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Thread: Why did virtual cockpits not gain widespread traction until after fs9?

  1. #1

    Question Why did virtual cockpits not gain widespread traction until after fs9?

    While I have a vague understanding that a VC is built into a single model in fs9, unlike in fsx where they are two separate entities, I am curious as to why so many addon designers both early on and now, have chosen to not include even simple virtual cockpits for their fs9 addons? This comes from an observation of mine in that outside of payware products, many airliners and even smaller non commercial aviation addons have no virtual cockpits for their fs9 versions. Was there something which made VC inclusion in fs9 more problematic than in fsx? Or was more or less down to a personal preference? I ask as I have always been stunned by how relatively few fs9 addon designers chose to include even a basic VC like the ones found in all of the stock aircraft, which fs9 comes with, (737-400, 747-400, etc.).

    Also, I am equally curious as to what the actual process of placing a VC into an fs9 aircraft is like, as I am interested in understanding what makes this process so different from that of the ones used by FSX addon designers.


    Kind regards,


    Tristar35

  2. #2

    Default

    Well, as I recall, there were several reasons why VCs were a pain to include in any aircraft.
    By the time FS98 and FS2K rolled out, you could find how to design one in the SDK. There were more limitations back then, you had to use very simple gauges and you didn't want to include too many unless you wanted to see your frame rate plummet. Most VCs at that time were more of a novelty, a kind of demonstration of what was possible. The coding was also VERY complicated, so only the true die-hard designers would try it -folks like Bill Lyons and Dennis Simanaitis would goof around with adding them but the VCs were, again, more of an oddity.

    FS2002 and FS2004 were more suited to virtual cockpits, the default aircraft included VCs. That didn't make adding them to a freeware project any easier, though. A lot of this is due to how the sim displays .MDL files (convex and concave parts) and how you define which parts are visible. The programs the freeware designers used took some time to catch up, so a lot of this stuff came down to trial and error.

    So, the short answer to the question is that they were complicated. Very, VERY complicated.

  3. #3

    Default

    The other reason is that the original SDK tools for FS2002 and FS2004 did not include this capability without command line processing (a pain). It took our community to create the GUI utilities to make this convenient, and that took time
    Tom Gibson

    CalClassic Propliner Page: http://www.calclassic.com

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSeaman View Post
    So, the short answer to the question is that they were complicated. Very, VERY complicated.
    Indeed - I heard from one developer that the work-load was as great as the building of the aircraft itself. Some of the developers of free products out there preferred to move onto their next work, their true love, and you certainly can't fault that when they are offering their work for nothing.

    The situation for commercial products is different of course. Purchasers are entitled to have expectations.

    John
    http://www.adventure-unlimited.org

    Sadly, UK health guidelines no longer require pilots to work from home where possible - I've been doing that for over twenty years!

  5. #5

    Default

    Few planes have given me this feeling of 'being there' as Milton Shupe's Dash-7 VC

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by piet06273; 07-05-2022 at 12:57 AM. Reason: pic incorrect

  6. #6

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by tgibson_new View Post
    The other reason is that the original SDK tools for FS2002 and FS2004 did not include this capability without command line processing (a pain). It took our community to create the GUI utilities to make this convenient, and that took time

    I was hoping you'd jump on this one.
    I started out helping folks understand what was going on in the Apollo Aircraft Factory manual, which was translated from technical German to English.
    Eventually, I found FFDS and Paul wanted me to be the "jack of all trades" guy but I had the most fun brainstorming what was going on inside the .air file with Sam Chin.


    "Glue? What the #### is glue??"

  7. #7

    Default

    I incorporated VC's into a few (small) aircraft I designed using FSDS … the work was no more or less complicated than the rest of the model, as I remember, but getting the panel to "behave" in an acceptable manner was a whole different ball-game. Some gauges were simply too unreliable to be useful, consequently I had to look around for (or design) something else, then incorporate that into the main 2D cockpit instead of the (preferred) original. In many cases the effort just didn't seem to be worthwhile!

  8. #8

    Thumbs up

    I think the VC's are the best part of a plane!

    Chrristopher Tarana

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CTarana45 View Post
    I think the VC's are the best part of a plane!

    Chrristopher Tarana
    I think the walk up drinks bar is the best part but each their own.

  10. #10
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    Default

    My personal experience is that VC panels require too much zooming out in order to be fully useable. Unfortunably this also very negatively influences the outside scenery in the same way, making realistic flying difficult to achieve.

    Regards

    Hans

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