P3D v4 Importing Files into Gmax

#1
Hi,
I want to get a better understanding about importing flight simulator files, such as models and textures, into Gmax. I've noticed after clicking on the Import button and a window pops up, there are 5 files types, I guess you call it, to choose from:

3D Studio Mesh (*.3Ds, * .PRJ)
AutoCAD (*.DXF)
3D Studio Shape (*.SHP)
All Formats
All Files (*.*)

If I have a model that I want to edit, would l need to use one of these selections? I've tried to import a model, or mdl, into Gmax and a message says that it's not the correct format, or something like that. Now, it's my understanding that I need to decompile the model to an .obj. I guess this means that I would use MCX to import the mdl, and export it as .obj, then import it into Gmax. Is that correct? Or do I need to import the mdl and export as 3DS format using MCX and then import it into Gmax? I figured since it had the option to select either All Formats or All Files, it would except them, but it doesn't in some cases. What type of file would be considered as 3D Studio Mesh? I'm thinking it's something created in 3D Studio Max, but does that include Gmax? Also, what's 3D Studio Shape? I do remember seeing the extension .SHP several times. Do I import the textures the same way and use the Material Editor or Navigator to edit them?

Ken.
 
#2
Hello!

Directly asking your question:
a) 3d studio is a format which 3ds max can export meshes. I can't recall exactly which ones, but there are other 3d design tools with that feature as well.
b) Gmax can't handle *.obj meshes directly, a plug in is required to do so (this is a different story...).
c) I assume you can work your way in MCX exporting as 3d studio format. Is that ok? NO: You mustn't handle models unless you have the original developer permission. If you are lucky, he or she will provide the source files. If you want to create your own models in a 3d design software, look here in forums.

If Autodesk 3DS Max is your 3d design software and for some reason you need your model in Gmax :
Yes, you need to choose 3ds Studio format. I will explain exactly what you need to do:

Step 1: Basic workflow between 3DS max and Gmax
  • This is the first stage: design everything in 3ds max and do all texture mapping as you model. This is the first and one of the most time-consuming part of the project.
  • For each material used, make sure you don’t exceed the 65,000 polygon limit.

Step 2: Exporting from 3DS max to Gmax

3DS Max stage:

  • The model parts will be exported as *.3ds format (3D Studio) in chunks or “systems”. For example, the fuselage, the virtual cockpit, main and tail rotors, etc. Make sure that each export doesn't exceed the 65,000 polygon limit. Also, all parts must be Xformed and all stacks must be collapsed; in other words, convert each part to an editable poly after resetting its transformations (using Xform from the utilities menu, not the Xform modifier). Forming groups at this stage is not recommended.
  • Ok, that being said, it’s time to export things. To do it, select the parts corresponding to the chunk or “system” wich will be exported; then from the Autodesk menu (left upper corner) select the “Export” label and then “Export Selected”.
  • With all “systems” now in 3D Studio format. It is time to relocate the files.
  • Copy all files in a folder suitable named for the task. For example, D:\gmax\gamepacks\fs2004_ULE\Export X files.
Step 3: Importing from 3DS max to Gmax
This part, is important. In Gmax, import each chunk accordingly and name the scene in a suitable way following the next steps:
  • In Gmax, go to the File menu, in the rollout menu select Import.
  • A dialog window should be available now. Browse for the file in 3D Studio format to be imported and choose Open.
  • A new dialog window pops up, mark the option Completly replace current scene and uncheck Convert Units.
  • Once the scene has been updated, go to the Customize menu and select Units Setup. Once there, make sure to choose the same units used to design your model in 3ds Max. In my case, it will done by marking Metric and also, from the rollout window below Meters. This would save you a lot of headaches. Failing to these, may cause that some parts (if not all) would be out of scale when shown in the simulator.
  • In each scene, all parts are editable meshes due the way 3ds max export it. So, each part must be treated as follows: Select a piece, part or element, weld all unwanted vertices created in the exporting process (with a threshold of 0.001m) and finally, convert the item to an editable poly. Unfortunately, this must be done for every single part. TIP: Select one piece and perform all that has been said above and when it’s done, hide the part. In this way, you will not waste time doing the same process twice or more.
  • Fix the model parts and rename each with a suitable suffix prefix_XX. Where prefix will be an accepted name format and XX a unique number part. In case of animations, must be a part name (See P3D SDK for more details). Failing to these, the export process would have problems and/or interruptions; all due duplicated names.
  • Save the current scene with a suitable name.
In short, the workflow goes like this:
  • (3DS Max): modeling, texture mapping, rendering, saving chunks of parts, systems or even single elements as *.3ds file format.
  • (Gmax) Import each *.3ds file into a current scene, fix unwanted vértices, create and apply materials, animate, export to fs.
I do not import the entire model into Gmax at one time. I do it in chunks. As I finish a part in 3dsMax, I will save it as a .3ds file then import into Gmax. Saves me a lot of headaches doing it this way.

I hope this would be helpful,
Sergio.
 
Last edited:

hairyspin

Resource contributor
#3
Um. A flightsim .MDL is the result of compiling a Gmax (or Blender, or 3ds Max, or FSDS) file. It's not an equivalent of the original source file, so any decompiling using ModelConverterX will not give you an exact equivalent of the original source: the mesh is the same, but it's organised differently.

The formats you list as Gmax import options are old old old. Really old. The only one worth any time is .3ds and it's nearly as grizzled or whiskery as me. You've still got a lot of work to do once a model is imported into Gmax. Good luck!
 
#5
="antaris, post: 798360, member: 3897"

Hello!

Directly asking your question:
a) 3d studio is a format which 3ds max can export meshes.
Hi Sergio,
Thanks for explaining these things to help with my understanding with Gmax I know Gmax uses the word "mesh" quite a bit so correct me if I'm wrong but does mesh mean the same thing as a face.


b) Gmax can't handle *.obj meshes directly, a plug in is required to do so (this is a different story...).
Okay, I guess that's different from when you're modeling in Gmax and you right click and select Convert to Editable Mesh.


I do not import the entire model into Gmax at one time. I do it in chunks. As I finish a part in 3dsMax, I will save it as a .3ds file then import into Gmax. Saves me a lot of headaches doing it this way.
You must have 3DSMax. I don't have 3DSMax because it's just too expensive. It was something like $1500.00 a year and higher. I use Gmax or Sketchup. I don't understand why it's that expensive or why you can't own it. It doesn't appear that you can own the product but you have to pay a yearly subscription, or whatever you call it, and it seems like that's what everyone is going to. You cannot even own Photoshop anymore.

Ken.
 
#6
="hairyspin, post: 798361, member: 8677"
It's not an equivalent of the original source file, so any decompiling using ModelConverterX will not give you an exact equivalent of the original source: the mesh is the same, but it's organised differently.
That was just one of the questions I wondered about. Thanks for bringing that up. Now I know. So, any decompiling I do in MCX will not be the same as the original source file.

Ken.
 
#7
Thanks for explaining these things to help with my understanding with Gmax I know Gmax uses the word "mesh" quite a bit so correct me if I'm wrong but does mesh mean the same thing as a face.
Hi Ken

Well... please let me put it in more "than a few" words:

a) The most simple geometric entity is a dot; in the 3d design software jargon is known as a "vertex".
b) With two vertices joined together by a line, we have an "edge".
c) With three vertices and 3 edges, we have a "triangle"; which is the most simple "polygon".
d) Any 4 sided "polygon", is also known as a "quad".
e) Polygons with more than 4 edges, are known as "n-gons"; you should avoid those in your models. "Triangles" and "quads" are the standard to use.
f) A mesh, is any form, part or piece of any model made with one or more "triangles" or "quads".
g) You can consider as a "face" to any visible part of a mesh. This term for me, it is not necesary; that's because you don't need more things to remember.
What you need to consider, is that any of the last entities (starting from a polygon), can have one visible side or two visible sides! That's when you "need"
the concept of "face". Face = visible part of a mesh (more or less... you have the idea, right?).

Simple mesh.jpg


For example, in the image above, you are seeing only one face of the mesh... the other side is not visible. In Gmax or 3ds Max (and I bet in any 3d software), you have the posibility to choose if you want the other side to be visible.

Sergio.
 
#8
You must have 3DSMax. I don't have 3DSMax because it's just too expensive. It was something like $1500.00 a year and higher. I use Gmax or Sketchup. I don't understand why it's that expensive or why you can't own it. It doesn't appear that you can own the product but you have to pay a yearly subscription, or whatever you call it, and it seems like that's what everyone is going to. You cannot even own Photoshop anymore.
I was lucky to buy it in 2010. In those lovely golden years, any user had one lifetime licence. Personally, i don't like the concept for "rented software licences at a stupidly high price" policy by many software companies. It wasn't cheap either...
 
#9
I was lucky to buy it in 2010. In those lovely golden years, any user had one lifetime licence. Personally, i don't like the concept for "rented software licences at a stupidly high price" policy by many software companies. It wasn't cheap either...

That's exactly how I feel.
 
Last edited:

tgibson

Resource contributor
#10
The main thing you will be missing in a 3DS import into GMAX is that there will be no animations - they will all have to be re-created. For scenery this isn't a big problem, but it is for aircraft.
 
#11
The main thing you will be missing in a 3DS import into GMAX is that there will be no animations - they will all have to be re-created. For scenery this isn't a big problem, but it is for aircraft.
Hi Tom,
Yes, I agree with you on that. I'm not sure if 3DSMax has other features that are not in Gamx or not, but the animation was one of them. I guess Gmax probably does everything that 3DSMax does.

Ken.
 
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