Failing To Create The Most Basic Runway Possible In Max

  • I'm trying to create a basic runway in 3DS Max and get it visible in AFS and failing.


    I have a rectangle, converted to an editable poly, with a UVW Unwrap modifier and a material applied.

    After applying the UVW Unwrap, I selected the runway poly in red, and applied a flatten mapping

    My material is named "__airport__runway" as directed for 3DS Max.

    I export the file to a TGI, which runs fine and shows that there is an object with a material in the export log

    Model Converter runs without an issue and creates the TMB and TTX


    The airport shows in the map, and PAPI lights are shown so the TSC is OK and the airport is in the right place.

    The runway model is loaded (according to the log) but not shown. I get the following error:



    "but has no second texture coordinate" is an error I'd expect if there were no UVW coordinates.

    I tried collapsing the UVW Unwrap modifier, but that didn't work.


    There must be something I'm not doing right in Max, but I'm not sure what.

  • Hi Nick,


    Are you really sure you applied a valid diffuse texture with _color suffix to your runway, and named that material in 3DSMax with "__airport__runway" suffix ?


    It looks to me like there's an issue with this step, with AFS2 searching for a material named "terrain_rwy_t1g1r0d0d1"...


    Cheers

    Antoine

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  • Have you looked at my 3DS Max tutorial yet?

    Yes, I've read through it thoroughly. As far as I can tell I'm doing everything documented.


    Hi Nick,


    Are you really sure you applied a valid diffuse texture with _color suffix to your runway, and named that material in 3DSMax with "__airport__runway" suffix ?


    It looks to me like there's an issue with this step, with AFS2 searching for a material named "terrain_rwy_t1g1r0d0d1"...

    It's definitely material / texture related, but I don't know why.


    I've followed the naming in the Kingman example and used the Kingman texture files.


    I've called the Diffuse Map "runway_dark_color.bmp" because that's how it is in the Kingman max file (seems wrong as it's a tif file)

    I also tried with without the .bmp, with no luck.




    That material is definitely applied to the only object in the Max scene




    I still get the same error and no runway is shown.


    Should anyone be able to take a look, I've attached my extremely simple project with the Max 2016 file and the TMC / TSC files. I had to exclude the texture, but it's just runway_dark_color.tif from the Kingman example.

  • FWIW, I also did tried the "full" way of doing a ground poly in the Max tutorial on the Wiki.


    So I now have a multi material with one slot, and the full stack of modifiers applied, as documented.




    The material error goes away but no runway is shown in AFS. :(

  • I'll try to look at it during the week-end

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  • I have previously tried to automate the process (without luck). :sleeping:

    Maybe you can get some tips in this thread?


    SDK - airport question

    Looks exactly what I need. Many thanks.


    Seems like I'm missing the importance of vertex coloring (red = fully opaque / black = fully transparent) and an ambient texture. Will try later.


    You'd have thought the exporter would assume no vertex color = opaque and the shader would handle a null ambient.

  • Seems like I'm missing the importance of vertex coloring (red = fully opaque / black = fully transparent) and an ambient texture.


    I'd think so if your runway still doen't display.

    I had no time yet to do extensive trial and error to understand the exact technical reason behind the double underscores in the naming and the vertex color, but here's what I could observe so far :


    1) I tried once defining a separate texture with the naming "xx__airport__taxiway". It wouldn't display, but left instead a trench in the scenery below my supposed taxiway. Renaming as "xx__airport__apron" fixed it.


    2) if you look at the wiki tuto, after adding the 1m chamfer around the runway, the inner vertices must be painted red and the outer vertices black, resulting in a blend effect between visible and transparent. It's the only one information you provide that is related to blending the transition, thus I'd say the vertices colours actually lead the visibility in AFS2 (red = on, black = off).


    If not yet done, just check your runway vertices are actually painted red...


    Cheers

    Antoine

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  • I finally got there ... kind of. I'm disappointed with the conclusion though. I think Hartman is right that it's almost impossible to automate anything complex.


    The image above is the runway mesh texture being mixed with the terrain mesh texture because there was no extended ground poly.


    I tried just creating a ground poly underneath it, setting the vertices to black, and letting the runway sit on top. The runway was mostly visible but there were issues with overlapping polygons.


    Next I tried the "carve out the runway" method from the Max tutorial, which does work, but is near impossible to automate.


    IPACS missed a trick here, sad to say. The airport boundary for mesh flattening should have been defined in the TSC. This would mean that runways and taxiways could be created with simple geometry.


    I'll continue to experiment, but it doesn't look promising.

    I can only imagine how complex creating the ground poly for KORD would be with the method in the Max tutorial.

  • The method mentioned in my 3DS Max tutorial works flawlessly when making an airport (even complex one), the only difference is that we use Cinema4D to make our commercial airports instead of 3DS Max due to the internal automated tools that are used. If you follow the tutorial carefully step by step you will pretty much know how our South Florida DLC was made.

    IPACS Development Team Member

    I'm just a cook, I don't own the restaurant.
    On behalf of Torsten, Marc, and the rest of the IPACS team, we would all like to thank you for your continued support.


    Regards,


    Jeff

  • https://www.maxonshop.com/us/p…censes/1/s1/CAT243-CAT250

    Cinema 4D Studio R20 3-Month Short-Term License

    Let's chip in/crowdfund to make nichod a possibility to buy Cinema 4D, we will benefit everyone like we have,


    I'm willing to chip in 20$ - Rune ENHD

    will anyone else want to join?

    hopefully IPACS can join us with 20$ pr team-member also ? :)


    Really hope so, we really need nichod's fantastic talent's in this community, and his Aeroscenery/airport generation tools is quite an impressive achievement..

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  • The method mentioned in my 3DS Max tutorial works flawlessly when making an airport (even complex one)

    Thanks, yes it's a good tutorial. Like Hartman I was curious what steps are essential vs what steps were just done that way.


    A "let's create a runway in as few steps as possible" Max tutorial might be a nice addition.


    For anyone else reading this in future, my trial and error showed that the bare minimum for "ground" objects in the TSC is:

    • A ground poly larger than the runway to allow for mesh smoothing
    • The ground poly needs to be transparent at the edges as it will merge with the terrain texture and look ugly if visible
    • No overlapping vertices
    • Ambient texture present (50% grey bitmap if you don't want an ambient)
    • Vertex coloring applied to everything (control of transparency between black and red). Can be done with the Edit Mesh modifier
    • Material maps must be suffixed with _color or _specular etc
    • Material names must be one of __airport__apron, __airport__runway, __airport__outside
    • UVW Map applied


    What isn't strictly essential

    • Multi-materials and material channels
    • Naming Max objects anything special
    • The Vertex Paint modifier
    • The Edit Poly modifier
    • Chamfering edges of cut outs
  • Hi Nickhod


    Something else to work out.


    FS2 uses the objects pivot point to locate the object in the sim... So


    As you have noticed FS2 allows for runways that follow the terrain, this also extends to the taxi ways and any aprons plus the ground poly. This means that any buildings bigger than a match box will have corners that either disappear below ground level or corners that float above the ground, long buildings are very noticeable... work around is to move the vertices vertically ... Automating this will be ????????


    This also applies to decals ie, taxi lines which need to have lots of polys to allow for it to follow the ground contours, a single poly would most likely float above or disappear below ground level


    Steve

  • Something else to work out.

    FS2 uses the objects pivot point to locate the object in the sim

    Hi Steve,


    Yeah, I did this the wrong way round. I should have built a few airports before writing code. Typical developer eh, code solves everything ;)


    I didn't realise about the buildings issue. It explains why none of the Xref buildings are very big.


    As I said in a previous post, in an ideal world, the mesh smoothing area would be defined and controlled in the TSC and you'd be able to dial it up to "flat" if you don't mind things being inaccurate. This would eliminate the need for a complex full ground poly and make airport creation a lot easier.


    This is how AFS's competitor works and most payware airports for that sim are indeed flat.


    Anyway, I'm sure I can do something useful with the code.

    Worst case it's a tool that takes some of the grunt work out of creating a custom airport.

    If I can get it to create ground polys, runways, taxiways and decals, there's value in that when mixed with hand positioned buildings from FSCloudPort.


    But yes, automating building creation seem like too ambitious a goal unless IPACS rethink giving us control over mesh smoothing.

  • Years ago I suggested something that seems to be common in some sims now, and in others... not-so-much. That was that all buildings be designed with several subterranean floors or sub basements, so that rather than building-edges dangling awkwardly in the air on angled terrain, they would still (mostly) manage to fit properly.


    MsFLIGHT ran with this technique, but I see it only occasionally elsewhere, even though it seems to work quite nicely.....

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