AFS2 – Making grass runways for fsCloudPort

Introduction

This tutorial is designed for AFS2 pilots who already use fsCloudPort (fsCP – Link HERE), either to design their own airports, or to simply download and install the work of other people. I will assume that you have a working knowledge of the fsCP program/website, and therefore will not educate you on what to do within the program/website itself.

If indeed you are familiar with fsCP, you’ll probably have noticed that every runway created with it has the same “grey-blue” tone to it. In many cases that’s just fine, but what if the airport you are re-creating has grass runways instead of paved? What do you do then?

Up to now, most of us have simply removed the actual runway texture from the airport, and I’ll show you the easiest way to do that in this tutorial. But what if you really want to keep a runway texture in place, but just not that grey-blue one? I’ll show you how to do that too, and it’s easier than you might imagine.

An example to work with

To make things easier, I’ve already created a fictional farm strip in fsCP for you to work with. It’s located in the default USA scenery (in case you don’t have the same photoscenery collection I do).

1. Please go to fsCloudPort, then into the USA, and look along the coast of California. Right around the border of California and Oregon you will find an entry in the fsCP map screen titled GRASS. (See map below.)

2. Click on the GRASS banner. Follow the instructions, and download and install that GRASS airfield. Now, launch AFS2, use the location map to find Jack Mc Namara Airport on the coast, and look just above it and to the right. Locate GRASS, and place yourself at the end of Rwy 29. Start the sim and you should have your new airfield, but it has the standard runway texture…

3. So let’s show you the easy way to remove that texture, only leaving the photo image beneath it. Locate and open the folder which contains your GRASS airfield. You will see the following contents.

4. Look at the list of files on the right. See the one that says “rap884m26m_rwy.tmb”? Simply rename the file extension to .tmb-off. So it will look like this instead…

5. Do that even though it suggests it will make things unstable. Now launch AFS2 again, go to the same location and you will see this (below). You no longer have a runway texture, and that might be fine. BUT you also no longer have a flat surface to take off and land from! So we need a different approach.

6. For now, exit AFS2, go back into the file manager, and rename the file back to the original .tmb extension. This will restore things back to the way they were. You can even check it in the sim if you feel the need to.

A different approach

  • To guide you through the different approach, I need to help you locate a new runway texture file.
  • The one I use in the following screenshots can be found as part of the freeware airport, LSPK Hasenstrick by Chrispriv.
  • You can download and install the airport from flight-sim.org (Link HERE).
  • Once you have downloaded and installed it, examine the file contents, and you will see a file called “asphalt_runway_grass.ttx”
  • Make a copy of that file, and paste it into your GRASS folder.
  • Now RENAME that copy in the GRASS folder from “asphalt_runway_grass.ttx” to “asphalt_runway_color.ttx” (All you did was change the word grass to the word color)
  • Now, go back into AFS2 and take another look at your airport!

You did NOT even edit the airport’s .tsc file.. You simply copied a file from another airport, pasted it into you folder, and renamed it. AFS2 did the rest, and you now have a flat surface to take off and land from, and it looks a lot more like grass than the standard runway texture. ONE CAVEAT HERE… It will still have that “reflective look” in some lighting conditions, but I think it is an acceptable compromise.

A little more modification

  • Want to remove the white runway numbers? – Go back into you GRASS folder and rename “11_decal.tmb” to “11_decal.tmb-off” and do the same for 29_decal.tmb. You can always add the numbers back in by removing the “-OFF” you just added!
  • Want to remove the touchdown lines and centerline markings? – Go back into you GRASS folder and rename “rap884m26m_decal.tmb” to “rap884m26m_decal.tmb-OFF”. Once again, you can always add the lines back in by removing the “-OFF” from the extension again.
  • With combinations of the above two modifications, you can have the fully marked runway, or a runway with only the lines, or a runway with only the numbers, or a runway with only the grass texture.

Take a look…

But wait… There’s more!

Once I stumbled upon this bag of tricks last week, my imagination (or curiosity) got the better of me. There are many other textures you can find and use, as long as you already have legitimate copies of the addons, and do not distribute the files.

  • In ORBX True Earth Netherlands, the airport EHMZ has a dark green texture
  • In the free German airfield EDXE there is a light green texture (Download link HERE)
  • If you fancy a dark textured black asphalt, there’s a texture for that in AFS2 California scenery at the San Francisco VA medical center
  • In the IPACS Eastern Coast DLC, the Manhattan heliport has a dark asphalt texture
  • And in another scenery by Chrispriv, there is a superb choice with a file called asphalt_runway_grass2.ttx. The airport is LSYQ (Download HERE)

It’s all a matter of finding the files, copying, pasting, and renaming.

Hope it helps.. BUT…

So, I hope this helps. BUT there are a couple of things I do need to mention.

  • If you add one of these textures to an FsCP airport that has multiple runways, ALL the runways will probably take that texture
  • Simply adding a texture will not solve the crossing runways problem that is still inherent in using FsCP
  • Make sure you back up the originals of any files you rename
  • Make sure you don’t accidentally move a file from one place to another, therefore robbing the source airport of a much-needed texture file
  • If you mess up anything, don’t come after me. I’m only sharing something that seems to be working for me. Use these ideas on your own responsibility or don’t use them at all

Best Regards

Kenneth J. Kerr (KJKsimmer)