Xsquawkbox X Plane 11

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This is a new CSL package for XSquawkBox and potentially other X-Plane pilot clients. It uses the 'next gen' OBJ8 format to support animations and modern rendering techniques. It is based on Bluebell's WorldTraffic AI models. It includes 80 different aircraft types and approximately 1,800 liveries. XSquawkBox - is plugin for online flight in Vatsim Network (like X-IvAp for IVAO). X-CSL-Package also works with this plugin. This is the step-by-step example of X-CSL-Package installation in X-Plane 9.70 (Windows, xsquawkbox 1.0.6 allready installed).

Due to some key behaviours in X-Plane that differ to its competitors, it isnecessary to ensure X-Plane is correctly adjusted to maintain a stable framerateabove 20fps. XSquawkBox recommends that you target 30-35fps to ensure thatyou do not experience significant slowdowns that result in the simulator’s “timedilation” effect from being applied. “Time dilation” causes significant issuesfor traffic separation and sequencing and is not permitted on the network.

Laminar Software maintains documentation on how to set the rendering optionscorrectly forX-Plane 10and forX-Plane 11.

In addition to Laminar’s notes, we offer the following guidance:

  • Read Laminar’s guides and follow the steps, looking at frame times andadjusting settings as your first port of call before resorting to a graphicsdetail autoadjusting tool - getting the settings right first will generallyhelp immensely, and let the detail autoadjusting tool deal with theunexpected.
  • X-Plane 11 was released in 2016 and targetted hardware contemporary for thetime. If you only have an older system, do consider using X-Plane 10 instead.
    • In the XSB team’s experience, older (DDR3 memory equipped) systems havesignificant difficulties running X-Plane 11 with higher CPU-dependentsettings - even an i7-4770, once a top of the line i7 CPU, struggles inX-Plane 11 with the world object setting set to medium, but can handleX-Plane 10 easily.
  • X-Plane 11 can produce highly variant frame-rates based on the scene contents- a properly tuned top-end system can produce 35-40fps on approach, and over90fps in flight. This variance can be easily demonstrated byswitching to an external camera, moving the camera clear of the aircraft, andthen pitching the view up and down through 180 degrees, watching the framerateas you do it. Tuning must be performed in areas with high complexity sceneryareas, with the camera pointed at the terrain for best results.
  • Scenery, Plugins and Add-on Aircraft can all dramatically change the minimumsystem requirements.
    • In particular, whilst alpilotx’s HD and UHD terrain meshes look great,they seriously increase the CPU burden for the same rendering settings dueto their autogen density.
    • XSB, and any other plugins that use xplanemp, require additional texturememory on top of what the simualtor uses by default to load aircrafttextures on the fly - high traffic situations may result in significantincreases in required texture memory. Being conservative with the texturememory slider if you know you’re going to enter a high traffic event iswell advised. If your settings result in X-Plane needing more texturememory than your system has available, it will result in a severedegradation of your frame-rate.
  • Do not set texture quality to the Uncompressed option (the very highestsetting) - there’s absolutely no cause for it. If you’re finding an add-on’stextures look poor with compressed textures enabled, you should report theissue to the add-on developer - such issues only tend to occur with assetsthat do not ship with precompressed textures as the real-time compressoris not as good as the offline tools. The same applies to CSLs that look poorwith compressed textures enabled - report such issues to the CSL author.

Connecting to the Network¶

To connect to the network, access the “Plugins” menu at the top of the screen,select “XSquawkBox” and then pick “Connect…”. A dialog box will come upasking for the following fields:

Callsign
Xsquawkbox

The callsign you will be known as on the network for this session. Itmust include only letters, numbers, hypens or underscores.

Examples: N1943, DAL2024, VH-RDO

Real Name

Your full name (or otherwise as permitted by VATSIM Policy).

Examples: John Q. Smith

Server

The VATSIM Server name (e.g: AUSTRALIA, USA-W, etc), IP addressor fully-qualified domain name of your server.

You generally want to pick a server from the dropdown list that is closestto you geographically.

Note

Do not attempt to connect to AFVDATA - it’s not a real server.

How To Install Xsquawkbox X Plane 11

PlaneXsquawkbox

If you want to connect to localhost or other single element domainname, you MUST use the IP address instead - single-element namesare interpreted as server list entries.

Port
The port for the server you will connect to. This should be set to 6809when on the VATSIM network.
ID

Your pilot’s ID, also known as your Certificate ID. It’s a number youreceive when you sign up to VATSIM.

Example: 1810123

Password

The password for your VATSIM account - given to you when you sign up forVATSIM. This is case-sensitive so make sure you enter your password exactlyas issued. It will appear as stars so that other people cannot read it.

Caution

The text/traffic server does not handle your password in a case-sensitivemanner, but the voice servers do. If you get the case in your passwordincorrect, you will be able to connect, but voice will fail.

Aircraft Model

The ICAO equipment code of your aircraft.

If you do not know the correct 4 letter equipment code, you can type a fewletters from the name or ICAO code of this airplane, then click on thecorrect item in the menu to set it; XSquawkBox will search its database ofthousands of aircraft and show you named matches.

Note

It is important that you select an item from the popup, even if it’s theonly match, otherwise the change will not take effect!

Airline

(optional) The 3 letter ICAO airline code that you want your aircraft toappear as to others.

Xsquawkbox

If you don’t know the correct code, you may pick an airline by typing partof its name, and clicking on the correct airline from the menu. Or you mayleave this blank.

Livery
(optional) For some aircraft, multiple paint schemes are defined. Thisoptional setting will let you nominate a specific sub-livery that youraircraft should appear as to others.

Note

The aircraft, airline and livery you pick in XSquawkBox are used to tellother pilots on the network what your plane looks like. You do not have topick values that match your plane in X-Plane. For example, if you are flyinga SWA 737 400 in X-Plane you could pick a UAL 737 800 when you connect.

That said, you should not list yourself as a very different planes. Forexample, should you fly an FA-18 but list yourself as aircraft model codeC172, then other users will see a Cessna 172 flying at 350 knots, whichwill look very strange.

Once you’ve filled in the necessary fields, click the connect button; you willsee the prompt “Connecting…” at the top of your screen. If the login issuccessful, you will then see the welcome message for the VATSIM network. If youcannot login, you will receive an error message. If the server cannot bereached at all, you will simply see “You have been disconnected.”

Disconnecting from the Network¶

To disconnect from the network, access the “Plugins” menu at the top of thescreen, select “XSquawkBox” and then pick “Disconnect”. After a second or two,the message “Disconnected” will appear on the screen.

You may also be disconnected inadvertently due to internet problems, if asupervisor removes you from the network, or if XSquawkBox detects a problem withyour simulator configuration.

Operating the Transponder¶

A transponder is a radio transmitter and receiver on your airplane that helpsair traffic controllers identify you on their radar screens. The transpondertransmits a four-digit code (often called a “squawk code”) that identifiesyour aircraft.

The transponder on your airplane’s panel controls your squawk code as seen byair traffic control on the network. If you do not have a transponder on yourplane’s panel, you will not be able to change your transponder settings and maynot be allowed on the network.

Tip

You can add a transponder to your aircraft’s panel using Plane-Maker. Youshould refer to the Plane-Maker documentation for further information.

Use the keyboard or mouse to change transponder codes as assigned by ATC. Do notever let the transponder read 7500, 7600, or 7700; as in real lifethis will trigger alerts for ATC.

Use the transponder controls in your aircraft to toggle between standby andMode C (Typically labelled ALT, although in TCAS equipped aircraft with acombined mode knob, the TA and TA/RA settings will also work).

To send an ident signal (“Squawk Ident”), click the ‘ident’ button on yourtransponder on the x-plane panel with the mouse. You should only do this asexplicitly directed by ATC.

Using the Radio¶

Caution

Even if you are familiar with XSquawkBox 1.x - please make sure to read thissection as some very important details have changed.

Unlike XSquawkbox 1, which could only send and receive text on COM1, and couldonly transmit voice on COM1, XSquawkBox 2 makes full use of audio panel controlsand fully supports sending and receiving on both radios, both in text and usingvoice.

Transmissions (both voice and text) will be sent to the selectedtransmission radio.

XSquawkBox 2 supports 8.33Khz tuning over both voice and text, although theVATSIM network currently does not. You should only use 25Khz radio frequencies.

Note

There is a long standing error in VATSIM usage with many ATC and Pilotclients, and consequentially, users, reporting x.x25MHz and x.x75MHzfrequencies incorrectly as being x.x20MHz and x.x70MHz respectively.

XSquawkBox now corrects all usage of .x20 and .x70 to their correctfrequencies. This will cause some deviation from VATspy, or other tools,but you will get the correct behaviour when you tune the correctedfrequency.

Tuning via Commands¶

XSquawkBox permits tuning the radio by issuing a // or /// command in thetext radio entry box.

To tune COM1, you can enter //<freq> and that will tune the active COM1frequency. You can also use //-<freq> to tune the standby frequency. Forexample, entering //122.80 will tune 122.800MHz on COM1.

Similarly, for COM2, you can enter ///<freq> and that will tune the activeCOM2 frequency. You can also use ///-<freq> to tune the standby frequency.

Tip

XSquawkBox will deal with skipped trailing zeros, and, as of 2.0 (stable)will set .x2 and .x7 to the correct channels whereas previous versionswould not.

e.g: entering //119.27 or //119.270 will tune 119.275MHz, and//132.8 will tune 132.800MHz as expected.

Using Text¶

Xsquawkbox X-plane 11

When you receive a text message on a tuned radio, it’ll appear in the textwindow. If the text window is hidden, it’ll automatically unhide for a fewseconds so you can read the message, before hiding again.

You can toggle visibilty of the text window using the key or button bound toxsquawkbox/command/toggle_text_window. (Recommended key “Keypad -“)

To transmit on text, make sure you have the correct transmission radio selectedon your radio panel, and press the key bound toxsquawkbox/command/start_text_entry (recommended key “Enter”)

This will bring up the text radio view (if hidden) and enable keyboard input.

You can type your message (or command starting with .) and press enter tosend it.

If you wish to transmit to a specific callsign, you can use the command:.msg<callsign><message...>

If you want to respond to a private or direct message, you can use the key boundto xsquawkbox/command/reply_next (recommended key “Keypad *”) to cyclethrough people who have recently sent to you.

For details about other commands that can be entered through the text input,please see the section about commands below.

Using Voice¶

XSquawkBox simulates a 2 radio stack with a monaural mixer. It responds tothe X-Plane 10/11 controls for radio volume, audio transmission select andreceive enable and these must be set approriately for the radios to work asdesired. See the section on Audio Panel Controls for some examples as to howthese are configured.

As real world radios are half-duplex, the XSquawkBox voice radios similarly areso - if you are transmitting, you will not hear any radio coming in on thatunit. You will still hear audio received by your secondary radio (if enabled).

To transmit, make sure the transmission selector on your audio panel is setto the radio you want to talk on, and press the button or key bound toxsquawkbox/voice/ptt, and speak clearly into your microphone only releasingthe button or key after you have finished speaking.

Xsquawkbox X Plane 11

Audio Panel Controls¶

In order to make use of your radios, you need to be familiar with the audiopanel controls in your chosen aircraft model, in particular, the controls foraudio volume, transmission source, and receive channel enable.

Note

Not all aircraft models expose all controls properly. Please see the noteat the end of this section on how to control XSB if the controls aren’tavailable.

General Aviation Aircraft¶

Audio controls will typically be found center of the instrument panel and willbe divided into a dedicated audio control panel which selects the receivechannels and transmission channel, and the radios or GPS units, which shouldhave the volume control for that source.

X-Plane 11 audio controls in the Cessna 172 (Center of Main Instrument Panel)

Xsquawkbox X Plane 11

Airliners¶

Audio controls (for the captain / left-seat) will typically be on the pedestalimmediately, or to the forward left of the captain’s seat. This is typicallymirrored for the right set.

Note

XSquawkBox only supports control through the standard datarefs which allowfor a single position and audio system only. If your aircraft model connectsthe copilot controls to it’s own set of datarefs, you will not be able tocontrol XSB’s audio with those controls.

The audio panel will typically control volume, output enable and transmissionsource selection all in one place.

X-Plane 11 audio controls in the Boeing 747-400 (Center Pedestal)

In the 747-400 example above, individual radio receivers are enabled by clickingon the center of the volume stem, causing an indicator above them to illuminate.

Aircraft without a working audio panel¶

If your aircraft model doesn’t have a working transmission selector, you can usethe .tx? command to find out which radio is set to transmit, and use the.txCOM1 or .txCOM2 commands to change the active radio to send.

Similarly, if your aircraft model’s audio panel doesn’t have proper receiveselect controls you can use .rxCOM1on and .rxCOM1off (and similarlyfor COM2) to turn that audio source on and off.

Xsquawkbox X Plane 11 Tutorial

Filing a Flight Plan¶

You can file a flight plan from XSquawkBox.

Access the “Plugins” menu at the top of the screen, select “XSquawkBox” and thenpick the “Send Flightplan…” menu item.

A flight plan dialog box will appear. From this dialog box you can enter yourflight plan and then press Send to send it to the network.

If ATC has edited your flight plan, sending a new one may have no effect. If youresend a flight plan and the controller does not receive it, notify thecontroller that he or she must refile the flight plan for you.

Tip

Even if you have already filed a flight plan online via the VATSIM web page,or even if you are flying VFR and do not intend to request ATC services,you may still want to fill out the flight plan dialog box with a departureand destination airport as XSquawkBox will use this information to correctlyset up weather from your departure and destination airports, rather thanairports you overfly nearby your departure and destination.