Flight Simulator X – big curved screen

In combination with our simulator project we had the challenge to create visualization in such way to arrange a realistic feeling by flying an airliner like A320 under visual flight rules.

The goal was to create a wide image onto a cylindrical bent screen from the first beginning. Only a few beamer-types are able to do this job in the low price hobby-segment. Beamers who have the ability of short distance projection are able to create a quite big image. But they don’t have tools to correct the projection onto a cylindrical bent screen.
We decided to choose the model NEC LT280 some years ago. This model is equipped with a so called 3D-geomtric-correction-tool. This beamer achieves a horizontal angle of view of about 38° in normal mode with maximized zoom. Three beamers together achieve a common image of about 114° accordingly. The distance between beamers and screen is in our case approximately 2,60m . The whole image has dimensions of more than 5m horizontally and 1,3m vertically. The pilot’s position is of cause much more closely to the screen as the beamers location. So the pilot’s eyes have a real angle of view of about 150°. These geometric dimensions have been chosen to present the pilots only scenery and nothing else within the main view direction.
We decided 2012 to switch from FS9 to FSX. The main reason was the ability of FSX to create Camera-Views for several separate windows. The fourth active window reported as necessary in several forums we could eliminate by a special trick. This window normally gets the disturbing active window frame at the border. But the geometric-correction-tool of the beamer is able to suppress these frame pixels. So we could restrain to three windows and enhance the frame rate by about 5 fps. By the help of this bending tool it is possible to smooth edges of horizontal lines and other unwanted effects at the transition line between the images. A small vertical interruption of approximately 2 pixels is unavoidable as long as no edge blending tool is available.
It is possible to fill the whole projection area with exactly this optical information which the pilot’s eye expects. This can be done with help of the settings in the cameras FSX-FLT-File and a combination of zoom-factor and view angle. So it creates a very realistic impression mainly during turns on ground without any fish eye effect occuring.