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David Roch

Caravan Panel Lights

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Any one know a fix for the blinding brightness of the Caravan default VC panel in a dark-night ILS landing? It looks good if you turn the panel lights on with the sim paused, but then changes to a brightness that almost washes out some of the instruments when the Pause mode is turned off (at least on my installation). If you turn the panel lights off, you then can't see any of the gauges.You can't see the runway, even at 400 feet AGL, with the "landing" default 2D panel without a lot of panning and fiddling around.I know there are a couple of replacement 2D freeware panels available, but prefer to use the VC if possible.Thanks, Regards,Thrakete

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The Caravan uses an .fx "light" for the VC:light.6 = 4, -11.61, 0.00, 0.98, fx_vclightYou can very easily open fx_vclight.fx file in notepad.exe and soften the level of "light" by making the color darker...What I'd suggest is that you make a copy of the fx_vclight.fx file, then rename it to something like fx_vclight_caravan.fx, then modify the aircraft.cfg entry to match the new name:light.6 = 4, -11.61, 0.00, 0.98, fx_vclight_caravanOpen your fx_vclight_caravan.fx file in notepad, then look towards the bottom of the short file until you find these two entries:Color Start=100, 100, 100, 1Color End=180, 140, 100, 0Note that the numbers are RGBA (Red, Green, Blue, Alpha) values. The Color start is 100,100,100,1 which is about 40% (max is 255), and the Color End is 180, 140, 100, 0 which is that horribly ugly pinkish red color that makes me want to puke... ;)Try setting Color End=100,100,100,0 to begin with, then brighten it as you desire. Note that you will need to exit FSX and restart it before any changes will take place.Have fun customizing your lighting!

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Bill,Thanks for a very informative and detailed answer. I have printed it and will try making the changes sometime today. I will keep the information for possible future use on other panels.What really puzzled me was that the default lighting looks good when I turn the lights on with the sim paused, then goes to the "too bright" mode when I go active. That's the first time I have encountered that particular type of response.Thanks again.Regards,Thrakete

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Bill,I tried the method you suggested, and it worked great! Thanks much for the fix. My VC lighting now matches the 2D panel lighting, and the problem of the VC lighting being different in Pause mode vs with the sim active went away also.You might be interested in the actual numbers, as my default was different from yours. My configuration is FSX/SP1a/SP2-Vista/SP1.Original "fx_vclight.fx":Color Start=50, 50, 50, 1Color End=155, 79, 70, 0My new (Caravan Only) values:Color Start=50, 50, 50, 1 ////No ChangeColor End=10, 06, 05, 0The very low values in Color End were necessary to eliminate the "washout" of the top half of the horizon gauge by the lighting.I understand the meaning of RGB and Alpha values, but just for my education, what do the "Color Start" and "Color End" terms signify?Regards,Thrakete

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Effects are created by "emitter(s) generating "sprites." Although simplistic, you can think of "sprites" as little "beams of light" that extend from the emitter's x,y,z coordinates outward for some defined distance. Even simpler: the emitter is a gun with an infinite number of barrels that shoot "bullets of light" outwards from the center... :)The Color Start parameter defines the color as it leaves the emitter, and the Color End parameter defines the color at the final target's coordinates. Having different values allows the sprite to smoothly blend not only a relative brightness level, but also the relative color, luminosity, and alpha at the same time.That is why so much trial-and-error is required to find a good balance point, and also why I recommend that folks NOT mess with the default .fx files at all, but instead copy/paste/rename/edit to suit their own tastes.By the way, if you have the SDK installed, you can run the Effects Placement Tool which will allow you to create and/or edit .fx files in real time without having to close/reload the sim. The tool is a bit flakey, but I've used it to good purpose ever since FSX was released (actually before then, but that's a story I can't tell). ;)

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O.K. Bill, Thanks. I remember the use of Sprites from several years ago when I used to do some C gauge programming, but it was mostly cut and paste stuff for me and I didn't understand the theory behind them.Anyhow, I have tried flying the revised VC lighting and it works great.I have also added the freeware Xenon landing lights by Dirk Kurz (xenon3.zip), and that makes the night ground airplane handling much easier. The default landing lights wash out all the runway and taxi lines, and the new FSX version of the Xenon lights is a marked improvement.Regards,Thrakete

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Hey Bill, my problem with lighting is in the goose v/c. I can't see the gauges very well in the daytime. Is there a way to fix that in the goose config?Don

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>The Caravan uses an .fx "light" for the VC:>>light.6 = 4, -11.61, 0.00, 0.98, fx_vclight>>You can very easily open fx_vclight.fx file in notepad.exe and>soften the level of "light" by making the color darker...>>What I'd suggest is that you make a copy of the fx_vclight.fx>file, then rename it to something like fx_vclight_caravan.fx,>then modify the aircraft.cfg entry to match the new name:>>light.6 = 4, -11.61, 0.00, 0.98, fx_vclight_caravan>>Open your fx_vclight_caravan.fx file in notepad, then look>towards the bottom of the short file until you find these two>entries:>>Color Start=100, 100, 100, 1>Color End=180, 140, 100, 0>>Note that the numbers are RGBA (Red, Green, Blue, Alpha)>values. The Color start is 100,100,100,1 which is about 40%>(max is 255), and the Color End is 180, 140, 100, 0 which is>that horribly ugly pinkish red color that makes me want to>puke... ;)>>Try setting Color End=100,100,100,0 to begin with, then>brighten it as you desire. Note that you will need to exit FSX>and restart it before any changes will take place.>>Have fun customizing your lighting!Can this be done for the 2D cockpit?

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>Hey Bill, my problem with lighting is in the goose v/c. I>can't see the gauges very well in the daytime. Is there a way>to fix that in the goose config?This is not as fancy as Bill's solution, but I fixed it by using the smoke system and by changing the location of the vclight. Here is what I wound up with (I moved the EYEPOINT, SMOKESYSTEM, and LIGHTS all to the same place in the Goose aircraft.cfg file) and did this...[Views]eyepoint = -0.9, -1.35, 2.95 //Longitudinal, Lateral, Vertical (feet)[SMOKESYSTEM]smoke.0 = -0.9, -1.35, 2.95, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS]//Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit, 5=landinglight.5 = 1, -15.6, -0.26, 4.4, fx_beacon ,//light.7 = 4, 1.60, 0.00, 2.70, fx_vclight,For daytime, press the "i" key for smoke and get your panel lit up. Then at night, "i" key to turn this off and use the FSX night lights. This was (I think) an offshoot of FSX SP2.Phill

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Thanks Phill, very nice tip :--)Could you please explain how to change the values for other airplanes?

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>Can this be done for the 2D cockpit?No. The 2D cockpit "lighting" is controlled by three entries at the bottom of the panel.cfg file, and is extremely limited.

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>Could you please explain how to change the values for other>airplanes?Here are the ones I've done so far.This shows how one user gets daytime VC lights and retains the night VC lights. After inserting the smokesystem (and make sure the VC lights are commented out under the LIGHTS section), then by using the "i" key in the daytime you get good VC lights. At night the Shift-L controls panel lights but both on are super bright, so just toggle the "i" key again to use only the night system. This way you get the best of both worlds. These are the six aircraft I've done this for.Goose Gruman, C206B Grand Caravan, Default B737-800, Default C172, Default Douglas DC3, and Maule M7 260C=============== Goose Gruman =====================[Views]eyepoint = -0.9, -1.35, 2.95 //Longitudinal, Lateral, Vertical (feet)[SMOKESYSTEM]smoke.0 = -0.9, -1.35, 2.95, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS]//Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit, 5=landinglight.5 = 1, -15.6, -0.26, 4.4, fx_beacon ,//light.7 = 4, 1.60, 0.00, 2.70, fx_vclight,================== C206B Grand Caravan =======================[Views]eyepoint = -12.5, -1.2, 2.19 //(feet) longitudinal, lateral, vertical distance from reference datum[SMOKESYSTEM]//smoke.0 = -10.5, 0.00, 1.19, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day usesmoke.0 = -12.5, -1.2, 2.19, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS]//Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit light.0 = 3, -16.72, -25.80, 3.85, fx_navredhlight.1 = 3, -16.28, 25.80, 3.85, fx_navgrehlight.2 = 3, -42.28, 0.00, 2.12, fx_navwhihlight.3 = 2, -16.90, -25.90, 3.85, fx_strobehlight.4 = 2, -16.45, 25.90, 3.85, fx_strobehlight.5 = 1, -40.10, 0.00, 10.01, fx_beaconh//light.6 = 4, -11.61, 0.00, 0.98, fx_vclight================ Default B737-800 =========================[Views]//eyepoint = 48.2, -1.55, 1.9 //(feet) longitudinal, lateral, vertical distance from reference datumeyepoint = 48.2, -1.20, 1.9[SMOKESYSTEM]//smoke.0 = 47.60, 0.00, 3.00, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day usesmoke.0 = 48.2, 0.00, 1.9, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS] //Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit, 5=landinglight.0 = 3, -24.20, -56.60, 3.90, fx_navredm ,light.1 = 3, -24.20, 56.60, 3.90, fx_navgrem ,light.2 = 2, -71.32, 0.00, 5.92, fx_strobeh ,light.3 = 2, -25.00, -57.20, 4.20, fx_strobe ,light.4 = 2, -25.00, 57.20, 4.20, fx_strobe ,light.5 = 2, -7.55, 0.00, -5.50, fx_beaconb ,light.6 = 1, 2.00, 0.00, 8.70, fx_beaconh ,//light.7 = 4, 47.60, 0.00, 3.00, fx_vclighth ,light.8 = 3, -29.50, -56.60, 3.70, fx_navwhih ,light.9 = 3, -29.50, 56.60, 3.70, fx_navwhih ,================= Default C172 =====================[Views]eyepoint= -3.95, -0.85, 1.9 //(feet) longitudinal, lateral, vertical distance from reference datum[SMOKESYSTEM]smoke.0 = -2.27, 0.00, 1.45, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS]//Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpitlight.0 = 3, -2.76, -18.11, 2.97, fx_navredlight.1 = 3, -2.78, 18.11, 2.95, fx_navgrelight.2 = 2, -3.13, -18.31, 2.95, fx_strobelight.3 = 2, -3.11, 18.31, 2.95, fx_strobelight.4 = 1, -20.51, 0.00, 6.20, fx_beacon//light.5 = 4, -2.27, 0.00, 1.45, fx_vclight=================== Default Douglas DC3 ======================[Views]eyepoint = -6.495, -0.8, 3.25 //was 3.32//eyepoint = -6.495, -1.4, 3.26 //-6.495, -0.8, 3.25[SMOKESYSTEM]smoke.0 = -6.50, 0.00, 4.80, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS]//Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit, 5=landinglight.0 = 3, -27.20, -46.30, 0.65, fx_navredm ,light.1 = 3, -27.20, 46.30, 0.65, fx_navgrem ,light.2 = 3, -64.00, 0.00, 2.72, fx_navwhi ,light.3 = 1, -36.80, 0.00, 6.25, fx_beaconh ,//light.4 = 4, -6.50, 0.00, 4.80, fx_vclighth,light.5 = 4, -33.00, 0.00, 4.20, fx_vclighth,==================== Maule M7 260C ===========================[Views]eyepoint= -2.0, -0.75, 1.4 //(feet) longitudinal, lateral, vertical distance from reference datum[SMOKESYSTEM]smoke.0 = -2.24, 0.00, 2.20, fx_vclighth //Add vc lights for day use[LIGHTS]//Types: 1=beacon, 2=strobe, 3=navigation, 4=cockpit light.0 = 3, -1.23, -16.56, 2.68, fx_navredlight.1 = 3, -1.23, 16.56, 2.68, fx_navgrelight.2 = 3, -17.05, 0.00, 4.45, fx_navwhilight.3 = 2, -1.23, -16.56, 2.68, fx_strobelight.4 = 2, -1.23, 16.56, 2.68, fx_strobe//light.5 = 4, -2.24, 0.00, 2.20, fx_vclight

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>>Could you please explain how to change the values for other>>airplanes?>>Here are the ones I've done so far.Phil, thanks so much, I cannot get it working for the Caravan though...any thoughts?

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