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A New Simulator (May edition)


Mathijs Kok
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Hi Mathijs

First of all congratulations to the project. This is the right way to go and to improve the simulator world for everybody.

Things I would like to see in a new simulator

- blade element (like X-Plane has) rather than lookup tables

- crossplatform compatible simulator not only Windows but also MAC and Linux. I hear you already moaning, but if you have learned the lesson MS taught you as a Addon-Maker with the closure of the MSFS departement, you are still in their hands when it comes to the OS-system (and they will use their power, you bet). This is in your hands now to become independent from MS if necessary. I don't say you should give up producing for Windows :), it is a wide spread OS and will be around in the future. BUT don't bind yourself too much to it, be flexible for your on sake. OpenGL is a powerful 3D acceleration runs on crossplatforms, there is no need to go for DirectX.

- Go for Opensource. I know, you want to make money with the new simulator you want to develope. But you are asking what we/I want. I like opensource as I see that it brings the best quality through the openness. AND most of all, if Aerosoft decides to abuse their market position like MS or to stop the developement, then we stand in the rain again like we do now with the MSFS. Opensource would mean, that somebody else could take the code and develope it further.

Ok, these are my 2 cts. Good luck with the project and I will follow this closely. For now I stick to X-Plane which I use since 2006 with great joy and which I see improving fast in the last years. Mathijs, it is good to have a competitor again because this keeps Austin Meyer from getting lazy :D.

Cheers

Chris

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Here's a couple thoughts, scenery based:

Currently it requires 3rd party tools to disassemble the game-format scenery (i.e., bgl). It's difficult to think of a sim (assuming it is open to 3rd party development) that doesn't allow/need some sort of disassembly of the delivered scenery. Providing a tool, or at least sufficient info so that reverse engineering is not needed is desirable.

MS have gone a long way with allowing source data in the form of GeoTiff for raster terrain and shapefile for vector terrain. A capability to use the same formats (and tools for converting into sim-format) is desired. Geo projection and WGS 84 datum should be used. It probably would be a good idea to also specify a vertical datum which MS never did.

Current FS employs a mixture of external modeled objects (mdl format, bglc format) and internally modeled objects (airport elements, generic buildings). Harmonizing these would be nice.

Currently BGL code models can call sim variables and react to them at run time. I don't think in general mdl models can do this. This is helpful for, example, showing snow textures in winter, wet textures, etc. I guess MS intended that missions and/or triggers would replace this run time modeling. This would also be applicable to requests for damage or other run time effects.

There has been a great deal of discussion concerning photo-realistic terrain vs synthetic, bitmap-based terrain. I don't think there is any agreement on what is "best" or "desired". I think allowing for both options is going to be necessary.

scott s.

.

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Wow! My heart just lifted enough to look down on a mid Atlantic Concorde!!!

Seriously, this is incredible news. I posted this idea in another Aerosoft post, but it was a dream then, but I can really think it could happen now.

First thing, please keep doing what you are doing now; asking the end-USER for input before you do it, and asking the engineers what CAN be done before the sales people!

As far as ATC, I think it should be kept, as some of us don't/can't fly online. If ATC can be set up to have different accents around the world, keep aware of actual mesh elevations so as to not direct us into terrain, and space airplanes out so we aren't on top of each other (speed requirements, holds, SIDS/STARS, etc.), I think it would be a good compromise.

For my ideas:

Please let us have a good turboprop model. As much as I would love a realistic C-130, the fact is that two-stage free turbine power plants are what we have now and in the future. FS never did it well. Same goes for more than 4 engines, and even mixed power plant types.

A random flight generator. We go to a page, enter the general type of aircraft we want to fly (airline, GA, heli, military, etc.), the weather we select (it looks for real-world online weather like LIFR/IFR/MVFR/VFR), the duration of time we want to fly, if we want to fly to/from our add-on scenery, or if we want to explore a place we have never flown to/from. It sure beats throwing darts at a big world map!

Using currently available online sources for data. For instance, http://flightaware.com/ tracks filed IFR flight plans to/from/in the USA. I'd guess there is something like it in Europe, and Asia, or will be someday. Having this available to the sim would be almost as real as life. Even if it substituted generic airline names it would be very cool. Related to that, if we could get the weather data (radar, weather watches/warnings, etc.) from sources like NOAA and the like we could have better mapping of severe weather such as t-storms, hurricanes, and such. Along with that, when we load the sim, it automatically checks for 'remembered' weather, or downloads a recent past weather profile. If we load a flight the day after a blizzard we have deep 3D snow on the ground and leftover snow on the pavement, even if not currently snowing.

Oh, and finally: could we have PEOPLE in the aircraft? If we select 4 people in the aircraft, we see four people through the windows, or when we look around the VC and cabin. I don't care about people in a virtual cabin; I stay in the flight deck the whole flight. Also, when I fly in the VC, may I please have ARMS? I'd like to see my arm reach up and flick on the landing lights or adjust the heading bug, or whatever. Yes, it is extra polygons, but I feel very disconnected from the experience, as if I am just watching, not flying. That would be immersive.

To finish, I also would like to wish my best thoughts for Aerosoft and the entire community on developing an FS-replacement. I know they can do it, and better than Microsoft. Good luck to all, and I'll start saving today!

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Sound is one of the most immersive elements that is often overlooked and can be used as a feedback mechanism over and above real world sounds to make up for the fact you're flying a 2D limited view simulation.

  • AI traffic sounds need to be much more representative and flexible.
  • Prop rasp, rotor slap, jet blast, controllable effects, etc
  • Airport sounds, support vehicles, aircraft starting and taxying, reverse thrust, etc

Airborne tag feature, rather than creating a combat sim, create simulated combat, by which I mean have a capability to dogfight and detect hits with the result of igniting a smoke trail when defeated, that is reset and off you go into the next round, perhaps with a tally system.

Sloped waterlines, so that amphibious craft can enter and leave the water in a convincing manner, not jump up or down as they do so.

Ridge lift, thermal and wave lift directly related to terrain, weather conditions and land type.

Robust multiplayer features that are easy to connect, provide full exchange of data to cover all externally visible animated features and effects such as lights and smoke and very importantly the correct sounds for the model.

Maintain the external view system that provides that chase aircraft type view that moves slightly lagging as your aircraft manoeuvres and not that aircraft on a stick type view firmly fixed to the model centroid (Don't know how to say this properly, perhaps others can expand on it).

Maintain the capability for apps like FSRecorder to function.

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As much as I very much am a fan of Open Source software, I do see that this is something that requires enough of an investment that Aerosoft will need to charge for it in order to develop it. Developers have to eat, too, after all. However, I think the spirit of open source is going to be built into this product by default. That is, a platform open enough that developers can see and interact with the inner workings enough to modify it to meet their needs.

However, I would like to second that you bring at least OS X support to the simulator. Not counting X-Plane, there's been a gaping hole there since Fly! fell off of the radar. Unless you've missed it, OpenGL 3.0 is a pretty solid spec and should allow you to do everything that you would otherwise do in DirectX. Honestly, these days who can afford to build on the presumption that a platform monopoly will be around in 10 or 15 years when this project is really going. I'm no Microsoft basher, but look at where we were 10 years ago, and look at the current state of Microsoft. Is it really not worth it to be agnostic?

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one thing that could be an option that i was entertaining

progressive flying : you start out with a certain amount of money and you buy your first airplane or rent one like a trike or cub then make money and turn to careers such as tours military or commercial and you make money and spend it on repairs new planes or upgrades

visible damage effects none of this touch a tree with your wingtip and you freeze crap i want to see a parts missing

military(weapons pack that when fired at other military aircraft cause damage could also make some sams or aaa placable in certain areas for virtual militaries)

make true flight dynamics if im in a f-22 i want to be able to do a thrust vectored loop if im in a harrier i want to hover

thanks these are my ideas i would love to see them in action and i would pay a fourtune for it as well

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If you want your new simulator to be a serious number two or even number one on the market (besides MS flight simulator, no matter which version...), it has to be unique. An with "unique" I literally mean that every user of the Aerosoft simulator can have his very own personally mixed and configured simulator.

In other words, dear Aerosoft: create a simulator that is completety based on a modular basis -modular to the end.

Your release doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be a base package containing the grafics engine, the flight physics and most important the interfaces to all other things. Drop down add-ons, go for plug-ins! I'm tired of having to use external load managers. I don't want to start my weather engine from outside flight simulator and THEN start the sim.

I want it all-in-one and I want all the components (or plug-ins if we'll stay with this term) to work flawlessly with each other.

For example, you could release a basic (MS like) ATC or you can completetly leave it. But if I want a realistic ATC plug-in, I can easily buy product A from company x or product B from company y and then have it integrated perfectly in the simulator. Or if I don't like the basic flight planner, I could just get a payware or freeware module for that. Other people could easily extend the functions to have a more military-like athmosphere...

If the only thing that lets you know that "your" simulator is actually based on Aerosoft, is the name of the program folder in Windows start menu -hey, THAT IS FINE.

Just be different, be Aerosoft! :wub:

Wish you all the best for this product,

Philipp

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Realtime satellite photo scenery loading with only ( custom and general ) autogen on dvd with the product.

So a bit like Tile proxy does, but then autogen and custom scenery objects will be placed upon the scenery.

Perhaps a deal with MS for using Virtual Earth or with Google for using their Google Earth ?

From the last one it is known that they intend to include sesons in the future ( don't ask me when ).

Or another approach to this would be an included program like Fs Earth tiles ; this program is capable of downloading satellite photo scenery and even convert it into 4 seasons + night lighting.

I beleave for Swis Pro X they used almost the same tehnology to make there seasons.

In this way you can download a region you wish to fly in , convert that into 3 sesons + nightlighting and then fly over it.

In connections are getting faster and faster nowadays.

At Aerosoft you already know how popular the Germany VFR secenery already is.

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I love your ideas about saving settings per aircraft, got to be in the aircraft.cfg.

Sloped runways are already in the specs. No reason not to do them as long as the developer is able to provide a mesh. You would be amazed about the amount of runways a pilot can not see the end of when he starts his take-off.

ATC is tricky, I know MS wanted to do a lot between FS2004 and FSX but when they found out the complexity they more or less dropped it. At the same time we got seriously good human ATC online most of the time.

Thanks for your post, it will stay online for a while, lol

Dear Mathijs,

Thank you so much for your kind words, it really made my day :D . I am really glad you appreciated the idea on Controls

After reading all the posts till now and some by yourself, I do realize that my ideas for ATC seem a bit too stretched and I do agree with the general idea, if you want the best in ATC, get on-line! But I am sure you will come up with some ideas down the line that will improve the default ATC that we have today. I think regional accents may not be as difficult as some of the the more complex systems/procedures in developing an ATC engine. Then again, I could be wrong.

One more idea that I have is:

Object Library: Just a thought, and maybe at an extra cost, you could develop an Object Library online with a placer tool, so that developer's / designer's around the world can add to these and folks like us can enhance our favourite airports ourselves, much like EZ-library, etc that we have today. But far more powerful. Different types of taxiway markings, tanks, walls, etc...

If I may, I can send you an email with some ideas.

Once again all the best,

Dinshaw.

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Yeah... nice comment, but its a bit like saying all games are 2d. What would help to make it more immersive? 7,1 sound? Force feedback sticks (useless in my opinion)? 3d vision?

Obviously the mechanics of flying and the visuals are essential, but we often miss that vibration that creek and that groan that airframes give. How many perfectly smooth approaches have you real pilots had with landings and how many times after hitting heavy turbulance do you look out of the window to see if the wing is still attached... The picture can shake around but it's getting that mixture of sound and feeling of movement which amount to good visuals. Not easy on a PC I know but for me that's what I miss in simulation.

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first of all I think the concept of the Microsoft FS-series providing a good "operating system" with enough features implemented for the casual users to have fun is the right way! Leave things like hyperrealistic ariports, superspecialfeatureairliners in the hand of third party developers. And my biggest wish of all would be not to be able using old MSFS stuff inside the new sim! A totally new start!

ATC something like the FSX-ATC but using the correct terms and procedures of the part of the world you´re flying and not the US-sysetm all over the world. For the "as real as it gets" users there are VATSIM and IVAO but for all others and offline simmers a basic ATC should be implemented.

A really good weather engine and I don´t mean just textures or simple visuals but thermal lift, turbulances, icing, dew point, CBs, rain, runway condition hooked on the weather, etc.

flightdynamics and aircraft systems different flight models for the specific type of aircraft: jet, turboprop, piston, helicopter (don´t forget multi engine here), glider,... and not just a screwed up Cessna for all. And really good flight dynamics include variable realism setting from beginners to advanced and things like slipping, damage if overstressed, stall behavior, spinning, power loss (piston engine) referring to the density altitude, etc. should be possible in the right way and if it´s too hard for the default aircraft it should be possible to implement easily for 3rd party devs.

good documentation / SDK make it simple and cheap to develop addons. It should be really easy to create small Addons for everyone. And please create a good SDK. And if you´re planning to make something like the air-file make it easy to change settings.

operating system don´t forget OSX or Linux! I´ve been using FSX in an iMAC for a while and it was really great but bootcamp and parallels haven´t been a good solution.

no spezialisation a very important point for me is to keep the sim interesting for EVERYONE. Not just for hardcorefreaks, heavy metal-lovers or UL-hoppers but also for gamers, eyecandy fans and aviation nerds.

graphic engine have a look at the upcoming "rise of flight" simulator. Screenshots look very good (for me) specially concerning the visual change of the environment / ground if you´re getting higher and higher.

I´ve many more ideas but I think it´s enough for the moment. But at all: much luck for this big project and I´m really happy to see that someone like aerosoft is seriously thinking of creating a successor of FSX!

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While a good physics model is an obvious necessity that all simulator developers put serious effort into, I feel like the atmosphere models tend to lack. Mathijs, you mentioned the idea of being able to calculate visibility instead of just setting it. Expanding on that, I have two ideas which may be out of the league of today's PCs...

1. A volumetric atmosphere model - Divide the atmosphere around the user into voxels and calculate atmospheric properties in each element. Today's PCs may require those voxels to be 1km cubes, or 10km cubes. Or maybe it allows for 10m cubes, I don't know. But I would like to think there's potential in such a model for calculating cloud positions, dense air pockets, etc. The details within those clouds/air pockets could be based on statistical models or something else less intensive, but the overall qualities of the atmosphere would be defined more accurately. I realized after typing this that maybe this is already implemented in some sims (heck, maybe even FSX), but if it is then it doesn't feel quite right. This system would also include considerations like thermals, in conjunction with my next wish...

2. Calculated winds - X-Plane uses blade element theory on the aircraft - a great idea. How about something similar for the atmosphere? Blade element might not be the method of choice, but perhaps a finite volume method could be implemented (...you know, if you're dividing up the atmosphere anyway... :). Again, today's computing power may only allow for calculating winds every 10km (based on, say, a reduction of the terrain data to 10km resolution), but as others have mentioned about ridges and mountain waves, it would be a great element of a sim. And with a volumetric model as above, I would like to think of a simulator being able to calculate even crude lenticular clouds, towering cumulus, and ground inversions. Data between calculated positions could be interpolated just as, I assume, FS currently does between METAR/winds aloft stations. But there is A LOT going on between stations sometimes. Use those stations as boundary conditions, and figure out what is most likely happening around that valley or mountain in the middle.

On the subject of performance regarding these pipe dreams, neither subject needs to be calculated at 30fps. Stretching the calculations out over several seconds might make the ideas feasible.

Other ideas:

3. Airframe elasticity - The way this is implemented now feels very forced and rigid: "i'm pulling g's, therefore the wing should flex." How about a basic mass-on-a-spring physics model for wings and landing gear? It always feels like you're landing a brick when you touch down, no matter how smoothly...

4. Navigation signals and receivers - When I fly in real life, I seldom have a perfect VOR signal all the way from the VOR to its 80nm range. And certainly not behind mountains or low over rough terrain, though that's probably not easy to implement.

5. Cloud shadows - Someone else mentioned this. It's subtle, but it's something I remember vividly as a child flying commercially to the US midwest to visit grandparents.

Sorry for the rambling. It's quite late and I got off work, found this thread, and had to register with the forum to pitch in my 2 cents. I've been quite excited about the idea of Aerosoft taking on this project since I found out. Thank you for the opportunity!

-Tony

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This is an exciting prospect; lots of good ideas already posted, but only one has specifically mentioned realistic flight dynamics for helicopters.

I would add to that very high definition textures and a chin bubble/pilot's window downward view for realistic precision landings, particularly for landings on ship/rig/lighthouse helipads and for bush/mountain helipads.

I would also like to see more realistic engine start/shutdown procedures (cf. Dodosim) and systems operations in all aircraft.

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Top of my wish list would be proper flight dynamics for the aircraft . This is the area the forums for rival sims slate FSX .

How about a modular system ? Rather than trying to create everything for all men , have a core that does the basics very well and have modules for each specialised area.

Glider pilots would get a module that gives them the microclimate they require and towplanes that react to the glider (and vice versa)and winches .

The military guys could have a module that would give them weapon releases ,target drones and explosions .

The heavies would have their airport interaction etc.

Carrier ops ? Pylon racing ?

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ATC: Perhaps have a generic solution similar to what we have now, but allow this to be replaced with a modular/hierarchical system where flights are passed from entity to entity. These entities could use defined interfaces to talk to each other and they could even be third-party supplied, covering specific area(s). This could even go down to per-airport specific modules when needed (to cater for special circumstances like e.g. LOWI etc.).

ATC: Perhaps with more and more cores available to use, maybe one could optionally be 'reserved' to act as voice recognition for ATC. At least for simpler replies/requests.

COM: Please allow the COM radios to be tuned down to the lowest VOR frequency so that we can get ATIS that is co-located with VORs (i.e. on the same frequency).

Cheers,

Siggy

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For the multiplayer part:

as I'm a member of IvAo I would strongly suggest to make the multiplayer like it has been done in FSX, so that in the case of IvAo the others are not multiplayer aircraft but AI aircraft through our interface. This way we can see effects through IvAp ...

And as I'm a Spec Ops guy, please insert TACAN frequencies (Channels), so that finally we can enjoy the MIL HI and LOW TACAN procedures :D

Ow, not to forget: don't make it dependend on multinational machines like FSX, not all people can effort the systems needed to run FSX nicely ... Especially with the economic crisis ...

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Keyboard Layout: I liked the more logically arranged keyboard layout that the old ATP sim had. If I recall correctly, it used ctrl-<key> combos for communication (radios, ATC), alt-<key> I can't remember, the book is stored away in a box :-), perhaps alt-<key> were for view commands.

Built-in simple Fuelplanner: If each aircraft defined what the fuel burn is under what conditions (taxi,takeoff,climb,cruise[speed,FL],descent) the sim could do a rough calculation of how much fuel is needed for a trip (and perhaps add 10%). This helps people who currently don't bother and takeoff with full tanks for a short trip. It should perhaps be possible that the built-in fuel planner is overridden for certain 3rd party aircraft with a more exact version (like a 3rd party supplied DLL).

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1. Interaction with Ground personnel and aircrew - Features like this opens out the airport on a whole. Interacting with ground crew on loading up the aircraft, pushing back..., Interaction and talking to the Cabin Crew.

2. Virtual Landing Fees!! - When you start the sim you can have some virtual money in which you either buy a plane or have a selection of planes. You then fly and whichever airport you go to you have to pay to land. The 'virtual' money gets deducted everytime you land. To increase the money you either have to buy it online from Aerosoft or take part in airshow or competitions in the sim. Bigger airports = Bigger landing fee, Small airports = Smaller landing fee.

Goog Luck guys

Tristan M

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One aspect that would make seasoned users of MSFS consider moving over would be complete compatibility of ALL Aerosoft's superb scenery AND the ability to download a replacement of an already owned piece of Aerosoft's scenery for FS9 or FSX to install in the NEW AeroFS at zero or very small extra charge. This would go a long way to persuade people like me, who have thousands of pounds worth of scenery and aircraft already invested in FS9, to move over to a new sim. If you do what MS did with FSX and "Break Everything" then people like me will not move over. What makes my FS9 for me is the wonderful stuff I have added to it (a lot of it Aerosoft). I love my FS9 but it is all the added scenery that makes me love it and certainly NOT the default FS9 stuff.

I would take this suggestion even further and say that you could make a good start by incorporating all your very best Aerosoft airport scenery into your new AeroFS as default scenery...perhaps the "Delux Version" at a reasonable extra charge.

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Multiple VORs/ADFs/...: Allow that a cockpit creates, upon loading of the aircraft, all the VORs/ADFs/COM radios etc. that it wants instead of having a fixed set of 2xVOR + 1xADF + 2xCOM. These should be objects of the aircraft and not of the base sim.

PCL: Pilot Controlled Lighting at smaller airports that use this (or is it 'PAL' [Pilot Activated Lighting]?). The sim would then also need a PTT button (push-to-talk) as the receiver at the airport needs to receive a signal and therefore tuning a frequency in the aircraft is not enough, one needs to transmit for a second or so I assume. You would probably need some state associated with the runway/airport to make the lights turn off after some time (don't know how they are turned off in real life).

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Another idea:

Make use of multiple ILS frequencies: in Belgium, Liege airport (EBLG) has 3 ILSes but all ahve the same frequency cause ATC can select and activate the one that is needed. This feature would be greatly appreciated by us EBLG flyers and can some sort of get integrated in the pilot controlled lighting as said above me

AND: usage of L and R gates. In EBBR for example we have 169L and 169R, depending on aircraft size the L or R is used. But in FS you would have 2 aircraft on the same gate ...

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Great idea , making a brand new sim.

I would like to see clouds wich move according the wind-direction and throwing shades on the ground.

Different movements at different hights would be great.

Once I have been dreaming about visible icing of wings and windows IN VC view.( or even a very unlucky bird crashing the windshield and or damaging engines , causing real trouble)

Leen de Jager

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Hey Mathijs,

At www.DutchFS.com forums we have this topic called 'Wensen voor een eventuele opvolger FSX'. Maybe you can take a look there to read how the people think about missing features in FSX and what features they would like to have in a new FS.

However, the forum is in Dutch language only, so not everyone will be able to read it, but it's worth a try!

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