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STB V2.2

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Starting Monday I'll begin to talk about some of the features in STB V2.2, as each succesfully passes through the beta program. This is a very exciting update, I'm delighted with the way the new features have turned out and I'm sure you will be too!

The status of the beta is that we are currently well into beta 1.

Regards

Simon

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STBServer Delete AI:

We will start our coverage of STB V2.2 with a useful little enhancement to the Delete AI command and the other functions that depend on it.

In STB V2.1, you cannot delete AI if the simulator is paused. This also means that "Move To Arrival Stand", "Approach Control" and "Optimize AI" cannot work either.

In STB V2.2, we discovered a way for the STBServer running inside FSX to send a command directly into the simulator to delete the AI. This is the same command as the one available from the FSX Traffic Toolbox Explorer. STBServer is unaffected by pause, so you can delete AI no matter what the state of the simulator.

We always are a little conservative when addressing FSX directly just in case it causes trouble such as FSX crashes. If you wish to use STBServer Delete AI, you have to activate it. This is done in the Settings Notebook, on the new "Commands" tab. Simply check the Box "Use STBServer Delete AI" and you are ready to go.

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Chase AI:

I have a lot of fun trying to fly alongside an AI aircraft, it's not as easy as it sounds!

The Chase AI function puts your user aircraft right next to the AI aircraft of your choice, and then it is up to you to keep it there. STB V2.2 features improvements to the initial position you are placed compared with the AI. In 2.1, we used a latitude and longitude offset. That's not too helpful as most people don't think in those terms and it's hard to relate an offset to a real world distance. STB V2.2 now enables you to specify the bearing of your initial position from the AI aircraft, and the distance (nautical miles) you want to be. So you can fly on the port wing, on the starboard wing, in front, behind, it's all up to you. This is in addition to the existing "higher or lower" than the AI.

Regards

Simon

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Follow AI:

The product review over on Avsim noted some problems with Follow AI. It uses slew mode, and any control inputs you make during Follow AI are stored up and then given to your aircraft when you "Return to Base". That can put your user aircraft into a crazy spin.

To fix this situation and generally improve the experience of Follow AI, we made some changes:

- Slew is no longer used

- We null your momentum on returning to base.

- Follow AI is only available when the user aircraft is on the ground. The results are unpredictable in FSX if you start in the air.

- Follow AI is only available when you are running the board in "observer" mode. "pilot" mode infers you are flying, and using Follow AI can have some unexpected effects such as FSX ATC cancelling your IFR flight plan without warning.

The same rules apply to Shadow AI too!

PS. I'm saving the most exciting annoucements until last ;-)

Regards

Simon

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Dashboard Indicators

To implement some of the more advanced functions in STB, it is necessary to borrow some of your Flight Simulator facilities for a short while. So that you know exactly what is going on, we have some new indicators just below the airport control:

- "User Aircraft in Use" is lit whenever we have direct control of the user aircraft, for instance Follow and Shadow AI.

- "COM1 in Use" is lit when we have your user aircraft radio, to hear the ATC communications with your chosen AI aircraft.

- "Auto Select Aiprort", when the airport closest to the user aircraft is automatically selected every 60 seconds.

- "User F/C", User Flight Control, more details on that in the next installment!

Also there is one more indicator to reveal, but that has to be at the end when the last member of the "final five" is revealed!

Regards

Simon

post-22939-12868967142_thumb.png

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User Aircraft in Approach Control

STB V2 had a nice feature for handling AI aircraft that get into trouble during final approach. Rather than put them into holding patterns that they may never emerge from, conflicting AI aircraft are moved straight to an arrival gate. Following the arrival, the aircraft is given a normal departure schedule according to its "next leg" configuration.

V2.2 takes this a step further. As well as handling AI aircraft, STB keeps an eye on your user aircraft as well. When another AI aircraft comes into conflict with your aircraft (during final approach), that AI aircraft is moved to the arrival gate as above. This signifcantly reduces the possibility of ATC telling you to "Go-Around" as some other aircraft is in your way.

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The release candidate will be made tomorrow, so it all goes well the product arrives next week. Here's the screenshot that will grace the front cover of the new user guide, with a hint of a new add-on coming soon.

Regards

Simon

post-22939-128689673825_thumb.png

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Hi Andrew,

You can run multiple versions of STB side by side. The only thing to watch out for is the saved settings files, as they are incomptible with each other. It's ok to save settings in an older version and use those in a new version, but saving in a the newer version and trying to use in the older version will result in an error.

When I hear back from the shops I'll now more. Some remake the installer, some supply a patch.

Regards

Simon

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Thanks for your response Simon, I was wondering what is the advantage, if any, of running two STB applications?

Regards

Andrew Dixon

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For most people there's not much advantage in having multiple installs. It might be useful for a while in case there's something you don't like or doesn't work in the new version and you want to switch back easily. Certainly don't run multiple copies simultaneously, they will end up fighting each other.

In the early days before we added all the interaction with FSX, running two was great for showing arrivals and departures simultanously. I like to reintroduce that ideas as a split screen for the next version.

Regards

Simon

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Back to the new features list, and I need to get a move on since release day is almost upon us!

Custom Filters

STB keeps track of all flights in FSX, and filters the list for display according to your choice of airport and arrivals/departures/everything. In V2.2, there are two further filters you can apply to really focus the list of flights you are interested in:

By Operator Type

STB tracks all kinds of flights, not just passenger airlines but cargo, military and GA. Maybe you just want to see one kind of flights, for instance real world boards only show passenger flights. The Operator Type filter allows you to do just that, restrict the flights listed to just one type of operator. That means you can choose to list just passenger flights, cargo flights, military or GA at your chosen airport.

By COM1 Radio Setting

Using your COM1 frequency setting, STB just lists those flights that are sharing the same radio frequency as your user aircraft. This is great when listening to ATC, as it allows you to list just those flights on the same ATC frequency and controller as yourself. Ground frequencies can be busy with a lot of aircraft listed, but once you are enroute you can really focus on the local ATC activity around you.

I talked elsewhere about the ability to automatically track the AI aircraft COM1 frequency. Used in conjunction with the filter, you can follow the entire ATC conversation of any AI aircraft, and also list the other AI aircraft sharing the same frequency and controller.

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