I am very sure that other designers might go about this in a different way but this is how I texture objects with transparent textures.
For this tutorial I will be working in FEET.
For this tutorial I am assuming that you already know how to texture objects and I am not going into detail on how to do this.
For this tutorial I also assume that you already know how to compile and save your work, and Install it into the game for viewing.
The first thing you need is a texture to work with I will make a simple black texture and make a wood fence over the black. A note here this can be a texture for many things a fence or people or what ever you like. I have made mine 512 X512 and I am saving this to my FSDS working texture folder as 24-bit BMP, more on format later.
Next we make the object in this case its just a simple cube.
Next I apply this new texture to the front and the back, note that I tile it two times on the 'X' you may wish to tile it more or less depending on the size of your object.
Do the same on the front.
Next I like to delete any unneeded polygons so I change to 'Poly Mode' and using the 'N' key I move through all the polygons deleting the top bottom and the left and right.
Ok next you must let FSDS know that you will be using a transparent texture to do this we right click on the working screen and select 'Current Item Properties', and click on 'Material'.
From the 'Material list' select Add.
In the 'Material Editor' you need to add the word 'trans' and click 'OK'.You do not need to make any other changes in here.
Now just select the new material 'trans' and click 'OK'.
When you get back to the 'Part Propertie' box you will see the word 'trans' is now in this box, A note here if you leave and come back the 'check mark' will be gone but the word 'trans' is still in the box this is normal donít worry about it just click OK to close this window.
Now would be very good time to save your project and compile either as a BGL and an MDL and get it installed in the active scenery folder, how ever you like to do it but do not start the game yet we still need to do something to that texture we made.
This is how I deal with the textures, you do anyway you like.
I have a working texture folder that I have FSDS set to go to for textures and I like 24-bit BMP, no real reason they just work well for me,
Next I have an active scenery folder called My Test Airport, in this folder I have a scenery folder that is were all my BGL files are sent to and I have a texture folder this will be the texture folder that the game looks to for my textures, I call these game textures
So I have a short cut in my working texture folder that takes me to the game texture folder, this makes it fast and easy to move working textures to the game folder, once there I convert them to a format for the game.
As I do not use many if any default textures this work very well for me, and I like to keep all my texture out of the main game texture folder for many reasons, but this is not the time for that LOL.
So now my new texture has been moved to my game texture folder, I now open it with DXTBmp by Martin Wright you can get this great tool here
Ok so you have DXTBmp installed and you open the texture with it, just click on 'Alpha', and select 'Create Alpha Channel (black)'
Say Ok donít worry Martin is a good man he wonít mess up our texture hehe.
Ok so now we see this little window on the left, the white parts will be visible and the black will be transparent. For this project we donít need to do anything else in here so we just save the texture .
Go to 'file' and to 'Save As', and then 'select Extended Bitmap'.
From the drop list under 'Save as type' select DXT5, DXT3 works but I have been told DXT5 are better.
Click Save and fire up the game, go to the location that you have told the object to be
And there is my fence. Looks ok from over it, looking down.
But when you land and look at the trees and cloud behind it you so see a problem. If your object will never have the autogen behind it I guess you could use it like this.
Or we could cut down all the trees LOLÖno we can tweak the 'X' file and make a new MDL file.
But before you tweak the 'X' file make sure the project is complete, after you tweak the 'X' file if you go back to FSDS and make any changes you need to re-tweak the 'X' file again.
Ok so lets go back to FSDS and this time save an 'X' file
It dosent matter were you save it just make sure you know were it is going and name it so you can find it.
Ok go to the 'X' file and open it in note pad or similar.
Scroll down until you see 'material trans' and the 'name of your texture'. Here we see Farfy_384_bmp
Scroll down a littler further till you find the bracket where my arrow is pointing. And copy and paste the code from this Note Pad
I would like to say that this is not my code I got it from a fourm at http://www.freeflightdesign.com/ It was posted by anthony31, Thank You .
Ok so you downloaded the zip opened it and copy the code from the note pad, when done your 'X' file should look like below.
Now save it and say yes to save changes.
Next you need to take the new 'X' file to the 'XtoMdl.exe' compiler. You can see the path to the one I am using your's should be similar, I paste the 'X' file into this folder.
Then just click on it and drag it on top of the 'XtoMdl.exe' and drop it there, you will now get a new MDL file.
All thatís left to do now is install the New MDL file and if the scenery Gods are good to you the clouds and trees are now were they belong.
Well thatís it for this tutorial, I hope it was some help too you
Thank You Scott Hendrix (H_Farfy)