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Why are .air files such a 'deliberate' mystery?

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As the question asks....Why do micro$oft still seem to 'refuse', or at the very least, never get round to fully divulging HOW their .air files are structured? Thus allowing plane designers complete control over the Flight Dynamics etc..Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like we have to continually scratch around in the dirt, using trial & error. to only come up with fragments of knowledge.... Would it REALLY be that much of a problem if Micro$oft DID release FULL details concerning the hidden depths of the .air file? It would make so much more sense..... Afterall, why promote that their flight sim can expand with addon planes etc, when they don't help in giving all the info needed to build those planes properly.....Any thoughs?? .... Does Anyone know anyone from the MS Sim development team, To get an answer to this lack of co-operation? Al :-)

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I think the bottom line is like any game produced for public consumption, that once the game/simulator whatever..has been done,the company then feels it wants a return on the product produced, maximizing their return by NOT SPENDING ANY MORE MONEY PAYING PEOPLETO EXPLAIN HOW THINGS WHERE CREATED/DEVELOPED.And when you think about it. Why should they have to explain how they developed something. We as consumers must bear in mind, that Microsoft or whoever, does not create a product with the expectations that they then will tell the world how they developed it. The idea is to make money on said product/service, with pre-prescribed methods of marketing/sales/distribution methods. NOT explain to the world how they made the product.I think we often forget the reason behind the free enterprise concept. The concept is to create a product/service, whatever. andsell it to a consumer market.Would you for instance, complain about some Drug Company not devulging how they created a given drug? Or would you complain about an Aircraft Company not providing minute details on how they developed some feature in one of their aircraft?Likewise, game producers should not be expected to devulge how they created the product they marketed. Obviously it is a great thing to see some company take the time and effort (willingness to pay people to follow up to provide information on how their product) to give details on their product but I don't think it is fair for use to comdeme them. OK, in the case of Microsoft, they have been a bunch of sneaky bandits for years, but that is their right based on the free market principle. Food for thought...

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Fair comments,However, Drug companies don't promote actively that their drug CAN be combined or added to... (for obvious reasons).If we compare MSoft to your aircraft company.... Its like them saying... "Of course you can customise our aircraft with your own cockpit instruments, however we won't tell you anything about how to install them so that they ACTUALLY WORK with our plane." etc etc....Unlike a drug company, MSoft DO promote that their product (sim) CAN be added to. But then then don't back that up by telling you HOW to do it properly..... Its that old addage... If you're going to do or offer something.... DO, or offer it properly. But as usual.... its Half baked with Msoft.How many years has flight sim been around in its various forms? 20years..? Over that time, they have obviously followed some gradual learning curve as to how they best impliment their interpretation of Flight Dynamics. You'd think given ALL that time, they could divulge something about how their FD works. Thus aiding 3rd party developers, especially when they actively encourage 3rd part development. But the very componant that is lacking in info, remains SO IMPORTANT to the success of a 3rd party plane developer. .... I think my counter comment is just as much food for thought :-)Al

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It's probably no more a mystery than aerodynamics is to the lay person. Everyone is not in the dark.There is a lot of knowledge running about by people who know aerodynamics.What we need is a really nice high level tool that allows us common simmers to set up a reasonable package.Jerry Beckwith has one and it is available to you free for the download. I use it and love it. You only need basic geometric and performance data to set up your FD's. The end result is an .air file and an aircraft.cfg file with other goodies as by-products.Take the time to learn this tool and be happy.http://www.mudpond.us/Milton

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Milton,I agree with everything you have had to say. I was just trying to show the rational in how companies "think and act". I am a Ex-BellLabs engineer amoung otherthings. And while at the labs for 13 yearsI had deep involvment in UNIX and then later in the Linux with a small VAR. I have bad mouthed Microsoft for years! It's owner and CEOand his cronies and many mid managment level folks especially the Sales/Marketting folks should be lined up in public places and either hung by the neck till dead or shot in firing lines, or hung and then shot at!The company run by the little giant that never grew up knowing what real engineering and programming was really about, has played havoc on the world scene for some twenty two years now! They have cause more heart ache and a loss of money to companies etc., that eventually get passed on the the customer, then one can shake a stick at. So yes I agree with all you have said. Problem partly is..........I am convinced that they have few if any real sharp people, either in the development areas or the documentation areas. In a pinch, their people do not produce high quality documents for their products most of the time. And as you are aware, have done their best over the years to hide and deceive information. Many compaines have complained to no end of how shaddy MS really is, butto no avail. They just keep rolling along!There one specialty and they seem to be pretty good at it has been to keep a careful eye on third party developers and when the time is right, try to take the company over or with often dis-honest or otherwise deceiving tactics try to convince the public and often very limited Information Tech people of why they should be leary of purchasing those third party products which often where created to begin with for the sole reason they did not exist, or ran poorly in the windoze ops. So yes I am with you on all you have complained about.hang in therePS. Thanks for sharing the tool mentioned in your last letter. I maycheck it out once I get some C++ compilers up and running I downloaded based on help provided by a JeanLuc and Arne Bertels.Figure I will try to design some gauges based on the Panel_SDK.......groan! YES ...........Microsoft probably only gives enough info to those that crated the tool kit to make us all quite miserable!

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Argg, I wish I could use the workbook, but I don't have Excel.

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Well, if you could swing it, it would be a great investment.Jerry's workbook is one awesome tool. I love it it because it generates all the airfile tables and parameters specific to your aircraft components. The end result is accurate takeoff, climbout, cruise and descent all on the numbers (of course only as accurate as your input :-)You learn a lot about what parameters affects which tables in the .air and .cfg files, see table data, input proper air foil numbers and you can tweak key flight characteristics using lay terms. It can be a great learning tool.Milton

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I do understand the frustrations having gone through the design learning curves. I guess that's part of the fun, the challenge, the mystery, and the gratification that comes with conquering it.Heck, if that were not there, I'm not sure I would be doing this. :-)Milton

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Milton,Question for you. I downloaded the package as you sugggested. Thenfor the heck of it included the MACH and RADAR ALTIMETER GAUGEs in my T38 Talon panel (the neat one we download at this site). Well,as usual. Now when I look at the mach number (two decimal point accuracy of his guage), verse what I see in the Speed/mach gauge that comes with the Talon T38 the International version that has threedifferent paints, and all working parts created by FSD.....,there is a definite difference by a few percent in what each gaugeindicates. I am not complaining, only making an observation. So what I think I will do is add the Mach gauge to various aircraft I have that include mach guages of one form or another and see how much theyall differ. One would think that if all used the same parameters in the gauge design refering the aircraft such as A:Airspeed mach, thenone should see the same numbers for all gauges. At any rate, thanks again for the tool reference. No need to repond out of courtesy if there is nothing to add in this particular case.chowGeorge

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Hi George / Milton or anyone else....I've noticed this with differing Mach Gauges as well.I'm working on an extremely fast plane: (Mach 4+)The cockpit at the moment is a mish mash of different gauges including some from the default Concorde mega gauge.The panel has a primary MFD. On the MFD there is a little mach number below the vertically scrolling ASI. My panel also has the Concorde Mach Gauge...(ALL weather is off during the gauge test to create a control environment - pressure 29.92)As I start to accelerate, I begin to notice a discrepancy creep in between the two gauges. So much so, that when I'm flying at Mach 4.55 according to the Concorde Mach gauge. The little Mach number in the MFD is only showing Mach 4.51 It gets worse!!... I popped in the basic Mach meter from the panel that comes with the X-15 recently released... This was WAY OUT in the opposite direction!!!I.E. Concorde gauge showing M 4.55 ... X-15 showing M 4.66 !!! .. Whets going on?? Surely mach is gained from a centrally running sim variable??? (Thus all numbers should be the same?) Or do gauges like these, allow the creator to input whatever formula they like to calculate mach? If so, this is stupid!!... If not... what the heck is going on!???During the above, the IAS & Groundspeed were the same values. (So it's nothing to do with flying at different speeds by mistake.) Bare in mind also, that I had ALL three Gauges on the screen at the same time.. with all three showing the different readings simultaneouslyMost importantly WHICH GAUGE is CORRECT? Or at least the closest to being accurate?I even see this slight type of error with air pressure gauges..... One gauge could be showing 29.92, whilst another gauge, (again on the MFD) is showing 29.91 !Does anyone have an answer to this shabbiness?Al

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Hi IanThanks for the reply, however this thread is concerning Gauges that display the same thing (eg Mach) but show discrepancies in accuracy when compared against each other.The links you've given me though are sites that i already know about & have alas had no luck in answering the specific questions I'm after. But thankyou for answering.RegardsAl

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>Hi George / Milton or anyone else....>>I've noticed this with differing Mach Gauges as well.>I'm working on an extremely fast plane: (Mach 4+)>>The cockpit at the moment is a mish mash of different gauges>including some from the default Concorde mega gauge. First, as Herve' Sors indicated some time ago, the Mach Variable only goes to Mach 3.2. It is scaled to 0 - 64 K. That is stated in a gauge SDK file. Any higher reading would seem to be faked or perhaps errors in the scale factor or an overflow error.>I even see this slight type of error with air pressure>gauges..... One gauge could be showing 29.92, whilst another>gauge, (again on the MFD) is showing 29.91 !>>Al MS, and other gauges often truncate, rather than "round to nearest", so many altimeters display 29.91 when the SL pressure is more like 29.919. N1=91.99% would display as "91", not "92". I noted that this truncation error was (at least partly) fixed in FS9. AFSD displays appropriate, rounded values. My XML Test Gauge displayed variables are also appropriate. "TAS", "GS" and "Mach" variables are very accurate in MSFS. However, "IAS" can no longer be calibrated in the AIR file to get appropriate compressability effects. It reads about 5 kts high at FS320, 250 CAS.RAF

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Well Al,This stuff is also starting to get to me! I am in the process of trying to learn enough XML Gauge programming to make a XML gauge that will produce a sound whenever MACH 1.00 is exceeded. If I ever get the gauge to run correctly, then I plan on playing around with the various aircraft parameters associated directly or indirectly with speed and mach to see if I can figure out better what is happening here. Trouble I am having is I am in learn mode, so I am attempting to use XML Code produced from others along with some of the available sound gauges with the result that things are getting really screwy.I get sounds produced that never should happen with the particular XML code I am using for test gauge etc..If I ever figure this stuff out, and get an operational gauge that then can be fine tuned to sense different ways of sensing MACH (whatever it even really means in FS2K2), I will share my results with the AVSIM community. But at the rate I am going, I may go nuts before getting a basic gauge to work correctly! Some weird stuff has been happening. Perhaps due to my ignorance as how the whole XML gauge and associated sound files available work.Hang in there,George

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Hello Al,I was only replying to your first posting before the thread got on to guages, in reply to the subject line and the text, which did not seem to have been adequately answered down the thread. Unfortunatly guages are necessary to extend the behaviours that the basic sim does not provide.Ian

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