The writing is on the floor

As I type, WED has no kind of font system for words on the ground.  You can’t paint numbers on grass runways, you can’t have signs painted on the floor.

If you’re designing for the Scenery-Gateway, you can’t just add bitmaps. So authors use WED’s polygon tool to fill-in (pun wasn’t intended). You can put certain polygons on taxiways and runways: The 20-or-so asphalt and concrete .pol files are set to be ‘above runways’.  The other default .pol files are set to be beneath runways and taxiways, so they can only be used on the surrounding ground.

And polygons seem to do the trick!

Wellllll, except, visually you don’t get the finesse of a bitmap.  Bitmaps will have mip-maps to help them display at oblique angles, like when taxiing. You’ll notice a shimmering effect of polygons, improved only by the more costly anti-aliasing rendering options.  And at small sizes, with only a few pixels to represent the polygon, well it’s all mush compared to a bitmap.

But at least polygons are viable and much better than having no markings at all.

So, here we are…   I have an alpha version of WED-O-Maker, with a new feature…

Ground Fonts and Symbols

Move the map over the words painted on the floor.  Pick a font, I have created ‘FAA Pavement’ and ‘FAA Runway’, enter the lettering/numbering, and press a button.  WED-O-Maker will create the polygons for the letters in your WED file (just as it does with the Bing ortho).  You won’t see them in WED-O-Maker though! Check them out in WED now, or just move to the next piece of lettering, type the characters, and hit the button again.

Once you’re back in WED, the lettering is grouped into each line you typed.
Select the group of letters in the group-hierarchy, and press M to use the marquee tool to scale and rotate them, hold Alt to rotate the letters, hold Cmd (or Shift+Cmd) to scale it without deforming it.  (Windows/Linux users, I’m sure you’ll work out the key combos).

(You may be interested to know, if you move the letter too far north or south it will become deformed anyway – lines of longitude are 111km apart at the equator, and 0cm apart at the poles – but within the scope of an airport you are unlikely to notice any deformation – just try to create them within 1km of your target!)

Its all black and white

No colours. The only .pol files in WED that are rendered above the runways/taxiways are the asphalt and concrete pols.  I use asphalt_1D for black paint, concrete_6L for white paint.

If Laminar don’t add a font system any time soon, I’d like to campaign for ‘paint’ .pol files – at least the common yellow and red (purple too I think I’ve seen at some airports).  But for now, we have only about 5 shades of grey.

Stop gap

I’m hoping one day WED will have a better system which means I can retire my font system.  But I have no idea if this is right around the corner, or years away!

Alpha version available in the download section, Google Drive link only for now.


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