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Request for a modernized FGRUN

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Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Pakistan-1 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:19 am

I think many people would agree that the current Flightgear launcher looks very outdated and out of place

I would like to propose development for a new launcher which is based around the modern Metro and Material Designs

I can do some basic graphic renderings if required


Once again thanks
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby elgaton » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:43 pm

Some developers are already working on this - specifically, James Turner is prototyping a Qt5 cross-platform GUI, and (if I'm not mistaken) Clément de l'Hamaide is porting some dialogs (e.g. the aircraft selection one) to the simulator itself - there are a couple of related threads on the development mailing list. (I guess you can find the related repositories on Gitorious).
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Hooray » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:45 pm

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Aircraft_Center
Curtis Olson wrote:As we move forward with FlightGear development and future versions, we will be expanding the "in app" aircraft center. This dialog inside flightgear lets you select, download, and switch to any of the aircraft in the library.
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Figaro » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:04 am

How is that relevant Hooray?
I mean sure, great, it's an in-sim aircraft selection GUI - but Pakistan-1 is talking about an updated FGRun.
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Thorsten » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:34 am

I think many people would agree that the current Flightgear launcher looks very outdated and out of place


Most of the Linux folks wouldn't even know because they're not using it in the first place. Many of us just start from the commandline. There's also a bunch of other launchers out there - but the whole point of a launcher is that it's a fancy way to assemble a commandline.

I sort of miss why it's important how the launcher looks like - nobody spends much time with it. To me, it's important how the immersion in-sim works, how the visuals of the cockpit and the scene work, how the systems of a plane are modeled - but really not how fancy the ten seconds are I spend to start FG.

Perhaps you can explain why do you think that is important?
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Gijs » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:58 pm

Figaro wrote in Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:04 am:How is that relevant Hooray?
I mean sure, great, it's an in-sim aircraft selection GUI - but Pakistan-1 is talking about an updated FGRun.

The thing is that the in-sim GUI is supposed to replace FGRun. Whether it be Qt, Canvas or something in between doesn't really matter, but it will definitely be something else than FGRun. That's been the plan for a very long time now and we've recently made some promising steps forward. It's also the reason why FGRun has seen almost no updates over the past years. I'd strongly advise not to invest any effort in FGRun, other than ensuring it's still usable.

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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Jabberwocky » Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:19 pm

Hi,

just some questions:
I have big troubles with Qt with some games on Ubuntu ... so, is Qt even stable enough to be considered reasonably? Maybe it's only my computer causing those troubles, but I read in a lot of boards, other people have problems too.

The second thought/question is actually based on what Hooray wrote: We have not only the problem of starting FG but also plane selection and plane updates. And since we have more and more several variants of the same plane, the distinction via description only seems not to hack it anymore (I refuse to write in my planes "the same as XXX's YYY-plane only with spec range and speeds" or something like that). Which means, the functionality of launcher and air craft center and the as of yet undiscussed problem of update notifications seems to be connected. Am I right or am I missing something?

The third thought has to do with the always popular segment faults. We have them, a lot of them and I don't see any improvement in that, only always new problems (upcoming memory crashes on long hauls with 3.4). So, bottom line, we crash a lot and an external launcher should maybe include a "restart" functionality (I tried to dicuss that with the OhShit-launcher model one, maybe not the best choice of a title, but it makes the point clear). The idea was that a plane can hold a tcp/ip to the launcher on the same machine and if it crahses, the launcher can restart the plane at the same position, altitude and speed, etc ... which seems to me actually a more valuable feature than just a good looking launcher ... The problem here (or non-problem, that is actually the question) is that I would for reasons of laziness build such a thing with Java and thus don't care whether it runs on Mac, Windows or Linux, but I guess, there are some resentiments against it because well, Java needs Java installed. Any take/opinions on that?

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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Manfred » Mon May 04, 2015 8:20 pm

Perhaps you can explain why do you think that is important?

I think a major point of importance for a project is to attract new people in. The first time I opened FlightGear as a 16-year-old, I felt had this sigh wondering what antique stuff I had downloaded: It's first impressions.

The Flight Simulator X interface had color, responsive design (and cheesy music), and the 12 year old in me I appreciated that. I have countless friends who still spend copious hours making liveries for that use with that program- imagine you could channel that energy to FlightGear instead...

As you point out, many experienced users don't use it, but I still feel emphasis should be on presenting a solid and professional front end for the project. I learned command line git once I learnt how the theory worked using a GUI (SourceTree), so all things have time and place. I know it's not a computer game but that doesn't mean that you could better adapt to perhaps slightly 'broader' market :)
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Hooray » Tue May 05, 2015 12:47 pm

You, and others, may be "turned off" by the fact that the front-end looks archaic - but frankly, FG as a project already is way more popular than the project and community can deal with - mainly due to features like multiplayer support, attracting tons of end-users, with the majority rarely - if ever- interested in contributing in an active fashion, while still expecting top-notch end-user support, a polished UI and a perfect program.

Frankly, the UI has never been a priority in FlightGear (which is why there's roughly dozen of GUI front-ends, in addition to fgrun) - more recently however, the existing UI (PUI/PLIB based) is being revamped by a number of ongoing efforts - I suggest to have a look at these:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Aircraft_Center
Image

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Integrated_Qt5_Launcher
Image

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=25482
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Thorsten » Wed May 06, 2015 9:35 am

I think a major point of importance for a project is to attract new people in. The first time I opened FlightGear as a 16-year-old, I felt had this sigh wondering what antique stuff I had downloaded: It's first impressions.

The Flight Simulator X interface had color, responsive design (and cheesy music), and the 12 year old in me I appreciated that. I have countless friends who still spend copious hours making liveries for that use with that program- imagine you could channel that energy to FlightGear instead...


I don't subscribe to Hooray's point that the project is already too popular, but...

It's a question of allocating time. I can spend my time coding things that actually improve the sim, rather than polishing the gui. You're arguing that if we would have a nicer GUI, we could ultimately attract more people contributing. Well - maybe. My personal experience is that arguments like 'if we had X, Y would happen' are quickly made. I have coded a few X since I am with FG, and Y has almost never happened as a result.

The people who contribute to FG substantially and in the longer term are probably the tinkerers - they're more hooked by seeing what is all configurable even on the xml level than by a polished GUI.

Or, to turn the point around - with things you can learn in a week about Nasal and canvas and some help from the folks who maintain it, you could make the gui you want - or join one of the ongoing efforts. You're not stuck with complaining about it, you can just go ahead and learn how to change things.
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Hooray » Wed May 06, 2015 12:40 pm

Maybe my posting was a bit too simplistic - but the general notion still holds true: we get to see tons of end-user postings in the form of "do X, so that others can do Y" - where X is usually a minor thing not really relevant for Y, and if X is done, that doesn't mean that the people benefitting from it, will automatically also have the skills to tackle Y - it's kinda like suggesting that we need to: "support liveries on the space shuttle, so that we get more people interested in space flight and creating the corresponding FDMs".

Like you say, there are a number of instances, where "X" got actually implemented, and we're still waiting for people who once said that they'd do "Y", to actually follow-up on their statements. So yeah, to some extent, the existing UI, and the plethora of launchers already have made FG more popular than it used to be a decade ago, which also applies to the regular release cycle, and binaries for Windows being provided - as well as the forum being available for end-user support. A decade ago, none of these were in place, and the devel list used to be a pretty fruitful place, where mainly "geeks" would hang out - e.g. you could assume that someone posting there was actually able to use cvs & autotools to get a working FG build - these days, the barrier to entry is fairly low, and there's tons of fgdata development going on (especially through Nasal & GLSL/effects) - so it is challenging to deal with the improved accessibility and success of FG, which is kinda obvious looking at the forum ....
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby CaptB » Wed May 06, 2015 5:38 pm

I have no problem with FGRun, at the same time I have exposed some flight simulation people to FG, and they do get discouraged by anything that does not work immediately. Instead of looking for answers they uninstall and go back to what they were doing before.
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Manfred » Thu May 07, 2015 9:26 pm

Hi Folks,

I did not intend to come across as demanding, but more thinking of encouraging perhaps the development of another user base (which partially included myself) that at least I had the feeling was turned down pretty quickly by the style in which the program comes across, partially due to not having the overview of the tools that they felt were important. From my experience with flightgear, fgrun is a relatively bare-bones application and that of course has its merits in the advantage of those who understand it.

Perhaps elaborating on a solution to CaptB's point (and Hooray's that the user base can't be supported), I think the GUI could or should do more than just launch an aircraft- it could come filled with flying lessons, a help center, documentation, computer capability check, etc... all integrated in the direction that some commercial products do. Needless to say, stuff a big 'donate' button on it as well and a good section on how to contribute to the program straight into the launcher. On the first startup, FSX took you for a flying lesson; I'm not saying that we're making an arcade game, but I think there is a user base who is mostly concerned about the experience that is difficult to come across to as it stands. Startup to the newsletter on the front page newsletter and make people feel they are part of something bigger. I know this is an incredibly unrealistic amount of work but I'm playing with the thought.

On similar note, 0AD, another open source project add to their GUI with the beta updates as the program grows, aside from the actual gameplay. Perhaps this would be an idea to carry to flightgear.

Leads me to 2 questions:

    How would an 'improved' GUI be shipped be selected and chosen (i.e. requirements?). Trying to be solution orientated for those who wish or are working on it.
    I'd be tempted to try and program a GUI myself towards in that direction. Is Python the wrong tool to do this with? My programming experience in other languages is insufficient to get it done.
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby CaptB » Thu May 07, 2015 10:13 pm

The question is this: what kind of users the project aims to attract at this point? If it's core devs then a solid GUI launcher is not that relevant I suppose, if it's regular "consumers" with hope that some would turn devs or contributors, a solid GUI launcher would be one step in the right direction.
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Re: Request for a modernized FGRUN

Postby Hooray » Fri May 08, 2015 1:21 am

the amount of work isn't necessarily "impossible" - most of these features do already exist to some extent, I think the main thing lacking is integration and accessibility via some kind of integrated UI, analogous to the aircraft center.

FlightGear's tutorial system is extremely flexible (it using Nasal script), and it's even been highlighted by seasoned FSX users.

Python isn't necessarily the wrong tool at all - but you folks keep talking about/asking for an integrated UI, and then contemplate using an external toolkit/platform.
Just look at the screen shots posted above - all of these were implemented directly within FG - for someone without any background in coding, using Torsten's Phi approach should be the most accessible one, because it's mainly about creating HTML5/JavaScript pages.
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