Stairport Sceneries have given us a treat today - they've provided Threshold with some more exclusive images and information about their upcoming plugin, SAM. Scenery Animation Manager is a tool for developers to implement a bunch of moving parts into sceneries. Some of the possibilities include animated jetways with multiple connection points (much like SODE for Prepar3D), opening/closing hangar doors and animating ground staff.
Marten from Stairport has not only given us exclusive images, he has also provided more details regarding the plugin. During our impromptu interview, I asked him how SAM be installed for the end user:
SAM appears to be pretty close to release too, judging by his down-to-earth comment when asked:
Stairport have been dropping various previews since the announcement on Threshold in mid-October and have now announced an official developer live-stream - to occur on Sunday the 25th of November at 1400 UTC, over on the Stairport YouTube channel.
Marten has also provided us with some of the key features of SAM:
You can create custom datarefs without any knowledge and control the values through a settings menu. With user checkboxes you can even let the user control animations such as opening hangars, switching lights and anything else a scenery developer might think of.
We made a deep dive into the world of math to create realistic jetway animations basically because the current software available is not sufficient. Now you can add jetways within seconds to a scenery.
The plugin is highly optimized for performance. The most obvious part is the fact that calculations for datarefs only start when an object is loaded and in visible range. It can be used in hundreds of sceneries without any noticeable fps impact. The plugin will be installed into the main plugin directory, thus it's a global plugin and not per scenery. The sceneries only contain an xml file with the settings.
A library with pre-animated objects like Jetways, VDGS, Marshaller, Hangars, Wind Turbines etc. will be created as a starting point for developers to experiment with. You can either use these objects or create and animate your own.
The plugin will be licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 which means it is free to use for all users and for all freeware sceneries.
For further information on SAM, see our previous (announcement) article. Support for SAM will be available via the Threshold Forum in the form of a club (sub-forum) managed by Marten and the Stairport team.