Key Mappings and Panel Layouts

I’ve published the latest versions of the panel designs and keyboard mappings spreadsheet.

Please feel free to comment on what you think is wrong or how the layouts could be improved!

The panels are here and the key mappings are here.

Don’t expect either of these to be very pretty, the native format’s of these are Visio for the panels and OpenOffice for the key mappings: HTML export has come a long way recently, but it’s not perfect yet!

Week 4 Progress

Another week has gone by and further progress has been made.

Some key stages have been completed. Further equipment deliveries have taken place and things are moving on.

Don’t forget to check out the gallery to see the latest progress.Yet again, there are some tasks to carry forwards: I could not really get in the carpentry mood this week, so most of the time has been spent with Visio finalising Panel layouts abnd with a soldering iron working on the looms.

These were the week 4 targets:

    Skin and trim inner door done!

    Vinyl on inner door done!

    Create Mockup Panel on MDF done!

    Finish entire loom for Gamma Ray 256 done!

    Finish common simulator key mapping

    Further work on panel layouts

    Test threaded expanding bush panel mounts done!

    Complete external stringers

    Complete Canopy bar covering

The most work this week went into the GammaRay wiring. Doesn’t sound hard, but individually stripping, soldering and insulating 256 wires took quite some time.

Re-used an old equipment case which also fortuitously has a 5V power supply bvuilt in: this will be ideal for the separate illumination circuits like Gear, Master Power, Avionics Power etc.

The main week 5 goals are to complete the key mapping, solder some more switch looms and create the first of the final panels. I estimate that the panel designs are 80% complete now for the core 4 games: X-Plane, IL2, CFS2 and FS2002.

TurboTas 2004

An introduction to Linux in ten commands

This ten minute lesson on the Linux command line covers navigating around a Linux filesystem along with brief examples and explanations on using ten of the most essential GNU/Linux commands. The article is at Librenix.

You should have access to a Linux system in order to perform the example commands as we progress through the tutorial. If you don’t have a dedicated Linux box, you can use a Live Linux CD-ROM-based distribution such as Knoppix.

Site Upgrade

Site code updated to version 7.0, please let me know if you see any undesirable results i.e. errors rather than just garbage articles 😉

Week 3 Progress

Hi SimPit fans. I got quite a bit done this week. Mainly Covering and finishing the inside. I’ve definitely entered a slow burning phase though: external time constraints played a big part this week.

Today is a big budget day for the project: I’m balancing the books of ebay income against expenditure so far. The ebay account is sitting at around £200 and expenses for the ‘pit build are around the £500 mark including the RS spend and the Gamma Ray Controller. Don’t worry thought work won’t grind to a halt: I cashed in the change jar a couple of weeks ago and that has delivered a nice £200 float!

The computer room is gradually emptying of years and years of accumulated junk. Hopefully I can shift some of the RJ45 flyleads I bought from the wholesalers last year! If I can move all of them, it puts me back on track for breaking even.
Here are the weeks targets and the status:

Week 3 Targets and acheivements

    Finish top edge ready for trim done!

    Aquire internal trim done!

    Carpet floor/Walls, vinyl panels done!

    Mark MDF panels and cut-out done!

    Mark Perpex and cut-out

    Design Hoops for canopy/screen/headrest

    Magnetic catches for EB door done!

    Joystck/Throttle fitting done!

Big jobs completed this week were the monitor modification and the ensuing central panel marking, cutting and covering. The internal layout is now pretty complete bar the actual switch panels.

Gamma Ray is ordered and expected in the next few days. I’m working on the first GammaRay -> RJ45 ->Switch Loom so that I can test it when it comes in.

RS Components order placed for a batch of panel mounting bushes/screws and the first 60 (yes 60!) switches. These are expected in the next couple of days too.

Switch panel mockup in progress. I’ll be making an MDF version of one of the panels to test out the drilling and fitting technique for the switches, cable relief mounts etc.

There are some carried forward tasks: canopy design and build is going slow at the moment due to difficulty making it rigid but light. Aslo no sign of cheap 2mm perspex or acrylic yet…

EB door got damaged in the move and this requires rework.

Perspex panel cutouts to wait for mockup results and testing of expanding flange mountings in MDF (They are meant for thermoplastic).

Week 4 Targets

    Skin and trim inner door

    Vinyl on inner door

    Create Mockup Panel on MDF

    Finish entire loom for Gamma Ray 256

    Finish common simulator key mapping

    Further work on panel layouts

    Test threaded expandin Bush panel mounts

    Complete external stringers.

    Complete Canopy bar covering

Magic Quadrants for All?

I find myself plagued these days about how to make and explain value judgements about how ‘good’ a given Open Source package is.

There are many ways to judge this: User base, bugs, release frequency etc, but all of these alone seem to fall down: It’s hard to judge these against eath other without a formal framework for doing so.

I was kind of thinking that’s what’s needed is a Magic Quadrant similar to the Gartner type things that can be used as a quick view of where a given OpenSource software is.

in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, the four sections are Challengers, Leaders on the top row with Niche Players and Visionaries on the bottom. Ability to execute is the extrapolation.

I’m thinking of a 4 way Quadrant with Bugs and Use on the top with Setup and Develop on the bottom. The basic idea is that use is ubiquity of software, or how well used it is. Bugs is a metric of the bug/cleanup rate. Setup is how hard the thing is to get working and keep working and develop is the size and responsiveness of the developer community.

Much in the same vein as Gartner, a balanced view of the package can be gained by seeing where in the square a given package falls. I’m working on final designs now, but feedback on this would be great.

I’m sure someone can fill some blanks in for me!

Microsoft Releasing Open Source? Surely you Jest TurboTas?

It makes a good headline, but of course the truth is even stranger.

Allegiance is a free multiplayer game that the Microsoft Reseach Labs and Game Labs have been working on for a couple of years. We’ll assume that although Allegiance is a complete game, it feeds back into the actual product divisions useful development info about the design and performance of parallel play software (this was a technology that MS had to crack for X-Box connectivity) .The game itself is in the space combat genre (a crowded market) and attracted a cult following. There are many thrird party add-ons, game servers and ‘Clan’ sites around the ‘net and many hundreds of forums where players and hackers discuss the game.

Microsoft have dumped the game. this is fair enough and Microsoft have every right to discontinue development of their own products. Not long after the announcement, the user/developer community went apoplectic.

Although Microsoft could have ignored the cries, they actually did something very interesting. They released the entire source code tree as OpenSource!

Microsoft have a very polite posting at the Development Labs page for Allegience pointing the user at a 560MB download.

For me this perhaps shows another side to Microsoft (or at least to some people at Microsoft). For a start you can bet that MS do not have a space combat game up their sleeves as a commercial product!

Secondly, the idea of releasing the SourceCode for dead software poses interesting questions: would MS ever consider this for Office or other leading apps?

Of course, I feel this is just musing: MS would never do such a thing with core products: continued support for old versions of office would damage MS considerably (Particularly if the Wider Community did a better job!)

I bet that there are people at MS that are keeping a very close eye on what happens to Allegiance now it’s in the public domain.

Toby Seaman 2004

Week 2 Progress

Okay, week 2 progress report: the postings may have slowed a bit, but the work has not: during the first week, there was little non-build stuff for me to get on with, and therefore after it got too late each eve for power tools, there was time to make posts 😉

This last week, I’ve had panel designs on my mind and product choices for the switches, so I’ve been active with the Maplin catalogue and with Visio.

Construction progress: Breifly, mechanical construction is probably past 50% now (By effort! rather than by weight…)
The base of the front windshield is cut out and attached: this gives the final shape for the electronics bay top.

The electronics bay is 75% complete. Some stringers are missing. This work is suspended whilst other works are done (It’s now not possible to turn the sim without dismantling.

Week 2 Progress

    Electronics Bay cabinet taking shape

    All internal panels fitted

    Panel paper-mockups fitted

    Joystick/Throttle ordered

    Switch Scan equipment ordered

    Final panel design reaches 20%

    Door catches fitted

Week 3 Targets

(Mainly cockpit internals)

    Finish top edge ready for trim

    Aquire internal trim (vinyl and carpet)

    Carpet floor/Walls, vinyl panels

    Mark MDF panels and cut-out

    Mark Perpex and cut-out

    Design Hoops for canopy/screen/headrest

    Magnetic catches for EB door

    Joystck/Throttle fitting

Skinning has been a complete nightmare: I was going to use hardboard but it’s really been annoying me this Weekend: The blimmin stuff just does not play ball!

Now I’m thinking about aluminum: Yes I know this sounds silly but the reclaim from a panel sided van would be ideal for this. I’ll start phoning breakers. Obviously I’ll be relying on screws to fit: bonding ally to wood is probably a hard task!

The Gallery has Visio screenshots for the internal panels (As at version 0.1). I’m trying to cover every Sim I can think of. Now trhat I’m using the Gamma Ray rather than the EPIC, I’ve got 256 Switches to play with if needed.

Day 8 Progress

Okay, finally slowed down a bit. Got home too late to use the power tools today, so had to make do with non noisy construction.

Firstly, decided on the angle for the side panels and cut/sanded them. Fitted port panel: Starboard on tomorrow’s list! Vertical side panel’s next on list. Central panel depends on monitor and windscreen layout so may have to wait.I’ve started to think about templates for Perspex panel’s but I’m still looking for sensibly priced Perspex!

Investigated separate joystick and throttles. CH Products have excellent gear but at £250 it’s out of my range. Thrustmaster HOTAS: Also excellent, but also £250.

In the end I found a really good value Saitek setup and have placed an order for these. I’m still thinking about how to do the rudder: I may have to ask mail-list for advice: I’d really like pedals with toe brakes, but this may not be acheivable.

Worked on the key mapping spreadsheet and posted query to simpits mail-list to see if it may be useful.