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Thread: How to Create FS Aircraft with Google SketchUp?

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    This topic is not too old to resurrect?

    It is possible to make a rudimentary plane at least. Just last night I decided to give it a try, even though I’m a novice and have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve never let my ignorance stop me before …

    Here it is in the preview screen.

    It hovers above the ground before takeoff.

    It stalled and crashed “into” the runway.

    The steps:
    1) I made a quick and dirty model of a plane in a bone-stock version of Sketchup 8.
    2) I exported it as COLLADA/dae
    3) I converted it to an .x file via Arno’s excellent ModelConverterX
    4) Then I converted it to an aircraft MDL file via Makemdl
    With all of the steps listed above, I left all the default choices in place – I didn’t make any changes to any of the programs’ options or properties.
    5) Then I aliased the plane to some other plane already in FS2004 and viola!

    It was quick and easy (whole process took just a few minutes)
    Cockpit glass (transparencies) look pretty good out of the box
    It flies like crap
    It has no animations
    It has no separate texture files to edit (I’m not sure how one would go about unwrapping the textures from a SU model)

    In my novice opinion, it appears to me that the weakest link for SU is the animations issue. While SU does support animations, I don’t know how to do it and I’m doubtful those native SU animations would transfer to the final MDL file. I guess I should try some animations and see what happens (has anyone used SU animations for airport buildings or other scenery?) As stated before, one could convert the SU model into .3ds and do the animations in Gmax. Anyway … for what it’s worth.

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    In all honesty, no matter what you are going to end up dealing with Gmax at some point in whatever process you try. My advice would be to just work in Gmax from the start. It's tough to learn, but worth the effort!

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