I've just about got the external weapon code done, mostly I need testing, but for that you need to know how to use it.
first off, you need (for primary waepons, this is an option for secondary as they already have a model) to make and specify in the tables a model to be rendered on a per weapon basis on the hull, on each weapon point useing the table entree "$External Model File:", this goes right after the regular model file entree that is in every weapon. the model file you make may optionaly specify additional primary fireing points (again only for primary weapons) these points will be used in place of the hard points in the ship's pof (each one will be vector added to the fireing point of the ship thus fireing from the corect place on the weapon model)
so far everything I've said is optional for secondary weapons, now is the important part for both of them.
in the ships table, you must specify wich banks are to have weapon models rendered, directly below were you specify for capacities (this _is_ an option for primarys, it is below default loadout) you need the following:
$Show Weapon Models: (yes,no)
you can have as many 'yes/no's as you have banks for that weapon system (and it isn't too picky about capitaliseation)
there is also an optional "$Weapon Model Draw Distance:" (placed directly before "$Allowed PBanks:") beond this distance the weapon models will not render (actualy I forgot to implement this but as soon as I get home tonight I'm codeing it) it defaults to 200 meters if you don't tell it any better
also there is _highly_ untested code for haveing subobjects on primary weapon models rotate when you fire the primarys, to activate add under "$External Model File:" the optional lines "$Submodel Rotation Speed:" and "$Submodel Rotation Acceleration:" with apropriate values (floats), *AND* add the string "$gun_rotation:" to the submodel properties of any submodel you want to have spin, it currently is only posable to have them spin around the Z axis, but I have a feeling that is the only one that would ever get used.
(looks at Nuke)
the most up to date version of my animation code is in this too, but that is not the purpose of this thread.
please, I beg of you test this, there are so many posable ways this can go wrong, and I only have so much time to test it myself
finaly the buildhttp://freespace.volitionwatch.com/blackwater/fs2_open_r_wm.zip
also for your amusement, a pic from one of the tests