Using ActiGate triggers in CAT

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Introduction

Arno has put together two seperate manuals for Actigate System and the Conditional Animation Tool (CAT). This tutorial is for those users that wish to create an animation that is controlled via the actigate system.

Previous requirements

Before attempting this tutorial, we strongly recommend reading the following manuals and also having knowledge listed below.

Creating a set of animations for your gates

This is the time consuming part! Before you start creating your animations you should understand *the frustration that lays ahead of you. For the Shannon gates I worked on, it took me over 1 week of constant work to get the animations for 10 different types of aircraft. The core reason for this is that you have to "guess" the final position for the head of the gate, export to Flight Simulator, then test.

Some key points that I learnt during this process:

  • It is MUCH easier if the ground marking position and gate positions are already confirmed. Create a static gate version of your model and place these first. Also, ensure that the model is the same distance from the line in each case.
  • If you need to move things later, move the line, not the gate... especially if you used the lofting method and GMAX for placing lines :)
  • You do not have to be perfect. If the gate is slightly off, go with it if it is near enough!
  • Effects attached to CAT adapted animations do NOT work.
  • It is easier to work with one stop point on the taxi line. However, you can, of course work with multiple stop points if you are willing to put in the extra time.

Exporting your Seperate animations

Once you are happy with your GMAX animations and have tested them with your aircraft in Flight Simulator, export the MDL file, keeping the ASM Source code.

If you export from GMAX, and only get a MDL file without the ASM Source code you will need to adjust the makemdl.cfg file. Put a new line in the file that says keep=1.

Put your exported files in a structured folder and make sure to backup NOW before continuing.

Compiling your animations using CAT for use with Actigate Module

  • Skip the first page after looking at the lovely picture of the Cat ;)
  • The next page is the animation condition section. I use a bounding box here for gates as I would like to see the gates move even when in spot view. Remember to set the rotation of the bounding box as well as the dimensions so that it works correctly.
  • Click the next button, and you are on the animation trigger page. For this page, I set the animation trigger to enabled, then a condition. Use 031Ah in the variable box and set the Min and Max values to 1
  • Click next, and set the secondary condition on enabled. Set the variable to **0318h** and then set the number of animations. This value should match the number of different gates you exported earlier in this tutorial.
  • On the next screen, select each of the ASM files that you exported earlier note, NOT the asm _0 files. Then set the conditions as per the actigate aircraft type list that scenerydesign.org provides. You can set the minimum and maximum to the same number, or a range of numbers. (For instance you may have one gate animation for ALL 737 models).
  • Set the output file to c:\pathofyourchoice\gates.asm (obviously set the path to where ever you want), and then click next.
  • At this point wait while CAT does its magic and builds the source code.
  • On the last screen, click the Compile MDL button to generate your MDL file.

You now can place your MDL file and have a controlled gate. Congratulations!