(CFS Panel Clinic Revision 1. 14th July 1999.)(CFS Panel Clinic Revision 1. 14th July 1999.)
FIXING COMMON PROBLEMS WITH IMPORTED PANELS
One of the features I like most about CFS is the 360-degree outside view from the cockpit.
It's a major improvement on FS98 and I'm pretty sure it will be incorporated in FS2000.
A lot of people experience problems during their first attempts to install FS98 aircraft & panels to CFS mainly due to this feature.
Most FS98 panels can be easily reconfigured to work in CFS but some are totally unsuitable.
Similar questions crop up time after time on the subject so I thought I'd write this in an attempt to answer the most common ones.
If you recognise one of these problems & would like to rectify it, why don't you print this out & give it a try. It's surprisingly simple. I'd be interested in any feedback or criticism.
GREY (OR BLACK) WINDOW SYNDROME
Ever installed a panel to find the windscreen is black & you can't see out?
This is quite easily fixed if you can use a paint program.
(My favourite is Paint Shop Pro, but MS Paint will do it.)
Please make backup copies of any files you intend changing in case anything goes wrong.
Here's what you do. It's quite simple.
Start your favourite paint program & find the main panel bitmap in the panel that's got the problem.
Open it up & zoom in as much as you can on the very top left corner of the bitmap.
You need to be able to see the individual pixels if possible.
CFS uses the pixel in the 0,0 position, that's the extreme top left one, to determine the colour transparency of the panel.
Whatever colour the rest of the panel is, even if this part will not show as transparent, that pixel needs to be True Black. Even if it looks black, check it.
True Black is identified as: red=0, green=0, blue=0.
Select this on the colour palette, get the tiniest paintbrush you can, (one pixel if possible) & paint that pixel in the top corner True Black.
(Some 1024x768 or higher resolution bitmaps may need the next pixel along (pixel 0,1) painted True Black as well to work in low-resolution settings.)
That should do it. Exit the paint programme, saving changes to the bitmap, fire up CFS and try it.
BLACK BAND SYNDROME - PANEL LOCK-UP
This is where you see black bands at the bottom of the screen in side views.
Some examples can cause noticeable lock-up problems.
You get it mainly with imported aircraft that use the CFS fsfsconv panels & imported FS98 panels.
The CFS default panels are configured in 3d mode. The fsfsconv & the majority of FS98 panels are configured in 2d.
Most FS98 panels can be easily reconfigured in 3d mode, which will get rid of the black bands, but you may find that the mouseable functions no longer work.
(This can also be fixed but it's more complex & not part of this tutorial.)
If you can type an E-mail you can do this. I can do it in one minute flat.
Please make backup copies of files you intend modifying.
Go into the CFS Aircraft folder & open up the panel folder of the aircraft you're having problems with.
There are two possibilities.
1. FSFSCONV PANELS
If there's only one file in there it will be named panel.cfg.
Open panel.cfg in Notepad
(Let Notepad become the default for .cfg files, saves time.)
You should see something like this:
This shows that the panel is pointed to one of the CFS Converter panels.
Why not re-direct it to one of the CFS default panels instead, like this:
Change the second line to read:
Exit Notepad, saving changes.
Your aircraft will now use the default P51d panel.
You can point it at any other aircraft in your CFS Aircraft directory providing it has its own panel & you type the exact Aircraft folder name in place of P51d.
(The I in Spitfire_MkI is an uppercase letter I, not number 1)
Be careful, as it won't work if you make a mistake.
Your plane may not even show up in CFS.
2. IMPORTED PANELS
The panel folder of an imported panel should contain a panel.cfg file & one or more bitmaps.
Open the panel.cfg in Notepad.
At the top you will see something like this:
(I've used a simple example for clarity. Panel configurations vary considerably.)
(There may be more Window Titles but ignore them for now.)
To convert it to CFS 3d mode & get rid of the black bands, modify it like this:
(You only need to add the line in bold type.)
// Panel Configuration file
That's that. Now scroll down to the very bottom of the page.
You should see something like this:
This is most important. If it's not there, type it in.
The first four lines need to be exactly as shown. If they're not, change them.
The fifth, SIZE_Y, controls how far the outside view window extends down the screen.
It also controls the position of the gunsight.
You may wish to experiment by changing it later.
Lower numbers will raise it, higher ones will lower it.
Under no circumstances go higher than SIZE_Y=6150
SIZE_Y=5000 is OK for now.
Right, if you've done that, exit Notepad saving the changes.
Fire up CFS & try it, I hope you'll notice the difference.
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© simviation.com/Doug Attrell 1999