Monday, 27 December 2010

Flying at the End of the World



Using the map in GEFS, you can take-off from over 30,000 runways in the world. While exploring this database of runways, I found some pretty interesting places. I will try to publish some of my discoveries in this blog.

GEFS now accepts direct links to place a specific aircraft at the chosen location. Following this link, you will be taken to the Teniente Rodolfo Marsh Martin Base. This place is full of magic. Taking off with the DC3 from this runway and flying by the small church while climbing gave me the impression of being an old times adventurer ;)

Enjoy!

GEFS 0.4 is Live



I just released version 0.4

This is not a major step but it includes quite a few improvements and bug fixes.

- Improved muti-player mode, with a better extrapolation/interpolation.
- Current flight (and some preferences) is saved when exiting the sim, and restored when starting it up again.
- Orientable cockpit camera
- Improved players icon display on the map (orientation and altitude)
- A link generator so it is possible to link directly to GEFS and initialize a flight (plane, location).
- Updated flight models (the Piper CUB now has a bit more power, the DC3 a bit more grip)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Anti-Aliasing in Google Earth Plug-in

Most of us simmers/gamers probably have a great, bulky, power hungry and overheating graphic card that can handle heavy 3D rendering and plenty of effects. Sadly, the Google Earth plug-in does not make a very good use of all this computing power. While I hope it is going to improve by every release of the plug-in, I would like to give you a small hint that can greatly improve the graphic in the Google plug-in and in GEFS as a consequence.

The only limitation here is your graphic card. If it is high-end enough, you probably have access to some settings via the card's driver. It usually can be found in the display settings of your operating system (in the advanced section). Each manufacturer and/or model of graphic card will present it differently and, there, I would recommend to look on the internet for details about how to set it up.

In the end, what we are looking for is something called anti-aliasing. It is not active by default in the Google Earth plug-in and there is no way to turn it on except for the manual driver settings.
Anti-aliasing, for those who do not know what it is, is an algorithm that smooth all the scaling (jaggies) you can see in an image (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-aliasing).

Most 3D graphic card drivers will offer a way to force this anti-aliasing to be turned on. Usually the default setting is to depend on the application to ask for anti-aliasing. Your driver probably offers an option to make it "always on".

I am talking about anti-aliasing because it is probably the most widely spread option among graphic cards, and also one that has the greater impact on rendering quality. Other settings may be available in you driver configuration panel (such as Anisotropic filtering or Texture quality).

Anisotropic filtering (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anisotropic_filtering), if available, will also dramatically improve the rendering, especially when flying low and looking far.

Note: I do not own a Mac but from what I could read, it is apparently tricky to force 3D options in Mac OS. If anyone has some advice on that matter, please let me know.

Rolling Out Version 0.3

I published 0.3 yesterday!


Among other minor fixes the changes are:
  • Added the Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet
  • Added flaps and air-brakes when available on aircraft
  • The map now displays about 30,000 clickable runways to take off from.
  • The aeronautical map shows a layer of airspace areas (DAFIF data).
  • Improved camera handling (orbit, zoom). Added the "chase" camera
  • Improved moving propellers rendering
  • Improved flight models
  • Added some exponential filtering on controls
  • Added call-sign display for network players
  • Removed the hold while loading terrain: physics tweaked to handle it.
  • Re-factored the multi-player back-end to be faster and more stable
Have a nice flight!