Cool new things…

I must say, I am really excited about where we are heading as a team in terms of tools and content creation pipeline.  I think we've finally gotten on track.  And by "on track", I mean we're actually on the rails.  We may still be sitting in the station, but at least we aren't wandering around in the weeds trying to figure out where the track actually is.

I can't promise or disclose too much, but I will say that there are some really cool things happening in the studio right now that we hope to make available to 3rd party developers as well as SDK users.  In terms of Digital Content Creation tools, I am making a serious effort to try to expose all of our in house tools to 3rd party content creators.  Ideally, you should be able to use a tool out of house exactly how we use it in house.  We haven't made that effort much previously, but we are definitely focused on it now.  ESP really helps to be a driving factor in terms of tools and pipeline.  For 3rd party developers on our entertainment products, I think you're going to see some serious improvements in our SDK thanks in large part to the development of ESP.

As for the "Gmax replacement issue", I can't say much about that right now.  It's definitely on our mind and something we are striving very hard to make happen.  I'll try to keep you updated as much as I can here.  Also, be sure to go to the FSinsider developer's corner as we are updating that more regularly.  Additionally, the FSDeveloper site is a great place to gather and share information.

Comments (11)

  1. Anonymous says:

    No problem.  I will try to continue posting worthwhile stuff.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, Sketch Up is nice.  The problem is it is also very, very limited.  It’s good for buildings and that’s about it.  We would like to find a replacement that can also support building trains, aircraft and fully animated, skinned characters.  Otherwise we would have to maintain a toolset for every single package that people wanted to use.  That was the nice thing about Gmax, it was based off 3ds Max, which happened to be our internal development tool.  And even with that, we still had to do a lot of work to maintain the pipeline for both.

    Having said that, our .x file is well documented, so if someone wanted to go ahead and write a .x file exporter for Sketch Up or any other third party application, there’s nothing stopping them.  😉

  3. Anonymous says:

    The FSX and ESP SDK are virtually identical (with more bugs fixed in ESP).  However, if you bought FSX Deluxe, you should be able to install the FSX SDK.  Then go to our insider sight ( to download all of the updates to the SDK (SP1, SP1a and SP2 which came with the Acceleration Pack).  That will include all of the tools we released to the community.

    If you’ve built something with the FSX SDK, it should work the same in ESP.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey 75027,

    Yes, the Soft Image Mod tool is very nice!  And with an upgrade purchase price of only $500 to go to Soft Image Foundations for professional work, it sure is enticing.  If we can get a tools story squared away, then it’s a great candidate.  Since we released ESP, a whole mess of 3D companies that I’d never heard of before came crawling out of the woodwork, which is great for us and great for you!  We’ve got some irons in the fire, but I want to get more certain before announcing anything to anyone.

    Thanks for the support!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have $100 to any smart cookie coder who an pull this off. 😛

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t suppose your Gmax replacement would be as easy to use as Google Sketch up? With sketch up you just import the area from Google earth and start building. If you have photos you can use those as textures and to get walls the right size. EG if the wall you made is too short, just pull the roof up until the whole texture fits. Just too easy. Oh, and the models is automatically in the right place. If your new tool could replace all that conversion crap, it would be a blessing.

  7. Fabio Merlo says:


    i m developing a Voice addon for FSX with FSX SDK. I read your blog post. ACES team will release tools ( or a subset of tools ) to all comunity or only to 3rd party developer ?

    Another question. If i have my addon that work perfectly compiled with FSX SDK how i can recompile in ESP SDK ? If i have only ESP SDK how i can debug and run my addon without ESP platform ?


    Fabio Merlo

  8. 75027 says:

    Glad you are trying to find a replacement for Gmax. This is sorely needed, as Gmax is rather dated. My personal preference would be a plugin for the SoftImageXSI Mod Tool, but one for 3D Canvas would be fine too. Of couse, the best solution would be for AutoDesk to provide a free, basic, version of their 3dMax product, but since they sort of do that in their Maya Personal Learning Edition, I doubt this will happen, though you may pleasantly suprise us all. I blogged about this last November (!F69D8AE6E50B9F8E!116.entry)if you are interested. Anyway, keep up the good work – from the site this is shaping up to be one heck of a good product!

    – regards, 75027

  9. joey Sipos says:

    Wow, really, really, really good news. I think i might consider investing a career in making scereny for fs if you guys are investing such great time for third party developers. I can’t wait to see what you guys are doing. Thanks very much for your great efforts. Thank you very much to the whole ACES team for the work you have done and are still doing. Bright times are ahead, I can feel it!

  10. mike says:

    Hey Torgo, just wanted to say thanks for the posts on your blog so far. I’m working on my first aircraft for FSX, and despite having done 3d art for games for many years (too many, hehe), it’s really nice to read your insights into the relatively unique quirks of the FSX engine in regards to performance. Please keep them coming. You’ve already saved me the cost of several bottles of aspirin and for that I thank you. 🙂

  11. Timmo says:

    Re Sketchup…It is easy to use that is for sure. But that ease of use can also cause problems: Texture vertices seem to be really inefficient (by default, it is similar to an unwrap but with no option to weld verts), texture vertices often don’t sit within the confines of texture sheet (I’m not sure if that is a performance issue or not?) and of course any sort of volumetric self shading would be hard to do since SU works exclusively with faces. Ive designed some cool stuff for FSX using Sketchup, but in reality it is only good for fairly simple single use buildings when performance and complex modeling aren’t as important. Modeling complex shapes (aircraft, animals) or items that will be reused would hurt performance a lot based on what I’ve read. The other issue is that, because it easy to pull a face or add a bit of geometry, people do! So the model ends up very geometry heavy when the texture could do a lot of the work adding ‘detail’.

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