Comet 4c - Polytext - Overhead Panel

Fig. 1: Modified overhead panels with polytext and improved radio animations.

One of the drawbacks of the Comet being my first ever project in X-Plane (or any other simulator, for that matter) is that I learn so much new stuff at every stage that I then want to go back over old work and improve it. I started using polytext on the overhead panels, but only the triangular panels (in grey-green at the far edges of the picture) and the fire warning panels (just above the windscreen). I’ve now extended it to the entire overhead panel, except the flight cards and analogue dials.

When weighing the pros and cons of bitmap or polytext characters, the issues are:
  1. Only the proper cockpit.obj PNG is sharp and clear at all times;
  2. Bitmap textures need 3 pixels per scale MM to appear sharp, which eats PNG space pretty rapidly;
  3. A bitmap texture is efficient if the same gauge graphic can be used repeatedly;
  4. Polytext is efficient where there are large expanses of panel with relatively few labels;
  5. Light and shade effects are more easily (and more beautifully) managed with bitmap textures.

Fig. 2: As Fig. 1 with the lighting dimmer turned to full brightness.

As a direct development from the Flight Navigator’s station, radio controllers use both polytext and properly animated frequency scales. On the Marconi units fitted to Comets, these were rotating discs. The advantages on all controllers is that the text and numbers are clearer, the lighting is better balanced and can be varied dynamically with a dimmer knob.

Fig. 3: Marconi ADF controller with polytext labels and animated rotating frequency scales.

The Marconi COM and VOR (NAV) controllers will be challengingly unfamiliar to X-Plane pilots. Like the ADF controller, frequencies are on concentric rotating discs, but the decimal places are on an analogue scale.

Fig. 4: Marconi COM and VOR (NAV) controllers will be challenging to use in X-Plane.

GMM-P (26/02/2011)
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