Permanent Emissive Guide

This guide will activate emissives outside of refuel/take-off minigames.

By Megalith#0598


The purpose of this small guide is to instruct modders & skin makers to activate emissivity on all their desired skins. In order to do so, you should’ve been familiarized with the Material Instance Usage Manual and Texture Replacement Guide Using UE4 by Dantofu.

There are few cons you should take in consideration:

  • Alpha channel wouldn’t be able to shine, only blue channel.
  • Skin #1 of all planes wouldn’t be able to activate perma-emissivity. It’s recommended to focus on Skin #2 and onwards.
  • If your skin has an alpha channel, be sure to combine it to the blue channel.

This is my first guide ever. In case you have issues related to the procedure, please contact my Discord: Megalith#0598 or my Twitter: Agnus_Dei9



Asset creation:

Project Asset Files - By Dantofu. Those need to be imported to your Unreal 4 Project:

Procedure 1: Skin Pawns

With Kaihelios’s AssetEditor:

You can use the skin pawns already offered to download and skip the 1st procedure. However, in case you already have one from another source, and you wish to modify them yourself (in order to avoid interferences with other mods) then you have to follow the next instructions:

  1. Open the skin pawn of your choice. Quick reminder that “s01” refers to skin #2, “s02” to #3 and so on. UEXP files contain important data so don’t delete them.

  1. Go to the Block “none” and verify the number next to “PlaneBodyMesh”

  1. Go to the block with said number, and click on “OverrideMaterials”. Those are the materials being used on the main mesh. Pass your mouse through the green “(plane)_(number)_Inst” and check its negative number.

  1. Replace (plane)_(number)_Decal_Inst to (plane)_(number)_Inst by writing the negative number on value1 and pressing enter (In this case It’s -34)

  1. Done. press Ctrl + S to save your file. That file should be part of your mod.

With Atenfyr’s UassetGUI:

  1. Open the skin pawn, and open the “PlaneBodyMesh” export.

  1. Replace the Variant of the “xx_Decal_Inst” to the one of “xx_inst”.

  1. Save the file by pressing Ctrl + S.

Procedure 2: Editing MREC

You need to modify the MREC of certain planes who have an alpha channel, and send them to the blue channel instead. Here’s what I do:

  1. Open the desired MREC texture of choice, If it doesn’t contain an alpha channel you shouldn’t worry at all. In my case I chose the F-15S/MTD which contains alpha.

  1. Right click the alpha channel, and click on “Duplicate channel”. On that window click on the “document” part and click on “New”. Do the same with the Blue channel.

  1. After separating them, convert them to “Gray scale” on Image > Mode.

  1. Overlap both Alpha and Blue channels. The blending mode of the top layer must be on “Lighten”

  1. Merge both layers by selecting them and right click > Merge Layers.

  1. Put the modified image on your MREC’s Blue channel, and delete the Alpha channel.

  1. Save the new MREC as TGA. Put it somewhere in a place you’ll not miss it.

Procedure 3: Material Instances

This is the most important part of the entire procedure, knowing that you’ve read the Material Instance Usage Manual by Dantofu and downloaded the project files on the Requirements section, you should have no issues on creating material instances. However, there’s a slightly different configuration that I’ll explain below:

  1. Open your project on UE4. If you don’t have any, please create one. Then you should make a folder structure for the selected plane (In my case, Vehicles > Aircraft > f15m > 01) and insert the modified MREC there.

  1. Right click in the empty space, and select “Material Instance”

  1. The material instance should be named after the skin slot you’ve selected, then double click it and assign it’s parent to “Aircraft_Inst”

  1. Keep all contents of Emissive_Alpha unmarked, mark “Enable_Emissive” and put a value of 1.0. The rest of the values on Emissive_Blue can be customized to your liking.
    Also, be sure to check & select the textures, along with the modified MREC.

  1. After saving the asset, you need to duplicate it by pressing Ctrl + W or right click > Duplicate. This is made as a failsafe, due to certain crafts having “Decal_Inst” as priority, overriding some of your custom textures (example, FALKEN)

  1. The cloned asset should contain the name of the plane, however, you need to add a “Decal” between the “xx_” and ”_Inst”

  1. Go to File > Cook Content for Windows.

By default, the cooked files will be saved in the following directory:

My Documents / Unreal Projects / [Project Name] / Saved / Cooked / WindowsNoEditor / [Project Name] / Content

  1. Pack the textures, the material instance and the modified skin pawn. Make a folder with any name you desire, add “_P” at the end of the name, make sub-folders with these directories and add the files accordingly:

Skin Pawn

[ModName_P] / Nimbus / Content / Blueprint / Player / Pawn / Skin

Material Inst, Textures

[ModName_P] / Nimbus / Content / Vehicles / Aircraft / [Plane] / [01, 02, etc]

  1. Drag & drop [ModName_P] into “UnrealPak-Pak-No-Compression.bat” to create a .pak file with the same name, it will be located in the same directory as UnrealPak.

  1. Put the new .pak file into your “~mods” folder, open the game and select the plane you’ve modified instances & MREC. An emissive should appear.

 “Arson Squadron - Friendly Ghost - F-15S/MTD” skin made by Rocketman_02#0256


I want to say thanks to Dantofu for the marvelous tutorial about material instancing, along with some answers to my doubts. Without his tutorial, this document along with the discoveries wouldn’t be made. I’m deeply grateful for your efforts inside the community.

Kosnag, for motivating me and helping me back in 2021 about modding in general. He is the person who discovered this method back when he made the SU-57 Checkmate. I'm just doing the job to document it, along with some of my investigations.

Fantasma, for helping me on getting the hang of Unreal Engine along with some testing. Thank you for your patience towards me, I owe you a lot.

Rocketman, for helping me on getting some skins to test this technique. He is an incredible artist and deserves a lot of recognition. Thank you.

Knight_Valfodr for taking incredible photos to showcase this technique, along with the main picture of the document. You’re awesome, thank you.

Kazutoki Kono and Project Aces, for delivering the Ace Combat experience further and further.

And all the people/modders who picked interest on this small guide, I’m more than grateful for that.


F-18 -Fenix- by Thunderphantom, taken by him.

F-22A -Unicorn Gundam AWAKENED- by StrikeFreedomX2, taken by Knight_Valfodr

CFA-44 -Project Desmodus- by Urvogel_Gallus, taken by Knight_Valfodr

F-15J -Knight of Owner- by Lanzerince, taken by Knight_Valfodr

YF-23 -Project Latrodectus- by Urvogel_Gallus, taken by him.

Update History

1.0 (27/04/2022)

  • First release. Open for changes & criticism.

1.1 (27/06/2022)

  • Includes download links for Dantofu’s project files.
  • More detailed & accurate information.
  • Updated skin pawn files.