It is with great pleasure that I can now announce that version 1.5 of Self-Loading Cargo has released - it is available via logging into your account and hitting the download button.
This version of the application has been a massive undertaking, with a number of important new features now available to you as part of the phased development (please see the development roadmap for future plans).
An extensive list of changes is available on the v1.5 changelog page but here is a brief overview of what you can expect from this version.
One of the major features of this release is the real-time simulation and visual representation of your aircraft. Self-Loading Cargo now supports a simulated version of any aircraft cabin via configuration files (almost 50 out of the box) that accurately map out the seating, aisle and facilities onboard your plane - even across multiple decks if you're flying the Queen of The Sky.
This allows you to see the cabin simulation occuring in real-time and means that all events such as boarding, deboarding, in-flight services (drinks, food etc) are timed correctly while the crew and passengers are actually walking around the aircraft.
This means that the experience will be subtly different if you're flying an A319 as opposed to a Boeing 747 - less toilets available may mean more frustration for passengers if they need "to go", in-flight services may take longer to arrive at certain seating aisles and, moving forward into 1.6 and beyond, response times by the cabin crew for passengers in different parts of the aircraft will be different depending on how crowded the aircraft is, how many crew are onboard and how many are currently busy with other passengers.
You can also select individual passengers to monitor their status (anxiety, happiness, thirst, hunger etc) to see how they're doing while you fly, as well as how they feel about your flying abilities.
The soundpack engine has been completely revamped to support unlimited sound effects per event within the simulation allowing you to have, for instance, multiple different versions of a welcome aboard sound from the captain. Self-Loading Cargo will choose a random one from your soundpack to play whenever the event occurs. - this increases variation massively because it means that no two flights will be the same if you have enough sounds. Other examples may include the cabin crew saying things like "thanks", "thank you", "thanks a lot" instead of simply "thanks" every time. It's a small thing, but it makes a huge difference - and remember, you can have as many of those sounds as you like.
Additionally, some intelligence has been added so that if you add the departure or arrival ICAO codes into the filename (and you specify a flight plan when starting the application) only those sounds will play - this allows you to have custom cabin announcements for departing say, "Newcastle" and arriving into "Ibiza". Again, as many as you like - the possibilities are almost endless.
And don't forget this works for different soundpacks too - you can have collections for EasyJet, RyanAir etc which will automatically be filtered based on whichever soundpack you've chosen to fly with.
Version 1.5 includes a revamped flight report system which monitors your performance as a pilot and grades you based on the flight - how well you handled the aircraft, managed lights and communicated with the crew when required. These reports are shareable online using your favourite social media platforms - here's an example of one such report.
Version 1.5 now allows you to import your latest SimBrief flight plan (or specify one manually) so that it can monitor your departure and arrival punctuality - your passengers will be affected based on how well you stick to the correct times and your flight report will be updated accordingly.
Based on whatever phase of flight you find yourself in, the SLC public address system will allow you to make announcements to the passengers (and crew) for such events as turbulance, late departure, holding on a taxiway, etc - in some cases these can be automated, but in others you will be graded on whether or not you remember to perform the action - such as instructing the cabin crew to take their seats for landing.
Because the application is now growing in scope, I have included a detailed user manual which attempts to explain most of the functionality of the application in case you get stuck.
Take a look at the full changelog for the entire list of changes and updates that have gone into this version - it's quite an extensive list I'm sure you'll agree!
I know it's been a very long wait since the last update and I want to take the time to acknowledge that here.
If I'm perfectly honest, I think was a little too optimistic about the time I'd need to get the application to where it is today. I should definitely have split it into more manageable chunks, so please accept my apologies for the delay once again - I hold my hands up.
I hope you appreciate the addition of a proper development roadmap so you know what to expect in future versions instead of wondering what's going on - I wish to be as transparent with you as possible and I hope this goes some way to showing my commmitment to the project.
Check the development roadmap for the next steps, and thank you so much once again for your continued support.
Hey all - as some of you know I had promised that in version 1.6, I was going to move to a new sound pack format to give a lot more variety. Well, it gives me great pleasure to announce that I have brought this feature forward for v1.5 instead and it is working great :)
Individual events now have their own folders, within which you can place an unlimited number of files for that particular sound. SLC will now select a random one each time from the relevant folder, ensuring that you can have a completely random experience each flight - for instance you could have the cabin crew saying "thanks!", "thank you!", "perfect!", "brilliant!", "thanks a lot!" instead of just having "thanks!" each time that particular event is called.
TTS is also supported - place as many *.txt files each folder as you like for a completely different script each time, i.e. "thanks1.txt", "thanks2.txt" , "mythankyoumessage.txt"
*.wav and *.mp3 are supported for ALL events and this also applies to things like the cabin music, passenger ambience, gate sounds and safety announcements.
This is pretty cool because it means for instance you can have a random gate ambience sound playing whenever you open the doors of the aircraft, so airports will no longer sound exactly the same when you're departing or arriving - SLC will choose a random one from your collection.
Of course - you are also able to do the same within your own soundpacks to tailor them towards an individual airline, again with unlimited variety (provided you record the sounds or prepare the *.txt files for TTS scripts). As always, if none are available in your soundpack for a given event then one from the default soundpack will be used.
Moving forward I hope this adds a massive amount of scope for providing variety for your flights so I'm happy to have brought it forwards.
Not long now - thanks for your patience!!
Because v1.5 is a major update with a host of new features both under-the-hood and in the UI (and because more features will be coming in v1.6), it will include the first revision of a detailed user manual to help understand how everything works.
Once this is completed (and pending results of final testing which is currently underway), v1.5 will (finally!!!) be released :).
Thanks for your patience :)
In light of the news of P3Dv5's imminent release (April 14th) and FSUIPC support being all but confirmed, I can confirm that Self-Loading Cargo will be updated for free where required to continue to support the new simulator.
Hello again everyone! Version 1.5 of Self-Loading Cargo is making good progress and I wanted to share a little update with you which you may not have already seen concerning the new automation functionality.
In the latest version it is now possible to have the software run completely automated from departure to arrival - SLC will recognise every flight phase, the crew will perform their duties in a timely manner (such as opening/closing doors etc) without you needing to do anything other than get set up and fly the aircraft.
In doing so, SLC brings a new level of immersion to the simulator while requiring no extra input from yourself. However, if you do wish to control the crew then you can still turn off the automation and handle everything yourself (as you could before).
This new functionality will especially assist those in our blind flight simulation community who might otherwise be unable to enjoy SLC to its fullest so I'm looking forward to releasing it and seeing what sort of feedback I receive.
Thanks for your continued support! The release won't be long now :)
Hello again everyone - with the release of v1.4, which is a maintenence release but includes a lot of new features, we now have text-to-speech support for all events with dynamic variables so that in-sim weather and aircraft information can be broadcast to the cabin :)
In addition to this, the new version now includes logging of flights in a permanent flight book so you can keep track of your average statistics.
The full, detailed changelog is available here.
v1.5 is in active development now, and will be a major release of the software - stand by for more :)
Hello again everyone -the latest version of Self-Loading Cargo has been released - if you downloaded 1.3 really early, please note that there is a 1.3.1 hot fix that you should download instead which fixes a couple of issues as you can see on the changelog.
This version now includes better handling of seating, more customisation over the things that happen and when, as well as a passenger manifest so you can see the real-time simulation of the passengers as you cruise through the sky. Or turn the aircraft upside down.
Version 1.4 is in active development now and I plan to start really building out the simulation of passengers so more things are taken into account during the flight.
Keep an eye on the changelog, and if you have any suggestions for the public bucketlist, please let me know.
Thank you for your support so far - Steve.
Hello everyone - I'm happy to announce that the latest version of Self-Loading Cargo has been released, with a number of improvements over v1.1.
New features include automated in-flight services (turned on by default, but available as a toggle in settings), much improved turbulence functionality and detection, improved "toilet" functionality for passengers as well as numerous updates to other existing functionality and other bug fixes.
I have also been tinkering with some VST filters to hopefully improve the default cabin-crew sounds - Let me know what you think!.
Can I just extend my thanks to everyone who's supported this release with their feedback and suggestions (some of which are still under development). It makes my life much easier - so thank you.
The first version of SLC has been released with sound packs which were recorded by myself (not a pilot) and my daughter (not cabin crew). While I feel we did a reasonable job, there's definitely room for improvement.
On that basis in your account page, I have made the spreadsheet I used when creating SLC available for download. It contains a list of transcripts and associated filenames so you can roll your own voice packs and share them with the community.
SLC already supports this - if you create a new folder in "SoundPacks" and then place the files you wish to hear in there, as long as the filenames are correct they will override the ones found in "/Default" - you can replace a few files, or all of them. If you replace one or two, the remaining default sounds will continue to play.
Have fun - don't forget to let me know when you've made some soundpacks so that I can share them with the wider community for you.
I've been pushing to get this update out to rectify a couple of immediate issues that came to my attention from you guys (thanks for that!) so here it is.
Full changelog available on the changelog page.
Please download the update from your account page and of course, feel free to send feedback.
Just to let you know that I am busy working on the next update - I have it pencilled in for Monday but it might drop sooner depending on commitments at the weekend.
One thing I hope to correct is better "Ready for Takeoff" support for the FSLabs A320 which I am told does not support the data-ref for Landing Lights, as well as a number of fixes to timings of boarding / deboarding, service penalties and other minor issues which have been reported.
Once done I will update the website with a full changelog - for now, thank you very much for your patience and support.
Hi there - I just wanted to thank everyone for the support and feedback this last few days.
This evening I have compiled a list of issues which have been reported, and some new feature requests which I will prioritise to make SLC even better for you - pleaase expect an update to the software within a couple of days.
Steve - 30th August 2019, 00:00z
29th August 2019 - LOCALISATIONRESOLVED
I've been made aware of a bug which prevents the application from starting in non-English systems - I will rectify this very shortly with an update to the application once I figure out what is going on. It seems to be something to do with the parsing of numerics from the settings file, perhaps a "comma" instead of "decimal".
UPDATE - I have identified the issue, and I am testing a fix right now so I will update the installer shortly.
UPDATE #2 - I have updated the installer (please re-download if you have not done so) and am now testing SLC - please report any further issues to firstname.lastname@example.org. // 29th August, 14:50 UTC
UPDATE #3 - I have successfully completed a leg from EGPF to EGNT with my system in "Portugese" mode to test internationalisation - no problems detected. // 29th August, 15:50 UTC
Please let me know if you're still encountering issues on non-English installations.
28th August 2019 - Sounds "Sticking" RESOLVED
I'm currently aware of an issue that in some cases causes the sounds to temporarily "stick" between "Positive Rate, Gear Up" and the "It is now safe to use your electronic devices" sounds. The application continues running, and approximately 1 minute after the sounds are supposed to play, they play but then get cut off - I will release a patch for this shortly once I figure out what is going on.
28th August 2019 - Missing icons RESOLVED
A couple of the items on the Flight Report screen have missing icons for some reason.
Last Updated 29th August 2019.
At the moment, the pilot + cabin crew voices are recorded by myself and my daughter (who's 10!) so they are not the greatest - although we have tried our best to sound "good enough" to get SLC going.
SLC supports the idea of soundpacks - you simply create a new folder under /soundpacks in your application folder, and any sound file in there which matches one in /Default will be played instead - so you have the option of making different cabin crew voices / pilot voices etc for each different airline you wish to fly for.
It would be awesome to have some community-made soundpacks. I am finalising an Excel spreadsheet which contains a script for each of those sound files so that you can make your own.
Normalised Sounds / Sound Profiles
It's difficult to know what a "good" default settings is for sounds, especially across sound packs because various addons have different levels of their own sounds like avionics, wind sounds etc.
Ideally I'd like to see the sound volumes be saved/loaded on a per-aircraft basis, so you didn't have to continually set the volume on SLC when switching between aircraft.
Right now SLC supports to basic interaction between ground crew, cabin crew and the decision making that goes into managing delays, medical issues or unruly passengers.
I would absolutely love to improve this further, and make the ramifications of a bad decision much more plausible.
Right now for instance, with a medical issue - you can decide to continue or divert the flight. It would be brilliant if you could ask if a doctor is on-board, and have a whole scenario play out to manage the illness and perhaps have an achievement at the end if the passenger survived (and you made the correct decisions all the way down).
Similarly, with unruly passengers you also get to choose to continue or divert the flight at the moment, but it would be a big improvement if there were some extra sounds and interactions with people on the ground maybe performing an arrest etc - there are currently sounds to this effect if the flight is diverted, but again, I would love to improve the whole thing to make it more plausible and exciting.
Improved Flight Analysis
Right now there is a lot of data being generated by SLC during a flight, but the analysis at the end could be improved - I will be looking at extending this functionality further to take into account any delays which occurred, for instance, and keeping a tab on your overall performance across multiple flights.
Customisable Times and Event Probabilities
In the next update to SLC there will be the ability for you to customise the timeframes for boarding passengers, in-flight services and the probability of tech / medical / crew interactions happening.
The reason being, there's no fixed value that everyone will like - so I will allow you to tailor SLC exactly to your needs.
Improved accessibility for blind users
Based on some lovely feedback I received, I've been told that SLC is very much usable in its current form for members of our blind community who fly flight simulators.
To be honest I did not realise such a community exists and I'm over the moon that I'm able to help them get more enjoyment out of their sim.
I've received some points on how to improve things further and so those recommendations will be built into the next update.