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jcboliveira

FS2004 & FSUIPC

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I'm getting as excited as others when I see the wonderful screenshots posted from the press copies of FS Century of Flight. At the same time, I think about my collection of freeware and payware add-ons that make FS2002 so much fun and how they will work in FS2004. Many of my add-ons rely on the genius of Peter Dowson and his FSUIPC module. So it's going to be very important for Peter to release a FS2004-compatible version of FSUIPC. Of course, the sooner, the better! :-smile12 If you also have add-ons that rely on FSUIPC, you may want to consider donating to Peter and supporting his efforts to upgrade FSUIPC to work with FS2004 and well beyond.I don't want to start a debate over who should support Peter (individual simmers vs. payware companies), but this is an important time to consider what Peter does for the community and how the release of FS2004 is going to affect your add-ons.BruceIf you want to support Peter, information can be found at http://www.forums.simflight.com/viewtopic....98128077ababca3

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I couldn't agree more Bruce.I think all simmers who use FSUIPC should forget the 'who should pay' issue and consider 'I use this utility and would be lost without it, therefore I will make a donation to allow Pete to continue development'.Just one thing folks, if you decide to donate remember that PayPal do take a cut of your donation so consider that when deciding the amount; I believe donating through SimMarket is cheaper.I am lucky, I live in the UK so it easier for me to send Pete a Stering cheque so I know he gets the full amount.Looking at Avsim's 'Wall of fame' for donations it would appear that very few simmers are interested in making donations - very sad :-(Soapbox mode off :-)

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Not trying to take anything away from Pete's work, but I think in future, third party developers should be looking to find their own ways of communicating with the inards of FS, rather than having to rely on the efforts of one single person.

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FSUIPC was developed by reverse engineering to provide interfacing that MS did not document in their SDKs. While there are some interfaces that digging deep into MS info will provide, FSUIPC apparently provided a more common method that many developers preferred.It is not uncommon among the programming community to provide third party add-on utilities to provide front-end access to operating systems and applications. Some of these are known as RAD (Rapid Application Development) packages that provide a productive environment.A similar case in point might be Lee Swordy's Traffic Tools that decompile and recompile from the MS .bgl files needed for AI management. Isn't that a one person product? Yet Project AI relies on it.Back to FSUIPC. When a program is compiled from a higher level language such as C++, the relative offsets of various parameters is not known unless at the time of compiling an assembly language dump is also created and analyzed. Apparently for many variables MS did not bother or just did not want or see the need to provide that information. Perhaps they viewed FS as a game not realizing that serious folks would want more realism for aircraft and environment performance meaning that more third party control of the situations would be needed. They also might have feared that too much disclosure would result in competing products should they decide to get in the add-on market such as they have done with Train Simulator.FSUIPC provides a more consistant interface for many parameter accesses and the interface is well documented. Since FS2K2 did not have any patch releases, as long as you had a copy of FSUIPC and its accompanying documentation, you were in business should Peter decide not to provide it any more. The author is not in the best of health and according to posted statements on his site has lost his full time income. Up to this time, aside from the few donations he has received, he has assumed the economic burden of making his product available. He has stated that FSUIPC for FS2K4 will probably be a reasonably priced payware product and he stated he is now working on it.In the beta releases of FS2K4 and their accompanying enthusiastic reviews, I question whether any reviewer has evaluated the interfaces for add-on developers. What will MS leave out this time?It is the add-on developers and the market for their products, as well as the interfacing schemes provided by MS, that will determine whether FSUIPC or equivalent products will be needed. You do not have to use it or the add-ons that require it.

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Hi Ronzie,I would just to add the following: I'm sure that the Flight Simulator vendors are well aware of the new release SDK and its limitations. At least, the common sense tels that Microsoft would get an invaluable feedback during beta tests in having vendor developpers part of the beta test team. Just common sense, no speculation.It is also sure that Microsoft has already released a way for external applications to have a hook to the FS2002 variables in the form of the NetPipe SDK, which is expandable, and supported by Microsoft. If there is a single most unique way to provide exteral applications access to internal variables, this is the Netpipe SDK.Now for sure many add-ons will fail if FSUIPC is missing in FS2004. However, the ones to blame are the vendor developpers which have not provided to you, the customer, products relying on FS SDK standards (Netpipe) instead of providing products relying on a freeware software which may have in turn be discontinued anytime. This is in no way a flame war against Peter Downson which undoubtly has contributed to the community (and has received many awards for it).So there are options for vendors to give you compatible products for the next versions of Flight Simulator, as long as they rely on a documented and expandle SDK supported solution: Netpipe SDK. Just think about this when you next shop for a product...this is a guarantee for supported products...Hope this helps!

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Pete is working on his FSUIPC for FS2004 and we have tested a few versions already. No doubt there will be a good version when FS2004 hits the streets. But i agree on the 'donation'..... actually, if I were Pete I'd just make it payware ;-):-outta Francois :-wave[table border=0 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0][tr][td valign=bottom" align="center]"At home in the wild"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:avsim.com/alaska/alaska_052.htm]Don's Alaskan Bush Charters]"Beavers Lead the Way"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][br][tr][td valign=top" align="center]http://www.fssupport.com/images/moose4.gif[/td][td valign="top" align="left" colspan=2][/td][tr][/table

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>It is also sure that Microsoft has already released a way for>external applications to have a hook to the FS2002 variables>in the form of the NetPipe SDK, which is expandable, and>supported by Microsoft. If there is a single most unique way>to provide exteral applications access to internal variables,>this is the Netpipe SDK.I am surprised by this, Jean Luc... Surely you are aware that NetPipe does not access to all of the information that FSUIPC can provide.BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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This is an excellent thread, and I wholeheartedly agree that FS2002 would be lost without FSUIPC.Where does one make a donation?Lee

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Lee,Try this link to Pete's site... http://www.schiratti.com/dowson.htmlDoug3.06Ghz P4 533FSB512 MB RAMBUS RAMSony CPD-G410R 19" CRTRadeon 9700 Pro (Not O/C)SB Audigy 2120 GB ATA Ultra DriveMS Sidewinder Force FB ProWinXP Pro SP1DX 9.0a

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I would think a better way would be to require third party commercial applications to pay $5 per license for the use of FSUIPC. That way Peter would get a little $$$ for his work and not really have to manage it. The cost of third party apps would increase only marginally and all would benefit.

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Hi Bill,yes I know, but for the rest, it is really easy for any developper which would like to export data, just to make his own quick and working module DLL which just does this, for the data he wants. Anyone interested for a skeleton module? send me an email!As I wrote a while back, FSUIPC is 3 in 1 with these general areas: enhance FS2002 features (weather...), provide Joystick controls for external hardware, offer IPC to read/write data.What I disagree on with the FSUIPC threads here, in my opinion, is that it is refered to as a whole whereas we all have different needs from it. As a user, for adding what FS2002 lacks in standards, such as better overall weather (or related type of enhancements), and / or for supporting my harware, it is not the same need as a developper, which need exported FS variables to develop external applications. Hence the problem of who pays what, and for Peter actually, I maybe just gave a hint for a way to market his program: a User Interface for User oriented features for a fee AND a developper IPC for developper requirements for a fee too.However, as a developper, anything that FSUIPC exports is almost readiliy available (99% of it) from the SDK, and can be exported in you own way for your own applications in coding your own "exporting" module. It sounds difficult but it really is not. For sure, a network application may requires a little more, but it is a design choice wether or not you want to be in full control of your software design and features, or rely on third party code (which happen for now to be freeware). And as far as network applications go, given how the SDKs improves from version to version, I'm sure that the next netpipe SDK will improve from the actual. Not speaking about there should be ways to use the mechanism provided by the netpipe system for your own datas.Francois: marketing blurbs? no I don't think so. In my opinion from reading the various posts about FSUIPC and Netpipe SDK in this forum and in the "panel and gauges" forum, I think that not only the users but the developper community have to assess more what FSUIPC really does for different needs, not only to better understand what it really offers to everyone as a user program, but to also understand what it really offer to developpers as a supporting application. If my post could contribute to help Peter continue to make his wonderfull contributions to the community (and gets rewarded from it, with information so as what it really is about not only from a user perspective but from a developper perspective, then I'll be glad because we would get all rewarded: both the users with better products and the developpers with supporting tools.Hope this helps!

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I have to disagree in several points regarding IPC.1 - Response time. SDK has two year life cycle. Same as FS but FSUIPC responds in 1 to 2 month. Sometimes to Payware propositions sometimes to freeware. I can't imagine Microsoft doing the same.2 - Support. Pete support is impec. Forum and E-Mail usually within the same day. If we rely only in SDK we must go to peer to peer support. Pete forum sometimes is the right place to exchange thoughts about programs.3 - Language support. I don't know how many but I can bet that a lot of the regular utility is made in VB or Delphi. SDK usually are C or C++ oriented even some API SDK are now loosing VB support. FSUIPC as support for all languages (even things like C# that I don't know what it is ;-) ). Sure, people can learn other languages but if they are dinosaurs like me they try to stick always with the same language. 4 - Of course I can use Netpipes and maybe I will try but as far I can tell Netpipes gives me access to gauge variables so things like my AIBridge are kaput, finito, acabado without FSUIPC. Of course FSAcars that reads only airplane variables can switch but transforming all that FSUIPC calls in to netpipes calls? :( But I agree that the utility part is a completely different thing. By reading Pete thoughts in the Forum about this matter gives me the idea that all angles are being consider.Jos

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