Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Yes I know there have been no posts for some time now but I couldn't say much. Anyway 3wireX has been released as part of the Flight Deck 5 package. We now also have a website 3wirex.com where you can find more info and a link to the package website.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Still Going

We are still working on 3wirex, however, there have been some thing come up that will delay any release. But this means we can pack more features in while we wait!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

FSX SP1 and SDK SP1a

Some details on the updates to the SDK included with SP1 have been posted at FSInsider. It's an interesting read, there are a lot of additions that have come from developer requests. I can't wait to get stuck into it!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Now what?

So beta 2 is out and I hope you are all enjoying that. So far we have only had positive feedback, and no real complaints that it doesn't work. So what's stopping a full release - at the moment it's time. I just haven't had much time with many university commitments at this time. While the main app is fairly complete and stable, there is still the manual and management application to work on, both of which form the rest of the package. Work is slowly progressing on these parts.

A little work continues on the main 3wirex add-on. The experiment with rolling and pitching carriers has been put on the shelf for further investigation at a later date. However, I have been working on another feature addition that I feel is quite important - being able to land on non-3wire carriers. These are carriers that are part of shipping traffic and missions, and so far things have worked as planned, and the feature is pretty much complete.

In addition, there is another ground-breaking feature currently in the planning and experimentation stage that is pretty exciting. I have to say, MS has done a wonderful job with FSX and SimConnect, it is so easy to make very complex add-ons like 3wire. I have a list of thing to do and try, and so far I been able to quickly make them happen with few lines of code. It may not be obvious just flying around, but with the power of SimConnect, missions and gauges I can see an exciting future for FSX.

Something you may have noticed with the defined carrier included in the beta is that it stops when you move to the bow of the ship (I put a note in the docs). After a little more research it seems there may be two factors in play - speed of the carrier and location. It seems that a speed of 30 knots or above stops this happening, and, even more strangely, carriers in the northern hemisphere seem unaffected. So MS has (inadvertently?) left out those down under!

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

The Future - Maybe

Time for an update, I've been very busy with other commitments and haven't had much time. Beta 2 has been released publicly, you can see the announcement post here at SimOuthouse and Alphasim. So the cat is out of the bag, get a copy and give it a spin.

I've also done a very quick test with rolling and pitching carriers. As you can see from the shots, it works! However, there are lots of problems with the aircraft on the deck. It bobbles about, bouncing around and often crashes or gets thrown off the deck. So it looks like it won't be practical in the near future, maybe if I get more time I can come back and investigate further.

The shots above were taken when I was using an extreme roll angle! The one below shows a more gentle approach with very small roll and pitch angles.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Beta 2 Out

Beta 2 has been distributed to testers. There have been a few improvements from beta 1, but the best news is that no fixes were required! Must be good programming or good luck, I think the latter is more correct.

If you are not a tester then look forward to some good news coming soon. :D

Thursday, 5 April 2007

New Feature

I just thought of and implemented a new feature - a pilot log! Every arrested landing is logged to a text file, and a log viewer can be accessed by an entry in the Add-Ons menu.

In terms of a release time, no more features are to be added, just tweaks to the current code and a lot of testing to make sure it works - and I am yet to see it fail. It has turned out to be very robust, I can't break it, I've even tried doing a catapult launch over a wire with the hook down! I'm expecting testing to go smoothly before introducing a wider beta test and eventually a general release.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The Final Piece

Well exciting news, the final piece of the 3wire puzzle is coming together nicely. That piece is the zone selection algorithm that chooses which zone to be activated. It may not make much sense now but it is very important. By creating a method that constantly monitors which zones are nearby we are trying to offer input free flight, meaning, if you land on a wire anywhere you will be arrested no matter the situation. With the system we have it should not be necessary to intervene with 3wire, as you did in the old FS9 versions.

I've also been following the release of a few new carriers, particularly the Alphasim Su-33 package with the Admiral Kuznetsov. While only for FS9 at the moment, I'm sure if they make a FSX version then it will work perfectly with 3wire. In fact I have made a change to 3wire to accommodate a feature of the Russian carrier. More on that later though ;)

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Manager Talks to FSX

I've been working on the manager and I've added the ability to extract position data direct from FSX. This means the manager will enable you to create zones in much the same way as the old 3wire - easily! I have been doing it by hand up to date and its been a tedious task.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Still working on it

As the title says, work continues....

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Status update

So where are we with 3wire? Well the basic code works fine for both moving and static carriers. We had a pretty big bug that we discovered and killed, so things are looking good right now. At the moment we are cleaning up and optimising the code, checking that we haven't missed anything. There's one major component that is yet to be done, as well as some small things, then it's time to test! We are getting closer all the time.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Testing Report

Testing of the current features is going well, with all the basic features working a treat. No major problems have been found, however, I may have found a bug with the stock FSX carrier models. This will be confirmed in wider testing, but it won't hold up development.

I've added a gallery of screen shots that I've taken during development and testing to the blog. Have a look, I apologise for the lack of quality, my pc is horribly slow and old.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Welcome to the Boat

Just a small note to say that I've just completed my first full stop arrested landings on moving carriers! Last night I did the first detection tests, which surprisingly worked first time, and this morning I added the arrest code.

There are still a few important pieces missing, including the catapult which is yet to be fully tested.

As you can see I've been using the DSB T-45 Goshawk. I've got rid of the old gauges that didn't work in FSX so it runs great. The VC isn't the best but its FPS friendly and easy to handle, something you need when testing carriers!

I'd better get back to it, only 2 weeks before university starts again, and there is so much to be done.

Friday, 9 February 2007

Want to know more?

Well we do - about your aircraft. Due to the new and much more accurate and realistic method we are developing to detect a trap, 3wire needs to know much more about the aircraft model you are flying. This means more work in setting up, hopefully designers will help out here and supply the necessary information. If you don't want to setup an aircraft, or are flying an unusual aircraft onto a carrier (did you try landing a 747 on a carrier in FS9? Thought so.) 3wire can use a set of default values if it can't find a config.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Degrees of tests

One thing I keep forgetting is computers need angles in radians not degrees. This would save me wondering why my functions are not returning the correct values. I'm really getting into the dirty work or writing the arrestor part of the program, which means playing with longitude, latitude, distances and altitudes.

Another thing I need to consider is testing once the program is more mature. This of course means beta testers! Last time around there were only a small group, which I may start off with again, but later make it an open beta. Hopefully this will mean I can find region specific errors early and fix them quicker. A good example me not doing things right with version 1 was a problem with countries that use a comma as the decimal separator. However, things will be different this time as I am not using .Net for the main application.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Moving Targets

Creating an arrestor for moving carriers is proving to be a frustrating exercise. One strategy to solve the problem was discarded today after some tests. Don't despair however, we have another strategy which is much more complex, but on paper seems to be solid. So one door closes, but another opens!

Monday, 22 January 2007

More testing

A bit more testing completed today, with a few problems fixed and others found! Hopefully in this version we can offer customisable keys. Previously I used Shift-F9 which caused some issues with other addons (mainly FSNavigator). Ill have to see how things turn out.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Managing made easy

One of the new features of the FSX version of 3wire is a total management program that allows you to easily add, remove and edit data for everything 3wire. In previous versions adding zone data was a case of using the Zone Assistant to create the zone (which was still much easier than manually collecting the data) then pasting the data into the xml file manually. This time we are taking it once step further, providing a full GUI to make it even easier. When you see the amount of data now needed for 3wire it's easy to see why we've done it!

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Moving Carriers

Well this is the best thing since sliced bread for carrier fans! Of course, 3wire will be supporting this, if fact this where almost all of the effort is.

The first thing we have done is make it possible to place carriers in FSX. Anyone can do this in the mission editor, but we have created a test application that creates carriers anwhere in the world in general flight. Whats even better is that the carriers are placed using an xml file that contains the details of each carrier and the path the carrier is to follow. So users can create their own carriers wherever they want and make them move along their own path.

So thats pretty neat, but there are a few quirks with moving carriers in FSX. The number one issue is that when a carrier gets to a waypoint it will stop, rotate to the new heading and then continue to the next waypoint. Obviously the last thing you want is to have the carrier stop when you are about to catch a wire!

So whilst there are the obvious benefits of moving carriers, there are also a truck load of problems that need to be solved.

Friday, 5 January 2007

So whats new?

Here's a little bit of an idea of whats new with 3wire for FSX. To start with it's a complete rewrite from scratch, and for two reasons: we are using the new SimConnect interface and the programming language has changed to C++. Another thing we have done is split the program into two parts, the main program that controls the aircraft in FSX, and a management application that will make setting up FSX a breeze. The management program will be written using C# so you will still need .Net v2.0, but that shouldn't be an issue for those who used the original versions of 3wire.

Kicking Off

So I've started a development blog for 3wire! Hopefully I'll keep it updated with progress on 3wire and after its released, news about updates.

Those who are familiar with the old versions for FS9 will hopefully enjoy the new version, we have lots of plans to create the best carrier addon.