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Thread: Gauges for Combat Flight Simulator

  1. #51
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    Regarding the precise alignment of the screw heads:
    My Engineers have never installed gauges before and didn't have the proper screws, so they threaded and machined their own.
    Production gauges will use standard industry screws instead of the custom made and heat-treated ones that are there now.
    Many gauges are installed using only two or three of the four mounting holes. I can't convince the Engineers to even consider that.
    Note that certain aeroplanes have their gauges installed with the frames on top of the panel and some are installed from the reverse side and the frames are hidden behind the panel in which case the frame would not be visible at all.

    Regarding C Programming:
    It isn't really all that hard but knowing the C language will help you much less with gauges that you might expect.
    I have run into a few bugs by doing things which should logically work with C but do not because the gauge macros often have not so obvious side effects.
    The documentation isn't quite as thorough as one might want. It is pretty much written for folks who already know what they are doing and I am not one of those people.

    - Ivan.

  2. #52
    Hello Ivan,
    Iīm still trying to convince my mechanics not to use galvanized iron wire through the gauge holes to tie the gauges to the panel!

    I remember writing a sailing simulator and also a flight simulator in a kind of QBasic for the Commodore Amiga 500 called Amiga AMOS Basic, and it had all the gauges in Basic too! Nice instructions like Plot, Draw, Sine and Cosine of the angles for the needles... Another way to do it, if it lets you!

    Anyway, back to real life. Gauge programming for pre Z-Buffer era Simulators, seems like another groping-around-in-the-dark situation created by Microsoft. Some habit of making things difficult. They must have been afraid that they would be put out of business!

    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  3. #53
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    Recommend against the steel wire. The gauge may come loose under heavy G Load.

    The gauge issues really have nothing to do with Z-Buffering.
    In fact the SDK isn't all that hard to use; I have just not done it before and am working out my own "Good Practices"
    The Development Practices and creating useful Bitmaps are the difficult issues for me.

    You might be wondering: What do you mean by "Good Practices"?
    In the beginning with the FS98 SDK, I only built one gauge of each type, so everything related to the 3500 RPM Tachometer had the prefix
    KPW.Tach35...
    thus
    KPW.Tach35-BG.BMP
    KPW.Tach35-Needle.BMP
    KPW.Tach35.c

    and for a Dual 4500 RPM Tachometer, I would have

    KPW.DTach45-BG.BMP
    KPW.DTach45-Needle1.BMP
    KPW.DTach45-Needle2.BMP
    KPW.DTach45.c

    But.....
    In reality, the Background for every 3500 RPM Tachometer whether Single or Dual are the same, so why am I naming them differently?
    The Needles only really come in three flavours: Needle, Needle1, and Needle2; It makes no difference whether they go to a Tachometer or Manifold Pressure Gauge or what the display range of the instrument is....

    So now it is a matter of going back and naming things in a manner that is consistent and makes sense.
    ....But hang on a second: Note that we are now building Gauges for at least two countries and their pointers and backgrounds are different, so perhaps the naming convention needs to account for that as well.... And my goal is to eventually build both Japanese and Russian Gauges too.

    Yet one more consideration is that the highlights of different colours on the background would be different for different engines even if the ranges were the same.

    The same applies to creating new bitmaps.
    The screw head is the doctored up image of a rivet head.
    Make one to see what the general appearance will be and if it look good, put in different angled screw slots.....
    This one is supposed to look like a slotted pan head screw. What about a Phillips screw? Round head instead of Pan Head???
    Consider this the beginnings of an inventory system for Gauge Parts.

    I had to do the same kind of thing with standard practices when building models in AF99.
    Figuring out a standard naming convention so that I could find things pretty quickly and figuring out what kinds of tasks I did repeatedly and programming the utilities for the most frequent tasks took more time than actually learning the tools.

    As in C Programming, learning the language isn't difficult. Learning to break down a large project into meaningful modules for maintainability requires a bit more thought. Consider this as my software development background getting in the way.

    Getting things done as a one-off really isn't that hard as I showed with my first FS2000 Tachometer a while back.

    - Ivan.

  4. #54
    Hello Ivan,

    I understand that Z-buffering has nothing to do with gauges. I meant to indicate that the lack of this coincided with another lack, namely the lack of specific gauge-creating software. Both appeared after the Z-bufferless FS98 and CFS1.
    I hadnīt expressed myself clearly, Iīm afraid.

    This consistency system for parts naming is something I never really got into, and when I do it, it is only to a certain extent.
    Thus, it always takes me quite some time to figure out whatīs going on when I re-work a model I made several years back.
    I was never one for conscientious, detailed planning anyway - more for quick practical hands action, otherwise I canīt see what Iīm doing and get lost in the plan. This has serious drawbacks when something goes wrong and only gets worse, until it has to be re-done from the start! The few times I do make a plan, I never follow it very long anyway!

    With gauges however, I agree that a system does seem much more necessary, as otherwise one would get totally lost with so many similar parts for different things. It facilitates future expansion too - KPW International Gauges Corporation!

    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  5. #55
    Hello Aleatorylamp,

    I come from software development background; I have often worked as the lead developer for projects and had to break apart fairly large problems so that many developers could all work simultaneously on different sections.
    Modular is a good thing.

    You have actually had a chance to look through a couple AFX's of mine and probably saw the naming conventions I used for the pieces.
    (I think I sent you an early copy of the Lightning and one of the P-3 Orion.)
    The Parts names like Tail02L12.afp are pretty boring but fairly unambiguous and make things really easy to find.

    My current approach to gauges is probably overkill, but keeps things straight in my mind.
    The trick is to do enough to stay organised but not so much that it becomes tedious and too much like work.
    After all, this is a hobby done for enjoyment!

    - Ivan.

  6. #56
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    wow...and you question,
    "Ivan is meticulous"?
    your organization skills are phenomenal.
    i had no idea.

    my friend, you take meticulous
    to a whole new level
    and i applaud you for it.
    well done, and please,
    keep up the good work,
    for as long as it remains
    enjoyable for you.



    now, about that trim gauge.
    just kidding, i couldn't resist.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  7. #57
    Hello Ivan,
    Iīm sure that your super organized methodology is one of the
    reasons why your work is so much more precise than mine,
    and I can only share Smiloīs opinion!
    3 Cheers!
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  8. #58
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    would someone, please tell me
    the correct path to display Ivan's new gauges?
    gauge01=KPW.MP60Mxxxwhat?

    i got it to work the other day,
    but, i seem to have forgotten
    what it was i did...sheesh
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  9. #59
    Hi Smilo,

    You can rename the gauge to anything you want.
    After that, it is just a matter of putting a "!Engine1" after the gauge name.

    - Ivan.

  10. #60
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    got it, thanks....very nice gauges.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  11. #61
    Hello,
    Yes, absolutely! They are so good that they make my provisional panel look fantastic!
    A.L.
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  12. #62
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    ...so good, i'm considering a pop up panel
    of enlarged engine gauges.

    i've found 1&2 oil temp gauges that actually work.
    what i need now is an engine2 fuel & oil pressure gauge.

    side note...
    i checked out the german auto pilot in the fw200.
    kinda funny, really, the bitmap is in german,
    but, the readouts are in feet.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  13. #63
    Hello Smilo,
    A pop-up panel sounds great.
    If the gauges you mention werenīt to be found, it wouldnīt be terrible to do without.
    The AP is a bit strange and the wing leveller seems absent. I wonder if thereīs one in meters.
    Otherwise, the one you sent me is quite practical, as it just uses the height you have.
    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  14. #64
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    i love pop up windows.
    you'd be amazed at the potential.
    you can keyboard toggle up to nine.
    i even have panel switches to toggle them.
    then, some can be non menu items.
    it's almost limitless.
    well, maybe only a hundred.
    i haven't pushed that envelope.
    i'll try not to get too carried away
    with this project...we shall see.

    as for auto pilot,
    i think you're talking about altitude hold.
    it's handy, but, i prefer the ability
    to manually set the altitude i want,
    then, set the vertical speed i want
    and let her climb.
    (i rarely use wing level)
    actually, when testing,
    i'll make these adjustments
    while sitting on the runway.
    then, i'll start the engine(s) and throttle up,
    taking off and climbing
    while adjusting the heading
    by clicking on the heading bug.

    most of the auto pilot gauges out there
    also have nav and approach settings,
    which i never use. i almost wish
    i could find an ap gauge without them.

    actually, i do have a couple without,
    but, of course, they have other issues.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  15. #65

    New Tachometer Background

    With less well timed screws this time.....

    .....And with a proper range on the dial.
    One has to wonder why use a 4500 RPM Dial when 3000 RPM or less was the limit.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails KPW.Tach315BG2.bmp  

  16. #66
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    that...is a very nice looking gauge.
    frankly, i prefer "less well timed screws"
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  17. #67
    Hello Folks!
    I agree that it looks better, although well timed screws are not all that improbable. Very Nice!
    A.L.
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  18. #68
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    i guess it's time to show you
    what i've been up to for the past few days.
    understand from the onset,
    this is by no means a finished panel.
    it is merely, a test bed
    to experiment with pop up windows
    and to look at and test gauges.

    -the upper left is a basic auto pilot
    incorporating the stock cessna directional gyro
    four digital readouts by Jerry Beckwith
    (i especially like the real altitude gauge
    that turns red when below 500 feet)
    these overlay the dash8 auto pilot.
    this window will do all you need an auto pilot to do.

    -next are a german radio, adf radio
    and an adf radio compass

    -then, there's the lower left corner.
    what the heck is that?
    a conglomeration of handy gauges.
    the first is altitude, -05 is trim,
    000 is flaps in increments, 0
    80 is % remaining fuel
    the big red G is gear(retracted)
    .50 is zoom % 0
    5.0,00,00000 is a clicks gauge,
    there's the ga bomb sight gauge
    and finally where you are in the sim.

    -in the center is the Sperry MKIII auto pilot.
    it's a cool looking ap gauge, but,
    it's a major pain in the rear to operate.
    too bad, i like the looks of this one,
    but, will not use it.

    -beside it is a test window with some gauges
    i was checking out...the clock has many features
    i won't go into here.

    -upper right are the german multi engine gauges
    Ivan has been working on. fantastic.
    the two red circles are #1&2 feather levers,
    that actually work.

    -lower right is a bank of auto pilot gauges
    i had a look at.
    the upper is basically, a black dash8
    with, imho, unnecessary, added writing.
    next is the same dash8 and Beckwith digitals
    i described for the upper left basic ap.
    third down is an ap with just altitude
    vertical climb readouts, plus switches and knobs.
    followed by a german auto pilot with knobs,
    switches altitude and vertical climb.

    -finally, in the bottom right corner,
    is hubbabubba's switch panel. this little honey
    allows you to toggle up to six pop up windows.
    frankly, folks, i would not build a panel
    without this item. as far as i'm concerned,
    the switch panel is essential to any
    and all cfs panels.

    as always, everything is a work in progress.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PENTUP-17-03-21.jpg  
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  19. #69
    Hello Smilo!
    You certainly have been productive! It looks great, and it sounds very effective.
    You are right about pop-up panels - they let you see things in detail. A good idea to use them. I had always thought that simplifying everything onto the main panel was better because you had everything with one look, but of course, itīs too simplified because you get no details!
    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  20. #70
    Hmmm.....

    That panel offers up a LOT of possibilities.
    That must be the famous Sperry Mk.III autopilot.
    There is something pretty similar on some of the WW2 US Bombers.
    I recognize the similarities though I don't know how to use either one.

    I need to spend more time in the virtual skies and less time in the virtual machine shop and electronics lab.

    - Ivan.

  21. #71

    Of Boost Gauges and Atmospheres

    Hello Folks,
    Iīm having some interesting problems trying to fine-tune a CFS1 .air for the engines of the FW200A: 9-cyl radial BMW-132A, 720 Hp at 2050 RPM, not geared, with a 1.2 ATA supercharger. Ceiling is 15000 ft because this passenger plane was not pressurized. Military versions had twice the MTOW and 2/3 more power.

    Well, Googling the equivalent of 1.2 ATA, I got 35.9 inches of mercury to put into the .air file. Strangely enough, the standard German CFS ATA gauges marked 1.22 ATA, as did Ivanīs new boost gauges, but the FS98 Gauges that came with a panel for this plane marked 1.2 ATA. In FS98 they marked 1 ATA, because FS98 has no superchargers. (Power was compensated to 750 hp beause of this in the FS98 .air file). Moreover, it seems that 1 ATA is not 1 Atmosphere after all...

    Consulting with Ivan, he mentioned that the equivalent value for aircraft of 1.2 ATA was 34.87 inches of mercury in the standard of measurement used for aviation engineers, but that there other standards of measurement in use... Oh deary me!, like my landlady used to say when I went to college in 1972.

    Of course, entering 34.87 for Max. Manifold pressure in the .air file, this time the CFS1 gauges and Ivanīs new ones, gave correct readings.

    I looked this up, and it seemed like a conspiration to drive us crazy... but Iīm not paranoid anymore... I think...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standa...e_and_pressure
    The mind boggles: There are more than a dozen standards!

    Iīm sure many of you will know about that, but there are probably just as many or more less illustrated ones like me who will benefit from this. >Slap!< Ha! What one knows is not necessarily true all the time!

    Just to mention a couple I found:

    A) The one Google uses: Why on earth this one????
    IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) since 1982:
    Standard atmosphere: 750.06 mm of Hg, 14.5038 PSI or 29.530 mm Hg at Zero Degrees Centigrade or 32-F
    The 35.9 inches of mercury = 1.2 ATA at Zero Degrees Centigrade seem to come from here.

    B) This seems more realistic because not everyone is flying when it is freezing outside:
    ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and EEA (European Environment Association), and FAA:
    Standard atmosphere: 760 mm of Hg, 14.6959 PSI or 29.921 in.Hg at 15 Degrees Centigrade or 59-F
    So hereīs the 34.87 inches of mercury = 1.2 ATA at 15 Degrees Centigrade or 59-F, and seems the most reasonable.
    A bit cold outside... but thatīs where aeroplanes fly.

    C) Yet another, which we had in Physics at school, because laboratories are at room temperature - itīs more comfy.
    NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology.):
    Standard atmosphere is 760 mm of Hg, 14.6959 PSI or 29.921 in.Hg at 20 Degrees Centigrade or 68-F

    D) And just to top things off:
    ATA is absolute atmosphere where the norm is the pressure of a 10-meter column of water.
    1 at:= 10 mWater = 1 kp/cmē = 9,80665 N/cmē = 0,980665 bar = 98.066,5 Physical atmosphere
    ATÜ is Overpressure above 1 atmosphere.
    ATU is Underpressure for pressure below 1 atmosphere

    And... there are other wierd combinations of 750 mm Hg (???) and different Temperatures used by the Gas Board and the Military...

    No wonder Einstein said something about the intelligence of humans, but Iīm sure different countries use different standards to outsmart each other - that is more plausible.

    What a lovely and varied world we live in!
    Cheers,
    Aleatorylamp
    "Why make it simple if you can also make it complicated?"

  22. #72
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    yes, Ivan, that is the famous
    and infamous Sperry MK.III autopilot.
    as i said, i love its "authentic" appearance.
    unfortunately, the beast is too cumbersome
    to operate in the cfs scenario.

    okay, admittedly, the original unit,
    probably, had a complex procedure to follow
    in order for it to operate properly.
    not to mention, it, most likely,
    had to be monitored constantly
    to make sure it stayed on task.

    yup, it's true...i'm lazy.
    why would i want to dance around,
    when i could just click a couple buttons
    and get the same, if not better, results?
    a pretty face only goes so far.

    that said, i might add the Sperry ap
    to a panel as eye candy, but, certainly,
    would not recommend using the thing.
    it's a pity, actually, to have it relegated
    to being nothing more than a pin up
    on the wall of the shop statis.


    Stephan, i have to say, i am thankful
    for guys like you, Ivan and Hubbabubba,
    who delve into the deep reaches
    of air files, gauge programing,
    and the other complexities of cfs.
    it may not be my cup of tea,
    but, i'm right there in line
    to reap the benefits of your curious minds.
    thank you one and all for making cfs what it is.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

  23. #73
    Hello Smilo,

    I am not quite sure how to respond to this one.
    Autopilots of the era really were not terribly sophisticated devices.
    They REALLY WERE extremely tedious to operate and didn't have a lot of capability.

    I am glad I did not go anywhere with the C-2 Autopilot I mentioned earlier.
    I suspect you would find it even less useful while I would have been trying to make its functions match features from the real device.

    Regardless of the appearance, what features do you absolutely need?
    It should be possible to have a gauge that will control the aeroplane to any reasonable degree even without the autopilot being available in the AIR file.
    With the ability to adjust Trim and some very accurate sensors to know where the aeroplane is, quite a lot is possible.

    Back to the Gauge Programming status:
    I just spent the better part of two days creating a series of bitmaps to allow me to create a more authentic set of basic Boost and Tachometer gauges instead of the "Technology Demonstrators" I have been programming up to this point. After all, the point to this exercise was to work toward the release of a couple Twin Engine projects.
    (....and I mean MY projects!)

    - Ivan.

  24. #74
    Hello All,

    Here is a screenshot of the final results of all the Bitmap editing.
    Functionally, they are no different from before, but I believe the appearance is a bit better.

    The Left Dual Tachometer is for Engines 1 and 2.
    The Right Dual Tachometer is for Engines 3 and 4 even though the pointers still are marked 1 and 2.
    From photographs of instrument panels for a 4 Engine aircraft, this really was how things were done.

    Sometimes the markings were for L and R instead of 1 and 2, so as on the Boeing B-17, there would be two Tachometers both marked L-R.
    It makes me wonder how distracting this was in practice.
    (Yes, I also made L and R pointers, but have no need to program a set of Dual Tachometers using those pointers yet.)

    Next comes yet another attempt at Dual Boost Gauges.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PairOfDualTachs.jpg  

  25. #75
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    not much to say, except, nicely done.
    these will be a welcome addition
    to any cfs gauge folder and panel builder.

    about my auto pilot gauge wish list;
    i wasn't ignoring the question,
    was just formulating an answer
    without going off the deep end.

    for starters, what i don't want or need;
    i am not interested in the nav, approach,
    or the back course toggles
    that most auto pilot gauges offer.
    they don't seem to work in cfs anyway.
    i haven't figured out what the yaw damper
    does or if it even works, so, l
    it could be left out, too.

    now, for my wish list;-

    master on/off with indicator light
    -heading hold on/off with indicator light
    -heading readout
    -heading adjust increments
    -heading adjust decrements
    (or, could these be heading bug increments and decrements?)
    -heading adjust readout

    -altitude hold on/off with indicator light
    -altitude readout
    -altitude adjust increments
    -altitude adjust decrements
    -altitude adjust readout

    -vertical speed hold on/off with indicator light
    -vertical speed readout
    -vertical speed adjust increments
    -vertical speed adjust decrements
    -vertical speed adjust readout

    handy extras...
    -wing level on/of with indicator light

    -airspeed on/off with indicator light
    -airspeed readout
    -airspeed adjust increments
    -airspeed adjust decrement
    -airspeed adjust readout

    many ap gauges have a course readout/adjust
    but, i have never been able to make one work.
    sometimes the magic works.
    sometimes it doesn't.

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