Autogen Configuration Merger 1.1 released

I have just released a new stable version of Autogen Configuration Merger, you can download it via the ACM page. This version adds support for Prepar3D v4. This has been in the beta release for a while and is stable enough now for the stable release. Another change that was recently added is that sceneries added via add-on.xml files are now also read by the tool. So please use this version from now on in your sceneries.

ModelConverterX command line arguments

Related imageModelConverterX supports a number of command line arguments, for example to load a file at startup or to start a batch convert. I have now added a few extra command line arguments to give more flexibility. Below example usages are given.

Loading object

To load an object at startup of ModelConverterX you can just specify the filename you want to load.

modelconverterx.exe your_object.mdl

Loading object with specific livery

If you are loading an aircraft object and want to specify which livery to show initially, you can add the livery option to specify the name of the livery to select.

modelconverterx.exe your_object.mdl -livery selected_livery

Batch process file

In the batch convert wizard you can save the batch settings to file. You can then call this file from the command prompt to apply it to the object you specify.

modelconverterx.exe -batch batch_settings.mbc your_object.mdl

You can convert multiple objects at once by specifying them all.

modelconverterx.exe -batch batch_settings.mbc your_object.mdl your_object2.mdl your_object3.mdl

 

Mouse rectangle mess

Image result for mouse cord knotModelConverterX can read and write the mouse rectangles of virtual cockpit MDL files for quite a while already. But this week I fixed some annoying bug in that code. These bugs must have been there for quite a long time already. Now and then some issues with mouse rectangles were reported on the forum, but it was always hard to reproduce them since they typically show up in complex virtual cockpit models that are hard to debug. But with some good tips for forum users I was able to reproduce the problem in a simple object this week and that made solving the bugs a lot easier. So if you grab the latest development release now, you will not have problems with mouse rectangles suddenly getting other tooltips or that kind of bugs. This should make it more safe to edit virtual cockpit files with ModelConverterX.

What kind of bugs did I fix? First there was an issue that the mouse rectangle definitions were not always found correctly in the modeldef.xml file, so unnecessary extra definitions were made for that. This was caused by a bug in the implementation of the Copy tag in the modeldef.xml file.

Secondly the tooltips got mixed up on export sometimes. This was only the case for the custom mouse rectangle definitions that ModelConverterX made, so with the first bug solved this is less common already. But I found out that I wrote some elements wrong to the XML file, so that is also fixed now.

Just let me know if you find any more issues, as I’m not an aircraft development by origin, I’m less familiar with these aspects of MDL files.

Recent changes

Until today you could view the recent changes in my tools here on the website, there used to be a link for that in the menu on the left (or on the bottom if you are viewing on a mobile device). But lately that change log was not being updated correctly anymore, so that recent developments were often not visible. So I have decided to remove it now.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t make the recent changes visible anymore. From now on you will find a file named changeLog.html within the development release downloads. In this file you can see the 100 most recent changes in the software. So that should help you to see what has been changed. You can also find this change log here online.

 

AeroFly FS 2 support in scenProc

This week I was approached by an AeroFly FS 2 user with the question if scenProc could be used to make cultivation (the AeroFly name for autogen) for AeroFly FS 2 as well. Of course this was not the highest priority item on the wishlist to work on, but I liked the challenge and the data structure to write to seemed simple enough. So I sidetracked a bit from what I was actually working on and decided to give it a go.

The fact that I’m writing about it now already indicates that it worked. In the next development release of scenProc you will find support to create cultivation for AeroFly FS 2 as well. You can create plants (trees), buildings and lights.

Section 5.9 of the updated manual shows an example script that can be used for AeroFly FS 2. Using OpenStreetMap data I have scattered trees into forest polygons, placed lights along a road and create houses from buildings that are almost rectangular. Hopefully this sample script should be enough to get you going. If there are any questions or suggestions, just let me know.

Hierarchy editor improvements

Last week I made two changes to the hierarchy editor:

  • You can now drag nodes in the hierarchy editor, so that you can give them another parent node. This can be used to animate attachpoints.
  • You can specify a NoCrash option per modelpart now, this way certain parts can be excluded from the crash box generation.

Below are two video tutorials of the new features.

 

Prepar3D v4 visibility conditions for scenery?

This evening I have been testing Prepar3D v4 a bit more and I have especially looked at using visibility conditions in scenery MDL files. Before these were not supported at all for MDL files placed through BGL. We had to use SimObject for them, as tools like SODE do.

But with Prepar3D v4 things have changed a bit here, and I have been testing what that could mean. So what I did is add a simple visibility condition to part of an object. This the test code I used:

<PartInfo> 
  <Name>vis_december</Name>
  <Visibility>
    <Parameter>
      <Code>
      (E:ZULU MONTH OF YEAR, number) 12 == if{ 1 } els{ 0 }
      </Code>
    </Parameter>
  </Visibility>
</PartInfo>

It is just a simple condition to show the scenegraph node only when it is the 12th month of the year. And the good news is that these kind of conditions now work. So you can have part of your MDL only show at a certain time of the year. This can be very useful if you want to show snow only in the winter or so. As a proof here are two picture, one taken in September and the other in December.

  

At the moment I could only use the variables from the environment section, which would limit the kind of visibility conditions only to time related settings (day, month, year, etc). I tried to test with some other variables, but didn’t have success with that yet. So it might be that interesting variables like the weather are still not support for scenery (or I just did something wrong).

Prepar3D v4 MDL support

In my previous post about Prepar3D v4 support of my tools I mentioned that the MDL format didn’t seem to contain many changes. On further investigation it turned out that there are a number of changes and new sections in the MDL format. These are related to the following new functionalities:

  • Support for a second set of UV coordinates, including the material attributes to specify which texture uses which set.
  • New material attributes, mainly for the detail map and heatmap.
  • Support for material scripts.

The development release has been updated to be able to write all these new features as well. In the material editor you will find a Prepar3D v4 specific section with all attributes that are only for Prepar3D v4.

Given these changes, you will find the Prepar3D v4 MDL and Prepar3D v4 BGL as a specific export format in the save dialogue now. In the options you will also have to set the path to the Prepar3D v4 XtoMdl and Bglcomp. If your SDK is installed correctly these tools should be detected automatically by the way.

Prepar3D v4 support

I have just released a new build of my tools that supports Prepar3D v4 as well. Below it is listed what this means for the different tools.

ModelConverterX

As far as I know now the MDL and BGL format in Prepar3D v4 are the same as in Prepar3D v2, so there is no new file format you can export to. But ModelConverterX will automatically recognise the Prepar3D v4 SDK when installed. Also the Convert and Place Object Wizard has been extended to support Prepar3D v4 as output simulator.

scenProc

The autogen configuration files from Prepar3D v4 can be read and you can thus select this version of the simulator as the active version. Besides that the Prepar3D SDK will be recognised when searching for certain tools.

FXEditor

Prepar3D v4 is added as supported version, which means you can select it as the active simulator version so that the effect files will be read from that effects folder.

For the Autogen Configuration Merger tool I have posted a beta release to the forum today as well. Once that has been tested better I will officially release it.

All other tools didn’t seem to require changes at this moment, but if you have issue using them with Prepar3D v4 please let me know.

Two new simulators

I the last week one new simulator was released and another one was officially announced. In this blog post I want to discuss what the impact on my various tools will be.

The new simulator that was released is Flight Sim World from Dovetail. After installing the early access version I have come to the conclusion that the MDL and AGN formats are still the same as in FSX. So from that point of view I expect no big changes are needed in my tools to support this simulator as well. However at the moment it’s not clear yet if there will be an official SDK for this simulator. Given that the formats are the same as FSX, I guess we could use the Prepar3D 1.4 SDK, as people with only FSX Steam Edition also have to do. If an SDK is released later on I will check what needs to be done for the tools to support it.

The other new simulator that was announced is Prepar3D v4. The biggest change there is the move to 64 bit. I’m sure there will be an SDK, just as prior Prepar3D versions had. So once it is released I will make sure that my tools can detect and use that SDK as well. As far as I know now, the MDL and AGN file formats have no big changes compared to Prepar3D v3, so I don’t expect big changes are needed to the tools. But once it has been formally released I’ll double check that again.

One note, for both simulators I need to check if the Autogen Configuration Merger tool works well on it. I haven’t checked if the autogen configuration file have changed in FSW and if it has a exe.xml to run a tool on startup like FSX had. That’s something I still need to look into. For Prepar3D v4 I will also need to make sure it’s supported by ACM.