Not a whole lot of simming going on

A brief update as usual. My promise to do one new post every week lasted all of zero weeks, I’m afraid. So to date we have a grand total of 4 posts in 2017! I don’t seem to be able to hold down a full time job, have a life outside work, pursue the simming hobby, and write about it all at the same time. Let alone make videos.

This seems to be the fate of all simpit blogs. I can’t think of a single one that lasted beyond the point where its author had a working sim. All seemed to tail off in the end. I’m trying to avoid that fate, but I’m perilously close to it. Hence my intention to move more to a blog about simming and the challenges of that than about building a sim, since I’ve now done that – at least in this incarnation. In 2018 (or more likely 2019) when I start work on the next sim-in-the-garden-shed, that’ll be a whole different blog 🙂

A few changes since my last post, but not many – I’ve added some Saitek FIP LED gauges to the sim for my standby instruments and for particular aircraft configurations, and I also added a pair of Saitek throttle quadrants mounted on a kind of bracket that goes over my Throttletek thrust levers for when I’m flying single or twin prop planes that require power / mixture / prop for each engine. I still use the Throttletek throttles for jets.

Other than that, I’m mostly in tweak mode now, adding new capabilities and aircraft and tweaking the sim to accommodate them (control setups, scenarios etc). Most recently, I built a couple of startup scripts for my PCs so that they start up the sim and all the default software (SPAD.Next, Active Sky Next, G1000 simulator etc) automatically. I’m trying to get SkyDemon up and running on my iPad and synced with a GPS position broadcast on the LAN from a program called FSXFlight, but it was made for Foreflight and doesn’t seem to work that well with SkyDemon.

I finally got properly synchronised AI traffic working via WideTraffic. The initial release of the 64-bit build had a bug which caused P3D v4 to crash after a few minutes, but that’s been fixed now, so I can run Ultimate Traffic Live on my server PC and have the traffic show up properly on my client machine. While I was waiting for that, I spent a little money on a couple of copies of RealTraffic which is a program that takes real-world transponder info from aircraft and injects it into Aerowinx’s PSX sim, and a freeware adapter PSXSeeconTraffic from Nico Kaan that plugs this into FSX / P3D. Using this, I was able to inject real-world traffic, in real time, into both sim instances, and hence get real traffic showing up in the sim as it was flying in the real world. This is really cool, especially because there’s no need to calculate any flight movement data for the injected aircraft which means there’s no frame rate hit, unlike with AI traffic. But the traffic doesn’t interact with ATC at all, which is a bit of a realism killer for me. So right now I’m preferring Ultimate Traffic Live. But I have both options available and working.

I have finally made a new video for my YouTube channel. It summarises some of the stuff that I’ve mentioned in earlier posts here about the new screen, new console etc. But, perhaps more interestingly for this audience, it also has a 20-minute demo flight that I took in the sim just to show it working. I intend to do a lot more videos like this (which are easy to produce just as a side-effect of the hobby itself), interspersed with more ‘educational’ video content. Production values should increase as I get used to it – in particular I need to learn how to get my GoPros to work better in low light, and I’ll need to find a better place to position the camera, and have a second camera focussed on the instruments etc. Do check it out if you have the time to spare!