Objects in X-Plane are 3D bodies with no aerodynamic properties at all. They can be used to make the aircraft look better, or even to make it look right when the standard elements Plane Maker provides don't do the job.
Objects are defined as external text files following a certain layout. They can be created with Plane Maker by exporting the current aircraft to OBJ format.
The OBJ format is defined on the Scenary Information Library (because objects are also used for static scenary elements in X-Plane).
Note: Objects can not be imported into Plane Maker for further editing. Export is a one-way street.
Objects can be "animated" to move between two end positions in proportion to a numerical value provided by a dataref (see below). In 8.xx the animation is limited to rotation and translation. (X-Plane 9 will bring advances, see below.)
A dataref is a named source of data exported by the plugin system. X-plane's OBJ engine uses datarefs to tie values from any part of the sim to specific modeling animations.
X-Plane 9.0 improvementsEdit
More modeling datarefs Edit
The new set of v9 datarefs are a mix of new datarefs and new versions of previously available data, designed to make it much clearer to non-programmers how to find the data necessary to animate cockpits and airplanes. These datarefs are also tied to "the currently drawn airplane", meaning the animation in your aircraft will follow the correct flight, even if you have an OBJ attached to an AI or multiplayer flight.
Key frames Edit
This describes key frames in the classical animation sense. Key frames make more complex motion possible, including clamped motion and motion during only part of a datarefs value change.