Overhead Panels and Interfacing
This software allows you to simulate the complex system logics found in heavy transport aircraft. It can be used both as a pure software interface and / or to provide logics for custom hardware.
The executable of pmSystems itself is in no way type specific (see below for the planned release of aircraft types) as it uses special configuration files for both the graphics and the logical connections needed to represent an overhead panel and its systems. Please read the article below for more background.
This software was written for Microsoft FS98, FS2000, FS2002, FS2004, FSX, ESP, Prepar3D and X-Plane.
Variables are defined in plain text and are/can be connected to FSUIPC offsets
- Uses OpenGL vector graphics and high-res bitmaps for best quality
- Can be used as software or as a logics interface to your hardware
- Design and Run-Time Environment
- Smooth scrolling (Mouse/Mousewheel) motion and Pre-Defined views
- Cut, Copy and Paste facilities for Graphics Elements
- Extremely flexible, can essentially allow to construct your own overhead panel
- Various aircraft types supported (737, 747, 777, A320… or whatever you want to use it for)
- Extended Touchscreen Support
- InterfaceIT (Flightdeck Solutions)
- Precision Flight Controls Overhead Panel
- CPFlight Overhead Panel
- Cockpitsonic Overhead Panels
- Direct connection to virtually any hardware via FSUIPC Offsets
Project Magenta has been focusing on the Flight Management aspect of airliners over the last couple of years. The actual systems, with all its synoptics and additional displays in the Glass Cockpit have been left aside until a certain level is reached.
The main reason for this is that what we do is more of a horizontal development, spanning various types of aircraft, continuously evolving the realism of whatever we are offering.
This would be the opposite from most other add-on makers, i.e. selecting a very particular aircraft or type-range and developing it vertically as far as possible, inside of MSFS and with all the necessary overhead panels and addtional gauges that would be expected in a complete cockpit.
As we already support a number of aircraft, simply because the cockpit builder community can’t be forced to accept only one given aircraft type at a time, the task of providing these additional features is a rather big one, and a very efficient solution had to be found.
Based on the experience made while programming the IFR Panel (of all possible sources) some first steps have been made to cover this area as well. On the right, you can see various tests to understand the similarities and differences of the various overhead panels. These experiements are used to define the offsets, the user-interface, the definition of the various elements that will be part of this software.
Imagine a tool that lets us (at first) define the graphics of an overhead panel, a radio console, a selector box… whatever. Once the static elements are defined, the components such as switches and displays are associated to FSUIPC offsets which are read by the various programs, in particular our Glass Cockpit for display and operation. In addition to that, conditions can be defined, such as one switch becoming unavaliable because a pump is not activated or the electrical system isn’t engaged yet. All the images on the right were generated with pure text-driven commands, not hard-coded programming within PM Systems itself.
The benefits are clear… users without a full cockpit construction can use this software as an interface to the remaining software, cockpit builders wire their switches into whatever hardware they choose to do that, and once it sets the states in the FSUIPC offsets, interaction becomes possible. Definition of keystrokes has also been catered for.
Why a user interface and a language? While the last word hasn’t been said yet, the general intention is to involve the “Project Magenta” community (if it can be seen as such, and I surely do) into the process of constructing these things. You need a Canadair overhead panel? You want to program the radio console? It might become possible.
Even if that is not done, once the core is defined, internal development of any such panels will become a very flexible task, rather than having to re-invent the wheel every single time, tediously changing hard-coded functions.
pmSystems – Much more than just overhead panels…