Mobile flight simulator Infinite Flight continues to improve and enrich the experience for users. This time, the focus has shifted to ensuring that the user interface (UI) continues to be intuitive and flexible as the simulator continues to expand and grow. Jason, part of the Digital Marketing team at Infinite Flight, published a small blog post detailing some of the reasons for change and shared an animated preview of one of the more significant updates to the UI.
One of the key areas in which the team felt improvement was needed was for how many of the critical controls for a flight all sat on the same side of the screen as the rudder controls were. In the blog post, Jason said that this could be a “real challenge in-flight,” in particular when preforming a crosswind landing and go-arounds. The current set-up means that you have to release your left hand to take control of other functions, meaning you can’t control the rudder. Whilst this will be a change for users who are already used to the controls, the feedback from internal and beta testers has so far been well received.
Because of the nature of the app, physical buttons and hardware are replaced by touchscreen gestures and buttons. This means that the UI has been designed primarily with muscle memory in mind. As system complexity gets more detailed and additional live-cockpit features are added, the team need to be mindful of how the UI can be used to interact with these new elements. Infinite Flight are currently working on a new multi-tiered menu system which will give the pilots more control, but without taking up too much space on the screen. As Infinite Flight adds new features and systems, this new UI will enable flexibility for the developers. A small preview animation image was shared (but subject to change).
Commenting on why Infinite Flight hasn’t made a system where you can interact in the 3D cockpit, Jason had this to say: “This is of course something we considered, but it was discarded for the time being for several reasons. First, activating controls in 3D requires the user to first pan the camera and often zoom in/out which can be very distracting, especially during important phases of your flight. In addition, it takes a lot of precision to be able to push a button or turn a dial in 3D, and can be difficult to repeat with no mistakes. Lastly, 2D UI are easier to learn and build muscle memory with, especially on small screens.”
Jason did conclude by saying that whilst this is the case right now, it isn’t to say it may be an option in the future.
In the meantime, as development and testing continue, Infinite Flight are looking for people to offer feedback on their thoughts of the new system. You can find out more about Infinite Flight on their website.
If you’re attending Flight Sim 2019 at RAF Cosford next month, Infinite Flight will be exhibiting and presenting.