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Guest Horst

Why don't we all build a nice complete application

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There are several good apps here to create and modify terrain, airplanes, etc. But I have only been doing this for 2 weeks and I am tired of searching, testing, deleting apps that do only one thing, and many times badly.With so many fans of FS and many developers (home based or pro) also here, why can't we get together to create a solid set of apps which will help all of us and new fans to come to do what we like to do better?I manage development teams and have servers in hand if this helps. Now I will only offer my time and space if I get at least enough good developers to create an open source app. Here is what I would like to see if people would agree:One suite that has 3 or as many as needed apps that look and work in the same way, with similar GUI and methodology.one app for terrain that not only handles photo-real but also adds all the little gadgets we like.one for aircraftsone for effects.Now, it seems like gMax may be the solution, and if this is true, excellent. I hate the program cause I used its big brother all the time, 3DS Max, and the little brother lacks a lot. But I will get use to it. If gMax does not do the whole thing, well what are we waiting for?chio

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Hi,I think it will be hard to get something like that started. I make a lot of (small) scenery design tools and if I take into account the amount of time I already spend on that, I don't think it is possible to create one ultimate scenery design program just in your spare time. That would cost years to do and by then the next FS is there and your tool is probably obsolete again.About GMax, I have never used 3DS Max, but I can tell you for sure that MakeMDL (the FS exporter) only supports about 25% of the features of GMax. So even if GMax would have more features, the exporter would probably not even know what to do with it :).

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Agreed, and this is why making it open source would benefit us all. I have done several projects in the past, mostly for web engines this way. Something that would have taken 2 years to develop took about 11 months. This because we had about 40 people from all over who never saw each others face, work, comment, help update, etc. Lets say that your tools are excellent, which I think I am using one that I DLed from your site. Now I grab the tool and design and easier to use GUI, and use the same base GUI, in your tools and other peoples tools. Now we don't need to start from scratch when we DL a new tool, we know what it will be like. Futher, as you already get here, more comments and requests are made. If your tool has lets say 3 main components, some one out there may be able to help on making one of those components better, etc. By the end you had people to help you develop, help you improve and increase your tools. Imagine if we could get together 5 of you and 15 of the outside helpers. Microsoft may start getting scared.This is how some actual sims started. I am not sure of this but I think x-plane started open source.I still need to test X-plane.c

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Hi,It is certainly an interesting idea, let's see if more people respond :).And I would be happy if I could clone myself, as I have more ideas than I can actual program. But until now it always seemed more work for me to have to communicate about a tool when trying to work together, then just design it myself.

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Hi,I kind of agree with Arno. The Open Source idea is fantastic for large projects but the kind of tools you've found for the FS world tend to be written by individuals - and here's the important part - for fun.Tinkering around with your own code, adding and changing bits as you see fit, harks back to the days of the old 'bedroom' coders. It's fun, something you want to get out of a hobby. Of course, it's about as inefficient a business model as you can find.Going open source, putting together a control framework, subscribing and tracking contributors is lots of work, ultimately very efficient but no fun at all.Sorry, but I write tools for fun at the end of the day and placating 50 hacked-off developers after I've changed something without warning isn't something I want to do in my spare time! I spend enough time at work doing that :DCheers,Jim

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I see this being the point in this hobby. I love when I build an app, an someone comes up with an idea on how to make it better. And specially like it when that person is able to help me develop it. Your tools plus his tools, plus other tools can make a nice suite of tools.Well regardless we are developing for x-plane some tools that maybe if worth it someday will port to MSFS. But since the reality factor in x-plane is much higher than MSFS I am not certain we will be able to.OK topic closed, I wanted to find out how good of an idea this was. Was not!!! Thanks all anyways. And lets fly higher everyday.c

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Hello,I think, the problem are the different GIS data worldwide (in different formats)!There is no standard to have for example SRTM interpolated for the FS world.So, no user has the same data.We have: input

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Hi all.I think we can have a bit of both worlds. My last efforts includes source code with the tools. If someone wants to take apart the code and improve it, or use bits of the code... then fine.As an aside, I agree with Jim. I do this for fun, not to improve productivity. The attempts I have seen at "all in one" design programs, generally fall short of the mark. SBuilder is about as close as it comes, and Luis' program still has some significant restrictions. Part of that problem is Luis still using SCASM code, which is pretty restrictive. For example, SCASM has no support for what we commonly would call LWMPoly1 and VTP1, both used in CFS2. The SCASM code makes no allowance for this... and actually misnames it's LWM code for FS2002 as LWMPoly(), when it should be LWMPoly2().The other limitations of SBuilder are related to Microsoft's coding. They themselves use many different tools and BGL formats, depending on the type of scenery, and the amount of backward compatibility they allow. And the backward compatibility is a significant factor when simmers decide to upgrade. CFS3 broke tradition, and allowed no compatibility, and restricted the world to a singular 'theater' of operations. As a result, many CFS2 users never did buy CFS3, and many who did buy CFS3 went back to using CFS2! I believe most of the old simmers will not be buying a CFS4... and it seems Microsoft has dropped plans to ever make that version. This is a shame, as most CFS2 users instantly would buy a CFS4, if it was simply FS9 with guns and bombs.So what's the point about backward compatibility of scenery and aircraft? MS will be out of the simming world if they repeat the mistake of CFS3 with Flight Simulator. And THAT will mean MS will create more of the same formats, with gentle changes... and their variety of basic tools and formats will carry over to future versions. They won't develop a universal tool even for their own use.Another quick example... Chris Wright has been experimenting with adding dynamic scenery to his AutoASM program. Dynamic scenery was never explored with the depth most other formats have been explored. It's coding is from FS5 ( I think ). I surprised they allow it in the current sim, but then they never made an adequate replacement for it.The Gmax/MakeMDL version need to create this type of scenery object is for FS2002. Then that code must be compiled to a dynamic scenery library with either a hybrid ASM/SCASM code, or using FSRegen ( with some undocumented knowledge ), or using very old programs that specialize in making dynamic libraries.Should there be a universal object creator? Yes. But it's unlikely Microsoft will make such a tool until their coding unifies dynamic objects, aircraft, and stationary/animated objects. Pretty odd when you consider MS developed DirectX!=============================Microsoft is making significant changes to it's programming environment with the NET platform. They don't even support VB6 anymore.... now it's VB.NET, which is as far removed from VB6 as you could imagine. And it requires a 40Mb runtime support library to run! And we're soon to get NET 2.0, wich is not compatible with Net 1.2. ;)This will probably spill over to it's operating system ( Longhorn ).Ultimately, this will force great changes in Flight Simulator programming. Will Microsoft maintain tradition with Flight Simulator and try to keep it ( basically ) a WIN32 application? Or will it try to force another CFS3 on the simmers ( FS11.NET with no backward compatibility )? Whatever the direction, I think small, efficient tools that perform specific tasks isn't such a bad way to go... as long as the design team uses a similar design approach.Even CFS3 had no universal design tool.Dick

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Hi,Just as a point of interest, I'm looking at adding X-Plane support into Slarti. Nothing certain yet, I'm just experimenting. Y'know, for fun :DCheers,Jim

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Hello Dick,Can I ask a question?Do you think it is possible that MS give us a tool, where you can convert your existing FS9 bgls and textures, to a new used format?So the user can easy update his existing 3rd party addons to a new FS10 format, and did not need a backward compatibility.I do not want to spend another hundreds of Euros (for 3rd party) to a new FS with gentle changes.I do not know and never used CFS or X-Plane.For all tools created from the community, without sometimes the SDK knowledge from MS (and there bugs), you need also the patience designers. Not only using the tool, also thinking about the approach. And the approach must be easy.For example: flying around with LWMViewer, on an other monitor, opened my understanding for FS Design (being a visual type).Horst=======PS: For my comment yesterday to the Google maps:Here are two links:First, displaced the data about 50 meters.Second, 500 meters.http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=44.641002,-...06238&t=k&hl=enhttp://maps.google.com/maps?ll=-34.389267,...99804&t=k&hl=en(zoom out and in)

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Hi Horst,>Do you think it is possible that MS give us a tool, where you>can convert your existing FS9 bgls and textures, to a new used>format?It is probably always possible :). But as long as we don't know how the next FS will be, we can not say anything about this of course.In theory it is always possible to convert things, I have been thinking about an API to Fs2004-style MDL converter (and I know how to do it, but lack of time prevents me to finish it). MS could easily make something similar to convert to a new BGL standard IF there comes a new standard.But once again, as long as the new FS is not here, we can't really say much useful about such a topic. It will only produce false rumours (like the SCASM will no longer be supported rumour of the past years).

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Hello Arno,Maybe only an idea for Microsoft to sell more FS10! :)And maybe they do not let the community

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>And maybe they do not let the community

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Correct! :)And we will never have innovations!Horst

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Hi all.Microsoft has been committed to backward compatibility, but there will be a point at which they will say no. I hope there will be a new DLL to cover dynamic scenery in the next version... the old version is pretty dated, and a change would be welcome. Other changes could be very inconvenient.I don't know if the old FS98 aircraft work in the sim anymore. And they could, for the most part, drop the support for pre-FS2002 scenery and objects. XML/BGLComp could be improved to cover the situations where the old style could be dropped. regarding airport coding, it pretty much is replaced.Landclass/Photoreal actually dates back to FS2000, and could use a revamp to something with greater texture resolution, seasonal/regional variation, and true localized folder control ( giving us free reign over landclass, photoreal/ textures and autogen ).I would guess that all aircraft made conforming to FS9 SDKs would be compatible in FS10. But it's really up to MS. It's their game, and their rules.They haven't given us a lot in regards to tools. Just the basics, and the SDK info. As far as inaccurate info in the SDKs... I get the feeling there is a "rush to publish" in order to put the version to bed. It would help if the SDKs came first, testing by trusted and qualified designers, then the sim. Then we'd have decent SDKs that are actually usable.Oddly, we all seem to forget that the terrain SDKs are written for use with Visual C++... not BGLC! The current Visual Studio environment is the .Net environment! So what is the Design Team using?It may not be a Win32 application, but instead a .NET project. Maybe FS10 will be a Visual Basic .NET program.=================================The tools and SDKs from CFS3 were pretty much unusable, concerning terrain design. And the lack of terrain addons for that sim reflects that mistake. Note that CFS1 and CFS2 were designed by the Flight Simulator Design Team, in between FS versions. They used those combat sims as test versions, for ideas for future FS versions. That chain was broken for CFS3, as MS went to 'outside' designers for that game. As a result, CFS3 has nothing in common with the FS series, other than sharing the Combat Flight Simulator name.==================================There are convertors that will change aircraft from CFS2 to FS2002... and maybe even FS2004. But CFS3 is forever out of the loop of design. Will Microsoft give us such a converting tool? Probably not.The project specification for Flight simulator most probably doesn't reflect addon scenery or aircraft. Just as an example, addon LWM areafills don't work right in FS9... they will crash the sim! That was not the intent of the design team... but they are concerned with the default scenery... not the addons. And the areafills work just fine at the default level. If we replace the default LWMs with our own, then we can use areafills. The FS9 areafill problem would have been discovered if only one of the team had actually tried to make an addon! But that's not what they do. They make orignal/default scenery/aircraft... not addons.Sorry for the long post and the speculation. In the past, new versions of Flight Simulator are 90% the old version we have enjoyed, with a few key improvements in the coding. I think the next version will be more of the same... and that's as it should be.Dick

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