Diary of a Test Pilot (Part 3)

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Diary of a Test Pilot (Part 3)

UNREAD_POSTby desktopsimmer » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:07 pm

More Test Pilots arrive at EFB
The Beta Testing team has now increased from 3 to 5. The new 'Test pilots' are Stefan Lhotka and Gale Wells. Both are working hard and providing very positive feedback on F-sim Space Shuttle.

On Finals...
F-Sim Space Shuttle is very close to a release of the next version. No date can be confirmed, however, Sascha has now implemented all of the new features, the two biggest being the Virtual Cockpit and full iPad capability. Us Test Pilots have now found most of the bugs and Sascha has squashed them. So, it looks like the testing cycle could be moving to the release candidate stage, maybe within this next week or so, weather permitting.

I'm not going to say much about the Virtual Cockpit , I'll let the below screen shots say it all:


iPhone (3GS)

Even though it's a simplified version of the real life Flight Deck, it looks great when looking around using the demo feature, or if you're brave enough, look around when you're flying manually.
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Re: Diary of a Test Pilot (Part 3)

UNREAD_POSTby tomwatts » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:45 pm

Looks great! Are any of the displays on the glass cockpit active are they purely there for display? Not that it needs it, like I said it looks brilliant, but it would be pretty cool if they were. Also, I was wondering if it will be compatible with all generations of hardware or will it be a scaled down version for earlier hardware?


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Re: Diary of a Test Pilot (Part 3)

UNREAD_POSTby Sascha » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:41 pm

Right now they are just decoration. That might change in the future, no promises though ;)
Nevertheless I think it feels much more real now, especially on the iPad with its larger display.

They work on all devices and use the same texture resolution.

There are two things that affect frame-rate on 1st and 2nd generation devices (i.e. anything older than a 3GS):
* If the virtual cockpit is on, it needs the depth buffer.
* The HUD now renders the reflections of the CRT in both beam combiners. Since this is compatible with older hardware I couldn't use OpenGL ES 2.0 shaders, so instead there is a lot of onscreen blending going on to achieve the desired effect. This means a lot of pixels have to be read back from the frame buffer and blended with new pixels that are composited over them.

So both of these effects are turned off by default on older hardware, e.g. iPhone 3G (without the "S") or 1st and 2nd generation iPod touch, but can be turned on individually.
I did some some tests on a 1st and a 2nd generation iPod touch. On the first generation device, I'd definitely turn those effects off, otherwise framerate could drop below 15 fps, which isn't really playable anymore (IMHO).
The 2nd generation iPod touch is acutally much faster, framerate generally stays above 20fps with these effects turned on. So it's a matter of taste: if you want the full 30fps, turn them off, if you can live with 20fps you can turn them on.

All other devices (3GS, 3rd and 4th generation iPod touch, the iPad) run smoothly at 30fps with both effects turned on, even at full resolution (960x640 on the iPhone4 and 1024x768 on the iPad).
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