Exercise manager. How to create a new object type from a CAD file
What can be created
New object models can be created from CAD files containing vehicle geometry to be used
later as only inactive (target) ships, submarines, aircrafts etc. Currently, only STL
(stereolithograpy) files are supported.
Lots of them can be found on the Internet, look for example, at
3D Content CentralGoogle 3D Warehouse
The latter contains lots of 3D models in SKP format and there is a free tool for model creation and
change - Google Sketchup. The SKP models can be converted into STLs by installing a free plugin for
the Sketchup which can also be found on the Internet.
Succession of steps
The generated files must be copied to all networked computers, so, in case of networked simulators,
ALL NETWORKED slave computers must be on and connected to network at the time of creation.
The first thing we need is a CAD file which describes geometry of the new object. At the moment only STL
(stereolithographic) file format is supported. It can be either binary or ASCII. Such files contain
minimum information to describe geometry/topology of the object, namely only set of triangles with
normals. No information about colours, textures etc. is contained in the file.
So, we first start the process of creation of the new object by going into "Objects/Create new object type"
menu of the exercise manager. The dialog
requires some basic information about the new object, namely
object type (ship, airplane or whatever)
STL file location (file should not be very large, reasonable size is up to 5M)
main colour to paint the object (suggest gray to warships etc.)
approximate length (it will be recalculated by the program)
After you click [OK], the following happens:
the specified geometry file is copied into the installation/Visuals directory
the STL file is converted into its binary represenation used in the simulator, a .tpatch file
(may take some time)
these two files are copied to all networked computers, they all must be on and connected!
The next step is a usual procedure of creation of active vehicle or target for this model by using
"Objects"/"New target (inactive object)" or "Objects"/"New active object".
On selection of the new object type from the list
It is much easier to use newly created object as targets than as an active vehicle, as an active object requres
specification of viewer position, windows in superstructure etc. Firstly, we consider some basic
modifications of the model to make it applicable for the simulator.
The first correction is coordinate axes orientation. The simulator uses its models with axis X pointing
forward, Y - to the left side (when looking forward) and Z - upwards. The origin should be approximately
at the centroid, but Z = 0 must be at
waterline level for ships and
at land level for aircraft and cars
The axes orientation can be changed here by rotating the model using the "rotate around" buttons. All sizes
should be in metres, so use the "Scale" button for this purpose.
The axes can be moved by dragging them to a new position. As a result, the final picture should
for ships or
From now on, the new object can be equipped with lights etc. as usual, using the corresponding sheets of
"Properties". This object will produce standard wakes on water surface, issue standard sounds when
passing by, follow routes i.e. behave like a usual target.
However, it is not enough for an active vehicle, for which such important things as windows in
superstructure (to look throught) and viewer position should be specified. At the moment they are
not specified interactively, but can be specified in a specification
.vehicle file appeared in the
installation directory which contains all information about the new vehicle.