FlightGear External Model Mini-HowTo
FlightGear now supports external views with user-defined 3D models. Eventually, FlightGear will probably support a single definition file that specifies a package containing a flight model, engine model, panel, external 3D model, and sounds; for now, however, users must specify each of these separately.
FlightGear uses the open-source PLIB library, which (as of version 1.3.1) includes support for several 3D file formats:
(Note that some of these have restrictions; see the PLIB documentation for details.) As new formats are added to PLIB, FlightGear will automatically be able to support them.
First, you need to find a 3D model for the aircraft you want to see
during an external view. Your best bet is probably to download an
MSFS MDL file from one of the many flight-simulator Web sites, such as
www.flightsim.com. You then
need to install the main model file (with the appropriate extension)
Next, you need to set the property
It is possible that the model may not be aligned correctly, and will appear to fly too high, too low, sideways, vertically, etc. If so, you can use the additional properties described at the end of this mini-howto to adjust to model so that it appears to fly realistically.
You have downloaded a zip package containing a 3D Cessna model for
Microsoft Flight Simulator, and you want to use that model in
FlightGear. First, you unzip the package, where you find a series of
files, including one with the extension "
Change to the location of
cp /tmp/cessna/*af Models/Textures
Next, copy to
cp /tmp/cessna/*.mdl Models
To use the model in FlightGear, use the --prop option
Press the 'v' key to switch to external view, and see how it looks.
If the model does seem to have the correct position or orientation, you can adjust it using the properties described below. When everything is correct, you can add the properties to your .fgfsrc file so that you do not have to type them every time.
These properties allow you to specify the path of the 3D model for external views and to adjust the model's position and orientation so that it seems to fly in the correct position. For example, if the model is pointing backwards, you can specify
to turn it around the right way. If the model seems to float a half meter above the ground, you can specify
to lower it a bit.
David Megginson, email@example.com, 2000-11-08