It’s a little bit ironic, after all the effort I put in the LOD Creator functionality of ModelConverterX. But today I found out that the LODs were not really working in FSX SP2 when you exported the FSX MDL files. This is because of the drawcall batching functionality that I wrote about in the previous post. There is a solution for this that breaks the drawcall batching.
So I have now added a new option in ModelConverterX that allows you to specify if you prefer the drawcall batching or working LODs. By default the LODs will be working. If the object has only one level of detail the setting has no influence, in that case the drawcall batching will always work. If the object has animations the setting also has no influence, since these prevent the drawcall batching in any case (and thus the LODs will work).
This fix will be available in the development release of tomorrow. So enjoy your LODs even more from now on!
The ModelConverterX tutorial I gave this evening on the FSDeveloper LiveStream channel, has also been uploaded to the Wiki now. So on both of these places you can now review this tutorial.
Unfortunately I had a few bandwidth problems while recording the tutorial, so I had to restart two times. Sorry for the inconvenience for those who were following the tutorial live. Luckily it seemed there were not so many people watching live. When you watch the tutorial on the Wiki you won’t notice these trouble of course. Another comment I got from Nick halfway through is that the sound volume was maybe a little bit low, I will try to fix that for the next tutorial on Friday, when I will be talking about performance related issues (drawcalls, texture vertices, DXT compression).
Just a little reminder that in two days there will be an online video tutorial about ModelConverterX. I think tutorial I will give a quick introduction to the tool and after that I will show how you can use it to convert old API macros into FSX MDL files or how to import them into GMax for further editing.
So you are all invited to join this tutorial on Saturday 2nd of January at 20:00 CET on the FSDeveloper Livestream channel. See you there! And if you can’t make it the tutorial will be available on the Wiki afterwards as well.
For today I made a little teaser video of gPoly to show the progress. As you can see the adding and editing of the polygons it getting there, so it seems I can move to the export functionality soon. Enjoy!
Time for another gPoly status update, today I have made some good progress on the tool again. The first part I have finished is the display of the GeoTIFF background image, this code seems to be quite optimal now, so that even with big images you can pan and zoom without too much delay. What I still have to do is verify the accuracy of the geo position, I think I need to render some reference information (of which I know the position) over it to do this. Another related feature on the todo list is the ability to make images georeferenced when they are not yet.
Today I also worked quite a bit on the user interface, especially the part that allows you to manipulate the layers in the project. Each layer can hold a background image or a set of features (polygons, lines, etc). Below is the screenshot of the current status.
This evening I continued on the gPoly tool. The focus was again on the display of the background images, since they are a very important feature when drawing ground features or when checking if they are in the right location. I made some good progress and for small to medium sized airports it is working fine now.
But when I try to load the high resolution background image I have of Schiphol things go less smooth, especially when you zoom in far and the highest resolution needs to be loaded. So there is still some work to be done when selecting the resolution that should be displayed, but progress is being made. I should note that the background image of Schiphol is a GeoTIFF of almost 4 GB in size, so it should be expected that things will never be super smooth when working with such a big file.
Tonight I have added a nice little feature to ModelConverterX again (it will be in the 1.2 development release tomorrow). You might wonder what it is? You can now choose to render your object in day or night view. The night view allows you to preview the night textures. Here is a little screenshot of one of the default objects.
It is not yet finished, since I just display the night texture now. Whether it is a nightmap or a lightmap is not yet taken into consideration. So that gives some room for future improvement. But this will allow you to check how the object would look during the night.
Just a quick note that a new stable version of ModelConverterX is available. If you have been using the development release lately there is not so much changed, but compared to the last stable release there are loads of improvements. I have also updated the user manual.
For the coming time the development of ModelConverterX will be slowed down a bit, since I plan to focus more on the gPoly tool.
Today I have added some more options to ModelConverterX, this time different render modes for the preview. Before you could only render the object as it would show in FS, but now you also have the option to only show the faces (no textures) or to show a wireframe view of the object. I some cases these different render modes might help to figure out what is going on with your model.
As you might have noticed I am trying to fix some of the open issues with ModelConverterX, so that I can release another stable version. Apart from a few items the list for version 1.1 is empty now, so after that I will focus more on the gPoly tool.
A tool like ModelConverterX is very powerful in converting objects between different formats. But the fact that it can read BGL or MDL files as well also means it becomes relatively easy to import the work of somebody else into GMax and modify it to your needs. This gives some tension, on one hand you want to create a flexible for the users who is converting the work he has made and allow him to enjoy his old work in FSX. On the other hand you don’t want to encourage people to steal the work of others, manipulate it a bit, and then distribute it as there own.
ModelConverterX already shows a user license when you first start it that reminds the user to only use it with objects that he owns the copyrights from and is thus allowed to convert. But let’s be honest, who is reading that kind of license before clicking on the agree button?
I do not want to limit the tool too much, since there is also a lot of legitimate usage of it. So I have decided to add a little reminder while you are exporting. If you are converting your own objects just wait till it disappears when the export is finished. If you are trying to steal somebody else’s work I hope it makes you feel guilty (at least a little bit)…