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Interesting questions.

Questions about the FlightGear organisation, website, wiki etc.

Interesting questions.

Postby IceBreaker » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am

Hi everyone! My name is Stefano, I am 42 years old, and I work as an independent developer (mainly 3d modeling of simple objects in the field of 3d printing, and advertising graphics).

I'm a big fan of flight simulation for many years, as well as a modder who previously made content for commercial simulators.

I would like to know some aspects of the Flightgear project that would be very useful for the creation of new content by users like myself who want to join the developer community.

Here are some direct questions, so it will be easier for you and me to understand the right way to go for my future projects:

1. I noticed that FG uses the .ac3d format for 3d models, I have never used this 3d modeling software, even if it is very valid (from what I could read and experiment). I have experience with Blender, and with the next release (2.80) it will be really fantastic to model objects for FG. Is there a script for Blender that allows you to import ac3d models in blender in an optimal way? or do you recommend a more up-to-date solution or a development for the future?

2. To create new 3D objects in the category buildings, vehicles, general objects of the scenario, what references do you recommend? example: in Blender I use the default cube, I render the faces of the cube and make it invisible by modifying the size (scale), I realize the 3d model inside the cube of reference? is a trick I used in the past for another open-source project, so I immediately thought of this simple solution to create 3D objects with the right proportion. I can not find specific information, the wiki is only partially updated, or it's my fault that I read only a small part (it's very large and fragmented).

3. Will a section be included in the launcher to download global geographic areas in the future? same feature of terramaster, but I think it is an essential features within the client because basic FG has only a small area of the US, and many users do not have the patience to search, and use a tool like terragear, this damages the project because many users (90%) are ignorant, do not want to study, and want everything immediately judging FG as a simulator inferior to others, while it is not so.

4. A section in the launcher to create your own pilot (name, surname, nickname, avatar, and general statistics: flight hours, used flight plans, accidents, landings, aircraft used on flights made, and other useful information). It would really be very beautiful as features.

5. I have built many airports in the past for FSX: Italy, Poland, Russia. I would like to recreate these airports in Flightgear by making the current ones better, and with more detail. I read in the wiki that the World Editor of X-Plane can also be used for FG, in addition to the fact that WED is open-source under the GNU license. Are you planning to make an addon or an official WED fork for Flightgear? because tools for developing contents are absolutely vital and extremely useful.

I would like to see the IDG team aircraft (P28, A22X, A33X), in Flighgear's official hangar (official client download), because they are avant-garde, ultra-detailed and realistic, with features that have nothing to envy to commercial products (often focused on extreme photorealism but with less realism in the flight model).

For months, I've been looking for volunteers to make the Piper J3 Cub completely new. The Piper J3 Cub is a simple plane, perfect as an entry level to experiment the features of Flightgear and fly in VFR to view scenarios and make extreme virtual tourism.

Another plane that deserves support is the Glider. A well made glider is undoubtedly beautiful and fun in Flightgear.

Flightgear has really improved a lot over the last 2 years. It deserves more visibility and support from the community.

Only problem? lacks a dedicated editor to create airports, a guide and tools to create 3D models in a simple way (buildings in general, and decorative objects for airports and cities).

I am available to work on the Piper J3 Cub, and possibly on the Glider. Currently I dedicate myself to the modeling of new 3D objects (houses, hangars, towers, lighthouses, and decorative objects for airports).

I have been following the project for years, and I have left the commercial simulators with the new Flighgear 2018.2.3 release, because it has reached a very high level, there is very little to update the taxiways, buildings and other small generic details of the scenarios and the main planes.

My problem? I have to run the whole wiki to find fragmented and incomplete information. I have a lot of material that I have personally made for FSX in the last years, I would like to convert my work for Flightgear (material that I made, textures, 3D models). If you have suggestions I would be happy to collaborate with all the passion I have for this wonderful project.

Thank you all.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby WoodSTokk » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:22 am

I will aswer to question 1.
Yes, there is a addon for blender to import and export ac3 files. But as far as i know, the addon works only with blender 2.79.
Search for 'blender ac3 import export'.
Never mind, have found it.
Forum: https://forum.flightgear.org/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=13442
Repo: https://github.com/NikolaiVChr/Blender-AC3D
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby legoboyvdlp » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:32 am

Regarding 2), not sure if I understood correctly, but the scale is one blender unit to one metre.

Regarding 5) it is possible to import high quality airports from the X-Plane Gateway
Image

(Ignore holes in terrain - still in progress!)

WED is an outstanding tool and still in development. I don't think there is much need to fork it when we already have an established toolchain for generating scenery.

I'll admit the learning curve is steep: you pretty much figure it out as you go along but it's not really that hard, mostly tedious.
Last edited by legoboyvdlp on Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby Octal450 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:43 am

Hey,
Thanks for yourcpmpliments! IDG Team work hard, and we plan to put them in FGAddon once we get a stable V1.0.

IDG is always short 3D modellers, so if you'd like to contribute, we'd love to have you!

Kind Regards,
Josh
Free Speech? Hell yeah! Free Software? Hell NO!
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby xDraconian » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:21 am

Welcome @IceBreaker,

IceBreaker wrote in Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am:I have experience with Blender, and with the next release (2.80) it will be really fantastic to model objects for FG

Agree. 2.80 is awesome, but the scripts require updates to support it.

IceBreaker wrote in Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am:import ac3d models in blender in an optimal way?

It's on the TODO list. Currently models need to be loaded into Blender individually. Not so bad for scenery objects, but much harder to deal with for aircraft development.

IceBreaker wrote in Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am:what references do you recommend? example: in Blender I use the default cube

Agree, cube slicing is a common way to add a bounding box for scale constraints and also reference guides. Adding background images is also very useful.

IceBreaker wrote in Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am:launcher to download global geographic areas in the future?

Unlikely, but you are probably aware of TerraSync which downloads demographics automatically. Select an airport from the launcher and TerraSync will ensure you have the necessary data.

IceBreaker wrote in Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am: A section in the launcher to create your own pilot

No plans that I am aware of, but I agree that would be a nice feature.

IceBreaker wrote in Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:59 am:Are you planning to make an addon or an official WED fork for Flightgear?

I've had the same thought related to an Export to FlightGear feature, but haven't taken any action on it. I'm reluctant, because this doesn't seem to be the right approach.

I'm looking forward to seeing your contributions. We can always use some more passionate individuals contributing to the project. Just dive into some area that interests you, ask questions, and I'm sure you'll find the guidance to help you through the learning curve.

Scott
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby IceBreaker » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:06 pm

WoodSTokk The scripts for Blender are written in Python so I think it's easy to update them. Thanks for your suggestions, I really appreciate the availability of this beautiful community.

legoboyvdlp Great work! exactly what I had in mind, your airport facilities are fantastic, they have very clean textures. I understand perfectly the great work you need to develop this content, so do not worry about the current bugs (holes on the ground) it's really a fantastic job!

it0uchpods Thank you, I really appreciate your words. I am happy with your answer because your work follows them day by day on the github repository and you have created incredibly beautiful and detailed planes. I love the new GUI in dark style and the organization of options and services on the ground (really nice). I will be happy to help you as soon as I finish understanding all the stages of development that I need. I'm going to make a diary of notes, this facilitates the consultation of some stages of development that may require lengthy research. I already have good ideas for procedural textures for the bridge of the A320 and the flaps and airbrakes levers.

xDraconian Thanks for your answers. One of the great things about Flightgear is its modular structure that allows me to experiment with my ideas based on the industry I choose. I organize myself and then I start working on the 3D models I've created.

Terrasync is fantastic, but it is useful to update the scenarios, if you have to download all of Italy to fly from Sicily to Milan it is better to use terramaster to download maps with area selection. Honestly, I find it very useful terramaster and it works very well.

Thank you all.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby legoboyvdlp » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:25 pm

I should have said it, D-laser is the author of the models -- I just generated the layout which is from the gateway by litjan. But it shows nicely what FlightGear can look like!
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby IceBreaker » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:07 pm

I managed to find a quick and easy solution for the texturing of building objects for Flightgear!

I opened many 3d models in my FG installation, I noticed that all models of houses, offices, and various structures are extremely simple and have low quality textures (extremely low).

Without weighing down the graphics engine I will use my simple texturing technique, in practice with Gimp I edit textures with googlemap, and other textures that I have done in the past, the result is excellent, the houses and all the models buildings have more colorful textures ( not faded) with a higher detail (red roofs, walls, doors and windows visible), the difference between the original objects and the ones I do is about 20, 30kb (simpler objects), same thing for skyscrapers and special structures (eiffel tower) , colosseum, statue of liberty and more).

The same work for boats, which I create from scratch with blender, obviously low-poly, but made better, with nicer textures and details visible even at a distance.

A great job (time consuming) but my goal is to make Flightgear's scenarios more accurate without compromising performance and hardware requirements. A long, but optimized work and certainly the final effect will be really nice.

I update you as soon as I do the first tests.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby wlbragg » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:36 pm

in practice with Gimp I edit textures with googlemap

Can you explain your technique?
Kansas(2-27-15)/Ohio/Midwest scenery development.
KEQA (2-27-15), 3AU, KRCP Airport Layout
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby IceBreaker » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:18 am

it's very simple. Then I will publish screenshots where I show everything about Blender and within the world of Flightgear.

I take pieces of images on googlemaps (airports, cities, and more) then amount on Gimp and through very simple editing I modify the saturation of colors, I merge some materials (example: roofing tiles, cement, stones, and more). I am aware that what I wrote may seem trivial, but the final effect will be really satisfying. To give you a yardstick, we get to (abundantly) exceed the quality of the objects on the FSX, without weighing down the graphics engine.

I make a small set of structures, and if I can even get some boats, I'll show you the results.

Thank you all.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby wkitty42 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:49 am

if you use images from google, they're for your private use and FG cannot distribute them... the license doesn't allow for that... that's my understanding over the four years i've been here... i'm sure others will clarify and correct as needed...
"You get more air close to the ground," said Angalo. "I read that in a book. You get lots of air low down, and not much when you go up."
"Why not?" said Gurder.
"Dunno. It's frightened of heights, I guess."
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby Thorsten » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:40 am

Yes, google maps has terms which make its use unsuitable for re-distribution in FG. Sorry.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby IceBreaker » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:02 am

Thorsten I use only images as references. Same for 3D modeling of objects. I make everything from scratch, but I use blueprints to get visual references.

Googlemaps is useful to understand how to create textures and give a more realistic effect to objects, even if some of them are made with minimal textures and clean to give a good effect at distance in VFR flight.

For habit I never use material created by others, or textures of other free projects / services, because the licensing speech is very obscure so it is better to waste time but have the security of having 100% free material.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby Thorsten » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:12 pm

That may all be true, but the terms of service of Google Maps says pretty clearly:

(b) No Creating Content From Google Maps Content. Customer will not create content based on Google Maps Content, including tracing, digitizing, or creating other datasets based on Google Maps Content.


Using Google Maps to create 3d models seems like creating content to me, and that's not supported by the terms of service. You can do with the information whatever you like, but the FG project can't in good conscience re-distribute any content created that way.

I'm sorry, I didn't make these terms of service.
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Re: Interesting questions.

Postby IceBreaker » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:26 pm

Thorsten Quiet, I do not use googlemaps, I use gimp and I realize procedural textures with scripts and a lot of inventive staff. What you see below is just a stupid test of what I'm going to do, the textures (all) are made by node editors, and open textures present in the repository for various libraries for blender.

Now the licenses are not a problem, I do not use googlemaps because I prefer to generate procedural textures and then edit them (layered procedure, layers) in this way the effect is more beautiful, completely personal (and customizable) and then it's an easy, fast technique and with excellent results.

I will also publish a step by step guide on the whole process I use, create a pdf with LaTeX and publish it on my github repository.

For any questions are at your disposal. I create textures for roofs, cements, woods, and other materials, then I only modify the shades, I take two textures, I rotate them and combine them to create new textures. A simple, clean and effective job, without using things already ready and without the copyright daemon.

I hope that what I wrote is correct. Thanks to all of you for your time and for the precious information.

Image

Look, it's a simple test, the idea is this, and the effect is great, obviously the final works will be improved in the use of textures and in the positioning of the uv-map (this is done in a hurry to show what I want to do).

I hope to have removed any doubt, a short public post where you can see the first models finished and tested in Flightgear. Thank you all.
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