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3DZ FILES - AN ANALYSIS

Mainly by Paulo Morais and Cord.

This document contains the results of a detailed examination of every 3DZ file related to EAW planes. I wish to express my thanks to everyone who reads this and very specially to Paulo Morais; without his work this would have been impossible. I hope it will prove useful and to supplement it soon with PAW planes and other objects from EAW and PAW.

3DZ files are divided in many types which we can identify by the last character of their name. However these types are not used exactly the same in every type of plane.

FOUR-ENGINE BOMBERS

XXXXXA.3DZ (Only four-engine bombers)
This file contains the upper turret. Probably could be used to build a Defiant, for example.

XXXXXB.3DZ (Only B-17)
This file contains the ball turret.

XXXXXC.3DZ (Only four-engine bombers)
This file is not empty. Contains a reduced number of nodes and 3D elements, suggesting something little or simple, but no DXF viewer available is able to display it. Possible use: chin turret?. May be this was shipped unfinished.

XXXXXE.3DZ (Only four-engine bombers)
This file contains the whole left wing, including landing gear lowered and correctly placed and one propeller including disc and blades placed in a position which would be about the gravity center of the plane if complete, AND the left tailplane and elevator. This file is paired with XXXXXG.3DZ.

XXXXXF.3DZ (Every plane)
This file contains strictly the fuselage of four-engine bombers, so strictly that it does include the rudder, but no tailplanes.

XXXXXG.3DZ (Only four-engine bombers)
This file contains the whole right wing, including landing gear lowered and correctly placed and one propeller including disc and blades placed in a position which would be about the gravity center of the plane if complete, AND the right tailplane and elevator. This file is paired with XXXXXG.3DZ.

XXXXXH.3DZ (Every plane)
This is a mistery. For most planes contains something that seems like the fuselage shadow, but there is significative exceptions. For Typhoon, Tempest and Fw190 contains something like a triangle. For P38 it seems the cockpit assembly shadow, and for B24 it seems like the forward half of fuselage shadow. I can only say that this file is possibly related in some way with the crew position (?). Later it has been suggested to be related with gear-up landings, containing more or less the zone that will make contact initially with the ground.

XXXXXL.3DZ (Every plane excepting V-1)
This file contains the left wing exactly as will be seen if somehow it gets detached from their plane (probable causes: enemy fire, collision... :) ) In four-engine bombers it does contain the outer wing including one engine, no propeller, and no landing gear. Probably 'L' stands for 'Left' in the file name.

XXXXXM.3DZ (Every plane)
This file contains the plane as will be seen from long distance. It is made in a very rough, crude form, but includes things like turrets. It does include the propeller disc, without blades, in the center of the plane, probably in coords x0, y0, z0. It does not include any landing gear.

XXXXXN.3DZ (Every multi-engine plane).
It contains the right half of the plane, with landing gear lowered in correct position and one propeller PAW style sited in which seems to be the gravity center of the plane (coords 0,0,0). Probably this propeller is not used, but is still present as a legacy from the initial phase of EAW development. Where is the left half of the plane? Good question; ask Hasbro :)

XXXXXR.3DZ (Every plane excepting V-1)
This file contains the right wing exactly as will be seen if somehow it gets detached from their plane (probable causes: enemy fire, collision :) ) In four-engine bombers it does contain the outer wing including one engine, no propeller, and no landing gear. Probably 'R' stands for 'right' in the file name.

XXXXXS.3DZ (Every plane).
This file contains a simplified version of the plane, as if it were cut from paper sheets. It has been suggested to be used for long distance view, but in my honest opinion the silhouettes are too much detailed for that, specially considering that XXXXXM.3DZ, the medium distance view, is more crudely built. Subject to further testing I think that this file could be used to project the shadow of the plane (?), and that 'S' stands for 'shadow' in the file name.

XXXXXT.3DZ (Every plane) This file is a mistery. For almost every plane it contains just three lines, one representing the fuselage length, the other two the wings, joining the fuselage at which seems the correct point and angle. For P38 it contains one 'fuselage', the wings and the 'aileron line'. For He111 and Ju87 it contains two lines joined at an angle, may be the fuselage and one wing. Use utterly unknown.

TWO-ENGINE PLANES

XXXXXF.3DZ (Every plane)
This file contains for two-engine bombers the left half fuselage and whole wing, including landing gear lowered and one propeller complete with disc and the right number of blades, but sited in the fuselage center, probably at 0,0,0.
XXXXXG.3DZ (Every multiengine plane).
This file contains for two-engine bombers the right half of the plane, making pair with XXXXXF.3DZ. However, this file does not contain any propeller.

XXXXXH.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'.

XXXXXL.3DZ See 'Four- engine bombers'.

XXXXXM.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'.

XXXXXN.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'.

XXXXXR.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'.

XXXXXS.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'.

XXXXXT.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'.

ONE-ENGINE PLANES

XXXXXF.3DZ (Every plane)
For one-engine planes this file contains a full view of the plane, with landing gear lowered and propeller including disc and blades. However, the propeller is sited in the plane center and the landing gear appears displaced both to the center, rear and up from their real position, towards the gravity center of the plane.

XXXXXH.3DZ See 'Four-engine bombers'

XXXXXL.3DZ See 'Four engine bombers'

XXXXXM.3DZ See 'Four engine bombers'

XXXXXP.3DZ (Every one-engine propeller-driven plane)
This file contains the propeller including disc and blades, and the spinner (separate). Possibly used exclusively for viewing from outside the cockpit.

XXXXXR.3DZ See 'Four engine bombers'

XXXXXS.3DZ See 'Four engine bombers'

XXXXXT.3DZ See 'Four engine bombers'

COCKPITS

XXXXXU.3DZ (Every one-engine plane)
This file seems to include the wings, in part or whole, but only the upper part (in DXF viewers when seen upwards you can´t see anything). It only exists in one-engine planes, suggesting that this file is somehow used when the pilot looks right/left: in two-engine planes the engines supposedly cover the wings (?).

XXXXXV.3DZ (Every plane)
This file, paired with XXXXXW.3DZ includes the left half cockpit, including the canopy frame.

XXXXXW.3DZ (Every plane)
This file, paired with XXXXXW.3DZ, includes the right half cockpit including the canopy frame.

XXXXXX.3DZ (Every plane)
This file includes the instruments. In some planes it seems to include too some forward cockpit details.

XXXXXY.3DZ (Every plane)
In one-engine planes this file includes the propeller with the correct number of blades and their shape. In two-engine planes it does include a much larger portion of the plane. It is probably related with the routines used to show the propeller, which do need to show the wing in two-engine planes. However, Me262 do have this file , may be because not having XXXXXU.3DZ it needs to have somewhere defined the wings view, left and right.

XXXXXZ.3DZ (Only some planes)
This file is used as a supplementary file for cockpits, defined only where needed. In many planes it includes just the gunsight, but there are examples including headrest, cockpit lining, wheels and pannels, etc, etc. and not including any gunsight.

THE LANDING GEAR GREAT QUESTION

If you are still reading this you will have noticed that landing gear is included in a seemingly haphazard way in the 3DZ files. You are right: they are included in a haphazard manner, coming to award-winning extremes in cases like B-26, where the landing gear is displaced towards the center in a half-plane and towards the opposite side in the other half (an error, probably). At first sight it would seem that only Stuka do have their landing gear properly defined, and this strongly points to that differences being due to the way in which the landing gears open and close. Legs do start at the correct position, but wheels are displaced (so much that in Bf109, for example, both wheels appear joined together at the center of the plane), and consequently the legs appear heavily distorted. I´m still far from understanding the mechanism, and I´m afraid that it could mean that this matter is dealt with at 3DZ file level and that a general method for all planes does not exist.

THE PROPELLER BIG QUESTION

The propeller seems to be defined at several places, sometimes with disc (not a whole disc, but a kind of “flowerlike” mask for the “dizzy” zones that you see when the propeller rotates), sometimes disc and blades, and sometimes only the blades. This are my own ideas at the respect.
Four engine planes: the propeller is defined at files XXXXXE.3DZ and XXXXXG.3DZ for close viewing and at XXXXXM.3DZ for long distance viewing. There is no need for more as these planes have no cockpit views, and it will probably be necessary to have access to the code to define proper cockpit views with two engines and their propellers, left and right.
Two engine planes: the propeller is defined at XXXXXF.3DZ for close viewing and at XXXXM.3DZ for long distance viewing. For the cockpit views, refer to the last paragraph.
One engine planes: the propeller is defined at XXXXXF.3DZ for close viewing and at XXXXXM.3DZ for long distance viewing. It is defined too at XXXXXP.3DZ, which is probably used for external viewing, as it includes a detailed spinner, but why two engine planes have no XXXXXP.3DZ? Probably because they are defined in two halves, and thus have less size problems (remember that 3DZ files are limited to 256 nodes and 256 3D elements). XXXXXP.3DZ are probably used just as auxiliaries.
Virtual cockpit: The propeller is defined at XXXXXY.3DZ, which is used for the front view in one engine planes and for left/right view in two engine planes.

Then, can we include EAW propellers in PAW planes? I think so, if (and this is a big if) their inclusion is possible within the “256 limit”.