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Effects Parameters - In laymans terms :-)

Hi Guys....
Interesting thread. I haven´t the faintest idea how to make an effect, but would like very much to learn. How about showing us neewbees the following:
How to make a Fire.....and if possible Smoke...and then how to place it in an object!!!...quite a menu hu??

I would like to put some fire on top of a volcano and sure, some smoke too.....

Thanks for the class!!!!:)

Are there any updates to this great request? ;)
 
I second that request! I hear that creating effects takes some serious code tweaking. Wouldn't be great if there were a program out there somewhere that could take care of this?

Choose an effect, choose intensity (how much, etc), associated with an object or stand-alone to be placed with an object with IS or EZ, compile as a bgl or fx file and easily placed without having to enter lat/lon coords. In other words this could end up like some libraries we have all downloaded from some fine authors in the past! Bob
 
Hi,

Small contribution in layman's terms about the Effects SDK write-up.

The SDK Effects document says the [Properties] Type must be 19, and that is not true.

In fact, if you use Thorsten's light effects (pools of light on the ground, for light posts or apron lights) with type 19, when you arrive flying from another place the light effects won't show. They only show if you start your flight at the place where the effects are.

Change that Type number to =25 and it works fine. Now you can come from another airport and arrive at night and the apron lighst will be on.

Fern


Indeed, another type hidden "in plain sight" is the type 21, used in the wake effects files, both FSX and FS2004 (for example, in the fx_wake_ss.fx file). Does anyone know what these types refer to, i.e. what properties are different?

Misho
 
for the newbies

Hi,

I have been tinkering with water effects for the last month or so and I can definitely say that in FSX the effects do not always have the same visual appearance as they would have in FS9.
But the purpose of this thread is to answer some of your (basic)questions regarding making smoke, spray, fire etc.
First, we have to make a distinction between scenery effects and aircraft effects.
Aircraft:
Effects that are added to airplanes or boats cane be added to the aircraft.cfg.
In the aircraft.cfg you will find several sections where you can add effects, namely in the
- light section
- effect section or
- smoke section
The effects will be triggered depending on what section you put them in. E.g. a light effect will normally be triggered by pressing L or ctrl L if it is put in the light section.
Scenery:
For a scenery effect to work in a scenery you will have to first make an XML file with the effect file name in it, place it somewhere in your scenery (i.e. giving it some coordinates and altitude), and convert it into a .bgl format file using BGLcomp. All this is explained in the special effects SDK.
Now for the effect itself:
If you want to make some effect yourself, I suggest you use an existing effect that at least slightly resembles the one you are trying to make (You can open the content of an .fx file with wordpad or notepad).
As explained in the Special effects SDK an effect file consists of several parts:

[Library Effect]
[Emitter.x]
[Particle.x]
[ParticleAttributes.x]
where the x denotes whether there is only one emitter, particle and particle attribute (in which case the x is a 0) or more, in which case the following ones are numbered 1,2,3 etc.

It is hardly possible to explain everything in detail so I will use an example to show you the changes that can be made.

We will use a smoke effect for an airplane.
Let us use the following effect file fx_smoke_sml.fx ( I am not sure if it is a default one or not)
Opening it, shows us the following layout :

[Library Effect]
Lifetime=5
Version=2.00
Radius=-1
Priority=0

[Properties]
Cockpit=1
VirtualCockpit=1
Spot=1
Tower=1
Map=1

[Emitter.0]
Lifetime=0.00, 0.00
Delay=0.00, 0.00
Bounce=0.00
Rate=5.00, 10.00
X Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Y Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Z Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Drag=0.00, 0.00
X Particle Velocity=-0.20, 0.20
Y Particle Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Z Particle Velocity=-0.20, 0.20
X Rotation=0.00, 0.00
Y Rotation=0.00, 0.00
Z Rotation=0.00, 0.00
X Offset=0.00, 0.00
Y Offset=0.00, 0.00
Z Offset=0.00, 0.00
Pitch=0.00, 0.00
Bank=0.00, 0.00
Heading=0.00, 0.00

[Particle.0]
Lifetime=1.50, 2.00
Type=19
X Scale=0.50, 0.85
Y Scale=0.50, 0.85
Z Scale=0.00, 0.00
X Scale Rate=0.40, 0.40
Y Scale Rate=0.40, 0.40
Z Scale Rate=0.00, 0.00
Drag=-1.00, -0.50
Color Rate=0.20, 0.80
X Offset=0.00, 0.00
Y Offset=0.00, 0.00
Z Offset=0.00, 0.00
Fade In=0.00, 0.00
Fade Out=0.60, 0.80
Rotation=-20.00, 20.00
Shade=1
Face=1, 1, 1

[ParticleAttributes.0]
Blend Mode=1
Texture=fx_1.bmp
Bounce=0.00
Color Start=44, 44, 44, 80
Color End=97, 97, 97, 150
Jitter Distance=0.03
Jitter Time=0.30
TempK=122.00
TempRate=-1.00
uv1=0.00, 0.50
uv2=0.50, 1.00
X Scale Goal=300.00
Y Scale Goal=300.00
Z Scale Goal=0.00
Extrude Length=0.00
Extrude Pitch Max=0.00
Extrude Heading Max=0.00

[Emitter.1]
Lifetime=0.00, 0.00
Delay=0.00, 0.00
Bounce=0.00
Rate=5.00, 10.00
X Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Y Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Z Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Drag=0.00, 0.00
X Particle Velocity=-0.20, 0.20
Y Particle Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Z Particle Velocity=-0.20, 0.20
X Rotation=0.00, 0.00
Y Rotation=0.00, 0.00
Z Rotation=0.00, 0.00
X Offset=0.00, 0.00
Y Offset=0.00, 0.00
Z Offset=0.00, 0.00
Pitch=0.00, 0.00
Bank=0.00, 0.00
Heading=0.00, 0.00

[Particle.1]
Lifetime=1.50, 2.00
Type=19
X Scale=0.25, 0.60
Y Scale=0.25, 0.60
Z Scale=0.00, 0.00
X Scale Rate=0.40, 0.40
Y Scale Rate=0.40, 0.40
Z Scale Rate=0.00, 0.00
Drag=-0.50, -0.50
Color Rate=0.20, 0.80
X Offset=0.00, 0.00
Y Offset=0.00, 0.00
Z Offset=0.00, 0.00
Fade In=0.00, 0.00
Fade Out=0.60, 0.80
Rotation=-20.00, 20.00
Shade=1
Face=1, 1, 1

[ParticleAttributes.1]
Blend Mode=1
Texture=fx_1.bmp
Bounce=0.00
Color Start=89, 89, 89, 80
Color End=145, 145, 145, 50
Jitter Distance=0.03
Jitter Time=0.30
TempK=122.00
TempRate=-1.00
uv1=0.00, 0.50
uv2=0.50, 1.00
X Scale Goal=300.00
Y Scale Goal=300.00
Z Scale Goal=0.00
Extrude Length=0.00
Extrude Pitch Max=0.00
Extrude Heading Max=0.00


Now let us see what all this means:

[Library Effect]
Lifetime=5
Version=2.00
Radius=-1
Priority=0

The above is explained in the SDK

[Properties]
Cockpit=1
VirtualCockpit=1
Spot=1
Tower=1
Map=1

The above is explained in the SDK

[Emitter.0]
The emitter is the point at which particles are emitted

Lifetime=0.00, 0.00
which in the case of 0.00 means always. Change this to 10.00 and it will be emitted only for 10 seconds. Please note that you have to put two values each time because that gives you to possibility to randomize between the first and second value

Delay=0.00, 0.00
If you want to delay the start of the effect, add the number of seconds you want to have it delayed here

Bounce=0.00
Means the emitter bounces back when it touches another object or terrain. In the case of smoke it does not bounce back.If 1 the emitter (or in the case of a particle) bounces back at the same speed as it touched the ground or object.

Rate=5.00, 10.00
If you want to increase the rate at which smoke is produced, increase the numbers. Smoke 'puffs' would mean lowering this rate

X Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Y Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Z Emitter Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Smoke comes from a fire and as the fire does not move the emitter does not move in any direction either. It should therefore be 0. If you would e.g.increase the Y velocity the emitter would be shot up into the sky.

Drag=0.00, 0.00
is set at 0 as the emitter does not experience any drag in the case of smoke. Drag is the influence of wind and gravity on the emitter or particle. (Negative numbers impart gravity drag, positive numbers would mean antigravity)

X Particle Velocity=-0.20, 0.20
Y Particle Velocity=0.00, 0.00
Z Particle Velocity=-0.20, 0.20
This the direction in which the emitter spawns its particles. X is sideways, + is right, - is left. Y is up (+) or down (-), Z is forward (+)or backward (-)

X Rotation=0.00, 0.00
Y Rotation=0.00, 0.00
Z Rotation=0.00, 0.00
You can make the emitter rotate but in the case of smoke that makes no sense. Therefore a 0.00

X Offset=0.00, 0.00
Y Offset=0.00, 0.00
Z Offset=0.00, 0.00
self explanatory, I think (in the case of smoke coming from a fire in a scenery, you will have given it the right place, so there will be no need for an offset)

Pitch=0.00, 0.00
Bank=0.00, 0.00
Heading=0.00, 0.00
Are explained in the SDK and are of no importance in the case of smoke

[Particle.0]
Now here it becomes interesting!

Lifetime=1.50, 2.00
This is the lifetime of your (smoke) particle. Make the lifetime longer and you will have the smoke particles go up or down longer before they disappear. If you want your smoke column longer, increase the lifetime of your particles

Type=19
Explained in the SDK (but not really). Do not change it.

X Scale=0.50, 0.85
Y Scale=0.50, 0.85
Z Scale=0.00, 0.00
A smoke particle should have 3 dimensions but as you can further determine how it is viewed under face=...(see further down below) you only need a 2-dimensional particle.
Smoke consists of only very small particles, if it were water spray, you would increase the size(scale)

X Scale Rate=0.40, 0.40
Y Scale Rate=0.40, 0.40
Z Scale Rate=0.00, 0.00
The scale rate determines how fast a (smoke) particle grows from a 0 volume to the point where it dissipates (either because its lifetime is finished or because it has become completely transparent). An interesting facet of the scale rate is that it can be negative,meaning that its original size (defined in its scale)dimishes to become zero at a rate defined by the numbers you put in. Playing with these numbers can make the effect spread out (numbers are positive) or shrink (negative numbers)

Drag=-1.00, -0.50
If negative the drag from gravity and wind increases and viceversa. In the case of smoke it is negative as smoke drifts with the wind. It interacts with the temperature of the particle

Color Rate=0.20, 0.80
the point in the lifetime of the particle at which it starts changing its color from the color at color start to the color at color end (see particle attributes for more explanation)

X Offset=0.00, 0.00
Y Offset=0.00, 0.00
Z Offset=0.00, 0.00
Is not interesting in the case of smoke but if the point at which the effect emitter is generated is fixed (like in the case of a ship's wake) it can be of importance

Fade In=0.00, 0.00
Fade Out=0.60, 0.80
Self explanatory, I guess, as it defines the percentage of the lifetime of a particle at which it starts fading in or out

Rotation=-20.00, 20.00
The speed at which the particle itself rotates and if rotating left or right

Shade=1
Meaning it is darkened at night when 1 and visible at night when 0.

Face=1, 1, 1
I am not able to explain this well. Depending on a value of 0 or 1 the direction the particle is facing is forced or not. see note at the end.

[ParticleAttributes.0]
This is where texture comes in. Every particle needs to have texture. The texture can be found in a subfolder of the effects file.

Blend Mode=1
I think that is explained well in the SDK

Texture=fx_1.bmp
This is the texture file that is used for this effect.

Bounce=0.00
See emitter

Color Start=44, 44, 44, 80
Color End=97, 97, 97, 150
The figures correspond to the RGB values of colors, the last figure being the transparency level (alpha). Use e.g. the DTX.BMP program to open the file then export the image to a graphical editor like Photoshop, Paintshop,Paintnet or other to see what the colors represent. The SDK also explains the kind of texture formats that can be used

Jitter Distance=0.03
Jitter Time=0.30
Explained in the SDK

TempK=122.00
a neutral value is 107. If higher, the particle rises, if lower, the particle falls due to gravity. In the case of smoke, it is logical for it to be 107+ as smoke rises.

TempRate=-1.00
The rate at which the particle heats (+) or cools (-). If positive the smoke would rise faster the higher it goes

uv1=0.00, 0.50
uv2=0.50, 1.00
SDK explains it well.

X Scale Goal=300.00
Y Scale Goal=300.00
Z Scale Goal=0.00
If using the scaling rate of the particle, the scale goal limits the increase of the value to the number mentioned in here.

Extrude Length=0.00
Extrude Pitch Max=0.00
Extrude Heading Max=0.00
In case of extrusions, meaning an emitter that extrudes particles at a velocity and at a rate as defined earlier on, these parameters define its maximum length, its pitch and its heading.


The above is by no means exhaustive and just gives you an inkling of the many possibilities available in producing effects. It is a poor attempt at best to add some more comments on the explanations provided in the Special Effects SDK.
Probably the reason for there not being many more detailed explanations on its workings is that it is so hard to explain whitout trying yourself.
Hopefully someone will fill out the blanks, add more info or explain further.

Roby

Note: Misho explains better what "face" means:
Quote:
"Face=" parameter sets how the "sprite" will face the viewer. Effects are, of course, 2-D "sprites" that exist in a 3-D world. You can set how they will orient themselves when viewed in the sim by adjusting the 3 parameters. Each parameter is basically an axis constraint that will limit the sprite's orientation in pitch, bank and heading axis. Let's look at some cases:

Effect: A stop sign on the intersection of the road. If you use Face=0,0,0, the stop sign will always stay upright, and in the same place. If viewed from the side or straight from the top, it will be very very thin Setting Face=0,0,1 will "free" the heading axis, and the stop sign will ALWAYS point towards the observer. It will however still look very very thin from directly above.

Effect: A leafy tree. We could construct an effect representing a tree, with one sprite for a tree trunk with Face=0,0,1 setting, and another sprite for the leaves and branches "ball". That sprite should have a Face=1,1,1 setting - effectively facing the viewer in any direction. Viewed from any angle AROUND it, tree trunk would always face the viewer (and being cylindrical, that's what we want) and when viewed from above, its "thin" nature would be masked by the leafy ball sitting on top of it (and always facing the viewer and looking as if it has volume from any angle). You could add a few more "ball" parts of various sizes (almost like molecule chain) to build up a more complex looking tree. Actually, I always wondered why are default autogen trees in FSX/FS9 those horrible "X" things instead of this volumetric approach.

Face=1,1,1 works best with generally "Globular" sprites, in fact, most of the dust effects are made this way... You can combine Face=1,1,1 sprites to create volume effects of various sizes and dynamics.

A special case that overrides Face command is "Ground Normal" parameter. It basically sets the effect lying flat on the ground (which would probably be acomplished by setting Face=0,0,0 and rotating the sprite to lay flat and move it close to the ground).
Unquote
 
Last edited:
I'm completely new to this whole "effects" things, as I am just getting started with FSXME.

What I would like to know is how to attach an .fx file (to a library file I inserted into my mission). I inserted a condo and would now like to set fire to it.

I have attached that "condo" scenery to an AttachEffectAction (so the "condo" is in the ObjectReferenceList). I also added the effect name - fx_MediumForestFire.fx. From here, I'm confused.

- don't know what to put in as "AttachPointName". Is this an attach point to the condo, or an attach point to the fire (don't understand).

I read the Attach Point Names section of the SDK and saw examples, but I don't know how to use them.

I guess I just need a little tutorial. Help, anyone?
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
Hi,

The attachpoint name should normally refer to the attachpoint of the model that you want to attach the given effect to. If you used a default object it is quite likely that it has no empty attachpoint to attach something to. So I am not sure if you approach will work then. But since I am no experts on missions you might want to verify that in the mission design forum.
 
hello! im also new in here. I would like to know (if its possible) how could i make the "strobe lights" of AI aircraft, more visible. Actually, i can only see them at 20km, (this is prepar3d v2.4), but i remmeber that in fsx i could see them mor far. (the lights were more intense and when we were flying we could see them appearing or dissapearing). I have made bigger the "scale" of the emmiter, and i could see them bigger but, of course, when the ai planes were near me those lights were very very big and un real. (maybe there is a parameter that make lights bigger when they are far (as PAPI lights effects).
thanks for helping and really sorry for my terrible english!!!
 
I'm completely new to this whole "effects" things, as I am just getting started with FSXME.

What I would like to know is how to attach an .fx file (to a library file I inserted into my mission). I inserted a condo and would now like to set fire to it.

I have attached that "condo" scenery to an AttachEffectAction (so the "condo" is in the ObjectReferenceList). I also added the effect name - fx_MediumForestFire.fx. From here, I'm confused.

- don't know what to put in as "AttachPointName". Is this an attach point to the condo, or an attach point to the fire (don't understand).

I read the Attach Point Names section of the SDK and saw examples, but I don't know how to use them.

I guess I just need a little tutorial. Help, anyone?
didjmaster- for desoigning objects ike hangars, hotels, houses... etc.... what do you use? Gmax or FSDS or Sketch Up. If yo use FSDS I might be able to help in a heartbeat and so easy too. What is condo scenery? What kind of fire are you looking for?

If this is a medium forest fire.... you can do this perhaps with modelconverterX. Make a flat polygon triangle or square, size should not matter. If it does yo can always increase the size. Make sure this poly has "trans" attached to it. (you can use trans, glass, window, and a few others).I use trans. This tells FSX this objects (the poly) is see-thru.

Import this into MCX as a model, go find attach point editor with this poly choose 'add effect' scroll to find fx_medium_forst_fire_fx then choose day\night or leave blank to have it run 24 hrs a day. Close then export the mdl as FSX type mdl. then add this to a library if you have Instant Scenery or Put it in your folder where you keep ALL you mdl files. Then with ADE you can include it in your models for that scenery - choose it and place. With IS3 you have your model in your library.... go go to your scenery and place it where you wish. Bob BTW- welcome to the family!
 
hello! im also new in here. I would like to know (if its possible) how could i make the "strobe lights" of AI aircraft, more visible. Actually, i can only see them at 20km, (this is prepar3d v2.4), but i remmeber that in fsx i could see them mor far. (the lights were more intense and when we were flying we could see them appearing or dissapearing). I have made bigger the "scale" of the emmiter, and i could see them bigger but, of course, when the ai planes were near me those lights were very very big and un real. (maybe there is a parameter that make lights bigger when they are far (as PAPI lights effects).
thanks for helping and really sorry for my terrible english!!!
Your English is far better than my Spanish! Welcome to the family also! Lights showing bright enough is a good question. I use an effect called Strahler, which is a somewhat brighter white light than usual, but then Bright enough I don't know. Adding points for 2 or 3 lights helps. Not sure if you can do this with planes though. In my design program - FSDS- I make a small triangle, draw it down to very, very small, place it in a lamp then attach a white light to it. I might do this 3 times, to get a brighter light. again not sure if this works in planes. Bob
 
Thank you bob! it will be a pleasure to use FSDS and learn. Its one year i try to understand why light effects of ai traffic are better in fsx than in prepar3d. We could make an imitation of "apron lights" to be used in planes.
thank you again. Any information you have, it will be a present for me.
(oh, lets talk in spanish, like this you can practice!!)
:)
 
oh...by the way..is there any possiblitie to have this light effect texture? like this i just put it on the "effects/ texture" folder and comprove...
 
abran- I didn't mean to mislead you. My spanish is almost non-existant. My wife is Mexican but she only understand a little.

making your own objects is a lot of fun and rewarding. Making flyable planes is also but much harder. There is Gmax, Sketch Up, Blender,
and FSDS. Gmax is a fine program but very hard to learn. Blender is like that too. sketch Up works sort of like Gmax but easier to learn and it is free.

I In my opinion 'free' is a poor excuse for getting something if it's your only reason. Sketch Up compiles differently which then you take to MCX and convert. This is just another extra step yo uhave to go through; but if you learn it well and learn your textures and how to make them and use them it is a good program to use.... but you cannot do animations with it, but you can extrude letters and numbers as 3d as I understand.

FSDS is easy to learn, $49.95, animations, tranparencies, easy to use. Not quite as powerful as Gmax but it has always done everything I wanted it to do, and I have used it for about 5 or 6 years. Anyway, whatever you get used to using. me- jyarddog@potc.net on Skype also. We have a bunch of guys there who help each other out; one is in Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington State, and others.

If you make an effect, you can have it point to a specific texture which you would put in a texture folder inside FSX main effects folder. All it costs to joini us on Skype is " say HI!!!!" Bob
 
:) ok! thank you again. I will do that. Begining in this new world, but full of passion! :)
see you on skype!:)
 
Actually i think the the most important bug-issue is that you cannot attach an .fx in the 3d model inside the virtual cockpit...
The effect is not shown, unless you look at your back. WEIRD.
It easier to show you than explain so check this video
 
Showing up is also a link to a Star trek TNG reunion. Sirtis calls Pat Stewart......... Old Baldy!!! hahaha

Anyway- The effect turning on-off, on-off. I think is the same problem such as this................ You are facing the front of a hangar at night. Your lamp you made with its nice lighting effect, shining on the ground looks great. You are I slew mode or taxiing off to the left or right of this lamp. Juuuuuust before the light on the ground disappears from view.......... it look like someone reached over and turn off your light!!!! BTW- This also happens I P3d I understand. Oh- well, ain't a perfect world.!! ;)
 
Hi All :wave:

I thought it would be nice to create our own description of the effects parameters in FS in more laymans terms for other users. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to create effects, but I am beginning to get places.

What I propose is that this post will be added to as you reply with your own comments. This will then be a powerful information base for other designers.

So, I will start off:

Changing the rate of a light flash
You can change the rate of flash on the lights by changing the rate of particle emmission and the lifetime of the sprites. If you emit 10 particles a second with a lifetime of of .01 on the particles, you should get a nice fast flashing light. eg: if you have a rate of 2, that's one every 1/2 second. 3 is every 1/3 second etc.

The key is making the lifetime of the sprites small so they don't pile up and turn into one big light (which can also happen if your framerate drops too significantly). I often use .01 lifetime for a real quick flasher. Otherwise it piles up.

Scaling an effect
[particle.x]
Code:
X Scale=0.10, 0.10
Y Scale=0.10, 0.10
Z Scale=0.10, 0.10

This will change the size of your effect as displayed in FS.

Delay an effect
[Emitter.x]
Code:
Delay=0.25, 0.25

You can change the delay amount on the Emitter to whatever you want to create your effect. I used this for WigWag Hold Short lights. Bear in mind that effects are framerate dependant, so if the framerate drops below about 10, they will start to get "wonky" ;)

what would I use for a weather specific effect? I've been trying to get a specific engine start effect to occur at a certain temperature but it doesnt work
 
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