What Makes Condor so Good?

Discussion related to the Condor...

Moderators: Uros, OXO, GR

User avatar
Slartibartfast
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:02 pm
Location: Australia: ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby Slartibartfast » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:44 am

As a new comer to the field who is currently in the process of building my first rig I'm going to play devil's advocate a little and ask, objectively speaking, what is it about Condor Soaring that makes it so good?

I appreciate the gut response is that "there is nothing else like it" available, but how can that be? As it is I actually came across Condor Soaring while looking for information on how to fly the DG-800 in FSX —which it has to be said is "something like Condor". I grant you there are many ways in which Condor is "much better" than FSX and that is extensively what I am asking about.

Given the almost limitless way in which Prepar3d and X-Plane can have their weather effects and airframes customised and the epic good flight characteristics X-Plane in particular is known for, and not to mention the truly jaw-dropping scenery packs that are available what is it that Condor has that keeps us all here more than a decade on from its initial and only release, all champing at the bit for even a peek at what "Condor 2" might look like?
Last edited by Slartibartfast on Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

tom eagles
Posts: 2175
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:16 pm
Location: Czech Republic
Contact:

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby tom eagles » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:02 pm

Ok lets throw this one back at you :)

Why do you like condor so much? What is it that appeals to you.

Me:The realistic weather system, the flight dynamics etc etc, the multiplayer system, the competitions. None of which even after all this time have been surpassed. We have world class competition pilots using condor simply because of that.

What do we know about V2 thats been announced support for dx11, support for higher resolutions etc, improved weather modelling.

Just remember that yes two guys are developing it but they are top of their field and when you consider what one does for a living then it becomes very very clear why the weather system is so damn good.

One thing I do like about condor is that by default its not based on photorealistic textures, they do look amazing i give you that but there are a few things that you need to realise, down low or very close up they look terrible highly pixelated etc hard to get a sense of depth, next issue that most use satellite imagery which means that the textures are accurate for a very short time as the shadows etc are only in the right place at the time the images were taken.

V2 and beyond is coming and as has been mentioned its getting closer, i know there are loads of people wanting release dates etc or news etc, and I know when they are ready to release that info in further detail they will. They arent trying to make the comunity angry etc, just quietly working in the background and getting the job done.

Cheers!
Image

User avatar
Olympia
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:42 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby Olympia » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:12 pm

I think unless you are a glider pilot in real life it is not going to be easy to explain why Condor beats all its rivals. If you have lived through all the other attempts at writing a good gliding simulator as I have (SFS4 , X-plane, FSX, any many others) and also glide in RL as I have (2200 sorties, 1000+hrs RL, Silver C and Instructor rating) then you will realise that the key thing in Condor is the weather modelling and the aerodynamic modelling. So far no other sim has come close to Condor in those areas. Admittedly there are shortfalls even in Condor, but they are liveable with and the eventual arrival of V.2 will probably fix the majority of them. Unless it is possible to get a way of bouncing your seat when you hit an updraft and making you feel the G in a tight turn, I can see little that would enhance the experience.

Having said all that, my only regret as an ex instructor is that it is not in its present V.1 form really suitable for teaching the basics of flying. I know that it was formulated as a 'game' for competition pilots, but I soon realised that with a bit of tweaking it could save a lot of time teaching potential RL pilots a lot before they waste time and money in a real glider. I wish it had been around when I learned to fly in the 60's.

OGOM
Old wooden ship pilot
Reg No. 464 (LLC 377)
CN: AW
Image

tom eagles
Posts: 2175
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:16 pm
Location: Czech Republic
Contact:

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby tom eagles » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:28 pm

Olympia wrote:I think unless you are a glider pilot in real life it is not going to be easy to explain why Condor beats all its rivals. If you have lived through all the other attempts at writing a good gliding simulator as I have (SFS4 , X-plane, FSX, any many others) and also glide in RL as I have (2200 sorties, 1000+hrs RL, Silver C and Instructor rating) then you will realise that the key thing in Condor is the weather modelling and the aerodynamic modelling. So far no other sim has come close to Condor in those areas. Admittedly there are shortfalls even in Condor, but they are liveable with and the eventual arrival of V.2 will probably fix the majority of them. Unless it is possible to get a way of bouncing your seat when you hit an updraft and making you feel the G in a tight turn, I can see little that would enhance the experience.

Having said all that, my only regret as an ex instructor is that it is not in its present V.1 form really suitable for teaching the basics of flying. I know that it was formulated as a 'game' for competition pilots, but I soon realised that with a bit of tweaking it could save a lot of time teaching potential RL pilots a lot before they waste time and money in a real glider. I wish it had been around when I learned to fly in the 60's.

OGOM


Awesome summary Olympia :)
Image

janjansen
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:26 pm

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby janjansen » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:00 pm

flying alone is boring. For me what sets condor apart is primarily the multiplayer/competition focus of it. Im not aware of any other soaring sim where you can even do a proper multiplayer race. Im also impressed by the small things, proper trackir support, things like saving IGC's, the way tasks are handled, the configuration options for races etc, there is a lot of thought and attention to detail that has been spent there, and pays off particularly for online competitions. Heck, even the PDA, despite its simplicity, is so brilliantly designed, a RL version could be a sales hit!

Flight physics are excellent too, Ive not tried xplane recently, so I cant really compare, but 5+ years ago, condor was head and shoulders above the rest in this regard. Maybe others have caught up, particularly xplane, but even if they have, condor is good enough in this regard that it hardly needs improving.

Thermal and atmospheric modelling is a different story; Im less of a fan. True, Im not aware of anything better, but that says more about the rest than it says about condor :). Ok, thats maybe a little harsh, considering there is no better alternative Im aware off, but there is still huge potential for improvement here, things like cumulus streets, variation in clouds, precipitation, wave rotors and other aspects are sorely missing. What is modelled, regular thermals, ridge lift, stand alone cumulus clouds, is modelled fairly well, although a bit simplistic IMO.

The graphics.. meh. The engine is very limited and showing its age. The geometry of terrain is ridiculously coarse and photography based sceneries only look good from afar. Its obviously no match for modern sims, but given its age, Id say it aged well, it still looks acceptable today. And the bright side of this, is that system requirements are trivial. Just about any PC that runs windows ought to run condor with no problems.

User avatar
Olympia
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:42 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby Olympia » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:52 pm

I'm sorry you think flying alone is boring. The attraction of gliding for me was always the quietness and sense of detachment from all the nonsense going on in the world beneath me. Flying over the lovely British (I nearly said Scottish, but I have flown in England mostly) scenery to places inaccessible to other modes of travel. Plus the sense of achievement in flying a long cross country using thermals, ridge and sometimes even wave lift, Gaining thousands of feet using only the engine of the rising air. Soaring is the poetry of flight - it shouldn't be reduced to maths and physics as so many on this forum seem to think - blinding along in a race.

Teaching others to fly, and having the satisfaction of seeing them become safe and competent glider pilots. Competitions I entered but seldom - usually the club's thrash over the Easter holiday often in a two seater with a pupil to give him/her some cross country experience.

What's not to like about all of that?

Condor V.1 gives me most of that pleasure in simulated form and V.2 will only enhance it. BTW Tom the V.1 ridge model really does need fixing = try soaring the little humps we have in the UK - it just doesn't work. In the near vertical slopes of the Alps maybe, but try Dunstable in the UK. :(

However 'other blokes, other strokes' as they say, so if competitions are your bag then fine. Actually Condor is not strictly realistic in that area in V.1. You would need a variable weather pattern to make it realistic That might be coming in v.2 who knows. :)

Not so GOM
Old wooden ship pilot

Reg No. 464 (LLC 377)

CN: AW

Image

User avatar
OXO
Condor Team
Posts: 4493
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:08 am

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby OXO » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:06 pm

I'm really enjoying your inspirational posts Alistair.

A++
OXO,
Condor Team
Official facebook page

tom eagles
Posts: 2175
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:16 pm
Location: Czech Republic
Contact:

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby tom eagles » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:45 pm

Olympia wrote:I'm sorry you think flying alone is boring. The attraction of gliding for me was always the quietness and sense of detachment from all the nonsense going on in the world beneath me. Flying over the lovely British (I nearly said Scottish, but I have flown in England mostly) scenery to places inaccessible to other modes of travel. Plus the sense of achievement in flying a long cross country using thermals, ridge and sometimes even wave lift, Gaining thousands of feet using only the engine of the rising air. Soaring is the poetry of flight - it shouldn't be reduced to maths and physics as so many on this forum seem to think - blinding along in a race.

Teaching others to fly, and having the satisfaction of seeing them become safe and competent glider pilots. Competitions I entered but seldom - usually the club's thrash over the Easter holiday often in a two seater with a pupil to give him/her some cross country experience.

What's not to like about all of that?

Condor V.1 gives me most of that pleasure in simulated form and V.2 will only enhance it. BTW Tom the V.1 ridge model really does need fixing = try soaring the little humps we have in the UK - it just doesn't work. In the near vertical slopes of the Alps maybe, but try Dunstable in the UK. :(

However 'other blokes, other strokes' as they say, so if competitions are your bag then fine. Actually Condor is not strictly realistic in that area in V.1. You would need a variable weather pattern to make it realistic That might be coming in v.2 who knows. :)

Not so GOM


Yup thats one issue is the smaller ridges like Dunstable or even Nympsfield and the Cotswold "ridge" run even Mifflin gets patchy in places and that's ridge heaven. Flying "Resin Rockets" is all fine but Most of my time was in Wooden Ships and loved every minute of it.
Image

janjansen
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:26 pm

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby janjansen » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:39 pm

Olympia wrote:I'm sorry you think flying alone is boring.


Im sorry, I should have been more precise and meant to say: flying condor alone is boring. At least compared to flying online.
Real life soaring is a different story entirely. If nothing else, the lack of "refly" button makes that more exiting than any offline simulation session, but Im sure you'll agree even real life soaring is a lot more fun when you're not alone in the sky (and alone on the ground and in the clubhouse after the flight).

I stopped RL soaring long ago, but not because I thought it was boring.

User avatar
Slartibartfast
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:02 pm
Location: Australia: ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby Slartibartfast » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:31 pm

Thanks for your responses; and janjansen, that is another very well expressed post. —I see you only have 55 posts to your name, I should probably just go and read every thing you have written :D

tom eagles wrote:Ok lets throw this one back at you :)

Why do you like condor so much? What is it that appeals to you.


Well, as of yet I haven't actually played the game. I'm still in the process of setting up my rig and to be honest I am kind of waiting for 2.0 to be released.

But to answer your question, the reason I've taken an interest in it is largely because of the strength of the community surrounding it. It is remarkable how strong and devoted the fans of this sim seem to be and, well, I guess I'm wanting to find out why. What I am picking up on is that the social/community aspect of the sim actually contributes significantly to the sway the rest of you pilots feel toward the program as well.

When you say the flight dynamics are far more realistic than any other SF out there, how is this so? I appreciate that Condor has focused on different aspects of weather modelling than other sims and this alone would make the flying far more viable but is the actual flight dynamics them selves really amiss in the big name titles? I had been of the opinion that X-Plane in particular had a flight model system that was simply second to none in the industry, and the Prepar3d, though working in a completely different manor was similarly well equipped. Is it really true that two guys hacking away in their basement (and I don't mean that derogatorily) over a decade ago have out performed the very best that the industry can offer?

As for the weather modelling, I appreciate no one seems to have invested the time nor the effort to model this for the big name titles but is it inconceivable for it to be done? As I say, I am only just entering the flight sim space myself so there is a lot for me to learn about plugins and alike but is it fundamentally not possible for an enthusiast to build a plugin that models such atmospherics for say X-Plane, or is it just that no one has done it? I know there are very good cloud modelling packages for FSX/Prepar3d and both FSX and X-Plane do a reasonable job of representing real time weather in their environments. Admittedly their notions of 'real world weather simulation' are but chicken scratchings compared to what would be required to fly a glider but it's also not what their trying to do. If someone were to make a dedicated effort would they be able to build a model comparable to what is in Condor, or is what Condor models so fiendishly complex that it is simply incomprehensible that a plugin could achieve it?

No doubt the hardest thing though about making a competing sim would be attracting a community to use it. I'd be fairly confident that building a comparable multi-player environment wouldn't be to hard, in fact I'd be surprised if the big titles didn't have it already. I mean there already is a remarkable community of Air Traffic Controllers who coordinate virtual traffic through VatSim for goodness sake, how much harder can the Condor system be. Likewise I should imagine the actual competitions themselves would not be that hard to implement either, more the hard part would be in getting people to come and partake in them.

So when it all comes down to it, is it just that there is a lack of airfraims and weather effects to bring the big titles up to snuff and thus attract a community, or is their more to it?

User avatar
OXO
Condor Team
Posts: 4493
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:08 am

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby OXO » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:58 pm

I'm itching to respond to all your wrong thinking.. but I must resist. :cry:

What Makes Condor so Good is

a) The suggestions and feedback from the community

b) The experience - knowledge - understanding - ability of the developers.*

c) Strong support of the Beta Team.


* not me.. I'm only here to make tea and clean the toilets.
OXO,
Condor Team
Official facebook page

JDS
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:26 pm

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby JDS » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:10 pm

I spent a couple years before coming to Condor flying gliders in FSX. Id like to weigh in here:

In order to get FSX or P3D to produce realistic thermals you'd need a plugin called CumulusX. It does a decent job of modeling thermals, but they can not move because of the way they are programmed. Also wave lift cannot be achieved with CuX.

Because of these limitations and the amount of tweaking needed to get a good gliding environment out of FSX/P3D I only know of one group with 20 or so active members that flies together.

I won't get too deep into the various flight models. We have experts on that sort of thing and I'm not one of them, although I find Condor's most realistic.

Hope that helps.
J.D.
Image

janjansen
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:26 pm

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby janjansen » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:34 pm

Slartibartfast wrote:When you say the flight dynamics are far more realistic than any other SF out there, how is this so? I appreciate that Condor has focused on different aspects of weather modelling than other sims and this alone would make the flying far more viable but is the actual flight dynamics them selves really amiss in the big name titles? I had been of the opinion that X-Plane in particular had a flight model system that was simply second to none in the industry, and the Prepar3d, though working in a completely different manor was similarly well equipped. Is it really true that two guys hacking away in their basement (and I don't mean that derogatorily) over a decade ago have out performed the very best that the industry can offer?


xplane has a pretty advanced "one of a kind" flight model, but not in the sense that it necessarily better simulates gliders. Whats fairly unique about it, is that it will simulate *anything*. You design a 3D model of a plane, any plane, and xplane will dynamically calculate and model its aerodynamic properties. Thats quite nifty, and certainly useful in some cases, but the result therefore not better than a "handcrafted" flight model like condor. Quite on the contrary. Its not like xplane's model is as anywhere as accurate as super computer simulations that Boeing or Airbus would use to predict how their planes fly. Now is it possible to tune and tweak the automagically created model to be as good as condor? I dont know, maybe; but no one has done it, and certainly not for 2 dozen different gliders.

I dont know anything about Prepar3d, I never even heard of it. But if it doesnt have RL glider pilots as their development leads, chances are it will not come close to condor's flight model for gliders either.

So yes, when it comes to this niche, you could safely say that the "basement devs" outdid the very best of the rest of the industry. But then again, thats also at least partially because the industry has never focused on this, instead focusing on F16s, cessna's and boeings.

As for the weather modelling, I appreciate no one seems to have invested the time nor the effort to model this for the big name titles but is it inconceivable for it to be done? As I say, I am only just entering the flight sim space myself so there is a lot for me to learn about plugins and alike but is it fundamentally not possible for an enthusiast to build a plugin that models such atmospherics for say X-Plane, or is it just that no one has done it? I know there are very good cloud modelling packages for FSX/Prepar3d and both FSX and X-Plane do a reasonable job of representing real time weather in their environments. Admittedly their notions of 'real world weather simulation' are but chicken scratchings compared to what would be required to fly a glider but it's also not what their trying to do. If someone were to make a dedicated effort would they be able to build a model comparable to what is in Condor, or is what Condor models so fiendishly complex that it is simply incomprehensible that a plugin could achieve it?


Cloud modelling is one thing, that should be relatively easy. Its everything else about atmospheric modelling that Im sure, is incredibly hard to do properly, and in real time no less. Modelling how wind moves in mountains, how air is affected by solar radiation, the whole modelling of thermals has got be both art and science combined. To give you a sense, here is a visualisation of a mathematical simulation of thermals:
https://vimeo.com/78336339

Condors model of course, is no where near that accurate, but its a decent approximation. And once more, this is something that basically only affects glider pilots. When flying a cessna, you couldnt care less if thermals arise on the places you'd expect, you dont care and would never notice how they move or how long they live. Or if ridge lift is modeled in the right spot and a realistic vertical speed given the shape of the mountain, the direction of the wind, the position of the sun, the temperature and moisture gradient on the air, the time of day, etc. If you get some wind dependent turbulence around mountains, its probably good enough.

Now whether you implement an atmospheric model as a plugin for existing simulators, or built in your own simulator, I dont think that makes a lot of difference, provided the simulator provides the required plugin infrastructure and features to even do this. So yes, I assume this could be done for xplane or others. But not by just anyone, it would take a lot of time and rare combination of skills. So again, no one has.

User avatar
Olympia
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:42 pm
Location: Scottish Borders

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby Olympia » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:41 pm

The current weather modelling is quite suitable for a 'game' which if you remember is what Condor set out to be. It didn't quite work out like that as too many oldies like me just like flying and found it so good we just ignored the shortcomings. The regular guaranteed thermals probably make racing slightly fairer in a game. However if you just want to fly around and enjoy the challenge of staying up, then maybe a bit more variability in the weather would be fun. That big black bottomed Cu over there might be 20 up, but equally it might be raining or snowing (if you are high enough) and your hopes of staying up are thus greatly diminished . I speak from RL experience. This sorts out the men from the boys big time. The other thing that can catch you out in RL is wind shear; many a pilot has had a frightening time dealing with that.

The question has to be, how much of these conditions CAN be modelled? Not being a computery person I have no idea. The thing to keep in mind always is that 'perfect' is the enemy of 'good enough' and getting that last ounce of performance out of any system be it mechanical or electronic can be vastly wasteful in time and effort. I sometimes wonder if this is what has held back V.2.

There ought to be a degree of uncertainty in every flight as far as I am concerned. Like the day when I took off RL to do some instrument checks in my Oly 2b and stayed up for five hours 20 minutes, dressed in shorts and a tee shirt with no water on board. I landed at the far end of the field for rather obvious reasons. At least we have a pause button in Condor! I have done a 500K in the K13 in Condor just to see if I could do it without the PDA. It wasn't quick but it was fun. :)

NSGOM
Old wooden ship pilot

Reg No. 464 (LLC 377)

CN: AW

Image

User avatar
Kekelekou
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:31 pm

Re: What Makes Condor so Good?

Postby Kekelekou » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:21 pm

Olympia wrote:The attraction of gliding for me was always the quietness and sense of detachment from all the nonsense going on in the world beneath me. Flying over the lovely British (I nearly said Scottish, but I have flown in England mostly) scenery to places inaccessible to other modes of travel. Plus the sense of achievement in flying a long cross country using thermals, ridge and sometimes even wave lift, Gaining thousands of feet using only the engine of the rising air. Soaring is the poetry of flight - it shouldn't be reduced to maths and physics as so many on this forum seem to think - blinding along in a race.


Even though I am no RL glider pilot, I strongly second Olympia's comment. I mostly fly Condor offline, just for the fun of flying above my hometown in the Alps, or just to enjoy the sight from the cockpit. Trying to stay aloft is enough of a challenge for me.
So what I really like about Condor is its focus on flying : install the sim, and off you go! None of that darn non-sense, endless tweaking à la FSX. The simpliest way to fly.


Return to “General”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests