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  1. Congratulations on the release! Seasonal greetings and best wishes for the new year.
  2. Shepski, congrats with the newborn! Good to hear you're alive and well --- that first post was a bit ominous. Swingkid, congrats to you as well, with your job. Does it involve any programming? :-) Take care.
  3. Rich, like nscode I thought about suggesting SFX, but refrained from it fearing I would open a can of worms --- executables bring the security threat of possible viruses etc. But very few users run without virus control these days, and I guess this crowd is well used to downloading executables off the net. A nice thing about SFX is it will allow you to create a more "wizard-like" extraction process, with intro text, etc. About time you got your first sticky, by the way! PS. Thanks to all for the tips about utilities that handle RAR, but I simply put "unrar" on the Explorer short-cut menu as the default RAR file action (Tools | Folder Options | File types). That'll do for now.
  4. Great work! I just watched Part 1, and although I am reasonably familiar with the UI, I picked up some nice tips. Thanks! Part 2 is downloading. PS. The RAR format nearly put me off. As far as I know WinRAR is not freeware, and I don't really want another full-blown compression utility. Luckily there is "unrar" --- a tiny freeware command-line utility that unpacks RAR files. Just a tip for the likeminded.
  5. Nice to see such high praise for Rich's excellent work! I can only concur. Recommended!
  6. A definite milestone in simulator history, and still on my hard drive after all these years.
  7. Great tutorial, as always! Lot's of valuable detail.
  8. Well, this is a long standing and difficult problem. I did post about it, years ago on the Flanker forum, but that archive is no longer available. Anyway, track compatibility is hard and involves the core design of the simulator. As you stated, the simulator itself recreates the action depending on input events stored in the track. Hence the outcome depends on every minute detail of the simulator. A very small change in the simulator can change the outcome totally. The technical solution goes like this: Separate the parts of the simulator that affects virtual world state from all other parts, such as UI, visual effects, camera system, etc. Make sure that this core, let's call it the simulator engine, is deterministic, i.e. that it reproduces the same results given the same start state and input events. It must be indifferent to the particular hardware, operating system, drivers and libraries it runs on. Special care must be taken with "random" events. And so on. Design a versioning-capable API between the simulator engine, the visual system, the UI, etc. By that I mean a module interface that enables different versions of the simulator engine to be plugged in, and still have the whole thing work. Ship all earlier published versions of the simulator engine with the product, and use dynamic loading (DLLs) to select the correct version of the simulator engine needed to replay a track. Do the same for the object database (needed because even a minor change to the theatre may affect outcome — a more detailed body of an aircraft may make a bullet miss, a more detailed mountain top make an aircraft crash, a changed skin may make a comment in the track meaningless, etc.) Do the same for the camera system (not necessary to ensure consistent outcomes, but needed to ensure the cameras replay correctly, so that you see the same thing, voice-over makes sense, etc.). Make track loading version aware. In conclusion, though not technically impossible, track compatibility is complicated. And even if achieved, an old track would still present an outdated version of the simulator — tactics presented may no longer work, flight models and systems/avionics may no longer be the same, and so on. On the other hand, the track would at least play, and would possibly look and play better by virtue of running on an updated graphics engine. If that is worth the effort is the question. Personally, I would like to say 'yes' to that, but looking at the techical challenges I'm doubtful.
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