STEP 6 - TEST FLIGHT
STEP 6
TEST FLIGHT
Load your new model in CFS2 and test fly your modifications in either Free Flight or Quick Combat.

There is a quick and simple test you can make to see if your modified model file is acceptable to CFS2.

Open the Combat Flight Simulator program and select either "Free Flight" or "Quick Combat." Click on "Player Aircraft." Scroll down the menu to find your model and select it.

If you set the correct RIFF and BGL offsets in the binary code of your model file, the model will appear in the viewing window.

Where's My Model!

If your model does not appear in the viewing window, the first thing to check is that you calculated the correct offset values for the RIFF and BGL offsets in Step 5. If it loads without a problem, you're almost in business!

DESIGN

TIP
If your model still doesn't appear, or if CFS2 crashes while loading scenery, or does something else weird, take a close look at the SCA file you compiled to create the scenery object file.

Check every entered or edited hex value, particularly the offset values for CFS2 variables and the mask values used in visibility tests. If a mask value is incorrect, the model may incorrectly report the part "not visible" and refuse to draw it. If this happens to the fuselage part, the entire model will not be rendered.

Check that every Call command is matched with a Return command and that every TransformMat( ... ) is matched with a TransformEnd command. Either of these problems can cause the model to not appear, or for "strange" parts to appear in the model.

If your model appears in the Player Aircraft viewing window, click OK and click "Fly Now."

Give your model a complete workout to test every edited feature. Make sure the flight controls all work properly, the prop(s) turn, the wheels roll, the wings fold, the canopy opens, etc.. Test everything!

If you've added bullet hole effects, put your model into Quick Combat and let it get shot up. Check that bullet holes are appearing where you expected to see them.

If you're using breakaway parts, do they all break off as they should? If no parts break from the aircraft, you'll have to return to the model project file and check that every break away part is correctly linked and has the correct pre-condition "Parts Visible" test applied.

Are you using dynamic texture swapping? Do your damage textures appear when and where they should?

Do the effects ( smoke, fire, explosions, etc.) - appear when and where you want them?

When editing the DP file for your model, you'll no doubt want to try it out a few times as you go. Most of this test work involves checking to see that muzzle flashes appear when and where they should.

Save your edited DP file first. Open CFS2 and select your aircraft for Quick Combat. Using an external viewpoint, pan around the plane and fire the guns. Let it get shot up a bit and check the resulting effects

If changes are needed, press "Esc" to exit Quick Combat and return to your text editor. Save the edited DP file! This seems obvious until you return to CFS2 and find that nothing has changed.

Next, open your aircraft's folder in the CFS2 AIRCRAFT folder and delete the .cdp file for your model. Return to Quick Combat, select your airplane again and continue testing the changes.

NOTE
Each time you fly your aircraft ... or any aircraft ... CFS2 automatically creates a .cdp file - Cached Damage Profile - e.g. myairplane.cdp in the same directory as the DP file. The CDP file is used to make the game perform more efficiently.

If a CDP file exists in the aircraft folder, CFS2 will use it instead of the DP file. After making changes to a damage profile, always delete the CDP file for that aircraft before flying the model. That way, the newly created CDP file will reflect your changes.

If you're like me, your model is almost a never-ending project. You're going to see things that aren't quite right, some little tweak or modification here and there ... a texture to change or improve, another idea for a special effects sequence, etc..

Using this guide, you have the knowledge to customize your model limited only by your imagination.

Remember ...

"The secret to walking on water ....
is knowing where the stones are!"

STEP 3 The Process