• Tutorial: X-Plane GA Tiedowns

    X-Plane GA Tiedowns

    By Rik Nilsson

    X-Plane GA Tiedowns

    What Is It?

    GA Tiedowns is a freeware contribution created exclusively for the X-Plane community. This enhancement allows the scenery developer to easily add general aviation tiedowns to both X-Plane 9 and 10 sceneries.

    Installation

    Unzip the downloaded GA_Tiedowns package and then copy the Tiedowns directory into each custom scenery airport folder you wish to use it in.

    What Is In The Package

    There are two versions of tiedown art in this package. (Note: both use white paint, commonly used in the USA. If you wish to have yellow paint, you are free to use Photoshop or Gimp to modify these files to look any way you desire.)

    tiedown01.png is 'virgin,' that is, solid dense white paint.

    tiedown02.png is weathered a bit and slightly transparent so as to permit the underlying texture to peek through. Each version has a corresponding polygon file that enables the art to appear in your airport. Using polygons instead of objects not only prevents parts of the objects disappearing due to sloping ramps, but it also has the added bonus of making them visible from far greater distances. The downside is that they are only 2D images overlying your ramp texture, much the same as taxi lines.

    The instructions look complicated, but relax as it's not as difficult as it looks. There are two sets included, one for WED 1.2 and one for WED 1.3 and later, so make sure you use the appropriate version. When you have successfully placed one tiedown, the rest will come easier.

    Using WED 1.2

    1. Launch WED 1.2 and open the custom airport you wish to modify.

    2. Zoom in on the area where you want to begin placing tiedowns. I find it useful to place one OpenSceneryX GA aircraft such as a C-150 nearby so as to give myself a scale reference.

    3. Choose "View>Pick overlay image" and select your tiedown01.png or tiedown.02.png image as desired. The image is imported and fills the center pane of WED.

    X-Plane GA Tiedowns

    4. Press and hold option-shift (alt-shift on Windows) to resize the image to an appropriate scale - this is where the nearby C-150 is helpful.

    The wing tiedown points should be about 2/3 the way out from the centerline of the aircraft. In the upper right pane of WED, move the tiedown0x.png to the bottom of the list after the last item in your airport.

    X-Plane GA Tiedowns

    5. With the tiedown01.png or tiedown02.png scaled down and placed where you want it, choose "Edit>Make draped polygons" [requires WED1.2 - see instructions below for WED1.3 and later]. WED will overwrite the .pol files given in the package.

    6. Edit the tiedown01.pol or tiedown02.pol in your aircraft folder using a plain text editor such as TextEdit (Mac) or Notepad (Win) and put this line at the very bottom of the file if it is not there already:

    LAYER_GROUP markings +1

    Launch X-Plane or reload the scenery using the XReload plugin. This will allow you to see your new tiedown!

    To make more identical tiedowns in WED 1.2: Select the tiedown polygon in the upper right object list pane of WED 1.2 so as to highlight it, then choose the marquee tool (red X-square tool) to get the yellow box and dots where the first tiedown was located. With this done, you can then duplicate it by pressing command - shift-D (control-shift-D on Windows) and drag the new copy polygon to a new location on your airport ramp.

    It is not necessary to also drag and place the .png image, because the polygon will reference back to the original, putting a copy in the new place.

    You can rotate and scale the polygon as before so as to match your airport parking layout. Using WED's grouping feature and the marquee tool, you can duplicate whole rows and even reverse them as some airports do. Be sure to use a GA aircraft as a spacing guide.

    Using WED 1.3 And Later

    1. Launch WED 1.3+.

    2. Zoom in on the area where you want to begin placing tiedowns. I find it useful to place one GA aircraft such as a C-152 nearby so as to give myself a scale reference.

    3. Choose "View>Pick overlay image" and select your tiedown01.png or tiedown.02 image as desired. The image is imported and fills the center pane of WED.

    4. Press and hold option-shift (alt-shift on Windows) to resize the image to an appropriate scale - this is where the C150 is helpful - being sure to keep the aspect ratio constant. The wing tiedown points should be about 2/3 the way out from the centerline of the aircraft.

    5. Choose the tiedown01.pol resource in the upper left pane of WED 1.3+ and in the upper left pane choose either tiedown01.pol or tiedown02.pol. This automatically selects the draped polygon tool.

    6. Draw the polygon over the image you just placed by clicking on each corner in succession until clicking the fifth time closes the polygon. That pretty much ensures you get a near-perfect square. As you close the polygon, you should see the tiedown appear.

    7. With the polygon still selected, choose the marquee tool (red square). The polygon now has the standard yellow corner points you can use to rotate (option/alt key) or click and drag it (center point) to another location.

    8. To make more of the same tiedown, use cmd-shift-D to duplicate a selected polygon and click-drag the duplicate by its center point.

    9. Save and Export your airport with tiedowns.

    Launch X-Plane or reload the scenery using the X-Reloaded plugin. This will allow you to see your new tiedown!

    The excellent freeware graphics editor 'Gimp', can be found here:

    http://www.gimp.org

    Download GA Tiedowns


    1 Comment
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Another great X-Plane tutorial Rik.

      Many thanks for sharing your X-Plane secrets
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