Here it is, my very first and very uninformed FAQ about Flight Simulator 2004. Eventually I'll get one going for FSX, but for now, I will answer Frequently (in this case, frequently is loosely defined, as in "once") Asked Questions about FS2004:ACOF.
Q: Is FS2004:ACOF the longest acronym for the longest video game name ever?
A: Well, not quite. It does beat out SCATTR (Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus) and just barely conquers STZIRWAP (Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse) but if you count punctuation, it's absolutely slaughtered (by a couple of characters) by GTC2002T-G(J) (Gran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva (Japan)).
Q: Where should I look for things that have been added to this FAQ?
A: The entry immediately below this one will be the newest entry. So if that one looks familiar, then you can go on with your regularly scheduled activities.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of attach points that can be put on an object?
A: As far as I know, there is not. As a test, I created an array of attach points on an object that was 10 wide by 100 long. It rendered every one of the attach points (1000 of them total) with no signs of quitting. So it you're not seeing all the effects on your attach points, you either have duplicate names on some of the attach points or your effects aren't cranked high enough.
Q: How come I can't see all of the sprites in the incredibly elaborate and perf intensive effects that I've created?
A: Being the effects artist for Flightsim (among many other duties), this one has bothered me to no end. We have a sprite limit cap that is determined by your effects quality settings (in the display setting dialog). This is for performance reasons, because it is incredibly easy to kill perf using tons of facing sprites. Unfortunately, because the volumetric cloud system are volume clouds of facing sprites, they got thrown into this budget (this is a bug, and our bad). So here's how you hack it. Put an "effects.cfg" file in your effects folder with the following contents:
Then set your effects settings to high and watch the billions of particles bring your system to its knees. DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any fried hardware or lost wages caused by the minutes per frame display you may achieve using this trick. However, I will be fully responsible if you end up with beautiful visuals and not much of a performance hit. [;)]
Q: What's up with seasons.bgl? Can't I get a higher resolution on that?
A: For FS2004 the short answer is "no". It's currently locked at 8km per pixel. However, the current plan is that that will change (for the better) for FSX. Higher resolution for everyone! Yay!
Q: Can I make multiple lclookup tables and have different scenery locations call different lclookups?
A: Once again, for FS2004, the answer is "no". You might be able to hack this somehow, but I doubt it and besides, don't you want to create nice-playing Microsoft Approved scenery add-ons? [;)] There are plans to do something about this for FSX, however nothing is concrete and I can't give specific details, so look for this in the FSX FAQ, when I get around to writing that one.
Q: Is there a way we can we use DX9 shaders on objects in FS2004?
A: Well, we actually are using DX9 shaders on everything in FS2004. If it works in DX9 and it has a texture on it, than technically it's a DX9 shader. Are we taking advantage of all the DX9 features? Well no. Are we using 2.0 shaders in FS9? Well, no again. However, the aircraft (being a separate model type for FS2004) have their own shader pipeline that contains elements of shader functionality like environment mapping. As does the water in FS2004. Will this be improved in FSX? Drastically. Once again, I'll get to that in the FSX FAQ.
Q: Is this the end all and be all of FS2004 FAQs?
A: Absolutely not. This is just me with my tiny little knowledge base. There's lots of information about all kinds of stuff on the forums (like Avsim or Flightsim.com or scenerydesign.org). There's also our own little website. Just search for Flight Simulator using one of your favorite search engines and you'll get more links than if you search for "nude celebrity".
Q: Will this FAQ ever be updated?
A: Hopefully so. I've already got two more questions that I haven't answered yet because I don't know the answers yet. As I get more questions, I'll try to post more answers. Will I answer every question? Nope. I don't know all the answers. Just a few of them.