Tutorial Exporting from GMax to OMSI 2

whistlehead

Alias Mr Hackenbacker
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Dec 10, 2015
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This is an old tutorial I wrote back in 2015. If you're starting out I'd recommend you try to get to grips with Blender instead, it's a far more capable program and you're much less likely to run into driver or other compatibility issues.

However, at the end of the day, an o3d file is an o3d file, animations, transparency, lighting etc are defined in OMSI rather than in the mesh file, and it is perfectly possible to make just about anything you'd want to make for OMSI using GMax - so this might be a useful alternative for you.

This isn't a tutorial about making models in GMax or about setting up config files in OMSI - just the file conversion part.

Good luck!

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March 14, 2015
Hi all. If you're like me, you just don't get on with Blender, and 3DSMax is a little too expensive. There's not too much in the way of decent alternatives. There is a fairly old, but easy to use and completely free program called GMax, based on an old version of 3DSMax, but there's no obvious way to export models from it to OMSI.

A while ago, I spent a while finding a way of doing just that. It's a bit more finicky than the process for Blender, but it does provide another route into asset creation for OMSI.

The process is:
.GMax -> .MDL - Flight Simulator 2004 Gmax SDK plugin
.MDL -> .X - ModelConvertorX
.X -> .o3d - OMSI SDK OmsiXConv

I've put each step into spoilers to make this easier to navigate.

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Part 1: Installing the tools
Note: you must install GMax before the FS2004 SDK.

GMax
Download from http://www.turbosquid.com/gmax and install to your preferred location.
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Register GMax at http://www.turbosquid.com/registergmax/ (the link inside the program is dead). You will need to sign up to turbosquid to register GMax.
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And here we go! Works remarkably well with a touchscreen.
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Play with your settings if it doesn't launch or crashes. On my laptop, it wouldn't save unless I ran it in XP SP3 compatibility mode, but on my desktop it works fine. You may find you need to change your rendering mode in Customise > Viewport - I've found that HEIDI with the software Z-buffer is the most reliable. OpenGL tends to produce flashing viewports and Direct3D tends to crash. HEIDI does show textures oddly, but this is just a way of displaying them and does not affect the quality of the model in OMSI.

Now you need to set GMax up for OMSI. Go to Customize > Units Setup and set the units to Metres.
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Go to Customize > Preferences and set the system unit scale to Metres, too. While you're in there, take a look at the other settings available - e.g. in "Files" you can set up incremental saving.
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GMax is now ready to use!
FS2004 SDK
This was a gamepack made for GMax to create assets for Flight Simulator 2004. Download it from this link: All the SDK's FS2004 available here
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Run the executable. Install to your GMax root directory. Don't delete the executable when you're done!
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Once installation is complete, go to Gmax/Gamepacks/FS2004/Plugins and copy all of the files in that folder to Gmax/Pugins. Now run the FS2004 SDK executable again. You will get this dialog - select "Remove"
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The reason for this step is that I've found the FS2004 SDK to be unreliable at allowing you to export. Doing this installs the exporter plugin directly into GMax, rather than into a special FS2004 version of the program. The reason for removing the SDK afterwards is that if you don't, GMax will tend to find issues with having the same plugin installed twice.

You will also need to run this file from Microsoft for the exporter to work: http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/6/5/9657c01e-107f-409c-baac-7d249561629c/msxml.msi

GMax is now capable of exporting to FS2004 file types.
ModelConverterX
This is a tool to convert between various files formats common in games like FS2004. We'll be using it to convert .MDL files to .X files. Download it from here: ModelConverterX | SceneryDesign.org
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Once downloaded, extract to whatever location you prefer. You can run the program directly from this location.
OmsiXConv
Go to [DE+EN] [OMSI] Download-Links Doku, SDK, SDK-Tools, DIN-Fonts - Allgemeiner Objektbau / Object Design - Marcels OMSI-Forum and click the link marked "SDK-Tools".
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Copy all of the files inside the "SDK" folder to your OMSI root directory
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If you have followed the steps above, you should now be ready to export from GMax to OMSI - you'll probably want to put shortcuts to these three programs somewhere handy.

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Part 2 - Textures
This section is about making textures easier to deal with.
For simplicity's sake, I recommend saving your final textures straight into the location they will be used in (I.e. OMSI 2\Sceneryobjects\*YourFolder*\Texture), using a suitable file name. To avoid later complication, it's easiest (but not mandatory) to save your file as a .BMP, for reasons explained later. Try not to leave previous versions or editor specific files (eg .pdn, .psd) in these locations if you intend to distribute your models.

As noted earlier, depending on your GMax settings the textures may appear odd in the GMax view window, but will look fine in-game.
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Part 3 - Exporting
Now it's time to get to the business end of the tutorial. Once you have your model, follow these steps to export your model from GMax into OMSI. The actual modelling process is not something I'm going to go into here, as there are plenty of tutorials on the matter out there, and the process is the same for modelling anything in GMax.

Step 1: Exporting from Gmax
In GMax, go to "file", then "Export". Select "Flightsim Scenery Object (*.MDL) from the dropdown, and give your file an appropriate name, for this example "Testhouse" (it's good practice to give the same name to any unique textures and the model they belong to, to make it easier to find them later). Note that you cannot include any spaces in your file name or the export will fail. By default, this will export to GMax\Meshes, but you can export to wherever you like.
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Remember to save your file as a .GMax as well, or you won't be able to make later alterations to the model.

If your object is really small, you may get this error:
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This is simply saying that your object is too small to show up in FS2004, it's not relevant to OMSI. Hit ignore.
Step 2: Converting to .X
Run ModelConverterX.exe from the directory to which you extracted it. Click "Import", then navigate to your .MDL file. Make sure to tell the program to find .MDL files!
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Don't worry about the lack of textures. You can tell the program to look for them in the correct directory, but it makes no difference to the outcome, so it's quicker not to bother.

This program only deals with .BMP files - any textures which aren't .BMP will be renamed within the model file as *filename*.BMP. We'll get on to this in a moment.

Now hit "Export", and export the file as a FSX Object X file (.X). I tend to export it to the same directory as the .MDL.
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Step 2a: Non-BMP textures
Follow this step if your textures aren't saved in BMP format.
Select your .X file, and open it in notepad. You will be faced with this:
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Hit "Ctrl+H". In the "Find what" box, type ".BMP". In the "Replace with" box, type ".JPG" (or whatever extension your files are saved as). I recommend not just hitting "replace all", and replacing them one by one so you can check you're not damaging the file.
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If you have more than one texture file, in different formats, I suggest that you go through the file manually. It's not actually that much work, the .X format is pretty concise.
It's important that you do this at this stage, as .X files are significantly more forgiving to editing than OMSI's .o3d files. Remember to save the file as a .X, not a .txt.
Step 3: OmsiXConv
Run OmsiXConv.exe. In the window which appears, deselect "X-File: Z-up" as this will cause orientation problems. Click "Convert", and navigate to your file. The new .o3d file will appear in the same location as the original .x file.
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Completion!
From here on out the process is exactly the same as any other OMSI model :)
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If it doesn't work, consult your OMSI logfile to give you an idea of what is wrong, and check that your model and texture files are in the correct folders.

I hope you've found this tutorial useful (and successful!).

Happy creating,
Chris
 
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