AFLT3 Final Beta Release Posted

gadgets

Resource contributor
#1
I have just been advised by Lockheed Martin that they will not be implementing compatibility for BGL_LIGHT and SEPARATION_PLANE , two key components of AFLT. Consequently, for the time being, at least, AFLT will not be compatible with P3Dv2.

I have asked LM if they intend to implement similar functionality in later releases of P3Dv2. I have not yet received that advice. Should such new capability be introduced, I will endeavor once again to make AFLT compatible with P3D.

Not the news I was hoping for, but at least now we know.

Don
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#2
Hi Don,

I saw their announcement on old techniques as well. Did you already explain them why you used those commands for your lights? If they understand that well, hopefullyr they can implement some lights technique that can do the same.
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#3
Yes. I communicated with them shortly after the announcement was posted and, surprisingly, got an answer. I had explained to them earlier the purpose for which I used BGL_LIGHTs and SEPARATION PLANEs and that there was no alternative for the required functionality. They acknowledged reading my earlier e-mail.

I told them what I needed and hoped they would offer was a light dot for scenery of user-controllable size, color and intensity, the visibility of which could be constrained both laterally and vertically and that could blink. Now, we wait.

The exchange did not deal with ground polys because basically, they work. It never occurred to me that they would remove already-supported technology.

Don
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#4
Great, hopefully they can add something.

The ground polygons still work indeed. But they won't fix issues anymore and it will be dropped in the next major release. That's how I read it. So it's good to migrate to alternatives now already.
 
#5
Hi Don,

If I were you (which I am not, fortunately for you:)), I would ask them, straightforwardly, what they have in mind then as an alternative and when we can expect to have it implemented!
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#6
In the past, LM have been reluctant to disclose their plans prior to release. But, you don't have to be me to ask them a question.

Don
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#7
Good News (for a change). Thanks to Jeffery Stahli and his SODE, I have what appears to be a valid approach to offering AFLT on P3Dv2. While I'm not using SODE, I have (re)implemented several of its features tailored to my needs, and I now have proof-of-concept. Essentially, I create a set of simobjects based on the AFLT base models and control the visibility of the attached lights (effects) with SimConnect.

At the moment, I can spawn all the light models (nearly 600 of them at my CYYJ) in less than 1 second and, with a rudimentary SimConnect function, am able to make them blink in a controlled manner. Using a similar viewpoint, in FSX those same 600 lights reduce the FPS from 48 to 35. In P3D, the corresponding numbers are 80 and 25. Obviously the overhead of 600 simobjects in P3D is greater than 600 similar scenery objects in FSX but, at the moment, all 600 lights are blinking at a 1-second rate under control from SimObjects. Without the blinking control messages, the FPS increases to 35 - comparable to FSX. In a finished project, only a small proportion of those lights require frequent switching. So, I expect the final number to be closer to 35 than to 25.

I won't know much more about the final FSP impact until I get a lot more SimConnect functionality. And that's several weeks away. But, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Stay tuned,
Don
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#9
I doubt it. What I'm working on is a P3Dv2 equivalent to the existing AFLT. While it will have a couple enhancements made possible by the different technology, the underlying capability will be unchanged, i.e., lights must be placed in a fixed geographic location.

Ships are themselves simobjects - as are the lights. (P3Dv2 doesn't support animating or adding visual conditions to scenery objects.) But, P3D does support attachment of effects to simobjects either via the sim.cfg file or by embedding the attachpoints in the model. Have you tried either of those approaches?

Don
 
#10
Will the bgl files that your new system produces be fsx native (mdl + XML placement)?
If so what happens if you try using the MDL directly as AI? As I understand it there is no difference with fsx native MDLs between simobjects and those in bgl libraries, although certain features of a MDL may not work if the usage is swapped.
Fs9 MDLs with attached effects cause a CTD if used as AI and conventional attached effects do not have separation plane capability.
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#12
I've been away for the past few weeks with limited access to the forums. However, I wasn't idle. I have largely completed development of a P3D version of AFLT using simobjects with attached effects. Everything seems to be working as I intended.

I've got some final testing to do, including assessing its FPS impact. But, if performance on my (underpowered) laptop is any indication, FPS shouldn't be much different from the FSX version using effects. The new version is fully integrated with the FS9/FSX version with only a couple minor changes to the user interface. I hope to have a beta version available in the next week or two.

Don
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#13
I have just posted AFLT Release 2.0.01 as the AIFP Development Release. You can download it from http://stuff4fs.com. Navigate to the AFLT page and click the Development Release menu item.

Release 2.0.01 is the initial beta for AFLT in P3Dv2. It supports all versions of AFLT with an almost identical interface to the current general release 1.1 03. However, it is recommended that you install 2.0.01 to a separate folder (or keep a backup of Version 1.1.03 handy).

This new version populates your airport with simobject-based lights controlled by a Simconnect module. In most other respects, it is identical to the General Release. One new feature made possible by the simobjects approach is pilot-controlled lighting initiated by a defined number of clicks of the COMMs transmit button.

I am still refining effect size to achieve an acceptable range of the lights without overwhelming brilliance up-close. As well, there is still one difficulty with P3D that I have not yet been able to resolve. That is, light-effects displayed against a runway background are very dim. The effect is generally restricted to threshold lights which usually will have the runway as background when on approach. The issue appears to be internal to P3D and I have sought help from Lockheed Martin. The final resolution of both issues should not have a destabilizing effect on AFLT.

Would a few of the more experienced among you who have an interest in P3D please install the new version and use it routinely. Please report any difficulties - no matter how apparently trivial - in this thread.

Don
 
#14
When using AFLT as a new installation, I tried making a simple Taxi light (omni-blue). When I go to click MAKE LIBRARY the following screen has the normal parts at the top, but the bottom (path boxes) are all disabled, including the SELECT buttons at the side that, presumably you'd use to define the paths. The temporary work around is to define the paths in the AFLT.ini so that running the program, the paths are defined and you can use the select buttons on the left side to choose the path you want to use.

Just after a new install
AFLT2001_MakeLibrary_NewInstallNoPaths.PNG


After closing AFLT and manually entering the paths into the INI then re-opening AFLT
AFLT2001_MakeLibrary_AfterINIMod.PNG
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#17
Aaron, Development release 2.0.02 just posted to http://stuff4fs. It should take care of the issue you highlighted earlier.

To download, navigate to the AFLT page and click the Development Release menu item.

Don
 
#19
Hello once again thanks so much for a fantastic freeware product but I am having issues and have a couple questions.

For FSX scenery I would import a library that was compliled with AFLT into ADE. I would then hand place all runway/taxiway lighting over my photoscenery background I used to build my airport runways/taxiways. Without a BGL how can I used this method for Prepar3d ADE projects?

Without hand placing models in ADE how else would I get XML info into AFLT when making the library? I get am XML pop-up before making the library, but without the library I can't place them into ADE to get coordinates.

Is there any way to take my XML and create a library identical to my FSX library in the previous version of AFLT or am I going to have to hand place lights for the entire airport again to create my P3d version?
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
#20
arnobg. I'm a little unclear about what you are trying to do. First of all, what version of the software are you using. If Version 1.n.nn, then any lights you generate with AFLT will not be compatible with P3D (as noted in the manual). The current development release 2.0.nn offers some P3D compatibility, but there are still major issues.

The library file generated by AFLT is intended to be placed in the addon scenery folder. Since the .mdl files aren't readily available, it's not clear what you think could be imported into ADE. AFLT lights are placed in ADE like any other objects. You simply need the guid.

how else would I get XML info into AFLT when making the library?
AFLT generate object libraries based on internal model definitions. What XML are you referring to. Except for arrays, object placement details are contained in ADE. AFLT doesn't "care" about where things are placed - except for arrays, of course.

I suspect this won't help much, but its about the best I can do without being clearer on what it si you are trying to do.

Don

EDIT: If you have previously used AFLT with P3D, you should delete any AFLT-generated simobjects from your simobjects folder, remove the pointer to that folder from SimObjects.cfg and restore exe.XML to its original state. 2.0.04 will make all new entries for you.
 
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