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Airline2Sim

GSX customization discussion.....STICKY

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A word on the customization of the GSX files contained in the package.....

We wanted to include them, as throughout the recording of the series it annoyed me every time I loaded up at a gate and the vehicles were often in conflict with scenery or driving through it. This isn't the fault of GSX as it just uses a radius around the aircraft to draw the vehicles and obviously cannot 'sense' the scenery. The same is true of ground handling programs in X-Plane and even good old AES (I think) had custom gates but the vehicles still used a set path to drive around the aircraft so it wasn't perfect.

GSX works on a kind of garbage in, garbage out principle and the only way not to feed it garbage is to customize the files. It's very time consuming to do and most people get no further than editing the odd gate that they use often, but once you've done this then you’ll find it’s really nice to have it working perfectly at any airliner gate in one of the biggest hubs in the world. 

However, it's important to clarify what we've changed and what we haven't, or more accurately - can't.

We've changed: 

  • The aircraft stop point, so the aircraft stops precisely on the number, or spawns there when you select a gate position. Some airports use the actual aircraft type in letters painted on the ground whereas Schipol uses numbers. The numbers relate to the stop position. 
  • The position of the pushback tug, the luggage loaders, the marshaller (if there is one - most positions now have a SAFEDOCK so he now sits around drinking coffee mostly) the stairs and luggage carts. They should be parked in a sensible position (this is more difficult with the really tight gates) and will avoid in 99% of cases driving into the scenery.
  • The addition of aircraft sensitive SAFEDOCKS, a little known feature of GSX. Thankfully they can be placed seamlessly on the poles vacated by the disabled FlyTampa docking system. They are pretty sensitive, so brush up on your parking! 
  • The addition of SODE jetways. There are of course already SODE profiles for Amsterdam but we made our own. Once you've had SODE jetways that work (ours do) then you'll be sad to go back to the default ones that dock half way up the door. They are also labelled with the jetway for each respective door - so usually if there are two jetways then jetway 1 is for for door 1L and jetway 2 is for 2L and they are labelled as such. 
  • Tweaked pushbacks. GSX offers the ability to set the pushback to stop a different position by using the co-ordinates of a NODE from the airport AFCAD. This is far from an exact science and involved a lot of trial and error, but now unless marked you will get a successful pushback. They are also labelled with the direction of the push and the taxiway upon which you will find yourself. So for example, 'Right onto Taxiway A19'. This means that you will pushback to YOUR right quadrant, or in car terms, reversing back out of your driveway to the right. Airport charts often have the pushback direction labelled from the tug driver point of view but I find this confusing as he's facing in the opposite direction to you and of course in the sim, YOU are the driver really. So the pushback direction in Airport2Sim is the quadrant behind YOU, facing forwards. 
  • Tweaked gate sizing. We tested every gate with a variety of appropriate sized aircraft and discovered that although in many cases the wingspan was acceptable, the length wasn't, as the whole aircraft must be INSIDE the red line marking the end of the parking bay and the beginning of the taxiway. So a 777-200LR will fit, but a 777-300ER will be sticking its rear dangerously into the taxiway. We've tweaked the gate sizing to reflect what fits and what works. Everything from the Saab 340 to the 747-8 has a gate optimized for it at the airport now.

We can't change:

  • The path of the buses, fuel vehicles, catering vehicles when they arrive, maneuver and depart and also that of the baggage carts when they drive off. They follow the taxiway lines in the AFCAD. 
  • The path of animated passengers 
  • The angle of the pushback at certain gates. In a few cases the tug pushes at 90 degrees to the aircraft, which would almost certainly be a written off nose gear or sheared tow bar in real life. The tug wriggles around a bit during pushback at one or two gates also, but we've marked these for those of you with pushback OCD.
  • GSX baggage carts overlapping each other when unloading certain aircraft - the FSL Airbus A319 and A320 are particularly affected by this.
  • Left side baggage loading of the CRJ. I've not so far been able to get GSX to unload bags from the CRJ without it turning into a kind of baggage cart ballet. I'll keep working on this. For now, if you're flying the CRJ then you have no bags a they were left at the origin airport. Sorry, please fill in this form and we'll send them on!

And finally - a word on optimsed aircraft:

First the bad news - it's impossible to tweak the GSX file at a gate to work with every single aircraft, the reason for this being that the aircraft final parking position affects the path of the ground vehicles. So let's say that there is a piece of ground equipment in the way of a particular gate. If we tweak it so that the vehicles avoid it for the 74-8 and then you come and park there in a ERJ 135 then the path the vehicles take will be different and hence they might crash into the scenery which ruins our ground handing OCD.

So, we decided to optimize each gate to work with a particular aircraft, so that you could always find a gate to fit perfectly. You will find optimizations for the 737-800/900, A319, A320 (not the A321 yet), 777-200/300, 747-400/8, 787-8/9, Q400, Saab 340, Emb 175/195, CRJ, 717, RJ 70/85/100 and 757. There are of course others but we've covered the big ones. 

The good news is that the 737 and A319/320 are almost identical, and swapping a 777 for a 787 won't cause any big problems. The 777-300 and 747 are not far off the same size in terms of taking up gate space, so they can be interchanged too. So, as long as you don't park anything LARGER than the max aircraft size in the gate then you should be fine, for example if you park at 787-9 in a gate optimised for a 777-300.

The further away you get from the optimized aircraft then the more likely it is that the ground vehicles might conflict with something, so if you park an RJ-70 in a 747-8 optimized gate then you may be fine and everything will work, but visually there may be a few compromises. However, you'd be better off parking the RJ-70 in a gate optimized for it, as that's the whole idea. 

Hope that helps clear it up, I'll sticky this for a bit.

Edited by Airline2Sim
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