FlightGear Newsletter October 2013

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Revision as of 04:10, 9 October 2013 by Sthalik (Talk | contribs) (Hooray agreed to add opentrack here)

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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 c ontribution 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

Note to all contributors: Please also copy your newsletter additions to the changelog for the upcoming release: Next Changelog.

TerraSync: A call for help

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

  1. Rebuild simgear with -DSG_SVN_CLIENT=1 (followed by a normal FlightGear build of course)
  2. Move/erase your TerraSync directory
  3. Simply run FGFS as normal, as if you were starting on a new machine/account with no previous use of TerraSync.

The new code is not 100% trouble free (in particular there is still the occasional time when it gets stuck not doing any more downloads until FlightGear is restarted), but developer James really does not want to move forward with the code until there is a bit more assurance it is not going to make everyone's setup crash 80% of the time, which is what some people have reported.

Note this applies even if you 'don't use' terrasync since the SVN sync engine is going to be used for other pieces of data as soon as it's stable. James will be adding a new preference to globally control whether FG works in online/offline mode, of course.

FGRun updates

FGRun has been cleaned up of expired options and new options have been added. Some of the more important changes include:

  • Checkbox to enable Rembrandt rendering.
  • Several rendering options that are no longer in use have been removed.
  • FlightGear's built-in anti-aliasing can now be set through Advanced > Rendering.

Random Buildings

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.

Canvas System

High Level Architecture

Usability Improvements


The opentrack project has gained proper, official support for FlightGear!

Please see the readme for head tracking using multiple trackers: face, inertial Rift/Hydra, marker printed on flat paper, freetrack-like light points. You can use it without Nasal scripts, just with protocol definition.

If you have any issues regarding Linux support, compiling, feature requests and usage, please contact <sthalik at misaki.pl>

Unfortunately due to being understaffed we presently can't offer binary installers for Ubuntu, Debian and the like. Contributions are extremely welcome!

There's also the forum thread regarding the Linux/Windows software.

-sh 20131009

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.

Release ChangeLog

This section lists changes committed this month that will be available in the next release, these will be copied to the release changelog shortly before a release (for each month), so that we hopefully get a comprehensive list of new features.

Interview with a contributor (NAME)

In each edition we have an interview with a contributor. Suggestions for possible questions are available on interview questions, you are invited to come up with new questions and interview ideas obviously! Anyone is free to write an interview (with him-/herself or others) for next month's newsletter! If you'd like to help interview a contributor or get interviewed, please do consider adding yourself to the list of interview volunteers! To keep this going and less awkward, we are currently trying to come up with the convention that former interviewees become next month's interviewers.

  • How long have you been involved in FlightGear?
  • What are your major interests in FlightGear?
  • What project are you working on right now?
  • What do you plan on doing in the future?
  • Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?
  • What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?
  • Are there any "hidden features" you have worked on in FlightGear that new users may miss?
  • What advice can you give to new developers who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?

More questions are being collected here: Interview questions.

Stay tuned for next month's interview, featuring FlightGear contributor XXXXXXXX

Nasal for newbies

New software tools and projects

FlightGear addons and mods

In the hangar

New aircraft

Gotha G. V

Gotha G. V for FlightGear

Helijah introduces a new old airplane, the Gotha G. V. During the First World War, the Gotha G series devices were among the most effective long range airplanes. They carried the war to England from German airfields located in Belgium.

Available in this hangar and on Git. Obviously, improvements are welcome as always.

G.V : Detail of the cockpit G.V : exterior details

Updated aircraft

Boeing 747-400 instrument displays

The PFD while on ILS approach to EHAM's runway 18R

Nearly all of the instrument displays in the Boeing 747-400's cockpit have been converted to the new Canvas system. Instead of complex animated 3D models (with the various layers very close to each other, to feign a 2D instrument), the displays are now relatively simple 2D SVG drawings. Thanks to the flexible nature of a Canvas based instrument, a great deal of new features have been added.

Some of the functions of the primary flight display (PFD) include speed limits, reference speeds, ILS guidance and autopilot modes. The primary EICAS has been extended with an expanded gear position indicator (non-normal display in case of gear failure). The secondary EICAS received two new pages: doors and stat.

The new displays are available through Git.


Scenery corner


Aircraft of the month

Airport of the month

Screenshot of the month

Suggested flights

Aircraft reviews

Wiki updates

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.

Community news

FlightGear on YouTube

New tutorials and screencasts

Forum news


Virtual airlines

FlightGear events

Useful links

And finally ...


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 Target4Today team is looking for volunteers to help improving FlightGear's combat support

Did you know