Jim Keir's Mission Editor for FSX
The new 'Missions' that Microsoft introduced with their latest itteration of the Flight Simulator franchise, Flight Simulator X, drew a lot of excitement. Not only would the missions give something 'to do' and possibly attract a whole new breed of flightsimmers. It would also be something 'to do' in the more creative sene; MAKING MISSIONS YOURSELF and adding to the sim experience that way.
Alas.... the implementation was less than stellar in the area of design and building.
With Jim Keir's mission editor for FSX this is now changing.
Jim writes ".....With the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, the new Missions feature looked like a great way of adding customisable scenarios. However, as Microsoft pointed out in their SDK docs, the supplied ‘Object Placement Tool’ – the mission editor – is far from easy to use.
This program is an attempt to cover what I felt to be the shortcomings in the default tool. It is designed to help you create and test your mission logic without worrying about the technical details, while still using the original tool for what it does best - placing scenery.....".
So now finally BUILDING missions for FSX has come within reach of many more people, using Jim's user-friendly program.
Three versions available:
FREEWARE Base Version
The Base Version is FREE to use. Download it, install it, learn it and have fun.
Payware Full Version
If you want MORE functions and build more serious missiones, you can purchase a key to unlock the additional functions. The product certainly is not expensive for what it does. And you may even charge a small fee yourself for any missions to may want to publish (up to $10 or Euro 10!). Or you can publish your missions for free of course.
With the Full Version you can make any mission you like, play it yourself, upload them to the Internet, either for free or charging a small fee (up to 10 Euros or $ 10).
However, if you want to use FSX Mission Editor to build missions for commercial purposes, i.e. you are going to make money with your missions, then we ask you to get in touch to discuss formal Commercial Licensing (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What FSX Mission Editor is capable of, and what the additional functionality of the Full Version is will be discussed below.
- Visual interface instead of list-based
- Drag-n-drop connections for linked nodes
- Full error-checking
- Configurable layout rules, to follow your expected mission flow
- Create synthetic speech for dialogs, for quick testing
- Add comments to the display
- Based largely on Microsoft’s own configuration files
- Mission Wizard to create simple point-to-point missions
... plus, for registered users ...
- ‘Recipes’ – collections of related nodes that do a single job
- Mission Wizard will create a mission based on a FlightPlan
- Runtime monitoring and debugging of missions
- Creates installable missions using MSI
- Create mission patches also using MSI
- Create error reports
- Create scripts for voice-actors
- Extendable using XML files to allow SimConnect extension authors to use visual editing with their custom actions
- Unlimited nodes; the free version is limited to 50
- Paste function works with unlimited nodes; the free version will only paste one node at a time
Restrictions of the free Base Version
The biggest restriction on the free version is the number of nodes. It's plenty for simple missions, but for anything with a complex storyline to it you'd need more. Any size of mission can be loaded, so the free one can always be used to error-check a mission.
The first 'power feature' that is missing is the ability to create MSI installations (just like most programs get packaged). Normally to install a mission you may need to edit the .FLT file, or add something to the FSX scenery library, or copy files around manually. If you create an installer it does all this for you, making life easier for people getting your mission. It also looks more professional than a zipfile with a readme and lots of manual fiddling.
The second 'power feature' is the ability to debug your missions in real-time. Normally you set a mission going and it's up to you to work out what triggers are firing, and what order things are happening in. With the paid version you can automatically set your mission up so that you can find out what it's up to in real-time. This is a huge help when something isn't working properly.
Last, the paid version lets you create a basic mission from a saved FSX flightplan in addition to the free version's point-to-point mode. This means you can prepare much more of the structure of a cross-country mission automatically.
The other things are all about convenience. You can create groups of actions that tie together to achieve a single thing and then add them all at once instead of having to build that feature up by hand. You can copy and paste text from the status dialogs, letting you create lists of all the errors you need to fix, or a list of all the speech in the mission and what files it should be stored in which you can pass to voice-actors.
The mission system extension is available in both versions; only the licencing is different. It adds several commands to the FSX mission system allowing you to do much more. Some of those additional commands are:
IF : Test any SimVar
SET : Set any writeable SimVar
DEBUG : Switch the extension's debug messages on or off
PROFILE : Set an internal variable
SAVEONFAIL : Save the profile even if the mission fails
FUELLEAK : Start or stop a controlled fuel leak
MESSAGE : Display a small text message on screen
FXTRACK : Attach a visual effect to the player or an AI
METAR : Set local or global weather
WXSTATION : Create a new weather station
EVENT : Send a simulator event
PROFILENAME : Set the name of the file to store the mission profile in
WPT : Set dynamic waypoints relative to the player or an AI
SIMRATE : Set the simulation speed