Over the next few weeks, I will be making several posts in regards to the new animation system within Flight Simulator X. Although the content will be somewhat technical and is probably more directed at 3rd party developers, it should give the avid "flight-simmer" an idea of what can be done with the new release.
In this first post, I will not get into any technical details but just want to provide a quick 30,000 feet overview of the new features introduced by the animation.
First, you may wonder why I am talking about animation since I am a "graphics engineer" within Flight Simulator. In fact, this is my main task, but I have also dabbled in other systems as needed and since I had some experience with another animation system during my previous employment, I was the ideal candidate to implement our brand new system.
But, didn't Flight Simulator 9 have an animation system? The answer to the questions is "yes and no". Although Flight Simulator 9 has some support for animations, its implementation was very limited.
Moving away from a BGL file approach, and with the addition of different type of crafts and animated ambient object required much more flexibility that the current hard-coded approach was allowing us. With this in mind, and thinking ahead with futur needs in mind, I have developed an independant animation system which essentially replaces the old way of doing animations while significantly increasing the flexibility and possibilities within FSX.
Here is a rough list of the features offered by the new system:
Over my next posts, I will start drilling into specific features and explain in more detail how they work, how they can be used and what are the benefits to the overall Flight Simulator experience. Oh, and as usual, keep in mind that everything I will be discussing is always subject to change between now and the actual release of Flight Simulator X.