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GMax and effects: blinking red lights?

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10
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unitedstates
Hi, am running FS2004 and I tried searching, found nothing. Thought I'd ask in a fresh topic...

I just created a GMax scenery object for FS2004, which will be used twice on a scenery package, one next to the other. These objects require a pulsing red navigation hazard light at their tops, approx. 140 feet AGL. I tried making a separate BGL which placed scenery object red lights atop them, but they made the original GMax objects vanish....once removed, the GMax objects returned.

Then, I tried one FS scenery designer's suggestion of inserting an effects script which placed an fx_navred on the tops...but I get zero lights, regardless of how high or how offset I placed them. I don't use scenery placement software, just making XMLs which use stock & add-on scenery objects, converting them to BGLs and inserting into the Addon Scenery/Scenery folder. Would you have any thoughts and advice? I'd appreciate it. I just want this dadburned thing to work. Thanks!
 
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1,001
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us-florida
You can use MCX to attach the effect to any location on the model that you want. Load your model into MCX, click on the attached object editor, click on add, and from the drop down pick effect. Then enter the name of the effect and other data. The location on the model is referenced from it's 0,0,0 point. I stepped myself through it on a terminal building to add some lights on the exterior.
 
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unitedstates
Thanks, Ed! It looks intriguing, but I Googled MCX and came up dry. Maybe I'm looking the wrong way, could you give me a brief education and a link, perhaps? I'd greatly appreciate it, and thanks! --Rob
 
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unitedstates
Okay, finally found it: Model Converter X. Downloaded Version 1.3, reputed to be the latest, tried running the install.exe...says it needed to shut down, and "really sorry for the experience". Multiple times. So...useless there.
 
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us-florida
I use the development version which has more features. Also don't be put off by the installer not working correctly. Download the development version from https://www.scenerydesign.org/development-releases/. Install manually wherever you want. This is what I used to add lights to my terminal building.

kgswterm.jpg
 
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unitedstates
Okay, I got it. I had no clue I had to extract everything to a new folder on Desktop, I'm so used to running .exes out of zipped folders, got spoiled with it, I guess. So, I extracted all to Desktop, ran installation...we got it now. I'll get right on it, thank you!
 
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unitedstates
So, my object's .mdl is loaded into MCX, I should give you a background on it: I developed it with GMax, trying to economize on triangles while making it look rather realistic from a distance and using the smoothing feature...and then gave it color. It looks good. However, I didn't harden any surfaces and I don't know if that makes a difference in whether the light attaches/shows on the object or not. I'm familiar with the XYZ principle of FS objects as well...just not sure if the XYZ coordinates for the Attached Object Editor works in feet or metres, as the object was designed in metres, since XMLs and BGLs deal in metres.

Also, when MCX is open, the object loaded and light effect attached, is it possible to see an operating, attached light which one puts on the object in MCX, as a preview? Or do I have to verify the effect's effect (LOL, I said it) by saving the MDL, placing it in FS2004, opening up FS2004 and flying to the object? I'd like to see my work, how it ended up and if it's functional.

I know this is me being tedious and that you all have lives, too, and I apologize, but I've only got beginner's experience in scenery object creation. I know how to convert XMLs into BGLs and place them, as the object I made does show up in FS2004.
 
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3,278
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spain
MCX have a button to make the efects show in the screen. you will see how usefull is MCX for Fs development. coordinates are in meters not sure if it have an option to change the system, could be. take a look to the "export import options" MCX can make "hard Surfaces" too, make tha task easy and fast. you will see MCX have many features. as well you can use MCX just to check the .Mdl objects.
 
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unitedstates
Thank you very much! I can try and find the preview function, sure enough. And I'm glad it's all in metres; I'm more of an inch-foot guy, but I do respect FS' metric parameters in regard to scenery and BGLs. Looking forward to learning more about this, I haven't been this motivated since Opa was tutoring me in all things FS design. Thank you again, I greatly appreciate this!
 
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us-florida
To answer your question no you do not have to attach an effect to a hardened surface. One of the other things that you can do in MCX is create an object bgl that includes placement code. Just put the bgl into an active scenery folder.
 
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us-virginia
I use gMax with the FSX plugin so it may be different.

When I want a hazard light in an object. Either I use one of the obstruction light effects, or the fx_navred, then place it using the attachment menu, or if I want a more specific light, I make it from scratch—texture in a paint program and flashing light in the SDK effects tool.

Once I have the effect I want, I insert it into the gMax model with the attachment menu in the FSX menus. You need to attached it to a mesh object…I normally use a small plane. But the mesh object never appears…just the effect.

Getting it to appear just at night, dawn and dusk takes a bit more work, but a standard 24 hr obstruction light is no problem.

Is the 2004 gMax plugin different?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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unitedstates
So, here it is...

I imported the model into MCX, added the light as directed with correct color, flash parameters and the correct height; the light shows on the model in MCX, no problem. I then exported the object onto the Desktop and got two files:

SONGS_Tower.mdl
fx_lightFF0000_2.fx

I put those two into SoCal Kit folder's Scenery folder, along with:

SONGS_Exclude.BGL -- excluded a few buildings on the site.
SONGS_Tower.BGL -- puts two towers next to each other at the site.

Then, I put SoCal Kit into the FS9 Addon Scenery folder, started FS2004, activated the Scenery, exited as prompted, restarted, loaded up Oceanside Airport at night, took off, flew to the two towers...they're there, but no light effects at all. So, I wonder: the red light's .fx file....do I have to incorporate that into the towers' BGL file via XML and run back through BGLCOMP or...? It all shows up on MCX just fine...but not in FS2004.
 
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unitedstates
Awesome, thank you! Should the effect be mentioned in the MCX-generated XML or BGL for the object placement, too? I did all the work, exported an XML and didn't see a mention of the effect in there.
 
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spain
though a Little technical for me, I think that data is embeded in the .mdl object. I always use the SDK OPT (object placement tool) to place objects in the scenery. you see what you get in real time. though a Little buggy and hard finding the objects in his endless Guid .mdl objects list, knowing some tricks it make his work.
 
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1,001
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us-florida
The attachment of the effect on the model becomes part of the model data. The placement xml only needs to place the model. As Tejal says put the effect file into your FS9/Effects folder in order to see the effect in the simulator.
 
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unitedstates
Well, I got it going. Problem is, I get on up to the objects and the lights are there...but amazingly dim. Was hoping for something brighter. You have to be within 1/8 of a mile to see the lights, and by that time it's too late to avoid the obstacle.

But all's not lost...I learned I can use the light (and others) in other places and how to place them, so thank you again, very much!

EDIT: I was able to locate a generic pole tower .mdl file with beacons, compiled them into two locations in an XML, converted to BGL and installed. That did it. I learned two things tonight, so thanks again!

I might as well tell you what these are: in San Onofre, CA between I-5 and the ocean is the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), now decommissioned. Much of the station is gone, except the towers, which look like two BIG, beige boobs with nipples and red lights on top. I kid you not on this, I was awestruck while driving by to Oceanside last year, figured I had to make 'em up in GMax...so I did. I economized on triangles and still kept a good, smooth look. Anyway, project complete!
 
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