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Guest Matholomew

Panel designing.

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Dear Fs friends,Being new to the panel designing world I like to know where to find information how to start. I,ve bought FS-PANELS and did some changes to FS2004 panels.Now I like to create a new panel from scratch, and thats where I'm lost.So I hope that someone can help me out.Kind Regards,Ronald Schuuring.

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*Disclaimer: These are my opinions only, and are not statements of fact.*I have a philosophy when it comes to making anything: do it by hand before using automated tools. That way, when the tool does something unexpected, you know what's going on. So do yourself a favor, use the panel tool only after you understand how to code and layout by hand.To start off with a new panel, you need a paint program, and you need some XML or C programming skills.Then you need to download the various SDK's from microsofts site and read the docs contained there in. After that, you then need to search the web for xml and other necessary tutorials (painting etc.)Extract the contents of the beech baron and the 747 cabs files found in the gauges folder, and examine the XML within to get an understanding of the style and format of the gauge files (open the xml file in a text editor like notepad or download of the many free XML editors available). If you wish to program in C, well I can't help you there... (XML is the future anyway, I suspect C guages may go the way of the dinosaur).Read the XML FAQ provided in this forum. Search this forum for questions you have about gauge creation before posting a new one as the answer is likely already there.Then, create your new panel bmp, your gauge bmp's and new XML code for the gauges, lay it all out and voila, a new panel... This process only took me a few months to accomplish and I think I have a better understanding of what's going on with my plane because its been hand done. Also do ths simming community a favor and do not use third party add-ons as part of your panel (FSUIPC or other such modules). Panels that require said add-ons are usually confusing to the avarage user and cause all sorts of problems on many peoples machines. If it ain't contained within the default game, don't use it. Please.Good luck and have fun... I know I did.CheersShad

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I disagree on two parts here. First, you don't need any XML skills before you begin, you'll learn as you go along. Start by editing existing gauges. The ability to read and understand RPN is a bit more crucial I think; not 2 + 2 as normal, but 2 2 + in the XML interpreter (?).Second, it's not *all* fun. Sure, it's fun when you get something (finally) working, but the coffee consuming hours in between can be a pain sometimes :DSorry, couldn't resist ;)

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RPN mean Reverse Polish Notation and it is a difficult math process to deal with. The logic can be flustrating but it is FAST. If you have a lot of patience and some artistic skill, plus several graphics programs you can have fun or go nut trying to make XML/XDR gauges. The M$ SDK is only so-so helpful. You will need to have a program like CabPak to make the CAB files It is an easy to use VC++ program that uses M$s CAB SDK but adds a graphical user interface. You can use WinZip to open a CAB and save it contents to a file. After that, you can export the codes and images used to create the gauge or gauges in it.

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a really good resource on RPN is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPN .technically, you dont HAVE to put XML gauges in a .cab file. you can put them in a plain old windows folder and use tham exactly the same way as if they were in a .cab. this saves a lot of time in development, as you dont have to compress every time you want to test a gauge, often this takes about a minute or so. when your gauges are finished, you should then put them in a .cab to make them into a much smaller file size.

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