It has been close to 6 months since POSCON last released a development update to the community. Development seems to have progressed very well and the February 2020 Dev Update by Andrew H. is consequently huge and bears a lot of news.
The pilots public Invite-Only Beta is around the corner. Invites have been sent to the selected pilots who have previously subscribed. There has been up to 700 invitations for Phase 1 pilots. Those pilots will soon receive an approval email. ATC are still hand-picked by the POSCON Staff and will be under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. ATC is still under heavy work, and ATC stations will be scarce during the first weeks of Pilots Public Beta.
Servers and Infrastructure
The servers and infrastructures will be provided by Google Cloud, as stated in their August Dev update. The servers are built in order to support many simultaneous connections, but this number has not been disclosed so far. Connections overload have sometimes plagued the other networks, especially during busy events ; this feature has received special care. The update rate of the server to the client is range based, in order to put off calculation weight. The closest range will update model position up to 15 times per second.
The server will be able to locate a pilot within specific airspace ; this will be used in the future for ATC related functionality.
The POSCON website has seen major work too. Pilots will have the ability to submit flightplans under the ICAO 2012 format directly from the website. There will be a live map, updated every 2 seconds, where users will be able to leave feedback about each other. This feature will of course be moderated. The website will also feature an integrated support system, and users will be able to consult various basic flight statistic.
Pilot Clients and User Interface
POSCON network will be compatible with FSX, P3D and X-Plane. While there will be small differences between platforms, they will all retain the same basic features.
- VHF push to talk activation indicator (to avoid overlapping another transmission accidentally)
- Ability to control the maximum of displayed aircraft for better performance.
- Automatic detection of change in aircraft in sim.
- Error messages explaining reasons for disconnection
- Ghost mode – this mode will activate as soon as the client detects the sim enters slew mode, replay or deliberate pausing. Pausing is however allowed when the client is on the ground.
- X-Plane customers will also be able to monitor closely the ground speed and control the AI model and sounds that are used. These are distributed through the client itself.
- FSX and P3D models are integrated through the FLAi system, already in use with VATSIM.
- Pilots appearing on a runway or repositioning on a runway through a menu will automatically be disconnected.
In addition to this in-game client, the pilot will be able to use a web interface that will enable the following features :
- Partial CPDLC
- D-ATIS (only the text part works for now, but voice D-ATIS is planned)
- METAR/TAF reports
- Radio synchronization
- Ghosting mode toggle
While POSCON was expecting to use the Teamspeak 3 technology for the network, it will no longer be the case. The team has been hard at work implementing their own infrastructure, that they say is future-proof. The main features of the new voice system are as follows :
- Ground base transceiver locations
- Realistic propagation laws with terrain line of sight, wavelength and beat simulation.
- Terrain line-of-sight implementation
- Separate Push To Talk for VHF1 and VHF2, separate volume control, separate audio devices (which should please very much home cockpit builders)
- 8.33 kHz spacing
These features will be centralized using a Single Sign On technology. There will be a POSCON Launcher, that targets at bringing to POSCON an experience similar to Steam or other game launchers. The launcher will hence:
- Download, install, update and launch all POSCON software
- Switch between development and stable release
- Token authentication.
Overall, the update is huge. The good news is that POSCON seems well on track for general public release. The next big phase will be the public beta, where all the systems are really going to be put up to test. Make sure to stay tuned on FSElite for further information on this promising network.