate existing ejectable seats... I have been working on a Mirage F1 but lost my files to a H-D failure and haven't been doing 3D for some time but it was my job, modelling for a company working in the advertising business. I think i am pretty well documented for the 3D model, the rest (texture, programing etc) is yet another matter. If you are up to it technically, i mean to put together something as smooth as the original F-4/F-8 in SF2, then let me know. Cheers.

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+daddyairplanes    1,341

on a separate topic, I have Max 2012 currently on my comp as well as Blender.  would it be possible to work a model in Max2012,  shoot it to Blender, then shoot it back to Max 09 to basically make it backwards compatible?  i'm still learning so the stuff different in Blender really goes double for me as I don't want to confuse myself  too bad. also keeps me workin on Max due to a one year hiatus in that curriculum in school.  thoughts or opinions?

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+acesfakia    813

Hello

is possible to make ....a pictures....step by step ....all the way (from a ready model)...to export    a lod  files and a folder for a model for SF ?

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