The FSDS 2.24 and 3.5 Tutorial
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Thread: The FSDS 2.24 and 3.5 Tutorial

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    SOH-CM-2019 wolfi's Avatar
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    The FSDS 2.24 and 3.5 Tutorial

    The FSDS2.24 and 3.5 Tutorial
    This should be a tutorial for the Abacus aircraft and scenery design program FSDS 2.24 and FSDS 3.5.
    I will start from the real simple basics to a flyable multilod and breakable aircraft for CFS2, secondary for FS2004 and FSx also. I can only explain how I work with FSDS so I think it’s possible that I miss something or that there is a better way to get to the final model, so I appreciate any tips or suggestions.
    At last, English is not my native language, if I get something wrong, please correct me. Wolfi


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    Part #001 The Setup

    The Setup
    After installing and activating the FSDS program you have to advise FSDS which flightsimulator you use, and which measurement (meters or feet) you prefer, also you have to choose where you project files are. For this project you have to create a folder named FSDS F4F Wildcat, with following subfolders:
    Backdrop,Pictures, Library, Texture Templates and Texture; you can place this folder everywhere you want on your hard drive (Picture 000)
    Going to the setup: click at the upper left site “File”, then go in the dropdown menu to preferences (Picture 001) and click on it, you see a window called “Application Preferences” (Picture 002) in the empty lines below you can go through the setup; the first line is the flightsim for which you like to build the new aircraft, search for the CFS2.exe file in your main CFS2 folder, next line search for the “Texture” folder of the new project, same as for the object files but use the “Library” folder, the Project files are going into the mainproject folder “FSDS F4F Wildcat” the “Macro” and the “SCASM” files are going again into the “Library” Folder.
    Next are the “design units” I will use “Meters” for this Project. Finally the “SimVersion” this project will be for CFS2 but can also be used for FS2004 or FSX(FSDS 3.5 only)


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    Part #002

    The main buttons (Picture 003)
    At the left are the buttons for the “part Mode”, “Poly Mode” and for the “Point Mode”. This are buttons for the Mesh view. Then there is a button called “Mouse select”, with this button you can select parts, polys or points depending on the selected mesh view. The next button is the ruler for measurement (click and hold the left mouse button and then move the mouse; you will see the distance in meter’s or feet). The most used button is the “Move Mode” with this button you can move part’s or point’s but not polys. Then there is the “Rotate” button, it explains itself, you can rotate parts and again points. The next three buttons are the constrain X, Y and Z buttons, useful if you want to move a part or a point in only one or two direction’s. For example, if you want to move a part only at the Z axis then press constrain x and constrain y.


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    Charter Member 2016 bearcat241's Avatar
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    This is good for introduction. Thanks. Keep it coming Wolfi...

    "If you're in a fair fight, you didn't plan it right"


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    Part #003

    The first object 1
    We select a box from the left figures menu; you will see a popup window where you can set the width, Height and Depth of the box also you can set the origin x, y and z position, the standard box is set with “origin at center” there is another option with “origin at bottom” (Picture 004). For our first simple object we stay with the standard setting and we get a box 20x20x20 m. After selecting the object, (standard it’s shown in “Part mode”) you see the entire object with x,y, z axis placed in the center of the object (Picture 005). Now switch over to the “Poly mode” (Picture 006), you will see that one polygon is White highlighted, -you can select the next or last poly by pressing the left or right button at the top “toolbar” or by pressing the left or right arrow at your keyboard. Next view is the “Point Mode” (Picture 007) same here with the point’s one point is highlighted white. If you press the button for the “movemode” you can move the white highlighted point only. If you go back to the“Part mode” you will see that you can move the entire part. Only different is the “Poly mode” you can’t move the highlighted Poly. Back to the part mode, if you press shift while moving with the mouse you will see that you move the axis only instead the entire part. At last go back to the “Point Mode” then press the “Mouse select” button and move with the mouse around the front polygons whilepressing the left mouse button (Picture 008), you will see, that the selected points are yellow, now you can move all yellow points together, if the White point was within the selected points the white point will be appear green, if the white point was outside the selected point’s the point will be still White and doesn’t move with the yellow selected point’s. So be aware while building a model, make sure that you select points before you move the point’s or make sure that non-point is selected (yellow) and only the white point is the Point that you want to move. The same appears for the entire object, you can select for example 2 of 3 objects by mouse select, the selected objects are yellow or green the unselected object appears blue or bright blue, again you will move only the yellow and green objects. There can be only one green point, poly or object. Mark: The green or white points, polys or objects - (bright blue) are the “main selected” but that will be important later. Finally, to "unselect" selected point’s polys or objects, press “Edit” at the top toolbar then go down at the popup menu to “Unselect all” (Picture 009) and click on it. -The option “Unselect”works only for one green highlighted point, poly or object.


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    Part #004

    The first object 2
    OK, let’s start with the first real object! Select a standard 20x20x20m box from the left “Part Pallete” and then select a “Tube”, there will be again a popup window called “Tube Parameters” The standard Tube Parameters are: Radius 2m, Length 20m, points/section 16, sections 8 and the Structure Long Axis is the Y Axis. - Because I will use the tube as a roof for a house we have to change the settings, (it’s possible to change the settings later also, but why do more work than needed?) , - the new settings are: Radius 10, length 20 (unchanged), points/section 3, sections 1 and the Structure Long Axis Z (Picture 010). So you will get a triangle object within the box. Now press the “Move Mode” and also the “Constrain X” and the “Constrain Z” buttons, because we only want to move the triangle object upwards. You will have noticed that the outlines of the new created object are bright blue the other object (the box) is flat blue (Picture 011). Now move the triangle object right above the box (Picture 012). You will notice that the triangle object isn’t fully displayed at the “Back view” and at the “Right view” window; but we can easily solve that problem, go to “View” at the upper toolbar and press at the dropdown menu “Center on Project” (also Picture 012) the view will center at the whole project. To center the view at the selected (Bright blue) Part just press “Center on Part” at the drop down Menu.
    Finally we have two objects that we like to fit together


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    Part #005

    The first object 3
    To view both objects from all sites go to the “Solid View Window” press your left mouse button and then move around the objects, you can zoom in and out at “Solid View Controls” tool bar.
    Because we all like to have low poly models we have to remove a few polies from the objects! First we get a look at the current triangle object, as you moved around the objects you will have noticed that there are a few “useless” polys, that’s the lower poly of the triangle object and the top poly of the box! Both polys will be invisible when the objects are fitted together, so let’s remove them!
    First the Triangle! -Select “Poly Mode” at the toolbar,than search for the lower poly (right and left arrow) until the poly is white (Picture013), go to “Edit” and select at the drop down menu “Delete” (Picture 014), you will recognize that the poly is gone. Now switch over to “Part Mode” and select the "box" (remember the current part is the bright blue Part) again go to “PolyMode” search now for the upper polygon and delete it also (no picture for this). You will have noticed that at the dropdown menus are also “shortcuts” displayed, for example the “delete key” at your keyboard will remove the polys also.


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    Part #006

    The first object 4
    Now fit the parts (objects) together, go to “Part Mode”select the “Box” as main part, than go to “edit” and press “Select all” now the box will be green highlighted and the triangle object will be yellow (Picture 015).
    Next go to “part” at the upper toolbar and press at the drop down menu “Join Selected” (Picture 016). After pressing the “join selected” Button, both parts are fitted together and they appear as one blue part, withthe x, y, z axis in the center of the box (Picture 017). If you selected the triangle as main object, the x, y, z axis will be at the center of the triangle.


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    Part #007

    The first object 5
    You notice that there is a gap between the upper triangle and the lower box and if you turn around the object in the solid view, you will also notice that there is a poly missing at the triangle part (Picture 018).
    We are going to close the gap first!
    Select “Point Mode” at the toolbar. At the “Top view”, you see that the points of the triangle are within the box -that will help us to select points at the next step. First search for the white highlighted point, you will see that the white point will be at the bottom of the box, than press the left or right arrow at the top toolbar or at your keyboard until the white point appears at one corner at the top of the box (Picture 019) than use “Mouse select” and select the triangle point nearest to the selected white point, in this case the best view for selecting will be the “top view” (Picture 020). Now we are doing the same as we does with the objects, go to “part” at the top toolbar and press“join selected” the yellow point is now welded together with the white point while the white point doesn’t changed its position (Picture 021). If you look at the solid view window you will see the different. Now proceed with the other three corners of the box, select the next upper point of the box, then select the next triangle point with mouse select and join the points. (Make sure that you select always an upper corner point of the box, control it in the back and site view). Finally the object will look like a simple house with still a gap at the backside. (Picture 022)
    For self-control of your work, change to “Part Mode”press “edit” and select “Part properties” at the drop down menu, a window opens where you can see all partial claims. Look for the points and polygons; there must be 10 points and 8 polygons (Picture 023)


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    Part #008

    The first object 6
    Now we are going to close the gap at the front side ofthe object (it’s not at the backside as I posted before)
    Select “point Mode” and go to the “right” view. Than select the upper three points of the triangle so all three points are yellow highlighted (Picture 024). Next go to “Polygon”at the top toolbar, then press “Make Polygon from selected Points” (Picture 025). With my part the polygon was turned inside. The white “Pin” shows the polygondirection (Picture 026). To “flip” the polygon go back to “Polygon” and press “Flip” at the drop down menu (Picture 027).
    Now go to “file”and then save it as “my first object” in the before created Folder (See Part#001).
    Now our first object is nearly ready, only the texturesare are left to be done


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    Part #009

    The first object 7
    Textures
    The textures, therefore you need a paint program that can handle layers; I won’t describe here how such programs are working. But don’t worry I will post a finished texture as a zipped bmp file.
    -Our “house” model is symmetrical that means that we have to make only 2 texture templates, a front/Back template and a left/right template. Remember we created in Part #001 of this Tutorial a main folder with a subfolder named “Texture Templates” now we are going to use this folder (Picture028).
    Open your saved project, go to “Part” at the upper toolbar and press “Make texture Template” (Picture 029) you will see a popup windowc alled “Texture Template Parameters” we will use the given setting and make a template for the “front” (and back) of the house sized 256 x 256 (Picture 030) after pressing “OK” another popup Windows will open (Picture 031) here you have to search for your “Texture Templates” Folder, give the texture template a unique name or a number and save it into the folder. Now do the same steps with the “right” side, give the template again a unique name or number and save it. Now you willh ave two rectangular texture templates (Picture 032)


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    Part #009

    The first object 8
    Apply the Textures
    Now we have to work with our paint program first. I use paint shop pro...
    Step one, create a new Picture, sized 512 x 512 pixels, that’s our middle sized Texture sheet. It’s important that you use Pixel (Picture 033). Now open the texturetemplates and select the part of the texture that shows our front model (Picture034). Copy it and past it into our empty texture sheet as a new layer (Picture035). Do the same with the other texture template. Finally it should look like (Picture036). You can place the templates at the texture sheet everywhere, -you can also resize them. Now save the texture in our model Texture Folder as “First_Object_Texture.Bmp
    (You can use also 256 x 256, 128 x 128, 256 x 128 - andso on, I never tried it, but I think the smallest size is 4 x 4 and the maximumsize for CFS2 is 1024 x 1024)


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    Part #010

    The first object 9
    Apply the Textures
    Step two, open your saved project, and go to “Part” at the top toolbar and press “textures” at the drop down menu, a new window opens, called “Part Texture Assignments” (Picture 037). Now we need to load the texture into FSDS, go to the upper line “Front” and press “select” (again Picture037). Another window opens Called “Texture List” than press “Add” and the next window opens Called “Texture Definition” now press “Browse” and search for yourTexture (Picture 038), the last window opens it’s the in Part #000 definedTexture folder wherein you hopefully saved your before created Texture (again Picture038), after you selected the texture you can close the last two windows, now you see the “Texture List” with your texture “First_Object_Texture.Bmp” in it (Picture 039) . Now press at the texture (it will be blue underlined than) and press “OK”. A new window opens Called “Texture Properties” -you can see the Texture in it. Because we will apply the front texture first, go with your mouse to one corner of the texture, than press the left mouse button and move to the opposite corner of the front texture part (Picture 040), it doesn’t matter from which corner you start, most important is that the texture is exact in the box you draw with your mouse, now press OK, we can proceed with the right, back and left texture also. After applying the textures close the window with “OK”, now you have a fully textured model (Picture041).


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    SOH-CM-2019 wolfi's Avatar
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    I hope this was helpful for those who are absolutely Beginners


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    Project files

    Here are the project files with textures and templates.The next step will be a simple aircraft with animations.


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    A little exercise

    Just a little exercise, replace the textures with the new one ( First_Object_Texture_2 in the zip below) and give each side its own color, there are markers at the bottom box they should fit together at the final model, (black on black, blue on blue and so on)


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    Part #011

    The first Aircraft
    The next step will be to build a complete aircraft with all necessary animations, therefore you have to download the zip file bellow and past all files in the before created “FSDS F4F Wildcat” folder.
    You will find 3 images in the Backdrop folder, a site, front and top view of an aircraft; I made the drawings by myself to keep it simple.
    Now open your FSDS program, Select the top view, than goto the top toolbar to “View” than at the dropdown menu to “Backdrop” and then to “Load” (Picture 042). A popup window opens (if you have the settings correct it’s your project folder -FSDS F4F Wildcat-) DoubleClick on the Backdrop folder and select the “Top” called Image (Picture 043) then press “open”. The next step is to “scale” the image; you can see a measurement 11.8 m (Picture 044), again go to view, Backdrop then press “scale” (Picture 045) now move the popup Window “Backdrop Scale” out of the top view. You see in the popup window “Distance 1”,and “Backdrop Image Pixels 10” (Picture 046) now go with your mouse to the upper left wing corner and click on it, then go to the upper right wing corner and click again on it. After doing that, you will see in the box “BackdropImage Pixels” a new number in this case 481.05..., now write in the Distance box (there will be still a 1 in it) the number shown at the top drawing, write “11.6”in the box (Picture 047) and press OK. If you use the “Ruler Mode” button and move with the ruler from the left selected corner to the right selected corner you must have the correct measurement. Make sure to unselect the ”Ruler Mode”button. At last we have to center the top drawing. You see a line between cockpit and engine, that’s the centerline of the aircraft and must be at thecenter of the FSDS wireframes. Press “Strg” and one of the “arrows” at your keyboard to move the drawing into the right position. You will see how the drawing slowly moves while pressing the arrow. Now doing the same with the Backa nd the Right view in your FSDS program ( use for the Back view the “front”named image and for the right view the “Site” called image) before you save it, you have to create a simple box and save it as Aircraft_01_a (FSDS doesn’t save a project without object in it)


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    Part #012

    The first Aircraft 2
    For a proper setup you can make a control box with the measuring, we have the length 8.8 m and width 11.6 m, so create a box; width 11.6 , depth 8.8 and approx. 3 m height, than go to the "right" window and move the box for or backward at the Z axis until the box match the Backdrop drawing, than adjust the highest point and the lowest point (Point Mode). Now your aircraft should fit into the box at all views. (Picture 048) in the Zip below you can find my setup. For some reason FSDS will sometimes search again for the backdrop drawings, especially when using different PC’s, to have the backdrop drawing also in your texture folder will solve that problem in general.
    At last I will upload my latest setup as a zip here, I removed all not necessary files so only the newest files are in there, they will replace the older files or will place new files. I personal give each mainstep of the design process a unique name so that I can go back if something fails.


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    Part #013

    The first Aircraft 3
    First we will build the fuselage; in general a tube with a few sections will fit our needs. So the first step will be to calculate how much sections and how much points/section did we need for the fuselage. Ok, there are 3 main sections visible at the right view, and at the front view the aircraft has 8 corners, I will build a low poly test model so I keep with the 8 corners while using 8 points but will use 4 sections. Figure out the width of the fuselage while using the Ruler (Ruler Mode) then select from the left object menu the tube (New Tube) in the Tube parameter window are a few parameter boxes Radius, length, points/section and sections, we will use following parameters radius 0.7 m, length 8.8 m points/section 8 and section 4, at last we set the “Z axis” (Picture 049). Because you created a new object you can now delete the box (Part mode, select box, -Edit, press Delete or use delete at your keyboard). Now you see the before created tube. Move the points of the tube (Point Mode, select all point’s first) at the Z axis until they fit the drawing (press constrain X and constrain Y before) - I like to keep the fuselage axis at X, Y and Z -zero. Now change back to “Part Mode” and go with your mouse to the Back/front view, press the right mouse button, select and click at the menu window “ExpandedView” (Picture 050). In the now expanded view, zoom into your object using “Zoom in” or “Zoom out” at the top toolbar. You will recognize that the tube doesn’t fit the drawing, so we had to turn tube 22.5 degrees. Therefore go to Transform and click at the popup window at “Rotate”a new popup window opens with 3 parameter boxes X, Y and Z and 3 options about what we want to rotate. We want to rotate only the vertices so we can leave it as it is; we want to rotate at the Z axis only so type in the “Z Parameter box“22.5 (Picture 051) then click “OK” now the tube fits in general the drawing. Now right click again with your mouse at the whole window and remove the check mark before “Expanded View” than zoom out until you can see the entire part also adjust the zoom at the Solid View Controls Panel.
    It’s on you now to shape the tube in accordance with the Backdrop drawings, select “Point Mode” I will suggest to use the constrain X,Y and Z buttons while moving Points. A little tip, the “scale”button will be also very useful to expand points uniform, another tip select constrain Z before.


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    SOH-CM-2019 wolfi's Avatar
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    Notice

    I forgot to notice that the tube should fit only the main fuselage outlines (Picture 052).
    By the way, I hope this tutorial is understandable for everyone who is interested.


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    Part #013

    The first Aircraft 4 poly smoothing
    OK, finally you should have a fuselage as shown in (Picture053). Now I like to smooth the poly’s a bit, it’s not necessary for the project in the moment, but will show you how to smooth the polys. Make sure you are in the “Part Mode”, then go to “Edit” go down at the menu list to “Part Properties” and click on it, a Popup window “Part Properties” opens, look at the right site where you see a little empty box before Polygon Smoothing, click on the box and press OK (Picture 054)


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    Part #014

    The first Aircraft 5
    Now it’s time for the Ruder! First you have to look at your right Backdrop drawing, how many points should the tube have to form a ruder? – We will use a tube with 6 points and 2 sections, Radius 0.5m, length 1m. Move the new tube back to the ruder (I suggest to Press Constrain X before) (Picture055)
    Now go to “Point Mode” and fit the tube to the drawing, I suggest expanding the right view window and zoom in to the part. Finally you should have a tube in the right view window like (Picture 056 and Zip file "FSDS F4F Wildcat 02"). Now go to theTop View Window and expand it (a little tip, go to “view” and click on “Center on Part”), now select all points (remember selected points are Yellow) press - Constrain “Y” and “Z”-, select "scale” at the toolbar and move with your mouse left while pressing the left mouse button until the tube fits closely the drawing (Picture057). Expand the Top view and go to the Back view window, expand it and center on part, we will make the top of the ruder and tail fin a bit smaller, select the top 6 points move with your mouse left until it fit the drawing, now select the top 3 points and do the same again (Picture 058). Expand the view, go to “view” -select and click on “Center on Project”. Below the actual ZIP file "FSDS F4F Wildcat 03".


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    Part #015

    The first Aircraft 6

    Maybe you always noticed that the elevator looks like the Ruder, so we can use the Ruder part for it. Go to the upper toolbar click on “Copy” and on “past” now we have doubled the part. The next step is to rotate the new part, click on“Transform” then select “Rotate” make sure that at the "Options" are “vertices” selected, then write into the left “Z” box "90" (degrees) Now move the part into the right position. At last we have to correct the front part, so go to “Point Mode” select the front points (Picture 060) and move them backwards until the part fit’s the top drawing. Press Constrain “X” and “Y” before. For the right elevator “copy” and “past” the left elevator part, go again to “Transform” select “Flip” and Click on “Flip X” (Picture 061). Now go to “Edit” and go down and click on “Part Properties”, at the new window you see the "Part Properties" menu; go to “Axis Location” at the lefts side, then to the "X axis "and remove the minus before the number (Picture 062)and press “OK”. Your aircraft should look now like the one in Picture 063.


    One sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)

  24. #24
    SOH-CM-2019 wolfi's Avatar
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    Part #016

    The first Aircraft 7, the wings 1
    Now we come to the wings, I prepared a tube made from 10 points and two sections originally length 4m, radius 2m, I moved the point’s until they fit the wing profile seen in the right view backdrop (Picture 064).
    You will find the new setup in the Zip file below (FSDSF4F Wildcat 04)



    One sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)

  25. #25
    SOH-CM-2019 wolfi's Avatar
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    Part #017

    The first Aircraft 7 the wings 2
    …Select the top view window, go to “Point Mode” and select all point’s, move the points right until the left row of points are at the centerline of the aircraft, then select the two outer point row’s, move them right until the middle row of points are at the line between the flaps and aileron, at last select the right row of points and move them until the end of the right wing (Picture 065). Now go to “Part Mode” select “Move” select also constrain X and Y. We will move the X, Y, Z axis more forward to the center of gravity, so press “shift” at your keyboard and move (only) the whole axis forward (Picture 066)


    One sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes (Antoine de Saint Exupéry)

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