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Panel Design

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Hi,My name is Tom. I'm new to computers, fs2004, and this forum. I've downloaded some aircraft and most of the time, I like the plane but the panel is disppointing. Is there a panel design or tweaker program that would let a novice like me change existing panels and/or make new one's. A tall order, I know. But, thought I'd ask anyway. Just want to say hello to everyone in this forum. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.Tom

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Your best option is to purchase FS Panel Studio. After using that, you'll never want to work with manual file editing again! :)Not only does it allow you to visually "build" a panel, but you can also edit XML gauges code and graphics with it, and extract/replace C gauge bitmaps... :)

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Bill, that sounds like a winner to me. I have been doing it the hard way for quite a while now - just editing the panel.cfg to place gauges. It is a trial and error method that takes a lot of time. I just popped for FSDS pro a while back and FS Panel Studio sounds well worth what ever the price is.But, our friend should maybe discuss some issues with us about what he sees as deficient in these panels. Bill and I are both formerly active pilots in the real world but we have now been 'flying' these sim planes for quite a while. We have probably learned to overlook some problems a newcomer will face. That means we have to step back and try to help.Any panel on a sim is a compromise. You may know by now many aircraft have two panels - one 2D panel that you see in normal cockpit view and another called a Virtual Cockpit that is one S-key away from the 2D panel. The Virtual Cockpit or 'VC' is more complicated for the designer to make. As a designer I prefer just to do the 2D panel because it is a lot easier. Also, when flying the sim planes, I greatly prefer to use the 2D panel. I can see what I need to see very clearly by letting my eyeballs do a natural scan. In the Virtual Cockpit, you have to use panning controls to do a scan. Some gauges are hard to see.Incidentally, I posted some time ago a Beechcraft Bonanza V-tail that comes with two panels, one a close copy of the standard 1972 panel issued with the V35B and the other a more modern digital panel with a PFD, MFD/GPS and digital engine instruments. It would serve as an example of what I do with my designs.Please give us more info on what you see as a problem with these panels.

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Hi,Thanks for the replies - appreciate it. I sent an email to the publisher of FS Panel Studio asking about the paint program required for use with their panel software. I use FS Repaint and they did not think this program would work with their Panel Studio. I also came across another program called Custom Panel Studio. From what I could tell by it's description, it does not need a paint program. It's published by the same company as that of FS Repaint.The main reason I wanted a panel program was just to use it as part of the Flight Sim hobby. I enjoy making my own repaints(some good and some not so good) so I thought it would be enjoyable to work with panels. As an example, one freeware panel has the Garmin GPS as a permanent part of the panel. The radio stack is in another window. I would like to change it around where the radio stack is permanent and the gps another window. Just something to try. For me, learning these utility and design programs is half the fun of Flight Simulator - I'm a lousy pilot. Thanks again for the help.Tom

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You don't really need a paint program for panel software.Even FSDS will work without painting software.But, if you're going to design panels, you will also need to draw the backgrounds of your panels, and for this you'll need some kind of painting software.FSRepaint is for repainting FS aircraft, and not for designing panels. So forget about this program.All you need is MS Paint, or, if you want it more luxurios, take Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop.Regards,Harry

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Hi,Thanks for the info. Clears up some of my confusion re panel design.Tom

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