I had a chance to work this week on the Blender 2.49 scripts; here’s a quick update on the status of the scripts and what the next steps are.

Blender 2.49 for Internal Scenery Development

Relatively early in X-Plane 10 development, we picked Blender 2.49 for our scenery development environment.  We did this for a few reasons:

  • The two artists doing scenery (Alex for cities, Tom for airports) both used Blender 2.49 as their primary 3-d tool.
  • There was already a completely functional OBJ exporter (Jonathan’s XPlane2Blender scripts, version 3.09) that produced highly optimized OBJ output.

At the time, some developers were already migrating to Blender 2.5, but Ondrej’s exporter was only partly written.  Since we didn’t need any Blender 2.5 features and schedule time was of primary importance, we decided to stick with 2.49 (to avoid the delay of our artists learning a new environment and the delay of having to wait for or develop for ourselves a complete and fully optimized exporter).

The result is that I augmented Jonathan’s scripts to:

  • Fully support X-Plane 10 OBJ extensions like instancing, the new GLOBAL attributes and draped geometry.
  • Export some of the other v10 data types (autogen, facades, roads).  Exporting non-OBJ stuff is really complicated, and the rules to use Blender to make the right meta data are not trivial.

Other Scripts

There are other variants of the scripts floating around: both Ondrej and Ben Russell added partial manipulator export to the 3.09 scripts to help aircraft authors.  Ondrej has also created a new branch (the “3.20” scripts) that target Blender 2.50 and newer.

There’s one technical point tot note about Blender that might not be obvious: for all practical purposes. Blender 2.4x and Blender 2.5x might as well be completely different programs!  They have totally different scripting interfaces and they don’t even use compatible versions of the Python language.  Supporting Blender 2.5x is a from-scratch effort and the scripts are totally unrelated to anything you can use on Blender 2.49.

There is no way to use my Blender 2.49 scripts on Blender 2.5; this is just a decision that the Blender developers made – they created a major fork in the Blender world.  So when you read about Blender 2.49 vs Blender 2.50, consider that difference to be as major as Blender vs AC3D or Blender vs 3DS.

Recent Work

This week I had time to integrate both Ben and Ondrej’s manipulator export code into my 2.49 scripts, and I also added the remaining missing OBJ8 commands that are useful for aircraft developers.  This means that my scripts are now more or less ready for aircraft use as well as scenery use, and they provide a forward path for Blender 2.49 users who use either Jonathan, Ondrej, or Ben’s scripts.  This brings me closer to my goal: making a complete set of 2.49 scripts, current to X-Plane 10.

I have a few more loose ends to tie up, but I am hoping to get the scripts pushed to github for Jonathan (and anyone else who wants them) in the next week.  There is still a lot of documentation to add.


About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.

15 comments on “Blender 2.49 Scripts

  1. So are you saying that you have dropped your plans to write scripts for ac3d? I’ve used blender when necessary, but I find myself spending more time trying to remember how to use it than I spend actually creating an obj.

    PLEASE…… PLEASE……. PLEASE…….. Don’t drop support for ac3d

    1. Hrm – that’s definitely _not_ what this post says. This post is entirely about Blender and makes no statements about ac3d, either for or against.

      With that in mind, I don’t see myself writing any new scripts for ac3d. I still do hope to update the existing ones to support any missing object attributes, including the new v10 ones. But I think ac3d support is lower priority for me than finishing Blender 2.49 and WED.

  2. and so I reinstalled blender 2.49. I use blender 2.6 series now (currently at 2.65) so I hope to do most of the work in 2.65 then finalise in 2.49.
    Great work by the way – thanks

    Regards Pete

  3. Hi Ben, to clarify the statement about 2.5x/2.6x versions: will we see in the future (maybe along this year) an exporter for these versions or the 2.49 will be definitely the standard?

    In my humble opinion it would be an error if you stuck in 2.49. A lot of new modelling features and texturing are coming with the new versions: ngons, sculpting (for generate textures or low poly portions of terrain), improve baking textures and although today it is not possible to bake with cycles render I don´t doubt that in a future it will be possible.

    But it´s not the only reason: Each day there is more and more people using the new versions, and the newcomers to blender after using the 2.5x interface don´t want back to the 2.49 interface.

    thanks for you time

    1. There are already exporters for _both_ 2.5x and 2.49 right now.

      There is no such thing as a “standard”. There are multiple programs that can all be used to model for X-Plane: ac3d, Blender 2.49, blender 2.5x, 3DS, and to a lesser extent Sketchup and who-knows-what-else. The fact that I am working on scripts for 2.49 doesn’t make 2.49 official – it is one of many solutions. The code for the 2.49 (and 2.5x, and ac3d) exporters are all open source; anyone can work on them.

      I can say this:
      1. the LR internal team is going to stick with Blender 2.49 for a while because we have an existing set of art assets in 2.49, and it would take a large amount of effort with no benefit to users to convert to 2.5. for our internal use.
      2. the LR internal team has, for the most part, not asked me to convert them to 2.5. There are a few things they see and like in 2.5x but the learning curve and total change-over of switching versions outweighs the new features by a lot.

  4. Hi Ben..

    As I see the point of maintaining just one perfered 3D program for X-Plane it must make an objection to this rule of thumbs. As many seem to be using either Blender, Ac3D, etc. Many also use ScetchUp which by the way is more user friendly for first time developers. I am not sure how suited the export feature is for Scetchup, but I would imagine the X-Plane community are a hole lot more int. in having more developers out there than only the inner hardcore users that infact bother to learn program such as Belnder, which btw is not all that cool..

    I boils down to preferences right, but why not having a scripts for several programs listed in i.e your download section here at this blog? Either it is Blender, 3DSMax, Maya, Scetchup etc. The general purpose would be, if you know a 3D program, you can develop for X-Plane?


    1. Wait, I am _not_ saying that there should be one preferred 3-d program for X-Plane.

      I am _not_ saying that everyone should use Blender 2.49, or that Blender 2.49 is in some way “official”.

      In terms of tools, I am not writing tons of exporters for tons of programs because I do not have time. So I work on exporters here and there as I can; very often the time I can spend on tools comes from supporting our internal team. I would like to see exporters for many 3-d programs but I will not write them all myself, because of a lack of time.

      The tools section currently only lists tools that were directly coded by LR and are part of LR’s tools code base. The old scenery section used to contain links to third party tools; I think I need to include the links again.

    2. “Many also use SketchUp which by the way is more user friendly for first time developers.”

      SketchUp is easy to get started with, but I’m not sure it’s suitable for heavy-duty “gaming” work. In particular it lacks UV unwrapping and texture consolidation/baking. There are third-party plugins that attempt to address this, but at the expense of complicating the workflow.

      FYI the X-Plane plugin supports basic v9/v10 features including animation, draping and lights.

      1. Just curious about when, if ever, will the Ac3d X-Plane plugin support object lights, or if it’s even in the roadmap.

  5. Will these scripts be ported over to 2.6?
    I don’t know too much about coding, but it could be a good option too. I haven’t used 2.49 scripts too much neither (just for importing) because I use the latest blender build and the 3.2 branch which, in my oppinion, is more user friendly and is better integrated into the blender UI.
    On the other hand I want to give you big thanks for supporting blender!!!!!

    1. No. The scripts are not portable because the blender python interface changed, making a port impossible. You really have to think of 2.49 and 2.5x as different programs.

  6. I used Blender 2.5x and mostly 2.63 to create this P180 Avanti upgrade (//forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=18239).

    Blender 2.6x are working perfect with 3.20 export script, and it is, a lot easier to work with that, than the 2.49. There is noway to go back 2.49, except the import future that is missing from 3.20 script.

    But, on the other hand, I can understand why Laminar stick with 2.49. If you have tons of artwork, it is going to be enormous task to go to an newer version.

    So, Laminar sticks with 2.49 and I with 2.6x! I think both are happy! And everyone should feel so with what suits to their needs!

Comments are closed.