Puffergas
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FlightGear & Pi4

Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:46 am

Too my surprise FlightGear runs on the Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB. Of course the main intent for the Raspberries are education and FlighGear is also educational so a nice fit! I plan to post tweaks on this topic as I slowly learn the ins and outs of Pi Flight. I hope other do so also.

My first hint: Logiteck Extreme 3D Pro joystick works. Not only does it work but you only need to plug it in. Buttons can also be assigned.
FlightGear.jpg
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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:04 am

I found it borderline usable in windowed mode, but I only got it working on 32bit Raspbian.
FG is based on OpenSceneGraph and that runs a bit faster on my Gentoo64 Pi4.

Pi4's use OpenGL with the Mesa3D drivers, these are getting a bit better.
We should see OpenGLES 3.1 soon with possibly 3.2 eventually.
The difference should speed up the display some if the new extensions are compiled into FG.

You could try Ubuntu 64 but I'm not sure of the status of their OpenGL driver.
Lots of the Pi drivers are going mainstream so other distributions will happen and give us more choice.

Trying to keep FG upto date will be a challenge, as code can change weekly
I'm waiting for Linux 5.5+ and Mesa 19.3+ or so to make it out before trying again with FG.
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Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:04 pm

Interesting, I get about 20 FPS in window mode and noticed lag in full screen. For me the window mode is smooth, very flyable, however I have turned a few more options off. I would like to learn how to compile FG for the Pi4. I was able to do that a few times almost 20 years ago for my Linux desktop. Now a days the only computer I own is the Pi's and a smart phone.

I have a lot to learn... :P

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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:24 am

I have a lot to learn...
Me too.
This Pi4 is now my home PC, the Linux box died the week my first Pi4 showed up.

Not sure if performance can be improved enough to run FG at 4K 30fps, that would be cool.
In theory it should do 4K at 60fps.

I made some comments on the FG forum re using Pi's as glass displays.
Zero could make glass displays and if run in OTG can be powered from the USB ports without uSDs.
I have done a simple artificial horizon in baremetal on a Zero using Ultibo with OpenVG.
https://github.com/Gavinmc42/PFD

I did not expect the Pi's could do the main screen until the Pi4 came out.
A completely Pi based Flight Sim?

Move the instruments to another Pi to render and the outside view to another Pi4.
I think FG might be able to run 4K or at least 1920 x1080 which means those big old TVs can be used.
Some FG guys have got instruments onto tablets with touch interface.
My last smartphone was $35, how to write code for that on the Pi?

So many ways to use PI's for FG.
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Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:10 pm

"Move the instruments to another Pi to render and the outside view to another Pi4."

I didn't want to mention something like that because I have so much to learn. My dream would be a cluster of Pi 4's running FG, dividing up the work.

I signed up for the FG forum to ask questions and bring back the answers to this topic.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:47 am

FG has it's own computer language and the way it works offloading rendering is possible.
If I remember lots of XML code is used for descriptions and flight instrument designs.
Plenty of information in the development forums.

The Pi4 has a bunch of Uarts and these can be used as comms channels to instruments.
FG can use uart comms, I think I have seen Arduinos being used.
FG consists of a bunch of software, SimGear etc.

The terrain stuff can use GIS data and I have played with GIS software, about half of it will install and work on Pi4's.
GrassGIS, OpenGIS.....
3D terrain generation is of interest too.

For the aircraft models themselves, some guys on the Pi forums have shown Baked Textures.
That is a way to get more realist looking models on lower level hardware.
Blender is one common tool but we can only use 2.79 as after that OpenGL3.3 is expected.
I prefer Blender for Artists 1.0 which is an easier to use GUI for Blender 2.79.

We cannot use Cuda but doe300 has made a simple OpenCL on the Videocore4.
The Videocore6 should be able to do OpenCL but it is mostly undocumented.
Python based Videocore6 might be useful for some things.
https://github.com/Idein/py-videocore6

Compute shaders are nearly here with external parties working with RPT.
GLSL shaders now work and I have been playing with them to understand them.
Have tested them in C, C++, Rust, Go, Free Pascal, BBC Basic, Python.
https://github.com/Blakkis/GLSL_Python

Mostly been looking at cloud and water effects and trying to figure out how to make them go faster.
There is some realistic shader cloud code out there now, but we don't have top end Nvidia cards.
Even my work PC struggles with some., but they look so cool.
I hope to learn enough to one day understand those research papers.
Been getting cloud books from the library and learning the names and characteristics.
I so want to do fog in landscapes.

WebGL works well in Chromium and plenty of code runs now.
Kodelife and The Book of Shaders are shader live coders that work on Pi's
Good for testing code quickly.

WebGL/HTML is interesting as those FG tablet instruments do it that way.
Running a browser on a Pi4 should be a faster way to get up and running.
Lots of code bloat but not much different than what guys have already done.

I have moved to Gentoo64 for my development Pi's and Gentoo64 comes with DistCC.
Not sure how to use Distributed Computing to do this or if it could be used.

Lots of bits now work and can be used, but there is so much to choose from.
As you say, so much to learn and I have allocated 5 years for it :lol:
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LTolledo
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:44 am

.....me salivating while reading.... obviously.... I envy you guys... :D

may want to install FlightGear next week as I got another RPi4B-4G inbound (ordered for another purpose, but might as well try it ;) )
any link on the installation procedure will be highly appreciated.
thanks! :D
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Come to me with 'problems' and I'll help you find solutions"

Some people be like:
"Help me! Am drowning! But dont you dare touch me nor come near me!"

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:23 pm

Just go to your software manager and install it. Someone did all the work for us, at least enough to get our feet wet. The install worked like a charm. Dang, me getting called away for dinner.......

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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:45 am

Wonder if it will install on 64bit Ubuntu?
FG is Debian friendly.

The reason I use Gentoo64 is the compiler option -a72 is the default.
In 64bit mode, code could run faster if optimised to use the extra registers 64bit ARM has.

Because FG is so borderline usable every speed tweak needs to be used.
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Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:03 am

I posted a question on the FG Fourm. Some of the dialog is below. Gets into 64 bit.

*******

by Puffergas » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:38 pm

Surprisingly FG runs good enough on a Raspberry Pi4 with 4 GB of memory. However I get a square sun, strange antenna towers and can not see through the spinning prop of the Piper J3.

Is this something that I can fix?

The prop on the Cessna 172? is transparent when throttled up (prop always looks good). Can see through the throttled down prop of the Piper J3 (not transparent but segmented to look like a slow prop).

---------

Postby enrogue » Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:48 am

Hiya

It's hard to say without looking at it :)

It may be related to the OpenSceneGraph version (current flightgear usually uses OSG 3.4.2). Raspbian is 32bit (armhf) and is based on Debian, and by the looks of the debian packaging, the 32bit arm builds are only linked against OSG 3.2

If you're feeling adventurous you could try installing Ubuntu Server from here https://ubuntu.com/download/raspberry-pi & then install lubuntu-desktop to get a gui - then you could try the Ubuntu ppa from here https://launchpad.net/~saiarcot895/+arc ... flightgear

I really need to order an RPi4...

----------

Hi and thanks!

That looks doable. I guess that would give us "OSG 3.4.2"? Is there any other advantage to this install method?

Thanks!

--------

Postby enrogue » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:51 pm

Ubuntu has it's own packages that update twice a year (i.e. faster than Debian/Raspbian), and the above PPA (personal package archive) keeps relatively up to date with Flightgear Stable - including dependencies like OpenSceneGraph

The alternative would be compiling it yourself using the instructions here: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Scripted_Com ... ian/Ubuntu

You would probably then come up against the issue (if you compiled on Raspbian) as to why flightgear on 32bit arm is compiled against osg 3.2 rather than 3.4.2 - but I've no idea really as I've not tried compiling it on arm

-------

Postby wkitty42 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:53 am

enrogue wrote in Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:51 pm:
The alternative would be compiling it yourself using the instructions here: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Scripted_Com ... ian/Ubuntu

or one might use the download_and_compile.sh script (aka dnc) from the FGMeta repository... it, too, is designed around debian-based linux flavors... depending on editing done in the script, one can easily use the latest OSG if they desire... i am on my old kubuntu 14.04.5 systems along with some self-made modifications to use a PPA build of Qt5 in my /opt because the one that comes with 14.04.5 is too old...



URL's

https://ubuntu.com/download/raspberry-pi

https://launchpad.net/~saiarcot895/+arc ... flightgear

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Scripted_Com ... ian/Ubuntu Tons of information. :D

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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:20 am

We now have a 64bit Debian, Ubuntu and Gentoo.
Gentoo64 shows me OpenSceneGraph 3.6.4 is the current version it can use.

Installing the latest from source is a bit more complex.
I have used that method for stuff that has yet to have an ebuild(apt-get) in Gentoo64.
Generally most cmake based installs from source seem to work.
There are some weird build systems that have unusual dependencies that just don't work.

I don't think I have tried FG since I got this 4GB Pi4, most was tested on the 1GB version.
Wrong, I had to google myself, FG did not run on the 1GB, I got it to work on the 2GB first before I had this 4GB.
Yep I had posted an OSG pic.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... h#p1528861

As the Ubuntu and Debian 64bit OS's are so new I have not used them much.
Both are Lite versions without Desktops.
Based on Sakaki's wiki I got Openbox to run on Gentoo64 Lite and a similar method got Openbox running on Debian Lite.
Openbox is the WM - Window Manager, I have no DM - Desktop Manager yet.
Is a WM enough for FG?

In theory Wayland should be faster than x11, not sure if FG can use Wayland.
A tiny bit of fps increase can mean what was usable in a window, is now usable full screen.
I have only just discovered this instruction "vblank_mode=0 glxgears"
Benchmarking OpenGL is needed when comparing various versions of OS and OpenGL drivers.

OpenGL is also possible without x11/WM driving the display via DRM/DRI whatever that is.
Will that be a few fps faster?

Flight Gear is my current stress test game, i don't regard it as usable yet.
Lots to learn to tweak it to go faster.
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Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:48 pm

Just something I posted on the FG Forum (continuation of the above quote):

--------

by Puffergas » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:44 am

enrogue wrote in Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:48 am:
Hiya

"If you're feeling adventurous you could try installing Ubuntu Server from here https://ubuntu.com/download/raspberry-pi & then install lubuntu-desktop to get a gui - then you could try the Ubuntu ppa from here https://launchpad.net/~saiarcot895/+arc ... flightgear"


I bet the binaries, in the above PPA, are compiled for x64 and will not run with the above arm64 Ubuntu OS. Of course it could be compiled for the OS. There is a 64 bit Rasbain in the works so I will put compiling 64 bit on hold until the 64 bit Rasbian is released.

Maybe I could modify the Piper J3 model to not display the prop, for now. Plus, I can learn how to compile the 32 bit version.

-----------

I have no idea if a Window Manager is enough for FG. Good question!

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:27 am

An update from the FG Forum:

-----------------

by enrogue » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:46 am

OK, you can get a working 64bit Ubuntu onto a Raspberry Pi 4 here: https://jamesachambers.com/raspberry-pi ... nofficial/

I verified that it can install the ppa above & run, but it has the same issue as the Raspbian build, so it might not be OpenSceneGraph (it might be the V3D driver). At the moment thats all I have time to test, but with the above instructions you can get an Ubuntu install with accelerated OpenGL etc & run FG - don't bother turning on ALS with either Raspbian or Ubuntu, as it goes very slow & sometimes crashes

You should be able to do a proper download_and_compile.sh run with the Ubuntu install - not sure about Raspbian

Oh the main difference I noticed is that with Ubuntu & the ppa you get the Qt launcher :)
User avatar
enrogue

---------------------

by wkitty42 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:38 pm

enrogue wrote in Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:46 am:
Oh the main difference I noticed is that with Ubuntu & the ppa you get the Qt launcher :)

yup as long as your Qt is at or above the minimum required and all the necessary Qt libs are avail... some installs may be be the entire Qt full install... only certain libs are needed for FG's interface to Qt... there should be an easy to find list of them in the dnc script ;)

------------

The DC3 is very flyable. It took me about 5 aborted approaches but I got it down and taxied to parking. Looks like a tree graphics issue.
DC3.png
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Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:15 pm

Update, short version: I was able to get a 64bit running however there were no noticeable performance improvements and there were issue. Right now it doesn't seem to be worth the effort.

Back to Rasbian: I was able to have the Android app Avare work with FG! So cool to have a real aviation app to work with Pi FG. Later I will explain how to do that.

I noticed a nice performance improvement by reducing my screen resolution to 1280 x 720 and going to full screen. :D

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:14 pm

How to connect the Avare app.

"Avare offers offline moving map on all FAA charts (VFR Sectional, IFR lo/hi enroute, Approach Plate, WAC & TAC); plus A/FD info, Airport Diagrams w/GPS Taxi, and Terminal Procedures. Also: GPS status, Terrain/Elevation Maps, 50 Nearest airports, Obstacles, and more. Some FAA Charts cover Puerto Rico, plus parts of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. All of this is Completely Free with no ads."

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... vare&hl=en



You need ti install the main Avare app and it's IO app.

The below command tells FG what to connect to and it's protocol. This can be placed in the GFly program, command line. Or, if started in Terminal, place the command after FGFS.

--generic=socket,out,2,192.168.40.1,49002,udp,avare

The above address, 192.168.40.1, needs to be the address of the tablet running Avare. It will be displayed in the IO app. The number 49002 needs to be the same number that is in the Avare IO app.

Start FG
Start Avare IO app
Choose XPlane option
Port should be the same as in the above FG command, 49002.
You will find the tablet address here.
Tap on "Listen"
You should see the information sent from FG here.
Start the Main Avare app.
Make sure that the internal GPS is OFF.
Best to configure for only external GPS
Time to make your flight plan and go fly. Before all this you should of downloaded the needed maps and plates.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:19 am

Mesa 19.3.2 is now available.
So many v3d changes it is probably time to retry Flightgear on that.
Will be doing some basic OpenGL bench marking on the weekend, comparing 19.2.4 to 19.3.2.
While OpenGLES has gone from 3.0 to 3.1, OpenGL is still 2.1.
OpenGL only goes to 3.3 when OpenGLES goes 3.3, but the VC6 hardware can only do max OpenGLES 3.2.

So will this new GPU driver stuff help improve FG?
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Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:34 pm

Live meta data doesn't work on the Pi FG ver . 2018 because noaa changed their address after this version was released. There is a fast hack.

- Install ghex.
- Place a copy of fgfs (main program) in a safe place, just in case.
- With ghex search for "http://t" in fgfs.
- Replace "http://tgftp.nws.noaa.gov/data/observat ... /stations/" with "http://mgouin.appspot.com/fg?icao-stati ... ier-name1=".

Of course I am leaving out a lot of small detail.

With live weather it might be better to run in the 800 x 600 window. I have had strange things happen in full screen.

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:30 pm

I can confirm that Logitech/Saitek Pro Flight throttle Quadrant works with FG and Pi. When used with single engine aircraft, it should be plug and play. When used with multi engine aircraft and where one lever controls all the throttles (one lever controls all mixtures, one lever controls all props, etc.) it should be plug and play. However, when each engine is assigned a lever the full range of travel is compermised by 50%.

Long story short; the "offset" and "factor" values need adjusted. The XML config files are found in /home/pi/.fgfs/Input. The first file, below, is with the NASAL code removed.

Code: Select all

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<PropertyList>
  <name type="string">Saitek Saitek Pro Flight Quadrant</name>
    <axis>
    <desc type="string">Mixture All Engines</desc>
    <binding>
      <command type="string">property-scale</command>
      <property type="string">/controls/engines/mixture-all</property>
      <factor type="double">1</factor>
      <offset type="double">0</offset>
    </binding>
    </axis>
  <axis n="1">
    <desc type="string">Throttle Engine 0</desc>
    <binding>
      <command type="string">property-scale</command>
      <property type="string">/controls/engines/engine[0]/throttle</property>
      <offset type="double">-1.0</offset>
      <factor type="double">-0.5</factor>
    </binding>
  </axis>
  <axis n="2">
    <desc type="string">Throttle Engine 1</desc>
    <binding>
      <command type="string">property-scale</command>
      <property type="string">/controls/engines/engine[1]/throttle</property>
      <offset type="double">-1.0</offset>
      <factor type="double">-0.5</factor>
    </binding>
  </axis>
</PropertyList>
The file below is with the original NASAL code.

Code: Select all

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<PropertyList>
  <name type="string">Saitek Saitek Pro Flight Quadrant</name>
  <nasal>
    <script type="string">
   
     var self = cmdarg().getParent();
     var data = self.getNode("data");
     var engine_select_mode  = 0;
     # TM0: All selected; TM1: #1-#3; TM2: #3-#6
     var engine_axis_mode    = 0;
     # Valid only in TM1 and TM2.
     #   EA0: throttle
     #   EA1: mixure
     #   EA2: propeller
     var pressed             = [0,0,0,0,0,0];
     var engine              = [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10];

     # Do per-aircraft modifications
     if (contains({"Aircraft/Short_Empire/Models/Short_Empire-model.xml" : 0,
                   "Aircraft/Lockheed1049/Models/Lockheed1049_twa.xml"   : 0},
                  getprop("/sim/model/path"))) {
       # Map port outer to axis 0, starboard outer to axis 2 and
       # the inner engines to axis 1.
       engine = [0, [1, 2], 3];
     }
     if (contains({"Aircraft/DO-X/Models/dox.xml"   : 0},
                  getprop("/sim/model/path"))) {
       engine = [[0, 1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6, 7], [8, 9, 10, 11]];
     }
     if (contains({"Aircraft/Nordstern/Models/Nordstern.xml"   : 0},
                  getprop("/sim/model/path"))) {
       engine = [0, 1, [2, 3]];
     }

     var kbdctrl  = props.globals.getNode("/devices/status/keyboard/ctrl", 1);
     var kbdalt   = props.globals.getNode("/devices/status/keyboard/alt", 1);

     var axis_handler = func(axis) {
       if (engine_select_mode == 0) {
         if (axis == 0) {
           controls.throttleAxis();
         } elsif (axis == 1) {
           controls.propellerAxis();
         } elsif (axis == 2) {
           controls.mixtureAxis();
         }
       } else {
         controls.perEngineSelectedAxisHandler(engine_axis_mode)
             (engine[axis + 3*(engine_select_mode - 1)]);
       }
     }

     var trace = func(str) {
       # Uncomment the line below to trace button presses.
       #print("Pro-Flight-Quadrant.xml: " ~ str);
     }
   
  </script>
    <module type="string">__js1</module>
  </nasal>
  <axis>
    <desc type="string">Mixture All Engines</desc>
    <binding>
      <command type="string">property-scale</command>
      <property type="string">/controls/engines/mixture-all</property>
      <factor type="double">1</factor>
      <offset type="double">0</offset>
    </binding>
  </axis>
  <axis n="1">
    <desc type="string">Throttle Engine 0</desc>
    <binding>
      <command type="string">property-scale</command>
      <property type="string">/controls/engines/engine[0]/throttle</property>
      <offset type="double">-1.0</offset>
      <factor type="double">-0.5</factor>
    </binding>
  </axis>
  <axis n="2">
    <desc type="string">Throttle Engine 1</desc>
    <binding>
      <command type="string">property-scale</command>
      <property type="string">/controls/engines/engine[1]/throttle</property>
      <offset type="double">-1.0</offset>
      <factor type="double">-0.5</factor>
    </binding>
  </axis>
</PropertyList>
:D

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:51 pm

Phi works with a second Pi. It just needs a browser to display in. To use, pass the command "--htpd=8080 to FG, use your favorite method. Open a browser in the second Pi, or what ever, and use this as the address "192.168.??.??;8080". The ? marks need to be changed to the address of the Pi running FG. I have been using the PFD in Phi on a second Pi with the touch screen, Arvare app on a tablet and running full screen at 1024 x 768 resolution. Oh, plus the throttle quadrant. The little Pi performs outstandingly... :D

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Phi
Phi.jpg
Phi.jpg (218.62 KiB) Viewed 1801 times

A = Main screen running FG.
B = second screen with my checklists.
C = Tablet running Avare.
D = Secound Pi with Phi.
E = Throttle quadrant.

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:37 am

FG was not using all the travel in the Logitech joystick. Same for the throttle quadrant. Also, the quadrant had a dead spot in the center. The fix was found by installing jstest-gtk and calibrating the sticks. Need to figure out how to save these settings, otherwise it needs to be performed at every boot. I think I read somewhere the command -s or something. Don't forget to cycle the hat switch on top of the stick so that panning in the cockpit works. Even though it is made from switches it is considered a proportional input.

Pi temperature running FG:
cruising at altitude the Pi was running at 75c
with fan it was running at 45c. Drops fast after it is turned on. :P

Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:16 pm

Here is the start of the FlightGear Pi4 Wiki page:

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Raspberry_Pi4_How_To

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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:16 am

Cool, an official PI page on the FlightGear wiki.
I found a stick-on small heat sink is very effective, I get enough cooling with the roof ceiling fan on.
Enclosed in a box, then even the smallest fan is ok with a heatsink.

Now that the Pi4 2GB is the same cost, more options are possible for the price.
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Puffergas
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:37 pm

Interestingly, when a FG window is spread across two screens it still works. However, I doubt that it is practical because is becomes a bit choppy (lower FPS) in low scenery density area.
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Gavinmc42
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Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:28 am

Two screens just for the outside views and another Pi for the instruments?
Get faster fps by not mixing the two views?

I would love to try this on a curved wide screen, two of those would be like 180 degree view.
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Puffergas
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:16 am

Re: FlightGear & Pi4

Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:59 pm

My plan is three main screens, front, left and right window. Each screen ran with a Pi4. The front screen would have the master Pi4 streaming data to all the other Pi's. Then a bunch of Pi/touch-screens for instruments. I think it is doable, just not sure how far I'll get.

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