Post by Travis on Apr 29, 2012 1:10:44 GMT -5
Consider this a work-in-progress "cheat sheet" to help those who are having problems with their FS Captain installation and with setting up their panel.cfg files.
(And if you find yourself in this creaky crate, you're not alone! We've all been there.)
How to check your FS Captain installation
1. In your FS folder you should see an \FSCaptain\ folder. This holds the Administrator, the \sound\ files, and all of your data files (logs, manifests, airline and aircraft config files, etc.)
2. In your FS \GAUGES\ folder you should have these six things:
- An FCOM9.gau file - used for FS9. This contains both the ACARS and the FlightDataRecorder gauges for FS9.
- An FCOM.gau file - used for FSX. This contains both the ACARS and the FlightDataRecorder gauges for FSX.
- An FCDU.gau file - used for FSX & P3D. This contains both the grey/gray new-style ACARS and the FlightDataRecorder gauges for FSX/P3D.
- An FCDU2.gau file - used for FSX & P3D. This contains both the bronze/tan new-style ACARS and the FlightDataRecorder gauges for FSX/P3D.
- An FCDU9.gau file - used for FS9. This contains both the grey/gray new-style ACARS and the FlightDataRecorder gauges for FS9.
- An \FCOMPnl\ folder. This contains "XML interface" gauges for more complex aircraft, although most aircraft now have built-in interfaces.
3. In your FS \Modules\ folder you should see this file: FSCaptain.dll. It's only used for FS9. For FSX & P3D, the .dll is in the \FSCaptain\Bin\ folder.
4. FSX&P3D only - After you have installed FS Captain and have properly launched it within FSX, you can look in your fsx.cfg file you should see at least two entries - one for the DLL and one for the FCOM/FCDU:
[My sim install path] \FSCaptain\bin\FSCaptain.dll.what-looks-like-a-lot-of-gibberish-goes-here=1
[My sim install path] \GAUGES\FCOM.GAU.what-looks-like-a-lot-of-gibberish-goes-here=2
[My sim install path] \GAUGES\FCDU.GAU.what-looks-like-a-lot-of-gibberish-goes-here=2[/font]
(It's likely that FS9 has a similar arrangement, but as I don't run FS9 very often I'm only guessing. Corrections and guidance gladly accepted - I intend to edit this post as called for.)
5. FSX&P3D only - In your dll.xml file (this is located in different locations depending on your OS) you should see this entry:
For Vista and W7 users, this file can be found in your \AppData\Roaming\ folder, for example:
C:\Users\[My Windows Username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX
For XP users, I think this file is somewere near C:\Documents\All Users\ApplicationData\Microsoft\FSX\
Manual panel.cfg editing
For the current versions of FS Captain, each aircraft that you want to use FS Captain with needs to have the FCOM/FCDU and the Flight Data Recorder gauges installed. The automatic installer does a good job on most aircraft, but it seems that some of more complex MSFS aircraft require customization - either a manual install or at least a manual "check" to see that all the parts are in place.
Before editing your aircraft's panel.cfg file, always make sure you have a backup of what you know to be the current "known good file." This way if you make an error, you can always go back to a "safe" panel.
1. The ACARS.
There needs to be a standalone panel window to house the FCDU/FCOM ACARS - that's the panel you see with the F1-F9 controls or the alpha-numeric keys.
The "NN" in "WindowNN" needs to be edited so as to make this separate from any other panel window in your current file.
This would place the FCOM ACARS on your window in the lower-right section of your screen (position=8) and at a size of 380 (width) and 320 (height). However due to differences in how all panels of an aircraft can be defined, other "panel attributes" may need to be added, such as:
window_size_ratio = 0.750
window_size = 0.850, 0.850
zorder = 100
The values used for these additional panel window attributes would vary according to the values used in other panel windows, your own screen size / resolution, and whether or not you have configured your FS to support "wide screen" mode.
(If you are using the FCDU, then your gauge name would be FCDU!ACARS.)
2. The Flight Data Recorder.
Here there are small differences between FSX and FS9, and for 2D flyers and VC flyers:
FSX: The FDR gauge should be installed in your VCockpit01 section, like so:
FS9: The FDR gauge should be installed in both your VCockpit01 section and in your Window01 section. In both cases, the entry would look the same:
The "YY" in "gaugeYY" needs to be edited so as to make this separate from any other gauge in your current panels.
For example if the last gauge in your FS9's aircraft's Window01 section has an ID of "gauge14" then you would want to add the FDR as "gauge15":
Again, if you're using the FCDU and not the FCOM, then your gauge names would be "FCDU" or "FCDU9" and not "FCOM"!!
3. Optional - XML Interfaces
The Theory: FS Captain uses the general MSFS gauge signals to see what's happening with the aircraft that you're flying. As an example, the (A:CABIN SEATBELTS ALERT SWITCH,bool) to detect if the seatbelt sign is active or not. For default and many third-party aircraft this means FS Captain works fine out of the box.
However an increasing number of complex aircraft use their own internal variables and signals. If such an aircraft expose any of these signals using "Local XML variables" then it's possible to write a separate "interface gauge" that can read and (hopefully) write these signals.
Because of the aircraft developers' choices in each instance - which can change between versions of their aircraft - certain signals may or may not be properly processed by FS Captain. The FS add-on market is highly evolving and FS Captain works to maintain compatibility as much as possible.
We currently (as of 1.7.2) have all aircraft interfaces built-in to the ACARS gauge, and so XML interfaces are only used when new aircraft come out between new FSCaptain versions.
The Practice: XML Interface gauges need to be manually added to your aircraft's panel.cfg file. To do so, you would need to identify the correct XML interface gauge - located in your MSFS \GAUGES\FCOMPnl\ folder - and add to your panel.cfg file placing this gauge with each instance of the FDR gauge:
FSX: Add one entry to your [Vcockpit01] section, assigning a unique gauge number in place of "XX" and using the XML Interface's filename without the ".xml" extension:
FS9: Add one entry to both your VCockpit01 section and in your Window01 section, assigning a unique gauge number in place of "XX" and using the XML Interface's filename without the ".xml" extension. In both cases, the entry would look the same:
As an example, if you were adding the "ACME-PINTO.xml" interface gauge as gauge number 33 to your "Acme Pinto 260" aircraft's panel cfg file's VCockpit01 section, you would add a line like so:
And it bears repeating again -- before editing your aircraft's panel.cfg file, always make sure you have a backup of what you know to be the current "known good file." This way if you make an error, you can always go back to a "safe" panel.
It also could be that your aircraft developer has chosen to write-protect the panel.cfg file. Or they could have a system that maintains a set of "templated panel.cfg" files which are used to overwrite the "active panel.cfg file." In the case of the former, I'd suggest that you unlock the file, make your edits, and when you're happy, lock it again. (And make a backup of your edits... just in case.)
In the latter case, I'd suggest that you make your edits on the "active panel.cfg file" and maintain a steady flow of backups while you are testing. Once you are happy with how things are, I'd transfer my edits to the "templated panel.cfg files." And back up those edits too, for old time's sake.
Finally, the be-all and end-all authority on MSFS panel.cfg files can be found here courtesy of the good graces of the fine folks at the Microsoft Developers Network.