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Irving Grey

A new simulator (September/ October issue)

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I just remembered what made me harp on a good centralized flight management and auto-flight framework. Following is an attempted description of how integration could be improved with a properly designed framework. Note that I may have some details wrong, but the result is the same - I am making assumptions of FSX implementation details for the purpose of illustration.

This example involves Radar Contact using automation of copilot actions with a complex add-on aircraft. This does not work in many cases with FSX. When I use Radar Contact 4 with FSX and a high fidelity add-on aircraft, I cannot use the RC4 option to automate certain functions by having RC4 tell FSX in the background to change values (to simulate a First Officer doing a subset of the button pushing automatically). The reason this does not work is that FSX does not have a proper API for more complex (and realistic) airliner modeling. This is either a coarse-grained vs fine-grained problem or something else, but the result is that telling FSX to change some things via the API does not allow FSX to call back to the aircraft add-on with the same information - instead FSX's default autopilot implementation, for instance, has to receive and act on this request (or as better add-on aircraft do, which is to ignore it).

Having a template-like framework for inputs (and results) to subsystems could allow the add-on aircraft custom logic to be triggered by another add-on. FSX has an all or nothing approach that obviously does not allow this type of integration. For example, Radar Contact (for AFS2012) should be able to call an AFS2012 function for low level inputs, like setting the cleared altitude, or maybe some higher level "intent-based" API, such as "do whatever your model needs to proceed to altitude X ASAP", which would call the aircraft add-on with the same level event (if that add-on has registered for this feedback), and the add-on aircraft would perform specific actions as needed. So Radar Contact could tell AFS2012 "expedite to altitude X", AFS2012 would tell the add-on aircraft to "expedite to altitude X", and the add-on aircraft would do the action(s) needed to accomplish either a low level or high level composite request, depending on the given request. So AFS2012 would not have to know about aircraft differences in implementation, and neither would a controlling add-on like Radar Contact, but it could request well known low level or composite actions of custom aircraft. The key here is proper choices of what composite actions and what low level actions make sense for ANY aircraft.

Anyway, the idea is to allow aircraft add-ons to insert custom implementation on an as-needed basis. For a particular action, the aircraft add-on could:

1) implement the action, and tell AFS2012 to forward the request when made (what complex aircraft should be able to do in the above situation)

2) tell AFS2012 to do nothing when the request when made (what complex aircraft currently do with the above FSX situation)

3) tell AFS2012 to act on the request when made (default implementation)

This would allow an add-on like Radar Contact to control automated input to a Smiths system like in an Airbus, a particular system used in a Boeing, a Honeywell system in an Embraer, and the add-on (Radar Contact) would still not know or care about which one happens to be used in the current aircraft. The framework in AFS2012 would allow this. More work would be needed by each add-on aircraft developer, but the result could mean a very different experience than that with FSX. Also, this approach, carefully implemented, could open up new opportunities and even new types of functionality in general for the add-on community.

Hope that translates for someone out there.

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Sorry for the long post...

One thing I don't like about FSX is how ugly and messy the ground textures look. They make you not want to fly too low, instead of encouraging you to drop down and explore the terrain. The ground just looks like a jumbled up mess. Buildings here; power cuts there; roads here; trees there. All of these things should be implemented, but they should blend in. They shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. I like the way the ground looks in RoF; it looks "clean." It gives a much more realistic impression of the way the ground looks from the air. I especially love the way the forests look in RoF. They look very filled in, and the ground textures below them aren't drastically different from anywhere else. FSX seems to try to give the impression of a forest (a very poor one), instead of actually putting a forest there. The trees are very sparse, and the ground textures are drastically different in the forests in a poor attempt to make up for the sparse trees. Yet the excellent forests in RoF don't have a huge frame rate impact. Another thing I would like to see is more accurate landclass. The rural areas of the region where I live are an interesting patchwork of forests broken up by farmland. But in FSX it's just forest. The only farmland is in small areas around towns. In real life, the rural areas appear to be about a 50/50 split between farmland and forest. I imagine this would be tricky to represent accurately, since it isn't just one or the other. I don't know much about landclass at all, but maybe you could do something like this. Give rural areas a "base" landclass of "forest," and have a "secondary" landclass of "farmland." Then, you could assign a percent of coverage of the "secondary" landclass. Also, please give us better fall season textures. The fall textures in FSX look very brown and dead. They need more vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows.

As I've said before, make the graphics and flight model similar to RoF, and this will be one great sim.

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Flight/Physics/External and Internal Model:

Please fly the DCS-Blackshark K-50. In my mind it is the best of helicopter-simulation.

Your new sim should be at the same level regarding helicopters including external & internal model and - last but NOT least - realism of the flight-model.

Weather:

I am flying online for some years on VATSIM and am a virtual air traffic controller. What I am really missing is the online-weather-combatibility at all.

When a pilot is experiencing a thunderstorm at a particular area all other pilots should have the thunderstorm at exact the same position! That way it would be possible for online-ATCo to vector pilots around the bad-weather-area as it is in real-world.

And the thunderstorm or in better words the precipitation should appear on a functional weather radar in the cockpit - and the ATC-radar-screen (to be developed for the ATC-radarclients as 3rd party add-on). MS-FS and no add-on aircraft for it has no functional weather-radar because it is not possible in the MS-FS.

All weather-data should based on real-time-real-world-data (at least as possibility).

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Flight/Physics/External and Internal Model:

Please fly the DCS-Blackshark K-50. In my mind it is the best of helicopter-simulation.

Your new sim should be at the same level regarding helicopters including external & internal model and - last but NOT least - realism of the flight-model.

Weather:

I am flying online for some years on VATSIM and am a virtual air traffic controller. What I am really missing is the online-weather-combatibility at all.

When a pilot is experiencing a thunderstorm at a particular area all other pilots should have the thunderstorm at exact the same position! That way it would be possible for online-ATCo to vector pilots around the bad-weather-area as it is in real-world.

And the thunderstorm or in better words the precipitation should appear on a functional weather radar in the cockpit - and the ATC-radar-screen (to be developed for the ATC-radarclients as 3rd party add-on). MS-FS and no add-on aircraft for it has no functional weather-radar because it is not possible in the MS-FS.

All weather-data should based on real-time-real-world-data (at least as possibility).

mmmmmm.... but there is no detailed weather data, not to the level of a single thunderstorm cell.

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Hello !

It's my first post in this forum ! I'm from France and really exciting by the development of a new flight sim ! (and i'm sorry for the english mistakes I could make !)

mmmmmm.... but there is no detailed weather data, not to the level of a single thunderstorm cell.

But can we imagine a possibility for a virtual ATC to generate a specific weather for his own area, and every pilot who are online at this moment will see this weather ?

In my opinion, if you want to see your FS perpetuate, you have to allow developers to create, modify easily scenery and plane ! (but I think MSFS add-on compatibly should be NOT a priority ! You have to base your sim on a totally new engine !) And, please, forget helicopter, focus on plane flight model (there is enough job for you) ! About the flight model, take a look on RoF !

A new simulator should include complex systems management such as hydraulic, electric, autopilot (and FMS). It should also be possible easily divide tasks between several computer, in order to have a more efficient and complete sim... (a dream is to have 1 'great' computer (DX11, Windows 7/8 etc...) and others 'old' computer that work for the 'great' one as slave !) !

And obviously, this stuff should work perfectly on a 2012 average computer !!!!

And please buy a 3D/physics engine and focus on systems !

Thx,

ludo

(sorry for my english mistakes !!! =) )

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mmmmmm.... but there is no detailed weather data, not to the level of a single thunderstorm cell.

Right, unfortunately there IS no data of that detail. But what the weather engine could do is CREATE such data by estimating the possibility of - for example - a thunderstorm cell. I'm thinking of some kind of "weather objects": maybe it is not possible (and not necessary) to control every single cloud, but the "more interesting" weather phenomenons like precipitaion, icing, wind shears or updrafts in the mountains can be treated as objects, created an controlled with a certain probability AND by the analysis of the METARs.

Another idea to get smoother weather changes: (I don't have weather add-ons so I'm not sure if they already do it this way)

The biggest problem when using the most actual METAR data ist to calculate the following one. Ok, that's simply impossible for a single PC even in 2012 :-)

But what if we "fly behind the METAR": M1 is the most actual one, M2 is the predecessor. But in the sim we use M2 for the actual situation. The clue is: the weather engine doesn't have to predict the weather in 30 minutes - it already knows the data: M1. So this should give a smooth change in weather.

Yes, I know, it's all easier said than done. Sorry, I'm not a programmer :-)

Regards,

Daniel

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The idea of Daniel isn't bad and probably there is a solution for this problem! Users already have to download the weather data from servers but what about if a Aerosoft server loads the data and calculates the weather situation?

A detailed map (with GPS coordinates?) where (big) clouds are and the details about them: altitude, size, winds, ... . As Daniel said it is impossible to do such calculations on a single PC but not for many Servers in a Cluster! Cloud-computing is a possible solution, like AWS EC2 (http://aws.amazon.com/). Its not that much expensive and you can store the data directly at the S3 Servers also from AWS. The user just loads the data from the S3 Servers. And the AWS Services have a good advantage, the access speed is on the whole earth the same. Also the programming of S3 is very simple due to the API (already tested it).

I don't know what dimensions we are talking about (not exactly) and this service should just be implemented where many people are flying like europe, or only if IVAO/VATSIM are requesting weather for some places. So you dont have to render the data for the whole planet ^^. But it is a possible approach on the problematic in ONLINE flying.

with best regards, EK

P.S: Even if AWS or other cloud computing services, are not that much expansive, a monthly or year subscription will be, very likely, required.

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Cockpit builders could need some improvements.

FSX has (only) 1323 controls, which can be used for joysticks, assigned by FSUPIC.

I guess, that is sufficient for Airbus & Boeing jets, but not for multi piston engin aircrafts.

For example the PBY Catalina (one of the best aircraft addons!) was a big disappointment for me, as I planed to build a cockpit.

Many switches like Starter, Primer, Cab Heat, Cowl Gills etc. couldn't be connected to my hardware.

As they are custom programmed switches ( not using standard FSX key assignments).

Using the mouse isn't realy funny in combination with TrackIR.

This is an increasing problem, as addon aircrafts are getting more and more complex.

More default controls and keyboard commands?

There will always be an exotic switch overlooked.

So there should be a big amount of „free" controls for addon builder, which could be used in this case.

I guess, Pete Dowson could make good suggestions, how this could be managed.

Albrecht

it could be useful to have input commands assigned by aircraft or by aircraft family (prop 4 engine, prop 2 engine, jet 4 engine etc.., floatplane, amphibian, tyres, bush).

and when you select an aircraft, you can choose a set of command among the existing configurations (with filter for engine type et engine number, constructor, floatplane etc..). A kind of template library of input commands set.

for example, the same button on a goflight module can be use for gear on a tired aircraft and for floats on an amphibian one. or axes on the quadrant for a 1 engine prop are not use like on a 4 engines jet.

(for example with 4 axes, "throttle, pitch, mixture and cowl flap" on the prop, and throttle Engine 1,2,3,4 for the jet)

(on fsx, i have several standard.xml according to the aircraft i use)

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Hi,

first I want to say how glad and excited I am about this project. I think it´s really exciting and fascinating simulating the complex real world on a computer and I believe this project will take this to a next very high level.

I also agree with having many addon creators involved so everybody can contribute with what they can do best anyway.

Here I just want to ask for something. Please make all the addons fit really smoothly into the main simulator. In FS9 I thinkt it is really anoying having to start various programs to be able to do a decent flight. Some advanced ingame menu from where you can change all the settings for all installed addons and activate and deactivate them would be great. Also with layout limitations so the entire simulator has a reconisable appearance and doesn´t turn out to be a mosaic again.

I hope you know what I mean and it would make it seem a lot more "finished" and compact.

Wish you the Best for this exciting project!

Dominik

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I wanted to say something to the cabin pressurization, but unfortunately when I read it, the thread was already closed. So I do it here.

From my point of view, simulating cabin pressurization is important. Especially for the people who might like to create more serious simulations. There had been a lot of points already, but I would like to add another one. Imagine that you have an electrical fire and the cockpit full of smoke (it depends on, if this smoke could/will be simulated in AFS2012). You would do a ram dump, in order to try to suck this smoke out of the cockpit and you would immediately descend to a safe altitude, where a pressure loss would have no or no serious impact. If people have to train this emergency procedure, a capability to simulate that has to be there. So it would be nice to have this simulated.

Just another point to what have been said before.

-Pete

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Greetings,

1st off, I would like to express my excitement for this potential product...it's refreshing that a developer is soliciting ideas from the community on features that may have been overlooked. I would also like to apologize should this post run long.

My first suggestion (and most of the ones after) would be for the rotorheads (like myself). One thing FS did was simulate all helicopters as single engine aircraft. Even some of the third party dual engine aircraft had to behave like their single engine counterpart (in regards to startup). Most of the time the TGT and N1 for the 2nd engine would just rise unrealistically, and the second engine had no bearing on the aircraft at all. It would be nice if helicopters were able to have realistic startup procedures (like we see in most 3rd party fixed wing A/C).

Suggestion #2, ATC that gives instructions a little better for helicopters (and any other VTOL aircraft). In FS, ATC will always direct you to take off and land to/from the active runway, instead of the helipad (at most airports), taxiways (which some airports allow), and in some cases present postion takeoffs from the ramp. FS also doesn't take into account that nearly all helicopters perform a hover power check before actually departing...the ATC will more than likely tell you that you're not cleared for takeoff. Those additions would help the offline pilot greatly when it comes to flying helicopters.

Suggestion #3...incorperate night vision devices (NVG's, FLIR, etc) into the sim. Most (if not all) helicopters, and some fixed wing aircraft use these devices for night flying. The night vision feature has been modeled in some sims, but not in FS. This feature will make more rotorheads (like myself) happy, and may intice more sim users to give helicopter flight a shot.

Suggestion #4...in regards to airport lighting. Most of the other posters have hit the nail on the head with this topic, but 1 thing (kind of minor) that FS didn't model correctly was the rotating beacon at military airfields. Military airfields have a green, followed by 2 white lights instead of the green and white rotating beacon found at civil airfields. Not a show stopper, but it would be nice to see that aspect of airfield lighting modeled correctly.

Thanks for the opportunity to allow suggestions on AFS2012, and the best of luck to your staff with the development of this sim. I look forward to spending lots of time enjoying this sim just as much as I enjoy your addons for FS. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Best Regards,

Trent

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Check out the Unigine engine !!! Download the demo and fly around (Tropics Benchmark)

http://unigine.com/download/

Imagine a New FSX with this Engine !! Would it be possible ??

Wow take a look at their new "Heaven" benchmark/movies, I hope it is suitable for a simulator

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I would not mind, paying a monthly subscription for the future Aerosoft simulator while getting frequent updates on EVERYTHING, Sim engine, sceneries, aircrafts, service packs, weather, AIRAC, AFCADS, also including online experiense capabilities as a replacement to IVAO/VATSIM to an Aerosoft online system, that meets and expands the abilities of formentioned networks.

There are people who paying that fee for (in my opinion inferior in quality) systems like WOW and the like..

How about that?

Nick Poulis

Paying for updates is one thing but when you're talking about replacing VATSIM with a payware client, I would expect fully staffed ATC facilities at all times. Whenever I wanted to fly. So unless you're willing to help pay for virtual controllers to man scopes all day and night, I'd stick with VATSIM. It's free and no one is complaining.

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can I make a plea for more detailed environments and related weather?(sorry if this has already been asked for)

Part of the fun of FS is discovering new areas and places so I would like to see realistic deserts (and sandstorms), jungles, ice, snow, seas etc,

could make for some really interesting flying.

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(sorry for my english mistakes !!! =) )

Never apologize for your English. I completely understood you and that is all that matters.

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Wow take a look at their new "Heaven" benchmark/movies, I hope it is suitable for a simulator

Most of these engines are just not usable as they can not calculate round worlds and sight lines of 100Km. Most are created for far more closed environments.

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