FlightGear Newsletter June 2013

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Welcome to the FlightGear Newsletter!
Please help us write the next edition!
Enjoy reading the latest edition!


We would like to emphasize that the monthly newsletter can not live without the contributions of FlightGear users and developers. Everyone with a wiki account (free to register) can edit the newsletter and every contribution is welcome. So if you know about any FlightGear related news or projects such as for example updated scenery or aircraft, please do feel invited to add such news to the newsletter. Core developers are encouraged to add news about their latest work to the newsletter's development section and the changelog of the upcoming release. At the end of each month, it's generally a good idea to get in touch with other contributors to ask them to add news about their contributions to the newsletter.

Development news

Release preparations

In line with the release plan, the FlightGear repositories are frozen as of June 17. In this "frozen" state, no new features or major changes shall be pushed onto the development streams (neither source nor data). This period is for preparing the code for the release and make sure there are no major issues. It lasts for four weeks until creation of the release branches on July 17.

It's a good idea for aircraft developers to adhere to this rule. However, aircraft in fgdata may be handled as an exception from the frozen state. Any change to aircraft may be pushed to the repository if it is guaranteed that this change does not affect any other aircraft or system and if no file outside the root directory of that specific aircraft is changed. Also, aircraft defined as part of the base package (e.g. the c172p) enter the frozen state and shall not undergo major changes in that period.

TerraSync changes (libsvn replacement)

SimGear 2.11+ now has experimental support for a webDAV based libsvn replacement, people building from source are encouraged to help with testing and debugging this new feature:

Cquote1.png First, I need some help; for people to rebuild simgear with -DSG_SVN_CLIENT=1, and mv / erase their TerraSync dir. Then simply run FGFS as normal, as if you were starting on a new machine / account with no previous use of TerraSync.[1]
— James Turner
Cquote2.png

Please provide feedback via the issue tracker.

Project Rembrandt

A number of Mac users have been reporting issues related to running Project Rembrandt (deferred rendering/shadows) on Mac OSX with ATI/AMD GPUS, we are now looking for Mac users to provide feedback on running Rembrandt on Mac OSX, required information includes errors and warnings shown during startup/runtime, but also screen shots showing any issues. Please see: Project Rembrandt#Mac Issues.

High Level Architecture

If you've always been wanting to look into HLA a bit more and maybe even start developing HLA based apps that use OpenRTI, you may want to check out the new tutorial titled Developing with HLA. This is currently work-in-progress and will evolve slowly. The motivation is that the original HLA article only really discusses the overall picture and lists some general HLA tutorials - it doesn't go into FG specifics like OpenRTI or HLA support in SimGear, which we however need to cover to get more people up to scratch with HLA, i.e. 1) building SG/FG with HLA and 2) actually developing with it to partition FG into separate processes.

Benchmarks

A long time ago, we once had a FG-specific benchmark suite called "FGBenchmark" - meanwhile, a number of end-users and long-term contributors have been talking about re-introducing a form of scriptable benchmark, directly as part of FlightGear itself, using Nasal scripting to recreate certain situations (location, aircraft, rendering settings) in order to gather runtime statistics, but also for better regression testing. Meanwhile, FlightGear has drastically evolved since the early days of FGBenchmark, so that many of these things can now be accomplished, even without touching the C++ source code. Which is why we have started collecting community feedback on benchmarking FlightGear, discussing possible approaches.

Continue reading at FlightGear Benchmark.

Getting involved as a programmer

Unfortunately, most of the active FG developers are currently very overstretched in terms of the areas that they have ownership of, which is affecting how much can actually be done. Fundamentally we need more core devs.

If you are interested in contributing as a core developer, please see Howto:Start core development.

International FlightGear websites

Enjoy the awesome international FlightGear community and experiment the dream to fly with the best Free Flight Simulation Software ever built. With more than 15 years of experience FlightGear has a wide user community, from professionals to normal users from all around the world. For sure you'll find good friends in this amazing virtual community.

Please visit FlightGear websites in other languages:

Translators required

En.gif The FlightGear Wiki still needs help for translating it into various languages. If you are interested in making the FlightGear Wiki multi-language then start at Help:Translate.
De.gif Das FlightGear Wiki benötigt immer noch Hilfe bei der Übersetzung in verschiedene Sprachen. Wenn Du Interesse daran hast, das FlightGear Wiki Mehrsprachig zu machen, dann fang doch mit Help:Übersetzen an.
Nl.gif De FlightGear Wiki kan nog steed hulp gebruiken bij het vertalen van artikelen. Als je interesse hebt om de wiki meertalig te maken, raden we je aan om een kijkje te nemen bij Help:Vertalen.
Es.gif La FlightGear wiki todavía necesita ayuda para traducirla a varios lenguajes. Si estás interesado en hacer la FlightGear wiki multilingüe, entonces comienza en Help:Traducir.

Nasal and unit testing

Forum users dbelcham, Philosopher and Hooray had an interesting discussion about introducing unit testing into FlightGear's Nasal scripting system, resulting in an effort to come up with a standalone Nasal interpreter for unit testing purposes. For additional info, please see Nasal Unit Testing Framework.

OpenRadar

OpenRadar

The OpenRadar project provides an ATC radar interface for FlightGear. Over the past few months it is steadily becoming one of the most used ATC applications. Under development by Ralf Gerlich and Wolfram Wagner among others "all-stars" code contributors, this java application will make you became an ATC-Controller all around the FG's MP network.

Be sure you have FGCOM installed in order to use it like real ATC does.

In general terms we can say that OpenRadar is solid - fast - multiplatform - open source - well programmed application, but best of all it is fun. Without doubts you must try it.

From here we would like to say thanks for the big effort done behind OpenRadar.

OS-RC and FlightGear

OS-RC is a revolutionary Radio "Transmitter" control system based on GNU/Linux. Created by Demetris Zavorotnitsienko, a young and brave electronic expert from Cyprus who has created several open source hardware-software high value projects. OS-RC is a big idea that has change the way to fly RC-FPV. In fact this system has change the way in what FlightGear currently can be used with those (now) obsoletes flight systems, opening a new world of possibilities and giving a broader space where FG can interacts inside UAV-FPV-Drones segment.

On a gently and productive short conversation with Demetris, he has expressed a lot of interest in our project. Nowadays he is working very hard on hardware in order to finish a "final product" that because of a lack of budget he had first to create the 3d-printer project which to build then the OS-RC.

Linux inside, this new system has changed the way we fly, bringing us even a broader new FGecosystem for FlightGear.

OS-RC Project

In the hangar

New aircraft

Boeing 757-200

Boeing 757-200 cockpit

Jormapaappa1235 has been working on a new Boeing 757-200 with fully modeled interior. The plane has now almost finished cabin and pretty detailed cockpit. Sadly the systems are not as finished as the model, so everybody who is interested in any kinds of systems and wants to help, please contact jormapaappa1235 in the forum topic.

The new 757 can be obtained through git but there is no official support yet.

Warning: The plane is much heavier than the average FlightGear plane, mainly because of a fully-modeled cabin. It is therefore not recommended for low-end computers.

Suggested flights

Training Manchester VOR DME Approach

For this training flight you'll have to take a Boeing 737 and perform a VOR DME Approach Procedure for the RWY 23R at Manchester airport. Repeat practice if you need and enjoy. Some info:

  • Manchester EGCC Elevation 257ft
  • RWY Heading 23R 231.
  • Manchester VOR MCT 113.55
  • ILS/DME INN 109.5

See the following video of a Manchester 23R VOR/DME APP in a full motion simulator. It's not much different in FlightGear.

More amazing flights can be found at Suggested Flights.

Community news

FlightGear Community Pages closing down

The FlightGear Community Pages will be pulled offline in August. Its maintainer does not have enough spare time to take care of the website and co no longer provide hosting for it. Please save all your important data (think of screenshots, statistics...), before it is gone.

727-230 Tribute

FlightGear's 727-230 Tribute is a fun way to fly, as well as an opportunity to help improve this old aircraft. It's very simple. The pilot takes the Boeing 727-230, flies wherever he wants, reports some basic PIREPs and informs where he/she has landed, so the next pilot can take the aircraft and fly it to another place and so on.

The 727-230 received some minor enhancements by IH-COL. The aircraft is behaving well, so we expect long life for this old lady. She's just waiting for your help. Either by flying and providing feedback or by contributing some code.

If you want to fly her or simply check the state of development, see this forum topic.

And finally ...

Contributing

One of the regular thoughts expressed on the FlightGear forums is "I'd like to contribute but I don't know how to program, and I don't have the time". Unfortunately, there is a common mis-conception that contributing requires programming and lots of free time. In fact, there are a huge range of ways to contribute to the project without needing to write code or spending days working on something.

For ideas on starting to contribute to FlightGear, you may want to check out: Volunteer.

To learn more about how the project works, please see this short essay written by Thorsten, for a more detailed article see How the FlightGear project works.

Call for volunteers

  • The Flightgear On Android team is looking for testers
  • The Target4Today team is looking for volunteers to help improving FlightGear's combat support
  • The FGFSPM (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.
References
  1. James Turner (Tue, 11 Jun 2013 08:58:20 -0700). TerraSync libSVN replacement testing.