CONVERTING FS2004 AIRCRAFT TO FSX TUTORIAL

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction and Downloads
Part 1:  Setup
Part 2:  FS2004 Import
Part 3:  Setting Up Landing and Taxi Lights
Part 4:  Conversion to FSX
Part 5:  Saving, Merging, and Animating the Props
Part 6:  Editing Materials and Textures
Part 7:  VC & Appendix
Part 8:  Quick Reference

PART SEVEN - VIRTUAL COCKPIT & APPENDIX

VIRTUAL COCKPIT

For the most part, the Virtual Cockpit (VC) is handled exactly like the exterior model; there are only a few special situations to consider.  Unless specified below, follow the tutorial's instructions.

FS2004 Import

1.  When importing the FS9 model, in the Set Condition Variables box set the gen_model to 1 and the g_lightStates to 0.  The VC does not need any landing or taxi lights.
2.  There will likely be one or more Custom_Anim lines in this box.  In my experience, leaving these at 0 is fine but that may vary?
3.  Try to assign the custom_anim lines in the Animation Editor to definitions in the Animation Editor, if possible.  Generally MCX does a great job of creating these, but occasionally there may be a slight difference in the range of motion.  For these custom animations you would need to have the original animation definitons (added to a  modeldef.xml file), so unless you are the plane's author you will probably just stick with the MCX custom_anim definitions.

FSX Conversion

1.  When you Export the VC, choose a name like xxx_interior.mdl.  Do not overwrite your exterior model file!
2.  Use a name including _interior for all other files you create (such as backups), so you know they are for the VC.
3.  Once you have the xxx_interior.mdl file created and it is located in the plane's model folder, you can view it in FSX or later by:
      a.  Open the model.cfg file in the plane's model folder.
      b.  Add a line at the bottom:  interior=xxx_interior   where xxx_interior is the name of your VC MDL file.
      c.  Save the file, and reload FSX or later.

Assigning Landing and Taxi Lights

These are not needed by the VC, because they are supplied by the exterior model.

Isolating and Merging the Props

1.  If the VC does not include propllers, you can skip this section.
2.  If it does include them, you can Merge the isolated slow and blurred prop MDL files already created for the exterior model.

Setting Up the Materials and Textures

1.  There are different ways to design and build VCs.  The only way I have done this is:
      a.  Build the VC with large rectangles for the panel areas.  Place gauges onto these rectangles.
      b.  Specify day textures for these rectangles in the panel.cfg file and place those textures into the Panel folder.
      c.  Place night textures for these rectangles in the plane's Texture folders.
      I have only made this conversion on those types of VCs.  Therefore, I cannot gaurantee results with other types, but it's certainly worth a try.
2.  In the Material Editor you will find materials that begin with the $ sign.  In the DC-6B those are $pan1 and $panl2.  These textures do not have a BMP extension.  These need to have night textures applied in the usual way.  The nightmap textures should be specified without the $ sign and with a BMP extension.  For example, the night texture for the $pan1 texture would be specified as pan1_L.bmp.
3.  The other textures are handled in the same way as in the exterior model.



APPENDIX

This section will discuss the uses and tricks for the modeldef.xml animation and visibility definitions added by the file downloaded from this tutorial.
 _2 is for twin engined planes, _4 is for 4 engine planes

VISIBILITY CONDITIONS

light_taxi_visible - used to make taxi light effects appear only when the taxi light is pressed.  The default general_light definition will do the same thing for landing lights.
L_chocks_2, L_chocks_4, R_chocks_2, R_chocks_4 - for wheel chocks that will appear when the engines on that side are stopped and the parking brake is set.
airstairs_2, airstairs_4 - for airstairs objects on the left side of the plane.  Will appear when the passenger door is open, the engines on the left side are stopped, and the parking brake set.
ground_equipment - for ramp equipment.  Will appear when all engines are stopped and the parking brake is set.
maint_pltfm_2, maint_pltfm_4 - for maintenance steps on the right side of the plane.  Will appear when door #3 is open, the engines on the right side are stopped, and the parking brake set.
gear_down_visible - not used in this tutorial, but useful for old or simple planes that use a black polygon for a wheel well that needs to disappear when the gear is up.
gear_travel_visible - not used in this tutorial, but used for the same purpose as gear_down_visible.  For gear wells where the gear door opens, the gear extends, and the gear door closes again.

ANIMATIONS FOR FS2004 TO FSX CONVERSIONS

c_wheel_FS9 -  There are a few animations that are different between FS2004 and FSX.  One is the c_wheel animation, which (according to the SDKs) is animated from keyframe 100-200 in FS2004 and from 0 to 200 in FSX.  When converting an FS2004 model that uses the FS2004 animation, a different definition is needed.

ANIMATIONS TO AUTOMATE THE FS2004 TO FSX CONVERSION PROCESS

While MCX converts many FS2004 definition names, it does convert all of them since some definitions are different between FS2004 and FSX and that would make Exporting to FS2004 format more difficult.

To make it clearer we'll use as an example the c_tire definition, which causes the nose gear wheel to rotate as the plane taxis.  When an FS2004 model is Imported into MCX, it is common that the c_tire animation has been defined in the MDL.  This definition when used in an FS2004 model allows the tire to display and animate at all speeds.  This animation is  not present in FSX, so a different definition must be used.  The equivalent in FSX is c_tire_blurred with the visibility condition set to None.  But if MCX converted the c_tire definition automatically to c_tire_blurred, when used to Export the aircraft back to FS2004  the tire would disappear as the plane accelerates due to a different behavior in FS2004.  So if MCX converted all c_tire definitions automatically to c_tire_blurred then it would not Export properly to FS2004.

Therefore I have added the following definitions to the modeldef file (used in FSX) that use the proper FSX definition as a template but allows one to keep the FS2004 part name to allow export to FS2004.  For example, I have created a c_tire definition that incorporates the FSX c_tire_blurred code.  Thus, when exporting to FSX it behaves like c_tire_blurred, but when exporting back to FS2004 the c_tire part name is used and FS2004 assigns the proper animation.

They are:
MCX Import Variable Name Added to modeldef FileFSX Variable Definition Used as Template
c_tirec_tire_blurred
l_tirel_tire_blurred
r_tirer_tire_blurred
rudder_water_deploylever_water_rudder (reversed, since the FS9 variable works the opposite)

Next:  PART 8 - QUICK REFERENCE