Improved AI aircraft is the main highlight of the latest version of FlightGear, the free and open source flight simulator. FlightGear is used for research and education, for a variety of aerospace engineering and visualization work in industry, for interactive exhibits in museums and, of course, for fun by enthusiasts.
FlightGear, which this year celebrated the 15th anniversary of its first official release, features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database and a worldwide multi-player environment. Being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.
Twelve months after the release of v2.6.0, other major improvements in v2.8.0 include improved support for region specific textures, better random 3d buildings, better random object placement, 3d airport signage, in-sim toggling between summer and winter texture sets.
According to the FlightGear announcement, the core code now supports a flexible 2d rendering system which can be used to accurately model glass cockpit displays and other complex instrumentation and new automated system for scenery submissions mean that they get rolled into the scenery distribution to be enjoyed by other users. The updated version also has improved atmospheric light scatter modeling, better terrain haze, and improved 3d clouds.
One of the most interesting enhancements, referred to as “Project Rembrandt” is still experimental and so is not enabled by default. When you turn it on it produces real-time shadows and support for multiple light sources which facilitates landing lights, instrument lights, directional ground spotlights and even the rotating beacons illuminating their surroundings correctly. Project Rembrandt also offers a variety of other visual effects such as night vision, film grain effects, depth of field effects and fisheye lens distortion in real time.