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FSWeekend 2018

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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby durk » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:35 pm

Hi Everybody,

Also having just returned from FSWeekend, I thought that it might be a neat idea to write down a couple of impressions from this year’s edition of FSWeekend. Last weekend was my 14th time of organising and presenting FlightGear at FSWeekend and it marked the first time that we were located in the main exhibition hall – at our own request. Since we wanted to engage the public a bit more in our activities, we chose to focus on preparing a demo of one the historic aircraft from the museum’s collection and settled on the Lockheed Constellation. Preparations for this started already in the late spring / early summer of this year, with a google hangout chat between Stuart, James and me. James announce his plan to ship his home-built cockpit over to Lelystad, and Stuart considered building a kiosk style simulator, where visitors could do a short, two-minute demo landing of the Constellation. After some frantic construction work by Stuart (with some help from James), the whole thing took shape late October, with the fresh layers of paint still being wet while it was finally assembled in Lelystad last Friday. In the meantime, Isaak had reconfigured his regular set up, so that the viewports of his monitors matched the physical setup of that of the Connie Kiosk, but without having had a chance of physically testing anything. Two different parts of the project that were independently of each other shipped from Scotland and Belgium to Lelystad, but with no chance of an integrated systems test. But, we figured, we’d have plenty of time to fine-tune everything on Friday evening, only to find out that the museum would close much earlier than we had expected, so we’d have to do everything by Saturday morning! Yuck!

In the evening, we all met at the famous Flantuas restaurant, to have one of their renowned “Wereldburgers” and a couple of beers. Here we met with Torsten (whom, I assumed would also want to have a Wereldburger, so we all patiently waited until Torsten arrived before ordering, only to find out that Torsten had already eaten…). After a quick dinner, we quit early, because we needed to head out to our AirBnB, to make sure we’d be ready for an early start the next day. Our friendly AirBnB hosts didn’t mind that we already wanted to have breakfast at 6:30, so we’d be on our way again at around seven. Just a few hours later and everything was running. The kiosk worked, James’s Boeing Cockpit worked, albeit with a couple of minor glitches, Michael’s ATC-Pie and projector were up and running, and my computer also worked, despite a minor boot issue during setup on Friday: what’s more, it even booted properly while my home-built and much talked-about poor man’s throttle quadrant was still attached to it: Something that it isn’t supposed to do…

By 10:00AM the doors opened and we also welcomed Gijs to the Team. Gijs had brought some last minute improvements to the Lelystad Scenery, that we uploaded to Torstens’s raspberry Pie, wich served as a temporary terrasync server. Once uploaded, we all had the latest layout of Lelystad available, with Open Street Map data, extended runways, and new terminal buildings. Saturday morning was really busy and I recall almost constantly talking to visitors and explaining the origin and the philosophy of the FlightGear project to many people. I noticed quite a lot of interest and many people stuck around for quite some time. Also, Isaak and Stuart were almost constantly occupied running the Kiosk: at the end of the Weekend, over sixty visitors, mostly young children, had attempted to fly the Connie to a successful landing at Lelystad. Likewise, James and Michael were also constantly busy.

My own flying skills were quite rusty on Saturday: due to work commitments, I hadn’t touched FlightGear for at least six months prior, and had hardly even looked at the program since last FSWeekend. Adding to the fact that talking to visitors doesn’t help one’s navigational skills, my initial landing attempts, were –eehm--- rusty, to put it mildly. But, after a bit of practice, everything became smoother and by Sunday I was ready for a slightly more challenging approach.

Although the stream of visitors slowed down a bit during the afternoon, it was still good and we also had the pleasure to meet a number of regular FlightGear users, who had traveled quite a long distance to visit the FlightGear booth, including Thorsten Brehm, who flew in from Germany, as well as quite a number of other people whom we already knew from the forum. In the evening, again had dinner at Flantuas (guess what most of us had for dinner), together with some of our visitors: Rick (vanosten) from the OSM building project, as well as Daniel and Henning from Germany and Tim, from Enschede, with whom I’m discussing the possibilities of using FlightGear in educational projects.

After a great Saturday, quite a bit of pressure was lifted from our shoulders. Since we didn’t need to get up this early, we took it quite easy on Sunday and were back at the venue around 8:30. Sunday was considerably more quiet than Saturday, but still enough people gathered to keep us occupied. Since it was less crowded, the Sunday also gave us some time to explore and stroll around the exhibits ourselves. It also gave me some chances to try and improve my Connie skills a bit and by the end of the day, I was giving the Thunderstorm scenario a chance, while doing landing practices in Amsterdam. As a very nice surprise, our AirBnB hosts also showed up an were very interested in what we were doing. For my final flight of the day, I took them from Amsterdam back to Lelystad, while flying over their house. One stormy and bumpy landing later, it was already five ‘O clock and time to close down. Time flies (quite literally in this case) when you’re having fun.

To summarize, this year’s FSWeekend has been quite remarkable. From the underdog that FlightGear was 14 years ago, we’ve grown quite considerably. A fact that many visitors also noted, and also a fact that shows from the level of risks that we’re willing to take, and the level of confidence that we have that things will just work: Seven people, living in five different countries, each bringing some equipment, and after hooking it up, it all just works!

From me, a big thank you goes out to James, Stuart, Michael, Isaak, Gijs, and Torsten. Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure to collaborate and I sincerely hope to continue this collaboration at a future event.

Please find some photo's I took at my flickr account: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmmqc26S (Please do not redistribute by any other means than sharing a link to the flickr page).

Cheers,
Durk
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby BEL ISAAK » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:00 am

Hi Durk,

Thanks for the report! I really enjoyed FSweekend and am still feeling a thriving flow to improve it further. Work commitments mean that I didn't have the time yet to unpack and reinstall everything at home, but I have some pretty good ideas that I want to explore so you'll see me more active than the past months :)

I had some good talks with the VATSIM and IVAO people at FSweekend. While the VATSIM people started with 'Why FlightGear for God's sake?', after talking for a while they got convinced that FlightGear has surely grown up and they even paid a visit to our booth. They are looking forward to welcoming more FlightGear pilots on the network, so I 'm really looking forward to the work Lars is doing (see the mailinglist).

Thanks a lot for yet another great weekend!
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby legoboyvdlp » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:17 am

durk wrote in Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:35 pm:By 10:00AM the doors opened and we also welcomed Gijs to the Team. Gijs had brought some last minute improvements to the Lelystad Scenery, that we uploaded to Torstens’s raspberry Pie, wich served as a temporary terrasync server. Once uploaded, we all had the latest layout of Lelystad available, with Open Street Map data, extended runways, and new terminal buildings.


May I ask if this will be distributed anywhere?

Regardless, thanks for the write up and pictures - sounds like you had a great event this year :)
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby durk » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:52 am

legoboyvdlp wrote in Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:17 am:
May I ask if this will be distributed anywhere?



Technical problems with the Terragear toolchain are currently preventing us from properly distributing this: The custom tile that Gijs built doesn't integrate well with the rest of the scenery and there are currently a number issues / bugs and/or other limitations that are preventing us from doing a proper full rebuild of the entire planet.

Hopefully, one day this issue will be solved, but I cannot guarantee when this is going to happen....

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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby stuart » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:49 am

Hi All,

Durk's report and photos give a really good flavour of the weekend.

Personally, one of the many highlights was meeting so many FlightGear users and contributors. To be able to put faces to forum names was great. I had some great discussions with ThomasS, Rick (vanosten), Jean-Paul (www2), Henning, Daniel.

We had around 80 people fly the Connie, from ages 4 to 84. We had some great feedback from visitors on our project and what we have achieved, and that is only possible thanks to all the hard work that the entire community has put into the project over the years.

I came away from the weekend energized with possibilities and development tasks for the next year.

The Avoidrome is fairly easy to get to (particularly if you have your own plane!), and the museum itself is excellent. I understand that they are about to refurbish it, so next year it will hopefully be even better. It is almost certainly going to be held on 2/3 November 2019, and I would highly recommend attending if you can!

-Stuart
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby Thorsten » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:07 pm

We had around 80 people fly the Connie, from ages 4 to 84.


Hey - I'm glad it worked out that well! That's pretty amazing!
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby Gijs » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:32 pm

Hi all,

I can only confirm everything that's been said by my fellow FSweekenders. Having been participating for over 10 years now, I dare to say this was our best edition. We attracted a lot of people and unlike previous years, nearly everyone was genuinely interested and impressed. Ranging from little kids and their parents to industry professionals. We've come a long way as a project, thanks to all of you!
durk wrote in Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:52 am:The custom tile that Gijs built doesn't integrate well with the rest of the scenery and there are currently a number issues / bugs and/or other limitations that are preventing us from doing a proper full rebuild of the entire planet.

Correct :-( Fortunately the new tower is just a heightened version of the current tower requiring no terrain changes, so I can at least place that one on TerraSync in the coming days.

Looking forward to next year!

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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby Catalanoic » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:42 pm

im with the lelystad scenery demo request too, no need of the entire planet but maybe the tile with lelystad+amsterdam would be great. Nice work durk and friends at Lelystad, to be proud of this project and the success to date
PS: "2/3 November 2019, and I would highly recommend attending if you can!" Definitely i want to attend next year! :D
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby stuart » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:56 pm

Thorsten wrote in Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:07 pm:Hey - I'm glad it worked out that well! That's pretty amazing!


The new location made a critical difference. We had a constant stream of families who were just looking around the museum walk past by chance and have a go. During one of the very few breaks I walked around the old location and it was completely dead - a darkened room with the glow of computer screens. It was just completely uninviting for the general public, and if we'd been there I think we would have had perhaps 20. I think we'll be pressing the organizers to keep us in a prominent position next year, and we got everyone who flew to sign the side of the cockpit to prove we're an attraction :)

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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby vanosten » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:09 pm

Catalanoic wrote in Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:42 pm:im with the lelystad scenery demo request too, no need of the entire planet but maybe the tile with lelystad+amsterdam would be great.


I will publish the North Holland osm2city scenery when it is ready. Based on my own feedback on what I saw as Lelystad I am about to use information in apt.dat and OSM for airport boundaries, which I then can use to make sure that buildings at an airport do not get gabled roofs (unless explicitly modelled in OSM) and get mordern looking generic facades. ETA: end of this week.

But most importantly: after having had a chance to spend an hour with Stuart and James I am also energised to make the next iterations on osm2city :-)
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby Catalanoic » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:44 pm

i got the same conclusion when i attended wikipedia events some time ago, talking face to face to people you know before only as their forum username, you get more encouraged to work on the project, do things done and share experiences
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby wlbragg » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:50 pm

To be able to put faces to forum names was great.

I couldn't agree more, it is really wonderful to see the faces of so many community members.

Thank you to all of you that took the time to report and post media of the event, greatly appreciated!
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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby durk » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:00 pm

Epilogue:

As I briefly mentioned in my report, I had a few minor anomalies with my PC during FSWeekend, which I didn't give too much attention, thinking they might be due to a slight instability in the Aviodrome's power supply (they run a couple of dedicated generators for the event). When assembling my equipment again tonight, my PC failed once again, while starting up FlightGear, but this time it completely failed to boot again. Same symptoms as at FSWeekend: No spinning fans and no response from the power button to shut it down. Eventually, it turned out that the main cable connecting the power supply to the motherboard has slightly come loose, so after unplugging and reconnecting it again, everything sprang to life again! Took about 20 minutes of carefully checking all the possible culprits until I found it.

Given that I had a boot failure on Friday, plus a spontaneous shutdown on Saturday, the cable must already have been loose by then, so I'm really really surprised that my machine performed as well as it did and it's probably representative of the enormous amount of good fortune that we had last weekend. I'm sure that we would have been able to fix the problem during FSWeekend, but I am really happy that I didn't need to deal with the added stress of performing an open heart surgery on my PC, while the public was watching....

My Saitek rudder pedals, which already showed some indications of old age (i.e. not properly identifying themselves) also worked flawlessly during FSWeekend, but they do seem to have gone the way of the Dodo now. I can't get them to be recognised, neither on my macbook, nor on my linux PC. I might give it another try tomorrow. If not, my next hardware project might be to fill up another set of analog inputs of my Leo Bodnar joystick interface. :-) This time, I promise I'll make it slightly more professional looking. :-)

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Re: FSWeekend 2018

Postby vanosten » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:27 am

If someone (e.g. durk) has the e-mail address of Tim, then you might want to send him this link: http://www.raf100schools.org.uk. I cam across it at the Royal Intl. Air Tatoo - and the aim is actually the same as Tim's.
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