The first FG release in 2018 will move to the tropical island of Oahu, using Honolulu as the default airport. In preparation, the islands of the Hawaii chain have received a makeover – textures for the typical shrub vegetation has been added, the terrain texturing has been improved and the airport layouts have been re-generated.
There’s now a lot of new things to discover – fly to the ‘garden island’ of Kauai and look for waterfalls, search for the new highly detailed aircraft carrier ‘Harry S. Truman’ cruising close to Oahu, watch a sunrise from the summit of mighty Haleakala on Maui or discover an active lava fountain on the ‘big island’.
Have you ever seen a volcano eruption in a flightsim? This is your chance – in the upcoming release, you won’t only be able to see lava pools and volcanic smoke of Puu’Oo on Hawaii, but also see lava fountains of the Italian volcano Stromboli and even the mighty ash plumes blown high into the air by an eruption of Etna on Sicily. The activity of all these volcanoes can be adjusted from the Environment GUI.
The current implementation is still limited, but in the future, volcanic ash might actually interfere with the weather and aircraft operations – just like in reality.
Unprecedented vegetation detail
Using geometry shaders, the Atmospheric Light Scattering rendering framework now offers the option to see dense volumetric grass layers on the airport greenspaces, as well as rendering additional 3d layers of vegetation underneath the regular random trees and shrubs in regions where this is configured. This offers the eye a pleasantly high level of detail even at close range and adds much to the visuals. While this technique might be heavy for older graphics cards, the performance on a modern high-performance graphics card is excellent.
A helpful co-pilot
Have you ever wanted to fly a helicopter, but didn’t manage to get it off the ground? The Alouette-III now comes with a helper (or flight instructor) for you – Amelia.
Amelia (named after aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart) is an animated co-pilot capable of taking off, landing and hovering the helicoper for you, according to your instructions. You can simply ask her to get the craft off the ground for you, then fly it a bit forward and then take over from her. Or, if you’re interested in operating the winch and doing rescue operations, she can hover over a spot and move slowly to the right spot according to your directions.
New and updated aircraft
A lot of development has happened for various aircraft – for instance the Robinson R44 helicopter has received a stunning new 3d model and many systems are now simulated in detail.
Another great addition, both in terms of visuals and systems, is the new Cessna C-182. If you like single prop aircraft and want to see something more modern than the default C-172p, try it out – it makes for a great plane to do sightseeing in Hawaii!
The carrier handling of the F-14b is now much more realistic, with arrestor wire effectivity dependent on speed at touchdown, more realistic low speed aerodynamics during the approach and correct ‘kneeling’ of aircraft when on the catapult – take the F-14 to the ‘Harry S. Truman’, and you won’t be disappointed!
Lots of details have also been added to the Citation-II business jet and bugfixes, gear damage, a correct autopilot and an improved radar to the F-15.
…and much more
Much more work going on behind the scenes:
* improved usability and integration of the Flightgear launcher
* fixes for AMD graphics cards rendering issues
* many other small bugfixes
* improvements to the YaSim flight dynamics engine for better realism
Stay tuned as we launch the next release!