Hi All,

The recent model-loading patch has made a big difference in making MP usable 
again around KSFO. However, there is obviously still an FPS cost in having a 
large number of MP aircraft in the immediate area, which makes flying there 
hard work, particularly with a taildragger like the very nice Stampe - I'm 
getting 15 fps rather than 45 fps. 

Ironically, this is particularly a problem for us CVS users, as we have all the 
aircraft in FG_DATA. Those with a basic installation will get a glider model 
for missing aircraft, which is much cheaper!

So, I spent a little while last night creating AI models for some of the 
aircraft that I maintain (and in the process discovering how many of them have 

I think this is worthwhile as:
1) It will mean that for the next release, all MP users will be able to see all 
the other users, even if they don't have a specific aircraft installed.
2) A dedicated AI model is cheaper than a heavily LoD'd aircraft model.
3) For the majority of aircraft, once the initial model has been created, 
little changes that would be visible to another MP user, so keeping an AI model 
in sync with a main model is not too difficult.

To create them I did the following:
- Copied over the complete aircraft directory from $FG_DATA/Aircraft to 
- Removed any extraneous files/directories (-set.xml, FDM, Panels, sounds), 
typically just leaving a Model directory.
- Use ImageMagick to convert any .rgb textures to png. 
- Use a text editor to replace all the ".rgb" references to ".png"
- Hacked out all the cockpit, sub-models and irrelevant animations from the 
model .xml file.

For the aircraft I have converted so far, this has resulted in a Model 
sub-directory, a single .ac file, a couple of .png textures and a model .xml 

This took less than 10 minutes per aircraft, including testing with two MP 
sessions on the same box. So far, on the simple aircraft I have created, this 
has been fool-proof.

I think this is a worthwhile task, and something that will make life better in 
the longer term. 

I'd like to create more AI aircraft, but obviously this is something that might 
step on the toes of the aircraft maintainers.  So, if you are an aircraft 
maintainer, and would be happy for me to create an AI version of your aircraft 
using the process above, please drop me a line on-list.

Comments on whether this is a good idea are very welcome. 


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