Changelog 2.12

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The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v2.12 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Highlights in this release include improved usability, continued development of the Canvas rendering toolkit, and improved scenery rendering.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v2.12 for free from FlightGear.org

FlightGear - Fly Free!

Major enhancements in this release

Aircraft Modeling

  • A new tracking animation provides an easy way for aircraft developers to animate complex kinematic systems like gear scissors or landing gear doors attached to struts. The animation can be implemented in Blender and then exported to FlightGear.

Environment

  • Icebergs now appear in the arctic seas.
  • Deciduous trees shed their foliage if they are above the snowline, creating a convincing winter look.
  • The climatic snow line moves up and down as you fly around the world.
  • Basic weather is now integrated with Atmospheric Light Scattering.
  • Clouds are placed more realistically when using detailed weather modelling.

Transponder

The transponder instrument system has been overhauled, making it easier to use from panels, supporting Mode-S altitude encoding, and sending the important properties over multi-player. This will allow more realistic ATC interactions, since id (squawk) codes now matter! See this wiki page for more information on installing / updating the transponder installation in aircraft.

Performance

Many NavCache related startup issues experienced by Windows users (lag) were resolved

Portability

Portability for older systems without GLSL (shaders) support has been restored again, so that FlightGear no longer crashes on such systems.

Atmospheric Light Scattering

  • An ultra-high quality shader has been introduced, algorithmically generating detail down to the centimetre scale.
  • Autumn colors are now simulated from the middle of summer through to the beginning of winter.
  • Low visibility conditions are now more realistically rendered.
  • Trees move with the wind.
  • Surf is now visibile below steep sea-cliffs.

Improved performance, reduced memory occupancy

Usability

  • The checklist feature has been expanded.
    • Checklist items are color coded to indicate whether they are complete - green for those items that are complete, yellow for those that are incomplete.
    • To ease cockpit familiarization, users can request that the relevant control is highlighted.
    • A virtual co-pilot can execute checklist items on behalf of the pilot.
    • Tutorials are auto-generated from checklists providing a virtual instructor to guide you through completing the checklist.
  • A knob animation generalizes the operation of knobs and switches in the cockpits of various aircraft.
  • The Weather dialog has been improved to make it easier to understand.
  • Tooltips (available under the Debug menu) provide feedback that computer pilots have to miss due to an absence of audio or haptic feedback. When you hover your mouse over a switch or lever, a little window tells you the current state of the switch.

Internationalization

  • The menu and system messages have been translated to Portuguese.

Canvas System

The "canvas" system is FlightGear's fully scriptable 2D rendering system, which makes it easy for users to create new instruments, glass cockpit displays, HUDs and even dialogs and custom GUI widgets using FlightGear's built-in scripting language Nasal (which looks really similar to JavaScript).

Canvas improvements in this release include:

  • The style setter system has been reworked, style setters are now only setup once for each element type and not for each element instance as before. A static map holds the setters for each element type. Also an animation type is stored which will later allow to animate properties of Canvas elements without specifying an animation type.
  • The Nasal/cppbind framework has been improved to expose more Canvas internals to Nasal space
  • Canvas textures can now not only be used as aircraft/cockpit textures (instruments, MFDs) and for the HUD/GUI, but also for scenery objects. Canvas textures can now be placed on scenery objects. This allows for example creating animated signs/monitors such as a Visual Docking Guidance System.
  • Enable texture repeat for Canvas images
  • Improved support for displaying GUI widgets.

Nasal Scripting

  • All methods exposed to the Nasal props module now accept an optional first parameter refering to another node by a relative path.
  • SimGear's SGTimer class is now fully exposed to Nasal, see the new maketimer() API.
  • Several Nasal bugs that could previously trigger a crash were fixed.

Rembrandt

  • A growing number of aircraft are compliant with the Rembrandt rendering technique.

AI Improvements

  • AI scenarios may now be loaded at runtime.
  • A broad range of AI aircraft received a fresh paint job. The Airbus A320 and A330 have been remodelled, while some other models got improved animations.
  • Air-to-air refueling has been improved:
    • Pilots can now have a choice of a number of AI air-to-air refueling tankers and can select the airspeed of the tanker to match their own aircraft if required.
    • Tankers are more realistic, support multiple refuelling points, configurable fuel flow rates, and the refuelling "envelope" centered on the drogue/boom position.
    • The probe position on the receiving aircraft taken into account when calculating whether contact has been made.
    • Refuelling difficulty is configurable in-sim by setting the distance from the drogue/boom that refuelling occurs.
    • The tanker is now able report a successful contact to the pilot.

Regional Textures

The following areas now include their own region-specific texturing and auto-generated models/buildings:

  • Indonesia
  • The Middle East
  • The United Kingdom,
  • The North Atlantic Islands - Faroe, Shetland, Greenland
  • Madagascar

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

Other

  • Additional joysticks and rudder pedals are supported out-of-the-box:
    • GoFlight TQ6-ADV
    • Genius Metalstrike 3D
    • Microsoft SideWinder Precision Racing Wheel rudder pedals

Bug fixes

  • See our bugtracker for an extensive, yet incomplete, list of the bugs fixed in this release.