Microsoft Flight Simulator Downloads for Flight Simulator
X, FSX FS2004. Free Access to freeware addons for your Microsoft Flight
|| Downloads New: FS2004 Automatic Tower Position 1.01|
Have you ever been annoyed by the fact that when you want to see this perfect touchdown you just made from an outside perspective, and the tower is anywhere
but where you want it to be? Got frustrated by trying to get the tower where you think it is in reality, or at least somewhere where it fits well? If the answer is yes, then take a look at autower. Designed to operate in the background without any user intervention, it automatically moves the tower to the airport where you want it to be, to the spot where the tower sits in reality (well, at least somewhere close).
| ||Category: Flight Simulator 2004 Textures / Misc, Aircraft|
Filesize: 34.18 Kb
Added on: Nov-29-2006
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= autower 1.0 (C) Christoph Langguth 2006. =
This software is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.
Please see LICENSE.txt for the full text of the license.
Have you ever been annoyed by the fact that when you want to see this perfect
touchdown you just made from an outside perspective, and the tower is anywhere
but where you want it to be? Got frustrated by trying to get the tower where
you think it is in reality, or at least somewhere where it fits well?
If the answer is yes, then take a look at autower. Designed to operate in
the background without any user intervention, it automatically moves the tower
to the airport where you want it to be, to the spot where the tower sits in
reality (well, at least somewhere close).
autower has a single, well-defined purpose: it continuously scans your current
aircraft position and sets the tower to the most suitable airport close to it.
By default, it also takes into account your active COM radio frequency, locking
the tower to the airport you're just approaching.
autower comes in two variants for you to choose from:
* an executable that you can run outside of Flight Simulator
* a DLL that will be automatically loaded by FS.
Both variants share the exact same codebase, so from the functionality point
of view they are identical. Please see the installation notes below for further
Nearly all of autower's features are further customizable (with reasonable
defaults, of course.)
autower relies on the information that Flight Simulator provides about the
airports. Since not all (actually only very few) airports include detailed
information about the tower position (and others do not have a tower at all),
in many cases autower has to make the best out of the few information that it
does provide. It will, for example, have to determine by itself the height of
the tower. However, I believe that it does a relatively good job at that --
and if you're not satisfied, you can always try to tweak it by changing its
* Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. autower ONLY works with FS2004, older and
newer versions are not supported.
* FSUIPC 3.71. autower will not work with unregistered versions of FSUIPC prior
to version 3.71. It should work with decently new registered versions, though.
I'm confident that it will also work with newer versions, however at the time
of writing none were released yet.
INSTALLATION AND CONFIGURATION
For those of you in a hurry, here it goes:
=> EXPRESS INSTALLATION
* copy autower.dll to your flight simulator modules directory.
* run FS2004
* That's it.
=> THOUGHTFUL INSTALLATION :-)
As mentioned above, autower comes in two flavors: a stand-alone executable and a
DLL. Ultimately, I guess most everyone will be using the DLL for everyday usage,
because one doesn't have to care about starting autower manually each time FS is used,
and because the black command line box is just disturbing. Nevertheless, I recommend
starting with the command-line version.
Here's why: the major advantage of the command-line version is that you can start and
stop it while FS is running. You might want to do this in order to test out various
configurations to find the one that suits your taste. You can also have the command-
line version display more verbose information, by adjusting the log level, in case
you want or need to do so. Although you *can* adjust the log level in the same way
for the DLL, this is strongly discouraged. The simple reason is that the DLL pops
up a message box whenever some log message is to be displayed to the user -- you will
very quickly realize that it's not fun to click away thousands of message boxes...
you have been warned ;-)
So, the recommended way is the following:
start the command-line application (while FS is running and ready to fly, i.e. not
paused in any menu or in the game itself) and change to tower view. Go to different
airports and see if you like how it behaves. If it does, perfect -- just install the
DLL and forget about the command-line version. If it doesn't, take a look at the
autower.ini parameters (they're all thoroughly documented) and fiddle with them.
This is where the executable version has its strength - just restart it after changing
the configuration, and it will use the new settings. To achieve the same results with
the DLL variant, you'd have to restart FS. Once you have found the settings you like,
just copy the DLL along with your modified configuration file (double-check the
LogLevel setting though, you don't want it to be higher than INFO for the DLL) to
the FS9modules folder. You may also copy the data file (autower.dat) along with them
in order to speed things up (you'll *have* to if you're running FS as a non-privileged
user afterwards anyway.)
Note that both the DLL and the exe will run without autower.ini being present, but
then you will be bound to the default settings.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: What are these autower.dat and autower.ini files?
A: autower.ini is the configuration file. autower.dat -- the datafile -- contains all
the information that autower needs about the airports. The datafile is reconstructed
from the existing scenery whenever it is missing, however parsing all the scenery
takes some time (well, this is the reason for that file to exist after all!)
Q: Where are these files located?
A: For the executable, in the current working directory. For the DLL, in the
FS9modules folder (same folder as autower.dll resides in.)
Q: Can I re-use the configuration/data files between the DLL and the exe?
A: Of course! Just pay attention to the loglevel when using the DLL...
Q: Can I run the DLL and the executable at the same time?
A: This means: Can I run the executable while the DLL is loaded in Flight simulator?
Well, I can't forbid you to do so. But you shouldn't. That is, there should not
be anything really bad happening, but it just doesn't make sense, I guess.
Q: I have updated my scenery to include new AFCADs. How does autower handle this?
A: By itself, not at all. To make sure that the data corresponds to your current
scenery, make autower rebuild its datafile. Simply delete the datafile, it will
be reconstructed (from the current scenery) upon the next start. Note that if you
just installed new AFCADs for existing airports, chances are that you don't need
to rebuild the datafile, simply because I have not seen AFCADs that change the
information that autower reads. But as they could in theory provide conflicting
or at least more detailed information, you're on the safe side if you spare the two
minutes to reconstruct it. Of course, if you add entirely new airports, or if you
completely remove existing ones, you'll have to reconstruct it, or you will
experience weird results.
Q: I can't seem to find a configuration that I like - what should I do?
Q: I'm missing feature xyz. What should I do?
A: Hmmm. Although autower tries to do some intelligent decisions, it is of course
limited to the information it gets from FS, and to the logic that I programmed.
If you have some programming skills, you may just get the source code (it really
isn't much, 1000 LOC, and I think it's half-way decent and readable) and modify
it to suit your needs. Needless to say, if you make some improvements to the code,
I'd be delighted to hear about it. Ah, and please adhere to the license.
If you're not a programmer, you can just contact me, and we'll probably manage to
figure something out. Just please bear in mind the intention of the program -- it
has a very specific purpose, and I don't want to deviate too much from it. There's
already plenty of programs out there which try to do everything, and autower should
not become one of these.
Q: Back to programming: where's the source?
A: It's available at autower's homepage -- see the address at the end of this file.
Q: What tools did you use? What do I need to compile it?
A: I used MinGW Developer Studio. There's a free bundle of it out there which comes
with everything to get you started in no time. I suppose (well, I hope) that the
code can also be made to compile with other C compilers like VC++, but I doubt
that it'll work out of the box.
Q: Why GPL?
A: Philosophical question, eh? Quite simply, because I believe that knowledge and
information, for the sake of all of us, should be spread, not hidden.
Q: I have some other problem, or a question which is not covered here.
A: Please check the homepage first, maybe your issue has been addressed already.
Otherwise, feel free to contact me! Just be precise, please. Of course, any other
feedback is welcome -- preferrably positive feedback, though ;-)
1.0 (Nov 28, 2006) - first public release
1.01 (Nov 28, 2006) - fixed a nasty bug that caused the command-line version not to
read the configuration. Oops, sorry. Also adjusted the default
values and made some changes to autower.ini
Christoph Langguth , November 2006
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