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Description of flying in FSX thermals?

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Without starting a flame war, can anyone with direct experience comment on thermalling in FSX thermals, particularly thermic lift rather than ridge?

1) Do the thermals line up with the Cumulus clouds?

2) Do the thermals appear to have a life-cycle?

3) Is the thermal height controllable (e.g. to base of first cloud layer?)

4) Is the support in the FSX SDK for thermals any better than FS9 ?

I suspect pilots rely on the thermal spiral graphic clue that FSX inserts into the sky, rather than the Cu's - any chance of a screenshot for those of us without the product?

Gracias

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1. No

2. No

3. Yes if you are making thermal scenery but you cannot change the autogen thermals which I presume change with the weather and time.

4. If anything it is worse. There is only a copy of the thermal, leaving you to work out how to do ridge and wave lift and how to do sink. There is a copy of the thermal and ridge scematic indicators. What I did with FS2004 was to decompile the scenery files and look how Microsoft had done it. We now have no compilers to do this with FSX. All scenery files are numerical to follow a grid pattern which is shown in the SDK. So first work out which grid square you are in and then what number the folder will be in the scenery folders and then try to work out which one will have the bit you are interested in - and THEN try to decompile it.

I will try to take a screenshot and see if I can remember how to post this. But the thermal schematics look very much like almost transparent ribbon spirals in the sky, the spiral being upwards of a thousand meters across. They do not interfere with normal flying and, indeed, you don't notice them after 5 minutes unless you are looking for them.

On balance they make for better soaring than anything that has gone before - in my humble opinion.

Microsoft have perpetuated their mistake in bglcomp.xsd so that has to be put right before you try to compile any soaring scenery. I will post anything else that I feel is relevant as I come to it.

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Thanks a lot nobicus - that gave me a good few clues before actually trying the product (I'm expecting to get FSX for myself at xmas...)

I won't get too excited about it then...

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Hope these links work

IPB Image

View from the front during the Austrian Competition Flight.

IPB Image

External view during the same flight.

IPB Image

There are 5 thermals in view in the piccy.

I really can't see that this is any different to looking for cloud topped thermals in real life (although I am not a real life pilot). There is a definite area of disturbed air around the thermals and they are of different strengths. There are also some flying eagles that soar in thermal columns for you to look for too.

Don't lose your enthusiasm Foster I am enjoying it much more than FS2004.

All Wolfgangs gliders work and we can now use Max's caiset. There is also an instrument in the default DG that is loaded by the GPS system, which also has an audible variometer. Wolfgang has started using this in his gliders so you can have the choice of which system to use on loadup.(remember Max's set can only use up to 10 waypoints per task. The default Austrian flight uses 14 so the default GPS is better, although you can see from the piccys I am using the caiset)

At low fps FSX is definitely much less jerky than FS2004.

Microsoft seems to think that in England the fall produces desert like conditions, which is unreal but I have pre-ordered the Generation X photographic scenery which will overcome this problem and then it will be back to finding real life tasks and competitions to fly in FSX.

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Nobicus,

Have you found ridge lift and waves in FSX or do you have to install Active Sky to get these types of lift?

seems to me everybody i have spoken to thinks MS failed to deliver anything again, the time has come now where many of even the worst soaring simulators out there provide better simluations than MSFS.

I for one have totally jumped ship to condor, i have niether the time or energy to spend on FSX or even really FS2004, too much is needed to get a multiplayer or even offline race running on a pc..

fsx frame rates are terrible. trying multiplayer is a nightmare, trying to provide a standardised weather set for a flight is difficult.

too easy to modify air or cfg files etc to gain an advantage.

Maybe i sound pessimistic, but no i am being realistic, SOARING in MSFS has had its chance and MS blew it again.

:(

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I agree with all the points Tom has made about Microsoft. Also, having been contest director with SOAR for 5 years, I have found it impossible to run a contest that could not be modified to give some pilots an advantage. Nor were online contests for SOAR ever feasible with MS. :groan:

:yestext: But having said that, I plan on buying FSX as soon as I upgrade my computer. From what I have heard it has many GREAT points, and I don't think MS can be beat as far as worldwide soaring terrain, available add ons, and enhancements! I plan to continue using FS9 and FSX for many years to come!

For competition flying and online flying, at this time, Condor cannot be beat!! It works great and is so easy to use and at a reasonable price! I only wish I had something other than a satellite connection with all it's latency problems. :confused2: If I did, I would be right there with you guys all the time, instead of a few days a month when I am at my son's house! :yahoo:

In the past SOAR has always been MS based, but as your new director, we will be changing the focus of SOAR. We will support the other flight sims on an equal basis with MS and hope that SOAR will draw new members from these areas, sharing with us the unique qualities of each sim. :AA: We want the forum to become the hub of SOAR, with open, friendly discussion and exchange of ideas among ALL pilots! :cheers2:

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Don

Things are quiet on the forums at the moment. But we are all reading and follwing events.

I agree totally with your comments, I too would like to have FSX for the sim. I also agree with Tom and competion aspects. I too like to fly competively online, I too will probaly move to Condor for the racing.

At the moment I am having a lot of fun with old technology on APS with FFVVV.

I support you, Don, with your ideas. Many thanks for doing this.

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I could not agree more with Tom.

How many years MS has been seemingly taking care of Soaring? Every version came with a glider, but nothing about SOARING. Now FSX requires most of us changing machines.

Ok for a flight sim, but it's time to look at the big picture. Condor offers exactly what we expect as Soaring experience. FSX failed to jump in... What's the point of offering a nice DG if there's no lift in this FSX world?

I have great respect and admiration for those developpers that have been producing their best to make MSFS a Soarable sim. But this release of FSX with the DG is a new provocation to our community. And it's enough to see that our forum no longer reports any significant developments.

Once again we have been mistreated. So why wouldn't we support those who ARE taking care of our expectations? Condor in the lead...

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Once again we have been mistreated. So why wouldn't we support those who ARE taking care of our expectations? Condor in the lead...

That is what we are doing. :winks:

Cheers, :AA:

Don

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Wow, I could easily echo most of the comments here.

Without the funds for a new machine, FSX is out for me. I'd have to turn everything off, then it might run as well as 2K4 sometimes.

As to other sims taking precedance over MSFS at SOAR, I couldn't agree more. The time has come. We've had too many difficulties with FS - each new version requires huge time expenditures just to make things work as well as before. Each time, our developers somehow manage to accomplish this, and then start to create new and innovative things that couldn't be done before. Ah- but then it happens... MS announces a new version that needs a new machine, and we yet again find that we are only given a 'teaser' to try to keep our community struggling with their product.

In addition to all that, it's clear to anyone who's been around here that even when we get everything from the gauges to the ancillary apps, slope lift files etc etc working, that you've really got to be fairly "hard core" to go through all this just to fly a neat glider with some reasonably realistic lift. Sure, everybody jumps in to help new members, but the point is that this stuff should NEVER be this difficult again!! We should be way past the days when it takes a bunch of manuals, questions, cfg modifications etc etc etc just to fly gliders the way it is now possible to do so.

Many will remember that Don and I tried to stir up some interest in Sailors of the Sky, with limited success (often due to the limitations of the sim itself), but at least some good dedicated soaring sims were coming along. I do not yet have Condor, but one thing is certain - this much success does not come in so short a time unless it really has something to offer well beyond its competitors. I've never seen a swell of interest like this relative to a soaring sim, so I'm betting that Condor will get the most support, see the most development, and could eventually make any other choice for soaring come up short.

Time will tell, but I say that it's MORE than time to make MS take a back seat for a change. We want to FLY, not tweak!!

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I am going to do a full write up and review of condor from a multiplayer point of view, i know that Jerry is now the Condor Liason Guy so will work with him on this.

Condor is incredibly realistic, in fact on the beta test team there are several world class real life glider pilots flying.

so keep an eye on the condor forums.

anyway back on topic.

Sorry microsoft but the money you are asking simply would be better spent elsewhere this time.

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Well, switching to Condor will sure make my life easier. You should try developing a contest in MSFS. You notice I don't have one up yet for this year? I don't think I am up for it any more. You will need DX 10, and Vista to get everything out of FSX. After you have spent $2,000 to $3,000 for a new computer wait until you see what Bill Gates is going to gouge you for Vista. Like he really needs the money? And then there are the conditions of use. Now Microsoft is resllly sucking!!!

:vv: :vv: :vv: :vv:

I am going to do a full write up and review of condor from a multiplayer point of view, i know that Jerry is now the Condor Liason Guy so will work with him on this.

Condor is incredibly realistic, in fact on the beta test team there are several world class real life glider pilots flying.

so keep an eye on the condor forums.

anyway back on topic.

Sorry microsoft but the money you are asking simply would be better spent elsewhere this time.

This will be great Tom. I am looking forward to reading it.

Cheers, :smiles:

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You can create missons and add ridge lift in FSX. The following is from the tutorial in the SDK package:

Ridge Lift Mission Object

A RidgeLift object is used to simulate the effect of a hill slope on the wind.

Property Description

Generic Action Properties See description above. Note that RealismOverrides objects do not have an InstanceID.

Activated

Set to True or False. This can be changed during a mission using the Object Activation action.

ObjectReference

A reference to an AreaDefinition object that defines a box that is the bounding area of the ridge lift. It is very important that the heading setting of the AreaDefinition points in the same direction as the slope (to the left in the above diagram).

AirObjectModelGuid An optional model GUID. The model will be rendered within the ridge lift box.

ScaleModel Set to True to if the model should be scaled to match the size of the ridge lift box. Set to False to render the model to its own scale.

CoreRateScalar A scalar value that is applied to the wind in the Core area of the ridge lift. A positive value will provide an updraft, a negative value a downdraft. Typically a positive value such as 0.5 would be entered here. So if the wind speed was 8 m/s, an updraft of 4 m/s would be applied.

CoreTurbulence A variation scalar that is applied to the wind speed. For example, if a value of 0.1 is entered, and the wind speed is 8 m/s, the wind speed in the ridge lift Core area will be randomly varying between 7.2 and 8.8 m/s.

SinkRateScalar A scalar value that is applied to the wind in the Sink area of the ridge lift. A positive value will provide an updraft, a negative value a downdraft. Typically a negative value such as 0.5 would be entered here. So if the wind speed was 8 m/s, an downdraft of 4 m/s would be applied.

SinkTurbulence A variation scalar that is applied to the wind speed. For example, if a value of 0.1 is entered, and the wind speed is 8 m/s, the wind speed in the ridge lift Sink area will be randomly varying between 7.2 and 8.8 m/s.

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thanks fsxglider - very useful. Did you find info regarding placement of regular thermals?

I'm thinking about creating a mission using the same austrian alps region as the microsoft mission, but over a different route.

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