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wormburner

Whilst some have given up on MSFS, OTHERS are designing for it!

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Thanks for the link - I do hope the MS soaring fraternity doesn't wither...

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SOAR isnt dead it is normally very quiet at this time of year :)

personally speaking for the little extra detail in this i wouldnt buy it, i would stick with wolfgangs creations ...

as for designers etc i think a lot are disheartened at the moment, maybe things will change i dont know. FSX looks great, probably works great but simply the weather model again is its killer in terms of virtual soaring.

i personally havent brought it because of the alternatives. I am not bashing the sim, just very unhappy with everything with it as far as virtual soaring goes.

i think i probably feel the same as many other designers from previous msfs version addon's they have mostly all dropped by the wayside.

yes great you can fly anywhere in the world, nice eye candy also, low fps on anything but a high end system, to get decent fps turn off half the eyecandy so whats the point...

tom

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I contacted Active Sky regarding editable lift in FSX, and they indicated that their newest version ( Active Sky 6.5) has programable and editable thermals but they are not yet able to provide programable and editable ridge lift yet. They are almost there but need the new FSX update which they said is due out soon. Right now FSX does not have ambient vertical lift.

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Don,

Did they indicate whether this would be a new release that we would have to pay for or a downloadable upgrade for those of us who have Active Sky? Either way would be nice but an upgrade would be the best. BTW I loaded up the newest Phoenix Mega scenery and it is pretty detailed, much better than the 2004 rendition. If we can get some good thermal scenery then those of us with Microsoft would probably be pretty happy. For all the criticism I've been reading re Microsoft, you can't beat the MIcrosoft visuals for VFR soaring. Which, of course, is all we do in America. Now if we could just get some more help with the flight dynamics. In real life slips and spins are part of the fun............

Thanks

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Don,

Did they indicate whether this would be a new release that we would have to pay for or a downloadable upgrade for those of us who have Active Sky? Either way would be nice but an upgrade would be the best. BTW I loaded up the newest Phoenix Mega scenery and it is pretty detailed, much better than the 2004 rendition. If we can get some good thermal scenery then those of us with Microsoft would probably be pretty happy. For all the criticism I've been reading re Microsoft, you can't beat the MIcrosoft visuals for VFR soaring. Which, of course, is all we do in America. Now if we could just get some more help with the flight dynamics. In real life slips and spins are part of the fun............

Thanks

The upgrade from Active Sky 6.0 to 6.5 is a free download. I don't know about upgrading from older versions.

http://sales.hifisim.com/ASv6/

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Hi folks,

seems, that add-on builders are reluctant to invest much work before MS has issued the service pack.

Though, I believe it's even possible with the existing release to realise some dynamic ridge lift by misusing the "Create Thermal" function of the SimConnect module. Meanwhile I also found a chance to circumvent the tedious scanning process.

If Eric is still around here we could start a discussion on that.

On the other hand, what is true for commercial add-on builders, is also valid for freeware designers.

In a month or two we'll know.

Cheers,

Peter

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Hi Peter,

I don't know if Eric visits this board much these days. He does answer e- mail however. I just heard from him yesterday. I suggest you e-mail him. If you don't have it , let me know and I can e-mail it to you.

Don

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Don,

Did they indicate whether this would be a new release that we would have to pay for or a downloadable upgrade for those of us who have Active Sky? Either way would be nice but an upgrade would be the best. BTW I loaded up the newest Phoenix Mega scenery and it is pretty detailed, much better than the 2004 rendition. If we can get some good thermal scenery then those of us with Microsoft would probably be pretty happy. For all the criticism I've been reading re Microsoft, you can't beat the MIcrosoft visuals for VFR soaring. Which, of course, is all we do in America. Now if we could just get some more help with the flight dynamics. In real life slips and spins are part of the fun............

Thanks

Could you post a couple of screenshots to illustrate?

Please keep photos/screenshots 640 X 480 ane less than 100K and upload as .jpg

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I created the Austrian Soaring - Day 2, and Austrian Soaring - Day 3 missions for FSX, which as far as I know are by far the most flown soaring missions on that platform.

Currently, to create a good soaring experience in FSX you need to be within the 'mission' part of the product rather than 'free flight'. By default, in 'free flight', FSX places unrealistic large strong thermals. But in mission creation you can place thermals of any strength, height and radius wherever you want. And you can place ridge lift wherever you want it as well. A timer can be placed on-screen which automatically stops when you pass the finish line so you know your task time.

Within a 'mission' you can also create 'waypoints' and trigger a 'mission success' when each of the waypoints has been passed in the right order, as well as detect outlandings or landings at a chosen airport.

So you have the fundamentals to create some fairly effective cross-country soaring tasks, but how you place the lift is up to you.

Each FSX soaring mission tends to take one to one-and-a-half hours to complete.

The stock FSX 'Austrian Soaring' mission uses some ridge lift and also the 'default' (large, strong) thermals so you can fly the mission at a very high speed.

My 'Austrian Soaring - Day 2' uses much more carefully placed ridge lift, and the thermals are not as strong, but you can still complete the task fairly easily. You have to manage your 'speed-to-fly' carefully to get the best time though.

'Austrian Soaring - Day 3' is a carefully designed cross-country task using both ridge and thermals in a brisk 18-knot north-easterly breeze. So the ridge lift is pretty strong, but you have to fly carefully to manage the into-wind thermalling sections. This mission in particulary has maybe a dozen different routes you can take to fly around the waypoints. Plus there is sink on the backsides of ridges. This mission is not difficult to complete in an hour and a half, but expert flying can cut the time down to not much more than an hour and this is difficult.

I'm working on 'Day 4' in the same area, again with ridge and thermals. This time the wind is less so the ridge lift is more hit-and-miss, and the thermals in the north-east of the task are much weaker so it's more of a scrape to get home. I'm tweaking the system so the thermals are variable over time.

http://www.fsxmission.com

Just creating a simple mission with waypoints and thermals/ridge is *very* easy, especially for your second as you can just move around the waypoints of your first. The missions I've been creating are taking longer to build because I'm putting a lot of work into the placement and strength of individual thermals because I'm tailoring the experience given the actual cross-country task. However - I'm not convinced this is the right approach, because it would be a lot easier to churn out a dozen tasks with a simple spread of thermals and I suspect the community would get just as much fun.

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By default, in 'free flight', FSX places unrealistic large strong thermals.

Hi,

throttling down the built thermals is quite easy, you have to replace a few numbers in "ThermDescriptions.xml" and the thing is done. You can do the opposite, though.

So it is not clear to me how FSX' built in thermal machine can be prevented from interfering with a challenging soaring task. This would make it pretty pointless, if somebody could simply screw up the "autogen" thermals.

I saw also that the Simconnect-API allows to build thermals "on the fly" :-), which could be used by a program like CCS very easily. What is not yet possible is to create ridge liftp rogrammatically, except by the mission builder. Simple vertical air movement is not yet considered at all. However it might be faked by appopriate local thermals. Consider a "thermal" with a huge diameter, centered at your position and having the right lift or sink being reacreated again when the plane has sufficiently moved.

My own few attempts with the mission builder were not very successful so far. I had the experience that after a short period of playing around with objects, areas and so on left the program pretty unresponsive and I had to start new.

Cheers,

Peter

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My own few attempts with the mission builder were not very successful so far. I had the experience that after a short period of playing around with objects, areas and so on left the program pretty unresponsive and I had to start new.

Hmmm - I've not had this issue and my soaring missions are *much* bigger than the typical FSX 'search-and-rescue' mission.

A basic soaring mission can be created by just planting 'RectangleArea's everywhere you want a thermal, and creating a thermal linked to each area. Once you've done that you should be able to soar at will...

After I created my first soaring mission with a start/finish and waypoints, creating any other mission based on that was a simple copy and edit of the first one. You can drag the waypoints around to edit the task, maybe add a few more thermals, and that's pretty much it.

There are major gotchas to be avoided though: in particular the FSX mission error checking is very limited and if you have a bug in your mission (e.g. you created a RectangleArea, created a Thermal linked to that area, and subsequently deleted the RectangleArea leaving an invalid reference in the Thermal) then the mission will simply fail to load giving you no clue to what's wrong. When you've had this once or twice you do (necessarily) get very good at finding the glitch, mainly by copying the mission file and deleting stuff until the mission loads successfully, then carefully adding it back in.

To create a soaring mission, I very much recommend you

1) create a basic mission with just a couple of thermals, plus the appropriate .FLT and .WX files

2) download Austrian Soaring 2 and edit that. (www.fsxmission.com)

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I really don't know what was wrong, anyhow, I didn't got really acquanted with the mission builder. For my own I have decided to wait for the SP1 and decide then, how to proceed.

I'd really like to see CCS working again, and I'll try to see if something could be done in that direction.

Cheers,

Peter

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Yes Don, I'll try to shoot some out this weekend. The Phoenix scnery which pretty much covers Maricopa County is large enough for some nice flights with Estrella in the center of it all. Turf Soaring is within the north edge of the scenery and El Tiro is just south of the southern border of the scenery. I may try to enhance some of El Tiro after I figure out how to create some ridge lift missions on the Estrella ridge. I am also anxiously awaiting the new Souther California scenery which will encompass such sites as Lake Elsinore, Warner Springs and Hemmet.

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A slight ramble here.

I have been looking for what add-ons I needed for FSX soaring. Especially to share flights with others and report results. In almost every case FSUIPC by Pete Dowson (the current keeper/owner of the program) was required. I also knew that there was a module called simconnect.dll built into FSX. The name got my attention so I went looking to find out what it was. In my searching for I came across this thread: http://fsdeveloper.agerrius.nl/forum/showthread.php?t=5315. It answers my questions as to why FSUIPC, does simconnect.dll replace it and, how do they compare. Mr Dowson gives a little of the history of FSUIPC and his perspetive on the future of FSUIPC and FSX add-ons using simconnet.dll.

It is a little technical but my take on it is that FSUIPC will wither and be replaced by simconnect.dll. All the current soaring add-ons will eventualy be rewritten or replaced to use simconnect.dll. All one has to do is see the inital resisance to FSX and the rapid growth of enthusiasm for it. Just as a need was filled by free/share/payware developers in the past, so it will be in the future. Just with slightly different stuff.

One of the other thoughts that gives me hope is that Microsoft has never been happy to loose market share to competitors, i.e., Condor. I'm guessing that if you buy Condor, you're not going to buy FSX. That statement alone gets Microsoft's attention.

In theory, it should not be a lifetime project to use simplified fluid dynamics to produce thermals and ridge lift/sink passed to FSX using simconnect.dll. The source of the starting parameters could be real world weather or user defined weather. That stuff is already in FSX.

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One of the other thoughts that gives me hope is that Microsoft has never been happy to loose market share to competitors, i.e., Condor. I'm guessing that if you buy Condor, you're not going to buy FSX. That statement alone gets Microsoft's attention.

Gee, I wonder how Microsoft feels about all those FS9 users who not only did not buy FS10, but shelved FS9, bought Condor and never looked back? That is what happened to almost the entire active SOAR organization. I think I am the only one left of the old camp.

I have Condor. I can't stay awake with it for more than 15 minutes. But there are thousands that love it. Microsoft should check out all the Condor related web sites and it should be brought to their attention that many, many of the Condor pilots use to be Microsoft users in the past and have a poor opinion of MSFS.

I know there are programmers on the web who have intimate knowledge of MSFS. Does anyone have any connections with these guys? Microsoft did not put vertical air movement in the origional FSX nor the SP1. I doubt if they will add it any time soon. We are already almost a year into the sim and nothing to my knowledge is on the horizon except possibilities. Any ideas on how to stir the pot and get something to happen?

Don

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Hi Don,

you're not alone. I myself have FSX and FS9 (and many versions before), and I truly admire, what the MS guys have achieved in yet another improvement in visuals. With SP1 experience is pretty smooth, even on my old donkey.

On the other side: The elimination of the vertical air parameter banged us back almost into the stoneage of virtual soaring. In effect, it is totally frustrating to see how a (nearly) perfect solution like CCS gets worthless. Even more, it even seems, that it will be hardly possible, to come to anything close to it by a workarounds, which is even more frustating. Maybe MS doesn't like us guys tampering with their product? The demotivation is really highly efficient, anhow.

Though I need to admit, that built-in thermals widely cover the functionality of former Cumulus!, even without the straightforward user configuration options. The landclass dependent thermals maybe a first approach, but only if you don't have any other clue. Why, the heck, don't they simply use cloud type, ceiling and coverage to derive thermal? I will never understand. Anyway, I can at least imagine to make a sort of CumulusX!, using the mission interface, that allows neatly timing control. I have only one difficult problem, that is creating "GUIDs" in a Pascal program, because this needs a call into a certain windows API that is not supported to my knowledge. Another one is having a nice GMAX cloud model, and third one is some spare time. Unfortunately, the mission approach is not compatible with built-in multiplayer functionality (but with fsinn).

But what I miss most at this time is the experience of ridge soaring with CCS. Its varied experience is hardly to resemble just by some static patches of ridge lift. Though I found out recently how to workaround the directional bug in FSX ridge lift, still its implemenation is totally inappropriate. It might be possible to make an XML-ridge lift scenery defined by masses of vertices by an automatic analysis of the relief, but I'm concerned about the impact on framerate. It will result in a horrible load on the scenery engine to find out in which patch the plane currently is located. And even then, there will be no chance to react on the distance of the aircraft to the ground.

A vague workaround might be writing some CCS-replacement, which uses the simconnect API to plant and destroy thermals at the aircraft's location to resemble ridge lift behaviour. Unfortunately, I never did programming in VB, Cxx and the like. And I like to understand what I'm doing.

Cheers,

Peter

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If I know Microsoft, if they are in anyway interested in whats happening with Condor, they will

1. Buy or steal the technology from Condor and force it out of the market, or just sack all the staff and bin the company.

2. Tinker and break the technology.

3. Remove most of the useful features

4. Add some annoying bugs.

5. Somehow get it to use 10 times more resources.

6. Release it to the community as a "New Microsoft Technology"

7. Release a patch 2 years later which removes some of the bugs they added and makes no attempt to add anything which the user base screamed for for the 2 years.

8. 2 years later again, they will release an All New version, which will just be the old version with more bugs and some nicer eye candy.

This is what they did with 90% of their products with the exception of BASIC and Tooltips, the only 2 technologies for which Microsoft can actually claim credit.

Paul

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MS sold the rights to the Net Pipes tecknology some time ago and then when they saw what the gates.to guy's have done in the multi person sharing of Planes and online flight training they wanted to buy it back rather than reinvent the wheel for FSX.

Judging on what I've seen in FSX so far with my limited hardware they have really screwed up and this may well explain why there are so many developers still working on FS 2004 Add-Ons.

I personally believe there is a LOT more life left in FS2004 yet.

I'd honestly prefer to fly my Sailplanes in quality scenery in FS9 rather the generic stuff that MS thinks cover's the world.

The Red Baron Entertainment Mesh and the Gods Zone Scenery for New Zealand is a prime example.

I will be continuing to develop my Soaring scenery for Narromine in Central Western New South Wales, Australia.

Dynamic thermals driven by Live weather updates, Many little dirt and grass strips on properties all over the west along with Silo's etc that are very often used for turn points and positional fixes.

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