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AEROFLY FS2: Q-400 Moves Into Closed Alpha Testing

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Hi folks! just passing on some hopefully interesting info.

 

From Drhotwing1 (Ipacs)

Greetings Aerofly FS2 Community,

We wanted to provide you with a status update regarding the much anticipated Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 Aircraft. As you are all aware, the Q400 aircraft will have most of the complex systems installed and operational as described by Jan in the previous posting: Q400 status update - More screenshots!

These new systems will not only be isolated to the Q400 aircraft. The updated autopilot system that will be a part of this release will affect all of the FS2 aircraft that have an autopilot system. Due to this, careful testing will be taking place prior to the official release of the Q400.

At this time, i'm pleased to inform you that the Q400 has moved into this closed internal testing. This testing will take as long as it needs to confirm the quality that all of you should expect from IPACS prior to release. Please be patient just a bit longer while we get the Q400 and the new autopilot ready for takeoff.

As always, we wish to thank you for your continued support while development of Aerofly FS2 continues. 

 

.........................................................................................................................

 

From Jet-pack (jan) Ipacs

https://www.aerofly.com/community/forum/index.php?thread/8351-q400-status-update-more-screenshots/&postID=41227#post41227

Dear Aerofly fans

In October I released a couple of screenshots of our upcoming Bombardier Dash8 Q400 (short just "Q400"), here is the link to the old thread: Bombardier Dash 8Q-400.

Back then it looked like the release was just around the corner but the work was interrupted in order to get the software development kit (SDK) out. Sorry for getting your hopes up high and then don't release soon. But that is the risk I took when I uploaded the screenshots, I just wanted to share the process on the Q400 and didn't know it would be pushed back that much. As I mentioned back then the turboprop engine was pretty much the only thing missing. In the last months we picked up the Q400 right where we left off and implemented a new turboprop engine specifically for the Q400. It features a simulated two stage compressor together with core turbines plus the power turbine that drives the large propeller. The basic physics for that are working pretty great at the moment, We have some fine tuning left todo (e.g. improve the FADEC) but that is all manageable, apart from that we're pretty much done with that aircraft.

The shut down engine on the screenshot below is the current state of my development version. We have not yet decided weather the initial release of the Q400 will feature engine start as well but we all agree that that would be pretty awesome. In the engine physics we would need to adjust a few things so that we can actually start the engine from zero rotation speed. We need to hook up a starter to the core turbine's shaft and then program the FADEC (engine conroller) just right to that it doesn't flood the engine. It's a bit more work for us, so maybe you can comment below if you would like to see such a feature from day one and if you would want wait just a little bit longer for that?  Personally I'd love to implement the engine start procedure first

The Q400 has quite a bit of system depth, here is an excerpt of its features 

(this list is far from complete, just the things that just now popped back into my head)

  • engine derates (MTOP, NTOP, MCL, MCR) using condition levers and engine control push buttons
  • reduced propeller rotation speed for landing (REDUCED NP LANDING)
  • fully feathering propeller, reverse thrust
  • all system pages and display swaps
  • navigation source selection and HSI select (+DUAL FD on ILS approach) to make the autopilot follow the FMS, ILS or VOR inputs from either pilot or copilot primary flight display
  • HSI on the navigation display to pre-tune the ILS approach (see screenshots below)
  • ARCDU (audio radio control display unit) with multiple pages (including the expanded pages), option to disable the automatic FMS tuning with the knob (ON/BOTH/FMS)
  • set v-speeds
  • DH/MDA selection
  • caution and warning annunciations for several warnings and cautions (will be expanded over time)
  • gear warning, beta range warning horn (when levers are below flight idle in flight), takeoff warning (+test), elevator trim warning, altitude alert, stick shaker,...
  • ice protection panel with automatic or manual selection of the airframe parts to deice
  • annunciator and advisory light test (screenshots below)
  • a lot of push buttons are moving when clicked (the other aircraft have that as well in my developer version - will be updated soon)
  • pretty much every button in the flight deck is implemented in my developer version, the ones that aren't functioning yet will likely be disabled in the release but that isn't certain yet. Maybe you'll get to click everything, too
  • stick pusher for stall protection
  • sound is actually pretty nice and has quite a bit of features. Also a lot of audible warnings 
  • handling is very nice as well, it's a lot of fun to fly, has noticeable prop-wash effects as well, straight takeoffs and climb outs actually require a bit of rudder and aileron trim
  • autopilot is simulated accuratly and features almost all modes (e.g. VOR OS, VOR capture annunciation is missing but VOR mode itself works, so nothing is really missing except maybe MLS but that is rarely used irl and we'd need to implement procedures and receivers for that first)

The FMS will be implemented later, once we tackle it for all aircraft. So no changing of the flight plan from within the cockpit just yet.

Electric and hydraulics systems are not implemented yet but probably will be in the future.

Disclaimer

The screenshots below are taken from my developer version that doesn't have all required features for the scenery, my trees are missing for example. These are work in progress (WIP) development screenshots that may contain certain mistakes or bugs, the final product may differ. Not all of the features shown below might make it to the public version on first release.

Engine data is not fine-tuned yet, might be off a bit on the screenshots but we are not done there yet.

 

Shut down engines:

ELz2Ev.jpg

 

Annunciator and advisory light test in action:

4YKR7o.jpg

vVmvep.jpg

 

Taxiing out to the runway (this is OrbX Innsbruck but in my developer version I don't have all the new scenery features yet)

mSaIbI.jpg

 

Ready for takeoff:

VhXOp4.jpg

 

Lift off, pushed the "NAV" button on the autopilot to follow the route (FMS as nav-source required)

owx0qE.jpg

 

DUAL FD - CAT 2 ILS approach (this thing can't do CAT3 with autopilot or do a fully automatic landing sadly - it has only one autopilot, two would be required)

MzNmVX.jpg

 

Initiating a go-around by pressing the GA-button (assignable in control settings)

Tampxz.jpg

 

ARCDU, expanded page for the ATC/TCAS: line select the squawk and push "EXP" to get there...

wWQY06.jpg

 

HSI is displayed on the navigation display so that you could continue to follow the FMS but can also already monitor the NAV receiver, nice handy feature!

wWQY06.jpg

 

All in all there is a lot to play with in the Q400. So much that we will need a thorough tutorial for it perhaps.

 

Regards,
Jan

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Very good work there.

Some time ago I had the chance to try Aerofly FS 2 and I liked it very much.

Then a very ironic thing came to my mind. While exploring AFS2, I thought of all the things that could be improved (as we usually do in every flight sim we use): better weather, better atmospheric scattering, ATC+AI, more autogen coverage, reflective water, even certain aspects of the flight model.

And then... I realized that "more complex systems" not once came to my mind! Yes, I know it's an important aspect, but I found it ironic that, in my mental quest for better realism in the feeling of flight, I gave priorities to many other aspects while completely disregarding that one.

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying: IPACS is doing the right thing (complex systems are a big priority for the flight sim community and a very important feature for a general purpose flight sim), and I know that they're working on some of those other things I mentioned as well.

I just found ironic that we simmers can have peculiar priorities sometimes. Whereas, say, the lack of a working mixture knob can kill the immersion more than the mountain meshes popping up and moving at 19fps. Isn't that weird?

 

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51 minutes ago, Murmur said:

I just found ironic that we simmers can have peculiar priorities sometimes. Whereas, say, the lack of a working mixture knob can kill the immersion more than the mountain meshes popping up and moving at 19fps. Isn't that weird?

Not really weird..... It could have been a combination of many things: mood, expectations, the phases of the moon.......

For me, if a person is enjoying themselves, that should really be the only major criteria, even if every single last doohickey isn't blinking, clicking or whirring.

For me, 30fps per second is much more immersion killing than a nonoperative mixture knob on a plane with infinite fuel.  :laugh:

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4 minutes ago, HiFlyer said:

For me, 30fps per second is much more immersion killing than a nonoperative mixture knob on a plane with infinite fuel.  :laugh:

30 fps is technically not immersion killing and, in my opinion, an acceptable performance depending on your rig, your settings, the amount of your addons and other factors.
Problem is when you drop below 20 fps... :ha:

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1 minute ago, barrel_owl said:

30 fps is technically not immersion killing and, in my opinion, an acceptable performance depending on your rig, your settings, the amount of your addons and other factors.
Problem is when you drop below 20 fps... :ha:

It honestly depends on what you are accustomed to. Maybe two years ago, I would have been (and was) happy with even just 25FPS and some fiddling with my settings (and we certainly do a lot of that, don't we?)

Managing 30fps over Aerofly New York I considered a high achievement! But add in FSDT KJFK ( just purchased V2 so I could test it with P3DV4) and suddenly you are in slideshow land if you are using what I consider to be acceptable settings, and forget about adding another heavy airport in the area.

Now, I can fly over a beautiful New York with JFK, Laguardia, Teterboro and others all in plain sight while easily exceeding 100fps with full shadows and...... after a year or so of that, it's hard to go back.

I wanted to give ESP another chance, so I did purchase P3DV4 and about $200 of extra Orbx scenery, and did give it the old college try; and yes, Orbx does beautiful stuff....

But..... (and I know I'm gonna get creamed)

30 to 40fps with the settings necessary to maintain that framerate are just painful to me, now.

I will still use it, in fact I'm thinking of buying Innsbruck for comparison purposes, but I have to say I'm drifting way more towards X-plane, and of course, Aerofly

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Excellent news for an excellent simulator. The Q400 is most welcome to the already very good existing aircraft!.

Cheers, Ed

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I really want to see road and sea traffic in FS2 so its beautiful world will come to live. Did the developers ever say when that will come?

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Flightsim axiom: we will not be satisfied until our computer is brought to its knees... then we know the sim has reached its full potential!  :laugh:

 

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4 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

30 to 40fps with the settings necessary to maintain that framerate are just painful to me, now.

 

I couldn't agree more. Everyone who says 25 or 30 fps is GREAT in a flight sim should experience the total smoothness of Aerofly FS 2 for a while: after that 25 or 30 fps really doesn't cut it anymore. 30 fps may seem sort of smooth in certain situations (flying straigh ahead while not looking around) but during actual flying the difference between 30 fps in for instance P3D and 100 fps in Aerofly FS is immense and very obvious. A change in direction or looking around with an fps of 30 is very different compared to the same movements with an fps of +100.

It's hard to describe in words. Let me put it in another way: when you look around in real life, do you even think 'This looks smooth!'? No, you don't. Things are just as they are. You only start thinking about things running smooth when you are aware things are presented to you in frames per second, like on a computer screen: at a certain moment you start to think 'Well, I hardly notice the frames anymore, this looks smooth'. But you still are aware of the frames. Well, at 30 fps things are obviously presented to you in frames per second, in Aerofly FS 2 things seem to be presented just as they are. A huge difference that has a huge impact on immersion.

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5 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

30 to 40fps with the settings necessary to maintain that framerate are just painful to me, now.

Problem here is that you are all comparing apples to oranges here. Yes, the framerate in Aerofly FS2 is nice, but the complexity of the sim so low compared to FSX/P3D/X-Plane. The aircraft are all toys from an arcade game. There isn't even a working mixture lever in the prop aircraft. With that low level of complexity you can easily achieve 60fps+ in P3D/X-Plane with a decent system. As soon as they add more complexity (also currently no autogen, no complex weather, no ATC, ...) the framerates will start to drop. No more 100fps over New York...

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1 hour ago, carlito777 said:

As soon as they add more complexity (also currently no autogen, no complex weather, no ATC, ...) the framerates will start to drop. No more 100fps over New York...

Can you explain that claim?

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58 minutes ago, torium said:

Can you explain that claim?

It's relatively straightforward and easily demonstrable.  Start with any sim you like (probably XP or P3D as they have bigger add-on ecosystems).  Turn autogen off, set clear skies, disable any atc addons, load a simple plane and fly above New York.  You will get a framerate, doesn't matter what it is for our purposes, let's call it X.  Start turning on autogen, ATC addons, load a PMDG aircraft, set the weather to cloudy or stormy.  At each stage you will see a framerate drop of some magnitude as those cycles dedicated to chucking frames out the door at X speed are spent on something else.  At no point is the framerate ever likely to exceed X.  

 

X is 100 for Aerofly on HiFlyer's system at the moment.  Whilst it probably uses resources more efficiently, Aerofly is subject to the same physical resource limitations as any other programme, therefore if Aerofly achieves the same level of complexity and completeness that a "fully loaded" XP or P3D setup achieves, framrates will drop (we can discuss whether that should be their goal, but let's assume for the moment that is the case). 

 

Does that mean a 10% or a 50% drop?  Not a clue as to the specific figure.  But given the delta in complexity is large it's probably non-trivial.  That is not a criticism of Aerofly, merely a recognition that on any given machine they have a fixed budget of CPU and GPU cycles to spend.

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2 hours ago, carlito777 said:

As soon as they add more complexity (also currently no autogen, no complex weather, no ATC, ...) the framerates will start to drop. No more 100fps over New York...

 

3 minutes ago, Flying Penguin said:

It's relatively straightforward and easily demonstrable. Start with any sim you like (probably XP or P3D as they have bigger add-on ecosystems).  Turn autogen off, set clear skies, disable any atc addons, load a simple plane and fly above New York.

This is a typical misconception based on an arbitrary application of years of ESP experience to a quite different platform, which has in fact been built with a much more solid and advanced technology. Obviously, as you add more and more addons and you keep your settings to the highest resolution, performance will always tend to decrease. As the number of addons and additional load you can put on a simulator is virtually unlimited, even the best performing simulator can be brought to its knees at some point. This does not prove, however, that all simulators are the same and keep up with high additional loads in the same way. Jarrad Marshall, who developed the LOWI scenery both for FSX/P3D and Aerofly, explained in detail weeks ago in the Orbx forum why such view is little more than a speculation. IPACS actually built a very solid platform that will be capable to support many addons in the future without compromising performance and experience. As a matter of fact, most of us fly over NYC and LOWI well above 100 fps (I get about 100 fps over NYC at Ultra settings and about 200 fps over LOWI with a i7 4970K at 4,5 GHz and GTX 980 with 16 GB RAM, which is an average rig for the simmer community). You can test yourself the different performance on LOWI, if you happen to have both versions. Keep in mind that no road traffic is present in LOWI even in the FSX/P3D version and also AI is limited there due to the very special approaches.

Also, are you serious when you say "no autogen"? Ever watched any video of Aerofly over NYC? That's the highest concentration of 3D objects I have ever seen in any civilian simulator so far. The scenery does not cover only Manhattan, it includes large sections of Queens, Brooklyn and especially New Jersey with all major airports. That itself and alone would bring any current ESP version to its knees even in the vanilla state and with conservative settings (actually I see a lot of stuttering in lots of videos even in far less demanding sceneries, but I prefer not to elaborate here).

 

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32 minutes ago, Flying Penguin said:

Does that mean a 10% or a 50% drop?  Not a clue as to the specific figure.

This is the main question. How many % drop?  1 - 2%?

Aerofly FS2 engine has of course also its limits. But the claim is that as soon as you increase complexity (a working mixture lever) framrates will drop. IPACS responds to this repeated claim, reads as follows:

 

"Concerns about the performance with more systems? No, I don't think so...

From my point of view more systems won't affect the performance that much if at all. If you are using the CPU to its full potential it can do a lot of things very quickly (3.400.000.000 things second! per core...). And Aerofly has an engine that is very powerful, using multicore, 64bit... 

I've been adding thousands of small systems in the past year now, I've not had an issue with CPU performance even once. The frame rate stayed at 60FPS since the graphics is running on another thread and mainly on the graphics card anyway - so rendering will still be very smooth even if theoretically we would somehow managed to bring the physics engine to its limits. Then the phyics would probably just get less acurate if we had to slow it down... 

That shouldn't affect the frame rate at all though, it does in other simulators but it shouldn't. But I doubt we will ever get to the limits of the physics engine, even if we add study level system depth."

"There is always a compromise between quality and performance. So sometimes you have to cut down either on polygons or tital buildings in a single scene. But LOWI proves that the engine can indeed handle a ton of polys and total buildings withour affecting performance.
"

 

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1 minute ago, barrel_owl said:

Obviously, as you add more and more addons and you keep your settings to the highest resolution, performance will always tend to decrease.

But that was exactly my point, so I'm not sure what you are objecting to?  Whilst add-ons will have some overheads that inbuilt functionality will not (mainly around usage of the relevant API), exactly the same point about increased complexity (whether through increased polygons or working mixture levers/FMS etc) tending to decrease performance in the absence of something else giving way (through changing of settings or accepting a lower frame rate) applies to inbuilt functionality as add-ons, unless Aerofly has somehow worked out how to break physical performance limitations.

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