Introduction and Downloads
Part 1:  Setup
Part 2:  Saving and Animating the Props
Part 3:  FS2004 Import
Part 4:  Setting Up Landing and Taxi Lights
Part 5:  Conversion to FSX
Part 6:  Editing Materials and Textures
Part 7:  VC & Appendix


If you originally downloaded the extra definitions file before 6/12/2019, you must download it again and edit your modeldef.xml file.  You must replace the light_taxi_visible section and add the special_light section.

We are ready to set up the landing and taxi lights.  Currently this should be done with the FS2004 model.  We will first define the effect to use at each attachpoint, align them so they shine on the ground, and then assign a visibility condition to each one.

1.  We can start with the attachpoints.  I do not describe attachpoints other than those used for landing lights and taxi lights, so if you have any others I can't help much at this time.  But built in nav lights, etc. are handled the same way as described below, you only need to type in the correct CustomFileName or click the box, click the ... button, and browse the effects available.  Orientation is not important, but Position is.
2.  Click the Display Attached Objects button (image of a paper clip).  If present, each attachpoint will have a little red square in the aircraft display (see below). They should also have red/blue/green axes extending from them.
3.  I find this easier in Wireframe Render Mode, a button in the second row along the top.  
4.  Click on the Attached Object Editor button.  A list of attachpoints should be in the editor if the plane has landing and/or taxi lights.

attached editor

5.  Many aircraft (not all) will have multiple attachpoints for each location.  The DC-6B is a good example of this - there are really only two attached lights on the plane, a landing light under each wing.  But the list shows there are 8 attachpoints, and it turns out there are 4 under each wing (only 1 under each wing will turn yellow, since the others are presumably right behind it).  You can delete the unneeded lights as long as you know you do not need them, but be careful - you can't really bring them back without merging them in from a separate model, a much more difficult process.  But if they are right on top of each other I can't imagine why you would need more than one attachpoint there.  The attachpoints we will be using in the DC-6B example are attpt_light05 and attpt_light07.  In the instructions below I left the extra attachpoints alone - they don't do any harm, but I usually delete them for simplicity.
6.  Click the list of attachpoints until you see one turn yellow.  Even if there are duplicates in that spot, we will use the one that turns yellow to place our light.  In the DC-6B the left landing light attachpoint turns yellow when we click on attpt_light05:

attachpoint 2

7.  In the CustomFileName box, type in fx_landing (you can't use the ... button because it's not a separate file, it's built into FS).  Set the UseAutoGeneratedName to False.  In the AttachPointName box, type in a name like landing_light_L.

attached editor

8.  The axes will help us get the light shining in the right direction.  The green axis will point the way the light will shine - we need it to be pointing forward when it should be shining on the ground.  Click on the Orientation line, drag across it to highlight the entire line, and type in (0;0;90)   You should include the parentheses.  Note the numbers are separated by semicolons.  Click the Position line to see your changes.  If your plane has fixed landing lights then this should point the green line forward, just what we want (note that any extra attachpoints may still have the green axes pointing up).  Since the DC-6B has retracting landing lights animated using the water rudder variable, when the animation slider is at the far right (lights deployed)  the green axis should be pointing forward.  When you move the animation slider to the far left (light retracted), the landing light should rotate and the green line will be pointing straight down.
9.  Do the same thing for the attachpoint that turns yellow under the right wing.  In the case of the DC-6B that is attpt_light07.  Edit the CustomFileName, UseAutoGeneratedName, AttachPointName (landing_light_R would be logical).  In the Orientation: enter (0;0;90) again and click the Position line.  That green axis should be pointing forward when the landing light is deployed.
10.  When MCX imports landing or taxi light attachpoints connected to an animated object, they sometimes will dislocate to the pivot point of that animation.  In this case use the numbers in the Position box to move them to just in front of the center of the landing light lens.  You can do this too for static lights if they are not quite right.  I find this easier if they are deployed, if animated, so move the animation slider to that position.
The numbers in the Position box are Left/Right; Up/Down; Forward/Back.  Adjust them by small numbers at first (by less than 1.0) to see how far they move.  Then adjust them until they are located correctly.  In the DC-6B the left landing light values are -0.08; -0.18; 0.05 and the right is 0.00; -0.16; 0.03. Close the Attached Objects Editor.


11.  Next we need to set their Visibility Condition, so they turn on and off with the landing light switch or key (Ctrl-L).   Open the Hierarchy editor and type in the word landing.  Your landing lights should be listed.  Click on an AttachedLight.

find attachpoint name

12.  A little red square in the display will turn yellow.  Assuming this is a landing light, change the Visibility Condition from None to special_light.

If you originally downloaded the extra definitions file before 6/12/2019, you must download it again and edit your modeldef.xml file.  You must replace the light_taxi_visible section and add the special_light section.

select visibility

13.  Repeat this process for all landing lights in the list. You can ignore all the extra attachpoints, if any.


14.  If some of your attachpoints are taxi lights, it's exactly the same process in the Attached Object Editor.  Give the CustomFileName fx_landing, set the UseAutoGeneratedName to False, the AttachPointName something like taxi_light_nose, and type into the Orientation line (0;0;90).  Edit  the Position line if you wish.  Then in the Hierarchy editor, when you find that AttachedEffect (in our example type taxi into the search box) and it has been selected give it the Visibility Condition of light_taxi_visible.  Now it will operate by using the taxi light switch (hopefully that plane's panel has such a switch, because there is no FS keyboard command for the taxi light).  The DC-6B has no taxi lights.

You must immediately continue to Part 5, because you will lose your changes if you do not.