View Full Version : What I'm most concerned about at the moment...
02-11-2006, 03:42 PM
The issue with modelling isn't simply limited to one of 'will we have something to use' but for many of us it is 'will we have something to use that won't require us to throw away years of work.' Many of us work in Gmax and will either find something else or move on to 3DS, the problem is that Gmax to 3DS isn't possible without having to basically redo everything anyway.
Is it that inconceivable to think that some way of preserving what so many have put so much into will result when FSX comes about?
02-11-2006, 03:46 PM
We've already moved on to Max, and I highly suggest you do the same, Erick, regardless. ;-)
You don't have to throw away old work, you will just have to work on those models in Gmax. For new stuff, move to Max.
[font size=1][font color=blue]Can you pilot a plane, instead of programming an FMC to do it for you?[/font color= blue][/font size=1]
02-11-2006, 03:53 PM
Yeah, uhm, that's not happening anytime soon...rent, cable, you know, the whole food thing tend to come first. Breaking even's generally a good idea. :+
(actually, the impracticality of a move to 3DS at the moment for many of us and the question of getting models into 3DS - or whatever MS may supply for FSX - in the future is the actual topic of discussion)
The problem comes with exporting into a format FSX can use properly. As it stands now no-one I know is really sure if any new export plugins will be Gmax compatable, and then we have issues - we're basically shoving FS2004 models out the door.
My question is simply whether anyone thinks it's feasable to think that the conversion could be done effectively. We can get a model into 3DS, but it's a lot of work to get it back to where you started (even more so if the idea of saving UVW mapping doesn't work, I'm not even sure if we can transfer saved UVWs into 3DS).
02-12-2006, 01:36 AM
I started a thread on this topic ages back, in the AFE Support Forum,when M$ first implied a jettisoning of the SCASM-based bgls.
At the time, very few addon sceneries & aircraft accorded with the .mdl language processed by GMax, or the xml processed by Tom Hiscox's SGX. I estimated that Microsoft's move to exclusive .xml would obliterate all of the existing SCASM scenery, and denude the simworld of most addon sceneries.
At the time, a few respondents rubbished me for not moving with the times. I acknowledged that flight-testing of GMax sceneries showed a definite improvement in frame-rates over SCASM versions of the same scenery. I suppose that the primary concern designers share is a sense of confidence: that projects they spend hundreds of hours developing will not have a brief lifespan between versions of the sim. SCASM-based sceneries are, even now, being delivered for download, and I wonder if their designers realise how brief the lifespans of those sceneries might be. Also: many aircraft are still being created in FSDS. Contrarily, if the M$ team elects for backward scenery & aircraft compatibility, these fears will amount to nothing. We wait, and wait.
02-12-2006, 01:54 PM
>Also: many aircraft are still being
>created in FSDS. Contrarily, if the M$ team elects for
>backward scenery & aircraft compatibility, these fears will
>amount to nothing. We wait, and wait.
For those still using FSDS2, there may indeed be some compatibility problems. However, FSDS3 now exports to DirectX file format, which MakeMDL.exe will continue to load and compile to .mdl format.
The only issue with future GMax compatibility is simply that, unless something changes between now and release of FSX, the nice folks at ACES cannot legally code the export module necessary to convert the GMax model to DirectX format (.X files), hence MakeMDL.exe will have nothing to load... ;)
The basic structure of GMax vs. Max models is such that the export modules aren't interchangable. In fact, were it not for Panda's X file exporter, I'd not be able to create .X files from Max8!
02-13-2006, 01:52 PM
Hi Erick and Bill,
This is of increasing concern to me as well. As a freeware developer doing this as a hobby, buying Max8 is not an option for me, and thus I will need a migration path.
1. If aircraft and scenery created with GMAX/XML (GX objects) are provided with a migration path to the new (cheap) creation tools (i.e. converting the source code), then I will begin creating FSX objects.
2. If GX objects are completely compatible with FSX but no migration path is provided, then I will continue to create FS2004-style GX objects for FS2004 and FSX. If not completely compatible I will have to decide if the shortcomings of the objects is acceptable to me.
3. If GX objects are not compatible (or not compatible enough) and no migration path is provided, I will stay with FS2004 until something is provided to allow one of the above, or others get around to creating much of what I already have in FS2004. To be honest, I will probably start creating things for FSX, but will not be able to do enough be able to switch to FSX for several years.
Since the GX system was new in FS2004, I am assuming they will be completely compatible in FSX (MS bloggers have mentioned that they try to keep features compatible for at least two versions). They may not have the fancy lighting, bump maps, etc., but I am assuming they will display as well in FSX as in FS2004. If this is true and no migration path for my source code is provided, then "FS2004 in FSX" will be the likely fate for me...
02-13-2006, 11:18 PM
I have a feeling it will be for a lot of us. All of my projects slated for next year will have to have roots in GMax or I'll seriously be wasting time.
Oh, well. I'll be facing a similar situation when MSTS is replaced by TMTS next year...
02-14-2006, 01:01 AM
A couple things:
1. Please refrain from using "M$", as it will most certainly assure no reply from "MS", and who can blame them, as there is no reason to use such a term.
2. It's just a hunch, but I would not be worried about Gmax and such related to it. However, I do know that based on what I have seen ( as have all of you) that Max will be better, if for no other reason than you can render in it, and see the effects you are using, such as bump maps, etc. This will save time, and time is money, whether you do free or payware.
Look, no one said that as MSFS advances that it will get cheaper or easier.
Or, think of it this way: We're putting $16K into the panel of our Piper Dakota. That is after putting in $22K just 4 years ago, and that's while costing us $100 and hour to fly it. Next year we'll have $40K going into it for an engine overhaul.
It could always be worse, it could always be the real thing! ;-)
Hobbies are rarely cheap, and rarely free. I'm not speaking for anyone's personal financial situation, but if you love what you do, a few "grand" for Max is not the end of the world when it comes to hobbies.
And, if you are doing payware, then that is just a cost of doing business. ;-)
[font size=1][font color=blue]Can you pilot a plane, instead of programming an FMC to do it for you?[/font color= blue][/font size=1]
02-14-2006, 03:07 PM
OK, look, normally I would keep my mouth shut (and trust me, as a management candidate at my job I know when it's necessary and when things need to be said), but this is getting silly to the point of extremes, so let's recap:
1.) We don't care what you're putting into your Dakota. This may seem a bit harsh, and I apoligize if it sounds that way, but it's true. This is a technical discussion between modellers about the feasability of a future export module. What you're doing to your panel is irrelevant at best, especially since cost is a non-issue. It's not what we're talking about.
I think Tom - who I may add has been creating content since the days of FS running on DOS - of all people in this community - deserves a better response than 'yeah? well hobbies ain't cheap!' - that's rather rude and offputting.
2.) The usage of Max is not the issue at hand. Again, we are dscussing methodology of getting a Gmax scene into 3DS via a more streamlined method than MD3 => Max => import maps => resmooth. We are discussing the issue from the viewpoint of moving on to Max, and I'm pretty sure I stated that in the first post.
3.) Bump mapping, IK, and other functions are completely available in GMax. The primary concern is whether or not future FS versions will allow export from GMax, or if the idea of getting GMax scenes into 3DS can be done with less effort (FYI, it can be done, but it does require some work, albeit less than remaking a model).
4.) It's perfectly possible to render in GMax...whoever said you couldn't is obviously not very involved in the advances of the 3D world.
...Now. Back on the topic at hand.
Tom, I have an odd feeling that a workaround will eventually present itself. Within several weeks of google video becoming popular, there were already programs to convert google video files to .avi format, and plenty is possible with 3D Exploration as-is, so we'll see. Granted, 3D Exploration is like 30 bucks, but that's not really that much, considering the cost of Max to begin with.
As far as a long-term thing, getting Max is actually more feasable than it seems, depending. $3400 is a big lump-sum, but if one was to start saving now, you'd be pretty well off towards that goal when FSX actually arrives, and they have stated that they will take care of a design utility for everyone (or rather, implied it by saying they were 'working on it' when Autodesk said they would stop distributing GMax), as I said, the issue is just whether or not it will allow for the conversion of GMax scenes into its format (and if not, what kind of workarounds will present themselves?).
This is the issue at hand, people. Anything else is anything but.
Oh yeah, did you catch the final RSD15 release?
02-14-2006, 05:15 PM
02-14-2006, 07:54 PM
Yeah, they're chugging around Cajon and Tehachapi. They're great! :)
Lou's message didn't bother me, BTW. I understand his position - payware has to stay at the cutting edge, whatever that takes. And there will always be people willing to put in the hours to create wonderful freeware projects.
Luckily, I don't have to. I certainly hope there will be a migration path from GMAX to another inexpensive program, but to be honest even FS2004 objects in FSX will be fine with me. Right now most of my aircraft are FS2002 objects flying in FS2004. I can guarantee that I won't be purchasing Max8 for $3400 if that's what MS decides to use.
When I'm really flying an aircraft I rarely look from outside the plane (landing replays, mostly), so realistic shadows on rivets is rarely useful to me. The time when I'm interested in looking at the exterior of an aircraft, it is typically an AI aircraft! In fact, sitting around an airport watching the traffic is one of my favorite ways to enjoy FS. Thus the current classic scenery project. It will be great if I can have my current batch of aircraft, AI, and scenery in FSX, and be able to see them surrounded by all the new eye candy.
02-14-2006, 08:29 PM
I agree with understanding his position - I do too, and I'm even making it clear that in the future, I will be using Max, not only for FSX, but to further my own skills in working in 3D - but honestly, when a discussion about converting file formats degenerates into 'my panel cost xxyyy' - really, it's frustrating and annoying, and at best rather condescending. Kudos if you have the money to throw into that kind of thing, but it's simply not relevant.
Back to the Gators - someday I'll have to update them. I've since almost completely changed my techniques (some changes you could see in the final release versus early betas) and can do the same work in 3/4 of the polygons (and it'll look better as well).
Either way, I'm steadily getting back into making more ALCo (one of these days, when I quit FS altogether, I'm going to make a bunch, I promise!):
One of these days I'll have to make CNW's sole RS36...I absolutely love that green and yellow...the problem is when/if UP ever grants GNR the license we applied for...*sigh*
02-15-2006, 03:05 AM
"...will we have something to use that won't require us to throw away
>years of work."
Don't forget that we here at MS are in the same boat. :)
We've talked about this in the blogs before, but I know many of us on the team believe that the best goal is to move to a model that supports as many different modelling packages as possible. We're not there yet, and I don't have a timetable for when that day will be--- if ever.
But if you look at what we've done over the past years, we've moved tools and tech more and more into positions where more people can mod to their hearts' content, including but not limited to signifigant time and expense working with Discreet to be the first game company to support their free package.
I can't say with 100% confidence that everything folk have done-- even if they work to the SDK--- will work 100% seamlessly in FSX. I expect that for the most part everything will work seamlessly, and that if we've busted backcompat for some areas, that it would be for the *future* good of the franchise-- including add-on makers, pro or amateur.
I know that this doesn't anwer you basic question Eric, but I feel confident that you won't be disappointed in this regard with FSX. I can't guarantee that today, but it is an area on our radar here in Redmond, and has been for a while.
02-15-2006, 03:18 PM
Excellent to hear that, Jason. :)
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