From FSDeveloper Wiki
A second functionality that you can use ModelConverterX for is as a model viewer. You can view a 3D presentation of your object. A third functionality is to make minor changes to your object, like changing a material parameter or an attachpoint.
The rest of this manual will discuss how to install and use ModelConverterX. It also contains a detailed description of the features supported by the readers and writers of the different model format. This manual matches the 1.3 stable release version of ModelConverterX.
 Getting ModelConverterX
On the SceneryDesign.org website you can find all information about downloading ModelConverterX.
Once you have downloaded the ZIP file containing the program, you need to unzip it to a folder of your choice. If you have used a previous version before, you can overwrite those files with the new version.
 User interface
All your activities in ModelConverterX are done from the main screen. At the top of this screen you can find a toolbar with buttons to access the actions you be using frequently. The rest of the form can display any of the three tabs, that allow you to see either a preview, a log of events or the options. Each of these tabs can have a toolbar to access functions specific to that tab. Below you will find three sections describing the details of each tab and those of the main toolbar.
 Main toolbar
The main toolbar is the toolbar of ModelConverterX that is always visible, no matter which of the tabs you are viewing at the moment. It gives you access to the most important functions like importing or exporting objects. In this section all of the functions accessible are explained.
Import Shows an open file dialog that allows you to select an object to import in ModelConverterX. If you click on the arrow next to the button you will get a list of the 8 most recently opened files, so that you can reload them more quickly.
Export Shows an save file dialog that allows you to export the current object in the format you want. If you click on the arrow next to the button you will get a selection menu that also allows you to save all loaded objects to a BGL at once.
Wizards This menu contains a number of wizards, these are described in more detail in the Wizards section.
Special tools This menu gives you access to some special tools that can be used for certain specific tasks. This menu is described in more detail in the Special tools section.
The statusbar gives you feedback about the the activities currently taking place. During the import or export you will for example see a progress bar to indicate how far that process is at the moment.
Besides that in the left corner of the statusbar an icon can be displayed to indicate the event log status. If there is no icon the event log is empty, but if there are entries in the log the following icons can be displayed:
 Preview tab
On the preview tab you will see a 3D preview of your object. This allows you to inspect your object and check if it has been imported correctly. Also it can be used as a simple way to visualize your objects.
You can move and rotate the preview with your mouse. If you keep the left mouse button pressed you can rotate around the object and if you keep the right mouse button pressed you can move the object. With the mouse wheel or the + and - keys you can zoom in or out.
At the top of the tab, just below the main toolbar, you will find a toolbar with actions specific for the preview tab. These are described below.
Sets the rendering mode of the 3D preview to performance indicator. This means that the colours on the object are determined by how effective the normals and texture coordinates are shared on your object. The more colour, the less efficient.
The LOD combobox allows you to select which level of detail you want to be displayed in the preview.
The livery combobox allows you to select which livery should be displayed on the model. This function is mainly for aircraft.
The animation controls below are only shown if an object contains animations. Besides these controls, there is also a slider to control the frame number of the animation.
The animation frame textbox allows you to view which frame of the animation is currently displayed and gives you the ability to enter a new desired frame number.
 Event log tab
On the event log tab you can see all the messages that the preview renderer, the reader or writer module has generated. This can be information about a texture file being loaded correctly, a warning that the reader encountered some unknown command or a serious error.
At the top of the tab, just below the main toolbar, you will find a toolbar with actions specific for the event log tab. These are described below.
The message filter combobox box allows you to select which message level to display. If you select Any all messages will show, if you select either Information, Warning or Error only messages with the appropriate level will be displayed.
 Options tab
The Options tab gives you access to all the settings of ModelConverterX. In the section Options all available options are explained.
ModelConverterX contains a number of wizards. These provide easier to use functionality to perform certain tasks. The available wizards are explained in this section.
 Convert and place object wizard
The Convert and Place object wizard is the easiest way to convert a single object and directly place it at a certain location in the FS world. So if you for example want to convert and position a few KMZ models into your town, this would be the easiest way to do so. All you have to do is fill in all the fields in the wizard from top to bottom.
With you need to specify which object you want to convert. The ... button will bring up a file selection dialogue. You can import any format that is supported by ModelConverterX. After selecting the file you will see that the object is being loaded in the background. Once that is finished it will be shown in the preview.
In the output section you need to specify where you want to save the BGL file. You need to select the project folder, not the scenery folder. So you would select "FSX\Addon scenery", not "FSX\Addon scenery\scenery". In the field Output name you specify the name of the BGL file, by default that's the name of the model. With the radio button below you choose if you want to save a FS2004 or a FSX BGL files.
Next you can specify the position where the object will be placed. You can give a latitude, longitude, heading and scale. The Show map button will open a map view. In this view you can position the object over a reference map. As reference you can use OpenStreetMap, Google Map, Bing Maps and Yahoo Maps data. By clicking left you can position the object at the mouse location, by dragging right you can pan the map. With the mouse wheel you can zoom.
Finally there are a few options related to the textures of your model. The textures will be convert to the formats supported by FS (DDS for FSX and extended BMP for FS2004). If you click Prefix texture names then the texture filenames will be prefixed with the model name, to make sure they are unique. If you select Minimize amount of textures then the functionality of the drawcall minimizer is used to minimize the amount of textures used on your model. Overwrite texture when already existing determines if existing files will be overwritten or not.
When all it setup correctly, you press Convert and the BGL file will be made. When that is finished the wizard form will blank.
 Ground polygon wizard
To prevent flickering and give correct display of shadows on ground polygons, these are often made with the FS2002 gamepack of GMax. But many developers don't have this old version anymore and tweaking the resulting files is also not so convenient. Therefore this wizard helps you to make FS2002-style ground polygons, without the need to have that gamepack. You can just import them from FS2004 or FSX MDL files and then process them. All you need to do is fill in all the information in the wizard.
First you need to select the file that you want to convert. The ... button brings up a file selection dialogue. You can load the ground polygons from any format that is supported by ModelConverterX. After selecting the file it will be loaded in the background and shown in the preview when the loading has finished.
When loading the object there are two checkboxes you can enable. With these you can enable if flat polygons that are not at ground level should be projected onto the ground and whether non-ground polygons should be removed from the object.
Next the ouput location is specified. This is the name of the BGL file that will be created.
In the middle of the screen is a list of all textures in the model. For each of these textures you can specify four things:
In the Textures section you specify if the textures need to be converted as well. If you check this box they will be convert to DDS (for FSX) or extended BMP (for FS2004). You need to specify the folder where the textures will be stored and if existing texture may be overwritten or not.
Next the position of the reference point of the ground polygons needs to be specified. You need to give the latitude, longitude, heading and altitude. When converting to FSX it is very important to enter the correctly altitude above sea level of your airport here.
Next to this button are two other buttons, these are used to save and load the settings of the ground polygon wizard itself. This can be used to quickly load the same settings again if you want to convert the same object.
Finally there are a number of other options to set for the ground polygon conversion:
Finally you need to specify if you want to place the ground polygons in FS2004 or FSX. Because FSX has a different earth model, you can not use the same ground polygons in both versions.
If you want to use seasonal textures on your ground polygons, you can use the Define seasons button to bring up the dialogue where you can specify at which day each of the seasons starts and ends.
After all is set, you press Convert and the BGL will be made. Once that is finished the form will be blanked.
 Batch convert
The batch convert wizard allows you to process multiple objects at once. You need to specify the input, operators and output.
On the left you specify which files need to be processed. By pressing Add you can browse for additional files to process. You can select files from different folders if you want. With the Remove button you can remove a file from the queue again and with Clear you can clear the entire list.
In the middle you can specify any operator that should be performed on the object. These operations are performed after importing, but before exporting again. By pressing Add you can add a new operator to the list and with Remove you can remove them again. You can apply multiple operators if you want. When clicking on an operator in the list, you will see the settings for that operator on the right. The following operators are available.
At the bottom right you specify the output parameters. You need to select a folder to store the converted objects and the format to which you want to export.
When everything is setup correctly you press Process and the objects will be converted.
 Animation tweaker
The animation tweaker wizard can be used to make long animations for FS2004. When using MakeMDL to create your FS2004 MDL file the maximum animation length is 1024 frames. At 18 Hz that is less than a minute. For certain animations that is too short.
But when you make your object with the FSX gamepack there is no restriction to the animation length. So with this wizard you can import a FSX MDL with a long animation and it will convert it to a valid FS2004 MDL file, still containing the long animation.
 Forms & Editors
Besides the basic functionality to import and export objects, ModelConverterX also contains a number of forms and editors that allow you to view or edit additional information about the object loaded. This section describes these forms and editors.
 Object information
The object information form shows you the basic information about the object. This includes:
The name, GUID and the position can be edited. At the moment only one instance of an object can be placed, so it is not possible to position an object at multiple locations.
After adding a position to the object, you can use the Show map button to open a map view. In this view you can position the object over a reference map. As reference you can use OpenStreetMap, Google Map, Bing Maps and Yahoo Maps data. By clicking left you can position the object at the mouse location, by dragging right you can pan the map. With the mouse wheel you can zoom.
 Object hierarchy
The object hierarchy form shows you the hierarchy of the different nodes in the scenegraph of the object. This can be helpful in debugging the structure of the object. For the different nodes the following attributes can be shown:
 Material editor
The Material editor form shows you all materials that are used by the object. You can view and edit all properties of the material. For each material the colours and texture maps used are displayed. Besides that the FSX specific settings are shown.
The Set Default Transparent and Set Default Opaque buttons can be used to set the materials settings so that they will work well for transparent or opaque textures in FSX.
When the Highlight in preview option is selected, all polygons using this material will be rendered with a red colour in the preview. This enables you to see where this material is used on the object.
When you press the backspace key it is possible to remove the selected material completely. Warning, this will also remove all triangles using this material.
 Mass texture editor
The mass texture editor allows you to manipulate multiple textures on the object at once. You can perform a combination of the following actions:
The Rename button will bring up a dialog to quickly replace a certain text in all texture files used.
The Match button will search in the specified texture folder and replace textures in the object by the same texture found in the texture folder.
The Update button starts the process of renaming, resizing and/or converting the textures. Once this has finished the dialog will automatically close.
 Drawcall minimizer
The drawcall minizer is used to reduce the amount of materials used in the object. This will result in less drawcalls and a better performance in FSX. The Start button starts the process of combining the textures, the new textures are written to the specified folder. They will have the texture type specified as the default texture type set in the options.
There are three options available that determine how the textures are combined:
When a material also has a night texture, bump map or other subtexture types, new texture sheets for these subtextures will also be generated by the drawcall minimizer.
If the texture has an alpha chanel, this alpha channel is also copied in the combined texture sheet. However the total amount of drawcalls in the end also depends on the other material settings. So if one material has the alpha blending enabled and the other not, there will still be two drawcalls. Even when they use the same texture sheet.
 Attached object editor
The Attached object editor form shows you all objects that are attached to your object. You can view and edit all properties of the attached objects. The following type of objects can be attached:
To create a new attached object you press the New button and select the type you want. The Duplicate button will make a copy of an existing attached object. With the Remove button you can remove the attached object.
Effects can have parameters to determine when they should be active. With the Effect Parameter Editor form you can easily modify these parameters.
When you press the Auto platform button you will get a form where you can specify the conditions for all triangles that should become a platform. This can be used to make a platform out of all triangles facing upwards and having a specific material. This makes it very easy to turn a roof into a platform for example. By specifying the normal vector of the polygons you can also make a platform of a sloped polygon.
 Animation editor
The animation editor gives you fine control over the animations in your model. You can determine which animation is running in the preview or remove certain animations.
At the top of the form you see a list of all animations present in the loaded model. Each animation shows the name and the length. Each animation has a checkbox, only those selected will be shown as active in the preview. All others are shown static at their first keyframe.
With the buttons Select All and Select None you can select and deselect all animations at once. The Select Invert button inverts the current selection of animations. The Select Name Containing button always you to select only those animations that match the name typed into the text box.
The Fix Selected Animations button does remove the selected animations. It freezes those parts of the model at the animation frame that is currently displayed. This can be used for example to freeze the landing gear of an aircraft model that you want to use as a static model in your scenery.
At the bottom of the form there are some controls for the display of the animation. The Play and Stop button is used to start and stop the animation in the preview. The text box next to the button shows the current animation frame. By typing a new value in that box you can just to that frame directly. The slider below is also used to control the animation frame.
The min and max text boxes at the right side can be used to make the animation loop only part of the frames. If you animation runs from 0 to 200 for example, typing 50 in min and 75 in max, will let the animation loop between frames 50 and 75 in the preview. This can be useful to inspect specific parts of an animation.
 Level of detail Creator
The Level of detail Creator allows you to automatically generate lower level of detail versions of your model. A simplification algorithm is used to determine which polygons to eliminate, so that the final model is still as similar to your original one as possible. There is the choice from two algorithms, that each have specific settings. These are explained below. Using the combobox at the top you can select which algorithm is used.
When you want to create a new level of detail you should take the following steps:
When you select the Auto calculate checkbox the LOD will automatically be recalculated once you change any of the settings or parameters in the form. This can be useful when you are experimenting with different settings, but for complex models the calculation time might be too long for this auto update function to work efficiently.
By clicking in the list of levels of detail you can select which one is displayed in the preview. With the Remove LOD button you can remove the currently selected level of detail from the model. With the Change LOD button you can change the LOD number to the one entered in the text box. So for example you can change LOD 40 to LOD 30 to have it display earlier.
With Add empty LOD you can add an empty LOD to the model with the number given in the text box. Empty LODs are often used to let an object disappear quicker.
With the Import LOD button you can import another model from file and use it as the LOD number specified in the text box. When you click this button a dialogue will appear where you can select the file to load. If you made your different LODs as separate models, this is to way to combine them.
 Vertex clustering
This algorithm can be tuned with the following parameters:
 Quadratic based error
This algorithm can be tuned with the following parameters:
 Special tools
The special tools menu contains a number of tools that can be useful to do specific tasks. Some of these tools work on the select model, others are always available.
 SCASM Macro to XML placement converter
This tool brings up a new dialog that allows you to convert a SCASM file into a XML placement file. For every Macro command in the SCASM file a XML SceneryObject command will be written. It works for FSX MDL files only. You need to specify:
Once all settings are specified you press the Convert button to start the process.
 XML placement to SHP converter
This tool brings up a new dialog that allows you to convert a BGLComp XML object placement file into a SHP file. For every SceneryObject command in the XML file a point feature is written in the SHP file. The GUID and heading of the object are written as arguments to the feature. You need to specify the following options:
 XML Apron to SurfaceType converter
This tool brings up a new dialog that allows you to convert the aprons of a BGLComp XML airport file into a SCASM file containing SurfaceType commands for these aprons. This can be useful if you want to delete your aprons from the XML to see an aerial image below, but still want aprons that are smooth. Without such code the aircraft will bump around and show dust behind the wheels. You need to specify the following options:
 Coordinate converter
The coordinate converter tool can be used to convert geodetic positions (lat/lon) to an offset in meters from a reference point. You need to specific the latitude and longitude of the reference point and the latitude and longitude of the second point. For this second point the position will then be shown in two coordinate systems:
 Texture converter
This tool brings up a new dialog that allows you to convert textures. With the Load file button you can load a texture from any of the formats that ModelConverterX supports. With the Save file button you can then save it to the format selected in the combobox.
With the Set transparent color button you can choose which color is in the texture should become transparent. The alpha channel will then be adjusted for that.
With the Convert normalmap to FS button you can convert a normalmap to the FSX specific requirements. You load a texture made by a normalmap plugin and then save it to DDS after pressing this button.
With the Resize button you can resize the texture to the specified size.
The radio buttons at the bottom can be used to display a specific channel. This allows you to inspect only the alpha or the green channel if you want.
 Missing texture finder
This tool brings up a new dialog that allows you to find missing textures from object libraries. You need to enter the following information:
When you press the Search button the tool will start looking if all textures are there. Those missing are displayed in the text box at the bottom. With the Save report button you can save those missing textures to a text file.
 MDL Tweaker
With the MDL Tweaker you can make changes directly to the MDL file itself. This is fundamentally different from importing the object into ModelConverterX and making changes. In the last case the object is exported again using the compiler tool (XtoMDL). This means that the limitations of those tools give you some restrictions what you can do. With the MDL Tweaker you are directly changing the binary code of the MDL file itself, without any compiler in between. At the moment this function only works for FSX MDL files.
You can change the following parameters of the MDL file:
With the Insert custom shadow model you can insert another model to be used as shadow model. Sometimes using a simplied geometry for the shadow model can result in performance improvements.
The Save MDL button allows you to save your changes back to a MDL file again.
 Flip all triangles
This flips all triangles of the currently loaded object.
 Flip triangles with inverse normals
This flips all triangles of the currently loaded object for which the normal of the triangle does not match the normal of the vertices.
 Import names from XML file
With this function you can load objects names from a XML file. When a FS2004 library BGL is loaded the objects have no names. With this function you can load the BGLComp XML file that was used to generate the library BGL. The filenames of the MDL files stored in the XML will then be used as names for the objects.
 Export ground polygons to SHP
This function exports all ground polygons of the current scene to shapefiles. This can be useful if you want to use them in a GIS program, for example to overlay them on the photo scenery of the airport.
 Burn material colors into textures
When importing models from certain models it might be that a material has both a texture and a colour. Some systems mix those two on rendering, others don't. If your target system does not, you can use this function to mix the colour and the texture, this results in new textures.
 Correct effect placement to match geometry (FSX)
There is a bug in FSX that causes attached effects to be displayed at the wrong position. The further you go from the reference point, the bigger the offset becomes. This function corrects this offset, by moving the attachpoints in the opposite direction.
 Correct entire object for curved earth (FSX)
This function transforms the entire object to match the curve of the earth in FSX. It assumes that the object was designed in the flat earth coordinates used in FS2004.
 Filter out ground polygons
This function removes all ground polygons from your object. Ground polygons are polygons level to the ground and within a certain distance. Sometimes old objects include ground polygons, like parking lots. In FSX scenery it is often more realistic to use photo scenery instead, so these have to be removed then.
The options available in ModelConverterX are divided in different categories. With the list on the left of the options screen you can choose the correct category of options. The sections below explain all options available per category.
 General settings
The AutoSave section allows you to specify settings regarding automatically saving certain files. It contains the following options:
 Ground Polygon Wizard
The Ground Polygon Wizard section allows you to specify settings related to the ground polygon wizard. It contains the following options:
 Object placement
The Object placement section allows you to specify settings related to positioning objects in the scenery. It contains the following options:
The Output section allows you to specify settings related to make output from the tool. It contains the following options:
The Undo section allows you to specify settings related to the undo functionality. It contains the following options:
The Update section allows you to specify settings related to checking for software updates. It contains the following options:
 Renderer settings
The Particles section allows you to specify settings related to the particle effects system. It contains the following options:
The Renderer section allows you to specify settings related to the preview renderer. It contains the following options:
 Importer settings
The General section allows you to specify settings that apply to multiple exporters. It contains the following options:
The SCASMReader section allows you to specify settings specific to the SCASM reader. It contains the following options:
 Exporter settings
The BGLWriter section allows you to specify settings specific to the BGL exporter. It contains the following options:
The FLTWriter section allows you to specify settings specific to the OpenFlight writer. It contains the following options:
The MDLWriter section allows you to specify settings specific to the FS2004 and FSX MDL writers. It contains the following options:
The OBJWriter section allows you to specify settings specific to the Wavefront OBJ exporter. It contains the following options:
The XtoMDL section allows you to specify settings specific to the XtoMDL compiler. It contains the following options:
The XWriter section allows you to specify settings specific to the X writer. It contains the following options:
 Texture settings
The TextureLoader section allows you to specify settings related to the texture loader. It contains the following options:
The TextureWriter section allows you to specify settings related to the texture writer. It contains the following options:
The Transparency section allows you to specify settings related to transparency. It contains the following options:
 ObjectModel settings
 Drawcall minimizer
The Drawcall Minimizer section allows you to specify settings related to the drawcall minimizer. The following options are available:
 Level of detail
The Level of detail section allows you to specify settings related to LODs. The following options are available:
The Optimize section allows you to specify settings related to the optimization of objects. The following options are available:
The Placement section allows you to specify settings related to the placement of objects. The following options are available:
 FS related settings
The FS section allows you to specify settings related to flight simulator. The following options are available:
 Keyboard shortcuts
To make using ModelConverterX easier most actions and button you can click with the mouse also have a keyboard shortcut. This table gives an overview of the available shortcuts:
 How to ...
Further down in this manual you will find a detailed explanation of the user interface and the features of the different object readers and writers. But in this section some quick howtos will be shown that explain how to perform common tasks. This should be enough to get you going quickly.
When using ModelConverterX for the first time, make sure that you have set the options correctly. Especially the paths to compilers like XtoMDL or MakeMDL should correspond with the location of those compilers on your machine.
 Convert a SCASM macro into a FSX MDL object
This howto explains how to convert a SCASM macro object into a FSX MDL object. So to complete this howto you need to have a SCASM macro that you want to convert. Start ModelConverterX and we are ready to go. You can find the images illustrating the steps at the bottom of this section.
Now you have the MDL file that you can use in your scenery, like you would do with any MDL object. So put it in an library BGL and start placing it with your favourite placement tool.
 Convert a SketchUp object into a FSX MDL object
This howto explains how to convert an object made in SketchUp to a FSX MDL object. So you need an object made with SketchUp to complete this howto. You can find the images illustrating the steps at the bottom of this section.
Now you have the MDL file that you can use in your scenery, like you would do with any MDL object. So put it in an library BGL and start placing it with your favourite placement tool.
 Convert a SCASM macro into a 3DS object and import it into GMax
This howto explains how to import a SCASM macro object into GMax, so that you can manipulate the object. In this process the 3DS format will be used as an intermediate step. So let's get started.
Now you have your object in GMax, so you can manipulate it further. From GMax you can export to MDL like usual.
 Object readers
To be able to read the objects from the different format ModelConverterX makes use of different object readers. This section gives an overview of the available readers and their capabilities. This means that features that are not explicitly mentioned are not implemented at the moment.
 SCASM reader
The SCASM reader allows you to import objects from SCASM source files. This could be either API or SCM macros or a complete SCA source file directly. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
If the SCASM file contains multiple objects, they will be returned to you as a list of objects through which you can browse. So importing a whole SCASM library at once is also possible.
 FSX MDL reader
The FSX MDL reader allows you to import objects from the FSX MDL format. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 FS2004 MDL reader
The FS2004 MDL reader allows you to import objects from the FS2004 scenery and aircraft MDL format. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 FS2002 and earlier aircraft MDL reader
This reader allows you to read aircraft MDL files from FS2002 and ealier FS versions. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 BGLComp BGL reader
The BGLComp BGL reader allows you to import BGL files that have been compiled with BGLComp. The reader will extract any MDL file it finds from this BGL file and then use a MDL reader to read the object.
If there is placement information related to the MDL files this is also read. But at the moment only one instance of each model is supported. So if multiple instances are placed, only the first one is read. The airport related information is not read from the BGLComp BGL files.
 Pre-BGLComp BGL reader
This reader can read scenery objects from BGL files made for FS2002 and earlier. These BGL files are decompiled to SCASM files, so see the SCASM reader for the supported elements.
 X file reader
This reader can read the DirectX X file format. It supports both the standard X file format, as well as the FS specific extensions. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 FSDS FSC reader
The FSDS FSC MDL reader allows you to import objects from the FSC format. Objects from FSDS version 1 are currently not supported. The following features are supported:
 AC3D reader
The AC3D reader allows you to import objects from the AC format. This format is used in FlightGear for the 3D objects. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 X-Plane OBJ reader
The X-Plane OBJ reader allows you to import objects from the X-Plane OBJ format. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 Wavefront OBJ reader
The Wavefront OBJ reader allows you to import objects from the OBJ format. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 COLLADA DAE reader
The COLLADA DAE reader allows you to import objects from the COLLADA DAE format. The COLLADA format is often used as interchange format and for example supported by Sketchup. The following features of the object can be read:
 Google Earth KMZ reader
The Google Earth KMZ reader allows you to import object from the KMZ format. KMZ files are zipped files that contain a COLLADA DAE object file and the used textures. See the COLLADA DAE reader for details about the supported features.
 OpenFlight reader
The OpenFlight reader allows you to import objects from the FLT format. In the current version the following features of the object can be read:
 Object writers
To be able to write the objects to the different format ModelConverterX makes use of different object writers. This section gives an overview of the available writers and their capabilities/limitations.
 FSX X file writer
The FSX X file writer is able to generate a X file from an object. This X file can then be compiled with the XtoMDL tool from the SDK to get a MDL object to be used in Flight Simulator.
The current version of the X file writer is able to export the following functionality:
 FSX MDL file writer
The FSX MDL file writer is able to generate a MDL file for FSX directly. It makes use of the FSX X file writer, so please see its limitations as well. So in fact it is a wrapper that calls XtoMDL for you automatically. To do so you need to make sure you have set the XtoMDL path in the options.
 FS2004 MDL file writer
The FS2004 MDL file writer is able to generate a MDL file for FS2004 directly. It makes use of the FSX X file writer, so please see its limitations as well. So in fact it is a wrapper that calls MakeMDL for you automatically. To do so you need to make sure you have set the MakeMDL path in the options.
Please note this exporter uses the FSX X file for FS2004, this could lead to problems for some features, but in general it works fine.
 BGL writer
The BGL writer can write BGLComp BGL files for both FS2004 and FSX. These include the 3D objects as MDL files, so see the details on the FS2004 and FSX MDL writers to see which functionality is supported. Besides that also the placement information of the object is supported.
 3DS writer
The 3DS writer is able to generate a 3DS file from an object. 3DS files are quite common and can therefore be imported in many other programs, for example into GMax or 3DS Max. This does allow you to import your old objects and update them for FSX.
The current version of the 3DS writer is able to export the following functionality:
 AC3D writer
The AC3D writer is able to generate a AC file from an object. This format is used by FlightGear for the 3D objects. The current version of the AC3D writer is able to export the following functionality:
 OpenFlight writer
The OpenFlight writer is able to generate a OpenFlight (FLT) file from an object. OpenFlight files are the de facto standard in professional flight simulators.
The current version of the OpenFlight writer is able to export the following functionality:
 Wavefront OBJ writer
The Wavefront OBJ writer is able to generate a OBJ file from an object. OBJ files are supported by many 3D programs, so they can be used to exchange objects.
The current version of the OBJ writer is able to export the following functionality:
 Texture loaders
To display the textures of your object in the preview window, ModelConverterX contains loaders for different texture formats. At the moment the following formats are supported:
 Background information
This section provides some interesting background information that might be useful to you while using ModelConverterX.
 Video tutorials
I have made a few video tutorials about ModelConverterX.
There is also a YouTube channel where I try to post quick videos of ModelConverterX functions. Many of new functions from the development release that are not yet in the manual.
One of the reasons why you might want to convert your objects to the FSX MDL format is to gain more performance. There are several reasons why FSX MDL objects have a better performance than older objects:
Another benefit of using ModelConverterX is that it will merge all polygons that use the same material automatically, that why the amount of drawcalls used by your object is optimized for you. That alone is good for the performance already.
In some tests performed the results were quite surprising. By converting around 30 objects, used in a city, from API to FSX MDL file we were able to gain more than 10 frames. The improvement was bigger than expected. Of course one test is not full proof, but you will probably gain performance.
For the performance of an object in Flight Simulator the amount of drawcalls used by the object is an important factor. ModelConverterX has a tool to minimize the amount of drawcalls. But what is a drawcall?
Simply said a drawcall is a group of triangles that use the same material settings (colours and textures) when the graphical card draws your object. Every change in a material setting means that the graphics card has to set its state again and that is a relatively expensive operations for the performance.
So to optimize performance you can best make sure you have as little different materials as possible. Even one small parameter that is different in the material results in a new drawcall already. Another why to reduce them is to not use colours on your triangles, instead give a piece of unused texture that colour and map it on the triangle.
If you have any problems while using the program or if you have suggestions and other feedback to improve the tool, please let me know. Any report about a object or a texture not loading correctly will help me to improve the tool, so please be sure to report those.
The following persons or organisations deserve credit for helping me while creating this tool:
 User license
When using ModelConverterX you agree to the following user license:
I do hereby agree that I will only use ModelConverterX to convert objects I have created myself. I will not change the work of others, without their prior written permission. This does include any objects obtained by decompilation of BGL files.
(c) 2007-2012 SceneryDesign.org / Arno Gerretsen
This software program is distributed without charge to other scenery designers, redistribution of the original ZIP file is allowed. You are NOT allowed to sell this software program or ask money for its distribution. Object created with this software program can be used in commercial scenery projects if you wish.
The copyright and any intellectual property relating to this program remain the property of the author.
The software distributed in this way may represent work in progress, and bears no warranty, either expressed or implied.