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Helipads

rhumbaflappy

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Hopefully, Asobo will add helicopters to the sim sometime soon. Meanwhile adding a helipad is something we can now do.
It's added to the airport XML. It can be done through the developer mode, or the upcoming ADE for MSFS. But one problem is the texturing of the markings.

The markings are a 256x256 HELO4.TIF which the compiler converts to HELO4.tif.dds 256x256 yields some poor anti-aliasing... just looks bad. You could just replace the default texture, but that involves messing with the Official folder contents, and that is a big no-no. I've tried to make a package that just replaces that material, and although it compiles, it just doesn't work as intended... perhaps my lack of understanding here.

What does work, is adding the material definition and texture to your airport project. I need a 2048x2048 texture to avoid the anti-aliasing. I used paint.net to get that done. But how to add to the airport package?

It starts in the PackageDefinitions folder. I have rhumbaflappy-airport-c59-lakelawn.xml for my airport experiments:


<AssetPackage Name="rhumbaflappy-airport-c59-lakelawn" Version="0.1.0">
<ItemSettings>
<ContentType>SCENERY</ContentType>
<Title>Lake Lawn Airport</Title>
<Manufacturer>rhumbaflappy</Manufacturer>
<Creator>rhumbaflappy</Creator>
</ItemSettings>
<Flags>
<VisibleInStore>false</VisibleInStore>
<CanBeReferenced>false</CanBeReferenced>
</Flags>
<AssetGroups>
<AssetGroup Name="ContentInfo">
<Type>Copy</Type>
<Flags>
<FSXCompatibility>false</FSXCompatibility>
</Flags>
<AssetDir>PackageDefinitions\rhumbaflappy-airport-c59-lakelawn\ContentInfo\</AssetDir>
<OutputDir>ContentInfo\</OutputDir>
</AssetGroup>
<AssetGroup Name="myairport">
<Type>BGL</Type>
<Flags>
<FSXCompatibility>false</FSXCompatibility>
</Flags>
<AssetDir>PackageSources\airport\</AssetDir>
<OutputDir>scenery\rhumbaflappy\LakeLawn\</OutputDir>
</AssetGroup>
<AssetGroup Name="mymaterials">
<Type>MaterialLib</Type>
<Flags>
<FSXCompatibility>false</FSXCompatibility>
</Flags>
<AssetDir>PackageSources\materials\</AssetDir>
<OutputDir>MaterialLibs\rhumbaflappy\</OutputDir>
</AssetGroup>

<AssetGroup Name="mymodellib">
<Type>ArtProj</Type>
<Flags>
<FSXCompatibility>false</FSXCompatibility>
</Flags>
<AssetDir>PackageSources\modelLib\</AssetDir>
<OutputDir>scenery\rhumbaflappy\LakeLawn\</OutputDir>
</AssetGroup>
<AssetGroup Name="myscene">
<Type>BGL</Type>
<Flags>
<FSXCompatibility>false</FSXCompatibility>

This gives me the needed definitions for materials in my project.
</Flags>
<AssetDir>PackageSources\scene\</AssetDir>
<OutputDir>scenery\rhumbaflappy\LakeLawn\</OutputDir>
</AssetGroup>
<AssetGroup Name="myshapes">
<Type>BGL</Type>
<Flags>
<FSXCompatibility>false</FSXCompatibility>
</Flags>
<AssetDir>PackageSources\shapes\</AssetDir>
<OutputDir>scenery\rhumbaflappy\LakeLawn\</OutputDir>
</AssetGroup>
</AssetGroups>
</AssetPackage>

In my PackageSources, I have a folder named "materials". Inside that, I have my material definitions, and a folder named "Textures". My material definitions are in the parent folder "materials". My new repalcement texture named as HELO4.TIF is in the Textures folder.
A file named as "helipadmarking.material" (just a text file) is in the "materials folder:

XML:
<Material Version="1.3.0" Name="Helipad_Marking" Guid="{EF9A5150-A617-463D-8394-24D4704A9D35}" SurfaceType="CEMENT" Type="CODE_DIFFUSE" Metal="0.000000" Rough="0.000000" Opacity="1.000000" BlendMode="Transparent">
    <TagList/>
    <FlagList/>
    <TextureList>
        <Texture FileName="HELO4.TIF" Binding="MTL_BITMAP_DECAL0"/>
    </TextureList>
    <Attributes>
        <Diffuse Red="1.000000" Green="1.000000" Blue="1.000000"/>
        <Emissive Red="0.000000" Green="0.000000" Blue="0.000000"/>
        <UVOffset U="0.000000" V="0.000000"/>
        <UVScale U="1.000000" V="1.000000"/>
        <UVRotate>0.000000</UVRotate>
        <ExtraParameters>
            <Parameter X="0.020000" Y="0.600000" Z="0.000000" W="1.000000"/>
            <Parameter X="0.000000" Y="0.000000" Z="0.000000" W="0.000000"/>
            <Parameter X="0.000000" Y="0.000000" Z="0.000000" W="0.000000"/>
        </ExtraParameters>
    </Attributes>
</Material>

The GUID is the same as the default GUID... in fact it all mimicks the default. When the airport is compiled, it will use the replacement material for the helipad markings in the project and looks much better.

Attached is my "materials" source folder (It also has a nice red runway texture).

Before:
before.png


After:
after.png
 

Attachments

  • materials.zip
    1.6 MB · Views: 56

rhumbaflappy

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One warning about the above solution is that the material and texture replacement for the helipad markings is universal. It will change all the helipad makings in the sim. The GUID is reused and overwrites the default.
 
Last edited:
Messages
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Many thanks again, Dick, for posting this useful info. :)

I have not yet tested this, but I'm curious if your C59 MSFS-2020 Helipad allows one to:

MSFS-2020 GUI > Welcome > New > World Map > Select Departure (Heliport) > spawn fixed wing aircraft at a Helipad location ? :scratchch

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/runway-and-other-starts.449914/

I can pretty much confirm that the only start types that will appear in the airport list of start positions are those designated RUNWAY with a valid runway number/designator. types HELIPAD and WATER do not appear in the list of start positions although they compile correctly. A new type TRACK shown in the schema for MSFS causes a compiler error of invalid type tag. I have reported this to my ASB contact. It probably also needs reporting on Zendesk. This is now closed off for me until a fix is provided

GaryGB
 
Last edited:

rhumbaflappy

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A little sleep and some thinking yields a methodology of replacing default MSFS materials. This needs no airport BGL to change the default.

I use (steal) the default GUID for the material, and just compile the new material. Attached is the example. Drop the package into the Community folder, and the helipad markings are 2014x2048 as they should have been in the first place, and all helipads are corrected.
 

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  • HeliportMarkings.zip
    38.1 KB · Views: 56
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Congratulations ...this appears to be the very first custom "Heliport environment" texture Material mod for MSFS-2020. :)

< Who needs 'REX' ...when we've got rhumbaflappy ? > ;)

I can see it now ...a growing list of questions one might ask, as one contemplates which add-ons to use in MSFS-2020: :cool:

"Got Bush ?"

"Got Gravel ?"

"Got Rotors ?"

"Got rhumbaflappy ?"


But seriously, this 2048x2048 Helipad texture Material upgrade should, IMHO, also be added to FSDeveloper's Resources section: :pushpin:


GaryGB
 
Last edited:

rhumbaflappy

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Perhaps most importantly, this is a good method to replace default textures and materials without editing the default files.
 
Messages
26
Rumbaflappy.......Dick.......I have tried your above 'cure' for helipads with an attempted slight modification for what medical helipads look like here in the U.S. without success. I have been using the new ADE to try to place local hospital helipads in the correct locations with the correct appearance, but, keep getting the version shown in the original MSFS. I am placing your file set, with my adaptation to the medical pad in the Community folder with the HELO4 as a TIF file (not PNG as attached) but with no luck. I am not sure where Jon is pulling his texture from, but from what I have read, your change should override what Jon has in ADE for MSFS, correct? Or, is there a possibility that your file set must be below the ADE created file set in the Community folder? It has been a few years since I have done scenery work, and maybe age alone is starting to catch up with me (78) or possibly I have just burned out a few cores of my human memory, not sure. Looking for any assistance you can offer......Thanks......Al
 

Attachments

  • HELO4.png
    HELO4.png
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