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Releases: X-Plane/XPlane2Blender

XPlane2Blender v4.2.0-rc-3

27 Feb 20:43
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This release updates the lights file that ships with the exporter to match X-Plane 12 and fixes bugs where lights are incorrectly written due to bugs in the lights.txt file.

This release is compatible with Blender 2.8 - 3.3.

XPlane2Blender v4.2.0-rc.2

20 Apr 15:24
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XPlane2Blender 4.2.0-rc.2 fixes bugs in the 4.2.0 exporter series:

  • Fixes issue #689 - incompatibility of the exporter with very new Blender/Python distributions.
  • #528 Removes "composite normal" function, which is basically obsolete with metalness workflows.
  • Includes all bug fixes from the shipping 4.1.0 exporter, including fixes for issues #332 #648 #629 #613

XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-rc.1

17 Mar 23:34
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X-Plane 4.1.0 improves the set of supported X-Plane 11 OBJ features, including:

  • OBJ materials (e.g. textures) can be set up directly on an export root, for efficient PBR modeling using a painting program like SP2.
  • ATTR_light_level animations can be set per-mesh; no need to create a material per animated annunciator in cockpits.
  • Custom spill lights are natively supported.
  • ATTR_cockpit_device support - this lets you map the image of a GPS device directly onto your meshes.
  • Complete panel/region mode support.
  • Bug fixes.

4.1.0 fixes python compatibility and should work on a wide range of systems.

4.1.0 will be the last version of the XPlane2Blender exporter to target X-Plane 11; the in-development 4.2.0 patch will focus on X-Plane 12.

XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-beta.2

06 Jan 14:24
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XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-beta.2

What's Changed

Remember to make backups! This beta is a small release with 1 new feature - Mesh Level Light Level Overrides!

Mesh Level Light Level Override

#663 - Light Level can now be controlled via the Object's properties instead of using an existing or new material per Object. If enabled, this Light Level is used instead of the Material's Property.

image

Minor Bug Fixes

  • #660 - To decrease the confusion of "Specular" vs "Specular (Principled BSDF Shader)" a warning label label was added if you use the wrong one
    image

  • #648 - TEXTURE paths now resolve more cleanly and have some validations for file types and bad relative paths. In the beta this is the only one I'm concerned with breaking someone's project.

  • #629 - Datarefs.txt and Commands.txt are now refreshed on load

  • #613 - ATTR_manip_noop no longer has Dataref and Tooltip properties to remove

  • #528 - A long useless checkbox "Composite Normal Textures" has been removed from XPlane2Blender. With PBR this feature is never going to make a come back.

  • #474 - For a few places (Axis Detent Ranges) perfect WYSIWYG behavior precision is needed. We now have this and got the rounding correct.

XPlane2Blender v4.2.0-alpha.1

03 Nov 17:42
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XPlane2Blender v4.2.0-alpha.1

This informal alpha-alpha-alpha(!) features a mostly tested official importer!

Features which import

  • TEXTURE (Use Z > Look Dev to see it)
  • Animations, including Show/Hide, and Keyframe Loop
  • Meshes
    image

Features which don't

  • Optimized animations which make less of a hierarchy
  • Lights
  • Material attributes
  • Everything else

Basically I'm uploading this because I want someone else to say "I imported a cube that dances, and also some stuff from AC3D!"

I present a partially imported KingAir C90 B cockpit!
image

XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-beta.1

20 Nov 23:17
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XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-beta.1

This is a beta so make backups of your work before using!

New features!

Custom Spill Lights

Custom Spill Lights are now implemented (#312)! To use, make a light datablock with the XPlane2Blender light type as Custom Spill. Relevant properties are:

Property Function
Light Color RGB color for the light
Light Rotation Spot light direction
Light Spot Size The width of spot light
Size Size parameter (in meters)?
Dataref Dataref that controls the light

Custom Spill lights can make dataref driven custom omni-directional billboards and directional spot lights.
As with Automatic Lights, the goal is What You See Is What You Get.
light_spill_custom

In this photo the green light is a Custom Spill, where sim/graphics/animation/lights/traffic_light changes the color between green, yellow, and red! The white lights have different widths, all made without doing any math by hand.

Cockpit Device

X-Plane has pre-made high quality GPS devices that are easily accessible to the artist. Thanks to (#481) using one is as simple as making a mesh, and giving it a material with a Cockpit Device set. Pick the device, at least 1 electrical bus (matching Plane Maker), the lighting channel, and if the screen's brightness should auto-adjust. You'll get a fully functional GPS device just like that! You can have multiple devices in the same OBJ, as well as use of the panel texture.

cockpit_device_ui

image

The Cessna's cockpit provides 2 great examples of using cockpit devices.

Cockpit Features UI

Given the changes and additions to our Cockpit Features, the UI has been changed slightly. On the material Properties tab use the "Cockpit Features" to find "Cockpit Regions" and "Cockpit Device". The updater should adjust the setting for you if you were using regions.

Minor features

(#426) Shadow Blend's Blend Ratio can finally be set. Thanks @kbrandwijk!
(#548) Non-Exporting Lights are back in. They're intended as "work lights" and will never ever show up in the OBJ! Simply set the X-Plane Light Type to "Non-Exporting" and use freely.

Important fixes

  • Light Level can now be used multiple times in the same .obj without tricks or getting lucky!

Thanks to everyone who downloaded alpha.1! I'm glad that this series has been so successful and I can wait to see what you make with the new light features! As always make backups!

XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-alpha.1

06 Nov 14:49
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XPlane2Blender v4.1.0-alpha.1

This alpha contains changes to the updater. Make backups before using!

Global Material Settings -> OBJ Settings

This new version contains one of the most requested fixes (#357, #599) for XPlane2Blender: Normal Metalness, Blend Glass, and Global Tint have been moved out of the Material Properties Tab and into OBJ Settings! The annoying "All Materials in an obj must have the same Normal Metalness/Blend Glass Value" error is gone!

The updater tries its best to guess if you wanted Normal Metalness, Blend Glass, or Global Tint, however it isn't perfect. If you have to manually correct more than 3 of your OBJ settings, please tell me.

These new settings can be found under the Textures section of the OBJ Settings.

global_material_options

Emissive Panel Texture Only and Panel Mode Selector

#595 Also known as ATTR_cockpit_lit_only, this directive has actually been in X-Plane since 11.10, but now is accessible in XPlane2Blender! It makes a panel only use the emissive "Lit" texture - a great speed boost if that is all you need. This is the perfect feature for computer displays.

For Aircraft or Cockpit export types, look in the Cockpit section for "Panel Mode". This changes the meaning of "Part of Cockpit Panel" for the whole OBJ. Setting it to "Emissive Panel Texture Only" mode activates the feature. You cannot mix panel modes.

emissive_panel_texture_only

Cockpit Regions

People who use Cockpit Regions will have to manually change "Panel Mode" from Default to Regions to see the UI and have regions export again. A one time fix. A future updater will do it for you. Until then I hope it isn't too many OBJs to change.

Updater Version History Synchronization

#471 The updater now synchronizes its last version across every scene and new updater functions will not use data cleaning to protect against accidental or purposeful updater re-runs. Simply put this means a safer to use XPlane2Blender (but still make backups). Since this is new updater code, however, it had to be put in an alpha. People with multiple scenes should be especially on the look out for problems. I feel very confident about it however.

With testers and users like the ones XPlane2Blender has we'll be getting to v4.1.0-rc.1 much much much much faster this time! For the users who requested moving Normal Metalness and Blend Glass, thank you for your patience. I know now just how annoying that error message was! I'll certainly keep this experience in mind for future decisions and don't worry, "make it the same across every material" is not going to be chosen again without an extremely important reason!

XPlane2Blender v4.0.0-rc.1

11 Sep 04:45
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XPlane2Blender v4.0.0-rc.1

We did it folks! Long in development (mostly because I kept adding features, not because of many disastrous releases) we can call this complete! A huge thanks to our dedicated volunteers who beta tested, send bugs, e-mails, and trusted their projects and livelihoods to us. We hope to live up to that trust everyday. Again thank you. Also thanks to a few people who contributed code (Premek Truska and @kbrandwijk)!

This release notes page serves as an overview of important new features and changes since Blender 2.79. Since the manual has not kept pace with development, you'll find documentation on the new features in past release notes. This is being worked on.

Don't be surprised if you see the words "Exportable Collection/Object". That name was later changed to "Root Collection/Object". Read more about that change here.

New Features

Blender 2.80-83 upgrade!

  • Blender 2.80-83 is supported! XPlane2Blender in Blender 2.90 has been tested by some with positive results but is not officially supported yet.
  • The UI is almost entirely the same. The replacement for the Layers Mode feature, "Root Collections", is almost identical in nature (but also much more powerful!). A few unclear property names and poor tooltips have been reworked, but are still in the same place. Unlike Blender 2.80's large UI change, we have changed much at all.
  • I have yet to meet an artist who, after learning modern Blender's UI, wishes they could go back. Have no fear in upgrading!

Root Collections and Root Objects

  • Blender 2.79's 3D View's layer system has been removed and replaced with Blender 2.80's Collections. To adapt, we removed "Layers Mode" and replaced it with "Root Collections". It is nearly the same as Layers but is much more flexible. The updater preserves Layers Mode projects and the UI for this workflow is still in the Scene Properties Tab. For old tutorials you can, in general, replace the word "layer" with "a collection". Read more about the feature here. "Exportable Collection" and "Root Collection" refer to the same concept, don't get confused by the old name.
  • You can use Root Collections and Root Objects in the same scene, no need to pick only one workflow

Automatic lights

  • Automatic Lights makes lighting in XPlane2Blender easy! Automatic lights are aimed for you without the need for tricks, any parameters are filled in automatically or with easy to use Blender properties, and the exporter and UI prevents many types of lighting mistakes. Pick your X-Plane light name and What You See Is What You'll Get! Read more here.
  • Knowing what lights to use and how is now easier. The "Create lights.txt Summary" button makes a text block with light names available and what parameters an Automatic Light will be setting in an easy to use format. See the "Feature Controls" table in beta.2's release notes for the translation between parameter name and Blender control.
  • Don't worry, Named and Param light types haven't been changed at all.
  • Though it shouldn't be necessary to read lights.txt anymore, it has been cleaned up quite a bit!

Split Animations

  • "Split Animations" offers a new way of sharing animations between objects and even .obj files. An excerpt from the manual explains some uses:

    Split Animations allows you to share animations that are outside the current root collection. *Its purpose is to reduce the manual labor of keeping these shared animations in sync. Some examples uses of this feature include

    • Synchronizing the motion of a landing gear and wheel in separate OBJs
    • Synchronizing the movement of complex wings flex and their lights
    • Synchronizing the movement of the cockpit OBJ's door handle manipulator and a door OBJ's door mesh
    • Having groups of manipulators follow the animation of a parent element of the cockpit
    • Many useful cases I'm sure no one else has dreamed of yet!

The feature is activated by very specific uses of Collections and parenting instead of checkboxes and buttons, so read the tutorial on how to take advantage of this powerful new feature.

Override LODs

  • The Levels of Detail feature in XPlane2Blender has been expanded to reduce the amount of clicking required and also to accommodate the removal of Blender 2.79's 3D View layer system. How Root Objects projects use LODs had to be changed. See details and backwards compatibility instructions in alpha.5's notes.

Optimizations

  • Thanks to Premek Truska and @kbrandwijk the Vertex Deduplication algorithm (aka using the Optimize checkbox) is set) takes almost no time at all, even for large .objs
  • A one time keyframe gathering pass makes Objects with many keyframes export twice as fast as before
  • Highly optimized string formatting increase the performance of the exporter across its whole write and logging operation
    All optimizations work automatically, no work is needed to enjoy the benefits! A full export of the BD-5J on my computer now takes 14 seconds over 2.79's 30. Other people report similar or better results.

Removed

  • Layers Mode removed due to Blender's choice (but Collections are far better anyways so this isn't a big loss).
  • Blender removed Texture Slots so we removed autodetection and certain texture validations. For now the root's texture file path string properties must be used.
  • 2.79 support. Additionally v3.5.1-beta.2 is cancelled (not that anyone ever asked for it of course). Future versions of the converter will consider Blender 2.79 a pit stop before Blender 2.80.
  • Include In Export, Export Mesh In Layers for being redundant and broken

Fixes for bugs that existed in 2.79

  • #570 Drag Rotate Bug Fix

Again, thank you so much to everyone who uses this addon and sends screenshots and bug reports and e-mails and forum posts and stories of all the great things you're making. X-Plane wouldn't be X-Plane without talented people like you making the world real with Blender and XPlane2Blender!

XPlane2Blender v4.0.0-beta.3

30 Aug 02:55
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XPlane2Blender v4.0.0-beta.3

As always make backups

So close to release!

Unless something's gone wrong, this is rc1!

A big speed boost for aircraft!

  • By fixing #571 and #569 aircraft with complex animations should receive seconds off their export time! It basically marks the end of the "can squeeze more out of Python" quest which is good (and a bit sad).

Drag Rotate Bug Fix

  • Fix for #570. For those struggle with trying to make things like trim wheels that rotate multiple times around (going from -1440 to 1440), this beta fixes it. Please let me know if this fix broke other manipulators.

A tiny UI fix

#578 is fixed for anyone who was bothered by this. Yes, even the small bugs matter to me I swear!

Once confirmed that these have gotten the fix, we're at rc.1!

XPlane2Blender v4.0.0-beta.2

22 Jun 17:59
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XPlane2Blender v4.0.0-beta.2

As always, remember that this is a beta, so make back ups!

We're Going Back To Saying 'Root Objects'

  • #544 - it appears the "Exportable Collection/Object" naming scheme was confusing. We're going back to 2.79 phrasing "Root Collection/Object" in the UI, error messages, bug reports, feature requests, e-mails, everything. If I make a mistake please correct me quickly!
Old Name New Name
Exportable Roots Roots
Exportable Collection Root Collection
Non-Exportable Collection Organizing Collection
Exportable Object Root Object
Non-Exportable Object Object

Automatic Lights

Our bright and shiny new fun feature is here! Automatic Lights (also called WYSIWYG lights) replaces Named and Param lights. It fills out parameters and aims directional lights for you in the most efficient way possible! No more doing math by hand, no more reading the lights.txt file, no more being scared to experiment! The UI guides you and prevents mistakes! Automatic lights are the new XPlane2Blender default light. Download this example to see many different uses of this feature!

upward_camera_shot_lights

Feature Controls

We've tried to make this as intuitive as possible, but just in case you're not sure what fills in what parameter, see this table:

Blender Property Used PARAM NAME
Light's color picker R, G, B
XPlane2Blender's Index property INDEX
XPlane2Blender's Light Size property SIZE
Spot Light's Rotation (in any mode) DX, DY, DZ
"Omni" if light is a POINT else Spot Shape > Size WIDTH, DIR_MAG
XPlane2Blender's Flash Frequency property FREQ
XPlane2Blender's Phase Offset property PHASE

Any other parameter found in lights.txt can't be changed in Blender.

Limitations

  • Some very very old lights are not compatible.
  • This is currently an opt-in feature only. An updater for old named and param lights would be difficult and limited and likely won't happen.
  • A dataref search window style feature feature is planned, but currently to get a list of lights and their parameters you'll need to click
    "Create lights.txt Summary" and look at the internal text block "lights.txt Summary
  • The lights.txt included is the same content as X-Plane's lights.txt, with slightly different formatting. Your .obj will be completely correct in X-Plane, but X-Plane's old and currently shipping lights.txt is not compatible with XPlane2Blender. This will hopefully be corrected soon.

Please send me pictures and stories of what you're trying now that the light system is more easy! I can't wait to see more sparkling lights across the skies and airports of X-Plane!

disco_lights