FlightGear Newsletter October 2012
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.
Making HTTP Requests via Nasal
FlightGear versions later than 2.8 include a new feature to make HTTP requests using a new xmlhttprequest fgcommand. Nasal is able to execute these so called "fgcommands", which are internal FlightGear commands implemented in C++ This can be used to implement AJAX-like server/client exchanges.
You can pass any FlightGear property tree data (lat,lon,alt,groundspeed etc) via conventional GET requests to the server side script.
The request will be made asynchronously, in order not to block the main loop or affect the frame rate. This is why you should register a listener to invoke a callback upon completion of the request and check the status flag (200=OK).
For further details, please see Howto:Making HTTP Requests from Nasal.
FGRadar: Standalone ATC client
Since mid-summer, forum user "Icecode GL" has been working on a free and open-source stand-alone ATC client written in C++, totally from scratch with the help of the GTKmm GUI toolkit (http://www.gtkmm.org/en/) and the Cairo 2D graphics library (http://www.cairographics.org/). He has started this as a project to learn from and take some practice while developing it at the same time, as well as satisfying his needs of a complete and more professional ATC client for FlightGear.
FGRadar is a free, open-source and stand-alone air traffic control (ATC) client for FlightGear. It uses GTKmm (GTK+ port for C++) and Cairo to perform drawing operations.
If someone wants to join the project, give ideas, requests or opinions, feel free to do so. The repository is here: https://gitorious.org/fgradar/fgradar?p=fgradar:fgradar.git;a=summary
FlightGear and Android
Flightgear On Android's effort on taking FlightGear to Android is a great project and another step making FG the most wide spread sophisticated simulation around. But there's another project connecting FG to Android: the V06 Cockpit Panel by DerFalkner.
It is a network based panel for any (flight)simulator that is able to send its data via UDP. So far it has a basic primary flight display with an artificial horizont, an airspeed strip and an altimeter. More work / features will be added, so it might end up to be a fully integratable flight management system with gauges, multifunctional displays, route planning, moving map and all the other fancy stuff you find in modern cockpits. Have a peek on YouTube or check out the app via the Google Play store by searching for V06.
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In the hangar
All the way back in May 2011, we addopted a new status-rating system for aircraft. So far, only a few have actually been rated, as can be seen in the list 'hockenberry' set up at Google Docs. If you're an aircraft developer and your aircraft is/are not on the list, please consider rating their status. All you'll need to know/do is described at Formalizing Aircraft Status. If you'd just like to get started contributing to FlightGear, this would also seem like an excellent way to get started.
Not an aircraft but FlightGear can do boats as well. These fast boats were in service from 1942 to about 1955. A preview is available in Anders' hangar at gitorious.
The Buccaneer S2 has been updated to comply with Project Rembrandt standards. Thanks to Alan Teeder it has acquired a HUD: the Buccaneer had what is believed to be the first HUD in service. It is implemented with Canvas, however, there are some additional features yet to be implemented.
With the assistance of Emilian Huminiuc and some nifty work in Blender we have been able to add some more eye-candy in the form of pilot and observer animations, but you will have to look really closely to spot them though.
Some additional instruments have been added, but much remains to be modelled. The status has been updated to Beta.
This month the livery database reached several milestones:
- the 800th livery was added.
- the 100th author submitted a livery.
- a livery for the 100th aircraft was commited.
A big "thank you" to all painters!
The upload form has been extended with several functionalities, the most important ones being:
- Thumbnails are to be uploaded independently of the livery package. This allows the database to automatically check if it has the right size and format.
- You can select a type of contribution: livery, paintkit or missing thumbnail. Based on your selection, the appropriate fields are displayed.
- Liveries that lack a thumbnail now have an "upload thumbnail" link on their page. There are still 41 liveries without thumbnails, please help us bring this back to 0!
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.
Call for volunteers
- The FGRadar project (standalone ATC client) is looking for people to join the project, give ideas, requests or opinions.
- The Flightgear On Android team is looking for testers
- The Target4Today team is looking for volunteers to help improving FlightGear's combat support
- The OpenRadar project is looking for a new maintainer.
- The FGFSPM (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.