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Tutorial: Upgrade X-Plane 11 Baron 58 GPS

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Hi, this is the tutorial you'll find in the GNS V2 X-Plane User's Manual. Although for the GNS, the same applies identically to the GTN, until the X-Plane SDK offers plugins a more elaborate way to add any 'gauge' to a 3D cockpit.


Introduction: differences between X-Plane and FltSim panels

in FltSim, there are panels, there are gauges that can be configured on a panel, a gauge is a flat render surface where bitmaps are drawn to and animated over. In the virtual cockpit, FltSim automatically translate and renders the flat gauge surface to the 3D polygon of the panel. From a gauge point of view, it doesn't make a difference, FltSim does this behind the scene. For the user point of view, just add a gauge to a VC section of the panel config, and FltSim displays it.

In X-Plane, there are panels only, and stock gauges/parts only. Everything else is custom-drawn on the screen every time X-Plane redraws the screen. X-Plane has 2 different panels: the 2D and the 3D. Each offer a 'render surface' and it is up to the aircraft 3D model to tell a particular rectangle area from the render surface gets drawn to a particular polygon. Compared to FltSim, there is no user-accessible way to configure a 3D panel.

Our plugin has to do many things on its own, but in this department, it internally re-creates the notion of 'per aircraft panel' configuration (our RealityXP.GNS.ini file). With this, it can have per-aircraft configuration, which tells on which panel(s) and at which coordinates you'd like to render the GNS gauge (2D/3D). However, if an aircraft model does not map the 3D panel render surface to a polygon, unlike FltSim, you won't be able to display the gauge on the 3D panel. To this effect, we've been discussing with X-Plane developers and they are willing to find a way for plugins like ours to be able to 'create' a 3D panel render surface from the plugin even if the aircraft model lacks it.

Next comes the bezel and the mouse interaction. Our plugins (GNS and GTN) offer 3D panel click spots. This means than 'drawing' our gauges with their bezel, you get a flat rendered gauge with working clickspots located on the gauge bezel. It would then look like a flat rendered texture but it is working. A 3D model of the bezel gives the depth of the actual gauge, and permit you configuring the GNS/GTN to render 'screen only'. It is just visually more pleasing.

Replacing any aircraft default X-Plane GPS requires a few easy steps. This chapter is a step-by-step guide to replace the aircraft default GPS with the Reality XP GNS 530W/430W V2 on the stock X-Plane 11 Baron 58.


Find gauge panel coordinates

The first step consists in finding where to draw the gauge to the 3D panel.

  • Start X-Plane 11 with the Baron 58 and wait until the aircraft is ready on the tarmac.
  • Press the CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+SPACE keys to save the panel preview snapshot.
  • Select Plugin | Reality XP GNS | GNS 1 | GNS 530W 1 if not already opened.
  • Exit X-Plane 11.
  • Open the saved panel preview snapshot with any paint program, like "Paint" included in Windows:
    XPlane\Aircraft\Laminar Research\Baron B58\cockpit_3d\-PANELS-\Panel_Preview.png



  • In the paint program, zoom to the centre section where you find the default GPS screen.
  • Write down corners coordinates (pixels highlighted in red below)   
  • compute display width like this: width = (X2 - X1 +1) = (534 - 275 + 1) = 260
  • compute display height like this: height = (Y2 - Y1 + 1) = (550 - 356 + 1) = 195



Add the RXP GNS 530W Gauge to the 3D panel

The second step consists in configuring the GNS 530W to display in the 3D panel.

  • With notepad or any other text editor, open the following file:
    XPlane\Aircraft\Laminar Research\Baron B58\RealityXP.GNS.ini
  • Locate the section header: [GNS_530_1]
  • Right below the section header, locate the line starting with drawto = .
  • Type a new render target to the end of the list. For example: drawto = WINDOW, Garmin_530_screen
  • Add the following text to create a new section at the end of the file, then save and exit notepad

visible = true
nobezel = true
frame.type = PANEL3D
; display position and dimension (left,top,width,height)
frame.rect = 275,668,260,195

Note: frame.rect is the actual render position and size: X1 is the left value, the width and height are the value computed in the previous steps. The top value is computed like this: top = "height of Panel_Preview.png" - Y1.
In this example: top = 1024 - 356 = 668


Fly the RXP GNS 530W

When you are done, open X-Plane 11, select the Baron 58 and open the GNS 530W 1 configuration panel. Enable Use X-Plane GPS Commands option then Accept to close the panel. Your GNS 530W displays in the 3D panel, and the bezel knobs and keys are working!


Edited by RXP
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Here is a link to additional knowledge about X-Plane panels:


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Thanks for this tutorial. I followed your instructions but using the GTN750 instead. I got it to display correctly in the freeware Gulfstream G-IV for XP, however I can not click any of the GTN buttons on the screen. I can only control the unit with the GTN750 popup window instead of the integrated guage. Is there a way to fix this?

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Congratulations for trying and succeeding!

You'd have to make sure to enable mouse clicks in the rendering section.

You might want to open the RealityXP.GTN.ini file of another aircraft (default created file is better) and see the available settings to add to your own section, namely usemouse, popleft, popright (they differ slightly from the GNS V2 because of the touch screen).

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Okay I was able to get this working correctly in the Gulfstream, however some of the other aircraft I am trying to mod have a black image covering the panel in the cockpit_3d folder which obviously makes it impossible to find the GTN coordinates. Is there a way around this or does this mean the aircraft is incompatible?

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It depends whether the aircraft is using part of the panel.png to 'paint' instruments in the 3D panel or not. I'm not sure how the best to find this out but to eventually start configuring the .ini to draw the GTN over the entire surface and see if there are bits of it appearing at different places in the 3D cockpit?

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