Notes on Specular Highlights

Besides reflectivity, specular highlighting is one more device that can add to the realism of MS Flight Simulator. Understanding how materials function in the design process is essential to acheiving a desired result.

Below is an basic explanation of what material values are exported thru FSModelExp.dle to the X file.

The first line contains the values for the Diffuse color and are defined as decimal inturpulation of the RGB values where 0,0,0 or black being 0.000000, 0.000000, 0.000000 to 255, 255, 255 or white being 1.000000, 1.000000, 1.000000. The last value is the Opacity value with 0.000000 being fully transparent and 1.000000 being fully opaque.

The second line is the Specular Level.

The third line is the Specular color.

The fourth line is the Self-Illumation color value. Useful for lights.

Now there seems to be a bug in the export modual. Specular values are truncated. In other word, if you set the Specular Level to 100 it gets truncated to 1 and there is virtually no effect.

To fix this it is necessary to either edit the X file with a text editor or use Middleman with the Specular Power Fix.

Now, there is something else to be aware of.. Changing the Glossiness value has no effect outside of Max itself. This value is not used by FS2002.

The following images give a comparison of three different Specular Level values.

You will have to experiment with the values you use as there is no magic formula to tell you which value is right for your situation but now you should have a good idea of how to get things to working.