Exporting models to FS9
You need the makemdl SDK, as well as middleman, MDL commander and BGLC; the necessary files can be found on http://www.FSdeveloper.com's file section.
-Rename makemdl.exe to mkmdl.exe
-Rename makemdl.parts.xml to mkmdl.parts.xml
-Rename middleman.exe to makemdl.exe
-Copy the three files above as well as MDL commander to your FS2004 gamepack\plugins folder
After modeling your a/c in Gmax, go to File->Export and export your model to a folder of your choice. I like to keep things organised, so I have a folder structure like this:
So, export your model in the respective folder, with the proper annotation to the end of the model's name. Here are the most basic annotations:
a380_rr_shadow =>This is a shadow model. It isn't necessary to export as shadows are generated from the normal exterior model. However, when you are interested in maintaining good FPS (if you're making AI aircraft, or have a very complex exterior model), remove any parts that don't cast shadows and simplify those that don't apprear a lot, then use the cut-down model to generate the shadows.
a380_rr_interior => This indicates the VC model. This is also not mandatory to use, but I can't fly without a VC.
By appending a number to the end of the exported file's name, you can get LODs. That's useful for making AI models that get less complicated the further they are from the viewpoint. Good for presenting FPS. The greater the number, the further the model will appear. Of course, you'll have to make the models for the LODs too, or delete parts.
an example of that is:
The first file you drag in mkmdl.exe will define the final mdl's name. Mkmdl.exe removes the annotation in the end to give the name. If you dragged a380_rr_100, it'll automatically select all the a380_rr files and use a380_rr as an mdl name. However, if you select a380_rr first, it'll remove the "_rr" part, thinking it's an annotation. Anyway, you can rename the mdl file in mkmdl's main tab.
-Click and drag any of the files mentioned above in mkmdl.exe
-In the LODs tab click on "Add" and add the rest of the parts
-Once all the parts of the model are added, go to the settings tab:
-Uncheck "Weld vertices" (only works for the exterior-more on that later)
-Check all "Ignore" buttons
-Check "Has reflection map" and "Has lightmap"
-Check "Keep Files" (this option isn't particularly useful for the time being, its value will show at another tutorial)
-Check "XML" to use any XML scripting you have used on the model (i.e. Wingflex)
ATTENTION: If you only add the shadow & interior models, the model WILL NOT COMPILE. You need to have an exterior model. The other ones aren't necessary
Click COMPILE and wait for your .mdl to come out.
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