Making a landable platform with GMax

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This tutorial is realized in order to help designers during the procedure of making a landable platform in FSX.

We will go through a step by step way of building a landable platform with the help of screenshots. The guidance is gathered from all sorts of topics and sites... together they form the basic for this tutorial. Thanks to those pioniers who found the solution for making a landable platform.

Basic steps first...

On demand of some designers here some basic steps:

A. Beginning with drawing a box starts from a certain point, following the movement with lef mouse button down to the corner (see yellow arrow). Then releash the mouse button and proceed again with the left mouse button down until a certain height is reached.

B.This box will be modeled now via the Parameters setup where you fill in the wanted values for Lenght, Width and Height.

C. Is a plane that you will need further in the tutorial.

Landable01.jpg

How to center the main object? This is important for an accurate placement in the scenery.

Click the Select and Move Tool... then set the values for X, Y and Z to zero. The box moves to the centerpount of your display.

The plane (C) can be moved the same way to match with the box... or you can use the Move Tool directly.

Landable02.jpg

Making the platform

Landable03.jpg

After making your object In GMAX for FSX, draw a plane with the size of the helipad.

Landable04.jpg

Place the plane on top of the object.

Landable05.jpg

Set Opacity to 0% (makes it invisible).

Landable06.jpg

Run Script - AttachTool - Platform (Surface = Concrete).

Landable07.jpg

Clone the object... notice that on this screenie "Clone to Element" is checked... so pay attention: it must be "Clone to Object" !

Landable08.jpg

Run Script - AttachTool - NoCrash... Check the list of elements to be sure you have selected the clone !

In order to be sure you choose the correct plane, consult the Select Tool.

Landable09.jpg

Export the object to MDL

As you are now halfway the procedure, exporting the object is quiet simple...

Before exporting the Gmax-file you need a friendly name for your model + GUID for identification of that model.

Open MAXScript / LODandNameTool.ms

Landable10.jpg

Click on Create new GUID for this file. When you saved the GMAX file before, there is already a friendly name... otherwise fill in a name for your object.

Landable11.jpg

In Menu... open File / File properties / Custom.

Click on the value of the Guid (e5b0753f-b...) and the whole Guid will be fill in in the display.

Copy and paste this Guid and save it in Notepad. You will need this Guid later in the .XML-file.

Landable12.jpg

Template .xml file

Fill in GUID + Friendly Name of your object ( xxx.MDL )

<FSData
version="9.0"
xmlns:xsi='http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance'
xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="bglcomp.xsd" >

<SceneryObject
lat="S33 25.07"
lon="E149 39.16"
alt="0"
altitudeIsAgl="TRUE"
pitch="0"
bank="0"
heading="0"
imageComplexity="NORMAL">

<LibraryObject 
name="{GUID}"
scale="1.0"/>

</SceneryObject>
<ModelData sourceFile="Friendly Name .MDL" />

</FSData>

Then it's just a small matter to place it where you want in your universe...

- Compile and get a .bgl-file that you directly can put into your scenery map / scenery.

OR:

- Use Library Creator XML to create Library object containing your models - Place harden pad using EZ-Scenery

Compile and get a BGL file

The compiler for FSX is/must be located in C:\CompilerFSX.

Your MDL-file and the .XML-file are put together in this map.

Drop the .XML-file onto BglComp and a .bgl-file will be made (unless there are faults in your .xml-file of course). See Readme MDL to BGL via XML in FSX.

Landable13.jpg

Library Creator XML

For your object library part you should take the MDL from GMax and put it into the library BGL as you described (Library Creator XML will make the XML and BGL file for you). For a complete information about the Library Creator XML go to www.fsdeveloper.com and find in the WIKI a complete explanation.

Procedure

Basically the method to create a harden pad (in Gmax) is:

  • Create a 'Plane' in Gmax with the dimensions you require
  • Set Opacity to 0% (makes it invisible)
  • Run Script - AttachTool - Platform (Surface = Concrete)
  • Clone the object
  • Select Clone
  • Run Script - AttachTool - NoCrash
  • Export to MDL

NOTE: the presence of an exclude file in the scenery will not harm a landable platform.

NOTE 2: if you don't see any shadow of the heli, adjust (raise) a little bit the location/height of the platform.

There is the possibility of using a so called "key-file" that contains only the landable platform. Then the only thing you need to do is making your object in GMAX and add this key-file to it. Of course you eventually need to adapt the GMAX-file to the dimensions of the object. Together they will form a completed landable object.


José Bourgoignie (Ostend, Belgium)