Animated arrestor cables guidelines

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Introduction

CEX animated arrestor cables provide users with deforming cables that follow the aircraft's tailhook, but also custom landing physics that get rid of FSX's nose-diving and wing-tipping behaviours. Animated cables require that default FSX/P3D arrestor cable attachpoints ARE REMOVED from the CEX-enhanced carrier, otherwise the custom landing physics and animated cables will not work at all. If you wish to provide a non-CEX enabled version of the carrier, a separate model must be provided or the attachpoints must be linked to visibility-tagged geometry.

For a vessel to have animated cables there are three requirements:

  • Model the cables
  • Compile the model with the appropriate modeldef.xml code
  • Declare the number of cables and their properties in the CEX configuration file.

Necessary software

  • 3ds max 2014 or later for .max files
  • gmax for .3ds and UV files

Samples

To gain access to the sample files, please [contact us].

  • modeldef.xml
  • Ball_n_cable_example (3dsmax 2014 and .32s format)
  • Ground_cable_example.max (3dsmax 2014)
  • UV files (for gmax)

Installation

Arrestor cables are currently required to be built-into the ship's model. The reason for that is that the variables used for cable deformation are ship-specific.

Instructions

Variables used

The variables used for cable animation use the prefix_varname format. The "prefix_" part can be anything you want but must be unique to the ship you are modeling to avoid conflict with other add-ons. I.e. sws_cv_41_

The "varname" part is one of the following variables. The prefix cv41_ is used as an example.


Modeling the cables

File:Cable parts.jpg
Image shows the three points of a cable's anatomy. Stretched pose used for clarity.
  1. Animated arrestor cables are created using skinned geometry and three animations per-cable to simulate their movement.
  2. When modeling the cable, be sure to make two cuts at the center of the cable. Where the cable meets the centerline of the runway, you should cut a section approximately 18cm (7 inches) in length, which is the part caught by the hook.
  3. When applying a material to the cable, make sure that the "skinned mesh" box is checked.

Animating the cables

To animate the cables you need to assign a skin modifier to each of the cables. For each cable:

  1. Add an animated bone at its centerline section
  2. Set the centerline bone to affect the center section's vertices 100% and the tips 0%
  3. Create an anchor bone (can be shared among all cables). This will keep the edges fixed to the spools.
  4. Set the anchor bone to affect the tips of the cable 100% and the middle section 0%.

The pictures below illustrate the above setup.

The following variables and keyframes are used:

Variable name Units Animation length Description 3ds max keyframes (start-end)
cv41_wire1_pull number Preferably 0-100, but can be changed. Needs to be be set through CEX configuration file. Denotes the longitudinal pull of the cable.

0 is the cable in its,neutral pose, while 100 is the cable pulled at the tip of the landing,deck. wire1 indicates the wire number.

0-100
cv41_wire1_height number Preferably 0-100, but can be changed. Needs to be be set through CEX configuration file. Denotes the vertical pull of the cable (above the deck).

0 is the cable,in its neutral pose, while 100 is the cable pulled at the tip of the,landing deck. wire1 indicates the wire number.

110-210
cv41_wire1_side number Preferably 0-100, but can be changed. Needs to be be set through CEX configuration file. Denotes the lateral pull of the cable (above the deck).

0 is the cable pulled fully left, 50 is centered and 100 is right. wire1 indicates the wire number.

240-340
File:Cable keyframes.jpg
Above: keyframes set by modeler. Below: collapsed keyframes.

IMPORTANT: When done animating, remember to collapse the animations (position collapse). Every frame should have a position keyframe to ensure maximum tracking accuracy of the cable.

NOTE: Certain developers don't like applying more than one animation per-bone, as in the example above. This is understandable as the technique might be confusing. If you find it more convenient you can use three animated bones per cable. At models with many skinned animations, though, it may reduce the available bone count significantly.

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