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Precision Simulator and so on

Feature "requests"

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Member
Registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Hello Hardy,

is it welcome if you hear any "feature requests"? I can imagine this has potential to bug you a lot a. But if "yes", I would have some questions (not even suggestions) regarding the window / flight deck layout. As seen in most of the screenshots, it seems to be possible to arrange specific portions of the flight deck in a window to one's own taste. Very good. Now, considering the "Exposť" function of OS X (and something similar in Win7 I think), it would be great if I could spread my flight deck "across" several windows (not screens). On a Mac, at least, for me it's just two clicks to fetch the window / arrangement that I need and switch around as I need them. I don't know if there'll be such an ease of use on other O/S, but considering the higher resolution of the flight deck (compared to PS1), would this make any sense (to any of you)?

Best regards
Dennis.
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2659
Hi Dennis,

feature requests are welcome. It's best to post requests relating to that area that I'm currently working on. This way my limited brain won't get distracted too much by things that are currently less focussed.

From time to time I post questions myself or post specific screenshots, these posts may be considered "hints" as to what my subject is at that moment :-)

...

Re desktop arrangement. PSX has not only pan, zoom and screen divide options, these layout settings can also be stored and assigned to the 9 numpad keys. And if that is not enough, these 9-packs can be stored in 9-pack files. E.g. you can make a layout suitable for the final approach on the Captain's side, and another layout for cruise flight or fuel checking or engine start or whatever -- and get the desired layout immediately by pressing 1 or 2 or 3 ... -- or use one layout for panning and zooming and press 0 to quickly reset it.

...

Re window stretching across multiple monitors. Jeroen, does it work? :-)


Cheers,

|-|ardy


Edit: Not sure what you mean here:
Quote
Now, considering the "Exposť" function of OS X (and something similar in Win7 I think), it would be great if I could spread my flight deck "across" several windows (not screens). On a Mac, at least, for me it's just two clicks to fetch the window / arrangement that I need and switch around as I need them.

When using Expose on my Mac, the PSX flightdeck window and the PSX Instructor window get smaller and move to a side by side position. It behaves just like any other Mac application.

You mean the feature called "Spaces"?
« Last edit by Hardy Heinlin on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 12:00:07 +0000. »
Member
Registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Hardy, thanks for your reply. Sounds awesome. The assignment of different layout presets to any keys is what would have been my next question. Hut ab ;) This also makes my Exposť question kind of redundant. What you describe is exactly what I meant, though. If you now have 3 windows with, say, layouts 1 to 3, and you quickly want to switch between these windows, you just press (any Exposť key) and the different PSX windows are presented to you side-by-side (and in live view). But, it seems as multiple windows (for using on multiple screens) are already implemented? Great job.
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 1796
Location: KTMB
Yup, PSX stretches to every square cm of your display set across physical monitors. On top, and this may come as a surprise, you can simply start more than one copy of PSX on the same machine. It won't hurt your frame rate at all, all copies sync up in real time, and you can juggle whatever window you want wherever. And then you can also start multiple PSX copies on more than one computer over the internet. Imagine.

Jeroen
Member
Registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Don't tell too much, Jeroen and Hardy, otherwise you'll drive some people crazy here who just can't await the release of this awesome piece of software ;) Alright just kidding, Hardy is feeding us with screenshots from time to time, that's enough. Sounds awesome, though, and I'm wondering a bit about the system requirements, but can't imagine you'll need a high-end machine. If PSX can sync over the internet, it's easily possible to distribute cockpit-work over the net, too. So our dream of a PF and a PNF sharing the work on the same ship over the internet will come true? That would be ... guess. Awesome 8)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 298
While somewhat on the subject, am I correct to assume that since PSX won't have detailed outside graphics, the system requirements to run it with acceptable FPS will be a lot less than if it did have outside graphics?

In FS9 and FSX, the outside graphics are the ones that consume most of the resources, right?

I am hoping I won't have to buy a new laptop to run PSX. I recall one time on a reply to a post Jeroen said something like "if you can watch a youtube video full screen on your computer without problems, you will not have any problems running PSX." (Jeroen, I apologize if I grossly misquoted you.)

I know that performance also depends on how many windows (or views) you have open at a time, but for a normal amount (not all sections of the cockpit open all at once), will PSX still run on a machine that can run a full screen youtube video without issues? Since PSX gets better every day, I am afraid that the system requirements keep growing every day.

Thank you for answering such a subjective set of questions,

Mariano
« Last edit by Mariano on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 18:33:55 +0000. »
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2659
Hi Mariano.

Mariano wrote
... will PSX still run on a machine that can run a full screen youtube video without issues?

What FPS you get on which computer is a question that I can answer only when PSX is finished.

The current Alpha version runs on my 2.93 GHz Dual Core on a 1920x1200 screen at a FPS of 30 to 72.

YouTube videos are peanuts. They have a low FPS and a very low resolution, they are just scaled up by pixel interpolation. I think even a 15 year old computer could run YouTube, but it couldn't run PSX.

By the way, I can watch videos and play music while PSX is running at the above FPS.


Cheers,

|-|ardy
Member
Registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Just to pick up Jeroen's statement: Will it be possible to remotely 'sync' two copies of PSX and share one cockpit over the internet?

EDIT: And, concerning outside graphics in PSX: Will it be featuring taxiways (for all of us notebook users who won't run FS on a second machine)?
« Last edit by Dennis B on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 19:39:01 +0000. »
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 610
Location: Chicago
Hardy, as features get added, do you think the FPS will steadily creep down? Not that I'm worried, because computers will steadily get faster, and who knows what computer we will all be using when you're ready to release it. But do you see your 30-72 slipping to 28-67 ... , 23-58 ... , 17-45 ... as the various subcomponents get constructed?
_______________
Will /Chicago /USA
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Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2659
PSX via Internet: Perhaps.

No taxiways, sorry. Just blue dots of gates where gates exist in the database.

When I do aerobatics while hundreds of blue WPT, STA and ARPT are on the ND with the radar below them, the frame rate drops to 30. Frame rate depends on graphics. There won't be much added to the graphics anymore. Just the FMC route. But that needs less draw jobs than the blue WPT map stuff does.


|-|
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 298
This is good news Hardy! Glad to hear FPS won't suffer much more. Also, I really like the idea of blue dots where gates are supposed to be. That's perfect.

One more question (maybe way ahead of its time.) Will we be able to buy one PSX disc with two licenses on it (one for our traveling laptops and one for our more powerful desktops?)

Thank you,

Mariano

PS: In order to avoid the excruciating pain during shipping time (I remember when both PS versions were shipped) are you even considering a download version? To me, piracy seems to happen more with downloaded software, but I am not an expert. Maybe you know of a method out there that makes downloads immune (or almost immune) to piracy.
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2659
Mariano,

re license question: Way ahead of its time :-)

Download: No. Too many gigabytes.


Cheers,

|-|ardy
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 1796
Location: KTMB
Not answering PSX questions here, just talking about general download issues.

In practice, there is zero difference between a CD or DVD (hardware medium distribution) and a download. If you get hold of the CD/DVD, it is trivially easy to copy the content of the medium to another medium such as a hard disk. After all, digital storage is digital storage. Anybody can "rip" the CD or DVD into a disc image and put this file on the internet. You can then download the image, burn it onto a CD or DVD, and have a mirror image of the original.

CDs and DVDs must be mass-produced to become affordable (in production costs, not content costs) so they are all the same. If they need copy protection, the CD contents cannot be really protected (rip and burn, done) but the software may not function without having been unlocked. It is common to have CD-based software require registration and a key that you either get online or find on a sticker inside the box. The same key can only be used once or twice.

Of course, the software contains code somewhere to verify the key, and this code can be nulled by reverse engineering. Such an unlocked variant of the program then can (will) find its way into the piracy circuit anyway. I know plenty of cases of people that bought the original software and downloaded the pirated one for plain convenience and no headache about ever having to unlock again. Hell, the same holds for movie DVDs where you want to get rid of the irritating trailers, commercials, and warnings.

The unique feature of a download is that it only happens after certain personal details have been collected for the sale. This offers the opportunity to use server-side software that fire marks the downloaded file in some way. Either by burning in a code that can only be unlocked with the key delivered at payment time, or by hiding ID bread crumbs to be able to track the copy if it ever gets distributed. However, everything inside the file can be reverse-engineered and then nulled.

The last and increasingly popular way of copy protection is that the software refuses to run unless it can verify the key online each time it is started. This type of protection is extremely irritating and can of course also be nulled by reverse engineering. A variant simply never installs any software on the local machine and runs everything always online, or provides a significant component only online. In terms of a hypothetical PSX, this could mean that all graphics (loads of files) are delivered on CD, but that the delivered code is just a slave. All flying PSX instances in the world would run their master on a central protected server and nobody would ever see this code up close. Flying a PSX slave is less network-intensive than listening to internet radio, but this system would be nearly unusable for a lot of other reasons.

The last form of copy protection is more Big Brother style. Each sold BluRay disc contains a list of known piracy vessels -- equipment identifiers of players and monitors that once have been caught. All equipment in the chain from content producer to disc master to disc to player to screen needs to produce ID and pass the black list test. If not, no show. Some equipment even downloads new black listed IDs once in a while. And with 99.99% of the code inside chips, and these chips costing a million to produce if you need just one, this cannot be reverse-engineered. Luckily, the master code for this ID has been recently broken :twisted:

So... why all this?

There would be technically very little difference between shipping a CD or DVD and offering the same image as a download, to be burned onto CD or DVD at home. In both cases the copying/pirating process is dead easy. But as Hardy said, there is bandwidth cost to pay for the download. If the simple calculation bandwidth costs versus DVD pressing costs says that DVD mailing is cheaper, this is the way to go.


Jeroen
Member
Registered: Sep 2010
Posts: 78
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Jeroen, very comprehensive explanation here. But not to forget the PSX manual, that has been kind of a copy protection for PS1. I heard there are pirated copies of PS1 circling around the internet somewhere, but I really think hardly anyone who intends to use this complex software on a "professional", long-term level will download it illegaly; the manual is essential (yes, someone will scan it and put it into a PDF) and also there's a really strong community out here who know what great effort, brainwork and detailed research has been put both into PS1 and PSX, so they'll honor it. I'd personally prefer a hard-copy of both the DVD and manual for the above reasons.
Member
Registered: Nov 2009
Posts: 124
I totally agree with you, 2flame.

I too wanted to ask the same question as Mariano to Hardy, but when I came to think about Hardy's commercial interest, I would prefer hardcopy manual and shipment of dvd.

I am not an IT freak, but peresonally, I feel that download is not a bad idea for "dual license" purpose, but it is also an invitation to those "pirate bastard" to copy and paste onto their own site and make some fast bucks. In turn, will be free for all while the product owner will start counting the loses. It also will loose that "exclusivness".

I used the word exclusiveness becasue not all MSFS users continue onto PS1.2; 1.3; X, as most of us own this PS for over 10 years, and we still jotting notices, and opinions in this forum. That shows how much this PS is worth, besides in money value.

Sorry guys, just had to let some steam out since we just touched on the topic of "pirate bastards".
_______________
OK....I am ok, if you are ok...!!
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 298
I agree with you guys. I much rather have a hard copy as with PS1.2 and 1.3. The manual issue is also a good point. I believe the non-availability of PS1.3's manual without a purchased copy has kept many people from using pirated versions or enjoying them if they happen to be using them.

Since I travel a lot and am very, very light when I pack, a PDF version of PSXs manual would be just great. But, this would make it way too easy for pirates (I guess they win on this one ;-).

The only reason I asked about a download version is because I am afraid I will be at the beginning of a twenty-day trip when PSX comes out, and it will be sitting at home boxed up while I am in hotels reading posts in this forum about how amazing PSX is by its many ecstatic users. With a download version, I could get a copy into my laptop from anywhere in the world right away (yes, that damn instant gratification issue, but when it comes to PSX I am not afraid to admit I suffer from it.)

If PSX comes out when I am away, oh well, I'll just stay away from this forum until I get home.

Mariano
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2659
Mariano,

you are on page 879.

I'm on page 40.


:-)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 298
I know, I think about that day every hour that I am awake. It is becoming a problem :D .

Mariano
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 610
Location: Chicago
The old flight sim "Elite" shipped with a USB dongle that was required for the program to run. Jeroen, what is your opinion about that? (Other than that it would prevent people from running programs on an iPad, grin.)
_______________
Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 1796
Location: KTMB
Hardware with built-in software, such as a dongle, that is specifically designed to withstand reverse engineering is a tough nut to crack. Several very solid ways exist to design software to keep a secret ("private key") and using a specific algorithm to answer questions that can be only answered if it has the private key. It never ever needs to produce the private key outside itself, hence there is no point in tapping into the USB communications and get a copy. By design there is no way to disassemble the dongle (or smart card) and read the private key back. Only laboratory research using advanced techniques such as microscopes and microprobes may be successful, yielding a reverse engineering process that is way too expensive for just one dongle or smart card.

The weak spot isn't the dongle or smart card. The weak spot is the software running on the computer that needs to ask the dongle a question and check the answer. This software is unprotected, therefore can be reverse engineered, and nulled. The number of cracked programs on the 'net that simply bypass the dongle check is staggering.

Only if the software that needs the dongle or smart card check is itself hard to change, such as with a satellite receiver for your TV, a private key based protection is tough. The same holds for having software out of your reach because it is online, such as when doing private banking using a calculator-like challenge/response device.

As long as the final go/no-go check is made inside a program that has been installed on your PC, cracking the protection is a matter of time and needs only be done once.


Jeroen
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2659
Dongle? No way :-)

I would have to employ somebody who replaces defective or lost dongles of the customers every second day.

This and the costs of the dongles themselves wouldn't compensate the costs of piracy.

As far as I can see, more and more companies stop using dongles. I understand why.


Cheers,

|-|ardy
Member
Registered: Dec 2009
Posts: 72
I too am salivating- but am very careful not to drip on my iPad (Will) ;)

C

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