FlightGear Newsletter February 2021

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We would like to emphasize that the monthly newsletter cannot live without the contributions of FlightGear users and developers. Everyone with a wiki account (free to register) is welcome to contribute to the newsletter. 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.


The brand new Visual Editor makes editing the wiki as simple as using a Word-processor, and even easier than using the forum as you don't even need to know the syntax for a url. Just hit the 'edit' link and start.

Development news

2020.3.7 preparations - OSM2City worldbuild rollout

The current plan for 2020.3.7 LTS is to do an experimental 1st rollout of OSM2City buildings, roads and other objects for the entire world. Objects that are in the Open Street Map (OSM) database will be present. Automatic generation of areas without objects is disabled for this release.

2020.3.7 release candidates have been built and are available at http://download.flightgear.org/builds/rc/

See upcoming change log for full details - included are improvements to Europe agriculture appearance, and updated water depth data (bathymetry).

OSM2City 1st rollout

  • This is an experimental 1st rollout. There will be more rollouts. Expect to download everything again :).
  • OSM2City provides 3d models of buildings, roads, bridges, railways, piers and other objects like pylons or wind-turbines, as well as some auto-generated scenery details like boats. OSM2City is based on Open Street Map (OSM) data.
  • FlightGear 2020.3.7+ is needed to download and unzip OSM2City objects. FlightGear 2020.3.6 and earlier will not download OSM2City data.

Troubleshooting

  • Remember to remove any custom scenery folders you have that contains object folders for buildings, roads, pylons to see the updated OSM2City objects on TerraSync! Old folders can be removed from where you added them - e.g. the Addons > Scenery folders section in the qt-launcher , or a command-line folders list. If FlightGear sees a folder of a certain type in custom scenery at a specific location it will use that, and it will not load TerraSync objects of that type from the folder for that location. If you have a custom scenery with subfolders for Terrain as well as object folders like buildings, roads or pylons, you can delete these object folders and FlightGear will then load the updated TerraSync object folders.
  • A limitation of the experimental rollout in 2020.3.7 is that FlightGear will not load OSM2City objects as part of the first scenery load on the first visit to an airport. You will see terrain and scenery as normal without OSM2City buildings. To force a 2nd scenery load go to in-sim GUI menu > Debug menu > Reload Scenery.

Performance

  • Performance will improve drastically in future rollouts. Please don't buy new hardware yet based on early rollouts (Before buying new hardware, it's a good idea to wait until /after/ the future LTS that contains WS3.0. This is because FlightGear's rendering and bottlenecks, will be changing so much in future - with WS 3.0, upcoming rendering features the compositor enables, future OSM2City, move to a higher version of OpenGL, and so on. It's best to wait as new hardware is also steadily getting faster, and hardware prices will also be expected to drop after the situation with the global pandemic eases.).
  • The limiting factor is the CPU, not the GPU in most systems. There is no need to lower graphics settings, or buy faster GPUs, if FPS is low in areas with a lot of OSM2City buildings and objects.
  • OSM2City has objects in new and old formats. The old format is CPU limited. The new format is fast. Objects in old format: Roads, Pylons, random scenery objects, and large buildings. Objects in new format: Smaller buildings, and randomly generated buildings.
  • If FPS is low try switching off pylons, random scenery objects, and roads until FPS is acceptable. Try flying with buildings only. Flying away from city centers of large cities means most buildings in view are smaller buildings in the new format, and will be fast.
  • If FPS is low try reducing the distance objects are loaded. This can be done by using smaller values for LoD:Rough in View menu > Adjust LOD ranges
  • Flightgear has an alternative random buildings feature. This is fast. It randomly creates buildings in the new OSM2City format. Random building density can be turned up in the property browser : Try setting /sim/rendering/building-density to 1-10 .

Appearance

  • The appearance of OSM2City buildings and objects is placeholder. Contributions are welcome - see the scenery forum or the "fg-devel" mailing-list to help.
  • Currently there is limited change in appearance from one region to another.
  • Automatic generation of buildings and objects for areas without coverage in Open Street Map data is disabled for this rollout. Some custom sceneries like the Hawaii scenery may have detailed coverage for these areas.

Space and bandwidth

  • FlightGear will not download objects if they are not shown. To save bandwidth, or disk space, you can turn off objects that are less important to you.
  • Downloading OSM2City objects needs slightly more bandwidth than normal. More bandwidth is needed in areas with more objects. OSM2City is downloaded as compressed files, to reduce bandwidth.
  • OSM2City is more than 750GB uncompressed for the whole world in the current format. Future rollouts will need far less space and bandwidth. OSM2City is stored uncompressed on your hard drive. You won't need 750 GB of space as only areas that you visit will be downloaded by TerraSync, so don't worry too much about drive space.
  • Space saving tips: Pylons take up a lot of space uncompressed while being less noticeable. Try turning these off to save space. Roads also take up a lot of bandwidth and space. At a minimum you can run with just the buildings.


Innsbruck - OSM2City worldbuild in Flightgear 2020.3.7

The road ahead

See Help Wanted.

See the January newsletter for details on some of the big projects that are currently under way.

Nightly builds with some of the big changes are available at download.flightgear.org as usual.

World Scenery 3.0

StuartB has implemented the 1st iteration of roads, railways, canals, and rivers for WS3.0. A new version of the example scenery around EGPH has been released by StuartB - download. See the January newsletter for instructions. The new approach will currently allow control of ranges at which different details become visible - for example major roadways and big rivers can become visible from far away. This is currently set from the property browser under /sim/rendering/static-lod/ . The intention is to improve performance at high altitudes.

OSG 3.6 or 3.7 is needed to view WS 3.0. It needs a self-build of FG and is not available on Windows nightlies yet due to the OSG text issue .

Related Software tools and projects

FGCom-mumble

FGCom-Mumble aims to provide a mumble based FGCom implementation. This will simulate radio communications in a seamless frequency spectrum. The project aims to be easy to use: Pilots just install the plugin, open mumble, join a channel on a mumble server and start using their radio stack in Flightgear.

The development is discussed in the FGCom-mumble topic on the forum This is a link to the FlightGear forum.. Releases can be downloaded from GitHub. The project also has a flightgear wikipage: FGCom-mumble

0.10.0 released

This release fixes some mumble client freezing issues that popped up with more recent versions of the mumble build. The FGCom-mumble wiki page now also contains links to windows snapshots; so windows testing is as easy as a download, copy two files and enjoy.

Currently, a 32bit windows build is in the works (testing this build is the last thing missing here). Also some experiments with jSimConnect are underway.


In the hangar

Scenery corner

Help wanted

Post LTS work

After the 2020.2 release, some work lies ahead to improve the LTS and to help us pave the way for migrating to the OpenGL Core profile - any help would be greatly appreciated.

This may for example include:

Please get in touch via the developers mailing list to learn more. See Post FlightGear 2020.2 LTS changes and 2022.X Release Plan for more details.

Updated Screen shots for the Manual

Also, user contributions would be very welcome: except for those concerning the built-in launcher, most of the screenshots look like they have been taken 15 or 20 years ago (am I exaggerating? :) and for a few of them, the lighting is not great (cf. section “A Bit of Wieheisterology” for instance, which presents the instruments of the c172p). If someone felt motivated to update these screenshots using a recent version of FG and decent graphics settings, this would make the manual much more attractive.

Preferred formats: JPG and PNG.[1]

World Scenery 3.0

The FlightGear project is in the process of exploring how Virtual Planet Builder can be adopted. For details, see: World Scenery 3.0 roadmap

Aerial (drone) photos for Terrain textures

Wanted: good top-down aerial photos to create textures from to use with the procedural Regional Texturing system. Drones This is a link to a Wikipedia article with cameras are ideal. People with access to drones are in a good position to take high-quality photographs.

A particular need as of 2020 is photos of agriculture (farm lands) from different parts of the world.

Good GPLv2 compatible photos suitable for textures are hard to find, and an easy way is for people to take photos of their region. Flightgear's procedural systems can do a lot with less art content, so photo contributions can strongly improve visuals.

See: How to: take photos of terrain for textures. For examples of final textures: see /data/Textures/Terrain. e.g. UK countryside.

You can get in touch via the Scenery forum or the flightgear-devel mailing list

Photos of trees for textures

Wanted: good quality photos of different trees and vegetation from various parts of the world. Flightgear's vegetation system can handle multiple layers of trees and bushes.

Strong shadows should be avoided. Each tree should be against a background of a different colour: sky (preferably) , clouds , or buildings. This allows the tree to be separated from the background in a photo-editor like GIMP.

See: How to: take photos of vegetation. For examples of final textures: see /data/Textures/Trees. e.g. Coniferous.

You can get in touch via the Scenery forum or the flightgear-devel mailing list.

Submissions of labels for craft

Wanted: Submissions of labels (tags) giving a rough description of aircraft - Metadata tags. A quick read of a craft's Wikipedia page will normally be enough to set labels. This info will be searchable from the launcher GUI. For example, filtering craft by propulsion like single-propeller or 4-engine jet craft, or by a manufacturer like Airbus or Grumman, or by speed like supersonic craft, or craft by era like WW2. A list of tags is here - more can be added if needed. To add tags to craft yourself, the tags are stored in the set-xml file.

A list of FGAddon craft needing tags is here. See this forum thread to submit tags. The flightgear-devel mailing list or the craft's maintainer can also be contacted.

Windows Package Maintainer

The core team needs help from Windows users able to maintain a good working Window build. This process already exists to support our Nightly and Release builds, but we are seeking additional help to keep it in good working order. The ability to compile FG from source and some Windows batch scripting is a required skill. If you are willing and able to take up this role, please reach out to James Turner (mailing list), or get in touch via the forum [2]

AI

The AI team makes FlightGear more realistic, colorful and lively every month. You can support the development of Interactive Traffic and contribute at the FlightGear AI subforum This is a link to the FlightGear forum..


Community news

Forum news

Searching the wizard, found ice

BeniH had a close call while doing the Suggested_Flights#Searching_Wizard_Island trip from the suggested flights page. The flight report is here: https://forum.flightgear.org/viewtopic.php?p=381482#p381482


FlightGear on Facebook

Since early December 2010, FlightGear has an official Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account please feel free to join the page.

FlightGear on Instagram

In January 2018 the @flightgear_sim Instagram account was brought back to life. If you've got nice screenshots to be featured, feel free to contact the maintainer This is a link to the FlightGear forum..

FlightGear on FlightSim.com

FlightGear has also a sub-forum on flightsim.com - just like the commercial flight sims. It is an opportunity to showcase what FG can do, get people curious and answer any questions they may have with regard to the software or the project.

Multiplayer events

Contributing

Translators needed

En.gif The FlightGear Wiki still needs help for translating it into various languages. If you are interested in making the FlightGear Wiki multilingual, you can start by looking at Help:Translate.
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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.
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Zh.gif FlightGear 百科仍然需要志愿者将其翻译为各种语言。如果你有兴趣让FlightGear百科支持更多语言, 你可以查看 Help:Translate.

FlightGear logos

If you want some graphic elements for your FlightGear-related site (such as a hangar or YouTube channel), please feel free to visit FlightGear logos for a repository of logos. And if you have some art skills, please don't hesitate to contribute with your own design creations.

Screenshots

The FlightGear project always needs screenshots, which show features that were added since the last release. These should be of good quality, especially in content and technical image properties. It is therefore recommended to use the best viable filter settings (anti-aliasing, texture sharpening, etc.). More info at Howto:Make nice screenshots.

Screenshot of the Month

If you want to participate in the screenshot contest, you can submit your candidate to the this subforum This is a link to the FlightGear forum.. Be sure to see the first post for participation rules. For purposes of convenience and organization, at the end of the month or after 20 entries have been submitted, a new forum topic will be started containing all shots in an easy-to-view layout. The voting will then take place there.

Thanks for reading FlightGear Newsletter February 2021!

References