Open Source 3D Modelling Tool for FSX/P3D

hairyspin

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Oh, and I did not mention that we also figured out a way to have damage and destruction modelling on FSX models as well within the current framework of MDL models. This is something that can be done within this modeling tool, although it is not documented anywhere as it was part of our secret sauce. :D
You have no idea how much that interests me, although I am no code grinder. :cool: I believe there's a real interest in Combat FSX out there, so anything to push that along is very welcome. :)
 

arno

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Oh, yes, as arno mentioned - fs2004 mdl export possibility would be nice, with or without ASM intermediate (or integrated asmtweak ability, but I think that would be beyond your scope - maybe for someone talented to add later)
It's not that hard. In MCX I run almost the same X file through XtoMDL and MakeMDL. There are only some small changes when it comes to animations, etc.
 

arno

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No, it doesn't mean that. The X file is the input to XtoMDL and MakeMDL. Based on the X file MakeMDL makes the ASM files as an intermediate format. Those can be tweaked.
 

Heretic

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Flightgear can use AC3D, which is already a supported import/export format in this software.
Ooooooooooh! Good, good!



Would people be more interested in say a $20 software product and a crowdfunding campaign gave licenses of the software in return for $10 contributions? Thoughts?
I prefer a FOSS approach.
If major development is needed, you could do a kickstarter to fuel it, but for getting people interested in something, free is always better (for a start).
 
Ooooooooooh! Good, good!





I prefer a FOSS approach.
If major development is needed, you could do a kickstarter to fuel it, but for getting people interested in something, free is always better (for a start).
Well, the issue is that it will cost money initially to get it into a FOSS state. It won't just happen. People always want free, but the question is, are people willing to pay for it. :eek:
 

arno

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Hi John,

Which activities that cost money do you foresee initially before the software can be available then?
 
JNicol: Why don't you simply ask the developers here to have a look at the code, ask them to integrate FSX materials (as in FSDS tweak, say), and see whether it's feasible to open a door into texture baking. As far as I am concerned these are essentials.

As soon as money is involved in any form or shape it all gets horribly complicated.
 
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Hi John,

Which activities that cost money do you foresee initially before the software can be available then?
Please read my initial post. I will pay a developer to rebrand, remove the licensing and prepare it for SourceForge and subversion tracking. These aren't trivial tasks as this was commercial software with licensing options built in. I have already been down the track of asking for volunteers on this specific task through personal contacts and for other open source initiatives. I started this five months ago and have been getting the run-around from people that are interested, but have no motivation to take the task on when they are also trying to put food on the table. Delay after delay. It doesn't work and it doesn't necessarily attract the people with the right skillset, so I would rather do it properly at the start. By paying a developer to get this prepared and ready for open source, I can get it done. If people are not interested in the software, then it becomes a moot point anyway, so that is why I am reaching out on this forum to see if there is potential interest.

It would be fantastic to see it live and breath rather than sit on a shelf.
 
JNicol: Why don't you simply ask the developers here to have a look at the code, ask them to integrate FSX materials (as in FSDS tweak, say), and see whether it's feasible to open a door into texture baking. As far as I am concerned these are essentials.

As soon as money is involved in any form or shape it all gets horribly complicated.
Please see my answer to Arno. Of course I have asked developers and people are interested, but not motivated. As with most things, it takes a community willing to do something to make it happen. After over 20 years of managing engineering teams and also being involved in open source initiatives I can say with certainty that this will not happen unless there are saintly developer volunteers that want to take this on, or I pay someone to get it started.

Everyone will have their 'essential' list, but it would be a shame for the project not to get off the ground because of a perceived show-stopper that can be added later and yes, new materials and features can be added later, but only if the open source community has developers that can actually do the job. Like any open source initiative, the application is only as good as the developers that add to the code.

IMHO I don't think money makes it complicated at all, I believe that it would actually allow the right developers with the right skill set to be applied to the task. This could be right at the start of the project with a crowdfunding initiative, or through some form of sponsorship, I don't quite know the answer. If anyone else has ideas on how to get the work done, or if you are, or know of an experienced developer that would like to do the work, then that would be great!! :)
 

Heretic

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Since this "FOSS"ifying it is a one-time thing, I say that crowdfunding is the best approach.

As a special "thank you", you could put the names of all contributors into the tool's splash or "about" screen.

How much do you have in mind for a financial goal?
 
If anyone else has ideas on how to get the work done, or if you are, or know of an experienced developer that would like to do the work, then that would be great!!
I'd say they are here, and you are already talking to them...
 
Oh, and I did not mention that we also figured out a way to have damage and destruction modelling on FSX models as well within the current framework of MDL models. This is something that can be done within this modeling tool, although it is not documented anywhere as it was part of our secret sauce. :D
I am extremely interested in this!!!!
 
I want to help, but still unsure what you need to accomplish this feat.

I see a lot of reference to 'we may' or 'we could' but not a 'we need'.

We want to see this move, what do you need for kinetics on this project?
 
True, the exporter problems are not related to xtomdl. I only believe some people wanted a 64 bit version of xtomdl because they run out of memory. But with modelconverterx I haven't had much trouble with xtomdl either, as long as I debug my x files correctly :)

Direct mdl export would be interesting if fs2004 was also supported, because then we directly export with features that makemdl does not support and require tweaking.
Arno, just to clarify I did develop a drop-in replacement for XToMDL that takes care of the known limitations: http://isometrictechnologies.com/sean/XToMDL.html

Agreed, though, that the majority of the problems are with the actual .dle exporters in Max. Many have been documented in the P3D forums.

Yes, it uses xtomdl. Any reverse engineering of the mdl format was not going to be condoned by Microsoft at all and yes I asked. We had an MDL import function working and we had our hands slapped. What are the current limitations of xtomdl that you would like to see fixed? If there are real issues, I can send a note to Lockheed to see if we can get these onto the rather large list of things to get done.....
I have thought about, and have been asked by many if I would release my version of XToMdl as open source. This is precisely why I haven't: I have been told that Microsoft (at the time) wouldn't have been very nice about it if I did. Believe it or not, they checked this forum more often then you guys realized!

As it stands, I have been developing a set of modeling tools for FS for some years now. You might have seen the thread in the showroom. What I have developed so far is some degree of interchange between the mdl format and others directly. Due to the direct MDL support (the project started as a simple MDL viewer), it supports all of the advanced features of the MDL in it's entirety. Where I started stumbling, though, was when I tried to start integrating more CAD-like features, which was my real goal. So if we could find a way of marrying a good CAD/Modeling tool with native support for FS features, we would have a gem of a program.

So what is Microsoft's position towards this now that Lockheed owns the IP? Has it changed? What about LM, do they care? From my experiences it seems that LM has been friendly towards the developer community, but I don't know their stance on issues such as reverse engineering. Regardless, I am already guilty of the crime. I have reverse engineered the format and can produce it. Nothing has really changed as of P3D1.4 other than the addition of one unused section, so it's till basically Microsoft's format. So now that that's over with, do they care if the community were to use that format directly? I would LOVE to see more direct FS features integrated into a modeling program other than Max.

John, regardless of whatever the outcome is I would love to be a part of this project in whatever way I can. I truly think FOSS is the way to go for this. Hopefully the community will decide to financially support it.
 
I want to help, but still unsure what you need to accomplish this feat.

I see a lot of reference to 'we may' or 'we could' but not a 'we need'.

We want to see this move, what do you need for kinetics on this project?
The work that needs to get done is C/C++ work to get rid of licensing code, rebrand and get it into a repository. I have indicated that I want to pay for a programmer to get these tasks achieved and I am looking to see if we might look at crowd funding to get it done. I have approached people in the past few months and there have been a couple of volunteers, but nothing has been done or started due to lack of time on their part. I think that it is probably only 4-5 weeks of work to get it into an initial FOSS state. However it is a long piece of string to get it to something that a community could contribute to and that the community can manage. That is a bit more indeterminate.

There has been excellent feedback so far on the forum and of course some really good questions on features and perceived wants. I am not sure that the question has been asked on the 'need' specifically yet, but it should be asked. It is appropriate for any application. So, what is the need? Are the existing tools and tool chain processes adequate? Are they the right price? Are they supported? etc etc.

I was my intention after the initial post to get an evaluation copy of the software out to a couple of key people in the FSDeveloper community to look at it objectively and compare it to the offerings that are out there now and see if it will actually be something that can and should be taken on board. Play with it, get to know it and pick it apart. If it doesn't do the job, then absolutely no problem.

Any thoughts people?
 
So what is Microsoft's position towards this now that Lockheed owns the IP? Has it changed? What about LM, do they care? From my experiences it seems that LM has been friendly towards the developer community, but I don't know their stance on issues such as reverse engineering. Regardless, I am already guilty of the crime. I have reverse engineered the format and can produce it. Nothing has really changed as of P3D1.4 other than the addition of one unused section, so it's till basically Microsoft's format. So now that that's over with, do they care if the community were to use that format directly? I would LOVE to see more direct FS features integrated into a modeling program other than Max.

John, regardless of whatever the outcome is I would love to be a part of this project in whatever way I can. I truly think FOSS is the way to go for this. Hopefully the community will decide to financially support it.
I am really unable to comment as I am still under agreements with MS and LM and yes, they both look at forums and I would like to say hi now to all of my former colleagues :)

It is public record that MS still own the IP to FSX and LM licence the source code to ESP from Microsoft.

"ORLANDO, Fla. — Nov. 30, 2009 — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Microsoft Corp. entered into an intellectual property (IP) licensing agreement that allows Lockheed Martin to further develop the Microsoft ESP PC-based visual simulation software platform to better train warfighters for battle."

PM me.

John
 

arno

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Hi John,

I was my intention after the initial post to get an evaluation copy of the software out to a couple of key people in the FSDeveloper community to look at it objectively and compare it to the offerings that are out there now and see if it will actually be something that can and should be taken on board. Play with it, get to know it and pick it apart. If it doesn't do the job, then absolutely no problem.

Any thoughts people?
That sounds like a good idea to me. Based on the features you described I would say this tool has some improvements over current tools, by making the workflow easier.

But I am not sure many people will pay some money only based on that. It would be good if some people could also evaluate the current state of the software and then comment on it.

The final aim you describe, having a free tool that is tailored for FSX/P3D is very interesting of course. As now you often see that the modelling tool and the sim capabilities don't always match well.

But in the end it is always about ease of use. Many features does not always mean easier to use. For example, at my work we use the Creator tool to edit OpenFlight models. For editing, adjusting the hierarchy, etc it works great. But if I have to make a model from scratch, I think I can do it quicker and easier in SketchUp or GMax.
 
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