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Thread: Help newbee

  1. #1
    Markus Guest

    Default Help newbee

    Hi folks !

    Question: How can I make/add new displays in the cabs with the cab-editor ? How can I change the type of existing displays ?

    Mark

  2. #2
    samspade Guest

    Default RE: Help newbee

    Hi, Mark.

    The Cab Editor alone will not help you make new cabs. You will need some other tools such as a Paint program or 3D program to create new views and controls/displays. Martin Wright's TGATools2 is also useful for 'pulling apart' existing ace files.

    Read the sparse documentation and keep reading the forum. When you strike a problem ask for help!

    I use Paint Shop Pro 7 for picture editing.

    New cabs need a front, left and right side view, although they don't have to show views in that direction - you can make them face anywhere.

    The Cab Editor is a dangerous tool and can corrupt cvf files. Always back up you files before opening them.

    Displays and controls can be changed by opening their Properties and changing the graphic, range, units of measure, colour and so on. New ones are added from the New Display and New Control menu items; these are limited and there isn't an SDK to show us how to create new ones yet.

    Hope this helps get you started.

    -------SamSpade--------
    [Link Expired]
    ---"Power for You"---

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Oregon, USA.
    Posts
    385

    Default RE: Help newbee

    I second all that samspade says and would add that making a cab is no simple accomplishment. There are several steps involved and I'll sketch them for you here:

    -- Before you do anything, launch the MSTS cab editor and open an existing cab file to see what each image that comprises the cab and its individual controls look like. Also, study the .cvf file to see how it's structured. Read the revised version of the technical document that provides(very sketchy) instructions about how to create a cab. The revised version can be downloaded from Microsoft's official MSTS site. The original is on your MSTS CD, but it's not automatically loaded onto your PC.

    -- Create a 3D model of the cab. You can conceivably do it in 2D (and it looks like a few modelers have), but for best results 3D is recommended. Only with a 3D model can you get left and right views that will be consistent with the forward view. Also, the 3D view, when properly lit, has the nicely rendered shadows that add so much to the illusion.

    -- "Render" the left, right and front views. The front view needs to be provided in two pixel resolutions, 640x480 and 1024x768. The rendering process creates a bitmap image of the model with all the light and shadow effects.

    -- For each control, make a separate rendering for each position of the control in 640x480 resolution. For this to work, the control itself must be a 3D image that pivots around a reasonably accurate axis. You'll need to rotate it by a consistent increment each time you render. The increment and number of "frames" that comprise the rotational range are up to you. What you've done thus far when you render the model is to create a series of bitmaps showing the control in each of its several positions. It's very much like making an animated cartoon.

    -- Launch an image-editing software application - Photoshop or some such. Open the first bitmap rendering of the cab showing the control you want to create in its first position of rotation. Then copy each successive bitmap of this control as a new layer of the new image. All the images/layers will be perfectly overlayed on one another as long as the "camera" you shot the images with in the 3D package was in the same place each time.

    -- Now select a rectangular area that brackets all the possible positions of the control. The rectangle has to be less than 512 pixels in any dimension. Determine the size of the selected area and create a new, blank bitmap "canvas" whose X and Y dimensions are a multiple of the original selected rectangle you have chosen, times the number of images (e.g 4x3, 6x3, 4x2, etc.). Layer-by-layer, copy the contents of each bitmap image within the selected rectangle and paste them into the new canvas forming an array of the smaller, selected images. Zoom in to make sure the edges of each image lines up exactly without overlaps or gaps. Finally, save the arrayed image as a new bitmap and convert it to an .ace file. Tgatools is ideal for this (Thanks, Martin).

    -- Launch the cab editor. Create the new control using the menu. In the ensuing dialog, browse to find your newly created bitmap. After filling in the other control parameters, dismiss the dialog. The bitmap appears in the upper left-hand corner of your cab. Drag it so it lines up correctly with the cab background. Exit the cab editor and launch MSTS to try out your new cab.

    -- Displays (gauges and the like) are a little different but same idea.

    -- Repeat the above about three times for each control until you get it right!

    Obviously I've left a lot of detail out here and it's somewhat more complicated than I make it sound. If you have the proper tools - a good 3D package that includes lighting and rendering, and a good image-editing package, you should be able to put a decent cab together.

    Rick Vernon
    Taiwan, ROC

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