FlightGear v3.2 Released

The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the v3.2 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Highlights in this release include an experimental aircraft manager allowing users to download and load aircraft in-sim, a very capable built-in HTTP server, built-in voice synthesizer for ATIS messages, and many improvements to the Canvas rendering framework.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v3.2 for free from FlightGear.org.

FlightGear – Fly Free!

Major enhancements in this release

Aircraft Modeling

  • A Failure Management Framework for FlightGear has been added
  • The JSBSim flight dynamics model now has support for ground effects like bumpiness, solid-ground detection and adjusting of friction factors. Additionally, bogey type contact points sink in non-solid surfaces, making it no longer possible to ride on water.
  • YASim now has versioning support. The YASim FDM now checks a version tag in it’s configuration file to allow improvements to the YASim FDM without risking breaking older aircraft.
  • Additional aircraft have started adopting the Canvas navigation display that was introduced with FlightGear 3.0.

Graphics

  • Improved rendering of VASI, PAPI, runway and taxiway lights.
  • Orbital rendering using textures from the NASA Visible Earth project
  • Additions to the Atmospheric Light Scattering (ALS) rendering include:
    • an experimental framework to render cloud shadows on the ground (requires Advanced Weather)
    • a substantial extension of cloud layer visibility using impostor techniques to 150 km
    • a new agriculture effect allowing to render fields without tiling artifacts
    • a new forest effect to simulate managed forest, varying tree size by patch
    • sparkle and fog effect on runway lights
    • much improved visual appearance of rock faces

Usability

  • An experimental aircraft package manager allows the download of new aircraft, and changing the current aircraft in-sim.
  • A new internal web server (aka httpd) based on mongoose httpd has been added. It supports various AJAX requests, a screenshot server, a property tree browser, and a web-based moving map and much more.
  • The integrated Map dialog now uses an azimuthal equidistant projection, for better representation in polar regions and across the International Date Line.
  • Windows users are now able to use the scroll wheel in dialog lists

Canvas System

Improvements to Canvas, FlightGear’s scriptable 2D rendering system include

  • Better performance
  • MapStructure-based layers can now be customized and styled
  • Support for mouse button and modifiers
  • CanvasImage now supports the http:// protocol for dynamically retrieving raster images.
  • An experimental Map dialog using Canvas is available under the Equipment menu.
  • Canvas Layout Engine

Nasal Scripting

  • A new fully-interactive Nasal GUI console based on Canvas has been added: Interactive Nasal Console
  • the hard-coded flight path history subsystem which samples aircraft position is now exposed via Nasal.

Documentation

  • Nasal documentation is now included,

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

Other

  • A text-to-speech system based on flite+hts_engine has been implemented, which is used for ATIS and other messages.
  • Improved loading behaviour for AI/MP aircraft

Bug fixes

  • A serious bug was found late in the release causing large numbers of crashes. Fixing this delayed he release, but had a nice side-effect of improving performance on some systems that were previously CPU-limited.
  • See our bugtracker for an extensive, yet incomplete, list of the bugs fixed in this release.

Feedback on dds textures required

Should Flightgear switch to dds texture format?

What is this about?

The FG development team is considering to switch the format for terrain textures from png to dds. This would offer a number of significant advantages:

– dds is a compressed format, hence the download size of the FG base package may be decreased
– compressed dds can be directly used by many graphics cards, reducing also GPU memory consumption
– dds stores all texture resolution levels, i.e. no lower resolution levels have to be generated when the texture is used, hence it loads much faster into memory
– the resolution levels (‘mipmaps’) can be customized, allowing for some interesting effects at no performance cost

Practically all commercial simulations use dds for these reasons.

However, the dds compression algorithm is patented, which means that it is not readily available for OpenSource graphics drivers used by Linux distributions. Dependent on the specific hardware, this may or may not be a problem (modern graphics cards typically do not need the driver to process dds, for older graphics cards there are non-patented workarounds available which decompress the dds on the software level). The development team is concerned about making the Flightgear experience pleasant for all users, hence we would like to gather feedback how many users would be affected by a change in practice.

If there are no problems reported, FG will change defaults to txtures in dds format with the 3.4 release, and then phase out the use of png textures.

What would we need?

Flightgear already provides the simple option to test a dds texture set. If you are running on Linux and especially if you use an OpenSource graphics driver, please take 5 minutes to help during your next FG session:

– Open the dialog under View -> Rendering

– Under ‘Terrain texture scheme’, change the default ‘Region-specific’ to ‘Global alternative (DDS format)’ (see red circle)

– Press ‘Okay’ – FG will reload the terrain

– Do you see proper textures on the terrain (they may look different and may also not fit the location perfectly)? If yes, you’re fine. If you see monochromatic colors or other rendering artifacts, your system may have problems with dds.

– Change back to the texture scheme you like best

– Go to the wiki page and report your experiences, ideally including the graphics card you have and the driver you’re using.

Thanks for your time!

Some context for those interested

The visuals you get to see of the terrain in Flightgear depend on texture scheme and rendering scheme being used.

Simply put, the texture scheme selects a set of texture sheets which are mapped to the various landclasses in the terrain, such that a forest is rendered as forest rather than as grass. The old ‘Global’ texture scheme uses one such set everywhere in the world, the ‘Global alternative’ scheme uses a different set, but the format the textures are stored in is dds rather than png, and the ‘Regional’ scheme selects different textures based on what part of the world you are in. So the texture scheme selection governs things like the basic appearance of the terrain, the format the textures are internally stored in and the definitions where in the world certain textures should be used.

However, modern graphics cards allow to modify textures dynamically, or even create them on the fly by Procedural Texturing using shader effects. Dependent on shader quality level, these effects may have quite a pronounced impact on the visuals. If you are not running Rembrandt, you can switch the main rendering schemes runtime using the ‘Atmospheric Light Scattering’ (ALS) checkbox in the rendering dialog (blue circle in the image above) and explore what it does. So in summary, the rendering scheme selection governs just what is done in detail with the basic texture layers selected above (but, confusingly enough, shader effects may even replace textures).

Some examples exploring the different texture and rendering schemes below:

This is the South Rim of Grand Canyon using regional texture definitions and ALS procedural texturing:

Regional texture definitions allow to adjust the rock color to what is prevalent in the US Southwest, whereas the banded rock structure is not part of the texture file but generated procedurally.

Same scene using global texture definitions and ALS:

Using global textures, the rock and grass color is no longer adapted to the region, and also the shader effect no longer replaces the steepest forest patches by rock.

Same scene using global alternative (DDS) textures and ALS:

Switching to global DDS textures does not alter the visuals significantly in this case, the main difference is the texture format and detail resolution.

Same scene using regional textures and default rendering scheme:

The default rendering scheme at high quality contains some texture replacements which are coded globally into the effect framework and do not mesh too well with the regional texture colors seen elsewhere in the scene.

Same scene using global texture scheme and default rendering scheme:

Such global texture replacements in the shader however work better with a global texture scheme.

Same scene using global alternative DDS texture scheme and default rendering scheme:

Here, the dds texture scheme leads to somewhat different colors.

FG supports this wide variety of textures and rendering schemes so that users can customize the visuals to the performance offered by their computer and select the best compromise between good framerate and compelling visuals.

We need different schemes for this, since in trying to render a scene faithfully, we need to decide questions whether an average level of dust should already be included into textures (as done in the global scheme) or added dynamically according to weather (as done in the regional scheme in procedural texturing). The first alternative is preferable on low-end hardware where procedural texturing is too slow, but the second alternative works much better on high-end systems. Similarly, having different texture schemes allows us to provide a quick fallback for users who might experience problems with a dds-based scheme.

FlightGear v3.0 Released

February 17, 2014 – FlightGear v3.0 is Released!

The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v3.0 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes. Highlights in this release include integration of the FGCom voice communications client within the simulator, improved terrain rendering, faster scenery loading, and improved usability. This release also coincides with the release of FlightGear World Scenery 2.0 – massively improved scenery data covering the entirety of the planet and incorporating OpenStreetMap roads and detailed terrain information from a variety of sources.

A list of major changes can be found at: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Changelog_3.0.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v3.0 from FlightGear.org and “Fly Free!”

FlightGear – Fly Free!

FlightGear v2.12.1 Released

November 25, 2013

Update: FlightGear v2.12.1 (a bug fix release) is now available for download!

September 21, 2013 – FlightGear v2.12 is Released!

The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v2.12 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes. Highlights in this release include improved usability, continued development of the Canvas rendering toolkit, and improved scenery rendering.

A list of major changes can be found at: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Changelog_2.12.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v2.12 for free from FlightGear.org.

FlightGear – Fly Free!

FlightGear v2.10 Released

February 17, 2013 – FlightGear v2.10 is Released!

The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v2.10 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Highlights in this release include improved usability, better terrain rendering and a fully scriptable 2D rendering system.

A list of major changes can be found at: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Changelog_2.10.

Oscar B., one of our developers made a movie to highlight some of the new features in v2.10

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cmhy9zjRBGs[/youtube]

LukeaFG has also made an excellent promo video showing some of the new v2.10 features.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZVCmHgAX6Y[/youtube]

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v2.10 for free from FlightGear.org.

FlightGear – Fly Free!

FlightGear v2.10 Release Candidates

February, 17, 2013: FlightGear v2.10 is official released.  Please proceed to the download page and download the full official release!  All the files shown here are old news.  Please move along, nothing more to see here. 🙂

This is the place to find the v2.10.0 release candidates as they become available.  We would really love for everyone to download these “test” releases and give them a try.  The target date for the official FlightGear v2.10.0 release is February 17.

Download FlightGear v2.10 Release Candidates:

(Release candidates can be updated frequently and the mirror system can take some time to update, so if a download link doesn’t work, please try another mirror.  If none of the mirrors work, try refreshing this page to get a new set of mirror suggestions.  Or try again in an hour or two.)

Download v2.10 Aircraft:

  • Download the newest versions of all the aircraft at the v2.10 Aircraft Download Page.  These are also have “release candidate” status and could be subject to changes before the official release.

Download v2.10 Scenery:

  • The FlightGear scenery is continuously being improved.  The newest available scenery works with both v2.8 and v2.10.  We update the scenery packages with any new models or changes every few weeks.  Get the latest scenery through the usual means from the Scenery Download Page.

Source Code

What’s New?

Comments or Questions?

  • If you have comments or questions regarding the release candidates, please go to the FlightGear forum.

Bugs?

FlightGear v2.8.0 Released

 

August 17, 2012 – FlightGear v2.8.0 is Released

The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v2.8.0 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes.

V2.8.0 includes improvements making FlightGear world more realistic than ever before.  Placement of random buildings and trees match the underlying terrain texture, and urban areas now have denser random buildings.  Textures can be region specific, and users can select between summer and winter textures in-sim.  An improved atmospheric scattering and terrain haze model means the lighting of the terrain is more realistic.  Finally, a new automated system is now available for scenery submissions that automatically get rolled into the scenery distribution to be enjoyed by everyone.

A very exciting new addition is “Project Rembrandt”.  This is still considered experimental and not enabled by default.  This enables real-time shadows, and support for multiple light sources such as landing lights.  Even rotating beacons illuminate the surroundings correctly.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear celebrated the 15th anniversary of it’s first official release in July.  FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for University research and education, for a variety of aerospace engineering and visualization work in industry, and even for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide seamless scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language, and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Start downloading FlightGear v2.8.0 for free from http://www.flightgear.org

FlightGear – Fly Free!

 

Some of the major changes include:

AI Traffic

  • Improved aircraft models and textures.

Flight dynamics

  • FlightGear has been synced with the JSBSim project.

Environment

  • Region-specific terrain textures are used for Europe and Hawaii. Now towns in Europe look different from towns in the USA.
  • Cities and towns now look more populated due to random 3D buildings, complete with lighting at night.
  • Scenery looks more realistic due to improved placement of random objects, buildings and trees.
  • Airport signs are now rendered in 3D, with support for double-sided signs. Full apt.dat 850 syntax is supported.
  • You can now select between summer and winter scenery in-sim.

Instruments & HUDs

  • A new flexible, 2D rendering system designed for complex instruments such as CDUs, MFDs, EICAS, HUDs and other glass cockpit interfaces. Canvas allows aircraft designers to easily build complex instruments without needing specialized C++ code.

Interface

  • Support for translation of the main menu into languages other than English.
  • A Nasal API is available allowing access to Navigation and route-manager data.

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

Project infrastructure

  • Various improvements to our scenery database make it easier than ever to add, delete or update objects to the FlightGear world.
  • The new aircraft download page allows you to easily find quality aircraft, by filtering on status indications.

Visual effects

  • Improved simulation of atmospheric light scattering with terrain haze.
  • An experimental renderer, named after the famous painter Rembrandt, is included for testing purposes. The Rembrandt rendered supports multiple light sources (landing lights, instrument lights), real-time shadows and ambient occlusion across aircraft and scenery for a much more realistic visual experience.

Other

  • Additional joysticks and rudder pedals are supported out-of-the-box:
    • InterLink Elite
    • Micorosft Xbox 360 Controller
    • Qware USB
    • Saitek Cyborg X (F.L.Y. 5)
    • Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Yoke
    • Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Trim Wheel
    • Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Rudder Pedals
    • Speedlink Defender
  • A French partial translation of The FlightGear Manual is now available.

Bug fixes

  • See our bugtracker for an extensive list of the bugs fixed in this release.

FlightGear v2.6.0 Released

Also available in: NederlandsEspañolFrançaisPortuguêsRomână

 

The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v2.6.0 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Major improvements from v2.4.0 include reduced AI aircraft load times, easier graphics tuning, more sophisticated AI aircraft and improved usability.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in Universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a worldwide multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Start downloading FlightGear v2.6.0 for free from FlightGear.org

FlightGear – Fly Free!

Some of the major changes include:

Aircraft operations:

  • At selected airports, FlightGear can automatically start at an appropriate parking spot based on the size and type of your aircraft.
  • At airports which support this feature, a visual display of the taxi route on the ground guides you to the active runway, while following the correct taxiways.

AI system

  • To reduce stuttering during model loading and take further advantage of multi-core CPUs, MP and AI aircraft models are now loaded in a background thread.
  • To reduce load times still further, only the parts of the aircraft currently visible are loaded from disk.
  • AI and multiplayer aircraft are no longer silent objects, they can produce sounds just like the main aircraft.

AI Traffic

  • Many new and updated AI aircraft and liveries. Over 80 airlines now populate the virtual skies.
  • The range at which AI aircraft are displayed is now configurable, allowing you to tune FlightGear for best performance.
  • AI controlled pilots have received extensive landing training and now make a more realistic approach and vacate the runway when able.
  • The simulator now assigns an available parking position on startup.

Flight dynamics

  • The JSBSim flight dynamics model received a major overhaul.

Environment

  • The Local Weather package has been further integrated with the FlightGear core, and has been renamed “Advanced Weather”. New rendering techniques allow more detailed clouds with no performance impact. High altitude clouds are rendered more realistically, and clouds move with the wind without impacting performance.

Interface

  • New replay system. Video-player like controls, including slow motion and fast forward. Pilots can now take over the aircraft at any time during a replay. Great for training particular flight phases such as approach over and over again.
  • Aircraft status ratings are displayed in the FlightGear launcher, allowing you to see at a glance the FDM, model, systems and cockpit quality for rated aircraft.
  • Multiplayer settings can be accessed in-sim. You can now choose your callsign, select an MP server and connect within the simulator.
  • Automatic scenery download is now even easier to use. Simply select the scenery directory to download to, and switch it on.
  • Individual graphics effects can now be configured from within the Rendering Settings dialog, allowing you to fine-tune the performance of FlightGear within the sim.
  • The simulation of radio signal propagation has started and will make the reception of ATC messages and navigation aids more realistic in the future.
  • A new set of options makes it easier to create seamless and zoomable multi screen setups.
  • A new performance monitor shows the time spent in each subsystem.

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

Project infrastructure

  • CMake is now the official build system on Linux, Mac and Windows.

Visual effects

  • The sea now looks more realistic. Waves align with the wind, and foam appears at high wind speed.
  • Steep slopes now appear rocky.
  • Runways now appear wet during rain showers.
  • To help aircraft developers, a single shader combining bump-map, specular, reflection and light mapping components is now available.

Other

  • Additional joysticks and rudder pedals are supported out-of-the-box, including the Logitech WingMan Interceptor, Saitek Pro Combat Rudder Pedals and Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog.
  • FGPanel, lightweight software to render 2D instrument panels, is now included as part of the release.

Bug fixes

  • See our bugtracker for an extensive list of the bugs fixed in this release.

Windows

  • 64bit version restored and its installation integrated in the main fgsetup installer

FlightGear v2.6 Release Candidates

This is the place to find the v2.6.0 release candidates as they become available.  We would really love for everyone to download these “test” releases and give them a try.  The target date for the official FlightGear v2.6.0 release is February 17.

Download FlightGear v2.6 Release Candidates:

What’s New?

I think I found a bug …

  • Please review the following FlightGear forum topic.  Here you can get some ideas on what to look for and what to test.  And if you do find something wrong, where to post bug reports so they can get properly addressed.

Preparing for a new Release

The FlightGear release team is just warming up to prepare the next release. This will be version 2.6.0 to be made available on February, 17th 2012 and our second release following our release plan. Users can expect a dramatic improvement in the visual system, improved AI traffic at assorted airports, a new video-recorder-style replay system and many, many more great new features.

Follow the progress of release team at the forum.