FlightGear Newsletter April 2010
(Feel free to contribute to next month's newsletter. Have a look at the archive and in the forum for ideas on what can be included.)
In the hangar
The F50 hasn't got totally new functions, but Gijs spotted a problem with the .xml files in the plane, thus making it unable to fly on version 2.0. The .xml files have been patched and are available at the forum.
The IL96-400 was released on 06 Apr 2010, and is downloadable from UnitedFreeWorld.
The Boeing 747SP, a special ultra-long-haul version of the B747, is being developed by shervin88 on the forum. It is still at an alpha stage.
The Osprey is being revamped by ot-666, with a totally new model and FDM.
The 717 is still at a pre-alpha stage at the forum.
North American P-51D
The P-51D, a legendary fighter, was remodeled under JSBSim only by hvengel.
The C-5 is being modelled by jonbourg.
The IAR80 prop is near completion.
The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is being modeled by MOJO.
The A318 is being modeled from the A319 here.
The awesome C-17 has been in work by jonbourg for a while now and it looks great. The model is fantastic and it includes a working cargo door, animation and now fully operating thrust reverse. Upcoming updates will include an airdrop feature and 3D cockpit instrumentation. Also in the works is DATCOM information for a realistic flying experience.
Jon Bourgeois (jonbourg) also is currently working on the P-47N from Dave Culp's hanger Dave's Hanger.
New and improved shaders
Frederic Bouvier improved the Urban Shader - it now supports nightlighting as well. He improved the landmass-shader as well, which gives us a more realistic 3d-look to the forest.
Vivian Meazza added a Reflection Shader. This now gives us shiny surfaces on any object. So you can now have shiny blank metals, or a glossy coating like we can see on cars and modern aircraft, or shiny windows, which even show a nice rainbow effect (like the Airbus shows). These effects are completely configurable and can be controlled in many ways.
It support Cubemaps as well, and as this influences the look of the shader effect a lot, people are invited to create as many and different as we could need.
Weather development very active
In the end of March and start of April, lots of developers have released, in the forum, contributions to a local weather system.
The aim of a local weather system is to simulate weather phenomena tied to specific locations. Examples for this are a thunderstorm, a rainfront or thermal development. In the case of the thunderstorm, severe rain and turbulence occur in a location a few kilometers in scale, i.e. one can easily view it 'from outside' or fly in and out of this region. Similarly, the development of thermal convection clouds is strongly tied to features of the terrain - thermal development does not occur easily over open water or snow, but it is strong over rock or similar surfaces which heat in the sun. Finally, a rainfront is a phenomenon like a thunderstorm that divides the sky into two regions - one with essentially good visibility and clear sky, the other with severe clouds and rain, and both are visible at the same time.
This is in contrast to the current standard weather system of Flightgear where weather changes affect the weather everywhere in the simulated world and are (with few exceptions) not tied to specific locations. In such a system, it is impossible to observe e.g. the approach of a rainfront while flying in sunshine. In contrast, the local weather system allows for visual impressions such as the following:
The current release v0.51 is still limited to simulating weather in a 40x40 km tile, but supports placement of regions in which visibility, rain, snow and thermal lift are set, as well as interpolation of visibility, pressure, temperature and dewpoint between preset weather stations. The system also automatically creates thermals below convective clouds which can be utilized by gliders using a CVS patch, thus providing greatly enhanced soaring capability. More details in the forum or in the Wiki article A local weather system.
Help with texturing cloud models, developing and improving shader effects, testing, merging with the C++ code or increasing the library of availabe weather tiles is highly appreciated!
New dogfighting scenarios available!
Develpers been interested in developing dogfighting scenarios over the month. Some baloon experiments have been released too.
Malpensa being developed
The Milan/Malpensa airport is being developed by brisa here.
Did you know, that the visibility of FlightGear's menubar can toggled by hitting the F10 key? Or start your FlightGear with --prop:/sim/menubar/autovisibility/enabled=1 once. The menubar automatically pops up when your mouse is near the top edge of the FlightGear window. A click with the left mouse button hides the menubar again. If you have autosave on (which is on by default), this feature will be enabled everytime you start FlightGear.