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Wiley

Add-ons for the Newbie

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Don, I saw your Andes flight. What add-on(s) are required to do that in FSX. Or was the track just a cut and paste of the flight analysis screen?

I have seen various add-ons mentioned (CSS, FZviewer(?), Sound.dll and the like). Could you post a 'quick start' guide giving what they are, what they do, will they work with FSX, where to get them? Short answers to newbie questions.

John

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Don, I saw your Andes flight. What add-on(s) are required to do that in FSX.

No addons used. I will try to edit my posts in the next day or two and explain how to set them up and explain how to make the flight. It is really, really easy.

Or was the track just a cut and paste of the flight analysis screen?

No, the track was taken in map view, then saved as a .jpg

I have seen various add-ons mentioned (CSS, FZviewer(?), Sound.dll and the like).

These utilities are all for FS9 and do not work in FSX.

Could you post a 'quick start' guide giving what they are, what they do, will they work with FSX, where to get them? Short answers to newbie questions.

If you go to the main SOAR site [post=http://www.virtualsoaring.org]SOAR then use the menu on the left to go to "Downloads" (FS9) you will find either the download itself or a link to the creator's website, if you are still interested. I am in the process of pulling some of the old SOAR library "how to's" and will be posting them on the forum as soon as I can.

Cheers, Don

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These utilities are all for FS9 and do not work in FSX.

Don, I think your info may be wrong, but please correct me if I am wrong. I have FZviewer working in FSX and also have the FSSound.dll installed and have not had any problems to my knowledge. I also have CCS2004 intalled and it seems to work for slope soaring, I'm not sure about thermal soaring. I have been using real-world weather and I always get lift near ridges. I'll have to run a test run in both FS9 and FSX with a set wind direction and speed to verify this. Someone else here said that it doesn't work too, so maybe it's just coinsidence that I'm getting lift near ridges. I'll come back with my findings.

sf4JC

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I am in the process of pulling some of the old SOAR library "how to's" and will be posting them on the forum as soon as I can.
PLEASE! :respect:

I d/l's the FS9 flight training lessons but most was geared to FS9 not FSX. From what sf4JC is saying most, if not all will, work. As a newbie (sorta), once I know what things are and what their functions are I can generaly take it from there. I'm going to go back and review.

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Sorry guys, I wasn't able to test yet. But I should have my findings by Saturday afternoon, if everything goes as planned. I've been helping my wife in her classroom off and on. I'm also going to be slightly busy over the weekend, so I'm going to try and get it done as soon as I can.

Don, I think I have slope files for most of the Appalachian mountains, the Alps, and I think New Zealand. I'll have to check the old computer to see which files I've downloaded. That and turnpoints, something tells me I downloaded a few of them too.

sf4JC

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Welp, my findings are a little disheartening. I always thought I was gaining altitude by just listening to the vario. Since I really didn't get to slope soar in FS2004 that much when I was looking into it over a year or so ago, I had nothing to gauge my flight performance against while in FSX. I just thought I was inexperienced and also not soaring in ideal weather (I always fly real-world weather updated every 15 minutes).

But now, being able to fly in FS2004 along side FSX, there's a huge difference in slope lift. I downloaded an old race file for New Zealand and stuck it into both sims (by the way, it seems as though those files worked in FSX without any problem). So I went out and really soared in FS2004, gaining 1000ft like it was nothing. I went to the same coordinates in FSX and could keep it in the air for a lot less time. At the most, I could only gain possibly 10-30ft in spots. The rest of the time I could hear the vario, which sounded like I was gaining altitude, but the altimeter said I was barely gaining 0 to 5ft or so.

I know I'm still fairly new to slope soaring, but I tried to keep my flying consistant in both sims while testing. FS2004 is on the laptop with a game controller, and FSX is on the main computer with a joystick. So my results are as good as I could get them. I didn't try to fly in other regions, but I don't think that would have given me any different readings.

So I know that CCS2004 does work, just not as good as what I had hoped. Maybe changing the slope lift scaler to a higher number would make the results better. But I'd like to see those numbers stay the same so a person wouldn't feel others could have an advantage in one sim over another in a contest. There again, maybe contests would be only for each individual sim, I've never coordinated a contest so I don't know if this has been done or not with CCS2004.

All in all, I came away from this knowing I'm not that bad as far as finding slope lift. Maybe I need to soar in FS2004 more to find out what slope soaring is all about. I sure enjoyed the FS2004 flights a lot better than in FSX, seemed like I was really struggling with FSX slope soaring.

sf4JC

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Hi s4jc,

I was totally curious about your findings, as I did already test myself the usability of CCS in FSX. I'm afraid, that our both results are confirming only the fact, that vertical air manipulation does not make it through into the weather machine of FSX yet. BTW, that's, what many comments of other sources do confirm, too (for example look at ActiveSky).

The minimal gain of some 10-30 feet is nothing else than the effect of occasional turbulence, coming from FSX' weather system. You can turn it off, by defining a user defined weather and pushing down the turbulence slider all way down to zero.

It seems to me, that different from FS9 (which could be treated by updating the vertical air speed variable often enough), FSX is not accepting the external vertical air informatioon at all.

Many people hope for an upgrade or update of the sim or the simconnect-API.

So for the time being its only possible, to use the built-in thermals or built missions with slope lift and thermals. Perhaps I start thinking about an automatic ridge lift generator tool, writing ridge lift missions, as it appears, that the TMFViewer tool can be easiliy used to extract relief information from the sims databases.

Cheers,

Peter

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Well, I tried to up the slope lift scaler to see if there would be any difference, and I believe your right. It just seems like the lift was coming from the general ridge area, and not from turbulance. I should have believed you the first time. I was really hoping raising the scaler number would provide better results.

I would have really liked to have seen CCS work in FSX and with real-world weather. It would have been awsome to be in a contest that a person could compete against others as well as compete against natures changing conditions. Then again, I forgot that there is a time difference between competetors, and only those that could compete in a given time frame could compete, leaving everybody else with just the results to view after the event.

sf4JC

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sf4JC,

What .slo files are you using? CCS won't create ridge lift without them.

Peter,

Do you see any way to get CCS to work in in FSX? Do you see any way to get ridge lift to work in FSX without going into the Mission Builder and hand placing the lift in all the places you want it to be present. This concept is brain dead and takes a giant step backwards compared to CCS.

Don

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The real bottleneck currently is the unability to set vertical winds from outside FSX. FSUIPC doesn't do it anymore, otherwise CCS could be adapted easily, by changing the address of the vertical wind variable at most.

Basically only ridge-lift ist truly affected by this. The only workaround I can think of, is to write some code, which analyses the relief and creating a scenery file with the old-fashioned ridge lift elements, already known since many versions (TriggerWeatherData), which is still supported by the XML-BGL-Compiler. If succesful, one could produce even a rather fine-patched coverage, but no ideas on FSX performance then, and no idea on the analysing algorithm (yet). At the end of the day, I expect that it will become somehow similar like CCS, but will probably never achieve its fine granularity of appr. 100m.

Thermals are less difficult, because FSX contains a programmatic interface to create and destroy parametrised thermals on the fly (though leaning, or moving, is not considered). So in principle it would be easy writing a DLL that does this job, in a similar way as CCS did. This could be made dependent even on the actual weather, e.g. w.r.t. to cloud base.

CUMULUS! is also no longer working properly, because the timing functions are no not supported anymore by FSX. Though, this could be substituted with the built-in thermal creation and dissipation functions and a proper mission file. The only thing missing here is a good cloud model in GMAX. But I know that there are people already working on that.

In principle one could consider writing a sort of "Automatic-Thermal-Mission-Generator" for pouring out masses of thermals and ridge lifts automatically, similar to my first approache to Cumulus!. The nice thing could be, that once you have your "soaring scene" (ridges, thermal active areas, etc.) one could immediately recreate the mission file according to updated weather conditions. Bugs in the ridge object prevent them to work correctly, when wind direction changes! Nevermind, thermals are much easier here than ridge-lift. I should look into it.

All-in all, I really hope that MS does something with external control of vertical air soon.

Cheers,

Peter

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Don, I'm using the same files that I entered into FS9. It sounds like Peter knows what he's talking about here. I'm really hoping there is a solution to the problem he's talking about. But I don't see Microsoft making an "update" just for that, I can always hope for it though.

Hey Peter, I've never actually downloaded your product, but if I remember right, did CCS use some of its functionality? I think I remember trying thermal soaring a year or so ago and I liked the tracking down of thermals with clouds. It reminded me of the glider regattas our R/C club used to host each year. Hope your product will run in FSX soon, I think I'll try it out.

sf4JC

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Peter,

I'm not sure if this is a help but I have been doing some stuff with FSX KML (http://fsdeveloper.agerrius.nl/wiki/index.php?title=FSX_KML#Downloading_FSX_KML) to enhance the soaring area around Aguila Arizona (not covered by Mega Scenery). My focus has been to set the different terrain areas for crops, bare desert, rocks, etc so that it better resembles the real environment around Aguila. But I am wondering if we could apply this to set up static ridge-lift areas. I don't know enough about how this all pulls together but it's just a thought.

Ray

The real bottleneck currently is the unability to set vertical winds from outside FSX. FSUIPC doesn't do it anymore, otherwise CCS could be adapted easily, by changing the address of the vertical wind variable at most.

Basically only ridge-lift ist truly affected by this. The only workaround I can think of, is to write some code, which analyses the relief and creating a scenery file with the old-fashioned ridge lift elements, already known since many versions (TriggerWeatherData), which is still supported by the XML-BGL-Compiler. If succesful, one could produce even a rather fine-patched coverage, but no ideas on FSX performance then, and no idea on the analysing algorithm (yet). At the end of the day, I expect that it will become somehow similar like CCS, but will probably never achieve its fine granularity of appr. 100m.

Thermals are less difficult, because FSX contains a programmatic interface to create and destroy parametrised thermals on the fly (though leaning, or moving, is not considered). So in principle it would be easy writing a DLL that does this job, in a similar way as CCS did. This could be made dependent even on the actual weather, e.g. w.r.t. to cloud base.

CUMULUS! is also no longer working properly, because the timing functions are no not supported anymore by FSX. Though, this could be substituted with the built-in thermal creation and dissipation functions and a proper mission file. The only thing missing here is a good cloud model in GMAX. But I know that there are people already working on that.

In principle one could consider writing a sort of "Automatic-Thermal-Mission-Generator" for pouring out masses of thermals and ridge lifts automatically, similar to my first approache to Cumulus!. The nice thing could be, that once you have your "soaring scene" (ridges, thermal active areas, etc.) one could immediately recreate the mission file according to updated weather conditions. Bugs in the ridge object prevent them to work correctly, when wind direction changes! Nevermind, thermals are much easier here than ridge-lift. I should look into it.

All-in all, I really hope that MS does something with external control of vertical air soon.

Cheers,

Peter

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It's an interesting idea, using KML for making ridge lift. Never thought of that, and I'm not familiar with that tool. From what I've snatched up about it here and there, there might be a chance of defining quickly reasonable ridge lift regions by hand. Of course, Eric's approach was much more powerful by far than this.

For the built-in thermals itself it is a little bit awkward, because the presence of thermals in FSX relates to the landclass, which easily leads to surprising deviations from what thermal coverage is produced by the software and what you might have experienced in reality. For example in the alps you will find thermals mostly on sunny slopes, supported by appropriate wind, and at special hot-spots (house thermals), and rarely over the valleys. FSX, however, does the opposite frequently, depending on the landclasses. If you modify the landclasses to match thermal coverage, the landscape may look substantially different again from what is reality.

There are some maps of thermal likelihood available, which, however, are usually only valid for very specific weather conditions (ageing mass of warm air).

Nevertheless, an update of CCS with respect to thermals could be relatively easy, since planting and erasing thermals is now supported by FSX directly. So control in time and position, and to limited extent, also in profile (sink/lift strength and transition diameter) is basically possible. What appears not possible yet is full profile control, leaning and moving.

But maybe MS includes access to the vertical air-speed in the upcoming DX10 upgrade, hopefully functional in the DX9 environment, too. Then with an updated FSUIPC, CCS possibly could work again.

Cheers,

Peter

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