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Proposal/Development For Standalone ATC

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Proposal/Development For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:54 pm

Hi all,

I know, when you'll see the post subject you'll slap your head and say "aaah those newbies...". Might be, but just wanted to tell all, after my trials and errors with FG ATC, ATC2, and ATC-ML, just scratched my head and what' FG's missing from the Vatsim bro's. I'm not a geek about c but i have some background in different Basic* applications. Since portability is an important issue in FG, i'm proposing to start a new standalone atc with better graphics and better sector information. And, indeed i started playing around with some FG data structures and i must admit, i screwed for XDR communications over the multiplayer network...Ok, i was checking the ATC stuff and i was able to relay the atc data to a small udp client and wrap them. So what i'm thinking to do is a FG dependent software which also interfaces with fgcom (yeessssss, i managed to do that also :) and provides better usability...

I must say this.I LOVE flightgear, though there might rise some thoughts why to compare FG with Vatsim stuff and commercial products...Nothing to do and also this kind of thoughts were considered before on the mailing list (e.g. using vatsim network) but there were some legal issues as far as i remember.

So, i can spare 8 to 12 hours (actually more but to be sure) per week to go on with this stuff...
In this aspect, i'm just asking for small help about DAFIF file format used. I mean what are the fields existing in DAFIF apt.dat and nav.dat. I Googled but couldn't find anything...At least if you can point out where this data is handled in FG (SimGear?) i can try to make my way out...
Ignore this, i've found. http://data.x-plane.com/file_specs/Apt810.htm

Greetings.

EDIT: *FreeBasic or similar stuff which allows portability/conversion...
Last edited by Ozgur on Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Nafis » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:17 am

Hey, I think that this is a great idea, it would help being an atc so much.
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:50 pm

Well, not so much thoughts but i'll soon post the general structure...I'm thinking to create some kinda support for two monitor which should be like a charm for atc, one screen is for atc second is the tower "look". I don't have two screens yet but the dream is good enough :) Tonight (Euro) i'll prepare some chart to show how it might be and how it should work like. Also, i did some googling for basic like ide and come up with Xbasic (which is quite good BUT confusing to understand the way it works, i write few codes and performs ok) second and my choice is to start with Basic4GL... I don't want to start a conflict of c++ programmers and the "rest" but this is what i "can" do to make FG better. (Or does it makes it better, still this is the question). I hope you'll comment about this. Thanks in advance...

Greetings- Ozgur (N449H)
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:44 am

Well...Hanging around little bit came up with this...D'oh (Yes, win***)... This is just the GUI, start receiving pilots data from FG via UDP...
I have some more detailed fancy ideas such as classifying pilot list as departures, arrivals, etc...Hope someone will see this thing...
Image
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Hooray » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:16 pm

Why exactly do you want to create a new standalone client?

Don't you think that you would end up duplicating many of the features already available in FlightGear itself or any of the established open source ATC clients?
First of all, I would look into reusing existing code or projects, before starting something from scratch.

While you may very well be able to come up with a convincing ARTCC client rather quickly, a "tower client" will inevitably require lots of the scenery rendering infrastructure that is already in place in FlightGear or SimGear, which means duplicating work.
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:16 pm

Humm...Well, why i want a stand alone application probably an idea which derives from similar atc applications that exist. I think it will be more "atc"ish to have an independent app...
I'm trying not to reinvent the wheel, especially for the scenery and network part, i'm thinking to use fg as an interface for flexibility and security issues.I know FlightGear has a strong backbone which distinguish from other simulations. The real motivation for me is that the low usability of existing atc applications. I mean if we compare a client, lets say for vatsims usability with atc stuff within flightgear it relatively reduces the realism side of simulating things. I'm thinking to to use fg as the sole provider of information transferred to atc client to reuse the abilities. And also it comes to my abilities, which seriously lack of c programming.I hope i was able to made myself clear.
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Hooray » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:31 pm

I think it will be more "atc"ish to have an independent app...

There is nothing to prevent you from using FlightGear in that very fashion.

Don't get me wrong, your idea is really not bad - but this has already been suggested various times in the past, and starting something from scratch is unnecessarily complicated and too much work.
It would be far better to look at existing code and projects to see how these could be adapted to your needs. You could for example do a forum or mailing list search (atc/radar client)to see what other people have discussed before.

Otherwise you are facing far more work than necessary.

While you are obviously taking cross-platform concerns into consideration, FlightGear and SimGear already solve many issues that one may face later on when developing such a program.

Just imagine how complicated this really is: at some point you may need to deal with map projections, parsing and creating XDR encoded multiplayer packets, adding a GUI and possibly even scripting?
You will need to parse the navigational databases, as well as scenery/airport data.
And that's not even all that is needed.

All of this is however already supported by FlightGear or SimGear.

Don't even think about what's happening when FlightGear eventually upgrades its multiplayer system, any separate tools will need to be separately updated.

I'm thinking to create some kinda support for two monitor which should be like a charm for atc, one screen is for atc second is the tower "look".


You are bringing up a "tower look", don't you think that whatever you end up doing in a program created from scratch will be far inferior to what FlightGear is capable of doing? Just keep in mind that FlightGear is already using a fairly mature scenery engine internally, you are very unlikely to create more compelling visuals in your program, I am afraid.

And if you should really be that skilled to prove me wrong, your time would definitely be better spent on improving FlightGear itself ;-)

The fact that FlightGear can now also be used as an ATC station is powerful in itself, all the infrastructure is already in place: XML dialogs, scripting, custom instruments, 3D scene rendering and you name it...
It would be far better to improve the existing platform, than create something completely new.

If you really find something is missing or needs to be improved, just write down what it is and get people to agree with you, so that these things can be added or fixed eventually.

Just take a look at the ATC scope discussion: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5932

Obviously, the developers of the improved ATC scope are pretty responsive and actually ask for feedback, so if they can't add a particular feature but do consider it useful, it should be easy to convince developers to give us a helping hand.

I understand that with the recent talks on VATSIM, the ATC feature of FlightGear has gained significant momentum, but rather than having 2 or 3 groups of people develop distinct components without talking to each other, it would surely be better to coordinate the effort and determine those requirements that all related efforts have in common, to see how forces can be joined.

Also, you may want to take a careful look at the "OATCONS" discussion: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7054

The real motivation for me is that the low usability of existing atc applications. I mean if we compare a client, lets say for vatsims usability with atc stuff within flightgear it relatively reduces the realism side of simulating things.

Don't you think that figuring out how to improve the usability of the ATC component in FlightGear would be far easier than creating something entirely new?
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:58 pm

I think i couldn't explain what i was thinking before in a better manner. What i'm planning to do (and actually doing just to satisfy my own evil desires) is to interface flightgear with a small application, such as fgcom is doing. So i'm not reinventing the wheel...I do employ all sources of FG as much as i "can" do. Whatever, as i told, i'm doing this just to see, but the question is this...Who are interested in viewing SID, STAR , and APP procedures on proposed atc app? I'm not talking about VOR, DME, ILS, Localizer, or FIX, cuz i've already did... Do you think adding SID-STAR info on a atc makes sense? (For me quite much).But want to see opinions. Additionally, anyone is aware of some sid/star database such as used in http://www.navdata.at/php/sidstar/dl_list.php?addon=PSS&icao=EDDF? But the data presented there are individual and distribution is limited, requires written permission of each author, i don't know how much? But a similar database is appreciated...

And, just to tell in advance, soon i may release a beta but i don't know how soon :) I was able to do some stuff as i said, but i'm forcing myself to reach to some mature point and release...And, sorry for that but, beta will most likely be windows, due to technical limitations and more important, existence of this person, mentioned here.
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:26 am

Progress report...
For a short weekend workaround i came up with the following...
Still way to go i think...
Working on customizable/selectable Navaids and fixes or whatever around...So user can take pick which fix to show or can create own definitions for specific navaids and fixes to be shown on screen...
Hope someone likes this...

Image

if image does not appear, here is the link...
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Gijs » Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:40 am

Ozgur wrote:For a short weekend workaround i came up with the following...

Looks very promising! However, the most important part is (IMO) to show the MP pilots. So I would advise you to get that sorted out first...
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby SP-CEZ » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:07 am

I think Idea is good. If at the end, you merge your job with Jomo's and MD-Terp's works it will make great tool for ATC.
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Re: Proposal For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:42 am

Gijs wrote:However, the most important part is (IMO) to show the MP pilots. So I would advise you to get that sorted out first...


I already did that...But i was offline when i got the screenshots...They need some tweaking like non-overlapping labels or sth like that...But the rest is not so so hard...
Here's the more basic screenshot showing Jack-t7, holding KSFO 19R i think...Also goose is on 28L...I'm keeping the fonts quite small just to fit everthing now.I didn't finish drawing the runways yet...So...I hope this looks nicer with the pilots :)

Image

if picture=empty
link
endif.
:)

EDIT:The circle in the middle is the tower position btw...
EDIT:I just noticed, there's some aberration in this screen shot, looks like stretched latitudinal...Some aspect ratio issue, almost fixed...
Last edited by Ozgur on Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Proposal/Development For Standalone ATC

Postby SP-CEZ » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:53 am

By the way - try to set some indicator showing plane heading. It can be based on last course or sth. this is important for controllers. It is hard to see it now, but beside nickname it shall be shown speed, alt, course and (but not necessary) aircraft type.

just suggestion.
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Re: Proposal/Development For Standalone ATC

Postby Ozgur » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:57 am

SP-CEZ wrote:By the way - try to set some indicator showing plane heading. It can be based on last course or sth. this is important for controllers. It is hard to see it now, but beside nickname it shall be shown speed, alt, course and (but not necessary) aircraft type.


Excluding the heading indicator and speed marker and speed (the thingy that shows the heading and proportional speed on atc screens), they are all shown on the picture!Need to look little close i think...I mean,alt, hdg and type are shown...
eg. goose 278 ft (so not on the rwy :oops: ),hdg=221, bo105 heli...
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Re: Proposal/Development For Standalone ATC

Postby SP-CEZ » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:06 pm

As I supposed, but graphical indicator would be appreciated. something like an arrow on clock.
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