So what do I do if a UK Virtual Gliding Association (UKVGA) multiplayer (MP) event is conducted at time that is not suitable for me? The obvious answer is to download and install the task and then fly it offline at a more convenient time. I can then analyze my IGC logfile captured with the sim_logger FSX add-on and compare my average speed and on-task time with the other club members who participated in the event. The downside to this that I don’t have the other participating members as company while flying the task. However, sim_logger has an option to replay multiple logfiles as AI aircraft. Since UKVGA members are encouraged to post their flight reports with attached IGC logfiles, I can download these and replay them simultaneously while flying the task offline. This simulates flying with the other members in real-time, although I do miss out on the TeamSpeak chat that is an obvious advantage of flying online in MP events.
To demonstrate this, I made a video of my attempt to fly the UKVGA “Camphill Task 8”, which I selected from the extensive range of tasks available on the UKVGA forum. The video is a full flight recording of around one and a half hours, so I have split it into two parts to make uploading to YouTube easier.
YouTube video example flight – PART 1:
YouTube video example flight – PART 2:
Replaying IGC logfiles can be activated by storing the logfiles downloaded from the UKVGA forum in a sub-folder below your saved flights with the same name as the task flight. Then you have to enable the replay option in the sim_logger menu if it is not already enabled. The sim_logger add-on will then load and replay all logfiles in that subfolder synchronized correctly with your local sim time. You can then launch either before, during or after the AI gliders and fly with them on the cross-country task, albeit without being able to communicate with the other pilots using the TeamSpeak chat facility.
Due to the way FSX renders AI aircraft, the replay is not always perfect in every respect. For example if you see a replayed glider with the landing wheel down on the ground before launching and then later encounter that same glider after the pilot has raised the landing gear, the wheel may be still displayed in the down position because you were not present to witness the wheel being raised. Also for FSX Steam Edition users like myself, you may find the sim_logger default settings cannot be changed by editing the supplied .ini file. So the replay option will always be enabled by default , which can be annoying in some circumstances but you can always disable this option for the current flight session by using the sim_logger sub-menu in the FSX Add-ons menu. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the advantage of being able to fly in company with the other gliders outweighs any minor irritations like those mentioned.
Obviously, flying MP flights online is the best option if the event time and date is suitable but if you cannot join the event for whatever reason, flying the task offline at a more suitable time using sim_logger to replay the IGC logfiles of the other participants is the next best option.
I highly recommend the sim_logger add-on for FSX to any virtual cross country soaring enthusiasts wanting to record and analyze their flight and also to those wanting to simulate multiplayer events when flying offline by using the sim_logger replay option. For more information about sim_logger go this link: sim_logger by Ian Forster-Lewis