Posts from May 2012.

Instant Object Studio

Flight1 has released a new tool, Instant Object Studio. This evening I had a play with the demo version and I must say I am surprised by the tool. After seeing the video I had the impression that the tool would be nice to make some quick buildings, but that it would be hard to make really detailed photo realistic objects with it. But after testing the demo version a bit I think I was wrong there. Since the demo version does not do export, I have not yet been able to see how optimized the output generated by the tool is.

Here’s a list of the positive things I have noted:

  • The concept of building your object inside FS is cool!
  • Making the geometry is quite easy. The different shapes snap together and after reading the maniual (yes :) ) I found out there are some easy ways to fix the movement of polygons or edges along an axis. All that together makes it rather fun to model the shape you want. It’s a bit like SketchUp. Modelling geometry in SketchUp is also fun (more fun than in GMax at least).
  • When making a new material you have access to all the FSX specific settings if you want, but they are hidden under advanced settings.
  • It is cool how you can easily make your own texture using the generic templates. You can adjust colours and even overlay a second texture. Nicely done, only don’t get carried away as you might end up with a lot of drawcalls.
  • You have rather good control over the texture mapping. I think it is even easier than those clumsy pins in SketchUp. So even if you have all parts of your house on one texture (as you would try for good performance), it is not too hard to alter the texture mapping.
  • You can attach effects and control the amount of detail in the crashboxes.
  • The fact that your textures are directly saved in the format that FS needs and that your model is exported to BGL right away will be very useful for many people. It saves the steps to use BGLComp, ImageTool, etc. Especially for new developers that is very good.

Of course there are also some points I am not so sure about:

  • Although the manual mentions it is important to use as few textures as possible, the way you can make generic textures could tempt a lot of people to use much more textures than is good for the performance. If you only build one of two houses it is not going to hurt, but on bigger projects it will.
  • Although it is cool to work in FS directly, it also adds overhead. FS running uses more memory and CPU than the average modelling tool. And when making scenery you will often have a painting program and some other utilities open as well. I did not yet run into trouble, but I guess it could happen.
  • I would like to have more control over the texture mapping, a bit like a UVW unwrap editor where you can move each vertex of the polygon to the correct texture position. But that could be me, I am a control freak and prefer to have my mapping very accurate.

Since I haven’t been able to save yet, I can’t judge yet how easy it would be to adjust your model after you made it. For example if you made a mistake in the shape of the texture mapping. I’ll probably buy the tool so that I can have a look at that. And then I can check how optimized hte output is as well.

So all in total I think this is a very nice tool for people who want to build a few scenery objects or maybe their small local airport. Working with it is quite fun (which is also important). And from the functionality point of view I think it is similar to modelling with SketchUp. You won’t get the fancy animations, levels of detail and very complex shapes that you can achieve with GMax or 3DS Max. But on the other hand it is much easier to learn and probably more enjoyable to use.

New development release (build 181)

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Setup development release for version 1.4

New development release (build 180)

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Version 1.3 stable released

New development release (build 179)

Changes for Build #176
[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Fixed crash when setting seasons in ground polygon wizard

Changes for Build #177

Changes for Build #178

Changes for Build #179

ModelConverterX 1.3 released

Just a quick note that ModelConverterX 1.3 (stable version) has been released. It is the same as the development version of yesterday, but now with a updated manual. It will be the stable release for the near future, since version 1.2 was getting very old. You can read some more information here.

New development release (build 175)

Changes for Build #174
[Arno Gerretsen] [scenProc]
* Update shapelib library to prevent issues on some systems

Changes for Build #175
[Arno Gerretsen]

[Arno Gerretsen] [scenProc]
* Update shapelib library to prevent issues on some systems

New development release (build 173)

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Changed default window size to fit all controls

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Fixed some crashes in map viewer

New development release (build 172)

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Fix bug that sometimes left MDL file locked

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Placement of objects now read from BGL files as well. But if multiple instances of the same object are found, only the first placement is used. If the MDL file is not stored in the same BGL, the placement is ignored.
Progress issue 691

New development release (build 171)

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Added feature to export all loaded objects to BGL at once
Progress issue 788

New development release (build 170)

[Arno Gerretsen] [ModelConverterX]
* Added option to convert textures to the ground polygon wizard
Fixed issue 780