SpacePort is spaceflight add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) and Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D (P3D) simulator platforms. SpacePort enables a high-fidelity simulation of current and historical spaceflight using the visual environment, assets and the ecosystem of Microsoft Flight Simulator X:SP2 (FSX Service Pack 2), FSX Steam Edition (FSX:SE) and Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D (P3D) versions P3Dv4.x and P3Dv5.x
SpacePort does not rely on simulator's flight model - instead, it completely replaces it with its own physics engine which implements a sophisticated deterministic physics solver to precisely simulate spaceflight in real time. This physics engine is applied only to the objects that were designed to be used as spacecraft, meaning - the default aircraft fly as normal, and the spacecraft objects behave under ballistic astrodynamic rules of motion. Along with the physics engine comes a sophisticated, high-fidelity collision engine, completely user-definable through simulator's SimObject container expanded with spacecraft-specific functionality.
To download, please go to the Web Site or directly to the downloads page and download "SpacePortDemo.exe" (256 Mb). The installer detects versions of the simulator (currently supporting FSX:SP2, FSX:SE, P3Dv4.x and P3Dv5.x) and if you have multiple simulator installs, you can choose for which versions you want to install.
Also released is an an accompanying PhotoRealistic scenery of Kennedy Space Center area, that goes along with the active 3D infrastructure included in the main SpacePortDemo package. It can also be downloaded from the above links, and it is 1.39Gb in size.
A few notes on the SpacePortDemo package:
- SpacePortDemo will be installed to only one (user-chosen) location, and all the platforms that are using it will be referring to it.
- For P3Dx.x platforms, the installation is fairly benign and un-intrusive, thanks to the LM's super friendly and simple add-on installation scheme. The only things added to the P3Dvx.x is an entry to add-ons.xml, and a few settings overridden in P3D.CFG file (things like default ATC, traffic disabled, virtual copilot disabled, aircraft-specific warnings disabled, etc.). There is an installer option to save the copy of the P3D.CFG file before any changes are made, so that if anything goes wrong, you can revert back to the original P3D.CFG.
- For FSX:x platforms, the installation is a bit more involved. There are content entries added to FSX.CFG, DLL.XML and Scenery.CFG. As with the P3D install, backups of those 3 files will also be created so that the user can safely revert to the state of the sim before SpacePortDemo. Also, as with P3D install, there are entries changed in FSX.CFG, and in addition, there are FLT files copied to user directory, and some content (effects, bitmaps, sounds) copied to the FSX:x install directory. These files are automatically removed upon in-installation of SpacePortDemo.
- For FSX.x platforms, first time you run the simulator, you will have to acknowledge 1 main app and 8 new gauge DLL security permissions (P3D does not have this requirement). You will have to do this only once, and the DLL's will be listed as "friendly" in the FSX.CFG.
- Since there is no way we can check and cover all the possible ways users have configured their simulator platform(s) (especially the add-ons they are using), we have tested the SpacePortDemo on clean installs of all the FSX:x and P3Dvx.x versions. If things are not working, please disable all the add-ons you are using in the simulator and try again. We have, through the course of the development, found that some third-party add-ons grossly misbehave in the execution of their code and the cleanup of their content. For example, we've found that VRS's TacPack promptly deletes ALL the spawned AI objects (not just the ones it spawns) above certain altitude, rendering SpacePortDemo unusable (as you can imagine).
- We'd love it if you would report on problems and overall experience you are having during installation and usage of SpacePort demo - it helps us improving our product and making user experience more enjoyable. As for bugs and features, we are aware of some of them, but feel free to report any minor or major showstoppers.
- SpacePortDemo works best with P3Dv4.5 (version we did most testing on). P3Dv5.5 has some issues with the menu/UI system we're looking into, and a few other minor hiccups, such as going into "pause" mode upon starting or reloading of the flight. FSX:x version is showing its age and is generally slower - especially with a lot of smoke effects (rocket smoke trails and plumes) because this portion of the sim wasn't optimized as well as the P3D versions.
- As with real spaceflight, the GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) is fully automated, meaning, the launch is a "ride" that astronauts are monitoring all the way into orbit. This means that the launch in the demo FLT has pre-set orbital parameters. However, these parameters are specified in SpacePort-specific CFG files and can easily be changed by the user. The guidance at this stage of development is in its "pseudo" mode, meaning, it is only partially functional. Nonetheless, it will get you into orbit every single time you launch. SpacePort is a complex spaceflight environment consisting of many new "moving parts". SpacePort development is on-going, and as we continue to expand the capabilities, we will release Software Development Kit so that the users can create their own spaceflight content and explore this new dimension of simulation.
That's it for now. Keep watching this thread for updates on the development of this exciting new way to enjoy our simulator hobby.
P3D SpacePort Team
Edited by Chuck_Jodry-VJPL