SHADE for FSX is built on the 10-day cycle of FSX. Therefore, up to 10 different SHADE presets can be saved via the program’s GUI utility (Shade_gui.exe).
Actually, it is possible to crack the 10-day limit and extend the cycle to cover all days in a month. And theoretically, it is even possible to use a different preset every day throughout the year and beyond, despite of the impracticality of the idea.
The concept of this tweak is pretty simple — when SHADE for FSX is executed, it will load the presets from the settings.ini created by Shade-gui.exe. Therefore, if one can:
- Prepare three different settings.ini each containing 10 different presets (totalling 30 presets)
- Load them one after the other in every 10 days
Then, each day in a month can associate with a unique preset stored on these three settings.ini.
The tricky part is how to fully automate the swapping process of these three ini files according to a predefined condition without human intervention.
Here’s what I did:
There are more than 30 presets already accumulated from various versions of SHADE for FSX. Divide them into three groups as desired, such as what are shown in the table below. Customized presets can be used as well.
101 and 102 are the versions where the presets originated or updated
Go to the program folder of SHADE for FSX, and make a copy (not rename) of the current settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings_Backup.ini, just in case it is needed in the future.
Open Shade-gui.exe and use the [Load Day n From A Preset] button to import the first group of presets (table above) from Day 1 to Day 10 to the program.
Once completed, quit Shade-gui.exe and an updated settings.ini that contains the Shade values of the 10-day presets in the first group has been created.
Make a copy (not rename) of the settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings-G01.ini
Repeat step 3) and 4) to update the settings.ini for the second group of presets.
Then quit Shade-qui.exe, and make a copy (not rename) of the new settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings-G02.ini
Repeat step 3) and 4) again to update the settings.ini for the third group of presets.
Quit Shade-qui.exe, and make a copy (not rename) of the updated settings.ini and rename the copy (not the original) as settings-G03.ini
Once completed, make another copy for these three newly created ini files and name them
These duplicates are used as backups as well as references for data checking.
Now all three different ini files (settings-G01, settings-G02 & settings-G03) each containing 10 different presets are ready.
All I need is a utility that can check the current date, and then instruct the computer to automatically:
- Rename settings-G01.ini to settings.ini to be used by SHADE
— if current day is within the first 10 days of the month (1st to 10th); or
- Rename settings-G02.ini to settings.ini
— if current day is within the second 10 days of the month (11th to 20th); or
- Rename settings-G03.ini to settings.ini
— if current day is within the last 10/11 days of the month (21st to 31st)
By loading them respectively according to the calendar day of the month, each day will get a different shade.
Based on the criteria, I wrote a utility named DayCheck.exe to serve the purpose to automatically select the corresponding ini files, according to the current day of the month.
By further adding the DayCheck utility to my FSX startup batch file, the launching of all necessary programs needed to run with FSX on my system are just a matter of a few mouse clicks.
All files I created for FSX are shared on a “sent on request” basis. Any subscribers of this blog are welcome to email me for a copy of the utility. Others who are interested, please subscribe first and write me an email.
Date Format is a crucial factor to correctly identify the day of a month for the utility. I have written two versions of the utility for systems using MM/dd/yy or dd/MM/yy date format. Anyone who is interested to get a copy of the utility should specify which date format is used on their systems. Otherwsise, errors will result.
Also, backup your files first before using the utility although the utility is pretty safe and harmless.