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cockpit center posts

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would someone please be able to tell me what all is involved in adding center posts to airplane? does all it involve is opening the .pod file, and then changing a bitmap or something of the sorts, or is it much more involved. i am not a programer or anything, so if there is any of that, i guess that i am out of luck, but if someone could please get back to me with the answer it would really help me out!!!! thanks so much!!!anthony miller!

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thanks!!!i downloaded the centerposts for the defult aircraft, and i love them so much it made me want to do some more for the other aircraft like the dc-9 panel and for the 747. of course i would have to contact the authors of those panels, but still would love to try this out. thanks for the idea!anthony

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I haven't added a center post, but I've worked enough with panels to give you my idea of how to do this. Adding a centerpost will involve opening the graphic file that contains the forward view of the panel. The file is named differently for different aircraft, but look in the default panel file for the filename. For example, the panel file for the Flyhawk is called FLYHWK00.PNL and it references FLYPNL0.PBM as the panel graphic. You'll need the Fly! Graphics utility (avialable on avsim) to convert the PBM to a format you can edit in your image editor (try BMP, TIF or TGA). Now the tricky part...getting the center post on the image. This is simply a task of drawing the post on to the correct location on the panel. You'll notice the upper portion of the panel is pure black (0,0,0) because this color indicates transparency. If the panel image is not tall enough to accomodate the center post already, you can increase the height of the image. At that point, you'll need to go into the main panel file and adjust the image size values and perhaps the offsets. Once you have a panel image that includes the center post, and the panel data file has the correct values for the image size, you can replace the original panel image and you should see the center post. Remember to convert your image back to a PBM, you'll have to ensure your image is in indexed color mode and has (0,0,0) as the first entry in the color map. I know that sounds complicated, but there are some posts on these forums that discuss this if you do some searching (I don't remember the posts off hand).To draw the center post, you may be able to use an existing center post image and paste it into your panel image. On the sahara, for example, the forward view doesn't contain a center post, but the overhead cockpit view shows the post. You might be able to get the post that way. The most realistic post would be created in a 3d modeling program, or perhaps from a real photo.I hope this helps. Perhaps it will at least point you in the right direction. There are many others here who can fill in the details.

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great, well i will see if i can give it a try. by the way, what kinda program do i have to use to open the .pod file of the aircraft (assuming that is where the .pnl file would be contained?). thanks for the idea, we will see if i can give it a try and what happens with it;) thanks again for all the help!!!anthony

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Anthony,Podview, a program that comes with Fly! and is located in the Tools directory, will allow you to view and export any of the files in the pods.

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things just keep getting easier and easier!!!! haha! :) thanks guys for all the help!anthony

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how is it that Virgilio T. de Freitas a.k.a spellbinder was able to "bring down" the portion of the top panel into the view of the main panel? does this piece involve more than just some photo editing???? thanks!!!!anthony

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If the portion of the top panel is just an image (no gauges) then, its just photo editing. If, however, there are new (working) gauges in view, it requires editing of the pnl files in the data folder. If the gauges are unmodified and are just copies from the top view, its not too difficult...you just have to copy the gauge entries from the top view pnl file into the main view pnl file. If you look at a gauge entry in one of those files, you'll see x and y coordinates that help position the gauge. Try copying an gauge from the top view pnl to the main panel and then view the results. You'll see the new gauge floating somewhere on top of your main panel. Now imagine getting the panel image right and then adjusting those coordinates until the gauge is in the correct place. This kind of work is not too difficult and can be a lot of fun. I know I had a good time when I first started messing around with panels. Copying a guage is not nearly as difficult as adding a new one.

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haha, this is getting fun for me!!!! i always thought that this stuff must have been really tuff to do, but now i see that it just take a little time a patience;) by the way, what kinda photo editor is out there that is good (but cheap...as in free maybe)? right now i am using paint to change the panel image (which works fine) but i have run into trouble trying to expand the view of the panel to get everything lined up just right. thanks for all the help and great suggestions!!!!thanks a million!anthony

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You might try GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). It is actually Freeware! and can do most of what Photoshop can do. Its available for Unix and Windows. I'm guessing you're on Windows or a Mac. Anyway, if you want to try it, the windows download is available at the [a href=http://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32/]GIMP for Windows[/a] website. Photoshop elements is pretty cheap and can be used for a lot of stuff as well.

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cool, i guess that i will try dl'ing that after while, but first i got something that i have to get done first (trying to download the 777 from PMDG, and having a few probs with it, so we will see what happens with it) thanks for the info!!!anthony

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