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Steeler

Sky Dolly - free flight recorder / replay app (FS2020)

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Dear community,

I am excited to announce that the latest Sky Dolly v0.6 preview release has just been made available yesterday:

  https://flightsim.to/file/9067/sky-dolly

Sky Dolly v0.6 as reached a major milestone, namely the support of database (SQLite) persistence - the "logbook". Flights are automatically persisted - away with pesky file handling 🙂

CEZStIkU.png?width=1400&auto_optimize=me
 

Features include:

  • Smooth replay with cubic spline interpolation of the sample points
  • Variable record rates, from as low as 1 Hz (great for conserving space on long commercial airline flights) up to "auto" ("as fast as possible" - great for "acrobatic flying")
  • Basic simulation variables "with visual impact" are recorded: flaps, gears, ailerons, rudder, spoilers, ...
  • Initial flight conditions, aircraft information, waypoints and simulation times (local and zulu) are recorded
  • Basic store / restore / delete database functionality (including backup and disk space optimisation), with sophisticated flight filtering on the roadmap
  • Easy and inutitive user interface, with keyboard shortcuts
  • Very resource friendly (< 1% CPU usage during recording, on an i7 4.2 GHz CPU)
  • Basic CSV import/export

 

Source and (older) binary releases:

  https://github.com/till213/SkyDolly

Happy flying and recording 🙂

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Dear community,

The freshly released Sky Dolly v0.7 preview has introduced a major new feature: recording & replay of "formations":

Recording

Adding new aircrafts to an existing (or new) flight is as easy as:

  • Switch to the "Formation" module (press F2)
  • Press the "Record" button (key R)

That's it! The newly recorded aircraft is automatically stored in the "Logbook" (database). Sky Dolly does not impose any limit on the number of aircrafts in a given formation. And the best part of it: while you are recording an aircraft all existing aircrafts are replayed at the same time! So you know exactly where you are flying in relation to the other aircrafts in your formation. While their replay sample rate is set to "auto" (interpolation for each "simulated frame" event) you may still change the recording sample rate at any time (also during recording - because why not), from "auto" to as low as 1 Hz.

Replay

Replaying a formation flight is equally simple:

  • Load a flight (by double-clicking on it in the "Logbook")
  • Press the "Play" button (spacebar)

And all aircrafts are replayed in sync. Press the "Pause" (key P) button or seek in the timeline (left or right arrow keys): all aircrafts are controlled with a single user interface instance (as you would expect, actually ;)).

Additional Features

  • Set the initial recording position relative to the current "user aircraft" (the aircraft which is being followed by the camera in the flight simulator)
  • Remove aircrafts from a flight
  • Jump "from cockpit to cockpit", by changing the "user aircraft"
  • Or why not take control of the "user aircraft" yourself, at any time during replay? And if you "get lost": simply hand back control to Sky Dolly 🙂

And if screen space is at a premium you may switch to "Minimal UI" mode at any time, which still provides the required features to record & replay formation flights:

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Known Issues

The "AI controlled aircrafts" are "jittering" quite substantially, especially at "higher speeds" (something above 120 knots or so). The ugly "jitter" effect is less extreme (or hardly noticeable) the farther away aircrafts are from the camera, or when using a static drone camera. So you should still get some nice "cinematic shots" done.

But the "jittering" somewhat limits the fun factor in manual formation flying, which is really only acceptable with slower aircrafts such as then Zlin Savage Cub for the time being.

An improvement could be to be able to send all position and instrument data "in one go" (with just one fuction call) per "simulated frame" events. But to my knowledge the SimConnect API does not yet offer such a function which would take "an array of data requests" as argument. It is also possible that the "physics engine" is still trying to influence the AI aircraft's position, despite corresponding "release AI" and "freeze position" calls beforehand.

As other replay tools show the same "jitter" effect I believe that this is simply a shortcoming of the current SimConnect implementation, which will hopefully be improved in the future.

In any case, have fun with the new feature - and I am looking forward to seeing your new "cinematic formation flights" 😉

Edited by Steeler

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