We recently had a visit from a pilot team from Spain. It was really intersting to see how differently professionals test our products. Private customers usually intend to fly the aircraft perfectly. Commercial customers always try to brake the plane and do something they are not allowed in real simulators... :-)

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Interesting departure from Graz. Heading west towards Friedrichshafen.

We simply love flying!

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We are testing some updates from Fly-Elise and re-calibrate our the visual system. Colors are much brighter and everything look nice and sharp. Now it's impressive like it should be again.

 

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Dear all,

UST (Ultra Short Throw) projectors are not very common in the flight simulator community (and we normally don't use it!). But they are ideal when you have a very limited space and you need a very large picture und you can only provide a very small distance between projector and wall.

Vivitek DH758UST

We are using a Vivitek projector and we are really happy with it. Amazing peace of technique. This projector has an external mirror to enable this extremely wide picture.

Unfortunately we had to learn that this mirror is deforming when the projector heats up. you cannot see this only with your eyes and normally this would not matter at all. But within a warping environment this causes lots of troubles as you can see on the video. The picture will change during warm-up. And unfortunately also during normal operation. It seems that it "breathes". In every case it's not possible to get a constant exact blending.

 

We don't write this to blame Vivitek. But we know that our blog is read by a lot of people and some of you adapt our ideas for their home cockpits (which is great!). We will live with that behavior but we thought we should spend a little time to inform you about this quite unusual issue.

 

The video shows a loop of the first 20 minutes after lighting the projector. Look closely when the loop starts from the beginning.

 

 

Guys, do you know SimBuddy? This is a exciting tool to enhance your time in your sim.

We tried it and - what can we say - it was a really great experience.

  • Build your own virtual airline
  • Buy hubs and aircrafts
  • Define routes
  • Fly routes and keep customers happy

At our first flight we really had great fun hearing people board the aircraft, serve them drinks and food and try not to scare them with unexpected maneuvers and of course - stay in-time!

You can use SimBuddy stand-alone or in combination with IVAO or VATSIM.

simbuddy

This is not our delivery standard but nevertheless a nice idea. A workplace for simulator maintenance and flight planning. Customized for a very special room situation.

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During our planning phase we decided for a little fancy fun thing. This annunciator lights green when the sim is powered. The other field is red an should be connected with the door look switch to avoid any distorbance during take-off and approach (not sure if my wife and kids will comply with these signs, but at least I can show them the flight status. And that's all about... :-)

 

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Sound in the cockpit can be rather easy or very complex. We decided to start rather easy and will add complexity later.... :-)

For this we chose two sound systems from Logitech. One for the environmental sound and one for cockpit loudspeaker.

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Frankly speaking these twe sets are rather oversized. Even the small one can drive your wife crazy if you get to many master cautions.... ;-)

But we are happy with it. Depending on where you place the loudspeakers you can clearly hear the different sound sources for aircraft sound and warning.

We will come back to this topic when we work further on communication.

Well, we know that there are many experts out there - in case you have further hints - feel free to let us know!

For now we work with three different Display Global Settings.

  • Low
  • Average
  • High

The difference is only between scenerey complexity and autogen. So before doing a flight we decided which settings might be the best for our use depending in population density and weather complexity.

From our point of view we decided for higher frame rates in order to get the correct impression of wind and aircraft behavior instead of a better scenery. For now we can perfectly live with the current compromise.

 

settings 1

settings 2

settings 3

settings 4

settings 5

 

nVidia Settings are here:

 nvidia settings 1

 nvidia settings 2

 nvidia settings 3

 

 PS: Sorry again for having screens in German language.

 

 

We are currently using Prepar3D v3.4 in combination with a high performance nVidia graphics board and an Intel Core i7 7700k. You can read a lot about tweaking P3D regarding frames and stutters. We need to admit that we also did as first impression all with default settings has not been very convincing.

We did some testing. At first with standard P3D settings. We found out that our setup is quite sensitive on scenerey complexity and autogen traffic. In some regions performance was good. In other region it was not acceptable. Especially in areas with high population frame rates dropped dramatically below 20 fps.

So we did some more testing. After investigating CPU and GPU we found that CPU0 is always 100 % while the load on other CPUs is average.

 

Picture below is with very high autogen settings causing stutterrs on our system:

cpu 1 load in flight

Same scenario with less autogen.

cpu 0 load at the gate

We tried some tweaks with CPU affinity which successfully reduced load on CPU0. But at the and it caused more stutters than before:

cpu 2 load in flight reduced

After these tests we decided not to work with any tweaks regarding CPU Affinity. Even with CPU0 on 100 % we had a rather smooth picture with 30 to 60 fps.

 

GPU instead did not look too much stressed.

gpu load

 

So we turned towards nVidia settings. And here we made some significant progress. We will show settings in our next post but we will not comment any reason as we simply do not have enough technical knowledge. From what we understood from other users there are different ways - depending on your system configuration - to get the most out of P3D. But maybe our settings will give you some hints where to start.

Especially in our case with a projection area that is very close to the cockpit (remember: only around 3.20 m diameter) the view in the runway is very different for CPT and F/O. If one has a rather straight view the other sees the environment from a completely different angle. Every approach would end up in a go around...

In Prepar3D you can set so called "custom cameras" for CPT and F/O. Before or while flying you can decide which pilot will do take-off and landing and set the camera views to the appropriate position.

There are some tools in the market that allows to modify custom cameras but we decided to do it the most easy way ourselves. And that's really simple to do. You should choose your standard flight. Then right click and "custom camera - create new".

 

Finding the right setting has been a trial and error thing - but all in all it did not take more than 30 min to find good settings.

custom cam cpt

 

custom cam fp

 

Important: After creating custom cameras you need to save your standard flight again - otherwise all settings will be lost after restart.

 

The result is only slightly different on the pictures but a complete different impression in the cockpit.

custom camera1

custom camera2

We are almost ready for a test flight.

But before we do so we need to check button positions. There are two major hints: Do not try to start up the aircraft without calibrated axis and check button positions prior to launch. In our case some buttons of the maintenance panel have been pushed causing loads of ECAM error messages...

You can access ProSimA320 IOS on http://<your-ip-address>:8080.

ios

 

ready

We made ourselves comfortable and will now start with the software installation. We have run through the installation process of Prepar3D (v3), Skalarki Profiler (Version 5), ProSimA320 (Version 1.03 latest beta) and FSUIPC4. One note if you have missed that: you will need a paid version of FSUIPC4 to run ProSimA320.

software 3

 

First we start with setup of the Skalarki Profiler. This is rather easy as the profiler software is delivered already with the correct matching of hardware button with the Prosim software.

If you have successfully installed Skalarki drivers (see last article) you will find the profiler like this. One hint: Profiler software starts minimzed. So search for it in the desktop tray.

kalibration 1

We stop the SDK Mode. P & P Hardware shows YES for all components we have (hey - for sure we need the refuel panel some day.... :-)

kalibration 2

Make sure you have chosen the right version.

 

After saving the general settings and doing a restart of the profiler software we select "Edit Profile" and will now calibrate all axis that are controlled by Skalarki hardware. This process is rather self explaining.

kalibration 3

 

Next step: Calibration of joysticks. This is also rather easy as you need to use the standard Windows game controller calibration (search in Windows for "game controller").

kalibration 4

kalibration 5

 

Now we start ProSimA320 Systems. We already followed the instructions to install and build necessary databases so we will focus on calibration. As Prepar3D has not been started yet the red message is not a problem. We choose "Config":

kalibration 6

 

The next step is very important. Choose "Directinput support for joysticks" enabled. Otherwise ProSim will not accept any control input from your steering components. If you run Skalarki hardware on several computers (which is possible) be sure you add the IP-adress of these computers.

Important! Restart ProSim A320 Systems after this change.

kalibration 8

 

 Now we select "Combined config" and search for lever in the flight control section.

kalibration 8

 

 Now we need to do two things. Firstly we need to assign and calibrate the standard joystick axis.

kalibration 8

 

 Secondly we need to assign the Skalarki controlled axis.

kalibration 8

 

That's it. Now we are good to go for the first test flight.

 

 

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VIER IM POTT 
Jähne GmbH für Produktinnovation
Altplauen 19, 01187 Dresden
Germany

Phone: +49 2045 8593 887
E-Mail: cockpit@vier-im-pott.com
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