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n4gix

Best way to animate window lights?

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As many of you know, I'm working on the Enterprise from ST:TOS, and have seen that I have exported an 11' model to FSX as ascenery object.I know that I can create emissive textures for those windows that are always "on", but wish to make some of them toggle on/off as in the real studio model.Now, while I know I should make the strobes and markers with FX, since one cannot use animated textures for FSX, I'm not sure how I might achieve this effect.The only idea I have at the moment is to make those lights with external gauges, and then have the gauge control them. Anyone know of another way?I wonder too if I should do something in the model for the marker and position lights so they are not 100% fx.What's the best way to proceed do you think?Patrick

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Patrick, you could UVW Map the "windows," then clone them and Link one "set" to an FSX Material that's "lighted" and the other "set" to an FSX Material that's "non-lighted."The control nodes for each set could be named something like:WindowLightsOff....window_dark_01....window_dark_02....et ceteraWindowLightsOn....window_light_01....window_light_02....et ceteraThen you simply write some XML script for modeldef.xml to control the visibility of the WindowLightsOff and WindowLightsOn control nodes (and their Linked parts).A small controller gauge in the panel would turn the two control nodes on/off at some pre-determined interval.Obviously, not all windows would need to be controllable, but simply a randomly selected set scattered around on the saucer. :)Incidentally, this is similar to the method I use to control VC gauge lighting and limit it to only panel light switch control.

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Most interesting. I shall have to try it to fully comprehend, but basically get the idea.I thought of a solution so I thought I'd share it too.Normally, if I just wanted them static, I could simply create an emissive texture bitmap with an alpha that limits the effect to the windows of the "night" map.Now in the new CGI Enterprise they actually cut the windows and created light boxes inside. They even put a person in one of the windows, and they did this so they could get some perspective in some shots.Well, while reviewing all the FS Texture possibilities I noticed you can make part of a texture transparent. So, I decided to do a test. I created an "outer" box to represent the hull, and created a diffuse texture with a black "window" created in the alpha channel. I then applied this to the box, which has the effect with settings adjusted of making that black part transparent.I next created an inner box with a White diffuse color, and a White emissive map setup to bloom with copy.Now, with this setup, I can turn the light on/off by showing/hiding the inner "light box" conditionally.Seems like this will work but the bloom will not bloom onto the hull using this technique.Thanks for the help. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Actually, you could even go so far as to model a complete "room with window" and dynamically swap it with the non-lighted window.With some clever texturing, you could replicate the "Ten Forward" lounge and have some crew relaxing around the tables, etc. ;)

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