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Peter Lürkens

Task 1

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I know this is old thread, but how are these task (Task1 and Task2) installed? The ReadMe refers to "...the directory, that is used to hold Flightsimulator files", but it's not clear to me exactly what that might mean. I've tried putting them into a Mission folder, but no joy.

OK, I see the new version of Task 1 just above, in Mission form, thanks. What about the files in Task2?

What and where is the most current happenings for soaring missions and competitions? Everything here seems to be several years old.

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Simply extract all files into directory with your saved FSX flights, then start FSX and load the flight "Task 2". There is no mission briefing stuff or other candy. Information on the task is given in forum posts, instead.

best regards,

Peter

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Thanks, Peter! I actually figured it out after reading the tutorial about getting the GPS waypoints for a mission (and making triangular flight plan by editing in Notepad.

http://carrier.csi.cam.ac.uk/forsterlewis/soaring/sim/fsx/dev/gps/

Now I understand these are saved flight plans, whereas I had them confused with missions at first. I just bought and installed FSX for first time a few days ago, so I had no idea about this folder where the saved flight plans go, but I found it now. My goal is to create and host some soaring tasks for a few friends I fly with in Condor. We want to see what soaring is like in FSX.

I have FSX Gold installed, plus a few of Wolfgang's gliders, FSUIPC4, CAISet, and CumulusX. Eveything is working, but still trying to get a feel for it all, and reading as much as I can find.

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You're very welcome.

BTW, there is a little trick how you can make (practically) triangulart flight plans or any other roundtrips w/o using notepad. Just select as the starting point not the currently active runway, but another one instead (or parking position) and let FSX find a Direct GPS route first. This gives an initial piece of track which can be drawn to any other waypoint even to such which are not defined waypoints of FSX at all. With the slight error of some hundred meters this will produce a valid FSX roundtrip flightplan without fumbling with text editors.

Of course, the full fledged missions from Ian, and others, are a lot more of entertainment.

best regards,

Peter

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One more remark, when it comes to definition of the weather:

If you plan for very detailed weather with setting of local stations, e.g. for inserting some "difficult regions", go first to "Clear Weather Theme" which erases effectively all previous weather settings. Then go to the "Custom Weather" and set the global weather for a background situation. If this has a suitable cloud layer, than CumulusX! will produce thermal clouds even when the local weather station does not report any clouds. If the global situation is blue, then you will have blue thermals there.

This allows controlling the appearance of thermal clouds, even in case that FSX produces large intermittent blue areas, and without the need to use the UnBlue function. Defining a global weather background upfront works also with weather themes and real weather. (Its also in the manual, but just in case ...)

best regards,

Peter

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Here's some comments to help point you in the right direction, as you clearly know computer-based-soaring (from Condor) but not the quirks of FSX.

Take a peek at this page with a few missions for download, in the light of the following comments (I am not suggesting you create a mission - the FLT/PLN/WX/CMX format is all that is needed these days) but the missions do illustrate what makes up a FSX soaring task, but read on...

* Missions are slick, but a lot of work to produce, used to be essential for soaring FSX, and now are not really needed. On my page above, the missions up to Dornbirn (i.e. all up to but not including the Mifflin missions) use the in-build FSX mission thermal and ridgelift objects, which are now totally obsolete. The missions work as intended but new dynamically generated ridge-lift (and thermals) is a revelation in FSX.

* Peter Luerken's CumulusX came along, providing thermal and ridge-lift (ignore sim_probe, which is itself an obsolete ridge-lift add-on), so we could *still* use FSX missions for the task, timer etc, but didn't need to hand-place the thermals and ridgelift mission objects, just assume CumulusX (aka Cx) was running. The Mifflin missions on the page above are examples of these, and represent pretty much where 'FSX soaring missions' maxed out in terms of capabilities (start/finish, turnpoints, timer, HTML briefing, triggered voice events). If you haven't flown the existing FSX soaring missions I recommend them, but don't expect many new ones.

* 'Task 1' from Peter was pretty much the first soaring task *not* using the 'mission' format, so you don't get some of the candy but it *is* possible to create completely workable soaring tasks with FSX add-ons without using the missions system:

So for a working FSX soaring task you can share, you can take advantage of the following:

  • start with the SOAR DG808S glider. This has FSX instruments and a carefully calibrated glide performance. Other pilots can change the glider used for the task but at least you've set up a good starting point. The CAISET is functionally ok but dates from FS98 and is problematic to install for many users of FSX, compared to the simple drag and drop of a FSX glider. The glide performance of many (most) FSX add-on gliders is very inaccurate, because there is understandably more interest in the 3D model than flight tuning. The UKVGA ASW28 (V1.3) has FSX instruments and a realistic L/D.
  • CumulusX for vertical air movement (as you know). This will auto-generate thermals and ridgelift according to the current FSX weather.
  • Plan-G to create the soaring task (a .PLN file), create a screenshot for the briefing (you can use stock FSX planner but Plan-G is a great free tool)
  • Start a flight in FSX, load the Plan, set the weather (e.g. wind from the right direction, layer of Cu at the cloudbase you want), and SAVE the flight, which creates a .FLT and .WX file
  • you have to hand-edit the .FLT file to delete the reference to your personal documents folder for the .PLN file
  • create a .CMX file (see CumulusX docs) with the thermal parameters you want - this will lock the thermals settings so you know all users have the same.
  • Sim_logger FSX addon provides the IGC file format secure logging facility so pilots have a tracklog to prove their completion. You can optionally save a few .igc files with your FLT and WX files and other users with sim_logger will see those aircraft animated when they fly.
  • Cambridge Aero Explorer Plus will enable you to view and analyze logfiles of those that attempt the task
  • IGC tracklog files can be uploaded to everytrail.com so other pilots can see them without needing a utility such as CAI plus.

To ship your task for others to fly, you provide the .FLT, .WX, .PLN and .CMX files (and preferably create a post with a task overview and the screenshot of the flightplan). The files can be put in a ZIP, and the user drags them into their "Flight Simulator X Files" folder.

If you've come from Condor, the key difference is that FSX soaring is not typically real-time multiplayer. Pilots fly the same task and compare achievements afterwards. You can pause FSX during a long flight and that's ok. FSX multiplayer is just too awkward for most soaring pilots to bother with. Against that, the scenery and aircraft models kick ass in FSX and CumulusX does a better job of thermals and ridge lift than anything else out there. There are still users using FS2004 for soaring, but the techniques and tools needed are very different than FSX, there's no ridge lift, and the thermals are all hard-coded, so there's not real overlap between FS2004 and FSX soaring pilots (although UKVGA do a good job of creating an FSX/FS2004 agnostic community).

Perhaps you can write up your comparison of Condor and FSX when you'e tried a few FSX cross-country tasks.

B21

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* Missions are slick, but a lot of work to produce, used to be essential for soaring FSX, and now are not really needed...

* 'Task 1' from Peter was pretty much the first soaring task *not* using the 'mission' format, so you don't get some of the candy but it *is* possible to create completely workable soaring tasks with FSX add-ons without using the missions system:

The CAISET is functionally ok but dates from FS98 and is problematic to install for many users of FSX, compared to the simple drag and drop of a FSX glider. The glide performance of many (most) FSX add-on gliders is very inaccurate,

Plan-G to create the soaring task (a .PLN file),

Cambridge Aero Explorer Plus will enable you to view and analyze logfiles of those that attempt the task

If you've come from Condor, the key difference is that FSX soaring is not typically real-time multiplayer.

Perhaps you can write up your comparison of Condor and FSX when you'e tried a few FSX cross-country tasks.

Wow, B21, thanks a lot for that detailed info! That probably saved me a lot of forum surfing! I try to read as much as I can before wading in with a lot of questions that have been answered upteen times before.

I have downloaded a lot of those missions, and not actually flown them, but just spawned in to see what they are like. I immediately realized I had no clue about how the CAISet/GPS/Flight Computer worked. I have experimentd a little with laying out and saving a couple of flight plan as you have described, but it is the whole process (ala the Condor PDA) of using the Glide Computer to start, and follow the task that eludes me at the moment. I found the CAISet manual, and was planning to read through that to get a handle on it.

I also found the old FSZViewer2, and played around with it to load .dat files from the Worldwide TP Exchange, select a task, and save them to a file. I thought that would be a possible route to generate a task for the GPS-NAV, but it sounds like the Plan-G you mention is the current tool to use.

I host a dedicated Condor server, and fly weekly with my brother and a few friends, so my plan is for us to actually do the multiplayer thing with FSX, initially to duplicate tasks we have flown in Condor.

I'm a little surprised about the glider performance comment...does that apply to Wolfgang Piper's gliders? (many of which we have downloaded already)

I did read another post of yours here, where you mentioned the robust multiplayer community that Condor has, as compared to FSX.

At this early stage, I would say that a couple of the more obvious reasons for that (as I'm sure you know) are:

1. Condor was designed from the get-go to be a multiplayer, competiton soaring simulator, and to that end...

2. It comes with a ready-to-use Dedicated Server, that is simple to set up, and will run on pretty much any old Windows PC

3. Any dedicated server running, or anybody hosting with their game, shows up on a community serverlist webpage, and joining any of those hosted tasks is as simple as clicking on it.

4. Creating tasks in the Condor Flight Planner is dead simple, especially in comparison to the way it seems to be done in FSX

Not to come off as a Condor Fanboy, I'm sure I will love FSX as much as Condor, but those are some of the obvious reasons why Condor has such a thriving multiplayer commmunity. Tools like CumulusX! and the methodology you guys have developed for creating and sharing soaring tasks are a needed step in the right direction for FSX.

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thanks...

Wolfgang Piper is an outstanding glider *aircraft model* developer, not instruments or flight models. So if like Wolfgang your primary interest is 3D modelling, there isn't a huge difference between FS2004 and FSX. But if you need fidelity in the flight model you have to stick to FSX - setting up the aerodynamic parameters is a complex iterative process - for gliders we need the correct stall speed, the correct max glide ratio, and the correct polar (i.e. drop off of glide ratio at high speed). Plus the change in these values should be reasonable for full and empty ballast settings. There are very very few people that do this stuff, but it includes myself, Peter, Bert and a couple of others. You need to create a special panel gauge that displays L/D in real time - how else could you know whether your polar is accurate? Anyway, when you install that gauge into most FSX gliders it reveals a horror story if you care about the glider polar - the stock FSX DG808S has a glide ratio of 75:1 at 45 knots, Wolfgang's Duo Discus has an *infinite* glide ratio if you fly slowly enough.

Don't get me wrong, you can have a lot of fun pootling about in the sky in any FS2004/FSX glider, but if you compare cross-country flights and the other person was in the Duo Discus, there's no valid comparison.

Re the GPS:

In FSX, the cockpit panel GPS instrument will automatically direct you around the FSX flightplan. I.e. all you have to do is fly an aircraft with any GPS instrument, and have a flightplan loaded. This doesn't rely on any 3rd party addon. You can create the flightplan with Plan-G if you want to (it creates the same .PLN file the FSX flight planner would).

Gliders with GPS instruments on the panel include the stock DG808S, the SOAR DG808S, the UKVGA ASW28, and the payware Aerosoft Discus. The GPS is an *FSX* instrument, so you won't see it in FS2004, and Wolfgang's gliders don't include it.

The CAISET instruments include a GPS which does not read the FS flight plan, but has to be programmed separately. Development on these programs stopped at least five years ago. You would be nuts to *start* with this software in 2010. You might be able to get it to work, but you wouldn't be able to give the task to anyone else.

My advice is load the UKVGA ASW28:

asw28_panel.jpg

create a flight plan, and you'll see it displayed on the moving map and the GPS-NAV. Or try a similar thing with the SOAR DG808S.

Note that the ASW28 is a 3D model created for prior versions of MSFS (by Peter Franke in 2002), but has just had the instruments and flight model updated. The same could be done to other CAISET gliders from Wolfgang but someone would have to get off their ass and do it - Wolfgang isn't concerned afaik.

Re Tasks:

Actually creating tasks is very easy - just use the inbuilt task planner or Plan-G. The .PLN file created is a task you can share. The CAISET/FSwever2 stuff is obsolete and even if you get a task loaded for yourself, you'll never be able to share it (ok ok, maybe with your brother....)

Re Multiplayer:

Thanks for the info on Condor. For FSX multiplayer you can use FSX natively on a 'server', and other players connect directly via the IP address. There was a 'GameSpy' lobby service added as an afterthought just before FSX went to release, but it was absolutely hopeless and I advise you to avoid it. Here's the direct IP connect info. For cross country soaring we've needed a dedicated FSX server on a known IP address for a long time, but the community has never had one. I think there'll be issues of starting and re-starting it appropriately, e.g. as the times and weather synchronise with the users you really want to keep the times within maybe 10am and 6pm, rather than have it roll all the way around 24 hours. None of this needs 3rd party multiplayer software.

You can get 3rd party multiplayer software - e.g. see at UKVGA - these all assume FS2004 / FSX equally (maybe also FS2002) which sounds laudable and works well for jets, but soaring is then crippled by the FS2004 users.

The large hosted multiplayer flightsim networks, like VATSIM, are totally oriented towards large jet operations, with many participants joining purely for the air traffic control aspect. UKVGA make a brave attempt to support multiplayer soaring using these tools so you could check them out, but there's no assumption of common weather, and because FS2004 is supported there's no expectation of common thermals either, so UKVGA activity is limited to local club operations.

I don't think you'll come across as a Condor fanboy, but I'll be interested to see how far you get with FSX multiplayer - the direct IP approach is the one I'd recommend. But I'm sure Condor is going to remain more usable in that regard. But I'll be interested to read in due course how you'd compare the other aspects.

B21

PS the reason I fly FSX rather than Condor is because the Condor graphics look cartoonish to me, compared to what you can do with FSX with very inexpensive addons, and I have no interest in photo scenery if that wipes out the 3d scenery objects. But maybe those prejudices are wrong.

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...Wolfgang's Duo Discus has an *infinite* glide ratio if you fly slowly enough...

OK, good to know. So far, I have installed the 2-33A and Blanik from Wolfgang, largely because I trained on those out of Belleville, Ontario. On the weekend, I made and flew a 110km task from Belleville, using the Blanik, FSX Flight Planner, CumulusX! It *seemed* realistic enough...i.e. at 140 km/hr, the ground was getting near alarmingly fast! I've tried the SOAR DG808S on another task I made in Austria/Germany, but have encountered some trim issues with it, which I posted elsewhere, maybe due to the TrimWizard...not sure yet.

...In FSX, the cockpit panel GPS instrument will automatically direct you around the FSX flightplan.

...The CAISET instruments include a GPS which does not read the FS flight plan, but has to be programmed separately. Development on these programs stopped at least five years ago. You would be nuts to *start* with this software in 2010. You might be able to get it to work, but you wouldn't be able to give the task to anyone else...

...My advice is load the UKVGA ASW28:

create a flight plan, and you'll see it displayed on the moving map and the GPS-NAV. Or try a similar thing with the SOAR DG808S.

...Actually creating tasks is very easy - just use the inbuilt task planner or Plan-G...The CAISET/FSwever2 stuff is obsolete and even if you get a task loaded for yourself, you'll never be able to share it....

I discovered the GPS direction feature in the task mentioned above in the SOAR DG-808S. But have not figured out arrival height and MC settings. The CAISet seems to cover all that, albeit in text form (no moving map). I thought it would be possible to simply distribute the GPS-NAV.dat file along with the other FSX files for the flight plan, then everyone would have the CAISet GPS TP info for the task.

I have the ASW28, but not tried it yet. It is the Standard Class sailplane I usually fly in Condor, and the moving map display in your pic is like what the Condor PDA would display. It would be a good platform for any comparisons.

Also downloaded Plan-G, so will give that a try and see if it makes the process any easier than the FSX Flight Planner. If it lets me make triangular tasks without the Notepad hacking, it will be a step ahead!

...'GameSpy' lobby service added as an afterthought just before FSX went to release, but it was absolutely hopeless and I advise you to avoid it. Here's the direct IP connect info.

...I'll be interested to see how far you get with FSX multiplayer - the direct IP approach is the one I'd recommend.

OK, I was planning to try the Gamespy route, and already set up an accout. We are familiar with the direct IP process, though, which can be done in Condor, and also the other sim we use, IL-2 Sturmovik:1946. Those MS instructions are pretty much guaranteed to fail for anyone behind a router, which is pretty common. I've forwarded ports UDP 23456 and 6073 on my router, not sure if those are all I will need.

Thanks for your continued attention, Ian. I will certainly keep you updated about our progress. What Time Zone are you in, by the way? We are Eastern Standard Time (southern Ontario, Canada) Would be kind of cool to have you fly with us some time.

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What Time Zone are you in, by the way? We are Eastern Standard Time (southern Ontario, Canada) Would be kind of cool to have you fly with us some time.

I'm in UK, which is EST+5 hours - if you get it working let me know!

Good luck.

B21

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Take a peek at this page with a few missions for download...

...start with the SOAR DG808S glider. This has FSX instruments and a carefully calibrated glide performance. Other pilots can change the glider used for the task but at least you've set up a good starting point. The CAISET is functionally ok but dates from FS98 and is problematic to install for many users of FSX, compared to the simple drag and drop of a FSX glider.

I tried the Austrian Soaring Day 2 task...very nice job, Ian! I can see the appeal of the extra frills that the mission format provides, but agree it seems like too much extra work for tasksetters. I was watching the GPS on that, and it gives a slightly early indication of reaching a turnpoint than the mission itself. I turned early at WP1 as a result, and was well on my way back before I realized the compass was still point back at the turnpoint...lost about 5 minutes backtracking.

Having used the SOAR DG-808S, with the FSX GPS and your Netto Cambridge, I've kind of got the feel, now, for working with those instruments. However, reading up on the CAISet instrument, it appears to offer a lot of features which may make if worth the little extra trouble to install and use. For one thing, it has a Speed-to-fly indicator (push-pull). Also, from the manual pictures, it looks clearer to read than the FSX GPS, although I have not yet tried it out to see if that is actually the case in the cockpit.

Regarding sharing a task using the CAISet instruments, it seems as simple as just adding the required GPS-NAV.dat and LNAV_polar.dat files, along with the other .PLN, .FLT, .WX, and .csx files that you would distribute for the flight plan, or am I missing something? From what I've seen of editing panel.cfg files, it seems like not a lot of trouble to substitute one for the other. I'll try a task with both instruments with my brother and friends, and let you know how it works out, or if we hit a snag,

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