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Vickers VC10 HS121 Trident DH106 Comet BAC One-Eleven Home
Notes on FS Aircraft Files
Last updated : 20Jan06

This page is intended as helpful information for the FS beginner.

Installing the Models  
Note: Model, Panel & Sounds are all separate downloads.
eg. the file 'COMET_4.zip' does not contain the panel or sounds.  The panel is in 'COMET_PANEL.zip' and the sounds are in 'COMET_SOUND.zip'

(can't really believe I need to mention this, but apparently so! <ggg>)

The BAC 1-11 & Trident now have automated installer programs for FS2004. If you are using another version of MSFS, install into a temprary folder & manually move the folders where they ought to be, as below...

Tip: It's a good idea to have a folder set aside to extract all of your downloaded zip files into. Once extracted & checked over, you can then move the extracted folders to their correct location. This is safer than attempting to extract files direct to their final location.


Installing the models is easy.  Each download contains the correct folder structure for the models to work in FS2004.
If you extracted each download straight into your 'Flight Simulator 9' folder, it would work.
However, I would advise you take the safer option & extract your downloaded zip files into a temporary area first.
After extracting, you will find a folder called 'Aircraft'.  (Some files may also have an 'Effects' folder, or 'Texture' folder)
The contents of the 'Aircraft' folder needs to go into your 'Flight Simulator 9\Aircraft' folder.
If the download also has an 'Effects' folder, the contents of this folder needs to go into your 'Flight Simulator 9\Effects' folder.
If the download also has a 'Texture' folder, the contents of this folder needs to go into your 'Flight Simulator 9\Texture' folder.
See below, I downloaded all of the Trident files & extracted these zip files into a temporary folder called 'C:\TEMP'.
Just drag & drop the contents of 'Aircraft' (circled in red) straight into your 'Flight Simulator 9\Aircraft' folder.


When you drag & drop say 'yes' to Overwrite any files or folders if it asks.
Same idea with the contents of the 'Effects' folder or the 'Texture' folder.
That is all you need to do to correctly install a DMFS model into FS2004.

Note: The path of the 'Flight Simulator 9' folder is normally 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Flight Simulator 9'

** IMPORTANT NOTE IF YOU HAVE INSTALL PROBLEMS **

The 'DMFS Shared Files' folder is intended to be in the 'Flight Simulator 9\Aircraft' folder exactly as it is.
All of the models now look to this folder for their panel, sound & documentation files.

If you do not install this folder in the correct place you may end up with the panel & sounds from a Cessna instead!

Once installed, you should have a structure like this in your 'Flight Simulator 9\Aircraft' folder:-

The 'DMFS Shared Files' folder is used to hold the panel, sounds & documentation for all DMFS models.


If you are interested in how the 'DMFS Shared Files' folder works...
The panel & sounds use the 'alias' technique that is provided in FS.
eg. If you look inside the file '...Aircraft\BAC 1-11 500\sound\sound.cfg' you will see the following text:-

[fltsim]
alias=DMFS Shared Files\BAC 1-11 Sound

And the same idea is used with panels in the 'panel.cfg' file.
So, using aliases, I
can have just one set of sound files and panel files for all of the BAC 1-11 models.
The documentation can be viewed from the FS kneeboard & this is set up in the 'aircraft.cfg' file found in each model's own folder.  eg. for all BAC 1-11s the following lines are set in each [fltsim] section:-
kb_checklists=..\DMFS Shared Files\BAC 1-11 Documentation\Checklist
kb_reference=..\DMFS Shared Files\BAC 1-11 Documentation\Manual


Installing in FSX

Not all of the models work properly in FSX.
So far, the Comet is the only one that has been designed with FSX in mind. Future releases will all be designed to work as well as possible in FSX.

Install in FSX is different because they have changed the folder structure.
\Aircraft = \SimObjects\airplanes

The examples below are for the Comet only, but will also loosely apply to the other models...

Extra sounds for co-pilot calls & takeoff config warning need files editing because they've changed the folder structure.
The panel.cfg in '\DMFS Shared Files' needs this line modified...
gauge32=dsd_xml_sound3!dsd_xml_sound3, 2,2,5,5,.\Aircraft\DMFS Shared Files\DH106 Comet 4 Panel VC\DM_COMET_sound.ini
change it to be...
gauge32=dsd_xml_sound3!dsd_xml_sound3, 2,2,5,5,.\SimObjects\airplanes\DMFS Shared Files\DH106 Comet 4 Panel VC\DM_COMET_sound.ini

The file DM_COMET_sound.ini in '\DMFS Shared Files' also needs the paths editing.
For example...
Sound00=./Aircraft/DMFS Shared Files/DH106 Comet 4 Panel VC/ALERT.wav
Will need to be...
Sound00=./SimObjects/airplanes/DMFS Shared Files/DH106 Comet 4 Panel VC/ALERT.wavSmoke effects also needs a file edit to work properly in FSX.
Each aircraft.cfg file has a section called [SMOKESYSTEM]
Remove the first 4 entries, then edit out the '//' from the last 4 entires.
The end result should look something like this...
[SMOKESYSTEM]
Smoke.0= -9.9, -13.0, 0.00, DM_COMET_SMOKE_FSX_R
Smoke.1= -9.9, -11.0, 0.00, DM_COMET_SMOKE_FSX_R
Smoke.2= -9.9, 9.0, 0.00, DM_COMET_SMOKE_FSX_L
Smoke.3= -9.9, 11.0, 0.00, DM_COMET_SMOKE_FSX_L
 
Installing in FS2002

Installation is the same as for FS2004, but you will need to move any '.cab' files into your FS '\Gauges' folder.
These cab files are held in the relevant panel folders inside 'DMFS Shared Files'.
The 'DMFS Shared Files' folder is found inside your FS '\Aircraft' folder.

The only '.cab' files used in all of my models are these:-
DM_1-11.cab
DM_COMET.cab
DM_VC10.cab
DM_Trident.cab
SAV_t2_bits.cab


Also note that with FS2002, the FS folder is not called 'Flight Simulator 9'
 

Converting Texture Format

These days my models mainly use 32-bit textures.  This texture format offers the best image quality on higer spec PC's, but they can be quite demanding on the resources of some systems.
If your system doesn't handle the 32-bit textures well, there is a simple batch converter that can automatically convert the model's textures into the more efficient DXT3 format.
Each of the models now comes with this automatic texture conversion utility pre-installed inside each of the aircraft's folders.
Or if you have an earlier version of the model, you can download the utility & install it yourself.
Download Texture Conversion Utility   (78 k)

This Texture Converter uses the batch processing capability of the standard 'Imagetool' texture conversion program that Microsoft Supply for FS.

To install the texture conversion utility, copy the two files 'imagetool.exe' and 'Texture Converter.bat' into the aircraft's folder.
The example below shows where the two files should be installed to convert the textures of the Vickers Super VC10.


To convert the textures, run (double click) the file 'Texture Converter.bat'.
This window should be displayed.  All you need to do is enter the number of the option you require.


Aircraft Folder Structure & Files

It's well worth spending some time to find out how the files in the 'Aircraft' folder are used in FS.

The FS2004 '/Aircraft' folder holds all the aircraft available in sub folders. These sub folders can be given any name you want.

Within each Aircraft's folder there are a number of files and the sub folders '/model''/panel', '/sound' and '/texture'.

An FS model is made up of separate parts that are fairly loosely connected.
You can update bits separately or within reason, you can swap bits from one model to another.
Panels & Sounds can be treated as totally separate items & can be used on different models, by copying & pasting the relevant files.
Model files & texture files are directly linked. An 'Mdl' file will only work with a specific set of texture file names. Similar models can be made to use another 'Mdl', but the texture files must always be named correctly for them to show in FS.
The flight dynamics are contained in two files 'Aircraft.cfg' & the 'Air' file. These files will contain information that is linked directly to the model. However the only vital link is to do with the positioning of the model on the ground & the position of the gear. Flight dynamics files can be transferred to other similar models. They will work, but may need a bit of tweaking.

Here is a breakdown of the important bits in an Aircraft's folder :-
 

Folder

File Name

Description

The
Aircraft's
Folder

Aircraft.cfg

This file is a plain text file that can be edited using 'Notepad'.

'Aircraft.cfg' has gained in importance since FS2002. It now contains a lot more information which can override the flight dynamics in the 'Air' file.
It is a standard configuration file format, with a heading in square brackets [], followed by a number of properties & values.
The many co-ordinate values that are specified in this file, relate to the centre 0,0,0 co-ordinates of the model in the 'mdl' file.

The [fltsim] section
This section contains information specific to the individual model, such as the name, descriptions & ATC information.

It should always be at the top of the file, kept separate from the general flight dynamics underneath.

The correct name of the 'Air' file must be specified in the 'sim=' field in the [fltsim] section. If your model does not show in FS, check that the 'Air' file name is correct in here. (N.B. don't include '.air' in the name)

It also contains all the text that is displayed in the FS selection window & the ATC information.

To be displayed properly in the FS aircraft selection window, each model must have a unique Title & Descriptions.

Grouping multiple texture folders in Aircraft.cfg
Many different sets of textures can be grouped together in one aircraft folder.
It should have been so much easier, but....
This is done by adding a unique identifier to the name of each separate texture folder, using a dot in between.  The identifier can be text instead of a number, to make things more obvious.
Eg.
/Texture.CourtLine
/Texture.DanAir

In 'Aircraft.cfg' you need a separate[fltsim] section for each set of textures.
Each [Fltsim] section must have a sequential numeric identifier.
eg.
[fltsim.0]
[fltsim.1]

In each [fltsim] section there is a field 'Texture='.  You set this equal to the unique identifier of the relevant texture set.
Eg.
Texture=DanAir

Setting 'Texture=' will use textures in the '/texture' folder.

You can also use this same technique for the '/model' folders using the 'model=' parameter, if you want to, but things can end up a little complicated.  The same technique also works with panels & sounds.

There may be an upper limit on the number of different models that can be grouped together in this way.

 

The 'Air' file

This file contains the flight dynamics settings for the model.
The 'Air' file can only be edited using an 'Air file editor' which are available for free on the internet. Abacus do one (FDE). I can also recommend 'AirEd'.
Tinkering with the flight dynamics in the 'Air' file is not recommended, unless you know what you are doing, or unless you like a good laugh.

 

Readme.txt

This file is a plain text file that can be edited using 'Notepad'.
The 'readme' file contains credits for any new or original work done on the model.
It should include the e-mail addresses of anyone who has worked on the model.
It should also contain installation notes and any other relevant info about the aircraft in general.

/Model

The 'Mdl' file

This file contains the compiled code for the 3D model.

The model in the 'Mdl' file can not be edited using development tools such as FSDS or gmax.
The contents of the 'Mdl' file can only be edited directly by using a Hex editor. You need expert knowledge to do this.

The 'Mdl' contains references to the texture files. The names of the files in the '/Texture' folder must be the same as that specified in the 'Mdl', or the texture will not display.
You can see the names of the texture files if you open the 'Mdl' with a normal text editor. If your model does not display any textures, check the names of the texture files in the 'Mdl'. If they are different, you can rename your texture files.

With FS2000 it was common to use a Hex editor to change the names of all the texture files in the 'Mdl', to include the name of your new model. It cured a minor display problem with the FS2000 aircraft selection window. FS no longer has the problem & there is no benefit in doing this with current models.

 

Model.cfg

This file is a plain text file that can be edited using 'Notepad'.
The correct name of the 'Mdl' file must be in here.
If your model does not show in FS, check that the 'Mdl' name is correct here. (N.B. don't include '.mdl' in the name)

/Panel

Panel.cfg

This file is a plain text file that can be edited using 'Notepad'.
This file gives FS all the information about the model's panel.

It is quite a simple file to understand & many things can be altered, just by editing the text. There is an excellent program called 'CfgEdit' by Ed Struzynski. This is a visual 'Panel.cfg' editor. It is simple to use & you can amend existing panels or create new ones.

You can use the panel.cfg to point to panel that is held in a different folder.
E.g. this panel.cfg tells FS to use the panel.cfg that is held in the folder 'B737_400\Panel' :-
[fltsim]
alias=B737_400\Panel


Gauges '.gau' files are normally copied into the FS 'Gauges' folder. But always make sure you follow the installation instructions given with your panel.
The gauges held in '.cab' files are often left inside the panels own folder rather than being copied over into the FS 'Gauges' folder.
FS will always look for gauges in the panels own folder first.  If it does not find the gauge there, only then will it look in the FS 'Gauges' folder.

 

*.bmp

Most panel's have at least one bitmap image.
This is usually a cockpit picture that the gauges are displayed on.
Some panels have other pop-up panels for things like radio's & extra engine gauges.
Any of these extra panels can have a separate bitmap picture.

If you want to edit the cockpit bitmap, be careful with the transparency. They are usually set to have a transparent colour. It is best to edit the bitmap through 'CfgEdit', as this handles the transparency setting for you.

/Sound

Sound.cfg

This file is a plain text file that can be edited using 'Notepad'.
This file gives FS information about the model's sound files.

You can use the sound.cfg to point to panel that is held in a different folder.
E.g. this sound.cfg tells FS to use the sound.cfg that is held in the folder 'B737_400\Sound' :-
[fltsim]
alias=B737_400\Sound


 

*.wav

The normal format for sound files is 'wav' format.
These sounds can be edited using a wave file editor.

The engine sounds are usually split into internal & external sounds.
They also have a separate 'whine' & 'combustion' component.

The engine sounds use rate parameters (rparams) & volume parameters (vparams) to tell FS how to reproduce the sound.
Download the MS Flight Simulator SDK for detailed description of the parameters.

/Texture

*.bmp

With models created using FSDS, the texture files are usually in '.bmp' Windows bitmap format.
This means that they can be edited using any Paint Program.
Do not rename any of the texture files or alter their physical size.

Texture files are normally sized in multiples of 256 pixels. So they can be 256 x 256, 512 x 512, 1024 x 1024 etc.  The standard is to use 8 bit (256 colours), 256 x 256 or 512 x 512.
This is not always the case, as different sizes & formats can be used.
Bigger does not automatically mean better.

The 8 bit (256 colour) format has a set palette of 256 colours.
To use other colours, you may need to convert the file to 24 bit format. You must always remember to convert back to 8 bit (256 colours) for the texture to display in FS.

Any files with '_LM' or '_L' appended to the name will be used for night lighting.
Simply adding a file with an '_LM' will not turn on night lighting for a model that does not have it.

Some parts of a model may not be covered by textures. They may have been assigned a fixed colour in the 'Mdl' file. There is a freeware utility available that can allow you to amend these fixed colours.

FS2002 can now use many different texture formats.
These include  8, 24, 32 bit bitmaps, DXT1, DXT3.
The freeware program 'DXTBmp' is highly recommended for creating & manipulate these formats.
It also has help text that gives a breakdown of what they do.
An existing model will not benefit from using a different format to the original one.
An old FSDS model can not be made to have reflective textures, by texture formats alone.

Using multiple texture sets in one aircraft folder       Back to top

To save time & effort, as well as disk space, it is a good idea to group repaints of the same model into just one aircraft folder.
This means that only the \Texture folder is needed to add another repaint of the same model to FS.
The flight dynamics, model, sounds & panel are all shared.

It is very easy to do.

Each \Texture folder is given it's own unique name, using a dot as a separator.
Some use numbers, but it is easier to understand if you use more meaningful text names.
So in a 1-11 500 aircraft folder you could have two \Texture folders:-
\Texture.Dan-Air
\Texture.Bahamas
 

Here is the 'Aircraft.cfg' file for the example above.
This is only the top section of the file, the rest of the file is flight dynamics info & does not need to be changed.

[fltsim.
0]
title=
BAC 1-11 500 Dan-Air
sim=BAC1115
model=
panel=
sound=
texture=
Dan-Air
checklists=
description=BAC 1-11 500  Super One Eleven\nModel by David Maltby
ui_manufacturer=
BAC
ui_type=1-11 500
ui_variation=Dan-Air
atc_heavy=1
atc_id=G-BDAT
atc_airline=Dan-Air
atc_flight_number=473

[fltsim.
1]
title=
BAC 1-11 500 Bahamas Airways
sim=BAC1115
model=
panel=
sound=
texture=
Bahamas
checklists=
description=BAC 1-11 517FE  Super One Eleven\nModel by David Maltby
ui_manufacturer=
BAC
ui_type=1-11 500
ui_variation=Bahamas Airways
atc_heavy=1
atc_id=VP-BCN
atc_airline=Bahamas Airways
atc_flight_number=476

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The bits in red are vital & must be right for the model to appear in FS.  Here's a breakdown of these bits:-

[fltsim.0]
Each separate aircraft in the file has to have it's own [fltsim] section, with a unique number.
The numbers must start at zero & be the next in sequence for each new aircraft.
So the next aircraft added to this file must be under the section [fltsim.2]

title=BAC 1-11 500 Dan-Air
This title must be unique to the aircraft.  If another aircraft in FS has the same title, only one will show up.  Other than that, the text is not important & could be anything you want.

sim=BAC1115
This is the name of the '.Air' file for this model.
In this example the file 'BAC1115.Air' is in the aircraft's folder.
If the '.Air' file specified here does not exist in this aircraft's folder, the aircraft will not show in FS.

texture=
Dan-Air
This is the name given to the aircraft's \Texture folder.
This example will look for a '\Texture.Dan-Air' folder.

ui_manufacturer=BAC
ui_type=1-11 500
ui_variation=Dan-Air
These settings are for the aircraft selection window in FS.
Manufacturer & type should all be the same for each aircraft in this file.
 

 
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