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Mathijs Kok

Topic: Homebuild cockpits

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It's a small market, but as we think about a new simulator it would be silly not to think about them. So let me know what FSX does wring for you pit builders.

I do understand you like to split sims into two parts, one that does the cockpit and one that does the external views. Something we fully agree with, they should be able to run on separate systems.

Talk to me.

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One single license sufficient for the entire system.

regards,

Peter

You mean no limitations on the amount of systems you install on? Fine idea but it more or less removes any possible copyright protection (and because of that increases the price a customer pays, cause in the end the customer pays for piracy...). If an online protection system is used something could be possible of course but even some people that use television via IP, have used VOIP telephone for years and always fly FSX with real time weather, using a IP connection to a server seem to have a problem with that.

I think that a loss of connection that will no allow you to watch TV or even telephone would be a lot bigger problem then playing a game, lol. But then again, I got 18 'things' in my house that got an IP address and are online. From TV's to heating systemsso perhaps I am just ahead of the curve in this.

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Controls extensibility. We need to be able to use switches with all or any lights, in any combination, system wide... without a bunch of programming and workarounds. Mind you, I'm just using lights as an example -- this applies to many other things.

Thanks for thinking of us. ;)

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You mean no limitations on the amount of systems you install on?

I think he means that he should only have to buy one license for a single simulation that happens to run on multiple computers. So you might have one license for every seat that actually accepts control input, but allow slave engines to run on different machines off the same license.

Colin

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Fine idea but it more or less removes any possible copyright protection

Not necessarily, as such systems have to be connected between each other anyway by network, or other communication, which might be useful to distinguish from this situation and instances running ompletely independent. Think of a sort of a master installation, that some clients can hook on, just for providing subsystem functions but not an independent sim. E.g. only the master is allowed to sim the aircraft. All others may implement view system, instruments, weather and so on. Would make it very appealing for power simmers.

regards,

Peter

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So you might have one license for every seat that actually accepts control input, but allow slave engines to run on different machines off the same license.

Fine idea, too.

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Another simulator allows a projection mode of a seamless panorama to be projected on a curved screen.

The cockpit setup in this instance has window frames with the curved screen placed behind them.

Obviously the projected image is of the view from within the plane minus any plane.

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Mathijs, This is so noble of you to open up a topic like this, absolutly exellent!!!ohmy.gifclapping_s.gifcheers_s.gif I'm amazed at the involvment with the users with this sim(AFS2012)cheers_s.gif

Some exellent Ideas have allready surface from other builders I can see.wink.gif

Ok I will repost my suggestion about having the possiblility to use "distributed-computing"

meaning "no limit" on how many computers/PC's you can add to the sim:

-Ok lets say you have one "Master computer/PC" with the"AFS2012-core-simulation software"

The simulation is running ok, but you want a better experince(don't we all?) so you add one more PC to run as extra power for graphics.. Hmm ,still not running at 60FPS lets add one more pc?

Well now it has good performance, but I really want those maxed out 3d-volumetric clouds & sky to look real.

Well lets add one more PC to make it really shine with regards to maxed out settings and performance for graphics

biggrin.gif Woow smoking performance and graphics it looks real..

Ok lets try a one more PC to max out the Traffic settings,

And so it goes on... only limit will be your wallet tongue.gif

BIG but , It should not limit the type of graphics (ATI/Nvidia) to only add similar PC as the master computer. It will be extra processing power, so it would help even if you added your laptop, with a lame motherboard driven GPU..

And please do NOT fall in the same trap as MS with a preference for Nvidia-cards and Intel based PC's, any computer tech should work well with software, and It Should have a really good performance out of the box, But having the ability to offload if you feel you need extra power and smoothness.

If you could sort of divide the the sim in parts or modules, you could have example:

- Graphics module for water ,skyes, clouds, clarity of textures

- ATC/traffic module for getting better performance with lots of lots traffic

- physics module- to really calculate all those advanced physics, perhaps this could be used to calculate more advanced water settings(shaders) and more 3d- clouds and atmospherics , so it is not so graphics intensive(overhead) for the main Master PC

- flight-Instruments

- and so on

You could sort off, have this on a separate page or tab in sim settings, you could connect PC's and choose a module to offload to a second PC say eg you want to have more traffic, so cross of offload to a new PC in the settings

I hope this all makes sence, It could be a challenge, But I really think this "would blow everything" out off the water...cool.gif

Thanks for listening

Also with regards to settings, all features for controls, should be added , today you can't controll all lights in a proper way.

Many aircraft have pulsing landing-lights(beechjet 400A), a couple of sets of landing lights(737), logo-lights, putting all this functionality on 1 lights-switch is just NOT cutting it..huh.gif

I would like all lightsources to be separate switchable as in real life ,say if I want to turn on recognition-light the same time as a nav-light, then I should just wire it up that way, not having to compromise on funtionality because of that way it is programed to funtion..

(PS , English is not my native language so please, grammar isn't perfectblush.gif )

Best regards

Rune_ENHD

Norway

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Implement all function what FSUIPC can do for FS nowadays!!!

I hope you've invited Pete Dowson for the development of the new sim?

With FSUIPC I'm able to get control for my several hardware for nearly every function for every addon.

Hopefully this coding work is not necessary because the new flightsim is so open coded (and minded) the you need no tweaking.

But as I said: take a deep, deep look into FSUIPC and implement these functions ;-)

Also don't forget that an input with joybuttons also should be possible like any thinkable keycombination.

Very important (for me) is the implementation of a "switch" ability: means you can define a button or a key where you can switch between two functions, so you can define two or more controls to one button for example

(Blackshark has this very well done)

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Ok lets try a one more PC to max out the Traffic settings,

And so it goes on... only limit will be your wallet tongue.gif

I don't know if your opinion in the license question is "I want to by only one license for this setup" as well, but someone who buys hardware in the range of several thousand Euro or Dollar to setup his near perfect cockpit should not raise a question if he has to pay 50 or 100 or 150 or even 350 bucks for licenses to Aerosoft.

This would be just embarrassing in my eyes.

Of course everybody is happy if he or she is paying as less as possible.

But it should be comparatively.

If you only want a moving map on a laptop, a second license necessary seems not fair.

If two people want to have fun together in a two seater cockpit, a second license might be fair.

If two people want to have fun together in different locations, a second license might be necessary.

It depends to where the limit of copy protection should be.

Armin Podtschaske

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I don't know if your opinion in the license question is "I want to by only one license for this setup" as well, but someone who buys hardware in the range of several thousand Euro or Dollar to setup his near perfect cockpit should not raise a question if he has to pay 50 or 100 or 150 or even 350 bucks for licenses to Aerosoft.

This would be just embarrassing in my eyes.

Of course everybody is happy if he or she is paying as less as possible.

But it should be comparatively.

If you only want a moving map on a laptop, a second license necessary seems not fair.

If two people want to have fun together in a two seater cockpit, a second license might be fair.

If two people want to have fun together in different locations, a second license might be necessary.

It depends to where the limit of copy protection should be.

Armin Podtschaske

Please don't misunderstand me as miljonaire, because I am not..embaressed_s.gif But several people have spare computer parts leftover from upgrading hardware,

I only have 4 comps, but very low-spec though compared to to the FS-computer.. which is q6600 cpu, 8800gtx gpu, nothing really highend

other computers are strictly for project magenta(flight-instrumentation software)around 1-ghz and 32-128mb vram

It would be Nice if we could get licence a wich could be divided towards all theese computers, But I am willing to pay a bit more for this functionality.. blush.gif

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Im just at the beginning of homecockpit builds but as a developper maybe I can give you some food for thoughts.

Homecockpits are representing (in most cases) a networkcomputed system.

There should be a general scheduler for tasks wich can be run on the same maschine or on an other computer connected via TCP/IP connection or something like that.

ASFS2012 should use a strongly modular engine. So it will scale well with more CPU (virtual) cores or more PCs. Beside the standard modularisarion of graphics, physics, sound, inputs and .... there should be more detailed modularisation options.

For example, each Panel in an aircraft shoul be a simgle module, wich can be outsourced.

I know fsx has a good infrastructur but not finalized. You can put in weather informations or set some buttons from external modules. But there should be more restrictive rules to build add ons. The best example is the case of cockpit sharing. It works fine with standard aircrafts. But never considered by developers of addon aircrafts.

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As I said in a other topic, it should be possible to divide task between several computer (easily !), to make the sim more efficient !

I mean that it would be great to see for example 3 computers work together, one master and 2 'slaves'... So we could have several monitors that display environment, gauges and so on... (and I think in 2012, optical fibre networks will become more democratic !).

Or a computer could be responsible for displaying the graphical environment, another of the various systems etc...

Maybe we can imagine that you sell an input/output card that could communicate with the sim engine (and easily configurable of course !) and, obviously, not too expensive !!

And of course, a lot (or better, all) of parameters could be sent (and received) to hardware !

(sorry for my English mistakes, not that easy for a french guy ;) )

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Hello,

Possibility of distributed processing is a must. Including: A PC per widow view, a PC for traffic, a PC for the sim itself, multiple PCs for the panels / GPS / voxATC - MultiCrew type / weather radar etc...

SimConnect / FSUIPC support would be nice too.

Etienne

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Hello,

Possibility of distributed processing is a must. Including: A PC per widow view, a PC for traffic, a PC for the sim itself, multiple PCs for the panels / GPS / voxATC - MultiCrew type / weather radar etc...

SimConnect / FSUIPC support would be nice too.

Etienne

Isn't Simconnect a microsoft patented technology?

Rhydian

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I cannot live without multiple display view. As a matter of fact, many of serious simmers can't.

I'm currently using FSX in VC, in "horizontal span" view, which includes two 24" 1920x1200, configured in nVidia drivers to act like a single monitor at 3840x1200. This works very good, with one very extremly annoying problem:

Monitor frames are making a gap between the two, so I can't see the visor view properly, but separated as you can see at the following image:

2lclfyg.jpg

I still didn't find the solution, so it would be perfect if we can "cut" the underlying part of the visor, so it can act like a real one (like the visor is hidden behind the display frames). We'll need to cut the orange painted regions, wide as the display frame, like this:

15gquis.jpg

So we could manage to get this:

2wh2mvp.jpg

I know that I maybe demand too much, but you'll make many of us very happy if you just think about the adjustable 3D view having this in mind. :rolleyes:

Many of my fellow pilots are using more than one displey, so it would be nice to count that in. ;)

If we can say that any software can use this feature, the simulators will be the first on the list. Many of us like to use multiple displays configurations.

Possibility to separate 2D gauges from the 3D view would be a perfect for custom cockpit building with LCD screen filled with the gauges, behind the welded shade in front.

When we come to one licence per network, I think that you can make it without any problems regarding non-licenced use. Simply put, you should make a server app inside tha main simulator, which can accept remote connections from the number of networked clients, which cannot run the simulator without previously connected to the main server. Clients should be able to render ALL THE GAUGES presented in the sim and also to accept the control input and proceed it to the main app.

Among the above mentioned, it is crucial to have the ability to hold the buttons permanently pressed (switch purpose), without interference with each other. Also, multiple triggers per button/switch can be (and is) very useful. Simply put, pay attention on what FSUIPC offers and make it better :)

Sorry for probably too detailed post - I couldn't do it any better :(

Best regards,

Dragan

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It's a small market, but as we think about a new simulator it would be silly not to think about them. So let me know what FSX does wring for you pit builders.

I do understand you like to split sims into two parts, one that does the cockpit and one that does the external views. Something we fully agree with, they should be able to run on separate systems.

Talk to me.

First of all, thank you for allowing us to watch this new Sim develop from the ground up. To me it says a lot about the company behind the idea. I am not sure many people appreciate what a rare opportunity you are presenting.

One area of importance that I have not see mentioned is the need for touch screen compatibility. This technology, I believe could go a long way towards the goal of as "as real as it gets". With Windows 7 now shipping most will have it by the release of the new sim. I am sure many on this forum will have a ton of ideas about how this could all work.

On the subject of Home Cockpit builders: It is encouraging that you have given us this consideration so early in developing. I am sure we are as you say a small part of the community. Many folks don't have the time, space, money or even the desire to expand into that area of the hobby. I am no marketing brain but I do think that cockpit builders do a lot to promote the hobby and there must be many out there who got interested in the flight sim from all of those great Youtube videos and the mockups that appear at trade shows. I guess it is much like the tricked out boats or cars that we all see at the spring and fall shows around America, all designed to get us to buy the latest greatest gadget. Picture a complete sim that is portable enough to be set up in the mall or give presentations in the schools. Clubs could be formed, much like the hayday of Amateur Radio. This type of promotion could be very helpful to the over all bottom line. If you think of this as a hobby and not a game, I believe you may see where Microsoft left a lot of money on the table.

My point is this; I believe that this area of development warrants a lot of attention. So much so, that it seems to me that it is not to early to perhaps look into partnering with some of the companies who develop cockpit equipment so that they could be developing a line of instruments, switches, and the list goes on. Perhaps a sim kits that can be matched to add on aircraft and developed to work with this new sim. If all of this could be designed to work thru USB (or some kind of kind of plug and play) then we would not have to all be scientist to get things to work correctly. Make it all modular, expandable and thus, not time consuming and complicated and you open up the home cockpit market to many more prospective customers. Bottom line is this should be a hobby and not a game. We all have a great time and you make more money!biggrin.gif

SAM-KPNS

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I agree with SAM-KPNS on the great opportunities on external cockpit hardware support.

You are planning a professional edition already, and I would think that FAA-approved training installations and government installations would be a bigger potential customer base with the option of external cockpit hardware.

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First of all, please get rid of FSUIPC. No, really. Don't get me wrong, FSUIPC is a great program - but it shouldn't be necessary. The work-around and convenience functions available to the 'ordinary' user should be either not necessary in the first place, or included in the sim itself. The data access functionality available to programmers should be provided by the sim itself, too, and should take a radically different approach, in my opinion. Each and every piece of data the sim knows and processes should be accessible through one coherent, clean, and extensible API, in their natural unit and data type. No more read an int, divide by 65536 and multiply by 360 to get some useful floating point value stuff, please. If a piece of data is not inherently integral, it should be accessible as a float or double, and in a unit that makes sense. As a side note, even data that is inherently integral at first glance, like the state of an on/off switch, could be a float that quickly goes through the range between 0 and 1 when the switch is flipped, instead of changing instantly, to facilitate smooth animation of the switch in the virtual cockpit, for example. Also, no more prehistoric BCD stuff, please. That being said, there needs to be an add-on or plugin that translates between the sim's native interface and the FSUIPC interface, of course, but that can (and should, in my opinion) be external to the sim. There is already such an interface for X-Plane, which could probably adapted to a different API rather quickly.

Possible scenario: The data access API is the central place through which everything, including the sim itself, accesses simulation variables. Each piece of data is referred to by a unique, speaking name (not some arbitrary, hard-to-remember number), which by convention forms a hierarchy. The system is extensible in that every part of the sim as well as every add-on can register new names/variables, which it has to provide an accessor function for. Every part of the sim as well as every add-on can access every piece of data, no matter where it comes from, as long as it knows it's name (probably derived from user/content creator input). For example, it doesn't make any difference if the animation of an instrument needle is based on sim/aircraft/engine[1]/manifold_pressure_inch_hg, a built-in variable, or whichcraft_inc/voodoo/magic_wand_angle_degrees, an arbitrary variable added by an add-on. The panel system just makes a request of the data access API for each variable/name it needs, and is handed the corresponding value in return, no matter where it comes from. The data access API also handles triggered actions through the same, unified system. There are only a handful basic commands that can be triggered, like toggle a variable/name between two given values, increase or decrease by a certain value, set to a certain value, etc. For cockpit builders, this system means they can easily access everything any add-on will ever implement and either display the data as they see fit, or change it (if the data is writable), possibly triggering a corresponding action.

The data access API also handles distribution of simulation variables across multiple networked instances of the sim, again independent of whether they are built-in or added-on. It has to take care that the precision of data is not degraded in that process (which happens in X-Plane, for example: Instruments running on the master machine are smooth as silk, but on a slave machine, some instruments stutter, while others are still smooth). To prevent network overload, every slave instance of the sim has to register each piece of data it needs for it's specific role with the master's data access API, which will then only send the requested data, not just everything it has. Also, the transmission rate is adjustable for each slave individually (no need to send data at 60 Hz to a slave that just displays an FMS).

Another important aspect for cockpit builders is the visual system. It should be possible to create real multi-channel (i.e. multi-monitor/projector) visual systems, either using individual PCs for each channel, or feeding all channels from a single, very powerful PC (with a many-core CPU and multiple graphics cards), or a combination thereof. Options should include the super-wide, but flat projection surface known from FSX and TripleHead2Go; dome and/or cylinder projections for the real hard-core cockpit builders and the professional market; and the typical multiple flat, angled screens configuration you get by arranging multiple monitors in a semicircle. For each channel/screen, you should be able to individually set the FOV, the angles between the screen and the pilot's view axis, and lateral and vertical offset from the view axis. For seamless projections, edge blending as well as some distortion parameters to correct various imperfections of the projection system (like keystone distortion) would be useful. Furthermore, synchronized screen refresh across all channels would be handy. I.e. each instance renders the next frame individually into the back buffer, and signals the master when done. Only when all display channels are ready does the master signal each channel to flip the front and back buffers. Of course, this only works correctly if the screens themselves are synced, too, which is probably a bit to advanced for the average cockpit builder - so this would be more for the professional version.

For copy protection, how about offering several options, like online activation, DVD check on start-up (but please skip the root kit stuff), or even USB dongles (to be purchased separately). If your licensing model will allow it, slave instances could verify themselves through the master. On the other hand, I think that if you spend thousands of bucks on hardware, even a couple hundred for individual licenses for each PC won't matter much.

If any of this sounds like X-Plane, yes, that's where many of these ideas come from... :)

Judith

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Arista,

You have it pegged! Awesome set of ideas -- and you explained it so that even I could understand (almost :blink:) all of it.

BTW, pulling ideas from X-Plane is just fine, IMHO. If it helps Aerosoft make a better FS, who cares where they came from? B)

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Yeah, despite all it's faults and shortcomings, X-Plane has a sound architecture for the most part. Nice, clean, and above all, very expandable. By the way, is anyone familiar with FlightGear? I'd like to hear a couple of ideas pulled from there... :)

Judith

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Quiet a lot of great idea Arista !

I think that the sim should include some default variable, in order to make easier the creation of simple plane [and maybe this variable could be optimize] ! But creation of variables should easy and efficient as u say, and this variable should be easily, and that's the point for home cockpit builder, share with third party software and hardware !

About preventing network overload, i think it's easier and more efficient to send only data that changed... I mean it's useless to send every millisecond the position of the battery switch even if the slave can modify or read the value of this switch ! And it seems to me more flexible and easier to program !

Furthermore, I would be great to include a system like TripleHead3Go directly in your sim !

I think also DVD check at start-up is a waste of time, because hackers will crack that in few days ! I think online activation is the only real method of protection (and if you do something like a weather data server, it could be easy to check the key at every connection) , but not as rise of flight, dont force people to stay connect when flying !

Bye !

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That's right. Activation systems are fine by me... as long as you do NOT do it like SecuROM or Rise of Flight (i.e. Nothing that cannot be completely removed during un-installation, and nothing that requires us to stay connected all the time).

On topic: Please make it easier for us to interface homemade hardware.

For example:

(1): I am currently working on building an Airbus overhead panel using toggle switches, buttons, potentiometers, and an Arduino. My biggest problem is that I'll have to write an Arduino app and a cryptic C# SimConnect app in order to make the switches, etc., work. Why? Because setting up an Arduino to send key-presses (as if they came from a keyboard) takes an inordinate amount of time and frustration. Even if I can get the two programs to interface, I'm not sure everything will work (I've yet to figure out how to make aircraft states change when I flip a switch... Help, anyone?).

(2): Let's say I did manage to get the Arduino to send key-combinations (e.g. Ctrl-Shift-L). Many of my switches (beacon, taxi, logo, recog., wing, nav, cabin) wouldn't work because FSX has no place for these in the "Controls" dialog (or the standard.xml file either, I believe).

Recap: Please make it easier to interface hardware, and please make it possible to assign keyboard keys to (almost) every setting.

Thanks for making us a part of this, Aerosoft!

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Had this one already in the main thread.

Though not being a hardcore homepit builder, it seems to me that 2D panels are of great help for those, since they allow you creating your own set of instruments by means of an extra screen most cost effectively.

In difference to that, separate hardware intrument kits get very expensive, although probably preferred by the real guys.

regards,

Peter

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