Flight Path Visualization
Tutorials & Replay
Using the new flight recorder system and its support for saving tutorials, it should be much more feasible to create tutorials using a combination of the existing tutorials system and the replay system. That would probably be pretty compelling, especially during FlightGear Expos.
Generic Tutorials (Aircraft agnostic)
Hooray: Like I mentioned earlier, if we could generalize the tutorial system to focus on scenarios, rather than on aircraft, we could actually generalize our tutorials and make them aircraft agnostic, so that aircraft-specific details are provided via PropertyList XML files (i.e. the Aircraft Checklists) - so that having a single "Flying a pattern" scenario could be available for all aircraft that provide the required XML config files to set the V-speeds and other aircraft-specific stuff. I'm willing to work out more details and help with the details and implementation/code here. Overall, I agree that end-users should be presented with aircraft that provides a consistent and instructional experience, which includes checklists, tutorials and an autostart feature - implementing these in an orchestrated fashion would be a good way to ensure that new users can actually use FG without needing a degree in CS or previous flight sim experience ... In addition, such a feature would also set us apart from FSX and XP, and bring us closer to "real" professional simulators like IP Trainer or Elite, where these features are linked to interactive instructor scenarios.
Checklists & Tutorials
Hooray:Just stumbled across this, which shows how the feature is implemented in FSX/ESP: http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/ESPAircraftChecklist If we can agree to further improve the integration between tutorials and checklists, we could easily exceed the features provided by FSX/ESP.
- Stuart:Very interesting link. I downloaded the information and had a glance through the XML mission description. AFAICT its very similar to what we've already got, with the exception of being able to run the mission in different modes. Discussing ideas on the wiki is an excellent plan. Personally I'm finding that the checklists are much more useful as an end-user than the tutorials. Naturally they can't be location-specific, and require the user to think a little bit more, but the self-paced nature makes them easier to use than the full tutorials.
- Hooray:If configuring a checklist means that tutorials can be more easily created by developers without duplicating data (such asV speeds), that's a great thing - which is why I previously suggested to increasinly link the two features in an optional fashion. After all, there's some really overlapping data and features here. Well-integrated tutorials + checklist systems means that providing real instructional scenarios will be much easier for people. I wouldn't worry about taking "things too far", like you asked on the devel list - after all, these are not mandatory, but rather optional features. Also, the "free form" nature of the property tree + scripting causes some problems for many aircraft developers, because there's no real API (or at least "structure") to implement things in a standardized fashion. Well integrated features and components on the other hand, do provide this very structure. At the moment, there's lots of copy/paste and manual customizations happening
Adding tutorial support to canvas MFDs
Whenever a new canvas-driven MFD is added (777, 744 etc), we can easily create scripted tutorials to demonstrate how the MFD (PFD/ND) works, simply by looking up the corresponding element (e.g. speed tape, altitude etc) and animating it in a dialog while showing explanations (tooltips) - looking at the 744, this could be accomplished with just 30 lines of Nasal code, we only need MFDs to expose a shared lookup handle and a valid animation range (ktias, gs, vspeed) - that way, MFD dialogs can be instantiated automatically to illustrate each element .