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Announcing two online video tutorials

arno

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After the online video tutorial about making a building in GMax, which I gave a couple of weeks ago, I would now like to announce two new video tutorials that we will be doing soon.

ModelConverterX - 2 January 2010 - 20:00 CET: In this tutorial I will explain how you can use ModelConverterX to convert an old API objects so that it can be used in FSX. I will also cover importing it into GMax so that you can further improve the object.

Performance - 8 January 2010 - 22:00 CET: In this tutorial I will talk about two performance related subjects. The first is drawcalls, which is an important factor for the performance of your objects. The second is the DXT compression, how it works and which influence it can have on the quality of your textures.

Hope to see many of you at the tutorials! And afterwards they will be made available to everyone on the Wiki of course.
 
Last edited:
Just a reminder that this Friday the tutorial about performance will be. The time has also been changed to 22:00 CET (21:00 UTC).
 
I bet this is the wrong place for this post but I did spend 20 minutes trying to find the right place without luck.

Firstly, thank you very much for the videos. They have made some things much clearer for me.

In the Performance tips, you mention "smooth shaded objects". What exactly does that mean? My first guess was a texture that is the same shape as the surface it is to cover.

The other thing was the LODs V Drawcall packing. You mentioned that GMax models use the LODs, so how do you change that for objects that will appear many times in a scene?

A video I'd like to see, and I have not yet checked out all on this site, is texturing in GMax with alpha channel, specularity, bump maps etc. I have a model where all my textures are mirrored and as soon as I add bump or spec, the whole texture stuffs up with no undo possible. :confused:

Thank you again and keep up the great work! ;)
 
Hi,

In the Performance tips, you mention "smooth shaded objects". What exactly does that mean? My first guess was a texture that is the same shape as the surface it is to cover.

The best way to explain this is to take a cylinder as example. Imagine you have an 8 sided cylinder. If each of the faces has a normal that is exactly perpendicular to that face, you will get hard edges between those faces. It looks like an octogon, not like a circle.

But if you make sure that the normals at the position where those faces meet are the same (so for the vertices of both faces), then in the final rendered image the cylinder will look like it is smooth and actually round (although it is only 8 sided).

That's what I mean with smooth shaded. I hope this makes it more clear.

The other thing was the LODs V Drawcall packing. You mentioned that GMax models use the LODs, so how do you change that for objects that will appear many times in a scene?

I don't think that can be done with GMax. GMax inserts an "empty" animation when exporting and this breaks the drawcall batching. What could be done is converting the object with my ModelConverterX tool, in a recent development release I added an option to choose how you want the MDL to be exported (with working LOD or for drawcall batching).

I think for people using 3DS Max the default is that the drawcall batching will work, but since I don't have 3DS Max I am not sure.

A video I'd like to see, and I have not yet checked out all on this site, is texturing in GMax with alpha channel, specularity, bump maps etc. I have a model where all my textures are mirrored and as soon as I add bump or spec, the whole texture stuffs up with no undo possible. :confused:

That might be an interesting subject indeed. I'll add it to the wishlist.
 
Hi Arno,
Thank you for this very interesting tuto.
As far as I understand, drawcall batching is kinda property of mdl. Does your ModelConverterX indicate wether a mdl is LOD or Drawcall tagged ?
If not, it would be interesting to know.
 
Hi Arno,

First of all I’d like to thank you for the excellent videos. It's been a great and value help to me.

I’m not very clear about the LODs system disabling the Draw Call Batching, could you explain it in more details? And how can we choose between those two technologies using 3D Studio Max 9?

Thank you.
 
Hi,

As far as I understand, drawcall batching is kinda property of mdl. Does your ModelConverterX indicate wether a mdl is LOD or Drawcall tagged ? If not, it would be interesting to know.

That's a good suggestion, no at the moment ModelConverterX can not show that kind of information. When you export an object you can determine using the options if the MDL will have working LODs or if the drawcalls will be batched.
 
Hi,

I’m not very clear about the LODs system disabling the Draw Call Batching, could you explain it in more details? And how can we choose between those two technologies using 3D Studio Max 9?

The trick is to compile your MDL file with an empty XANIM file, this will break the drawcall batching and enable the LODs again. GMax seems to be doing this always, but since the 3DS Max gamepack creates on the X file for you, it is something you would have to do manually when making the MDL file with XtoMDL.
 
Hi Arno,

The performance video is most interesting. The part which made me say oh no was the Batching and disabled LOD. I wondered why on many of my objects the LOD's had stopped working.

I have mapped a lot of models using only a few drawcalls 20 buildings with only 4 drawcalls all using the same texture sheets and settings. I assume this is why the LOD's don't work any more because all these building have been batched?.

Would this then be a case of what's best, those 20 buildings stuck at the highest LOD but using only 4 drawcalls, or changing material settings before exporting so the most detailed buildings amongst the 20 are removed from the batching process resulting in more drawcalls? Is that the best way to reactivate the LOD by changing a setting in the material editor?

Stevo ;)
 
Hi,

I have mapped a lot of models using only a few drawcalls 20 buildings with only 4 drawcalls all using the same texture sheets and settings. I assume this is why the LOD's don't work any more because all these building have been batched?

Which tool did you use to make them? If you used GMax they should have working LODs. But if you used 3DS Max they will not. But if they do not work, you will probably have the batching working indeed.

Would this then be a case of what's best, those 20 buildings stuck at the highest LOD but using only 4 drawcalls, or changing material settings before exporting so the most detailed buildings amongst the 20 are removed from the batching process resulting in more drawcalls? Is that the best way to reactivate the LOD by changing a setting in the material editor?

I guess for 20 buildings having the batching might give a better performance, although it also depends on the amount of polygons you are using. No, there is no way in the material editor to determine when you have batching or LODs.
 
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