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Emile

PanelMania: P-51 & multi-monitor 2D panels + W key fix

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Hi all,As a home cockpit builder I became frustrated with the available options for displaying instruments on a 2nd monitor. It's possible to drag all the various panels for your aircraft to a second screen, but the end result looks more like a bunch of windows on a PC desktop than a cockpit. There are also various stand alone applications available which can display gauges but these range from fairly pricey to eye-wateringly expensive, and give all your flights a somewhat similar feel as they only offer generic instruments or a very small selection of aircraft. Consequently I set about creating a set of high resolution fullscreen panels with large clear gauges, indicators for analogue controls, all warning/status lights, and a complete avionics stack with an autopilot and race display. The resulting package has been uploaded to the AVSIM file library with the filename panelmania_v01.zip and features the following:1. Panels for all default FSX aircraft with fewer than 2 engines, namely: AirCreation Trike Ultralight, Bell 206B Jetranger, Cessna C172SP Skyhawk, Cessna C208B Grand Caravan, de Havilland Beaver DHC2, DG Flugzeugbau DG-808S, Extra 300S, Maule Orion, Maule Orion on skis, Mooney Bravo, North American P-51D, Piper J-3 Cub, and Robinson R22 Beta II. (N.B. To use the Maule panels you'll need the Deluxe version of FSX and for the P-51 panels you'll need to have Acceleration installed).2. A total of 24 new fullscreen panels (48 including night versions), ideal for use on a 2nd monitor or PC. The fullscreen panels include versions for 5:4 and 4:3 ratio screens and all use the same basic layout, allowing cockpit builders to use a single metal cover in front of a monitor with holes cut out for the gauges, with all of the listed aircraft.http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk..._Fullscreen.jpg http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk...creen_Night.jpg http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk..._Fullscreen.jpg3. Three additional standard 2D panels plus a minipanel for the P-51D Racer, which were missing from Acceleration. These feature working versions of every switch, button, gauge and light which works in the VC (and several which don't), a fully functioning radio panel, "2.5D" throttle, mixture and prop pitch controls, a race display screen with current lap time/total race time, full night lighting, a canopy which can be opened and closed, and a nose-cone which automatically matches the colour of whichever of the default P-51 skins you fly with.http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk...1Racer_Main.jpg http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk...acer_Radios.jpg http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk..._Main_Night.jpg4. Fix for the "W" key issue (whereby, since SP1, unwanted bits of the VC appear when panning in the "no cockpit" view).5. Total of 300 new or modified gauges.6. Over 70 bug-fixes and improvements to the default gauges (see the PanelManiaReadMe for more details).7. Modified version of the GPS which displays the screen only (ideal for use on a small TFT).http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk..._ScreenOnly.jpg8. Very simple installation process: Just unzip and drag all the contents to your main FSX folder (having first backed up your SimObjects folder). The only files which will be overwritten are the panel.cfg for each aircraft.9. All default panels remain accessible after PanelMania is installed.10. Once installed, the PanelMania fullscreen 5:4 panel for each aircraft can be displayed by pressing SHIFT+8, or SHIFT+9 for the 4:3 version. They can then be repositioned to any monitor you like.Making all of this was, frankly, an extremely tedious slog, involving many late nights over several months, and an awful lot of head scratching (particularly as I'd never so much as written a single line of code in XML before starting the project and this was also my very first encounter with the FSX SDK). If you'd like to support the effort then a Paypal donation of $20 (or whatever you feel the panels are worth to you) would be enormously appreciated. If a reasonable number of people chip in towards this package then I'll also produce another set of panels for the sim's multi-engine aircraft. The ReadMe gives details of how to make a secure payment with either a PayPal account or a credit/debit card.In addition to priority support, all contributors will receive a version of the panels with black backgrounds along with a set of plans in various formats which can be used to construct a metal coverplate in front of your monitor with holes cut out for the gauges. (I used an online service from Schaeffer-AG who'll cut and etch the panel for you using the supplied plans). As you can see from the photograph below, this can inexpensively transform the appearance of your setup into something which rivals simulators costing many thousands of dollars:http://www.mikesteven.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk...Panel_Photo.jpgFinally, I'd like to thank several people:-The guys in the AVSIM MSFS Aircraft and Panel Design forum for advice and tips as I struggled to get to grips with XML and the SDK, particularly Bill "n4gix" Leaming of Eaglesoft.-Ed Struszynski for his excellent FS Panel Designer application.-Robbie "rpmcel" Mcelrath for his extremely useful BlackBox XML gauge debugging utility.-"TheSidewinder" who discovered the sequence of keypresses required to fix the "W" key issue. I merely automated this process so no user action is required.-All the talented artists at Microsoft (and Sibwings) who made the huge quantity of wonderful gauge artwork in FSX.Other software used in the creation of this package included Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Adobe Photoshop, both of which I recommend.Cheers,DDP.S. Please be sure to have a look at the enclosed file "PanelManiaReadMe.htm" which gives much more detailed information on installing and using the panels.

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Thank you. So far the up load isn't active but I'm waiting on pins and needles. You offer several features that I've been working on for quite some time. I can't wait -- HURRY UP AVSIM!R-

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Got it - can't wait to try these out, looks great. Thanks!Regards, Kendall#1: E8500 @ 3.95 - HyperTX2 Gigabyte P35-DS3L 4GB Ballistix Tracers PC6400 EVGA 8800GT - XG's 174.74 Seagate 250GB 7200.11 CH Yoke/Pedals/Saitek Throttle Dual Monitor: Dell 2405/1905 #2: Dell 8400 3.2 H.T. 3GB PC4200 - X800XT Diamond Xtreme/Logitech X-530's

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Many thanks for the plug Phil- delighted to hear you like the package :). I must say that this project (my first look under the hood of FSX) has really increased my appreciation for the huge amount of work the Aces team have put into the sim

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>These panels look great. Will they work on a monitor on a>networked PC?>thanks>Peter HayesHi Peter,They certainly will, in fact that's how I use them myself. I have an old refurbished projector connected to my main PC which displays the scenery, and then a second PC running a 19" TFT behind a metal panel with cutouts for the gauges, lights and radios. The second PC also controls a little 3" TFT displaying the screen-only version of the GPS.FSX's shared cockpit functionality makes connecting the two PCs effortless and this type of setup also has the advantage of allowing the main computer to focus solely on drawing scenery, giving a nice boost to framerates compared to using a single PC to do everything.Cheers,DD

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Many thanks for the coded W-key fix!That is a much better solution than entering the key sequence as I have been doing. I've added this fix to my favorite planes and love it !Thanks again !

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>Do you have FSX installed on both machines or just the>"master"?You'll need FSX on both PCs in the setup I described. The only other point to bear in mind is that the keyboard (or keyboard encoder) you're using to control the GPS will need to be connected to the same PC that's displaying the GPS screen as the shared cockpit functionality doesn't transfer all the relevant GPS variables or states.Having said that, if you have Luciano Napolitano's Key2Lan utility then you can get round even that limitation.Cheers,DD

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This looks interesting. Thanks for all the hard work and generosity. I will check it out.

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Hello,"6. Over 70 bug-fixes and improvements to the default gauges (see the PanelManiaReadMe for more details)."How can I copy your modified gauges to the FSX SP2 Gauge folder so that other aircrafts using these gauges will use the new and improved ones?Thanks in advance.

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>How can I copy your modified gauges to the FSX SP2 Gauge>folder so that other aircrafts using these gauges will use the>new and improved ones?Hi Emile,After installing PanelMania you should find you have a file in your Gauges folder called Dastardly.CAB. Right-click on it and extract/unzip the files to a folder called Dastardly. If you now open this folder you'll be able to see what all the modified or new gauges are called. Then you can just substitute the new name of the gauge for the old one in the panel.cfg of whichever aircraft you want to apply the fix to.For example, suppose you have a 3rd party aircraft which uses a copy of the clock from the C208B (and therefore the seconds hand points to the wrong time). Looking in the Dastardly folder which you unzipped the cab file to, you can see the new version of that gauge is called "c208b_clock.xml". Now open the panel.cfg for the aircraft you want to fix (in Notepad) and find the line which specifies the position of the clock in the panel, which might look something like this:gauge07=MyAircraft!clock.xml, 434,392,76,76Replace it with:gauge07=Dastardly!c208b_clock.xml 434,392,76,76..and the aircraft should now use the fixed version.The only other point to watch out for is that I've adjusted the size of quite a few of the gauges (generally to make them look less blocky when displayed at the large sizes used by PanelMania, which are often much bigger than the original designer of the gauge intended). This won't matter if the panel.cfg defines the size which the gauge should be displayed at (as in the above example where the "76,76" bit defines the horizontal and vertical size). However, sometimes a panel designer will omit the size values and just give the x,y coordinates at which the gauge is to be drawn, like this:gauge07=MyAircraft!clock.xml, 434,392In such cases the gauge's size is determined by the definition in its xml file, or by the size of its background image if this is not specified. If the fixed version is bigger than the original this will result in the replacement gauge being drawn larger than the panel designer intended. This is easily fixed, though, by simply adding the missing size definitons to the line, as follows:gauge07=Dastardly!c208b_clock.xml 434,392,76,76(We'd determine what the size parameters should be by looking at the definition in the original gauge's xml file, which was 76,76 in this example, or by looking at the dimensions of its background image if there was no definition).Cheers,DD

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I downloaded this and it is clear how much effort you put into this. Thank you for the outstanding work! Also the W-key fix is a joy to behold and deserves additional heaps of thanks!

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Thanks for all the effort you did put into this nice project.Kind regardsBert

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Just came across this on Phil Taylors blog. I havent got it yet but just by reading the description its clear you have undertaken and completed a huge task. Very generous to then give it to the simming community. I will definetly be checking this out :)

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