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Importing Restraints

Once you've completed that and have saved your XML's you're ready to import your car model. This, of course, requires that we export our car from SketchUp to ASE. After each SketchUp export to ASE a window will pop up telling us what meshes and what text labels (bones & set points) were exported with our model.

This presents very little problem when exporting standard CSO's to ASE but when exporting car models with animated restraints that may include multiple bones and dozens of text labels, often this message window will extend below the bottom of our display and we'll be unable to read all of it. Before blithely clicking on ENTER to select the OK toggle that we can't see we'd want to thoughtfully consider taking on board the information presented in the list of items exported.

This is where a dialog text extraction utility will come in handy. We routinely use Sys Exporter for situations where we need extract and manipulate the data displayed in Microsoft Windows list boxes, combo boxes, text boxes, and dialog boxes. For more about SysExporter and how to use it see our article Park CleanUp & Third-Party Applications.

Once the data in this list has been extracted it can be copied & pasted into the word processor of our choice and alphabetized. Once we've got our data in order we can easily confirm if everything's been exported to ASE before getting further along in the Import process and discovering that some of our bones and meshes are missing or mislabeled while we're in the process of trying to set them all up in the Bones dialog of the Edit Animated Model Settings window.

At some point you'd need to load your animations into the Importer. How to do this has already been covered here in our article Loading Your Animations Into The Importer.

Let's refresh our memory by again reviewing the textures used in this project ...

  Table: Project Textures Assignment

... and a brief look at the Importer's Meshes dialog as set up for our car.

Setting Up Your Parent Bones

In the Importer's Edit Animated Models window we need to set up the effect bones. You'll recall we've labeled our Parent bone so that we know at a glance that that bone serves as the main pivot point for any other corresponding bones. The only thing we need to do with the parent bone is assign it a mesh. We don't need to do anything with the Parent set points.

Assigning Your Child Bone To Its Parent Bone

By now in this process our Parent bones are all go but our child bones, the part of the restraint arrangements that we want to rotate, are still free agents and need to be properly set up so they'll rotate in the places that we need them to. Well do that in this way:


The first thing we'll do is identify the Parent bone to each of our Child bones and then assign our Child Bones a mesh.


In the individual Bone dialog that displays note there is a Position 1 and a Position 2 field at the right hand side. We need to enable Position 2, so right there below where it says Position 2, left mouse click inside the empty toggle to enable that. Now press the Position 2 E button to bring up the Position 2 Matrix Editor dialog.


Up at the top right where it says (Custom) select your Child bone from the drop-down list also there on the right. Then press the Translate toggle.


This is the place in the importer where Child Bones are locked onto our Parent bone and we've begun this process by translating the position of the bone. Press OK to leave this dialog.


Back at the individual Bone dialog we need to get the Importer to re-calculate for us the position of our Child bone & set it upon our Parent bone and we do this through the Position 1 box by pressing the Q toggle, and then pressing the Calculate option. If this option is grayed out then you've missed one of the previous steps.


A message will display asking if we really want to replace all the bone's matrix entries. As our goal is to get our Child bone assigned to our Parent bone select Yes.


Again returned to the individual Bone dialog, along the bottom of the Position 1 field we can see the new co-ordinates of our Child bone. Press OK to return to the Edit Animated Settings dialog.


Finally, the Child bone set points need to be linked to the Parent bone.

It's a good idea to take a careful look over the details of any caution message displayed by the Importer when including animations with custom content. Down at the bottom right of any warning message there's a Details toggle that will display a dialog of warnings thrown out by the Importer. Here you should not see any warnings about your XML's and if you do now is the time to backtrack and correct them.

Image 190, HowTo's: The Ultimate CTR Creator, Page19

Next we show you what your Effect Points dialog should look like when you're done sorting all your entries. This image more than anything else will justify the reasoning behind the detailed names we've given our bones, set points, and bone meshes. Again this method of giving specific names to the bones, set points, and meshes will stand you in good stead when you create cars with large numbers of seats.

Image 191, HowTo's: The Ultimate CTR Creator, Page19

In the BahnDaten_ for this car we've used one of SwissCheese's stations and we've adjusted the station height because we want our guests to take a step down to get into the cars.

And here's a video of our restraints operating in the game. Although we'd decided which of SwissCheese's stations to use by then, at the time we took this video we hadn't yet made the station CSO.

HowTo's: The Ultimate CTR Creator - Hover Car Restraints Demo, Page 19 - Thumbnail Screenshot

Drag the above toggle to a

convenient place on your screen.

The Ultimate CTR Creator

Table Of Contents:

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Image 189, HowTo's: The Ultimate CTR Creator, Page19