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About Steeler

  • Birthday July 11

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    Playing music (guitar), developing software, photography, flight simulator

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About Me

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    Flight simulator enthusiast of the 80/90ies, newjoiner since FS2020, author of Sky Dolly, a free flight recorder

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  1. Dear community, I am happy to announce Sky Dolly v0.11 which brings a lot of "under the hood" improvements (among them reduced RAM usage), but also some new features and improvements of existing functionality: With the introduction of the GeographicLib (open source, third-party) the altitude differences ("undulation") between the WGS84 reference ellipsoid and the EGM2008 geoid are now properly calculated in the GPX and IGC import/export The CSV export plugin now supports a simple "position & attitude" format, suitable for flight path analysis e.g. in table editors The Formation module now allows to keep the aircraft to be recorded at its current position, by introducing a new Set relative position option A truly minimal UI mode (configurable in the settings) saves even more valuable screen space Further improvements Table columns can now be moved, tables have alternating colours per row AI object management (creation and deletion) has been improved in the Formation module, resulting in less aircraft flickering when e.g. switching the user aircraft Various usability and user interface layout improvements and bug fixes The complete changelog is available on github.com. Sky Dolly is open source. The latest binaries are available at: https://flightsim.to/file/9067/sky-dolly
  2. Dear community, I am happy to announce Sky Dolly v0.10 which further improves import and export functionality, including two new plugins: GeoJSON export, including style properties style properties interpreted e.g by https://geojson.io) GPX export plugin, including the possibility to export real-world timestamps Suitable for GPX "photo tagging" of screenshots taken during flight recording Further improvements Import All files (of the same format) can now be imported from the selected directory ("batch import") Imported aircraft can be added to the same (formation) flight, or into distinct flights Export File existence is now checked before overwriting existing files The entire flight formation may now be exported, into separate files or - if supported - into a single file (e.g. KML and GPX) All export plugins support data resampling (1 Hz, 2 Hz, 5 Hz, original data, ...) The CSV plugin now supports export in flightradar24.com CSV format The IGC plugin now exports "K records" (every 20 seconds), including true heading (HDT) and indicated airspeed (IAS) The KML export plugin does not have any line segment size limitation anymore Various usability improvements and bug fixes The complete changelog is available on github.com. Sky Dolly is open source. The latest binaries are available at: https://flightsim.to/file/9067/sky-dolly
  3. Dear community, I am happy to announce Sky Dolly v0.9 which revolves around more import / export functionality, namely: CSV: import of flightradar24.com and Flight Recorder files KML: import of flightradar24.com and generic KML files (having at least one gx:Track element) GPX: import of GPS echange format files, with mappable waypoints, routes and tracks as well as default altitude and velocity (the later being used in absence of elevation and timestamp data) IGC: International Gliding Commission file export, including "C records" which contain the waypoints (according to the flight plan in MSFS) The existing IGC import plugin now also parses the environmental noise level (ENL) if available and turns on/off the engine (propeller) according to a selectable noise threshold updates the waypoint ("C record") timestamps according to the actual flown path ("closest point") Further improvements The aircraft selection in the various import dialogs is now editable, with autocompletion The "Delete" key now deletes the selected flight in the logbook Logbook columns are only resized ("fit to content") upon initial flight loading; after that manual column resizes are kept The replay can now be "looped" The "indicated altitude" simulation variable is now recorded, for "analytical purposes" (e.g. the new IGC export plugin exports it as "pressure altitude") The complete changelog is available on github.com. Sky Dolly is open source. The latest binaries are available at: https://flightsim.to/file/9067/sky-dolly
  4. Hello there from 2019: 2022 just brought you a possible solution, albeit for another flight simulator 😉 Since the very recent bug fix release Sky Dolly v0.8.6 now also features an IGC import plugin: the imported flight path can then be replayed in the connected flight simulator. Flight attitude (pitch, bank, heading) is reconstructed (in a basic manner) from the imported flight positions. Note that also the connection from Sky Dolly to the specific flight simulator is plugin-based - but I just rejoined the flight simulator world myself very recently (1+ year ago or so) and have not yet tried Prepar3D (for which you initially asked): but a plugin (via the SimConnect API) for Prepar3D would technically certainly be possible. Sky Dolly is open source: read more about it here in the forum about freeware:
  5. Sky Dolly records your flight (for later replay in MSFS) and also provides a couple of export plugins, among them for the KML format. In fact, you may even import KML (currently as produced by flightaware.com, next (in the upcoming Sky Dolly v0.9 release) also flightradar24.com) or since very recently also IGC flight recorder files from real-world flights and have them replayed in MSFS (with some basic pitch/bank/heading reconstruction based on the imported position data).
  6. Dear community, The latest bug fix release Sky Dolly v0.8.6 also introduces an new IGC file import plugin. IGC stands for International Gliding Commission and the file format is produced by flight recorders in (real-world) gliders. This plugin allows you to import such IGC flight recordings and replay them via Sky Dolly in MSFS. Note that pitch, bank and heading are reconstructed based on the imported position data and optional "additions" (as specified by the "I record") such as environmental noise level (ENL) are currently ignored (the ENL is parsed in the upcoming Sky Dolly v0.9, in order to detect propeller start/stop, which will also feature an IGC export plugin). Sky Dolly is open source. The latest binaries are available at: https://flightsim.to/file/9067/sky-dolly
  7. Dear community, I am thrilled to announce that Sky Dolly v0.8 brings support for multiplayer formation flying. It currently does so via CSV import/export, and the ability to synchronise the aircrafts. Also refer to the announcement here: I hope Sky Dolly is useful and that you enjoy it as much as I enjoy developing this open source application 🙂
  8. Dear community, I am thrilled to announce Sky Dolly v0.8 which introduces a new plugin architecture and multiplayer formation flying! While the SimConnect API does not give access to multiplayer aircrafts the CSV import plugin now allows to add the imported aircraft to an existing flight. The aircraft type can now also be chosen. In the Formation module each aircraft can then be time-shifted, by adding or subtracting a time offset. This synchronises the formation flight. Further hightlights A new KML ("Google Earth") export plugin with basic style options Filtering of the logbook by creation date, free text search, aircraft type, duration and formation New "fly with formation" replay mode (in the Formation module) Usability improvements For instance, by hiding the "replay speed" group box the user interface can now be truly minimised: Sky Dolly is open source. The latest binaries are available at: https://flightsim.to/file/9067/sky-dolly
  9. 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: 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" 😉
  10. 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 🙂 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 🙂
  11. Ah, and one more thing: I did not intend to imply that wing folding (as requested per simulation variables FOLDING WING LEFT|RIGHT PERCENT) wasn‘t working. I was asking whether it would work (when requested via the mentioned simulation variables). Because if the answer was „yes“ then I would feel a strong urge to purchase the Corsair (once in the sim marketplace)… (which makes it obvious that I don‘t own that aircraft yet, otherwise I would already know the answer to my question respectively could verify it myself, e.g. with the „SimvarWatcher“ example app which comes with the SDK). P.S. I don‘t see an „edit post“ option - yet? Perhaps that‘s because of my „noob level“ here in the forum (my posts still need to be audited by an administrator), or because I am using the „mobile web version“ right now… in any case, sorry about the consecutive posts.
  12. Oh, I am sorry about the confusion here, perhaps I wasn‘t clear about what I meant when asking about the support of simulation variables: my only intent is to use them via the official SimConnect API which exposes those simulation variables to external application. Most of them can also be „written“ (e.g. the mentioned FLAPS HANDLE INDEX or the CANOPY OPEN), others are „read-only“ (for one reason or the other). So I am specifically talking about this here: https://docs.flightsimulator.com/html/index.htm#t=Programming_Tools%2FSimConnect%2FSimConnect_API_Reference.htm By no means do I intend to modify any aircraft configuration files. And yes, I fully agree with your „whatever you do it‘s your fault“-policy in this regard. Full disclosure: I am the author of one of the free „replay tools“, hence my interest in the support for those simulation variables. But as I am developing the recording application for my own enjoyment - and hopefully the usefulness for the community ;) - I believe my motivations are leggit ;) And hence my initial question whether the Corsair would „react“ to changes in the simulation variables FOLDING WING LEFT|RIGHT PERCENT (which are writeable) and CANOPY OPEN (where I understand the answer was „no“ - because for stress crash reasons). And to be clear: I am mostly (only) interested in the simulation variables with a „noticeable visual effect“ (flaps, ailerons, … and of course wing folding) - not in accurately reproducing every single lever/switch operation (e.g. enabling autopilot or setting some heading/course/track etc.) That‘s just fair game and I do understand „time to market“ commercial requirements etc. and that you have to „use what‘s there (in a working state)“. So all I am asking / hoping for is that you - as „registered developers“ - do „actively“ report those deficiencies to Asobo and once they are improved / fixed in the SDK / FS2020 that you keep updating your own products as well (if „commercially viable“ - and I do wish that you make lots of money with the Corsair! ;)) Being an „early adopter“ not only means to „wade through unfinished APIs“, but hopefully also gives you the opportunity to actively improve/influence them! I am absolutely fine with that: I take an honest „sorry, can‘t do, won‘t do“ answer anytime over some BS-marketing ;) Thank you for your time for reading my post!
  13. Well, that's not the kind of answer I was hoping for as a consumer: I consider the SimConnect API integral part of every addon product, so every aicraft should report and react to simulation variables as far as possible. Yes, I absolutely agree that the state of the API is... well, "improvements can be made" 😉 But many simulation variables such as the FOLDING WING LEFT|RIGHT PERCENT, TAILHOOK POSITION etc. exist since long time. And yes, not every special lever can be properly modelled/controlled with simulation variables - simply because no such variable might exist yet. Then that's where "local variables" come into play (I guess - again, I am not familiar at all with aircraft design aspects of the SDK). If there are issues with the simulation variables - such as the mentioned "stress crash" - those should be actively reported by every developer to Asobo, for futher improvements. What worries me more however is the "if you break it, it's your fault" part of your reply: it's one thing if the aircraft does not react at all to simulation variable value requests (e.g. the Spitfire does not react either to CANOPY OPEN, as it uses "local variables", just like the T-45C Goshawk). Now as a consumer of those aircrafts that is disappointing, but I can understand that the API "might just not be there yet". But an aircraft (the logic thereof) should never "break" if an attempt is made to request simulation variable changes. And if it does, I expect the developers to take care of it. Anyway, I will hold off from purchasing more aircrafts for the time being - I was very much looking forward to see the wing folding in action! - and observe how third parties are embracing the SimConnect API respectively whether Asobo will manage to get it into production quality anytime soon. Because latest when Asobo is providing their own "replay functionality" within FS2020 the question how to record all levers and handles in an aircraft will popup again (also for us consumers).
  14. That is an interesting point, one which I hadn't considered. Ironically the two aircrafts that do support the CANOPY OPEN simulation variable (that I know of!) are fighter jets: the freeware Dassault Dornier Alpha Jet and the Fiat G.91. But yes, in both cases landing procedures do not foresee to open the canopy ;) But I am definitively going to check out at which speed a stress crash would happen. The greater picture here is of course that IMHO Asobo should make sure that every aircraft properly supports their SimConnect API: the aircraft has a tailhook? -> It should support the existing TAILHOOK POSITION simulation variable. Canopy? -> CANOPY OPEN. Wing folding? -> FOLDING WING LEFT|RIGHT PERCENT. Etc. If there is an issue with "stress crashes" which should not happen for a particular aircraft / canopy style then that should be reported to Asobo and e.g. an additional "stress speed threshold" should be introduced. That would be the proper solution. But yes, I very much agree that the SimConnect API appears to be in a very "work in progress" state. But given the fact that it exists for like two decades already doesn't necessarily raise hopes that it will ever be "cleaned up". For instance the FOLDING WING HANDLE POSITION: why is it just readable? Why is the FLAPS HANDLE INDEX writeable then? Whether a given simulation variable is only readable or both readable and writeable seems like an arbitrary decision, or rather like an afterthought by the API designers. One can only hope that with the popularity of FS2020 there will be efforts made by Asobo to "clean the API" up, such that it also becomes more popular (or actually "usable") by aircraft designers.
  15. Out of curiosity (I am not familiar with the aircraft modelling aspects of the MSFS SDK): are there technical reasons or other advantages for not supporting e.g. the simulation variables CANOPY OPEN and FOLDING WING LEFT PERCENT, FOLDING WING RIGHT PERCENT? According to the SDK documentation (SDK Documentation (flightsimulator.com) they should be both readable and writeable?
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