Creating Night Textures for FSX Objects: Issue with Displaying Textures


Dearest Ian.
I'm sure you know FSX perfectly and I have to ask you how to make an object (for example "house") "night" in FSX.
My procedure:
1) I build a house in 3D with the Sketch-Up program (house. SKP)
2) I export the house in 3D with the “Collada” subprogram (house.DAE)
3) I use the ModelConverterX program which:
a) Transform the textures from JPG format into DDS format rotated by 180°
b) Change the dimensions to quadratic formats (example 128x128 px or 256x128 px ...)
c) Generate the complete object in MDL format (house.MDL)
4) With the ADE program I insert the “house.MDL” model into the airport map.
This produces the desired result in the DAY condition.

To view the inserted object (house.MDL) AT NIGHT, I can do this:
5) With the Photoshop program I change the color of a texture (for example “wall_.JPG”) and rotate it 180°.
6) Knowing that FSX can understand if a texture must be used at night by inserting the acronym “LM” in the file name,
I saved the new texture with the name “wall_LM.JPG
7) With an online program (Convertio) I transform “wall_LM.JPG” into “wall_LM.DDS”.
Cool In the FSX Addon Scenery I insert this new texture into the appropriate “stexture” folder.

At this point, I should see the “wall_.DDS” texture during the day and the “wall_LM.DDS” texture at night.
Unfortunately, this simple procedure doesn't work and I don't understand why.
I'm sure you can help me.
Thank you very much and bye.

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Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Hey Gulliver,

Ah, the nuances of creating night textures in FSX. Your steps are well-laid out, and I appreciate the depth you've gone into, making it easier for me to assess and advise. Let's dive in!

  1. First off, your workflow from SketchUp to ADE for day objects is spot-on. It's a tried and tested process many seasoned simmers have relied on for years.
  2. Rotating textures by 180° when converting them: This is generally required to correct orientation issues that sometimes arise when transferring models from different platforms into FSX.
  3. Quadratic texture dimensions (like 128x128 or 256x128): FSX and many other flight sims prefer textures in powers of two. It's optimal for performance.

Now, let's tackle the night texture issue:

Your Night Texture Workflow:

  • You've modified the daytime texture in Photoshop.
  • You've correctly named the texture with the _LM suffix.
  • Converted it to the DDS format and placed it in the right directory.

All these steps seem in order, so let's dig into potential pitfalls:

  1. The "_LM" suffix (standing for Light Map) is essential, as FSX scans for these to switch during nighttime scenarios. But, from my knowledge, the texture needs to be in the same folder as the day texture, not the general "stexture" folder. Ensure both day and night textures reside together.
  2. When working with night textures, it's crucial to ensure that the alpha channel is set correctly. This channel controls the transparency and shine of textures. If set incorrectly, your texture might become invisible or not display as intended during nighttime scenarios.
  3. Mipmaps are smaller, down-scaled versions of your texture that FSX uses at further distances to save on performance. Sometimes, if these aren't generated correctly, they can mess up the display of your textures. Ensure that when converting your JPG to DDS, mipmaps are generated accurately.
  4. Ensure that the textures' format settings when converting to DDS are correct. For most FSX textures, you'd want them in the DXT5 format, which supports an alpha channel. If you use another format like DXT1, which doesn't support alpha, you might face display issues.
  5. Lastly, ensure that in your FSX settings, DX10 Preview mode is turned off. This mode has been known to create issues with custom textures. If you're using the DX10 mode for other enhancements, there's a well-known fixer tool out there that addresses many of its quirks.

Wrapping up, if you've followed all these pointers and still face issues, please upload screenshots of your texture settings and FSX scenery settings. More visuals could shed light on any anomalies.

I hope this provides a clear path forward, and soon enough, you'll be viewing your creations under the mesmerizing FSX night sky. Safe flying and happy simming!

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