[WIP] ALBATROSS MSFS Competitions app

ALBATROSS is a Microsoft Flight Simulator competitions app, focused on gliders at the moment, but also air race support planned to be implemented in the near future.

Application provides functionality:

  • download, install and delete tasks
  • display task information (currently website link)
  • set current pilot name for leaderboard appearance (will be replaced with registration in future)
  • set start/finish gates and turning points parameters (locked if event manager set these values in task manually); height in feet, MSL (i.e. barometric, match barometer value), width in meters
  • start task in training or competition mode (last one available only after start gates are open at configured by event manager date and time); after competition ends – you can choose the task as a training
  • fully integrated Kinetic Assistant
  • automatic timings capture for start/finish crossing and turn points rounding
  • results and flight track transfer to the server for public review after finish
  • save program log and flight track in CACHE folder for personal analysis
  • Esc key can be used to freeze the timer
  • Detected inappropriate actions, like slew mode, working engine, active tow/winch, will reset the race

Program in early development stage, but you can help with testing.
Detailed instructions and download link can be found on Touching Cloud official website ALBATROSS MSFS competitions - Touching Cloud

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And today we have prepared the next gliding competition for you - Race 125 LFNJ. Location - South-East France, LFTM - LFNJ. Task length - 125km, duration - about a hour. Start gate open from today until 2021-02-22 12:00:00 UTC.

Variable S-E wind will help you to stay in the air by following east and south side hills, but also strong thermals can be found near to each turn point to you out.

Please notice that thermals leaning implemented in current ALBATROSS version (btw don’t forget to get update or results will be not counted), so you will experience a small shift of the thermals to the west direction. Thermals drifting is disabled during competition to ensure that all players will have thermals at the same spots.

Our last weekend task Race 350 EDKG available again, it is the hard one so be sure you have enough time and patient to finish it.

We are still in testing stage of ALBATROSS development process so feel free to report about any issues you will find, or wishes you can have. No glider class limits at this time, use anything you like, just don’t forget to kill the engine. Good luck!

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We wish to thank everyone who participated in our last event!

And today we are happy to invite you to a new gliding competition - Race 220 LSTS – Touching Cloud
Difficulty level above average, so take your time to learn the map and plan your route.

Please get the latest version of ALBATROSS app ALBATROSS MSFS competitions - Touching Cloud as it contain a lot of improvements - better checkpoints passing calculations, improved user interface, online pilots counter for each competition (please select preferred server to make it accurate), and task export button into “TSK” format, so you can load flight plane into your favorite glider nav client, like XCSoar. Also, you can send training flight data to the same as in competition, just press SAVE button after finish and your record will be stored under leaderboard.

See you in the skies of Switzerland!

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We are ready for the new gliding competition - Race 250 LSZE!

250 kilometers long task in Swiss Alps a good challenge for the brave glider pilots. 20 knot S-E wind, 25 Celsius degrees ground level temperature and 9 000ft clouds will help you to stay airborne for a long time.

Please update ALBATROSS to the latest version as we are applying changes continuously. In the new version “nav screen” was introduced in its early form, not very fancy but still useful for points rounding or thermals searching.

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We have started to work on a new feature of Kinetic Assistant and ALBATROSS - Ghost Replay. It is quite a special feature for MSFS - unlike other replay tools, it does affect not your aircraft but insert and animate AI aircraft instead.

First and simplest usage of it - animate the tow plane so it will follow recorded route instead of pulling your glider into the bushes. Please read the latest ALBATROSS version about how to make it work. Leave a comment if you know a better way how it can be used.

Record/play buttons are also available but they are poorly tested, so we not recommend to use them, but you still can try. By any cost don’t use these buttons during competition (recording happens automatically).

Now bad news. We experience various freezes during the competition. In my case I have a slideshow started right after I reach start gates. First thought - something is wrong with ALBATROSS, but step by step it became clear that issue in the game itself - even without any SimConnect programs running and empty Community folder, it is still doing it. It may happen on the first waypoint, or last, so we have not found any clear reason. Let us know if you will find any dependency.

Happy gliding! If MSFS will allow you…

A very nice low altitude race! :sweat_smile:

I had for the first time the same FPS drop issue on the course. I thought this was my setup but it seems not. The GPU (3080FE) was not used much but the CPU (i9 10900k) was almost at maximum on all cores. I had to cut all other SimConnect clients to lower the CPU load (FSUIPC, SPAD.neXt, RealSimGear, LittleNavMap…). It was better but I couldn’t get a really correct and smooth behavior back. Maybe there is a specific MSFS problem with the SimConnect multiplayers live data (there were a lot of people around) or the scene/terrain there. I will also try to remove the EDFY airport addon…

Anyway the differences between competitors seem to be timed in minutes and not in seconds on this race ;-).

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Our current gliding competition - Race-159-EDFY goes wrong because of ALBATROSS issue - time counter works much slower than should. As a result - final time is about x2 times smaller than should.

It’s too late to publish hotfix so if some of you still have plans to complete it - you can do it but don’t be surprised by the wrong time value. We will include fix and also further improvements in next update which will be released in days.

It was very strange because I had two different behaviors. At the first try, the time counter was counting at high speed (x2 realtime). I aborted several attempts. At the last one it was half the real time as you told.

Did you change something regarding the thermals model between V0.3 and V0.4.1? It found much more difficult to get them on this stressful race :hot_face: .

time difference happened because waypoint and tracking scripts has their own calculations, that was not a good idea. will be fixed soon.

yes, thermals are different now. still working on the adjustments so will be better soon.

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Thank you again for your great work!

Another question on another topic. I saw you were using XCSoar app while flying. How do you manage to connect its Windows version to MSFS? I tried with a gateway App called FS2020NMEA but with no success.

On the other hand, I managed to have it worked with the Android tablet version of XCSoar by using this generic fake gps application which connects to a SimConnect client running on the sim PC. This can be of course used for many other Android "fly"applications…

there is XCSoar IP option in Kinetic Assistant settings, i.e. built in NMEA export script. works perfectly fine with smartphone, but it has problems with desktop XCSoar as well - I think it is a bug with their TCP script. I have connected to the listened by kinetic port with Putty (network testing tool) and it can read NMEA data without problem. My conclusion - XCSoar desktop client is broken.

Awesome, I never thought it was already built into Kinetic Assistant (Should I read the manual more deeply :thinking: ?). It’s even simpler and it avoids launching lots of other hard-to-find applications. Thanks!

Main reason to make it was turn points indication for ALBATROSS. unfortunately, there is no way to indicate thermals anyhow. But still I like the idea of using RL apps and devices for the games so it some sort of training as well.

Looks like time comes - we have created a Discord server. We spent a lot of time to keep discussion with all our testers and users as everyone has own preferable way to communicate, so we propose to get together on Discord: https://discord.gg/6rueC2c8qc

Several purposes for this server - we can publish testing updates privately and you will be able to get notifications quickly, and also provide feedback easily. If you are just flying, you can contact other pilots in text or voice channels created for each of our competitions.

You will continue to receive news and updates here, but Discord proved to be the best way to communicate with players around the world, especially when competition happens.

If you have a Discord account, just follow this link https://discord.gg/6rueC2c8qc and let me know that you are willing to get access to the testing discussion channel.

If you have no Discord, you can create an account at https://discord.com and use a web client.

See you online!

We are ready to introduce a new gliding competition - short range race in the skies of the Central Eastern Alps. Home airfield - LOIJ Sankt Johann Airport based in Austria, well-known glider airfield nestles in an open valley basin in the KitzbĂĽhel Alps.

100 kilometers long route, 10 knots S-E wind, lower clouds layer at 8000ft. Wonderful views and perfect weather will make this trip truly enjoyable. Unfortunately, we haven’t finished all planned ALBATROSS features, but a new version will be released tomorrow anyway.

This weekend we propose to join our new gliding competition - Race 133 MONACO. 133 kilometers route in-between Italy and France with beautiful views and salt breeze. Use ridge lift and hot spots wisely to make the best time!

New ALBATROSS version was released as well. This time we introduce competitors’ ghosts - if someone has already completed a task, you can choose up to three records so they will start the race along you. This feature is still in development, so you can experience various issues - like rough animation, unstable glider speed, or even losing connection with the game. To solve the last one try to set a lower frequency moving green slider to the left.