FlightGear Newsletter August 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.
Unified Weather GUI
As most readers will be aware, FG supports two weather models - Basic Weather which represents METAR data directly, and Local Weather which models weather more realistically, with more variation. In 2.8.0 these were configured separately using different UIs. Stuart Buchanan and Thorsten Renk have been working on unifying the user interfaces to provide a more user-friendly and consistent interface. This work is now available in git.
As of 08/2012, the new Canvas 2D drawing system in FlightGear HEAD has now also support for:
- using raster images
- nested canvases, where a canvas may contain images created by another canvas texture
- creating GUI windows (not just widgets)
- handling GUI events using osgGA
- multiplatfom copy/paste support using two new Nasal functions: Howto:Clipboard access using Nasal
Missing features, and features currently under development, are listed at Missing Canvas Features
Mailing list digest
(by far the easiest option to populate the newsletter with contents is copying/pasting stuff from the forum and the mailing list or the git logs)
Flightgear On Android
A new developer has achieved a way to run Flightgear on Android phones.
The project codename will be FOA;he has done a lot of Android and C++ coding.
His phone is a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and is running Android 4.04 (custom ROM but stock ROM should be OK). If your ready to test with us, please read the technical info then send a email to email@example.com!
TECHNICAL INFO: It should have at least a 1GHz processor and decent graphics chip. Android 2.3 is a must but a rooted device is not needed but can improve performance. Not much in this, as we haven't finished it to a release yet. He tested it on a bluetooth keyboard and a wired one through usb host mode. Hope you are interested in it!
The first ALPHA release is fresh out of its release, and you can read more here: http://www.flightgear.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=16719&p=163745#p163745
The FlightGear for Android Team
Here is a few links:
New effects in Rembrandt
The Rembrandt renderer has a lot of potentiality when it comes to post processing effects. Indeed, the interesting property of a deferred shader is that all stages of rendering are kept into memory. Post-processing is as simple as using a filter on a camera.
So currently the effects added in git are :
- Night vision including amplification grain and restrained field of view,
- Cinema effect including :
- Color shift, with Sepia as default value,
- Radial distortion (barrel and pincushion distortion, with scale compensation),
- Lateral chromatic aberration (purple fringing),
- Film wear simulation.
This won't make it for the 2.8 release but it's likely that an add-on will be available as it is contained in the data.
Getting involved as a programmer
Please see Howto:Start core development
Interview with a contributor (NAME)
In each edition we have an interview with a contributor. Suggestions for possible questions are available on interview questions, you are invited to come up with new questions and interview ideas obviously! Anyone is free to write an interview (with him-/herself or others) for next month's newsletter! If you'd like to help interview a contributor or get interviewed, please do consider adding yourself to the list of interview volunteers! To keep this going and less awkward, we are currently trying to come up with the convention that former interviewees become next month's interviewers.
- How long have you been involved in FlightGear?
- What are your major interests in FlightGear?
- What project are you working on right now?
- What do you plan on doing in the future?
- Are you happy with the way the FlightGear project is going?
- What do you enjoy most about developing for FlightGear?
- Are there any "hidden features" you have worked on in FlightGear that new users may miss?
- What advice can you give to new developers who want to get started on their first aircraft/new feature/Nasal script?
More questions are being collected here: Interview questions.
Stay tuned for next month's interview, featuring FlightGear contributor XXXXXXXX
Every now and then, easy-to-install development snapshots are created (usually, twice montlhy). These snapshos depict a recent state of the development version of FlightGear. By using them users can test out features that will be included in the upcoming release. Testers are encouraged to file bugs at the issue tracker.
Nasal for newbies
New software tools and projects
FlightGear addons and mods
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.
At the request by a new user of FG, Helijah has created and made available the Yakovlev Yak 18T in his hangar and GIT.
The Air Traffic Control tool ATC-FS got an update. The old radar screen was replaced by a radar screen, which can display fixes, navaids and ILS localizers. This new radar is resizable, so you can use your big screen more efficient.
The next version is already being worked on, it will reimplement ATC-FS using the new Canvas system (scheduled for FG 3.0) so that a fully custom drawn radar screen can be created in scripting space, including custom GUI widgets (e.g. for flight strips) - without depending on any hard coded instruments or dialogs any longer.
This new design will eventually even make it possible to reuse ATC-FS for other purposes, or even include it in an AWACS aircraft that is multiplayer-enabled.
The big old russian helicopter Mi-6 from the Mil design bureau has received a new update. More than a year after the last update a new structure of the Models-subfolder allows new instruments to be added much easier. Also the electrical system has been revisited and new instruments have beed added to the engineer panels. Please keep in mind that this still is a very early development version and therefore a lot of work still needs to be done. It is available from its gitorious-page.
3D models import webform
The webform to import 3D models directly into the DB is in production. Now you can use this tool to send your models to the database used by Terrasync. If everything is fine and your model respects the specifications written in the foreword, then it will quickly be shipped to all FG users worldwide through Terrasync. Yet another unique feature amongst the flight simulation world held by FlightGear. Thanks to Clément, Julien, Martin, for their help&support.
With all the forms now working on the scenemodels website, remember you can:
- add a single object (if you only have one!!). Check here: http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/submission/index.php
- update an object (for instance, a lot of power pylons are in fact communication pylones). It's here: http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/submission/shared/index_update.php
- delete an object (if it does not exist anymore in real life). It's here: http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/submission/shared/index_delete.php
- run a mass object positions import (if you added a lot of objets in one place). It's here: http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/submission/shared/index_mass_import.php
- add 3D models you created to have them imported into FG scenery via Terrasync. It's here: http://scenemodels.flightgear.org/submission/static/index.php They can be specific to a city (for instance : the Eiffel tower), or shared (a new windturbine model, for instance).
Please read carefully the various forewords on the site:
- all data imported has to comply with the GNU/GPL license ;
- you must use the elevation format used by Terrasync to give your objects/models elevation, or they could be floating/sunk for most of users.
We hope to see a lot of scenes not yet available via Terrasync merge into scenemodels. Nothing is now easier, especially when used in conjunction with our Mapserver! Remember that this is the strength of FG compared to other sims: everything can be in Terrasync and no need to download patches or sceneries here and there.
Scenemodels cleanup and update
A big cleanup has been done on our scenemodels database. A few thousands of duplicate objects have been removed (they were caused by mass insertion of navigation data, essentially). Nothing urgent but this makes the data in Terrasync lighter and more coherent. A script has also been launched to update the country associated with each object. While not perfect, now a lot more objects have a country!
Aircraft of the month
Airport of the month
Screenshot of the month
The US state of Idaho is known for its remote airstrips in mountainous terrain. The Idaho Airstrip Network has details on many of them, including airstrip diagrams.
At this time of year, it's important to take into account the temperature and altitude of the airstrips, as they combine to sap the power and lift from GA aircraft. AVWeb recently highlighted the (non-fatal) crash of a Stinson 108, which included a video taken by one of the passengers. Though the NTSB has only produced a preliminary report, it was notable that the aircraft was taking off from a grass airstrip at high altitude on a hot day and appears from the video to struggle to get airborne. The Stinson is broadly similar in performance to the c172p in our base package, and the airstrip (Bruce Meadows Airport, Idaho - U63) exists in our scenery. Those interested can try taking off using the c172p with 4 people on board (2400lbs max gross weight) and high temperatures. McCall Municipal Airport (KMYL) is 44nm away, and a good destination.
New aircraft articles
type=new count=10 categoryRoot=Aircraft
type=hot count=5 categoryRoot=FlightGear Newsletter
FlightGear on YouTube
New tutorials and screencasts
And finally ...
Did you know?
Did you know that the FlightGear project dates back to a discussion among a group of net citizens in 1996 resulting in a proposal written by David Murr? The original proposal is still available from the FlightGear website and can be found on the FlightGear website. Read it, you'll learn a lot about FlightGears' roots which still lead the project spirit.
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 FOA Team is looking for testers.
- The OpenRadar project is looking for a new maintainer.
- The FGFSPM (FlightGear Package Manager) is looking for a new maintainer.