Post FlightGear 2020.2 LTS changes
Changes that are already on next
- Include multiplayer aircraft in recordings.
- Continuous recording to file without any loss of detail.
- Periodic generation of a recovery snapshot, allowing resumption after a flightgear crash.
- Record/replay extra information in Continuous recordings (pushed to next on 2021-2-13):
- Main window size
- Main window position
- Main window view
- Continuous replay aircraft override:
- When loading a Continuous recording at startup, we now override the aircraft and starting airport to match what is in the recording.
- Replay of Continuous recordings from URL:
- Extends the --load-tape command-line option, for example: --load-tape=http://foo.com/bar.fgtape
See new File - Flight Recorder Control dialogue.
- Continuous recording to file is uncompressed to simplify replay; e.g. 100MB for an hour's recording near EDDF.
- A recovery snapshot is actually a single-frame continuous recording, and will be called <aircraft-type>-recovery.fgtape. Load in the usual way using the Flight Recorder Control dialogue or on the command line with --load-tape=<aircraft-type>-recovery. Then do Ctrl-R to see replay dialogue and click on My Controls. Some aircraft may have no or limited support for My Controls though.
- "Continuous replay aircraft override" and "Replay from URL" were pushed to next on 2021-2-19.
- Replay of Continuous recordings from URL:
- Downloads to local file in the background while replaying.
- Reuses local file if present, appending to it in the background if it was a partial download.
Code clean-ups and changes
Collecting what's going to change : this will also be used to work out what manual or automatic migrations are required to keep aircraft working. It's expected that for the first few months of 'next', there will be higher than usual breakage, i.e regular might not be possible.
As a general guideline, the minimum system to develop / build the code on will be Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic) : the versions below correspond to what is available in a stock Bionic install.
- Make C++14 (possibly C++17 to facilitate VSG migration?  ) the minimum required version (will make it easier to continue replacing Boost items with std:: ones)  
- Make CMake 3.6 the minimum required version: this will allow simplifying a bunch of compatibility logic in the build files  
- Use CMake OBJECT_LIBRARY to improve how we collect sources together when building each sub-dir 
- Make Qt 5.9 the minimum for the launcher Done 
- Drop 32-bit windows support 
- Drop the pre-2017.x MultiPlayer message format - this will fix warnings from some aircraft about MP packet overflows 
- Drop the KLN-89 code, since it's unused and not maintained for a long time: Canvas and the regular GPS code can easily implement a working KLN-89 or similar equipment now 
- Switch to Compositor mode as the only rendering option 
- Drop Rembrandt support from C++ (really part of the above) 
- Drop the C++ NavDisplay: the Canvas version replaces it 
Carriers and AI
Ricbhard has been working on carriers since April 2020; originally the intention was to release as part of the 2020.2 LTS however the changes have grown into a set of new features rather than bugfixes and are therefore more suited to a longer development and review process.
- Done Improved view support - so that the nearest tower will include carriers
- Done Changes to core code to support moving towers.
- Multiple (tower) views - permit selection of LSO, PLAT and Tower as part of the "Tower view"; selection mechanism TDB. Consider revisions to the existing view system to better support this.
- Done Extend XML to include definitions for FLOLS touchdown position, LSO view position, Tower View position, deck angle.
- Improve 3d models for IFLOLS to ensure that a ball call can be made.
- Improve logic for IFLOLS lights; not quite an LSO simulation more of an approximation of the definitive cases (e.g. waveoff)
- Pending Animate the lineup lights on the stern (of Nimitz class).
- Improved support for Precision Approach Landing System (PALS) (AN/SPN-46); to support lineup deviation as well as glideslope (ball) deviation.
- Change approach deviations to use new aircraft reference point rather than eyepoint; it is probably more correct to use the eyepoint when in the cockpit view - but for external views this can be slightly inaccurate when outside the aircraft to completely wrong when in tower/LSO view. The reference point is taken as the aircraft position with an optional model defined x,y,z offset. This allows ball tuning on a per aircraft basis.
- Pending Improved support for AI logic to permit XML definition of e.g. LSO logic. Possibly a version of the autopilot / state machine that can be included as "logic blocks"
- Pending Review 3d model usage for all Nimitz class and either add LOD selection (low, medium, high)
- Pending Review and include Marsdolphin contributions for MP Carrier (i.e. MP trumman)
- Possible extra visual aids for Case 1 and Case 2 recovery training (e.g. a set of markers to fly through)
- Pending Better integration of carriers with JSBSim to permit catapult hookup
- Pending Simulate carrier operations Flight Deck Personnel, e.g. yellow shirts.
- Pending Animation of arrestor wires
- Pending Add some sort of trap grading (approach/touchdown plot)
see https://www.cnatra.navy.mil/local/docs/pat-pubs/P-816.pdf for T-45 carrier operations
Possible additional items
See 2022.X Release Plan for the main article about this subject.
The idea is to remove all 'raw' OpenGL or OpenSceneGraph code from the panel code, it should be 100% done with Canvas elements. Eg use the Canvas Transform to compute the matrices
- Remove the 2D panel code in favour of Canvas (this requires completing some work to load 2D panel elements as Canvas, from XML)  (as of 06/2020, Gaétan Allaert is still working on the replacement of the 2D panel by canvas ) 
|Caution we are indeed still adding Canvas cameras to the scene graph, but we should be adding them as slaves to the viewer. We might be using as much as 5 times the amount of VRAM that Canvas actually needs.|
- Note that the canvas currently assumes render-to-texture, but for the GUI I'm not sure that's actually desirable - simply a separate camera per GUI window may be sufficient. Since the camera already arranges everything beneath the RTT camera this should be fairly minor change, if it's desirable.(Saves some memory, makes re-sizing GUI windows a little easier, might make clipping or other state management less efficient in the main GUI camera ... but probably not)
- Remove the C++ HUD in favour of Canvas-based version: this requires some kind of migration script or framework, so we have at least the default UFO HUD available 
- Review Tim's original suggestion: Another [Canvas] optimization is to use a pre-render camera that isn't in the scene graph to do the Canvas rendering. Otherwise the Canvas textures are rendered at least twice, in the near and far cameras.  Tim Moore’s canvas-rendering-on-a-pre-camera fix, again should give us a nice perf win for Canvas-intensive acft, since within each camera pass (far camera, near camera), all the passes of a technique are run. Also, Mathias stated once: that it would be good to be able to specify a completely different scenegraph in some subcameras, i.e. for having panel like instruments on an additional screen/display for example.
- https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/flightgear/ci/next/tree/src/Viewer/renderer_compositor.cxx#l927 (compositor renderer)
- https://sourceforge.net/p/flightgear/flightgear/ci/next/tree/src/Viewer/renderer_legacy.cxx#l1842 (legacy renderer)
As per James' comments: Investigate adapting the WindowBuilder to allow OSG windows to be created dynamically for features like Stuart's FG1000 to be shown in a separate window (canvas placement) (this is basically now possible thanks to Jules' CompositeViewer work)
- Review/integrate experimental C++ patches for new Canvas elements floating around on the forum, namely:
2do: list outdated / deprecated functions for removal (I remember one comment saying: remove after FG 3.0 or something)
- Clean up the GPS code with respect to FG_210_COMPAT :
Property tree clean-up
remove /yasim/* "new" path is /fdm/yasim (since version 201x.?)