Howto:Convert objects with ModelConverterX
|Note Objects that are uploaded to the FlightGear Scenery Database (and thus official FG scenery) must be released under the GNU GPL license. Most add-on sceneries from other flight simulators (X-Plane, MSFS...) do not comply with this license. Therefore, they cannot be included with the official scenery, unless the author granted you permission to release his work under GNU GPL, and you assured yourself that the contents he/she used are in public domain or otherwise GPL-compatible, or under his/her very own copyright. Basically, it mostly means that it is for your own private use only.|
|Note As of April 22nd, 2014 there's not yet full compatibility with AC3D, so it might be better to wait for it to be fixed, to avoid the risk one's huge efforts not working with future versions of FG or AC3D. More on that below.|
ModelConverterX (or MCX, project page here) is a freeware (not open) .Net Windows tool that can convert objects from a number of flight simulators. It can do batch conversion of models and their textures, if instructed so, changing also their name to upper case for better Linux (and other case sensitive OSes) compatibility. Thus, this potentially represent an easier alternative to Howto:Convert objects from X-Plane.
Download and installation
MCX runs on Windows and needs Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0. It comes in two versions. One is the stable release, the other is the development release, with all the newer features, fixes, and bugs. As the cost of it is negligible, I suggest first trying the development version. The installation is nothing more than uncompressing the zip somewhere.
MCX can probably run on Linux too with a proper setup, but note that it uses Windows dependent code and such a setup will have to include WINE -- Mono alone won't suffice.
Support forum and official manual
How to convert
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Working with the converted models
Let's just say that converting single objects is going to be a lot easier than converting a whole BGL compiled scenery.
AC format compatibility issues
As of April 22nd, 2014 MCX doesn't support very well AC3D file format. An AC model created in AC3D shows up in FlightGear with the X axis pointing south, the Y axis pointing up, and the Z axis pointing to the west. MCX doesn't convert to this coordinate system correctly, producing models that are upside down and 180° rotated on the horizontal plane in AC3D, and 90° counter-clockwise in FlightGear (yet, here they're straight up). Although to see the model correctly in AC3D you can temporarily flip Y and Z axes, and rotate it 90° CW to fix its orientation in FG, this issue leads to inconsistency in model editing (not sure if it's all MCX's fault).