A few third party developers have noted that their X-Plane 11 aircraft icons are too small – that is, the size of the airplane in the icon square is tiny when using X-Plane’s icon making function.
We use the bounding sphere of the aircraft to size the airplane, but it can be thrown off. In particular, the bounding sphere we use is the bounding sphere for drawing, but it is precomputed at load time, and therefore contains any mostly-hidden weird stuff on your aircraft.
If you’ve made a GPU cart or push-back truck OBJ and attached it to the ACF, the size of the airplane with the vehicle is being taken into account and it can make the airplane small.
It’s actually a little bit worse – if the object is animated (so it can “drive”) then we consider the animation track. If you have a translate whose end key frames are far from the aircraft, that can really change your bounding volume.
My suggestion: temporarily delete these objects from the aircraft file and then take the screenshot.
After 11.0 ships, I have a few ideas to make this better:
- We can use the aircraft’s physics sphere to size the icon, which should be a lot more accurate and won’t be fooled by ground trucks.
- Some day we’ll have a new persistent OBJ API for plugins – when this happens, please migrate your ground vehicles to this system – there are real costs to having non-airplane objects on the airplane.
Don’t Be That Guy
Finally, third party aircraft authors: please use our icon generator and don’t just splat a screen-shot into the X-Plane 11 icons. The aircraft picker is going to look terrible if it turns into a tile grid of screenshots.
Our graphic designer spent a lot of time and care getting the presentation of the main aircraft picker to look good and be user-friendly; this includes balancing the relative brightness of the user interface elements, the icons, the airport list, etc.
If one third party vendor puts a screenshot into a v11 icon, it looks “louder” than all other aircraft. This tempts other third party developers to do the same thing and before we know it, we’re going to have the ugliest flight picker ever.
If you are having trouble getting a clean icon screenshot of your aircraft, please let us know. Sometimes a complex third party aircraft has to have a few features turned off to make it work, but we are looking at fixing remaining bugs, etc.
(General tip: for best results, load the aircraft first, park it with engines on, then take the icon picture. In theory we can take the picture from the main menu, but in practice your plugin will be in a more ‘normal’ state if you go to the ramp first.)