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Design Forum >> Scenery Design Questions >> Making a Monorail
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Message started by Travis on 23rd Mar, 2010 at 11:58pm

Title: Making a Monorail
Post by Travis on 23rd Mar, 2010 at 11:58pm
This might require the expertise of some other programs, as I'm having trouble coming up with a straight-forward Gmax solution.

I want to put a monorail into a scenery I'm building for FS9.  (See screenshots below)  I want it to come out of the side of a mountain, travel half a mile in a straight line, turn 90 degrees and travel for about 200 ft, at which point it stops.  It sits for a few minutes and then starts back up again and continues along the same track, turns 90 degrees again and disappears into the same hillside it came out of using another tunnel.

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How could I go about animating the monorail coming from and going to the tunnel?  Using Tick18 I can get the stuff to move, but I only get about 53 seconds of animation (I think).  This isn't exactly an issue in itself, since I can use time variables in the XML file to specify which set of monorail animations are being used (arrival, waiting, leaving).  But I do have issues with the Gmax files themselves.  How would one go about making things follow a track without animating each bit at every single keyframe?  1024 frames times 24 moving parts?  Far too much work.

Is there an easier way to do this?

Title: Re: Making a Monorail
Post by Fr. Bill on 24th Mar, 2010 at 12:06pm
You need animate only ONE part...

Link all the other parts to the animated part, and they will follow along...  8-)

Title: Re: Making a Monorail
Post by Travis on 24th Mar, 2010 at 1:46pm
Well, yes . . . and no. :(

Animating a single point around the track (such as the first car of the monorail) is fairly simple.  In the following shot, the two pink cylinders represent the trucks on the monorail that would guide it along the track in real life, with the track itself represented in red.  The rear "truck" is the attach point for the rest of the train.

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Getting the first car to follow the track up to just before the turn is simple and (literally) straightforward, as in the first image below.  However, in the second image, I have to both move the vehicle forward and turn it on its rear "truck" to keep the forward node aligned with the track.  I have to do this every 5 frames or the motion looks strange.

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If I just move the whole thing to the end of the turn and rotate by 90 degrees, the motion doesn't follow the track and looks absolutely weird, as seen below.

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Then adding more cars behind it (3 or so) increases the amount of animating that needs doing.  Of course, if its the only way, I'll do it.  But I would much prefer a simpler way.  There has to be one.  Gmax is one heck of a powerful program.  I could even stand it if I could find some formula or script to do it, but I have no idea where to start searching.

Title: Re: Making a Monorail
Post by harkonnen_Glenn Crowell on 30th Mar, 2010 at 7:26pm
I thought I remembered reading here eons ago that you could get tick18 to work like you describe by having the object following splines or something. Somebody referred to a 'scenery' aircraft doing acrobatics in the background of an airport setting. I could be totally wrong of course. :-/

Title: Re: Making a Monorail
Post by Travis on 3rd Apr, 2010 at 11:29am
I believe this may be referring to the 3DS Max ability to use something called Path Deform.  There is a function of this in Gmax, unfortunately I can't figure out how to make it work like the Max version does.

I saw this done in Max (my envied friend's copy!) by linking two splines to a dummy that had animation applied to it, and then the Path Deform modifier was used between the splines and two objects that functioned as tank treads.  They rotated around the splines, moving along with the object, as though a tank were actually driving them!  How awesome would it be to have THAT modifier work in Gmax to export to FS?

Other than that, I have had no luck with any of the attempts to get the monorail to work.  So this project (like so many others) has been put on the back burner for the indefinite future. :-[

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