Jump to content

Feedback requested on proposed model matching changes


Ross Carlson
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

For quite a while, I've been wanting to expand vPilot's model matching capabilities. Currently, it looks at the first three characters of the callsign to determine the airline. This works well for most situations, but there are some cases where the callsign prefix doesn't correctly identify which airline should be shown on the model, such as when a regional airline is flying for a mainline airline. For example, if the callsign is RPA123, the callsign prefix (RPA) doesn't indicate which mainline airline the pilot is flying for, and it could be Delta, American, or United. vPilot supports the ability to map a flight number range to a specific model, and this covers most of the regional airline situations. However, this flight number functionality is only available if you load a custom VMR file. vPilot's automatic model scanning does not support the flight number range capability.

Since the FLAi project was shut down, model matching has been back to the way it was before FLAi ... it's a bit of a free-for-all, and you don't get decent model matching unless you make your own VMR file, or you use a model set that vPilot "knows about" such as the World of AI models or the payware My Traffic models. This leaves P3D v5 users and MSFS users out in the cold, and they have to use third-party tools like ModelMatchingMagic in order to get decent model matching. I want the process to be more automatic.

To that end, I'm considering two major changes to improve the model matching process:

First, I would expand the Connect window so that you enter not only your callsign and aircraft type code, but you can also enter an airline code and livery code. The airline code would be optional, of course, and you would leave it blank if you're flying a General Aviation aircraft. If you're flying an airliner, you would obviously enter the ICAO airline code in the airline box. This airline code would be used by other pilots' pilot clients (not just vPilot) for the purpose of selecting a model to represent your aircraft in the other pilot's sim. This will improve model matching not just for vPilot users, but also for other pilot client users when they are displaying aircraft flown by vPilot users.

If you leave the airline code blank, and your callsign looks like an airline callsign (three letters followed by one or more digits and then optionally one or two letters) then the airline code will be set equal to the first three letters of your callsign.

If you fill in the livery code, that code will be sent to other pilot clients to allow for more fine-tuned model matching. Since we don't have a standardized database of livery codes, this will primarily only be useful for people that build custom VMR files for their VA. Eventually, I would like to build up an "official" database of livery codes, and provide a list of those codes in a dropdown for the user to choose from. This list would be filtered based on the aircraft type code and airline code that was entered. This would allow pilots to specify that they are flying the "Mosaic" livery for JetBlue, or the Fox livery for Frontier, or the Shamu livery for Southwest, to name a few examples. We could also establish standard livery codes for GA aircraft in order to represent the colors in the paint scheme more accurately.

When you fill in these fields, you will have the option of saving the aircraft details in your "hangar" for easy recall later. There will be a dropdown on the Connect window where you can choose a previously-saved aircraft. Note that the callsign would not be saved with the aircraft, as it is subject to change each time you fly any given aircraft, but vPilot will remember that last callsign you used with each aircraft and pre-fill that callsign when you select the aircraft from your hangar. I may also have vPilot remember which aircraft you selected for each flyable aircraft that you have installed in the sim, and then automatically select the appropriate aircraft from your hangar when you select an aircraft in the sim. If vPilot doesn't recognize the aircraft that you selected in the sim, the Connect window fields will be blank and you'll need to enter the data. vPilot will then remember the values that you entered for the next time you select that aircraft in the sim, even if you don't save the details as a new aircraft in your hangar. I might have vPilot pre-fill the aircraft type, airline code, and livery code if the aircraft you've selected in the sim is found in the model database.

Second, I would have vPilot utilize the database of model information that the developers of swift and the community have created and given me permission to use in vPilot. vPilot already has its own database of model information, but it hasn't been updated in a long time. The swift community have done a great job of populating their model database, including many of the models that are available for MSFS. Using this database to supplement the existing model scanning process will allow vPilot to automatically identify many more of the models that you have installed in your sim, especially for MSFS users.

So, that's what I'm currently considering. Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for changes.

Thanks!

 

  • Like 4

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Board of Governors

Thanks for looking into this Ross!

May I suggest that it’s potentially easier to just allow users to enter their registration number in addition to their callsign? In the case of the regional jets, you then get the correct mainline partner as N300SY is an E175 painted as Delta Connection, and N202SY is an E175 painted as United Express. This then works for the airline special liveries for all the airlines as the paint is tied to a specific aircraft, which has a unique registration number. This also has a large bonus for the “hardcore” AI people who install multiple versions of the same paint with different registration numbers as now they will see “different” Delta 737s since the registration number changes.

Obviously if the user does not put one in or the registration does not correlate with a paint in the other member or VATSIM’s database then the randomness rules apply as to what paint is set.

This would take some significant community work on the backend to populate a database of registration numbers correlated to liveries, but I know the community is up to it and I think overall wold be easier.

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
## vpmkt (at) vatsim.net
Facebook Twitter Instagram
VATSIM Logo

Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why don't you tap into swift's database? We have mapped thousands and thousands of flyable and AI/CSL models from all the frequently used simulators and distributors already. Each type, sub-type, livery, sublivery etc. have their unique ID-code that swift also transmits and receives. Obviously, at this time this is only functional from swift to swift clients, because other apps cannot handle these ID-codes.

I could show you around our database to help you make up your mind.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

just allow users to enter their registration number

I thought about that quite a bit, and it would be fine as an alternative way of specifying your aircraft details, for those users that know their reg number, or if vPilot can auto-fill it if it's found in the aircraft.cfg file for the aircraft they're flying. It just can't be the "main" way of specifying your aircraft info, since many users don't know or care about their reg number.

One thing I thought about was the fact that a reg number is actually logically equivalent to a livery code. (We can think of it as a livery that is only painted on a single real-world aircraft.) So if we were to develop an official DB of livery data, we could just add the reg numbers to that database. If the user entered the reg number in the livery code box, it would auto-fill the other values (airline and aircraft type.) The box could be labelled "Livery Code or Registration Number" or something like that.

What I'm picturing for the UI once we have a full DB of livery data, is that the user would first enter their aircraft type code, then their airline code (if any) and then vPilot would populate a dropdown list of all applicable liveries that match the entered type code and airline code. The user would then choose an entry from this list. The list would include an "unspecified" option if no matches are found in the database for the given type code and airline code. If we added reg numbers to the livery database, those would appear in the dropdown as well as any livery codes that were not tail-number-specific. So if the user entered SKW1234 as their callsign, E175 as the type code, UAL as the airline, the livery dropdown would contain N202SY as an option, along with something like "Standard" or "UAL" as the more generic livery option. For the users that know their reg number, we could have a livery search box where they could enter the reg number and shortcut the process.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

A simple, guided, quick interface for end users that encourages proper use is the goal I request be kept in mind.

FLAI was brilliant in that it just worked 90% of the time.  The alternatives we have today require more patience and time than I care to invest... I actually found this thread while struggling through my second hour of trying to install AIG using the "one click" [that's funny] installer on my new PC build.

For user input of the various liveries within an airline, a graphic interface will likely produce more and better results.  See PMDG's Ops Center livery tool that gives thumbnails of each livery in addition to description.  In fact - if liveries can be coded in a standard way, integrating with aircraft developers and painters could allow some transparent automation for the end user.

From my point of view, I don't much care if the right furry critter is on the tail of the "FFT" taxiing in front of me so long as I recognize that it is a Frontier A320, not a generic white-tail nondescript twin engine airliner.

Steven Perry

VATSIM Supervisor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ross, that sounds like a plan!

Matthew, what would happen at a fly-in when several pilots load up the same aircraft, say a United Airlines PMDG 738 with the same livery/registration? That's the reason I never use the SELCAL code depicted on the aircraft panel.

I agree with Steve... It would be nice to see the exact livery in use but I'm OK with just seeing the correct airline.

Cheers, and thanks for keeping the lights on for vPilot and VATspy.

874560

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good evening Ross

I used to have P3D with FLAi and it was very nice. Now I use MSFS and it is hard to have a good model matching. I appreciate your effort to improve the problem, including all your suggestions in "FIRST", for regional aircraft, VA, and others. But , in fact, I have for much more basic needs. In my opinion, a good model matching is the one which gives the least white/ yellow aircraft (default). I really don´t care about if it is too precise or not. So, in my opinion, in terms of model matching, the livery of the company is what matters, the equipment is not so important. My suggestion for vpilot is that the last number of the equipment to be flexible. I will give an example. Someone connect with a UAL B733. I dont have a livery for that, but I have a livery for a UAL B738. That should match. Someone can argue that a UAL A320 is completely different that a UAL A321, but I would prefer a UAL A320 rather than a yellow A321.

I have a question regarding vpilot. For the P3D, vpilot is able to scan the HD for liveries and generate the rules. Does that also happens for MSFS? I use ModelMatchingMagic to generate VMR file, but if I don´t load a custom rule, I don´t have any match.

Thanks for your excellent job.

Best regards

Jose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jose Gentile said:

My suggestion for vpilot is that the last number of the equipment to be flexible. I will give an example. Someone connect with a UAL B733. I dont have a livery for that, but I have a livery for a UAL B738. That should match.

It actually already works that way. vPilot reads a data file that contains groupings of similar aircraft types. So all the variants of a Boeing 737 are grouped together. So if vPilot doesn't find an exact match for the UAL B733, it will try other types in that group, including a B738, and if it has a UAL B738, it will use that for the match. This is discussed in the documentation if you'd like to learn more. This functionality would be retained in the new model matching strategy going forward.

3 hours ago, Jose Gentile said:

I have a question regarding vpilot. For the P3D, vpilot is able to scan the HD for liveries and generate the rules. Does that also happens for MSFS? I use ModelMatchingMagic to generate VMR file, but if I don´t load a custom rule, I don´t have any match.

Not currently, but it will be in the new version.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/20/2021 at 10:02 PM, Ross Carlson said:

Not currently, but it will be in the new version.

Just Flight have just announced on their Facebook page that new version of their long-running Traffic add-on will release for MSFS "early next year" ... so that will be good timing Ross if next version of vPilot can do the same auto scanning and matching for MSFS as it does now for P3D. 

I've used Just Flight Traffic Global in P3D for years and vPilot has always made a really good job of matching their models without me needing to put any manual effort in with VMR file etc.

Cheers,
Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I think this is a great idea. Anything that is super simple. I no nothing about model-matching and a lot of what I read in this thread already makes no sense to me.

It would be great to see the right type aircraft and at least one default livery for each type.

I mostly fly GA and always wonder if people see me correctly.

Can this effort include a default livery set for airliners for those of us that don't mess around with AIF FLAi etc.?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Othniel Alexandre said:

Can this effort include a default livery set for airliners for those of us that don't mess around with AIF FLAi etc.?

No, the process of model matching in a pilot client, and building a set of models and liveries are two VERY different projects.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/25/2021 at 8:35 PM, Ross Carlson said:

just allow users to enter their registration number

I personally dont fly any particular airline on vatsim, I make up my own unique call sign and fly the base NEO livery, sometimes the FBW livery, so it would be nice to specify to vpilot which livery to use... I dont actually know what I look like to others around me..

What would be really nice is if vpilot, if it encounters an unknown aircraft, that it can download the livery and type from that user and display it correctly. This would also allow for custom liveries to display.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Roger Gantner said:

What would be really nice is if vpilot, if it encounters an unknown aircraft, that it can download the livery and type from that user and display it correctly. This would also allow for custom liveries to display.

This would require downloading not only the livery, but also the aircraft's 3D model. Unfortunately that's not possible for a couple reasons. Many model developers do not give permission to distribute their content. Also, as far as I know, none of the sims that work with vPilot allow adding new models or liveries while the sim is running. I haven't fully tested that, but I am pretty sure that's the case.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Ross Carlson said:

none of the sims that work with vPilot allow adding new models or liveries while the sim is running.

yup, very good point.
 

But between FSLTL and Alpha India Group, perhapds there really is some potential to work with these guys to make almost perfect model matching happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

As a PPL holder and an experienced simmer, flying regularly online in Vatsim, I am still a little confused as to simple things like logging on with the correct code.
I'm currently flying the FlyByWire A320neo or is it the A320nx....?
The ICAO 8643 states A320 however A20N seems also to be correct? It depends where you look..

I have been working towards my own model matching setup, as all I have read seems counter productive.
I have the ivao_x-csl directory in my Community folder.
I have collected 7 .vmr files, all purporting to be the best. airlines.vmr is at the top
I do have the X-Plane XCSL which is good and there is a selective updater which works well.
My plan was to create a "bespoke" msfs library and livery collection, converting their .png to .dds files, but having read your posts above I am hopeful that I may not need to.
I did run Swift for a while so I imagine I also have their collection on a drive (albeit out of date).
I run an obscure operator (non VA) which isn't listed currently but which I wanted to incorporate into my own system and offer to my flying buddies.
In my last session I had red messages about missing textures for Hawiian and DAL, but on the whole all major airlines appeared correctly.

Looking at Velocity, which appears a great improvement, I wonder if something might be done with the terrible lag in Wazzup?
Running SimAware (and others) there can be 90 seconds+ delay in aircraft position.

I guess I am simply outlining my thoughts and personal goals here: Option 2 may be easier, given users like me will still have the ability to add to their .vmr file.
I have read also that controllers have the ability to change codes but on the whole don't know the users intentions! I contacted privately a user in vPilot only yesterday to suggest his clearance for a B738 didn't match the Baron I was seeing... Whether this is his default I don't know...

Some work needs to be done by Asobo on data transfer too. Flying in a group with my buddy invariably shows wrong aircraft and often wrong livery... Let's hope next months Update gives some advancement. Thanks for all your efforts so far.

The only time you have too much fuel onboard is when you're on fire!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Kevin,

the aircraft data codes for your login are the same as the ones that you are supposed to use in flightplans. Your A320Neo would therefore be "A20N".
 

An official source of information regarding aircraft type codes is ICAO: https://www.icao.int/publications/DOC8643/Pages/Search.aspx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

Hi Kevin,

the aircraft data codes for your login are the same as the ones that you are supposed to use in flightplans. Your A320Neo would therefore be "A20N".
 

An official source of information regarding aircraft type codes is ICAO: https://www.icao.int/publications/DOC8643/Pages/Search.aspx

Mmm. Thank you Andreas, but looking through the DOC8643 database I find it is not obvious when entering the base aircraft A320
If I reverse lookup A20N there it gives ACJ-320neo or A-320neo which again isn't very logical imho

The only time you have too much fuel onboard is when you're on fire!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...