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Gypsy Baron

Adding hidden click spots to open sub panels

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I'm new at attempting serious gauge work -- in the past all I've done is to manipulate and substitute various things via the panel.cfg files.But now I've just added the Feelthere CRJ, and as many know one of its many omissions is simicons for switching panels. I started fooling around trying to add these, but realize that I'd rather add hidden click areas like the Flight1 MD80. It works beautifully after you get used to it.But information on adding these click areas is scant, so I'd like to know if anyone can either:1) Describe the various steps for me.or2) Direct me to some previous discussion or tutorial that I can work through.Either way, I'll be obliged!Closely related, does anyone know of a good document that outlines the bare fundmentals of gauge / panel design? There's plenty of stuff around to read but I need to start right at square one. Sometimes the toughest part of a new job is figuring out where to start...Thanks!...DaveDave JonesFort McCoy, Florida USA

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>I'm new at attempting serious gauge work -- in the past all>I've done is to manipulate and substitute various things via>the panel.cfg files.>>But now I've just added the Feelthere CRJ, and as many know>one of its many omissions is simicons for switching panels. I>started fooling around trying to add these, but realize that>I'd rather add hidden click areas like the Flight1 MD80. It>works beautifully after you get used to it.>-SNIP->Thanks!>>...Dave>>Dave Jones>Fort McCoy, Florida USAYou might try what seems to be the most obvious approachwhich is to edit the simicon XML files for those that youwish to be hidden and create a transparent BMP.Start by de-cab'ing the simicon.cab file to a folderof the same name. This will enable you to edit the XML files contained in tthe cab-now-folder.Using a BMP editing program open one of the icon bmpfiles in the "640" folder. Edit the icon such that itis totally transparent ( color 0,0,0 ). Save it as"transparent_icon.bmp", for example. Do the same for theicon bmp's in the "1024" folder...saving the modified icon as "transparent_icon.bmp" and "transparent_icon_night.bmp".Open the XML file of the simicon(s) you wish to be hiddenwith a text editor....notepad will do fine. Let's assumeyou will make a transparent "kneeboard icon". Edit the statement that specifies the bitmap filesuch as "Image Name="Icon_Checklist.bmp" ImageSizes="12,12,19,19"in the case of the kneeboard simicon to now read"Image Name="transparent_icon.bmp" ImageSizes="12,12,19,19"You would then save the modified code with a new name,say "hidden_kneeboard_icon.xml" into the same folder.After you make the modifications you can move the folder"simicons" or "simicons 1024" into your gauges folder.In your panel.cfg file you could first add the statementsfor the un-modifed icons so you can see where they will be placed..."gaugexx=simicons!kneeboard icon, x,y, X, Y".Once you have it placed correctly, change the line torefer to your new hidden icon name..."gaugexx=simicons!hidden_kneeboard_icon, x,y, X, Y".I'm sure there are other ways to do this as well but this should work fine.In the case of subpanels, all you need to do is create a new XML file that will toggle the approriate paneland use the "transparent_icon.bmp" as above.Here is an example of the code I used to toggle a radar panel:Toggle Radar Window1065 (>K:PANEL_ID_TOGGLE)In this case, modify "Icon_Radar.bmp" to "transparent_icon.bmp".The operative part of the code is the panel IDENT number to toggle.In this case "1065". The panel IDENTs are found in the panel.cfgfile in the "WindowXX" sections...see below:[Window03]Background_color=0,0,0 size_mm= 320window_size_ratio=1.000 position=0visible= 0ident= 225 <-------- IDENT for this window ----render_3d_window=0window_size= 0.330, 0.420window_pos= 0.000, 0.580Once you have created the XML code for each panel toggleicon, simply save the files to the simicons folder you created when you de-cab's the original, naming them approriately ( radar_icon, upper_panel_icon, etc )"gaugexx=simcons!radar_icon, x,y,X,"Or you can also save them to a folder name of your choice..."My_Icons". Be sure to include the "transparent_icon.bmp"in the folder. Place the folder in your "gauges" folder.If you do that, then to place the icon in a panel theline would be:"gaugexx=My_Icons!radar_icon, x,y,X," Paul

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Paul -MANY THANKS for your detailed, informative and clearly-written reply. The examples you included are especially welcome. I think you've given me most or maybe all the information I need.Just two quick questions: By "decabbing" the simicons, do you mean to just unzip them to the correct folder? It may be easier for me to steal & modify other simicons that are already working in other panels, but I'll have to sort that out myself. What's the difference between the 640 and 1024 icons? Just a difference in size for different screen resolutions?Looks like most of my work will be in getting the simicons just to work; the process of making them transparent seems to be just a matter of making them black. I would think that at that point I'd be free to make them as big as I want to, so the "icon" could actually be an area of the screen, for example the whole area above the windscreen could be the area to open the overhead (as long as no other gauges are in that area.)And I guess I'd be able to add another icon to the top of panels opened in this fashion that would close them -- by substituting the word 'close' for 'toggle'. Very convenient if I can do it!The implications are huge if I can figure out how to do this stuff -- I can improve the ease of use of almost ALL of my panels -- not just the CRJ....DaveThanks again, Paul.

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>Paul ->MANY THANKS for your detailed, informative and clearly-written>reply. The examples you included are especially welcome. I>think you've given me most or maybe all the information I>need.>>Just two quick questions: By "decabbing" the simicons, do you>mean to just unzip them to the correct folder? yes, just unzip the file, keeping the folder name the same.-SNIP-> Just a difference in size for different screen>resolutions?>The two different sizes are a holdover from prior versions, as I recall.many gauges these days use just a single bmp size and thus, thesecond set of X,Y parameters in the "Image" statement are missing.would be-SNIP->The implications are huge if I can figure out how to do this>stuff -- I can improve the ease of use of almost ALL of my>panels -- not just the CRJ.>>...Dave>>Thanks again, Paul.Just be aware that on many of the default FSX panels in the VC view, you won't be able to add icons, additional gauges, etc,because of the way the VC has been modeled.In many instances I have removed a gauge and replaced it with a custom function or other gauge, sacrificing the original function.I recently did a customization of the CRJ-700 VC to add the FSX radar function to the EFIS and PFD. To add some of the required switchingfunctions I had to replace some of the original XML code for switches with my code. That was because there was no place toput new switches. All the available VC mapping was used by the defaultgauges/switches.The 2D panel, on the other hand, is just as "flexible" as it was inFS9, except of course all the side/diagonal BMP views are gone Paul

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