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Future of FSUIPC?


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Hello Pete,

I just found this post in the AVSIM forums concerning a discussion of the possibility of an FSUIPC style interface directly incorporated within the new FSX. I was particularly interested in a comment made by the person who posted the original message stating that you may or may not consider further development of FSUIPC past FS9. I would like to get your comments on this topic.

FYI: Here is the link to the AVSIM post: http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=248&topic_id=3348&mesg_id=3348&page=

Regards,

Joshua Robertson (creator of FS Real Time)

3D Softworks Design Studios

http://www.3dsoftworks.net

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... you may or may not consider further development of FSUIPC past FS9. I would like to get your comments on this topic.

I have never guaranteed future versions of any of my programs and I am not going to start now. I am 63 this year and the way FS is programmed is getting more and more difficult to get into. I keep hoping some of the other interface programs that I hear about will rise to the challenge, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

I started all this -- not just FSUIPC, but all of my FS-related software, because I needed it, to support my activity in this absorbing hobby. I have lots invested in hardware (you would probably not believe it unless you saw it), and in software, and of course in time. If I were NOT to support future versions of FS, it would render all my own hardware and software investment worthless to me, unless, of course, some alternative, just as good, were to become available.

For that reason it is in my interest to at least try to get to grips with each new FS version as it appears, as far as I am able. It may turn out to be too difficult, or even impossible (as, for instance, CFS3 was). But if I am still alive I will certainly be trying, unless someone else is going to provide me with all I need to drive my own cockpit. Any volunteers? ;-)

Regards,

Pete

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Given that FSUIPC is so widely used in Flight Sim, is it not time to incorporate its features directly into FSX without relying on Peter Dowson to update it. No doubt Peter has done an unbelievable job with it over the past 10 years or so, and he has now had a chance to make some money from it but are we not relying on him a bit too much, particularly when he has stated that he may not continue development further than FS9 (although he may have since updated that statement).

Sometimes I fell ashame for the fact I paid Pete 25 euro's for the most important peace of software in my cockpit with outstanding support and other parties making the big money out of his product. I paid others thousands of dollars for hard- and software.

The support is outstanding (don't put this in big corporation control) !

Pete keep up the good work as far a you like too !

Regards,

Bob

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I have been briefly glancing at the original Avsim thread which provoked this one, and I came across this:

Is "memory mapping" a good idea when you don't have the source code? Should MS keep everything in the same place to maintain compatibility with FSUIPC? I think this method is going to run its course (if not already).

Evidently this gentleman hasn't read much about FSUIPC recently, but in case this viewpoint is a common one I should try to dispel it here. I'm not a registered member of Avsim (or I am but have forgotten my user name and password), and anyway I think it would be a mistake for me to discuss my work there rather than here. So...

The "memory mapping" used in the FSUIPC interface is an illusion. The interface is designed to look like memory mapping purely for compatibility with older programs. It follows and includes the original FS6IPC interface by Adam Szofran. But hardly any of those "offsets" are actually offsets into a memory area.

The reason this illusion has been maintained should be obvious. When I made FSUIPC first of all. for FS2000, I did it so that all the programs written for FS98 could be run without changes. I just ADDED new stuff, maintaining the old stuff -- in many cases the illusion started there. Even between FS98 and FS2000 the was little compatibility in terms of either the memory positions or the values there in.

Along came FS2002 and the same happens again, only more so. Then FS2004. (Oh, also CFS1 and CFS2 in between those). In each case the previous illusion needs to be maintained so that existing programs can be run unchanged, and more elements added to the illusion to support new features.

The state today is that pretty much ALL of the so-called "memory map" is entirely illusory. It is the software inside FSUIPC which creates that 'map'. When programs read from a 'location' FSUIPC has to act upon that and obtain the appropriate value. It does this by a variety of methods: sometimes direct access into some C++ class private data inside one of the 'black boxes' of FS DLLs, but more often by using procedural interfaces inside FS to obtain them as products. Often, for compatibility, values need calculating or converting. FSUIPC does that before returning the results.

Similarly, when values are written, FSUIPC is triggered into an action to get that value known to whatever needs to know it inside FS. This, again, may be by direct access, but that is very rare these days. Many IPC writes translate into procedure calls, or even a string of them, into parts of FS to get the action accomplished.

The fact that in the end it looks simply like a "memory map" does imply that there isn't much to FSUIPC. Maybe that is why several others have tried to replace it, then found it isn't actually that easy. I should probably take the misunderstanding quoted at the start of this message as a compliment, that FSUIPC has succeeded to make such a complex convoluted interface look so simple on the surface. ;-)

Enough from me for now. Good flying!

Pete

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[quote name="But if I am still alive I will certainly be trying' date=' unless someone else is going to provide me with all I need to drive my own cockpit. Any volunteers? ;-)

Regards,

Pete[/quote]

I would like to see pictures of this cockpit.

Once I sent some pictures of my Baron 58 project.

Since I did lot of progress and will sent new pictures before summer.

For sure I can't help you with interface. But I am good with Material,electrical and all Epic issues. If I could learn and start to understand how to make an interface I would be Volunteer to help you.

Now I am on programming Epic for a forcefeedback yoke system and the use of character lcds for stack radio.

I share the concern of others like me who invested a lot of money and time in hardware that would be almost useless without an interface.

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I would like to see pictures of this cockpit.

It's the commercially built one, by PFC, using my software and Project Magenta. I'm adding other bits too, but the hardware is almost all PFC and is an ongoing development. See details of their 737NG cockpit at http://www.flypfc.com, though the illustrations there are becoming quite a bit out of date I think.

There are still plenty of things to do in it but for hardware I am in PFC's hands -- and I suppose they in mine for much of the software needs.

For sure I can't help you with interface. But I am good with Material,electrical and all Epic issues.

Well, I did try for several years to make my own cockpit, way back in FS4-FS5-FSW95 days. Yes, I was using EPIC (two ISA EPIC cards and loads of attached expansions). I also had some FlightLink stuff which I "butchered" and re-programmed for use in it. But, whilst I could manage electrical wiring, and some electronics, I was and still am absolutely hopeless with other practical things like metalwork, woodwork, painting and so on. Nothing I did ever really looked anything much more than a ramshackle collection of computers and other boxes.

So I gave up with the practical building side and concentrated only on software. ;-)

If I could learn and start to understand how to make an interface I would be Volunteer to help you.

Thank you for your offer! We'll see how things go in the long term. I am 63 this year and would like to see myself gradually easing out of such heavy commitments in a few years time. Don't worry though, I have ideas on this and I have high hopes for the future. ;-)

Regards

Pete

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