Preparing to convert

For this example I am using the Watt Age Decathlon ARTF model from Gary Gunnerson's FMS Models website

Start by extracting the files from their archive. It doesn't really matter where you do this though if you have the FMS putting a copy there can be useful.

Ensure that the files include a .X file. This is the file that ClearView will use to convert into its own format. This particular model contains seven files:

this is the FMS flight parameters file.
this is the 3D model file in an FMS format.
this is the thumbnail that FMS displays in its open model dialog.
this is the texture file used to 'cover' the finished model.
this is the engine sound file
many of the FMS planes are built using a freely available 3D editor called Metasequoia. The .mqo file is its native storage name.
is a readme that usually contains amongst other information the name of the original author and any subsequent conversion authors.
Having mentioned the readme it is always a very good idea to check this for the email addresses of the original author and anyone who has modified the models in the past.

It is good practice to email the people named to check if they have any objection to your conversion. Technically it is a copyright issue. Most people don't mind you converting their models as long as you are not copying them from a commercial product or intending to make money from selling the conversion, but it is still best to ask first. This is particularly important if you intend to distribute your conversion.

It is also normal and good practice to name them in the final readme but more about that later.

What you need
Preparing to convert
The import
Tidying up the import
Sorting out textures
Adding control/collision points
Engine Sounds
Adding control surfaces and props