FlightGear Newsletter March 2010

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

Welcome to the March 2010 edition of the FlightGear Newsletter.

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 of next month and every contribution is welcome.

From the developers

Shader experiments

The experimental urban effect. Notice how the 2D city textures appear to be 3D!

FlightGear developer Fred has been experimenting with the shaders recently. Although he is not yet completely satisfied with the results, the video examples below are worth watching.

Map Dialog

Basic map display.

James is working on a GUI navigational map, which shows information from the GPS and navigation/airport database in a dialog box - similar to the map windows in other flight-simulators. The results aren't as beautiful as Atlas, but are useful for quickly finding a nearby airport or VOR, and for graphically showing waypoints from a route. The code is also a test platform for creating in-panel cockpit displays using similar technology in the near future, and it's already possible to switch the map to show the aircraft track (from the GPS) heading 'up' the screen. In the mode the map can be used as simple navigation display, to stay on a route or align with a localizer.

See this wiki page for further information on the current status (and bugs) of the code, and some basic instructions.

Google Summer of Code

GSoC is an effort by Google, Inc. to promote Open Source Software and education by bringing students together with experienced developers as their mentors for the summer (northern hemisphere). Google pays the student a stipend, the student learns by participating in real software development, the project gets code and maybe a new developer who'll stay around and benefit the project into the future.

It seems like each year since GSoC started, someone says "Hey, wouldn't it be great if FG participated?" Then several people agree but all quickly realize it's too close to the application deadline to get anything done. Curt agrees that we should make a serious effort to prepare for the 2011 GSoC well in advance, stating "We need a couple dedicated people to step forward and take charge here. Otherwise we'll be sayin' the same things at this time next year."

Willie has stepped forward in an organizational role, forming a sister IRC channel, #FG-GSoC at irc.flightgear.org, looking around for would-be mentors and working our GSoC wiki page.

Light cones

The F-117 Nighthawk with the experimental lights.

FlightGear never had support for landing lights that really lit the surface. Until now! Experimental (light) cones, developed by Lauri, illuminate everything that is inside the cone. Altough it does look good, there are some problems that need to be dealt with. Underwich the fact that other aircraft turn white when they enter a light cone. However, we can be very sure that the developers will come up with a smart solution, to fix this and other problems.

New Concorde Liveries

The Concorde in the new Qantas-Livery.

EA-7201 worked on the liveries of the Concorde and now the liveries of almost all orderers are ready! If you have the newest version of the Concorde (version 2.6) you are able to use them. See the Concorde in new liveries like Lufthansa, United Airlines, Japan Airlines and even Air Canada! You can download all this beautiful liveries here.

In the hangar

Scenery Corner

Dubai is coming up

TODO - Will write something (and a WIP screenie) of the Dubai/Palm Islands/The World work that I'm doing.

Wiki News

FlightGear wiki moved to a new server

Many FG wiki users have recently been annoyed by frequent 503 errors when attempting to view a page. The reason for this was the large number of daily visitors to the wiki. Many visitors is a great sign of health for the project, but it was just more than the server could handle. After three months of this, the wiki was moved to a new server on the 10th of March. This appears to have eliminated the 503 errors. Please contact the wiki admin if they or any other problems with the wiki occur.

Community News

Changes in the forum

Gijs de Rooy has become an administrator at the FlightGear Forum. In addition to moderating the forums (surely a maddening task at times), Gijs has already made some significant improvements to the forum organization. A re-styling of the -currently default- forum look is in the works.

Another multiplay server

Thanks to Charles Ingels (cbz026), there is another multiplayer server in France! This brings the total number of servers to 13, of which 10 in Europe, two in North-America and one in Asia.

Again, we would like to emphasize the importance of connecting to the correct server. The multiplayer servers are interconnected, so you do not need to connect to a specific server in order to see other pilots who are on that server. However, since server02 is overloaded (too many people use that one), not all pilots are shared between the servers. For best performance it is very important connect to the server that is geographically closest to you, has the lowest latency (ping time) or is the least busy.

The complete list of servers and more information about multiplayer is available in the Multiplayer howto.