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Mission Generator

A plugin for X-Plane

Eighth Patch (v1.3.1)


This is a bugfix update for an issue introduced in v1.2.0, which missed a conversion between knots and kilometers per hour in the cruise speed estimation code. I am very sorry about that.

This also applies to cruise speeds in missiongenerator_overrides.lua, which were read as knots, so if you had one of those, you should check that they still work correctly.

Seventh Patch (v1.3.0)


Up until now, the Mission Generator treated every airport equally. Large or small, 2D or 3D, the Mission Generator didn't know the difference. This now changes. With this patch, the Mission Generator now has some limited knowledge about where a scenery came from, according to the following rules:

This information is now displayed in the mission briefing, so you have a better idea where you are going. Even better, the Mission Generator now subtly prefers Add-On sceneries over 3D sceneries over 2D sceneries. This should make for more interesting missions!

This patch also introduces three new entries in settings.lua for tweaking these chances. However, be aware that this does come with a few caveats:
Firstly, the Mission Generator can only generate missions to existing airports, picked at random from the surrounding area. So if there are no 3D or Add-On sceneries available in a region, lowering the chances for 2D sceneries will simply reduce the number of available missions.
Secondly, not every "Global Airports"-Lego-Brick scenery does actually include 3D objects.
So treat these settings with care. Extreme values are probably not what you want.

Sixth Patch (v1.2.0)


It's been a while, hasn't it? The last time you heard from me was in October. I developed the Mission Generator during paternity leave. When I got back to work, I didn't have nearly as much time available to keep working on things in my spare time. But that doesn't mean I have forgotten about the Mission Generator, just that the pace of updates can't be as fast now as it was in the beginning.

Thankfully, it seems that the Mission Generator is actually working well for most people! As a result, this update will probably not change anything for the majority of users, but fix a few niggling issues for some:

A recurring theme in bug reports is that the Mission Generator sometimes appears to not know the payload capacity, cruise speed, and landing distance of some aircrafts. And in fact, this is exactly true: X-Plane simply does not expose this kind of information to plugins. Instead, the Mission Generator takes an educated guess, based on the available data. And usually, the estimate is pretty accurate, as estimates go. But of course, some aircraft with unusual combinations of performance numbers are bound to lead to inaccurate estimates.

And there is really nothing the Mission Generator can do about it internally. So instead, it now creates a file missiongenerator_overrides.lua in every aircraft's directory, where you can override the Mission Generator's estimate manually. In this file, you can specify your own cruise speed, payload capacity, and minimum landing distance for every aircraft, and customize it to your liking.

On the same note, due to the variability in guessing the cruise speed, urgent missions actually were impossible to complete in some aircraft. To improve this, the speed requirements for urgent missions were slightly lessened.

And finally, one user pointed me to a rare issue with some third-party sceneries with unusual apt.dat formatting that lead to "not at starting point" errors in the mission briefing. This has been fixed.

However, there is still that one bug that keeps eluding me: A small number of people sometimes get "no landing" or "no takeoff" messages in their debriefing. From what I can tell, this error usually goes away if they rebuild their X-Plane install, and seems to happen more often for small aircraft than for larger ones. But I have not yet been able to reproduce this issue myself, and hence don't know yet what causes it.

Fifth Patch (v1.1.2)


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)


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).