FlightGear 3.2 is still under development, but the approaching code freeze allows for a safe estimation on what new features we should be expecting from the next version of the best open source flight simulator.
Clouds and Rendering
Having advanced basis like the weather system and the atmospheric light scattering framework allows for things that were too hard to do in the past like cloud shadows on the ground (at least near your airplane) and cloud rendering from high altitude.
Talking about high altitudes, if you ever used crafts in FG that were able to go high enough to leave Earth’s atmosphere, you saw that the simulator couldn’t give a realistic depiction of the planet. This will be solved in 3.2 with the addition of a new rendering engine called Earthview, that uses high quality textures from Nasa’s Visible Earth project to wrap a planet like sphere!
- The YASim flight dynamics engine is finally being developed further, with some long-standing bugs and limitations being addressed for the time being
- Ground interactions have been added to the JSBSim flight dynamics engine
The highlight for this release will be the addition of missions! This is an unexpected development for many users of the simulator as it adds game elements to the project. There were some scenarios that you could enable like the refueling and the bigstorm, but those didn’t have the goal clarity and visual guidance that the new missions subsystem incorporates.
This became possible after the walker model that appeared a while ago, continued further development that now allows for more complex animated motion and also NPCs, characters with whom a player can interact. Don’t forget the various cars that you can now use with the walker.
Here’s a video showcasing a simple mission where the player has to land onto an oil platform, exit the helicopter and go down the stairs to get a box and then get back to base. Notice the audio-visual guidance/info when the required actions are successfully completed.