• Plane Maker Tutorial Part 4

    Plane Maker Tutorial Part 4

    How to Create a Simulated Aeroplane for use in X-Plane

    By Ray Hill

    Cockpit, Painting, Tuning and Weapons

    X-Plane offers two cockpit options: 2D and 3D views. Here I will only discuss 2D views because 3D views require additional (and far more complex) software such as the freeware Blender which has a very steep learning curve. Guess what, all those payware planes you buy with fantastic graphics are built using Blender (or similar) objects. If you want to go that deep please first look at some of the many YouTube videos. You "simply" attach these quality objects to your Plane Maker items which you then hide using "Expert/Invisible" parts, but guess what, those invisible parts still form part of the X-Plane flight engines, so your base X-Plane components had better be pretty good. Objects in Blender etc. may also be animated and attached to X-Plane reference points which is how the top people do complex undercarriage doors and in flight re-fuelling probes, or even open passenger doors.

    So for now we simply go to "Standard/Panel 2D" to create a basic cockpit. the first thing you see is as below and to the left there are menu options from which you can drag and drop instrument choices to specific places on your instrument panel. I would suggest that minimal choices are altimeter, airspeed indicator, VSI, artificial horizon. If you are designing a high speed aeroplane you may wish to drag a Mach meter on, even onto an ASI. You may also add a flap and undercarriage control plus appropriate indicators and also rudder and elevator trim controls. In this model we also add a weapons selector which we will use at the end.

    Plane Maker tutorial

    Simply choose items from drop downs to the left, seeing the preview below, and then drag to your required position. The absence of undercarriage control is because I could not find it, so that is a key or joystick button! I personally spend very little time flying from the cockpit so keep my panels as simple as possible. The top menu bar allows you to import panels from other sources, but I am unsure of copyright issues. Maybe best to get on the forum and ask the author's permission first. My loaded panel is as below.

    Note that on the top left I have added a rotary weapon selector which is required to arm the chosen weapon type prior to firing. Any instrument that is active with a yellow box around it may be simply removed with your delete key. This doesn't alter the flight model, so play around at leisure.

    Plane Maker tutorial

    Start X-Plane, go into 2D cockpit view and you should see something like this. Levers and switches such as trim, flaps and weapon select may be activated by the mouse. Then use keyboard up/down arrows to adjust your viewpoint.

    Plane Maker tutorial

    Now we'll start the external artwork; click on "special/output texture map starting points". Plane Maker will create two *.PNG files from which it subsequently reads your color schemes. Computer art is not one of my strong points and to get down to really good detail requires a pixel level approach. I have basically found a way to do shortcuts to the standard approach which uses only one *.PNG file, which you need to edit with a paint app that can modify *.PNG files. A *.PNG is a final image; for really complex work you will need to use a paint app that creates layers of objects, fills, lines, etc., saved in its native format and then exported to the named PNG.


    1 Comment
    1. zangg's Avatar
      zangg -
      Thanks.
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