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neilhewitt

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About neilhewitt

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    Cockpit builder & software developer
  • Birthday 12/11/1970

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    backbedroompilot.com/contact

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    Male
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    London, UK
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    Flight simming!

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About Me

  • About Me
    I'm a software developer by day and a simmer by night. I've build a generic home cockpit setup which continues to grow and might eventually turn into a full simulator if and when I finally put up the shed in my back garden that I've been promising for years!

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  1. Because P3D already supports CIGI (I think it's Pro-Plus now) it would be possible to build a display engine in Unreal as a separate application and use it an an image generator. Probably not the approach they would take, but it could be done without needing to completely re-write the guts of the sim.
  2. I think it would be unusual for LM to release 5.4 after such a long period of time only to announce v6 at FS Expo barely a few weeks later. Given that time from announcement to availability of a major new version (if *any* advance notice is given) is usually just a few days, that would mean v6 is basically ready to go. And to want to release a 5.4 now, that would imply that v6 is a substantial enough change to the platform that they needed a 5.4 final release available for customers who will stay on v5. Or perhaps v5.4 is v6. That is, they were going to call it version 6 but decided it doesn't have enough in it to justify making it a new major version. That way they could have a beta page for v6 (that was found), but not be keeping anything up their sleeves. Personally I expect little to nothing from LM at FS Expo other than the usual marketing spiel and probably highlighting the 5.4 release. I would love to be wrong, but I doubt I am.
  3. LM is never shy about making breaking API changes, but sometimes updates are just because a given build of an add-on is looking for a specific version number (which is bad practice, but common). As to why they might be unwilling to update ChasePlane - //42 make add-ons for MSFS now, these will be selling much better than their P3D stuff, let's be honest about that. I'm pretty sure Flow makes them a bunch more money than ChasePlane. Updating ChasePlane is unlikely to result in many new sales, and without an upgrade cost the work time invested will result in zero income, only goodwill from the community. A community which they probably aren't really bothered about any more. Once upon a time it was a given that we would get updates. Now it isn't. It sucks, but it'll be this way from now on. The chances of getting developers to make updates for 5.4 - let alone any v6 - are entirely related to how much money they can make by doing so, and whether they can make more money by spending their time on MSFS add-ons, and very often the answer to that will be yes. If I were making a purely business decision, I would do the same; it would be my job to do so. EZDok is still around, I think? Perhaps they will update for 5.4 and beat out ChasePlane.
  4. When I heard a new version had dropped, I came back here to have a look and was surprised to find that it was v5.4 and not v6. I have to concur with the people saying that it can't possibly have taken all this time to do just the fixes and improvements in this point release. I suspect it's either a bridge to a v6 release later this year, or possibly, as some have speculated, that it's the last release on this platform and vNext - whatever they finally call it - is something significantly new. I'll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled. Unlike the 3rd party devs, P3D could definitely tempt me back if it gets better in some key areas. I do most of my flying online with friends right now in The Other Sim, but I do want to get back into proper procedural simming. I just need something to tempt me to spend the time it would take to build a new sim.
  5. Not sure which sources RT uses, but a search suggests there are only a few receivers within a 3-mile radius of the airport; given the elevation and building patterns in the area I guess you'd need receivers rather closer to the airport and at higher elevation, which is hard to do (short of putting one up on the control tower). I live about 4 miles from the airport myself and I could get a receiver up on my roof which is a higher elevation than the airport, but I doubt it would get better data than the existing ones. Seems like there are no good solutions.
  6. I'm only really bothered about realistic traffic movements, not specifically live-as-now traffic movements. But for the GPS data it's going to depend on the time intervals between data points. If it's a matter of 1 per second, for example, that would be useful for modelling good paths, but if it's less often then it may be no better than the ADS-B data.
  7. I have to say, I've been disappointed with the results of my testing here. I have both ORBX EGLC v2 and the UK2000 new EGLC, and while the UK2000 airport gets scanned reasonably well (there are still some parking spots with the wrong orientation, but only a couple, which can be fixed manually) and @mmcmah's file fixes the ORBX airport in terms of parking spots, the actual movement of aircraft on the ground is pretty much broken. Aircraft move in straight lines across the ground without turning - as if being dragged along the ground or gliding on ice - through buildings, and often some distance away from the taxi lines. They will take a diagonal path through a building where in RL they would be doing a taxi-and-turn. On take off they will stay glued to the runway until well after rotation would occur, then spring into the air. When landing, all is good up until about 2/3 of the way down the runway (around where most aircraft would turn off the runway) when they start drifting to the right until they are off the actual runway, then just disappear. Sometimes they reappear on the apron and complete the taxi, sometimes not. This is all with UK2000's EGLC. It's pretty obvious that this is a result of the underlying RT data not updating frequently enough or not having all the necessary data, and PSXT interpolating the path based on the current data. Since PSXT runs traffic as 'zombie' Simobjects (literally: try inspecting the Simobjects in Dev Mode, that's the state label they have) they have no default ground behaviour and have to be directly positioned moment-to-moment. So if the source data just isn't there, for whatever reason, I don't see that there's any way to fix this. AIUI the data available for the UK is generally worse than, say, the USA, and aircraft more often turn off their transponders for taxi, or at least I recall seeing that mentioned in the past. I'll try a similar test with ORBX EGLC today just for comparison, but I assume I'll see the same things. It's really disappointing but it's hardly RT or PSXT's fault; the data just isn't there and AI in MSFS is woefully inadequate.
  8. Thanks @mmcmah! That one should work for me. PSXT is the only way I can see to get traffic to behave correctly at EGLC in terms of taxiing in and out (assuming the aircraft keeps their ADSB on while taxiing) because sim AI simply cannot follow the correct taxi path and parking method, and cannot have different inward and outward taxi paths, so AI tries to push back into the terminal building, which is ridiculous. I think PSXT + AIG models is the best way to go for traffic right now. I haven't played about with historical data in RT but that's my next adventure. Often times I want to fly during the day in the sim when it's night in RL.
  9. I'm having problems with ORBX EGLC v2 as well. I had removed v1 and installed v2 before I installed PSXT and ran it for the first time today, but when I booted the sim, dropped in at EGLC and ran PSXT and RT to watch the traffic, ground traffic spawned in facing the terminal. To be sure it had scanned the right scenery, I deleted EGLC.xml from thirdparty_airports and did a re-scan to watch it recreate the file, and it did, but it still has the parking direction as 180 for all parking spots, which for EGLC means aircraft spawn facing the terminal (as per ORBX EGLC v1). Since PSXT reads these values from the scenery when you do the scan, this implies that somehow, despite the parking positions being properly rotated so that spawning user aircraft and sim AI aircraft spawn at the correct angle (which I've verified), PSXT is reading them as pointing directly towards the terminal building. Could ORBX have maybe not set all the right values in all the right places? I'm assuming this can be manually overridden if I figure out the right numbers, but @mmcmah did you get yours to work? If so, would you mind sharing your EGLC.xml?
  10. Without going into the gory details, I have pretty much switched to MSFS, but not to anywhere near the same level as I was in P3D. My projector-based cockpit is no more - dismantled - and I've really scaled down my simming. Mostly it's something I do with friends online a couple of times a week. Lots of reasons, not really related to P3D itself, but MSFS is the platform that my friends are using, so there I am. I don't often just fire up the sim to do some flying for myself, and the desire to make YouTube videos is really not there, either. I have had plans to build a new, better home cockpit for nearly 2 years now, but I haven't started due to ill health and honestly, a lack of motivation. If I ever get properly back into it (and I hope that I will) then I will need to decide which platform I'm going to use, but it's unlikely to be P3D because of the lack of 3rd party updates and new products, if I'm being honest, unless something miraculous happens. I'll assess the state of the market if and when it happens, and pick what I think will give me the best results overall. But hey, LM may surprise us all.
  11. Basically, the problem is this: P3D was never intended to be a mass-market entertainment product, and it never was. The simming community latched onto it (after a while) as a replacement for FSX, and the developer community around FSX gradually moved to P3D, and for a long time your choice as a hobby simmer was P3D or X-Plane. People who came to P3D were generally either existing simmers moving from an earlier platform, or people deliberately getting into the hobby after research. You couldn't go to the games store and buy P3D. You couldn't buy it on Steam. You couldn't order it on Amazon. You had to know it existed, go to prepar3d.com, and buy online. Developers made products for P3D because it was the main game in town post-FSX. Now it isn't, which is why they've abandoned it. LM doesn't need to make P3D an MSFS-killer in order to sell it to their primary customer base, so IMHO it's wishful thinking to assume they're spending their time doing that. They don't need a thriving after-market of scenery developers and aircraft developers, either. The big P3D customers generally either provide their own content or they hire a 3rd party to develop it for them. Milviz, Mindstar etc used to make most of their money that way AIUI. Those products were rarely made available to us, so the simmer product market was mostly separate. Whether it lives or dies, P3D goes on. Even if they wanted to, and they don't, LM can't sell it as a mass-market entertainment product. Their license with Microsoft doesn't allow it. So that route to competing for mindshare and market share is closed. Let's suppose LM does make P3D significantly better than any other platform out there. Suppose they have integrated UE5 and transformed the graphics, and have full ortho world scenery and AI buildings, and a better weather simulation, and all of those things. I'm quite certain they haven't, but suppose they have. Who's going to come back to P3D? Simmers. People like us. Not gamers who are invested in the Xbox ecosystem, or casual players who might be streaming MSFS on cloud gaming, or people who bought it because they were curious or had GamePass, and maybe play a little bit now and then. What % of the MSFS market do fully-invested simmers make up? I have no hard numbers, but I'd be surprised if it's more than a third. So, maybe a third of the market decamps back to P3D overnight, two thirds remain on MSFS; what are developers going to do then? These would be completely different platforms. They would need more teams, more people, different tools, more investment up-front to cover both platforms. If they were smart, they would stick with the basket they already have their eggs in and wait for simmers to realise that while New P3D might be technically better (like Betamax), it still doesn't have the developer support, and migrate back. I know that all sounds terribly bleak, but I believe it's the truth. I believe v6 will be an incremental improvement over v5 with one or two major new features (no idea what they will be) and those who choose to stick with the platform will be able to use whatever add-ons they have that still work with it, but that's it. There's not going to be a huge migration of developers back to P3D. I cannot see anything LM could do that would bring them back as long as there's a mass-market alternative with hundreds of thousands of regular users and millions of casual ones. I cancelled my developer subscription to P3D last month, so I no longer have a license to run the product, and I don't see me coming back for v6. After the time and money I've invested in it over the years, that sucks, but for me at least, it's just no longer worth it. TBH I'll probably stop posting here since I no longer have much relevant to say about P3D (this essay notwithstanding). But this is a great community and I hope it continues for a long time. I hope v6 is brilliant. But I don't think it can possibly live up to the hype.
  12. Honestly? If you're not a software developer your chances of doing this successfully are fairly small. You would need to understand how the tools work and you would need to understand SQL well enough to not make a mistake and damage the database, which could stop PATC from running at all. Ideally, maybe Dave could add the ability to change / override the Navigraph data to a future build of PATC. Maybe read a text file at startup, if it's there, and add / remove / change that data in the database. Like a 'Navigraph corrections' feature.
  13. What has David Copperfield ever done to you? Speaking of Navigraph vs Aivlasoft etc, I have to decide whether to renew Navigraph and Foreflight. Oh, hang on, Navigraph already auto-renewed until 2024... so that's done 🙂 I've used Foreflight on an iPad Pro in my simpit for a few years and it's really really useful, but it's very expensive as a real pro-pilot tool and using it just for simming is increasingly hard to justify. But I'd miss it if I couldn't use it. That said, I only have a Europe sub (which is still best part of £350) so when I fly elsewhere in the world I only get basic service, no charts. That's where Navigraph charts come in. I subbed to Navigraph for the nav data but the charts are super-handy especially as it's the only way to get global Jeppesen charts without spending BIG money - I don't think Jeppesen sells sim-only charts any other way so you have to buy the real thing and they are NOT CHEAP. Navigraph Charts app doesn't compete with Foreflight as an in-flight tool, though. I tried Aivlasoft, but it's PC based and that doesn't really work for me. I want something on the iPad, off my PC. I suppose I could use Spacedesk and run it as an extension of my PC display. Foreflight renewal is due on Wednesday so I'll have to decide quickly...
  14. In all honestly, it doesn't matter if it's a revolutionary upgrade or not. It matters how many users it has and how straightforward it is to develop for. If there's enough money to be made in developing for it, developers will make products for it. It really is that simple. There is a threshold of market size below which the startup costs probably wouldn't justify it, but beyond that, why would any developer miss out on available money? Unfortunately, that threshold is now much higher than it once was, because of - yeah, I'm going to say it - MSFS. To bring developers who have left P3D back, the size of the market for P3D add-ons would need to be a significant fraction of the size of the market for MSFS add-ons. If we're all being realistic, that's not going to happen. Even if v6 is literally the best simulator ever made and all the 'hardcore' simmers who went over to MSFS come flocking back, MSFS will still have millions of users and a bigger market size for many products, particularly aircraft. Cheap, high-volume add-ons is the order of the day at the MSFS Marketplace. The single best upgrade LM could make would be to make P3D compatible with MSFS aircraft and scenery so developers could make one product for both, maybe with dual installers. Instant market share. I'm not sure that's even technically possible but if it was, it would be a huge technical task and without a licensing and co-operation deal with MS, it's doubtful LM could keep up with the changes necessary to make it happen long-term. It's possible, though unlikely, that LM could license the base tech from MSFS in the same way that it licensed ESP to make P3D originally. But MS was exiting the flight sim market at that point and ESP was never a big seller, so it made commercial sense to do that deal. I don't see that it makes sense now. My money is on v6 being an improved version of v5 with better atmospherics, maybe a new flight model, and a bunch of graphical updates (DLSS, frame generation etc). Maybe some kind of streaming terrain option. Maybe AI-generated buildings. I absolutely don't think it will be an all-new platform with a new rendering engine.
  15. Thanks, Dave. I did ultimately manage to insert a tower frequency into the database by working out that you're embedding SQL Express 2014 and downloading that to modify the DB. Of course, that'll be overwritten by the next Navigraph update (2303), but I know how to fix it again now. But I'm a .NET developer like yourself, and I appreciate the average user can't do that 🙂
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