Taxi light

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VTBStaxilightFinal.jpg

In my last tutorial, you have learnt how to make RUNWAY light by Scasm.exe. [1] Now it is time for the rest of the airport that is still in the dark, the taxi edge light.

There are variety of the methods of making Taxi Edge Light:


Method 1

Make individual light, attached with effect and place the instance many time by xml.

This is good for small airport with hundred of taxi lights, but not thousand in big international airport, since many xml placement will cause fps drop.

The difficulty of this is you have to place them many times and it is time consuming method.

You can have difficulties placing along the straight line to make it perfectly straight, or even more difficult, perfectly curve along the turn.

Method 2

Make the whole taxi lights in gmax and export them in one file.

This will keep XML minimal just only one time placement.

Then use maxscript from Nick Whittome [2] .

But the effect can cause frame rate drop dramatically.

I did that and I found 50% drop[3].


Method 3

Make the same way as the second method but eliminate the use of effect.

This will be the best from frame rate but less visibility range.

You can see your light only withing a few hundred meters.[4] Please read #12.

I think the solution for the visibility range is to manually edit mipmap. You have to edit your last mipmap to be brighter than it's normal mipmap.

Use your photoeditor software and open the texture then save as another file (xxx_mip01.psd) and reduce the size by half. Then do it all over again and save as (xxx_mip02.psd) then you will have texture that reduce size to half successively. I edited the last mipmap which is xxx_mip05.psd to be brighter almost pure white.

Use ImageTool to open your main texture. Save it as dds, then use Image->Add MipMaps and choose the PSD file that you have just edited (xxx._mip05.psd) and it will be your last mipmap, replace the default one.

Actually, you can edit any mipmap levels to your like. Not limited to the last one. You can have it all edited to make a good blend to the distance of visualization. The principle is make it brighter and more contrast to compensate the smaller size of texture in each mipmap.


These are the taxi lights without effect (only texture of light) BEFORE editing mipmap. FinalTaxilight02before.jpg

These are the taxi lights AFTER editing the mipmap. The last mipmap stay bright. So you can see it far...far....away. FinalTaxilight02.jpg

Mipmap: The first one is the original texture, the second is the default mipmap at lower level. The last one is edited to make it brighter. MipMap05.jpg

Combined Method

I think I found a sweet spot between visibility range that you get from effect and the ease of placement.

Please read this PDF - Taxi Edge Light Tutorial [5] It is good enough for a small airport and you are facing a problem of frame rate drop after adding the effect to your scenery. Decrease emitter can remedy the frame rate problem.

Nevertheless, I found later that even one emitter can cause fps drop. If you want have the best fps as possible, please use Method 3 instead (Texture for the light). Taxi Edge Light Tutorial is still usable but omit the effect part out. For FSX you need a separated material from the taxi light model in order to make the light disappear during the day. In FS9, you might don't need to do that since FS9 can use different alpha channel for day and night texture.

Hope you enjoy varieties of methods here. Choose the one that you think it works for you. Regards, Tic Jtanabodee Jirayu Tanabodee