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How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

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How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby Willy » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:46 pm

Hi all,

since this is my very first post, I'd like to introduce myself briefly. I am (real world) glider pilot located at Germany. I am in the business for quite some time (since I was 14) but I never spend any time into flight simulation or FlightGear, so I am a newbie in this area. My primary interest in FG is using it together with my student pilots for on-the-ground procedure trainings of powered sailplanes, similar to the ASK21-MI.

I was rather happy to find the kind of ship I am looking for on the download site. However, I realized that it has neither controls nor instruments for the engine, so I decided to have a look at how to improve aircrafts. Following the good advice at Howto:Make an aircraft I planed to start simple and to evolve later. Let's see how far I can get on my wishlist before ending up totally frustrated :wink:

  1. placard "Starter"
  2. starter button (re-used rather than modeled myself)
  3. power lever
  4. propeller brake lever
  5. engine control instrument

All of the above can be seen at the lower part of the instrument panel shown here

So eventually here comes my question: How do I add a thing that does exactly nothing like a placard to an existing panel? :o

I do have a placard ready as PNG. Do I have to convert this into an .ac file or can I reference the PNG itself in one of the aircraft's XML files? What would be the approproiate XML path for that?

I would love to share my experience and contribute a tutorial later compiled from this thread maybe, but for that I have to find a start for such a simple thing...

Thanks inadvance for your advice!

Cheers,
Willy
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby legoboyvdlp » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:31 pm

Hi,
There is a better ASK21 available at github :)
If you use that at a starting point, it will save you duplicating work!
Thanks,
Jonathan
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby D-ECHO » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:33 pm

Hi Willy!
Great to have someone like you here!
Shortly introducing myself, I am also a real world glider pilot (student) and currently developing (besides others) the ASK21mi.
The model you found was probably the "ask21mi" by Helijah. However, there is another one done by Gilberto, Viktor and me. It is a work in progress and therefor not available on the official repository, but on our github: https://github.com/viktorradnai/flightgear-ask21. If you want to try, go to that page, press "Clone or Download" on the right and "Download ZIP", then extract it as "ASK21" into your aircraft folder. I'd love to hear your opinion on this and maybe you can get involved as well.
For easy communication, I'd suggest using Discord (see viewtopic.php?f=10&t=31449&p=330800&hilit=discord#p330800) or you can write via the forum, for sure
Cheers
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[EDIT] Yeah, lego you were faster ;) Thanks!
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby wlbragg » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:37 pm

Hi Willy! The entry barrier to modeling for FlightGear can be substantial at first, but well worth it if you enjoy these thing. D-ECHO is the facto glider modeler here. I think if your wanting to add "real life" features to any of the aircraft he has worked on he would be more than happy to help you get started.

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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby Willy » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:22 pm

Hi all,

thanks a lot for all the nice words and good advice. Indeed the ASK 21 MI presented here is a quite elaborate model - chapaeu! 8) I played around with it for some time now, and it's definetly the kind of ship I am looking for, so I would love to contribute to it.

Coming back to my initial question and my idea to learn more about how to make aircrafts and maybe to write a little tutorial about how to start as simple: Do you have some advice or links to articles about how to add a simple placard (e.g. PNG graphics) to a model? For instance there are two swiches on this ASK 21 MI's instrument panel that are not labled at all, and the canopy jettison handle is not labled as required ---- when it comes to the next technical inspection that will critized for sure :wink:

Cheers,
Willy
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby Thorsten » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:00 pm

If the panel is textured - search for the texture PNG, copy your graphics into it at the right spot.

If the panel is untextured - uv-map and texture it first (if you do not know what it means, google the tutorial of the 3d modeling application of your choice), then add your graphics to the right spot.

If you want to do a quick hack, create a surface in the right place, texture it with your graphics and add it to the model.

Generally, these are 3d modeling skills not specific to FG, so there's tons of videos, tutorials and howtos out in the internet (and adding one more to the FG wiki is maybe not the best use of your time...)
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby ludomotico » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:14 pm

Modelling a placard is not specific to FlightGear. FlightGear understands several 3D file formats, but nearly all FlightGear models are in AC3D format (.ac files). There are a couple of tools you can use, from the original AC3D to Blender with an "export to AC" plugin. Blender is an awesome (but complex) free modelling application and there are tons of tutorials about how to use it. Check this one (for example): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLEpjSFHl4o and model a placard instead of a barrel. Measures in your model must follow the metric system: 1 unit = 1 meter.

If you are new to blender, creating a simple placard may take several days. Once you are used to blender's GUI, modelling will be mush faster. Modelling a new object is probably the most difficult part, but there are plenty of tutorials to help you. The amount of detail is up to you: from a textured rectangle to a metal placard with a rounded edge and some screws.

Once your placard is modelled, you must add it to an aircraft in FlightGear. Loading an object in FlightGear is easier than modelling it, but a bit tricky and completely specific to FligthGear. Open the .XML of the aircraft, look for the relevant section (search for other models, such as the yoke or an instrument), and add a reference to you .AC. The reference is something like "Load this .AC file 0.25m to the right and 0.3cm above the reference point of the aircraft". Since the reference point was arbitrary defined by the first modeller of the aircraft, it may be a bit difficult to find. Try setting the object on top on another instrument, and then move it.
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby helijah » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am

It's been several months since I started updating my models again. Many are already better and today I discover a second ASK21 Mi. OK no worries, why not. JSBSim, OK everyone can make mistakes. They will learn in time.

But, and now it's unbearable, there is no respect for the work of others. Indeed the SET file of this new ASK 21 Mi is identical to the one I made. "ask21mi-set.xml" which creates a duplicate in the FG entries. Bravo and it's up to me to change mine. It's really despicable to see such disrespectful people. I don't congratulate you.
Not to mention the 3D model which, slightly modified, remains mine and that snas no remark or thanks. Everyone will be able to judge the methods of these unscrupulous people.

I see that FG is really on a downhill slope with people like that.
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby Hooray » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:59 am

helijah wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am:It's been several months since I started updating my models again. Many are already better and today I discover a second ASK21 Mi. OK no worries, why not. JSBSim, OK everyone can make mistakes. They will learn in time.

But, and now it's unbearable, there is no respect for the work of others. Indeed the SET file of this new ASK 21 Mi is identical to the one I made. "ask21mi-set.xml" which creates a duplicate in the FG entries. Bravo and it's up to me to change mine. It's really despicable to see such disrespectful people. I don't congratulate you.
Not to mention the 3D model which, slightly modified, remains mine and that snas no remark or thanks. Everyone will be able to judge the methods of these unscrupulous people.

I see that FG is really on a downhill slope with people like that.


To be honest, I'd suggest to switch perspective: You're posting as someone with an enormous background, i.e. you have a ton of experience creating aircraft, so you know pretty much everything about XML, properties, paths, textures - however, it's unreasonable to suggest that newcomers have the same understanding about FlightGear internals. I don't think any other user around here has created as many FlightGear related aircraft/models as you have - thus, it would make sense to do a reality check, maybe your expectations are a bit far-fetched ? Why do you think that a newcomer without your background would know how to properly "fork" a particular aircraft ?

I don't see any reason to believe that there is any ill-meaning involved here, many of the people around here don't have your background - as a matter of fact, I have never created a single 3D model from scratch, or even just a texture. Thus, I would also be likely to use existing resources to learn that way, and even if I should step on your feet, it may just be by accident.

It is very negative to suggest that people intentionally forget to attribute your work, just because you have a background of contributing to FlightGear for over a decade, and because you know how to do properly credit someone's work.

As a matter of fact, maybe other contributors more familiar with certain FlightGear internals, may find their own work in your aircraft, too ?

So please, let's be real here ... this kind of attitude is alienating newcomers, and rightly so.

If in doubt, add a forum posting or a dedicated wiki tutorial to document how you'd like to see your work credited, and then whenever someone forgets to follow your rules, you can at least politely point out, that you have your own rules - rules which have nothing to do with the GPL, I may add.

As a matter of fact, I think I am gonna sell all your aircraft on ebay ... to help you with the aforementioned reality check, yay good idea ! :D
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Thanks & all the best,
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby D-ECHO » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:59 pm

replaced by more elaborate post (see below)
Last edited by D-ECHO on Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby D-ECHO » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:10 pm

helijah wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am: JSBSim, OK everyone can make mistakes. They will learn in time.

I hope for you that this is not meant as arrogant as it sounds here. In close to every aspect, the new JSBSim FDM for the ASK21 is more realistic than your yasim model. Additionally, as it was explained to you in various threads already, JSBSim is not a mistake, but the way to go if you want to create a very realistic model. You might want to think about why people choose not to collab with you and do their own, separate model instead, maybe because of your stubbornness when it comes to the choice of FDM? Maybe?
helijah wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am:But, and now it's unbearable, there is no respect for the work of others.

This is a blatant lie. We, the developers of the new ASK21, respect, appreciate and correctly mention the authors of the aircraft we are basing uppon. Note though, that the new ASK21mi has next to nothing in common with yours as it was developed based on the ASK21 glider and not based on your aircraft.

helijah wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am: Indeed the SET file of this new ASK 21 Mi is identical to the one I made. "ask21mi-set.xml" which creates a duplicate in the FG entries. Bravo and it's up to me to change mine.

Happens, I guess. If you had politely asked to resolve this conflict, there would have been no problems. Instead posting *this* will definitely not help your case. Additionally, it can be argued that your ask21mi can now be considered obsolete, as it does not have any advantages over the current model.
helijah wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am:It's really despicable to see such disrespectful people. I don't congratulate you. [...] Everyone will be able to judge the methods of these unscrupulous people. [...]I see that FG is really on a downhill slope with people like that

Thank you very much for this, I hope you will take these words back and understand how upsettling they are.
helijah wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:43 am:Not to mention the 3D model which, slightly modified, remains mine and that snas no remark or thanks.

https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/fg ... UTHORS.txt this file lists all former authors of this aircraft, if you are not listed there, then nothing from your aircraft was taken. If we have made a mistake here, please show us what you think was taken from your aircraft and we can amend this file, but do not just come here and insult people, that is disrespectful.
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby Hooray » Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:54 pm

Personally, I would consider an -set.xml file to be merely the "entry point" of an aircraft, i.e. it usually does not contain much in terms of genuine/creative work, other than providing meta information and referencing the real artwork, i.e. images, 3D model, FDM, code etc

Thus, I guess I could have made the same mistake of not crediting the person/people who originally created said "boilerplate", because that's really what it basically is: a bunch of stuff copied and pasted from different sources (other aircraft, documentation, tutorials, wiki articles etc) - so, I would not expect someone to credit others for writing a -set.xml file, just because they use it as a template/reference.
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby helijah » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:35 pm

Dear Hooray

I absolutely agree with you in principle, but people like D-ECHO, Heiko Schulz, Detlef Faber etc... are not newcomers to SL. They know exactly what they're doing. Personally I always add people's names when I use some of their work. By the way my ASK21 Mi is based on the AKS21 of Heiko Schulz as shown in the base.

But that's not the biggest problem. What is annoying for the users is not to check before placing on FGAddon if there is not a -set of the same name. I spend hours checking this before committing. The minimum is to respect the work of others. I have never created duplicates and I forbid myself to make an existing navion (except at the instant request of users).

As for selling my models you can try, but they are all available for free on CG Trader, Blend Swap and SkechtFab and already used in many other simulators and games (AMA III, Second Life, strike fighters 2, FS X, X-Plane etc...).

Regards. Emmanuel

Regarding D-ECHO's response. I will make just one comment.

Open source is first and foremost about creating things that can be modified, reused, analyzed and understood by others in the future. Seeing the mess of files in all senses, the lamentable layout of said files (which makes them unreadable) shows me little interest of the authors for future creators.
As for their ASK21-mi, fortunately the users still prefer to use mine for the most part.

This forum is more and more badly attended. I won't come back to bother you with respect considerations since it doesn't exist here. Continue to destroy this fabulous project that was FG. When this is done you will have no one to blame but yourself.
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby Hooray » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:50 pm

Okay, let's try to be constructive: have you considered stating your preferred options in some kind of "attribution" file ?
Seriously, would that work for you ?

Or alternatively, how about adding a dedicated "ABOUT AIRCRAFT" item to the help menu, this could be easily populated by a corresponding text file and/or a PUI/XML file.

Indeed, we could even create a scrolling "hall of fame" using a few lines of Nasal and Canvas to show all the credit that people deserve - something like that would even work for a "changelog", and creating a corresponding "widget" would only take 1 minute, because we have already a Nasal/Canvas based ScrollArea, which could be easily adapted to make it read-only and scroll automatically using a timer.

The widget could then show all sorts of stuff like the "hall of fame" or "aircraft development history" (changelog)

I believe we have previously talked about using Canvas based splash screens to show such info: Splash Screens + Canvas
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Re: How to add an simple placard to an existing panel?

Postby helijah » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:01 pm

Hooray wrote in Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:50 pm:Okay, let's try to be constructive: have you considered stating your preferred options in some kind of "attribution" file ?
Seriously, would that work for you ?


Hooray as I said, the problem of the authors' annotations is not the most serious problem here.
It is the failure to check what exists before committing on FGAddon that is important.
Creating a duplicate means that FG can sometimes get mixed up in the paths and make both vehicles unusable.
Moreover you will notice that I did not judge their work contrary to the very unobjective judgment of D-ECHO.
I Just will notice that their files are unreadable and absolutely not organized. What more can I say. Users will judge.
By the way, I have just updated the ASK21 Mi. New FDM etc... remains the engine that does not want to start lol. But I will find it.
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