What’s the Flightgear news?

Changes of various kinds affect FG – it seems this year more than in others. Please read here an overview.

Whatever happened to the 3.6 release?

The simple truth is – it didn’t work out. In the end, the release team had personal constraints, got as far as producing a release candidate but then the efforts stalled. Flightgear is developed by human beings, and sometimes things don’t go the way we’d like them to.

Ideally this should have been communicated earlier – we’re sorry for this, the final decision not to have a 3.6 release was made not so long ago.

At this point, let me take the opportunity to point out the links to the automated builds where you can find the (as we now know rather stable) 3.6 release candidate and an automated nightly build of the FG development version.

The matching aircraft collection can be obtained from the repository following these instructions.

What’s the future?

At this point, we’re not sure whether there will be a regular 3.8 release. Rather, the idea which will be tried is a series of more automated stable releases – about four per year. We hope that this will stretch bug reporting by the general audience from the current one-week period between release candidate and stable (which makes it very hard to act in time) over a wider period, giving us the opportunity to respond better. At the same time, it will decrease the waiting period for the next stable. Time will tell whether this works better.

In addition, there are multiple changes behind the scenes having to do with the server infrastructure for the FG scenery. Ideally these would not affect the end user, but they take time and effort nevertheless.

Development on the other side did not stop – we keep making FG more interesting.

More impressive weather

The weather system has received an update to simulate lightning strikes during thunderstorms. Each lightning strike will not only trigger a visible bolt, but also (in the Atmospheric Light Scattering (ALS) framework) at night illuminate the clouds in the vicinity for a split second. In addition, the position is registered in FG, allowing aircraft modelers to include ambient thunder sounds with the correct delay – this has for instance been done for the C-172p. Encountering a T-storm at night will be memorable now!

Improvements to aircraft interior rendering

The ALS framework offers a host of new options for aircraft developers, for instance a quick option to render panel backlighting using the so-called implicit lightmap technique, irradiance mappings giving a more faithful impression from where indirect light can fall into the cabin and the option to show reflections of the lit cockpit panels in the windows at night.

A fire-breathing dragon (and other impressive aircraft)

Among the most interesting aircraft to be added to the repository is the dragon. Demonstrating the versatility of FG, this reptile doesn’t fly on magic (like the Santa and his reindeer do, if you know the model…), instead it uses the aerodynamical data from attempts to reconstruct the flight dynamics of a Pterosaur. Let it slowly climb with mighty wingbeats, soar thermals to rise to high altitudes or swoop down in a steep dive – the dragon sure is fun to fly and at the same time instructive.

Substantial updates also have been done for other aircraft which have been under heavy development: Sounds and pre-flight inspection simulation of the C-172p have been improved. The F-14A variant has been added, making use of all recent rendering improvements and including a simulation of compressor stall. Lots of work have also gone into making the F-15 yet better – it now offers C and D variant, operational weapons and radar, detailed sound and simulation of hydraulical, electrical and ECS pressurization system. The Space Shuttle is now well on the way towards a photorealistic 3d cockpit. Substantial work has been done on the avionics, implementing automatic tracking and pointing routines and a realistic procedure to command OMS orbital insertion and de-orbit burns, as well as one of the most sophisticated failure meanagement simulations in FG.

Improvements to scenery rendering

The ALS rendering framework has added effects for improved rendering of runways. Paved runways are now shown with skid-marks whereas unpaved runways can be rendered with a multitude of materials, smoothly blending the runway into the surrounding airport green.

New terrain textures

The regional scenery texture project is progressing substantially – we have new runway textures, dedicated industrial and port textures as well as detailed customized definitions for South America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia).

Behind the scenes work

Less visually, there is ongoing development on various fronts. The out of window GUI Phi continues to be expanded, providing support e.g. for an instructor station. Using Qt5, a common launcher for all OS is being developed which is expected to ultimately grow into a new in-window GUI option. Finally, the HLA effort aims at utilizing multiple CPUs better by running various subsystems in dedicated threads outside the FG main loop. Currently, only a very limited AI scenario can be run in this mode, but ultimately it is expected to provide improved framerate where poor CPU utilization is the bottleneck.

We hope to be back soon with details on the new release process.

FlightGear v3.4 Released

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The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the v3.4 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 frame-rate improvements on some systems, reduced memory usage and enhancements to the built-in web server.

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 v3.4 for free from FlightGear.org

FlightGear – Fly Free!

Major enhancements in this release

Performance

  • Improved frame-rates on some systems from more efficient use of Uniforms
  • Reduced memory occupancy for scenery tiles
  • AI models are now rendered based on display size rather than range
  • AI/MP models may now define objects as being part of the interior, which will not be rendered at large distances

Usability

  • Built-in web server now includes a moving map, a screenshot grabber, and supports SVG-based panels
  • In-application launcher for Mac, based on Qt5

Graphics

  • Improved rendering of runway and other lights under ALS
  • Landing and spotlight support for ALS

Scenery

  • Improved materials XML format making customer material definition easier
  • Procedural rock material definition

JSBSim

  • Synchronization with latest JSBSim

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

  • Extra EA-500
  • North American P-51D Mustang
  • Cessna Citation II
  • F-14b

Other

  • Firewall exceptions are automatically added during setup on Windows systems
  • Aircraft moved to a SVN repository.

Bug fixes

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

Web Site Updates

December 30, 2014:

  • Upgraded to wordpress 4.1
  • Testing a new theme that is a bit less “bloggy”
  • Added a big fat “download now” button on the front page.
  • Fixed layout for small screens (like smart phones in portrait mode.)

January 24, 2014:

  • v3.0.0 release candidates are available for download and testing.  The official v3.0.0 release is scheduled for 17 Feb.
  • Upgraded to WordPress 3.8.1

December 20, 2013:

Upgraded to WordPress 3.8 and the Twenty Fourteen theme.

November 25, 2013:

FlightGear v2.12.1 (bug fix release) is now available for download.

October 3, 2013:

Upgraded to WordPress 3.6.1 and new TwentyThirteen theme.  The FlightGear web site server hardware has been relocated to a newer larger building.  And v2.12 has just been released!

February 13, 2013: Updated Scenery Download Path

The FlightGear scenery downloads has been updated to v2.10 in preparation for the 17 Feb v2.10 release.  The scenery content does not follow the same release schedule and has updates and improvements every few days.  Thus this is more of a name change formality, and the “v2.10” scenery will work fine with v2.8 and probably most v2.x versions of FlightGear.

January 12, 2013: New Wiki Server

The FlightGear Wiki (http://wiki.flightgear.org) has been moved from a shared hosting server to a new dedicated virtual private host.  The FlightGear wiki is *very* popular and generates a lot of traffic and server load so hopefully this will improve the performance and reliability of our wiki and at the same time help all the other services on the old shared hosting server.

The new wiki host has been donated to the FlightGear project by DigitalOcean. If you are searching for a good hosting service among an ocean of possible options, they are good guys.

December 18, 2012: WordPress 3.5 & New Theme

The FlightGear web site has been upgraded to the newest version of wordpress (3.5) and I am experimenting with a new theme.  We can always return to the old them if we decide we like that better, or we can more forward too.  The new theme has some better support for mobile devices.

December 29 update: when switching to the new 2012 theme, we ended up with comments enabled on all content pages.  This was unintentional.  The page comments were mostly support requests or the odd snarky comment.  I have removed the comments area from regular content pages, but comments are still allowed (and encouraged) for “post” pages.  However, comments will be filtered carefully for topic and usefulness.  Do they expand or clarify the conversation of the post topic?  Support questions will still be referred to the FlightGear forum.  Random positive/negative statements (like “I love flightgear” or “I hate flightgear” will generally be ignored.)  English is preferred for post comments, but exceptions have been made and probably will be made in the future.

October 24, 2012: Scenery Download Page updated

The World Scenery Download page is updated to SVN version 20579.  It may take a day or so for the updated files to flush through the mirror system.

September 7, 2012: WordPress 3.4.2

Upgraded to wordpress-3.4.2.

August 20, 2012: Updated Gallery

Featuring the winning entries of the 15th anniversary screenshot contest, we have added a new screenshot gallery to go along with the v2.8.0 release!

August 17, 2012: Version 2.8.0 Released

Yeah!  Look on the front page (or the recent posts list in the side bar) to read the official release announcement.  Better graphics, new aircraft, new visual effects, tons of new things to explore!

July 30, 2012: v2.8.0 Release Candidate “RC4” Available.

If you are interested in trying the next release of FlightGear ahead of time (and helping us sniff out any remaining bugs or packaging issues) then please take a look for download links in the release candidate section towards the bottom main download page.  Also notice that updated v2.8.0 aircraft are also available for download along with the pre-release.

June 28, 2012: WordPress 3.4.1

The FlightGear web site software has been updated to WordPress v3.4.1.

February 28, 2012: Version 2.6.0 Updates

Both Mac OS X and Windows have had small tweaks to follow up the v2.6 release.  For Mac OS X there is “r319” version of the 2.6.0 dmg which fixes a couple problems some Mac users were seeing.  For Windows there is a “Setup FlightGear 2.6.0.1.exe” which fixes one small 32bit vs. 64bit dll packaging problem some 64bit users were seeing.

February 17, 2012: Version 2.6.0 Released

There has been a large number of changes and updates to the download and information pages as part of the v2.6.0 roll-out.

Jan 29, 2012: New v2.6.0 Release Candidate Available

A complete test release for the upcoming FlightGear 2.6.0 version is available to try.  Follow this link to the FlightGear v2.6.0 Release Candidate page.

Jan 6, 2012: New Developer Snapshot Available

A new developer snapshot (v20120105) is available for download and testing.  This is a way to keep up with all the coolest new features and experimentation without needing to compile the code yourself from scratch.  You can find the download link on the main download page.

Dec 28, 2011: Contributors Section added

A new section has been added to the FlightGear web site: Contributors.  We plan to periodical add profiles of different contributors to this section.  If you’d like to be included here, or have corrections or updates to existing entries, please contact the web master!

Sep 27, 2011: Scenery Download Page added

A World Scenery Download page has finally been added to the new web site.  You can find the page in the main site menu.  The graphical download page has also been updated.  All the links should now point to the v2.4.0 version of the scenery (this corresponds to svn version 16700 from the terrascenery archives.)  Update: a small link error has been fixed so the download map should be working again.  Thanks to those who reported it!

Sep 27, 2011: New wiki and liveries server

The server hosting wiki.flightgear.org and liveries.flightgear.org has been upgraded and the content has been migrated over.  There shouldn’t be any problems, but of course if you spot something odd, please let us know.

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.