FSX FSDS vs Blender

#1
Hi folks,
I've just returned to development after 5 years off and was a FSDS user previously for AI aircraft and scenery models. I'm now into FSX and P3D but have run into a few snags with FSX development of AI aircraft in that the animation sequence seems to need a part with the axis set at zero to anchor the animations for flaps and gear, etc. Of course most of you would know that on here. I have spend a the past week fiddling with a single flap animation on a B350 which in FS2004 would be very simple animation, but I seem to be fighting all the way with getting this flap to align tightly as it should in real life in this aircraft model. Another thing that I have found is that the animation is in reverse when displayed in FSX. The flaps are in a downward position when they should be in a retracted position. The keyframe is the basic 0. to 100. l_flap_key.
I'm wondering whether this is a FSDS issue causing the problem which would make further, more difficult animations a nightmare if not near impossible to add.
In saying that, would I be better off dumping FSDS and learning to use Blender to develop AI aircraft and animated model for FSX and P3D?
It took me a while to learn FSDS so i was after a some feedback from people who are not overly savvy with drawing programs, and how they got on with changing.
regards,
Sophie
 
#2
Hello Sophie, Are You using FSDS 3.5, If Not I found that Using This Latest Version to Be VERY User Friendly for Exporting FSX Models, and there are Tons of Tutorials to Help Out ! You may want to consider an Upgrade ! Good Luck - Johnman
 
#3
FSDS is the culprit, unfortunately. It is not being updated any longer (AFAIK). Try using MCX for conversion to FSX style animations, although Arno is also still struggling with the flaps, spoiler, etc, stuff.
 

hairyspin

Resource contributor
#5
If you are prepared to learn Blender then go for it – it's much more capable than FSDS and the toolsets for exporting to FSX and P3D work. I can't help any more than that since I use 3ds Max but as Roby says, development and support for FSDS vanished some time ago.
 

=rk=

Resource contributor
#6
Hi folks,
I've just returned to development after 5 years off and was a FSDS user previously for AI aircraft and scenery models. I'm now into FSX and P3D but have run into a few snags with FSX development of AI aircraft in that the animation sequence seems to need a part with the axis set at zero to anchor the animations for flaps and gear, etc. Of course most of you would know that on here.
Thank you for your post and please allow me to interpret a few things that I hope will makes things understandable.
This "zero axis anchor" is not needed for renderable animations. As near as I can tell, it was created for understanding, because it is similar to the bones and parenting structure of things like flaps, landing gear and animated human models. I can attest that it is not needed in FSX nor P3D models, nor it is even present in some otherwise adequately working FS2004 models. The zero axis anchor is actually the coordinate center of any model component.
To give an example, I model an airplane in Sketchup and animate it in FSDS. I separate the rudder from the fuselage and export that as a distinct part. From MCX, I export the rudder to .fsc and animate it in FSDS, save it .fsc format and then use MCX join tool to combine the parts. The animation works perfectly. The same procedure can be performed for propeller, gear, etc.

In short, the "part with the axis set at zero" is not a requirement of FSDS or even FS2004, it is simply part of a common design flow.
 
#7
Thank you all for your comments, they are all interesting and helpful after my 5 years away from FSDS.

I am using FSDS 3.5.1 but the upgrade version from 3.0

With regard to =rk=, I'm not sure I have a full understanding of your explanation with regard to XYZ axis in animated parts using FSDS. Taking a simple flap animation for example, I merely cut the flap from the wing and attempt to animate the flap part 0-100 keyframe, however, if I don't make a copy/paste hierarchy part to anchor too, the animation separates from the wing in the simulator. I hope that makes sense.
I have tried many ways to have the flap animation work without that anchor part but so far all it has done is separate from the wing. it makes no difference if the XYZ are at zero or not.
I haven't played much with Arno's MCX as yet, so I have no real understanding how that operates for converting aircraft. I hope somebody has made a video to help speed that up, nothing like being shown first hand☺☺☺
 
#8
Hello Sophie, Using Helpers or Dummies is the way to go !! Make sure You Texture First, then Heirachy, and then Animate ! - Johnman
 
#9
Hello Sophie, Using Helpers or Dummies is the way to go !! Make sure You Texture First, then Heirachy, and then Animate ! - Johnman
It's not liking me at all. Johnman. I have the heirachy bit but it goes out of rotation in the sim. I don't know how to use MCX to realign the part and animation, if that can be done ?
I might need some body to give me a hands on example to examine so i can get my head around it.
2.PNG
FSDS.PNG
 
#11
From the dustier recesses of SOH, an FSDS tutorial series. It’s incomplete due to image hosts disappearing but animations are mentioned on this page:-

http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforums/showthread.php/76987-The-FSDS-2-24-and-3-5-Tutorial/page4
Hairyspin, I think you're getting my issue mixed up. I know how to do complex animations in FS2004 but not in FSX. I am not trying to convert a aircraft, I am attempting to making a native FSX aircraft via the XtoMDL compiler. The issue I am having is with the hierarchy part (I think), as the part I am trying to animate (a flap) goes up and down but is out of rotation angle sequence, even though both the hierarchy part and the Flap part are both at =0 XYZ axis in FSDS3.5.1 at the start of the animation =0 keyframe.
 

=rk=

Resource contributor
#12
Ok, here is a post describing in detail the procedure for converting prop animations. It is not exactly what you need, but it is very descriptive and goes into great detail about the differences between FSX and FS2004.
https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/fs2004-aircraft-propeller-states.439521/post-792115

Below is a procedure for creating a flagpole with modelling software and then animating it in FSDS. You should be able to adapt this to aircraft animations. Here is a picture of our flag in Sketchup:



We will export the pole and flag separately as Collada (.dae). Then, in MCX, we export the flag to .fsc.



We set the object properties. The only time we assign a parent node is when our model part is directly linked to the parent, as in the case of Fowler Flaps, or wheels on retractable struts.



To make these kinds of animations work, the rotational axis has to be manually assigned. In this image, the "Y" axis is being shifted from the geometric center of the model, to the edge that contacts the flagpole:



Now a simple 100 frame animation is drawn; keys every 25 frames with 10 to 25 degree plus or minus rotations on the Y axis. A few additional deflections on the X axis adds to the realism, imo. Once that is complete, the model can be saved, I always add an "A" to the save to distinguish it from the original. Back to MCX, import the naked flagpole, select the Object Merge tool, navigate to your animated flag



click merge and voila:



Success.
 

hairyspin

Resource contributor
#13
I think I am indeed, sorry Sophie! There’s some vague memory of something called FSDSTweak which people used for FSX models, but I know even less about FSDS than Blender. Try asking Anthony31 in a PM, he’s the best FSDS modeller I know of.
 
#14
Thank you =rk=, that was a good example and I'm sure I will take a somethings away from that.
I was lucky enough to have have WeeScotty walk me through the flap animation process and a working part .fsc to study first hand, so a big thank you to Kevin.
You guy's have been wonderful helping me through this process.
I now have the twin turbo props animated and working fine.
The next thing is a biggie for me, getting the landing gear animated.
I've used the c_gear tag on the struts so far (in a downward position to test the animation) and found my gear are operating in reverse.
I think I'm in for some fun and games on this one if I have to work on the gear animation from within the wheel bay to have the sequence correct,
 
#15
I think I am indeed, sorry Sophie! There’s some vague memory of something called FSDSTweak which people used for FSX models, but I know even less about FSDS than Blender. Try asking Anthony31 in a PM, he’s the best FSDS modeller I know of.
Haryspin, it was Anthony31 who got me into modeling a decade ago. We worked together on Voz projects, such as YBBN. He went right out of his way to write me a step by step manual on how to make static models. He later helped me with my FS2004 AI modeling which I did via MAIW. My long break from modeling is what has me buggered I'm afraid. Its been half a decade gone and since then I haven't touched a modeling program or even looked at a flight sim. ☺
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
#16
The next thing is a biggie for me, getting the landing gear animated.
I've used the c_gear tag on the struts so far (in a downward position to test the animation) and found my gear are operating in reverse.
frame 0 = gear retracted
frame 100 = gear extended
frame 101-200 = gear compression
 
#17
Hello Sophie, I see that Your animation works fine in FSDS 3.5, but somehow gets Mangled when exported to FSX . Have You tried Helpers ( Dummies ) ? These are like a small box between the wing and the flap, whose axis is aligned with the axis of the flap and is childed to the wing . the flap is then childed to the Helper and the helper acts like a hinge for the flap . There should be info on helpers or Dummies in the Tutorials for FSDS . this is the only way I Animate My control surfaces, and it works great in FSDS and Gmax . I'll see if I can find any Info on My Hard drive that I can Help You with . - Johnman
 

=rk=

Resource contributor
#20
I've used the c_gear tag on the struts so far (in a downward position to test the animation) and found my gear are operating in reverse.
The easiest way I've found to reverse animations is by hacking the xanim file. It opens in Notepad and you can see all the quaternaries are neatly grouped under the associated animation tag. It is usually very easy to see the pattern and sometimes all you have to do, like in the case of a rudder animation, is switch the pluses and minuses. It is certainly conducive to trial and error because a quick compile let's you peruse the result in MCX. Quick warning however, MCX is good, great even, but only useful for perusing animations, all changes should be confirmed in the simulator. I know that tire rotations are improperly rendered in MCX. It's difficult to tell with the "tire_blurred" animation running, but if it matters, confirm in sim.
This is because, I think, Arno had to reverse engineer the render engine. It is also noticeable in the difference between renders of effects using FXTool and alternatively FXEditor.
 
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