STEP 2 - CREATE MODEL and SOURCE CODE files
STEP 2
CREATE MODEL and SOURCE CODE files
Generate the CFS2 model file, e.g. myairplane.mdl and Object Source Code file, e.g. myairplane.sca.

You've finished your model project. It's fully animated, fully textured and almost ready to fly.

 It's a Matter of Scale

Flight Simulator scenery models are designed in three-dimensional, 16-bit integer design space ( ±65535 ). The range of values for all spatial coordinates however, is limited to the range ±32767.

The physical size of your design units depends on your model's scale factor, set in FSDS in the Project Properties window under Reference Point, Scale.

Let's say you design a simple box, 2 meters on a side centered at the origin (0, 0, 0) with a scale factor of 0.001. Each vertex point will be at ±1.000000 meter from the origin in your project file.

You expect that your model file will show the vertices located at ±1.000000 meter. It doesn't. FSDS creates your model file with each vertex placed at ±512.000000!

What happened?

NOTE
Regardless of the scale factor you set in the Project Properties window for Reference Point Scale, FSDS Pro always generates your model file with a set scale factor of 1.953125 mm per design unit, or 512.000000 units per meter.

When FSDS Pro generates your object source code however, it divides your design units by the Reference Point Scale you set in the Project Properties window to produce its vertex points.

Since you set the scale factor to 0.001 for your simple box project, the object source code file generated vertex points at 1.00 meters/scale factor, or 1000.000000.

If you're not going to be editing the object source code, this is not a problem. Since that's what we're for however, the vertex points in the model and the object source code must be identical!

DESIGN

TIP
To ensure that the coordinates in the MDL file and the SCA file are identical ...

SET YOUR PROJECT SCALE FACTOR = 0.001953125.
If an object source code vertex of 1000 produces a model vertex of 512, then each design unit in the object source code is 1000/512, or 1.953125 units per meter.

Thus, if a scale factor of 0.001 produces a vertex of 1000.000000, a scale factor of 0.001953125 will produce a vertex of 512.000000

 The MODEL FILE

Before you generate your model file, you have to give it a name ... actually two names.

One name will be used for the Aircraft Folder, which contains the entire model aircraft package. The other name will be used for the model file itself. It is also the name automatically given to the flight dynamics data file (.air) and the name you will give to your damage profile (.dp).

The name that appears in the Player Aircraft pull-down menu is set with the "title=" parameter in the aircraft configuration file.

NOTE
The name you give your model file (.mdl) must not include blank spaces! If you need a blank, use the underscore "_" instead.

With your model project loaded in FSDS, select File/Project Properties from the main menu. In the lower half of the Project Properties window, the name you enter in the Project Name window is the name that will be given to your Aircraft folder, e.g. FX Break. This name will also appear in the header of the object source code file (.sca) for this model.

Click OK. Open File/Create FS Object File/Aircraft File (.mdl).

Select an aircraft from the displayed list of available aircraft with flight characteristics similar to those of your model.

At the bottom of the Flight Model Selection window, check the box for New Aircraft. Also, check the boxes to Copy Textures and Process Reference Parts. This will put your model's texture files in your aircraft's texture folder and modify the Aircraft.cfg file to match your model's physical size, ground stance and scrape points.

When you click OK, you'll see a small Dialog window appear asking for a "Folder Name" and an "Aircraft Name." If you entered a Project Name earlier in the Project Properties window, that name will appear as your "Folder Name."

The name you enter for "Aircraft Name" will become the name of your model file (.mdl), the name of your model's flight dynamics data file (.air) and the damage profile (.dp). It is also the name that is given to the model in the aircraft.cfg file. Let's say you choose the name "myairplane."

When you click OK, FSDS will generate the aircraft package for your model. When the generation process is complete, check the AIRCRAFT folder in CFS2. You will see a new folder with the name My Airplane. Inside this folder are the following items:

CFS2 File Structure

NOTE
FSDS does not generate a Damage Profile for your model, since it has no idea what kind of damage profile you want to create or how you want to apply it.

At this stage, just copy a damage profile from a similar aircraft, paste it into the My Airplane folder and be sure to rename it, myairplane.dp. You'll edit this file later to customize it for your model.

Now that you have a flyable model, open CFS2 and select Free Flight. Select your aircraft from the Player Aircraft and give it a close look.

This is where you can test out your design to be sure everything is as you want it. If you find problems with the animation, textures, part placement, or whatever, now is the time to make the corrections.

 The OBJECT SOURCE CODE FILE

Assuming everything is fine, go back to FSDS, load your project file ... myairplane.fsc. Click File/Create FS Object File/Scasm Source File (.sca).

The Save As dialog window appears with the file name *.sca appearing in the File Name window. The Save as type: window should display "SCASM Source Files (*.sca)." For convenience, use the same name as your model file ... myairplane.sca.

CAUTION
Save your SCASM source file in the same folder that contains the SCASM Compiler. The compiler program scasm.exe assumes the source code file exists in the same folder that it does.

Click Save and you're done!

You now have a flyable 3D model saved in CFS2 and a file containing the SCASM source code for that model.

Now things start to get interesting.

It's on to STEP 3, where you'll do the critical editing of the SCASM source code to create the animated parts, texture swapping and the application of bullet holes.

STEP 1 The Process STEP 3