TaxiMaker

TaxiMaker lets you easily create taxiway sign X-Plane objects.  These objects can then be placed in any .env scenery file.  All taxiway signs use one texture for their symbols, and can spell a number of letters and words.  Taxiway signs are version 7 objects, so only X-Plane 7 can use them.

Using TaxiMaker

To use TaxiMaker, you first create a .taxi file, which is a script of all of the objects you want created.  You then start TaxiMaker and drag the .taxi file into the window to create a number of .obj files based on the .taxi file.  Object files are created in the same directory as the .taxi file that you drag.

To use these created taxiway signs, put them in the "custom objects" folder of your custom scenery package.  Download the two bitmap files and put them in a folder called "taxiways" in the "custom object textures" folder of your custom scenery package.

The rest of this document explains how .taxi files work.

Taxi Script Basics

TaxiMaker scripts contain a number of lines, each one specifying a taxiway sign.  You can use the pound sign ('#') as the beginning of a line for a comment.  Blank lines are allowed.

Each taxiway sign is specified via two or three words, separated by spaces.  The first word is the name of the file to make.  The second describes the front of the sign, and the third describes the back of the sign if there is one.  A sign with no back contains gray backing; a sign witih a back can have one message on the front and another on the back.  Both signs are written from left-to-write, depending on the viewpoint of the viewer.

Signs consist of letters and numbers, encloded by "bracketing" characters.  The bracketing characters tell TaxiMaker what color the segment of the sign should be and also insert borders into the sign.  These are the main bracketing characters:

Sign Color
Left Bracket
Right Bracket
Notes
Yellow with Black Letters
| (shift-\)
| (shift-\)

Red with White Letters
{
}

Black with Yellow letters and a box
[
]
No spaces allowed
Black with white numbers
(
)
Only allowed for distance remaining

Between the bracketing characters, normal letters and numbers follow.  Special characters are used for arrows.  A few examples will make this clear:

Script Line
Front Image
Bakc Image
n1a.obj [N1]|<A>|


ils_apron.obj {ILS}|APRON>|

22l_4r.obj {22R-4L} {4L-22R}


A few notes: all letters must be capitalized.  Note the reversing of the directions on the runway sign for the back.

Spacing

You can use the underscore character to add a space between letters, e.g.
|HOLD_SHORT|
If the front and back of a sign are not of the same length, space is added to the outside of the shorter side.  There is a limit to how much space can be added, so check your signs and balance the contents if necessary.

Special Characters

The following table shows the special character combinations and the symbols that they create:

Script Symbol
Image
Description
/// (three slashes)

Warning or caution area
+++ (three plus signs)

Hold short of ILS critical area sign
=== (three equals signs)

Hold short of runway sign
@ (at sign)

Do not enter
* (asterix)

Dot, used to separate runways in taxiway signs
i (lower case letter i)

Roman numeral, used for ILS cat II and III.
^ (caret, shift-six)

Up arrow
/| (forward slash, pipe)

Upper right arrow
> (greater than)

Right arrow
\| (backslash pipe)

Lower right arrow
v (lower case letter v)

Down arrow
|/ (pipe forward slash)

Lower left arrow
< (less than)

Left arrow
|\ (pipe backslash)

Upper left arrow

Some symbols may only be available in some colors; check the taxiway bitmap file to be sure that the symbol you want can exist in the color scheme you want.

Advanced Features

You can control some of TaxiMaker's advanced features using some special scripting directives.  Each of these directives is a single line with the name first and a number second.  Here are the possible directives (they must all be capitals!):

MATERIALS <0/1>
This directive turns on the use of "material" attributes in the objects created to make the taxiway signs be self-illuminating.  The effect is that the front of the signs are bright and easy to read even when the sun is behind them.  This feature only works in X-Plane 7.41 or newer; in older versions of x-plane this can cause rendering probelms.  Use MATERIALS 1 for scenery designed for 7.41 or newer; use MATERIALS 0 for older scenery.  Taxiway signs are much easier to read with MATERIALS 1.
SCALE <meters>
This controls the height of the sign itself.  The default is 0.6 for a 6/10 of a meter tall sign.  Use this parameter to make signs taller or shorter.
HEIGHT <meters>
This controls the height of the poles the sign sits on in meters.  The default is 0.3 meters.  You can set this to place the sign directly on the ground.
RADIUS <meters>
This controls the radius of the poles the sign sits on.  The default is 0.04 meters.  Set this to 0.0 to not create poles (but if the sign floats in the air without poles it will look strange).
TOP <meters>
BOTTOM <meters>
This sets how thick the sign is at the top and bottom  in meters.  The default is 0.04 meters on top and 0.08 meters on the bottom.  If both of these numbers are 0 then the sign will be infinitely thin.  If the top if 0.0 but the bottom is not, the sides of the sign will be triangles; otherwise they will be trapezoids or rectangles.  The sign will be angled upward (and be easier to read) if the top is smaller than the bottom.

Example Taxiways Script

This link has a sample script that shows many of the uses of XTaxiMaker.  Simply drag the script onto XTaxiMaker to create the signs.