Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to animate the launch bar in FSX:Acceleration planes

One of the most trickiest points in modeling a carrier-capable FSX:Acceleration plane is to have an animated launch bar.
This feature is not properly documented in the FSX:Acceleration SDK and there is almost no way you can guess the missing information.
I've found the answer on this post:

http://www.aerodynamika.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?num=1200594224/1#1

Basically you need to:
- delete the "launch assistance" entries in the aircraft.cfg file if any. If they are present the bar will work but will not be animated.
- make the attachpt_Launch_Bar_Lug and attachpt_Launch_Bar_Pivot objects in the modeling tool. Note that their position shall influence the force application during launch. You may need to tweak them a little. In my case, if I put them in the "actual" place, the plane crashed into the deck during launch. I had to raise them a little.
- Assign empty attach attach points launch_bar_lug and launch_bar_pivot (pivot is where the bar connects to the gear, lug is where the bar connect to the catapult).
- Right click on those objects and edit the XML code and remove the suffix "_whatevernumber" - I'm not sure this step is really necessary
- Animate the launch bar keyframes 0 - 200 where: 0 is gear in, launch bar retracted; 100 is gear out, launch bar retracted; 200 is gear fully compressed, launch bar attached.
- Assign the animation launch_bar with Aces tools.

The procedure above should work on both 3D Studio and gmax. I'm sure the link above is much clearer than my description.

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