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Mission Generator

A plugin for X-Plane


Fifth Patch (v1.1.2)

2018-10-20

It seems that all major issues have actually been resolved as of the previous version. Thus, I can now finally focus on refining the experience, and start tackling subtler issues and preferences. This patch is full of small improvements that don't change the game, but should make for a smoother experience.

For example, there was an interesting issue with helicopters: When a helicopter touches down, it immediately finishes the current mission and unloads the payload. Normally, this is not an problem. But in some cases, with particularly heavy payloads and particularly smooth touch downs, taking off the payload would make the helicopter light enough to float up again! So with v1.1.2, helicopter missions will only finish once touched down and the collective is reduced (see settings.lua for the particular threshold).

Another issue were taxi speeds and cruise speeds. The centerline deviation is only calculated if the aircraft is moving faster than the taxi speed, but a perfectly reasonable taxi speed for a passenger jet will be far beyond the takeoff speed of small ultralights. So now the taxi speed is determined either by a minimum of 30 km/h, or a quarter of the stall speed, whichever is higher (Again, adjustable in settings.lua). Similarly, the cruise speed is now the mean of the maneuvering speed and top speed (center of the yellow arc), which is probably conservative for turbine-powered aircraft, and a bit too fast for piston aircraft, but in any case much better than before.

A third issue was a real head-scratcher: Sometimes, some X-Plane datarefs would apparently contain invalid data. This seems to happen randomly, but more often at very low frame rates (which I don't run) and in conjunction with a lot of other plugins (which I don't use). As such, I could never reproduce these issues. The root cause is probably a bug in SASL or X-Plane, and not under my control. And in any case, most of the time, these little hickups would not matter much, and merely cause a transient error in the X-Plane log or a short flicker on the briefing screen. But sometimes, in very rare cases, they would block mission progress, or prevent mission success. I have added workarounds for these cases, which will hopefully make them unproblematic.

And finally, there are of course a number of additional bug fixes, like fixes for the payload name generation, time formatting in the briefing and debriefing, overly-unreliable missions, and a renamed menu item.

Fourth Patch (v1.1.1)

2018-10-08

The last patch (v1.1.0) added the ability to rebuild the Mission Generator's scenery database from the actual sceneries' apt.dat files. While this fixed many issues, some people had add-on sceneries with incorrectly formatted apt.dat files, which tripped up the database crawler.

The resulting incomplete scenery database lead to empty mission lists or even freezes when opening the mission list (if you had one of those malformed sceneries). As always, this problem did not happen on my machine, since none of my sceneries had these problems.

Thus, I now added some scenery validation code which should prevent malformed apt.dat files from messing up the whole scenery database.

Additionally, the patch fixes a bunch of smaller issues, such as payload issues, mission distance issues, and more mission templates. And I have a new theory on why the centerline deviation is sometimes way off: It might be because the Mission Generator interprets taxiing too fast as part of the takeoff roll. If you experience the centerline issue, try taxiing slower than 30 km/h (15 kt).

Third Patch (v1.1.0) (fixes the Centerline Issue)

2018-10-05

As reported before, the Mission Generator used to report incorrect centerline deviations for certain third-party sceneries, and would never show some sceneries as mission destinations.

Both of these issues were due to X-Plane not giving plugins information about runways, which meant that the Mission Generator used its own runway database that I created offline from X-Plane's apt.dat.

Of course, this database would not show any changed runway layouts or added runways from third-party sceneries, or X-Plane's own global airport updates.

As of v1.1.0, the Mission Generator intelligently reads your installed sceneries, and builds a new runway database every time you install a new scenery. The process can take a few seconds to finish, but it is only run if your scenery changes. If you think it might not have picked up on a new scenery, you can also start the rebuild manually from the menu bar.

Second Patch (v1.0.2)

2018-10-01

That Centerline Issue

2018-10-01

Some people are seeing an issue where the Takeoff centerline deviation and landing centerline deviation are wildly off. This is caused by add-on airports, or an updated apt.dat, which moved the runway locations.

Since X-Plane does not give plugins information about the locations of runways, the Mission Generator has its own database of runway locations, derived from X-Plane's default apt.dat. Thus, if an add-on moves the runway locations, the Mission Generator won't know about it, and will assume you landed in the wheeds.

To fix this, I will add a new menu option to rebuild the scenery database in a future update. But this is a bigger undertaking, and will take a few days.

As a nice side benefit, this will make completely new add-on airports available as mission targets as well.