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Posts posted by Bulau

  1. ...CAISet gauges...I basically just use them for pointing me to the next waypoint and listening for rising and falling altitude...

    The additional thing to get from the CAISet, is the height at goal, or final glide info that it provides. Even if you are not "serious soaring pilot" (however you interpret that), knowing how much height you will have at the next turnpoint, or if you have final glide height, is IMO pretty basic info. After all, there is no point in continuing to circle in that last thermal if you have final glide height at your MC setting.

    To add to what I said about the moving map display, that feature is very useful for ridge task, and/or mountainous areas, where you can see the terrain relief on the map, and plan your route accordingly. Ian has implemented this in a couple of cockpits (ASW28 and LS-18). Using XCSoar, or similar, on a PDA gives you all that for any sailplane. It's often handy to know, not only the direction to the next waypoint, but how close or far you are off the course line.

    One other feature I didn't mention, some PDA software also display your vertical speed graphically with your track by using colour. This can be very useful for centering the lift.

  2. Hi, Scott! I inherited my wife's old Palm Tungsten 3, and was thinking of using it with XCSoar with Condor, but she only has the USB cradle for it, and I wasn't sure if I could make it work. Would either have to buy the serial cable, or a Bluetooth dongle. And it was the same issue that there are not many of the soaring software that will run on the Palm OS.

    I ended up using the PC version of XCSoar, and having it display on a second monitor. It's not perfect solution, since you have to take focus off the sim to access the XCSoar interface, but the benefits supercede, depending on what feature you are after. My friend DC is running it on a PDA, but I'm not sure what make and model.

    To answer your question about FSUIPC4, yes, you need to register it to enable the GPSOut feature needed to make the PDA software work, but I am a big supporter of registering software that I find to be useful.

    The moving map display that you get with PDA software is great, and Ian has implemented that in some of his FSX instruments. There are also all the other features of modern soaring flight computers that you will get, like MC setting, speed to fly, height above goal calculations, final glide, etc. so IMO, they are almost a must have for any serious soaring pilot. It takes some time to get everything set up and configured, and there is an initial learning curve for sure, but the benefits are worth it. XCSoar uses the same datafiles as Cambridge/WinPilot (.dat), SeeYou (.cup), Zander (.wpz), OziExplorer (.wpt) and FS/GpsDump (.wpt)

    Since Condor has a really good PDA in the sim, I was really only after a couple of features: one thing the XCSoar does (and probably SoarPilot, too) is support for AAT task, which Condor PDA does not do. Also, it was handy to be able to pan ahead on the map to see more of the terrain, which, again, the Condor PDA did not allow. XCSoar also has a graphical display of where you can glide to from your current altitude and position, base on terrain and MC setting. It is shown on the moving map as a constantly updated "amoeba".

    For FSX use, since not all sailplanes have a PDA or soaring computer, it is perhaps even more useful. I haven't used any other software. Anything else you want to know, just ask away!

  3. Once you have done your polar plot and used the viewer. How do you use this polar information with the glider.

    Can this information be used to be read in by the glider in FSX?

    Only for CAISet LNAV gauge. If you see the button in the Polar Viewer "to L-NAV", when you press that, it writes the polar to the fsx-lnav-polar.dat file.

  4. Aaaaaargh! There are so many!

    Damn you, Microsoft!

    Either set a huge proximity trigger rectangle over the whole area...or, assume anyone flying these tasks will have the FSX thermals disabled, and Sim Logger as a check.

  5. Should I be able to see the FSX thermals in the Object Placement Tool, or do I need to enable them first (rename definition file back to original)? I have slewed around the one mission I'm making, and did not notice anything other than what I had placed.

    Note: Of course I will try the above and see for myself, but I just like chatting with you, Ian. :P

  6. A few tips for designing a soaring mission:

    * enable the user to start the task sensibly pretty much from the mission launch, either in the air with the start gate in front of the aircraft, or on the ground with an aerotow which takes the user directly to where they start from. Limit the start height to something near the initial mission start altitude. This means the user doesn't have to thermal around *before* the mission starts to get the maximum start height - no-one can be arsed to do that every time they try a mission.

    With an eye towards *multiplayer* missions, would it be OK to bend/break this rule sometime? Let me first say, personally, I enjoy the whole experience of a FSX soaring flight, right from takeoff, tow, to landing, but I fully understand the amount of time that adds, so it's often preferable to have airborne starts, especially where the task alone promises to be lengthy. That said, even with airborne start, many pilots like to spend some time before starting, testing out the thermals to see what sort of climb rates they get, sniffing out the ridges a short ways on course to see how well they are working, then head back to the start gate, climb as required, and make a good "official" start. Some players like to wait for others to start first, and "mark" the thermals. To that end, I'm going to try to make either action possible, i.e. players can start right away from spawn, or bide their time.

    Set the height limit to the max height you are expecting anyone to climb to in a thermal or ridge lift. This acts as a cap on possible FSX thermals place by Microsoft that could carry the user to 30,000 feet at 30 knots. Check your course for default FSX thermals as mentioned above,

    Hmm, something I hadn't considered. Do we have any general ideas where FSX has placed these thermals? I'm sort of assuming that for anything I might host nowadays, everybody would have CumulusX! installed correctly, and has therefore disabled the FSX thermals, so is this moot, or still a concern?

  7. Thanks, Peter, for your continued attention to development of CumulusX!

    I've been anticipating this patch for the past week or so, as it promises to resolve one of the few remaining issues we have been experiencing in multiplayer sessions with FSXX, that of thermal discrepancies between players.

  8. ...I guess you would just restart the timer if you're using that. FSX racing mission objects are intended for a simultaneous start though aren't they?

    Sort off...everybody has to *join* at the same time, and all spawn at the same time. I'm trying to make this work like real life task, (or a Condor task) so I'm not using the timer, and it's not a regatta start, i.e., no requirement to start the task at the same time. Once you are spawned in and flying, you can start the task whenever you are ready (thanks, in part, to some of the tweaks you have implemented in the instruments). You can test out the thermals and see what sort of climb rate you get, same for ridges. When ready, just head through the start gate, check for a confirmatory "Good Start" message, and off you go. Ultimately, scoring would be handled by Sim Logger and IGC.

  9. Thanks, I think I've fumbled through most of this now. The extra lines are the difference between the AGL and ASL...for some reason, when you set the flag AGL=False, you get two rectangles displayed, one ASL and one AGL.

    On Saturday, I spend some time looking at your Mifflin Day 1 mission in the Object Placement tool, getting a handle on the relationships of the bits and pieces. I did find, and implement in my own mission, the way you use the ObjectActivation to arm the next waypoint proximity trigger, and so forth. The need for this became obvious in one of my early test, where shortly after starting, I happened to pass through the Finish Area Rectangle, and got the "Good Finish! Congratulations!" message. So I now have everything you have in yours, except for the POI objects. Well, not quite actually, I saw the part where you have a good start disable a bad start, but didn't quite understand how that worked at the time. I have made the Start Line Proximity Trigger *not* One Shot, so that players can restart as often as they wish. As pilots mill around in the start area, it's possible to accidentally pass through the gate, perhaps even the wrong direction, so I don't want that to be One Shot. With that in mind, maybe I really don't want the "too high" rectangle deactivated.

    It loads without FSX choking, so looks good so far.

    I haven't made recordings for the Dialog Actions yet, only have the text message, which is way too small. There does not seem to be any way to make it larger. It's fine as long as the pilot is looking for as confirmation, but otherwise, easily missed.

    Why have the waypoints with Proximity Triggers at all if I'm expecting pilots to navigate with instruments? I don't know...partly to understand how it all works. I don't really like that we can't use a proper cylinder for the waypoints, but only rectangles.

    Planning another test tomorrow evening. What I'm still worried about, though, as far as public multiplayer goes, is what will happen for players who don't have the Acceleration Pack? I'm using the Player Object, which I know is exclusive to the AP, but that is the only item like that. Everything else should be OK with SP2, or maybe even earlier. You've already hinted that the whole Multiplayer Missions thing is exclusively AP. If that's the case, I suspect anyone joining without the AP may get only Observer as an option when joining...we'll just have to see when it gets to that point.

  10. OK. My brother and I have XP, however we both had dotNET (probably 3.5) installed for other reasons prior to FSX, so that explains why CX! works at all for us. Same for DC, originally, though I think he is now Win7x64.

    Sounds like you are saying the thermal discrepancy is separate issue from that. Now that I think, it seems my brother and I have occasionally had discrpancy, both of us with AP. Will your patch fix this regardless of AP or SP2 installed? I.e. FSX Multiplayer with a mix of AP and SP2 users.

  11. Another discovery: During testing last night, we found that it's not enough for players to merely have the same mission as the host, but also it must be in the same path. I originally had the mission folder located in \Missions\Soaring\, a new subfolder which my friend DC did not have, so he put it in \Missions\Racing\. Attempts to connect were unsuccessful, a brief message popping up so quickly we couldn't even read it. After I moved my folder to Racing folder, connection was successful.

    I was pleased to find that the airborne starts worked perfectly. I have arranged eight Player Objects in line abreast, 200' apart, heading towards the start gate, and that's how it turned out for both of us.

    Next steps: add the Turnpoint and Finish Area Rectangles, and tie them all together with some Proximity Triggers, Dialogue Actions, and I don't know what else...maybe Goal Resolution Actions? I'm not planning to use any Point of Interest objects, with rotating beacons and flashing marquees...pilots will be expected to navigate the task with cockpit instruments. The foregoing items will merely augment that, with real time verification of start, waypoints, and finish.

    At least, that's the plan.

  12. Well, you know...I will have to double check, but that might be the case. My brother and I both have the Gold Edition, which includes the AP, so two of us have FSX+AP. My friend DC is a long time user of FSX, so I know that he had installed originally, FSX+SP2, but my recollection, at the time we were all installing CumulusX! and gliders, was that he uninstalled his SP2 and instead applied the AP, but I will have to ask him again.

    I do recall that my brother and I were pleasantly surprised that CumulusX! did not crash under the AP, as your instructions suggest it might, so I'm aware of your explanation that the AP has its own version of SP2, which is not the same as standalone SP2. Is this likely culprit? (different SimConnect version?)

    We both have not had any problems running it...except for these thermal discrepancies, which we don't always have or notice.

  13. Peter, we had a chance to get some screenshots of this. In the course of testing multiplayer missions with my friend DC, we noticed that we were not seeing the same thermal clouds in same locations. This was very perplexing, since the mission included a .CMX file, and also ensures we both spawn at exactly the same time. Initially we though it was because he has the UTX add-on scenery, so we repeated the test with that disabled.

    We had an airspawn, so landed, turned off Competition Mode, then made top down screenshots. You can see there is some matchups, but a lot of discrepancies. Can't figure this out and don't know how to approach it from here. Also both using FSX, multiplayer direct IP.



  14. Am I pioneering? More like reinventing the wheel.

    You've made missions, and I don't think there is fundamentally much different with multiplayer.

    Anyhow, I have an odd thing going on with my starting gate, a RecangleArea, but it has too many "lines"...I'll have to post a screenshot...to hard to describe...

            <SimMission.RectangleArea InstanceId="{DCBE8179-A75B-493D-807C-ED5697D57CC6}">
                    <WorldPosition>N35° 41' 30.35",W82° 1' 0.07",+002766.46</WorldPosition>

    [EDIT] OK, I got rid of the extra edges by doubleclicking on the AttachWorldPosition and AttachWorldObject parameters, neither of which I understand. Also noticed the same phenomenon in your Mifflin Day 1 mission, so apparently, it is normal. Finally I found your mission building page here:


    Although describing ridge and thermal objects, the explanations were spot on and applicable in general. Very helpful!


  15. Just discovered that these Player Objects I'm using are unique to the Acceleration Pack SKD. I wonder if that will be a problem for players who don't have the AP installed. In fact there are a number of race related things which are in the AP mission features. I think I will leave the Player Objects in for now, but build the rest of the mission without using any of these AP items.

  16. ...I've read a lot of posts picking up tips here and there, but haven't seen anything for multi player around here...

    Sorry, Tony, I didn't notice this 'till now. I, and a couple other guys have been doing multiplayer FSX every other Tuesday at 8:00 or 8:30pm EDT. I realize, for you in the UK, that is not a good time slot, but you are welcome to join us if you're able. We also have a Teamspeak3 server we use.

    I have in mind to host a multiplayer event, but I'm still wrestling with some issues that we have encountered in our Tuesday sessions:

    1. Occasionally, a player's towplane will not start and takeoff.

    2. Can't force an airborne start in multiplayer session using distributed Free Flight files. (works with FSHost, but we aren't using it)

    3. Occasionally have had different CumulusX! thermals between different players. I'm almost certain this is because one player has UTX scenery installed, but we are going to test this further.

    In an attempt to force airborne starts, I'm looking into using Multiplayer Missions. This will also circumvent the non-starting towplane issue. I'm a novice at Mission building, but intend to use only a small number of Mission features for the task. This coming Tuesday, the 19th is our Condor night, but the plan for the following Tuesday, the 26th April, is to test the the Multiplayer Mission idea and see how it goes. The distributed Mission should contain everything needed, including the .FLT, .WX, .PLN, .CMX as well as GPS-NAV.dat and LNAV_polar.dat, so people can use the FSX instruments or the CAISet instruments for navigating. Since a couple of us are also using XCSoar, I will probably include the task file for that as well.

    If I do ever host an event, I will schedule it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon EDT, which should make it convenient for both North Americans and UK/Europeans to participate, i.e. late afternoon EDT should be early evening Europe, give or take.

  17. I've resolved this problem, or avoided it, by starting from scratch. In a new mission, which contains only the Scenario Metadata, link to a flight plan, and three Player Objects, it correctly shows up at the Multiplayer Host Options pane with the three "Roles" for selection.


    I think it may be something to do with feet versus meters for the heights, which is that old FSX thing where one or the other is used in different spots without apparent rhyme or reason. In my new mission, I just happened to spot this as I was inputting the locations for the Player Objects, and I changed it to use feet for those data. I think I may have used meters when I edited Ian's mission, which would place those Player underground!


  18. If FSX stock cumulus clouds exist, they will override the thermal ceiling setting, so it's only relevant for clear skies situation.

    Oh yeah, about this...we have always disliked having the FSX 3D clouds interspersed with the CX! clouds, so we have changed our FSX clouds settings to 2D. (SETTINGS...Display settings...Customize...WEATHER tab...select Simple clouds for Cloud detail, and also set Cloud coverage density to Low)) I'm assuming this is not the same as turning them off, or clear skies, but what it does is render the FSX clouds as flat cirrus-like patches, at the same level as the CX! clouds. Not gone, but not as objectionable as the 3D FSX clouds.

    Now I know some feel having the FSX clouds in there is a good thing, as it makes it a challenge to find the thermal clouds.

  19. Thanks, Peter!

    OK, I'll put Wide Spread Sink back at 1.0 and see how it is. I read in the manual that disabling it would eliminate the "constant fluctuations due to air texture". Just to clarify, the wild vario swings I experienced were quite rapid, i.e. on the order of 1 second swings between -1 and +1 m/s.

    I actually wanted to set even weaker thermal strength for some Open Class tasks, but needed to resolve the erratic behaviour first.

  20. Recently, I've made a couple of tasks to try out Ian and Wolfgang's new ASH25. I basically took some Open Class tasks from Condor, and recreated them in FSX. Rather than make very long distance tasks, I try, instead, to set lower cloudbase and weaker lift. This means making some custom .CMX files, since the default settings seem rather 'safe'. I confess I've not read enough about all the parameters that CumulusX! controls, and as a result I'm likely making some mistakes.

    In the .CMX I mainly changed the thermal strength, and the diameter. In some test flights, I was often getting very erratic behaviour, with the vario swinging wildly from sink to lift, never finding anything steady enough to circle and climb, unless I slewed almost right up to cloudbase. If I was much below cloudbase, impossible to find any lift. So I tried lowering the Weak surface Layer Height, and also lowered the Minimum thermal ceiling (although I have cloud layer set in FSX weather, so this should not be a factor). These changes seem to work, because in our multiplayer on Tuesday past, everything seemed stable...lift strength was in the selected range and no wild fluctuations of vario.

    I think also, I need to pay more attention to setting the wind layers to match the cloud height in FSX. In other words, if I have a wind layer change at or near the cloud base, can this contribute to the erratic behaviour I experienced? What other .CMX parameters should I pay closer attention to to keep things as realistic and stable as possible?


    1500 ; Minimum Ceiling of AutoThermals [0 ... 10000 m]
    3000 ; Maximum Ceiling of AutoThermals [0 ... 10000 m]
    2.5 ; Minimum Strength of AutoThermals [0 m/s]
    5.5 ; Maximum Strength of AutoThermals [15 m/s]
    1000 ; Minimum Diameter of AutoThermals [0.3 ... 3 km]
    1800 ; Maximum Diameter of AutoThermals [0.3 ... 3 km]
    20 ; Minimum Duration of AutoThermals [10 ... 45 min]
    40 ; Maximum Duration of AutoThermals [10 ... 45 min]
    5 ; AutoThermals Coverage [1 ... 15 /100km^2]
    1 ; AutoThermals Sink Scalar [-1.0 ... 3]
    100 ; Weak Surface Layer Height [0 ... 1000 m]
    1 ; Thermal Lean Factor [0 ... 3]
    -1 ; Wide Spread Sink [-1.0 ... 1]
    25 ; Inversion Layer Probability [0 ... 100 %]
    25 ; Inversion Layer Weakening [0 ... 50%]
    150 ; Minimum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    300 ; Maximum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    300 ; Minimum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    600 ; Minimum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    My Open Class edit:
    1000 ; Minimum Ceiling of AutoThermals [0 ... 10000 m]
    3000 ; Maximum Ceiling of AutoThermals [0 ... 10000 m]
    1.0 ; Minimum Strength of AutoThermals [0 m/s]
    2.5 ; Maximum Strength of AutoThermals [15 m/s]
    1200 ; Minimum Diameter of AutoThermals [0.3 ... 3 km]
    1800 ; Maximum Diameter of AutoThermals [0.3 ... 3 km]
    10 ; Minimum Duration of AutoThermals [10 ... 45 min]
    40 ; Maximum Duration of AutoThermals [10 ... 45 min]
    6 ; AutoThermals Coverage [1 ... 15 /100km^2]
    1 ; AutoThermals Sink Scalar [-1.0 ... 3]
    50 ; Weak Surface Layer Height [0 ... 1000 m]
    1 ; Thermal Lean Factor [0 ... 3]
    0 ; Wide Spread Sink [-1.0 ... 1]
    25 ; Inversion Layer Probability [0 ... 100 %]
    25 ; Inversion Layer Weakening [0 ... 50%]
    150 ; Minimum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    300 ; Maximum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    300 ; Minimum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]
    600 ; Minimum Inversion Layer Thickness [150 ... 10000 m]

    Hmm, oh yeah...looks like I also disabled Widespread sink...mistake, or is that the main factor which smoothed everything out?

  21. ...I've tried CumulusX that everyone in these forums rave about, but I can't seem to get it working properly...

    Don't know anything about Active Sky. As far as I know, CumulusX! seems about the best, most realistic soaring weather, does thermals and ridge lift. FSX ridge soaring require someone to add the ridge lift objects, either in an addon scenery, or in a mission, which is going to be limited to wherever they have place the objects, and only works for certain wind directions, etc. The beauty of CumulusX! is that it works anywhere in the FSX world, without having to add anything to the scenery.

    What problems are you having with it? Have you made a post in the CumulusX! forum?:


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