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FSweekend 2015

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FSweekend 2015

Postby Torsten » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:02 pm

Hi,

for those not able to visit FSweekend this year, here is a sneak preview of this years setup:

- 10 (ten!) monitors driven from a single PC.
Image
(Yes, just nine (9) - one is currently in use elsewhere)
- One Elite ProPanel with custom I/O board
- Heavy duty rudder panels
- One black box containing 2x 1280x1024 displays driven from a 1GHz diskless thin client PC running FGPanel
- One home brew radio stack, AVR based (DME/COM-NAV 1+2, Intercom, Century III A/P Control panel)
- One original C172 pilot seat
- One WiFi Access point to present the power of Phi to the public

Image
Our still very powerful Thomas-Krenn donated PC:
1x Intel Xeon X5690 @3.5GHz Hexacore CPU (the second one died last year during a lightning strike in the neighborhood)
40 GB RAM (another 32GB being unused due to missing second CPU)
5x nVidia GTX460
6x 1920x1200px, 2x 2048x1152px (FlightGear)
2x 1920x1080px Displays (Phi and Console)
9x System fans plus 2x power supply fans plus 5x GPU fans making lots of noise and blowing lots of air
6x 7200RPM SATA Disks (2x500GB RAID1 for the system, 4x1000GB RAID10 for data)
Dual power supply
Approx. 15kg of cables

Image
The Gordian Knot" on the back.

Total power consumption (measured) when running FlightGear is approx. 2.9kW.
Frame rate is throttled to 25 and is more or less stable (except the usual well known hickups when loading heavy textures/objects or Nasal GC :roll: )
We have current TerraScenery and a beta version of next generation US scenery based on vectorized land cover data (FLA and SoCal) and project3000 for the entire world.

The machine also runs:
- postgresql database server for a complete openstreetmap planet import
- apache httpd with mod_tile to server as an openstreetmap tile server
- renderd to render osm tiles on-the-fly (prerendered up to zoom level 12)
- multiplayer server for on-site use
- file server (nfs, smb and afp) for complete world scenery, fgaddon, fgdata, source
- dhcp, dns and everything else needed for a network infrastructure

However, I fear nobody is watching all this when Thorsten is performing a shuttle launch/orbit/landing sequence on his laptop :-)

Torsten
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby gsagostinho » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:09 pm

Torsten wrote in Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:02 pm:Approx. 15kg of cables

:shock:

However, I fear nobody is watching all this when Thorsten is performing a shuttle launch/orbit/landing sequence on his laptop :-)

Yeah, that's hard to compete with!
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Hooray » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:21 pm

gsagostinho wrote in Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:09 pm:
However, I fear nobody is watching all this when Thorsten is performing a shuttle launch/orbit/landing sequence on his laptop :-)

Yeah, that's hard to compete with!


Because, it's FSWeekend - however, during LinuxTag, Thorsten might be in for a big surprise pulling out his gaming laptop and booting into Windows :lol:

Subject: Space Shuttle
Thorsten wrote:Just for info - I've now put a copy to Win which I'll use for demonstration at FSWeekend - so no addition to the repo from this point on will be be shown (most likely...). I've started to fix some things there - liberal usage of <nopreview/> tags for FGRun (somehow I don't get cozy with the Qt5 launcher...) and fixes and improvements for the sound config.
Back at running Earthview with 16384x16384 procedurally enhanced texture sheets - looks quite fantastic, the sense of immersion seeing photorealistic Earth is striking.
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Thorsten » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:40 pm

Despite writing them on Linux, I always give workshop and conference talks from Windows. I feel justified every time I see a speaker go through five minutes of pain when the Linux config somehow doesn't fit the projector specs (which seems to be a 1/3 occurrance). Whereas this is one of the things which just work under Win.

However, I fear nobody is watching all this when Thorsten is performing a shuttle launch/orbit/landing sequence on his laptop


Personally I think it's not that spectacular... (and that's not just modesty). It's nice that FG can do the Shuttle, but there have been viable spacecraft sims around for a while - Orbiter 2010 comes to mind for instance. I think we're doing better in some ways, but that's often subtle things - flight dynamics, failure management, weather (during the last five minutes, that is).

But we'll see I guess :-) I'm looking forward to try out the big thing!
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby MIG29pilot » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:59 pm

Wish I could come. :cry:
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Torsten » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:25 pm

I think this is the first time we have a Windows based FlightGear at our booth.
Something new every year.

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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby legoboyvdlp » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:02 pm

One word.
WOW.
I wish I could come.
No such luck...
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby durk » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:03 pm

Torsten wrote in Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:25 pm:I think this is the first time we have a Windows based FlightGear at our booth.
Something new every year.

Torsten


Strictly speaking that's not entirely true: During our first exhibit in 2004, I brought both my Linux box and my Windows machine. I had to deal with driver crashes on the windows machine, due to the fact that I had just finished reinstalling the OS. A quick test suggested that the default Microsoft video drivers would be sufficient, but apparently, the real flying at FSWeekend revealed a severe bug. I couldn't fix this at the booth, so in the end we continued using the Linux box only. Back home, it turned out that a mere driver upgrade fixed everything.

I think I brought the Windows box at the subequent 2005 through 2007 shows, but I'm not 100% sure. From 2008 onward, I'm pretty sure that Linux dominated our booth.

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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Gijs » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:12 pm

I think I remember seeing papers with "Windows" and "Linux" written on them attached to some monitors on one of my early visits. Must've been 2007* or 2008. It was a nice way to emphasize FlightGear's cross-platform capability.

*2007 was my first visit to FSweekend. Back then I was still a young innocent man who happened to contribute a couple of buildings. I remember receiving a Coke for my scenery work :P
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Thorsten » Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:45 pm

So, I'm on the final stretches of the journey back from my first FGWeekend (no, I'm not home just yet, just in the northbound train...).

I have to say, it was much different from what I had expected.

It was great to meet the FG team present face to face, get to know people personally and take the time to discuss some things and toss ideas around - I really enjoyed that, and I had great discussions, interesting conversations and good beer (though they come in fairly small sizes in the Netherlands it seems). Thank you all for that!

As for the event itself... I don't know. I had expected something where people exchange information - are interested in what's possible and what's not possible, toss ideas around as well - but there was very little of that. In our exhibition hall, people running a booth often just started up their sim and flew somewhere, and spectators watched from afar, very little talking done, not really many people wanted to to try anything.

Okay...

It was somewhat instructive to wander around, look at FSX with the various addon packages and see how they solve certain problems - how clouds look, how terrain is textured, that kind of thing. One of the most visually appealing FSX setups for instance had aircraft fake shadows with the same z-clipping we experience with the technique.

I haven't seen anything in the sky which really convinced me - I think we're doing clouds and most importantly lighting of clouds better than anyone else. As for the terrain... I think mainly we're lacking good textures. FSX terrain often has the same change of one texture to the next if you look closely - it's just that the textures involved are visually better matched to de-emphasize contrast, and so the end result looks better. There are the vector seams in our terrain which we should also hide better - but I think the main thing is really quality and harmonizing color values of the textures - two generic textures next to each other will never work as well as two well matched ones.

I've had the pleasure of watching an FSX helicopter land - it looked even visually wrong, there was just no residual yaw motion when it hovered, even real helicopter pilots aren't that good - and this guy wasn't a particularly good heli pilot, he later crashed into the sea... So with flight dynamics I'd go with FG and JSBSim any time.

Gijs and I had a conversation with a pilot from Royal Dutch Virtual (or was it Virtual Royal Dutch? Or the official KLM VA? There's about six VAs duplicating KLM operations - and that's not a joke!). We asked him what defines realism for him, and he more or less replied that he wants to be able to operate the aircraft nominally and doesn't care much about off-nominal behavior, that he is very into sounds, and that he wants to have the complete package of systems modeled, and good visuals. Durk commented later that this is basically a very sophisticated visualization - you first program the AP, and then you watch it fly. The VA pilot was quite ready to acknowledge that FSX is crappy software and a mess to install, but wouldn't easily consider changing.

I guess we got some points for Phi and Torstens efforts to make FG properties accessible via the http and for supporting multiple monitors.

I was mostly presenting the Shuttle over a projector (and guided Durk and Gijs through some phases - Gijs managed to fly an entry onto the runway, but we came in high and smashed the gear....). I also did a tour with Richard's F-15 through the Grand Canyon at dawn to enjoy the glass shader implementation (looking really cool), and actually managed to not break it touching down at KGCN for the first time, later I ruined a perfectly fine F-14b with a bad carrier approach. When I demonstrated the new C-172p in the French Alps, I had a surprised visitor asking whether this is also FG (since this looks visually really good, and I was lucky to have a terrific cloudscape hanging between the mountains out of Grenoble).

In comparison with the booths around us, I guess it became fairly clear that we're all much better in making planes and writing the sim than in flying them... ;-)
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby stuart » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:29 pm

Hi All,

I've split the discussion about scenery to here as it's not really about FSWeekend itself: http://forum.flightgear.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=27962

Thorsten - sorry I wasn't able to make it this year: I had a wedding to attend on the Saturday. Ironically, I was flying via Amsterdam on the Monday, but en-route to Germany.

Your observations on the general FSWeekend experience match very much my own last year - including the multiple virtual KLM VAs sited next to each other. One of the guys I met last year had flown over from the west coast of the US to be there for his VA meeting. So the phenomenon of a huge number of seemingly duplicate VAs isn't something unique to FG :).

I too was surprised that it seemed to be more of a get together for people to fly the simulator they brought with them, than an information exchange. I guess the reality is that FSWeekend is really a get-together for users, rather than developers, probably because FS-X is so limited that the concept doesn't really make sense.

It's also very apparent how technically constrained FS-X is, with a single machine driving a single display. The technology on display from the FG booth is way outside the scope of anything anyone else was exhibiting.

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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Hooray » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:43 pm

stuart wrote in Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:29 pm:I too was surprised that it seemed to be more of a get together for people to fly the simulator they brought with them, than an information exchange. I guess the reality is that FSWeekend is really a get-together for users, rather than developers, probably because FS-X is so limited that the concept doesn't really make sense.


Note that a number of contributors (on both, the forum and the devel list) have been tossing around the idea of having such a FG-centric get-together with a focus on contributors and future development/coordination - given that some contributors are apparently now having Google Hangout sessions, it seems FlightGear is almost half-way there to hosting a dedicated "FGWeekend" some day.

Subject: FSWeekend 2010
durk wrote:In addition to FSWeekend, a number of people, have coined the idea of organizing a developer meeting / conference to coincide with FSWeekend. As booth organizers we are supportive of that idea, but unfortunately we lack the resources to assist in organizing such an event. Speaking from past experience we do know that such meetings are typically a lot of fun, and we would most definitely welcome anybody who would like to join or participate in such an event.



Subject: FOSDEM 2015
rubdos wrote:Hi,

--- Little introduction for those who don't know fosdem ---
FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting) is a non-commercial, volunteer organized European event centered on free and open source software development. It is aimed at developers and anyone interested in the free and open source software movement. It aims to enable developers to meet and to promote the awareness and use of free and open source software.
--- End of introduction, gracefully stolen from wikipedia ---

I've been to FOSDEM three years in a row now, and I can only recommend it, especially if you're near Brussels :-)

Will any FlightGear enthousiast, contributer or developer come to FOSDEM in Brussels? We could meet somewhere! I happen to live in Brussels for five out of seven days. I'll be at the beer event on friday and I'll visit both days.
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby stuart » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:14 pm

Indeed - the main benefit to me of attending FSWeekend was the chance to discuss various things with the other developers. In particular I had a very good discussion with Mathias Froelich about HLA, which I'm finally putting into practise ~ 1 year later :)
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby legoboyvdlp » Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:45 am

How about telling us who's who in the Facebook picture? ;)
Then we can put a name to the fases and usernames.....

By the way, is that 'ground control' thing, looks like schipol, on a projector on the northwest corner anything to do with FlightGear?
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Re: FSweekend 2015

Postby Thorsten » Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:47 pm

How about telling us who's who in the Facebook picture?


From left to right:

Myself, Gijs, Durk (sitting), Martin, TorstenD, ThorstenB, Mathias and Alvaro.

By the way, is that 'ground control' thing, looks like schipol, on a projector on the northwest corner anything to do with FlightGear?


Nope - that's one of the KLM-derived VAs I guess.
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