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FS2004 And I thought I was doing everything right...

Lightmaps, for both my Falcons, at night. :banghead:

I've been looking for an answer to this problem I have with the night lighting of the F900 and the revised F2000 (AI planes) for the last couple of days without luck and reluctantly have to ask...

Why are parts of these aircraft transparent at night? In the day, just fine, full aircraft visible, but by night they have sections missing. I use an alpha with pure black and pure white areas (because this helps control when some of the lighting effects are activated) and the black areas force the thing to transparency while the white areas show the plane but the lights are always "on" even when the aircraft is dormant.

I added the night map a couple of days ago and have been struggling with it since.

My makemdl.cfg reads like this...

LastDir=G:\Program Files\FS2004SDK\MakeMDL_SDK
SaveDir=G:\Program Files\FS2004SDK\MakeMDL_SDK
//Keep=1 // set to 1 if you want to keep the .asm files
HasReflectMap=0 // set 1 for UI aircraft
HasNightMap=0 // set 1 for scenery
HasLightMap=1 // set 1 for aircraft
//XML=1 // set 1 to keep XML files

and although I have 2 copies of makemdl on this disk, this is the one pointed to by the Gmax paths, in the plugins folder.

Since I'm at my wits end, I'm going out for a very long walk since the weather is bucking up.

Any ideas gratefully recived. My first iteration of the Falcon was fine. Between then and now I experimented with reflections briefly (for a UI Falcon for Greg P) which might have upset some setting somewhere, but I can't see what that might have been.

TIA for any inspiration!
Is your day texture controlling reflectivity? Or transparency?

The latter *might* cause issues with night texture handling.
Light map! Make a dummy light map, 128x128, all black, assign it to the shiny materials. Be sure to name it with a _L in the back of the name.

If you are using _LM textures, definitely switch to _L textures. For FS2004 models these night textures do *not* need to be specified in the GMAX material - they will be used if found. This is not true for scenery _LM textures, however.

Also, all day textures that you want to use an alpha channel for reflection should end in _t, if not the alpha will usually be used for transparency.

Hope this helps,
Fixed it.

Thanks everyone for your ideas. The lightmap does use the proper naming convention _L and is in my generic texture folder so that all aircraft variants can find it. I did make a special point of assigning it to the material in Gmax, and that was my mistake. I have used a second, slightly transparent, material on the aircraft for the purposes of hiding a camera mounted on the aircraft nose; this uses the same texture. My day textures are the standard "_t" types. I wondered whether my use of a second slightly transparent material was somehow conferring some transparency on the other material and making the _L texture behave differently.

The material hiding the camera is not the same one used to texture the rest of the aircraft, but the texture is the same one in each case.

So, taking the explicit use of the lightmap back out of the material and just letting the sim find the texture (an interpretation of Tom's suggestion) was enough to make it behave again.

I got that deletion nugget from a thread on Flightsim.com which gave me the hint that sometimes assigning textures explicitly is something we find works badly and needs reversing. I think because I've helped with sceneries before, that assigning the night/light map seemed the right thing to do - when for aircraft it isn't.

Cheers all, this thing might end up being released this year after all...
Actually your link is to an AVSIM.com forum, which sadly is so old that when the old forum was imported into the new software, all the posts in the thread wound up in reverse order...

IOW, Arno's final post (with the solution) is listed as the first post in the thread! :rolleyes:

OTOH, having the answer as the first post isn't such a bad thing, as long as you already know what the question was! :D