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Announcing ModelConverterX

Discussion in 'ModelConverterX' started by arno, 31/8/07.

  1. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    Those that have followed my blog a bit lately, might already have noticed that I have been working at a new tool. I called it ModelConverterX and as the name already indicates the main functionality will be that it allows you to convert models. The main focus is that the tool should allow you to convert older objects to the FsX MDL format. So for example it allows you to import your old API macro and save it again as a MDL object.

    This allows you to reuse your old objects with the newer techniques. Of course it does not give you any source code that you can edit, so if you want to alter the object as well, it might be better to design it from scratch. But if you want to save some of your hard work, this tool might be just what you need.

    For the first alpha version, that I hope to put on the forum soon, the tool will be able to load API macros and save them again as FsX X file that you can compile with XtoMDL.

    For future version I want to add more formats, like reading Fs2004 MDL objects or OpenFlight files as well. And for the export I am thinking of being able to export as OpenFlight as well. But that are ideas for the future, the first and main focus is on converting old API macros (and also SCM macros btw).

    Other ideas I have are to add the ability to perform some tweaks on the objects as well. It seems the FsX format is a little more limited in this aspect, so the tool might not be able to perform as many tweaks as MDL Tweaker can, but I think some useful tweaks will always appear. I am thinking about a functionality to help you in creating the lower detail LODs for example.

    So that is the basic idea I have with this tool. If there are any questions or suggestions please let me know. I am going back to the coding again now, so that I can release the version alpha version soon. Oh, and don't expect that version to be bug free, I'll need you to test it with your macros and provide me feedback to get out all of the problems that will certainly occur :D.
  2. lmoelleb

    lmoelleb

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    I have had this functionality for quite a while in the tool we use for scenery generation. I can't remember if I already gave you the code? While we use it as part of a larger scnery design tool it's pretty isolated and could be hooked up in a command line or simple GUI in a few hours if someone has the time (which rules out me) as the functionalty is completely isolated in it's own .NET assembly. So there might not be any reason to invent it all over again - the time could be spend on new featurs instead. :)

    It reads FS2002, FS2004 and FSX formats. It could use a few hours work to support libraries (it now work on MDL files and single model FS2002 BGL files). Currently there is no support for animations (which is not that easy with some of the tweks it can do) or attachpoints (these should be pretty easy though).

    It writes FSX X files and FS2004 MDL files. It can do fallback of unsupported features in the formats (so FS2004 for seasonal textures and FS2002 for ground polygons).

    Tweaks supported at this moment is generation of LoD, remove and add night texture, seasonal textures, change texture names, remove and add shadow (not supported in FSX at this moment), static matrix transform allowing scaling in x/y/z axis independently, hardening of polygons to platform (depending on angle and material/texture), centering of the reference point, and a few half completed experimental things (for example a repeater that will repeat a fence).

    It's pretty well tested - it have been spitting out Copenhagen City Scenery (now a part of Denmark Scenery) for years without any serious problem.
    Last edited: 31/8/07
  3. arno

    arno Administrator Staff Member FSDevConf team Resource contributor

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    HI Lars,

    Yes, I am aware of your tool. Last time we talked it did not export to the FsX format yet though. You did also show me the code of it.

    But I still decided to write my own code and tool as I found that easier. Trying to add new stuff to already existing code often is more complex, as you would have to understand the thinking of the original author first :).

    Besides that writing the code myself is also a good way to learn more about the fileformats and things like that. So I just find it interesting to do it myself as welll. And the writing the API/SCASM parser was also a nice exercise I had been thinking of before already, so I just wanted to give that a try anyway.

    Initially my tool will not support animations either, but maybe I can add them in the future. My first goal would be to allow about 95% of the API macros around being read in correctly.

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