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What Modelling Software do you use?

PostPosted: Fri 10 Oct 2003 - 22:33
by Barry
May as well try the new forum.

Had the sail sim for a while and waiting on the full retail edition of motorboat sim. Have made a few routes when I first got the sim. but difficult to work on terrain once route generated and not used it for a bit.

Regarding modelling have tried "Blender" a little but again found i was starting to get error notices with the script file to convert to VRML2, and putting more than one texture on seemed difficult. Have recently learnt to use gmax but unfortunately not valid for this sail sim.

What software do others use for modelling for the sail and motorboat sim routes?

My interest are coastal, docks, canals, etc but not racing.


PostPosted: Mon 13 Oct 2003 - 11:27
by Jeroen
Hello Barry...

Thanks for trying out the new forum. I've been bombarded as 3D Developer for Stentec when the previous developer left. I use 3D Studio Max but understand that's a bit expensive for home users (i believe "a bit" is an understatement).

We would like to use GMax to0 but the problem is we'd have to buy a very expensive GMax developer pack to create a gamepack to make it valid for Sail Simulator and Motorboat Simulator. At this time we don't have the time nor resources (number of developers) to buy and develop a special gamepack for GMax. We've been thinking about writing our own export plugin for 3D Studio Max but that too is going to take quite some time before we can finish that.

I'd like to hear other suggestions of other 3D designers (Alex Lindeijer for instance) on what tools they use and how they use it to export to Sail Simulator compatible 3D objects.

PostPosted: Mon 13 Oct 2003 - 21:09
by Barry
Jeroen Hi

I understand the gmax position and is a you say diffcult for the
sofware firm with the plug in and costs etc.
Only just learned how to use it myself but using it for making models
for Auran's Trainz game, boats and dockside items. etc, but boats etc on fixed track.

3D Studio Max is a no go price wise.
With "Blender" you have to use a script file to
save as VRML2 and can't get that work right now so
in a bit of a limbo

An easy to use software program would I think bring a lot more interest
into the game or a free one as there are a few about but files not compatible.
Blender is open source I think but the only problem is the compatibility
and using the script files to convert to VRML2.


PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct 2003 - 08:14
by Jeroen
I couldn't agree with you more.

Maybe it's an idea to tackle the blender problem. GMax might be a sollution but not on short terms. Could you send me a model you've constructed in blender. I'll go looking for blender myself. Maybe we can come up with a solution.

If you'd like to you can send the model to

I agree with you about the modelling software being important for the community. I myself am a huge Trainz (just ordered the new Trainz Railroad simulator 2004 :D) fan and know what the community has done for Trainz.


PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct 2003 - 09:57
by Aaltje
Yeah I use blender too. The problem with the script on my web page is that you need to assign a material to the object, even if you only texture it. After that everything sit hould work fine.
But on the blender forum there is a new and much better export script available. I can link to it from my page. But in the mean time have a look at the blender forum on This one also works fine. Else, don't be afraid to have a look in the VRML file and understand it.
Blender works fine for me. I also use it for other modelling stuff. It s free. Has a great community and dedicated people working on the code all the time. It might be a bit hard to start with since its GUI is efficient but maybe not so easy to start using. But once you are used to it is great.
The blender community is the perfect example how an active community craetes a great product. So I would say don't be shy and publish you're sceneries even if they are only WIP (work n Progress). Let people comment it etc. Get advice on this forum.
If you want an improved sailsimulator and new sceneries you have to get involved. It is not very rewarding making sceneries when (almost) nobody else does it.
So.. pick up those sceneries you once started. Post them. Get advice and share your expierences.
One other comment is that it is also in Stentec's interest that the community becomes active. This would mean regular updates. Improve also small things that user complain about. Add AI, more realistic behaviour (ref flying boats), improve stuff like joystick control etc. Dont put all your money on version 5. The competition ( e.g. virtual skipper) is also moving fast. Eventhough these are different products with a different focus.

PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct 2003 - 21:43
by Barry

Regarding the Blender models I made I didn't bother to keep them.
With Trainz have uploaded all the gmax ones to the Auran Download Station. Just uploaded 2 versions of a sailing barge. Probably a bit basic by your standards but will do for now. Trainz user name "Barry".

Will have to have another go at Blender and see if the new file mentioned will work. Trouble is with using gmax
will have to refresh my memoryfor Blender. If you could give support for Blender of some sort perhaps, then later if at all possible gmax.

As mentioned my main interest are the coastal side, docks, canals, etc and hopefully when the new route creator 2 comes out there was a mention of animated boats I think. Not too realistic driving one boat as have no interest myself in multiplayer. Docks, canals, locks, dock gates all perhaps made workable some day. Now that would be interesting.


will have another look at the script download link you gave although the one I downloaded was for the latest version. Did work for a while then developed some sort of continual error notice, and did try several fresh versions of it. Perhaps something to do with the texture problem. Will have to refresh my memory on how to use Blender but have written most of it down to remind me.

With Trainz mentioned above I uploaded about a dozen routes (mainly docks and coastal) to the Auran Trainz server and quite a bit of dock and canal content with drivable(fixed track) and static ships (using gmax) .Only mentioned as would be useful if Stentec or whoever could arrange some space to store models for download. However bandwidth costs etc could be expensive. I have a small website like most people but, not usable for downloads unfortunately.



PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct 2003 - 22:09
by Guest
Hi BArry
if you have any problems in the future send me the blend file and I'll have a look (don't forget to pack it so I get the textures etc in the file)

PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct 2003 - 22:11
by Aal
Hi BArry
if you have any problems in the future send me the blend file and I'll have a look (don't forget to pack it so I get the textures etc in the file)

PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct 2003 - 22:53
by Guest
Thanks Alex.

Will try a fresh version of the file when I get around
to Blender again, and if same problems will contact you.
I suspect its the texture problem and material as not too well up on it.

Perhaps the latest script file I downloaded acts differently to the previous one I used. Trouble is took me about a year to make anything in gmax as had given up on it but, find gmax fairly easy to use now and back to square 1 with Blender.


PostPosted: Wed 15 Oct 2003 - 09:51
by Jeroen
It looks like Blender is the first way to go for us. Since it's opensource it has quite some possibilities for us.

I think we can write an export script for Blender without too much problems (depending on how complex the python scripting language is). I will have a look at it as soon as possible (I hope this week).

Maybe Alex could send me one of his models to test with the export plugin.

It looks to be a wise action to create an export script for Blender first and after that maybe we could have a look at GMAX support though that's a bit more difficult (resource wise ;))

PostPosted: Wed 15 Oct 2003 - 21:08
by Barry

Sounds good as support will bring in the added interest in using Blender for myself and others.
... and hopefully gmax later.

When I made the few routes a while ago these were of the river Mersey Estuary and coastline where I live, about 25 miles, also Menai Straits, etc. With a sailing sim the default is water so unless creating islands the land, hills etc simply ends as if sliced off, surrounded by infinite sea which is a bit off-putting. Also working in any detail for altering the terrain after the route is generated for docks, etc and realistic docksides is practicaly impossible unlesss using whole models of complete docks, etc.

Would be nice to be able to raise or lower the generated terrain in finer detail working directly on the generated map, with a height adjustment using the mouse or keyboard, etc.


PostPosted: Thu 16 Oct 2003 - 20:44
by Aal
Barry: sound exciting. How can we get our hands on it? Pitty it isn't on the new CD.
I did sent Jeroen the blend and python file. I discovered that the object editor even converted WRL jpeg textures to BMP. Very handy.

PostPosted: Thu 16 Oct 2003 - 21:09
by Barry
Alex Hello.

Used to working with Trainz and one route I made has up to 7 miles of docks and you can adjust terrain with mouse, etc.

The greyscale, etc generation is fine for the basis of a route but needs a bit more for realism. Again Motorboat and sail sim would be nice as one game as basically seems just to be made for the on line racing at present which holds no interest for me.

See what happens when the next version of the scenery designer toolkit comes out which I think was mentioned for this year.


PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct 2003 - 00:52
by Barry
Alex thought I had better start looking at Blender again as I like the realism of the way the boats move through the water, and looks as if gmax could be in the distant future. Things should improve when AI becomes a part of it. Probably be the motorboat sim I will go for.

Anyway will try and work through the castle tutorial to refresh my memory.
I remember last time I enquired about how you set the true size in Blender for the grid squares and still puzzled on that one. In gmax you type in the size of each square say 1 foot with grid lines say each ten feet.

Still can't see how you set the grid size in Blender to work on.
Say I want to make a boat 100 feet which was the size ot the sailing barge mentioned how do I set the grid up. At least one could make floating boats in the buoy format as you made for your route.

Probably mentioned somewhere in the tutorials but never found it last time.



Hope you don't mind me asking and it may bring some input from others into the forum

PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct 2003 - 13:53
by Barry
What is the best method to create ship hulls?
Assuming that gid squares are one metre(? )
Blender top view set out boatshape and extruded in 3 sections at one metre per section. Side and front view pull in underside of bow and stern, pull bow up and pull in side vertices to create the basic hull shape. With barges and narrowboats the hull is level with no top rail or surround on some. Bottom is flat or nearly so.

Trying that with Blender as thats the method I used in gmax for sailing barge. Bit difficult to determine which vertices to adjust and by how much using this method? More by trial and error.

Perhaps easier to extrude top plan then scale each section, then adjust?