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Old 08-28-2014, 03:25 PM   #1
AlaskanGrizzly
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Default Kneeboard Builder (windows app)



WEBSITE:

www.dcskneeboardbuilder.com


KNEEBOARD BUILDER simplifies the creation of custom kneeboards for DCS World. It automatically converts '.pdf' files to '.png' images and places them in groups that can be used to quickly create custom kneeboards for individual DCS aircraft. It also makes it easy to customize the way the kneeboard is displayed in DCS by providing an interface to easily change the size, position and color scheme of the kneeboard.

I am regularly releasing updates and program functionality is subject to change.

I would appreciate any feedback.



SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:

- Windows 64 bit

- .NET Framework 4.5 or higher
.NET Framework 4.5 Download
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=225702



NEW INSTALLATION:

1) Download and extract the Kneeboard Builder.zip to a location of your choice.

2) Open KneeboardBuilder.exe


BASIC USAGE:

1) Go to 'Preferences' (Options -> Preferences) and verify that the program is pointing correctly to your DCS installation folder and your saved games folder.

2) In the 'Import PDF" tab drag and drop any .pdf file(s), select an aircraft and type in a group name, ie "F86 Manual", for each file.

3) Click on Begin Import

4) When import is complete, click on the 'Create Custom Kneeboard' tab.

5) Select an aircraft and use the arrows to add the group you created to the 'Custom Kneeboard' for your selected aircraft. You can mix and match the groups as you please

6) Click on the 'Build Custom Kneeboard' button.

7) You are all done! Click on 'View -> Custom Kneeboard Folder' to verify that the images have been placed in the aircraft's kneeboard folder.

It is also possible to copy and modify your groups. For example, you could create a 'F86 Checklist' group, click on the 'Modify' button and only include pages that have checklists or create an 'F86 Weapons' group that only includes pages dealing with weapons employment.

You can change the custom kneeboard while you are in game as long as you are not actively in an aircraft.


INSERTING KNEEBOARD INTO EXISTING MISSIONS:

With version 1.4.0.0 you can now insert kneeboard images into existing missions. The kneeboard will be global and visible to all aircraft. I haven't been able to figure out how to do selective kneeboards for each aircraft (if even possible).
Backup your missions before inserting a kneeboard just in case something goes wrong. (I have not had any issues yet with .miz files becoming corrupted, but you never know...)

1) From the 'Create Custom Kneeboard' tab, select the kneeboard groups you would like to add your mission(s).

2) Click on the '.miz' button on the lower right side of the window.

3) Select a single mission or multiple missions in the file browser dialog and click 'Open'.

4) Your selected kneeboard groups will be automatically inserted into each selected mission, overwriting any existing kneeboard already in the mission.

Tip: If you want to clear a kneeboard from a mission or missions, perform steps 2-3 without selecting any kneeboard groups to add.


DYNAMIC KNEEBOARD SYSTEM:

The dynamic kneeboard system allows the kneeboard to be built using .lua at DCS runtime (when the kneeboard initially loads) using data from the loaded mission or from an external data source.
This means that it is possible for a 3rd party program (like a mission planner) to export data that could then be loaded into a kneeboard when DCS loads a mission.
Currently I have developed three dynamic kneeboard pages that you can add to any kneeboard that will dynamically load mission data from the current mission at runtime:

1) Dynamic Mission Briefing:
-creates a kneeboard page that contains the current mission weather, description and tasks based on the player's coalition.
-converts the weather measurements to metric or US based on the player’s aircraft

2) Dynamic Mission Radios:
-creates a kneeboard page that displays all pertinent radio frequencies for the current mission based on the player's coalition and aircraft.
-displays all JTAC, Tanker, AWACS and FARP and other flights radio information
-displays all preset frequencies for planes with preset radios

3) Dynamic Navigation Beacons:
-creates three kneeboard pages that displays all names, frequencys and locations(lat, lon) of all (non-airport) navigation beacons currently in DCS World.

The dynamic kneeboard group is located in the 'General DCS World Kneeboard' available groups.

1) Go to the 'Create Custom Kneeboard' tab and select 'General DCS World Kneeboard' in the 'Select Aircraft' drop down box.

2) In the 'Available Groups' section you should see the 'Default Dynamic' group. Click on the 'Default Dynamic' group and click on the right arrow to move it to the 'Groups Selected for Custom Kneeboard' section.

3) Now you can click on the 'Build Custom Kneeboard for General DCS World' to add it to the General Kneeboard and make the dynamic kneeboards visible in all aircraft. Or you can select a specific aircraft with the 'Select Aircraft' drop down box and then click on the 'Build Custom Kneeboard' button to add the dynamic kneeboards only to your selected aircraft's kneeboard.

CURRENT DYNAMIC KNEEBOARD LIMITIATIONS:
-full functionality is not available for single player missions where the player’s aircraft skill is listed as ‘Client’ in the mission.
-there is no scroll bar available in the kneeboards, so missions with long novels for descriptions or tasks will not have enough room to display correctly. (sorry Belsimtek)
-my word wrap function is still WIP so situation and task briefing texts may look a bit wonky at times.


UltraMFCD SUPPORT

Kneeboard Builder currently has limited functionality with UltraMFCD:
- Only groups built to the default kneeboard will display in UltraMFCD
- UltraMFCD must not be running when building the default kneeboard (Kneeboard Builder will crash).
- UltraMFCD cannot display aircraft specific kneeboards
- Moving Maps and Dynamic Kneeboards will not work with UltraMFCD (not much can be done about that as they are rendered by DCS)
- Size, Position and Color schemes will not modify the UltraMFCD kneeboard


TROUBLESHOOTING:

Kneeboard Builder won't start after an update has occured:
-delete the 'settings.xml' and 'KneeboardBuilder.exe.config' files and try starting it again. You will then need to verify your directory settings in Options -> Preferences.

Kneeboard Builder Crashes on Startup:
-don't place the Kneeboard Builder folder in the 'Program Files' or 'Program Files (x86)' folders as they require heightened priviledges for certain read/write functions. If you need to keep the
Kneeboard Builder folder in Program Files, make sure you run it with Administrator Priviledges, but be aware that doing so will disable the drag and drop .pdf feature (a windows security feature);

Cannot drag and drop .pdf for import:
-do not run Kneeboard Builder with Administrator Priviledges. This is a windows security feature and not a bug. If you must run it with Adminstrator Priviledges you will need to use the
'manually add' button to import .pdf files.

Dynamic Kneeboards not displaying any text or DCS hangs while loading mission:
1) if you are using a version of DCS World earlier than version 1.2.11.3386
-check the 'Use legacy kneeboard components' option in Options->Preferences
2) if you are using DCS World version 1.2.11.3386 or later
-uncheck the 'Use legacy kneeboard components' option in Options->Preferences

Moving Map kneeboard pages not displaying any text or DCS hangs while loading mission:
1) if you are using a version of DCS World earlier than version 1.2.11.3386
-check the 'Use legacy kneeboard components' option in Options->Preferences
-reset the custom color scheme Options->Preferences->Kneeboard Settings->Color Scheme->Reset
2) if you are using DCS World version 1.2.11.3386 or later
-uncheck the 'Use legacy kneeboard components' option in Options->Preferences
-reset the custom color scheme Options->Preferences->Kneeboard Settings->Color Scheme->Reset


SPECIAL THANKS:

Special thanks to uboats for helping me figure out the correct folder names for the F-86 and Mi-8 kneeboards.

Last edited by AlaskanGrizzly; 08-11-2016 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:28 PM   #2
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Very cool. I will definitely be giving this a spin.

Thanks.

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Old 08-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #3
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Excellent. Downloading it right away
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:30 PM   #4
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I would have never thought of Ghostscript being able to do this well done funny how a program i use every day has a use in DCS, oh i use it for converting drawings for take offs in my auto cad.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:40 PM   #5
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excellent!

will try it.

btw, does each group have a subfolder? Not actively in AC? seems that this can only happen in MP.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:48 PM   #6
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Awesome! Thank you!
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Old 08-29-2014, 03:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uboats View Post
btw, does each group have a subfolder?
Groups don't have subfolders at this time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by uboats View Post
Not actively in AC? seems that this can only happen in MP.
It is possible in single player if the aircraft are added in the mission as 'clients'.
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Old 08-29-2014, 03:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskanGrizzly View Post
Groups don't have subfolders at this time.




It is possible in single player if the aircraft are added in the mission as 'clients'.
But once you entered an AC, before switching to another, there is nothing like spectator in MP. So it seems not. I will try it soon.

Thanks again.

------

updated:
I just tried that once switch the AC, then the new group will be available.
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Last edited by uboats; 08-29-2014 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:40 AM   #9
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I will be working on improving my program to incorporate what I have learned from this post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex O'kean View Post
Kneeboard already have functionality for per unit separation

see part of Scripts\Aircrafts\_Common\Cockpit\KNEEBOARD\indica tor\init.lua

Code:

local terrain_path = get_terrain_related_data("KNEEBOARD")
local common_path  = LockOn_Options.common_script_path.."KNEEBOARD/indicator/CUSTOM"
local user_path    = lfs.writedir().."KNEEBOARD"

local unit_name    = get_aircraft_type()

if unit_name ~= nil then
    scan_path(terrain_path..'/'..unit_name)
    scan_path(common_path ..'/'..unit_name)
    scan_path(user_path ..'/'..unit_name)
end
it means that itry to find images for unit in three folders :
inside active terrain folder
Bazar\Terrain\Kneeboard
for example for P-51D it will try to scan

Bazar\Terrain\Kneeboard\P-51D folder

inside self kneeboard folder

Scripts\Aircrafts\_Common\Cockpit\KNEEBOARD\indica tor\CUSTOM\P-51D

and inside user dir

C:\Users\<USER>\Saved Games\DCS\KNEEBOARD\P-51D

also it try to find pages inside mission with same pattern

<MIZ_FILE_ROOT>/KNEEBOARD/<UNIT_NAME>/IMAGES/
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:27 AM   #10
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Default Version 1.10 Now Available

Version 1.10 is now available.

VERSION 1.10 Changelog:

-now creates custom kneeboards for individual aircraft
-minor bug fixes and tweaks


Download link in first post has been updated.
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