Scratchpad/kneeboard/EFB/windows overlay

Check also https://fskneeboard.com/

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https://fskneeboard.com/

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Have a look, just updated to version 2.6:

Really like fskneeboard. Looks like it is in pretty active development. There is a free and pro version where you pay what you think it’s worth.

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I’m using fskneeboard too, pro version. The price is not high at all, and the developer is always available via Discord. For me it’s a must have.

… oh and did I mention the autosave feature, a life-saver for those plagued by CTDs in VR?

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Updated thoughts:
Although currently some awesome products on the market that can achieve basic kneeboard+scratchpad operations, giving that Asobo has stated they will make some major improvements for the VR part in the future, I’d still like to see a VR kneeboard that allows us to accomplish basic kneeboard tasks being provided natively.


Ultimately, a desktop(background) window overlay system should be a “one size fits all” solution due to its versatility and infinite possibility, though it might not be something easier to be achieved. There are products like OVR Toolkit available for such functionality, but I think a native solution made with the collaboration with Microsft’s own WMR team might just better address the changing of focus issue when switching the focus between the overlaid window and the cockpit(“the sim world”) or at least make the interacting with the overlaid window more seamless.


All in all, the idea is, having something that does what a real kneeboard can do. (Though giving the digitalization nowadays, we may eventually need the functionalities that an EFB/EFB software(such as foreflight) can provide.) Well, what they can do/provide?:

  1. Displaying materials: IFR charts, VFR sectional charts, any paper products. To achieve this, we need a file(pdf, jpg, txt…) display system that can be easily managed and navigated through in game.

  2. Writing down: take notes on a blank page, of course, most kneeboard addons out there can do this; but also, have the ability to write down/draw ON the aforementioned materials! Sometimes pilots IRL would make some notes/marks on the charts during planning, preflight or in-flight; or they just need to write down something very quickly and that chart is just the one readily available; or they have to modify the marks on the VFR chart that previously made before the flight; or they need to fill the navigation log when they doing the navigation in an old-school fashion or training.


A possible solution could be: make the background image of the scratchpad page customizable by a jpg image, pdf file, excel sheet…or combine 1 and 2 all together: resizable windows in VR can display a file in the disk, and let the user drawing and erasing on it. Ideally, it should be able to display at least two of these windows at the same time(one usually has two knees:) ), and each window contains several pages that can be flipped.


Other than the functionality part, another important aspect is the interaction part. As mentioned before, it is good to have the transaction of the cursor between the VR sim world and the kneeboard window seamlessly without changing the focus: you can just move the cursor into the window to interact with its content or drawing and move out, and still be able to fly at the sometime. Moreover, drawing with a mouse could be painful, so it will be nice to have the tablet/pen·graphic·drawing tablet support, just like the VRK addon in the DCS world. VRK - a virtual reality enabled kneeboard with touch and ink support - Mods and Apps - ED Forums


The next good stuff that would be much appreciated is… a calculator! Be it a “Whiz Wheel” (flight computer like the mighty E6B, a digital flight computer, or just a regular number pad calculator, or both, it will be much needed for old-school flyers or a student pilot that like to take the advantage of the sim to practice more.


I hope these thoughts could be somewhat useful for Asobo to make the VR and the sim better and better, more and more real. Thank you very much!

I couldn’t agree more. It’s pretty much impossible to fly in VATSIM because of lack of charts and being able to write down ATC instructions. Even GA flying is crippled. First, VR controllers have to be supported. Hopefully later this year. Here’s link to my topis, vote if you haven’t already: VR Controller support is missing. Please add in addition to 3D mouse
But having that, a good EFB would be great for immersion. My ideal EFB for VR would be very close to yours:

  • Load charts not just from a subscription service (can’t justify Navigraph, not regular engough flyer) but PDFs and images and text files
  • several tabs to easily group charts and materials by Departure / En route / Arrival / Alternate for example and other features below.
  • Possibly have a 2-page mode so two sources can be selected (STAR and runway plate for example)
  • Handwrite right in those charts with a tablet or VR controller
  • Have a notepad with built-in keyboard to type in with controller (similar to AviTab in Xplane)
  • Make it appear as an actual iPad or a similar tablet. It would increase immersion and realism to have a virtual tablet that actually looks like one, instead of a window floating in space, and can be repositioned realistically. May clip to the yoke etc. AviTab has this, but planes have to be modified to accomodate. In MSFS if Asobo did this, it could be universal. In airliners that have INOP tablets now (which is shame) it could actually appear there.
  • Alternatively, have it on the actual knee! Can even grow in size when you look at it, like VRK does. Can also look like a 3D tablet stapped to a knee. Come to think of it, why don’t you see your body, hands and legs when you are in VR? Having a copilot on some mods adds a lot to realism, but seeing yourself would look much more natural too. And a kneeboard can be on an actual knee!
  • Calculator and assorted helper apps.
  • Pushback control and ground services
  • Actually, the whole menu could be moved there so it interferes with “reality” much less than it is now. ATC should really be voice-operated, like Pilot2ATC does for ages. But until it is - it can be there too. Much less annoying. Weather control etc. - everything could be there for VR.
  • Tablet support - integrate the ability to localize a digitizer to the tablet area, or optionally once controllers are supported, limit mouse movement there (as an option that can be disabled). That way one could rig a digitizer tablet and write down things without having to switch between digitizer and VR controller.
  • Moving map will obviously look and feel much better in such kneeboard.
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Updates 2021/07/27:
Some videos from Foreflight, explaining its multiple template scratchpad, and annotations function for maps, charts, documents. I think they could be good references for making a good “digital scratchpad”.

But I still believe it is an easier way to do it, if the background of the scratchpad is changeable or drawing can be done on every “window(chart viewer, pdf viewer, etc)”. That way you can make all kinds of modifications by yourself to achieve similar functionality.

That would be perfect!

Hello,

Here’s my offer for a virtual scratchpad usable in VR, I hope I’m not breaking any rules by providing this solution based on maximus’ addon :
Download [RE-RELEASE] Extra Toolbar Buttons/Windows Template (follow the link, then, when on github, click on the green button “code” then select “Download ZIP”.

From the zip folder, extract “maximus-ingamepanels-custom” folder to your Community folder.
Then go in Community\maximus-ingamepanels-custom\html_ui\InGamePanels\CustomPanel
Edit CustomPanel.js : replace ‘https://www.ipify.org/’ with ‘https://www.autodraw.com/

Save & start FS, enjoy your new scratchpad.
Instead of autodraw, you could also use another online notepad app of your choice.

Edit: Only downside is that keys binded to any action will also execute that action when you type in the scratchpad, the workaround is to remove or rebind problematic keybinds (a…z & A…Z & 0…9 & whichever other keys you might use while typing)

I vote for a native kneeboard that shows skyvector and jamboard. Skyvector can be controlled with the mouse and a virtual keyboard, jamboard with my iPad, where I can take my notes and see them come up on my kneeboard while wearing a reverb 2 VR.

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And even better if we can draw directly on skyvector etc. as well.

So I’ve tried several 3rd party products mentioned here and none of them work with a Wacom tablet and pen in VR. The pen cursor skips all over the place. I’ve asked the developers of these products if they have plans to make this functional. They either never responded or told me that the problem lies with Asobo’s 3D mouse system. I filed a Zendesk ticket about this. It would be nice if it were functional with products currently out when VR controllers come out in SU7 even if the “in-game” tablet from Asobo was further down the line.

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this!
Thats also one of the 2 probs with pointctrl

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Yeah. I really wish PointCTRL can someday become working in MSFS2020. Without a better way to interact with the virtual world(plane), VR is just broken. VR controller support is good but they’re lame since you can’t wear it on your hands without not interfering with the yoke/stick, and you can’t really draw with them with an acceptable speed and accuracy.

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Hi!
Yes, I’m the developer of all items of that web. I’ve changed the domain to flightsimulator.me and the content is the same with more updates.
Please, visit www.flightsimulator.me and check my panels:

FlightSimulator.me - Ingamepanel VFRMap Enhanced for Flight Simulator v1.9

FlightSimulator.me - Ingamepanel PDF VIEWER for Flight Simulator v1.4

FlightSimulator.me - Ingamepanel NAVMAP for Flight Simulator v1.6

And more…

Regards.