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SODE // User Guide

V1.5.3
27. June 2017

1 About SODE
The SimObject Display Engine SODE is a SimConnect module that enables developers of FS
sceneries to create interactive objects by providing a basic framework of „logic instructions“. The
actual implementation into a useful object using these instructions is done by the scenery developer.
Thus, SODE needs input files (xml format) to work properly. Without any input files, SODE just
runs idle in the background and does nothing to your existing airports!
The implementations can range from simple conditional visibility objects (seasonal, weather, time,
etc) to more complex systems like PAPI, pilot-controlled lighting and triggered animations.
As of version V1.3, SODE also provides a custom jetway control system and a solution for
automatic visual docking guidance systems A-VDGS.

2 Installation
Use the MSI-Installer file to install SODE. During the installation process, the SODE Platform
Manager will be displayed which allows you to register SODE with your individual simulator
platforms.

After registration, please close the SODE Platform Manager window to allow the MSI-
Installer to complete the installation.

All the different platforms will be served by the same SODE executable.

2.1 Upgrading SODE


As of version 1.4.0, the SODE installer is able to detect if an older or newer SODE version is
installed on your machine.

• If an older version is found, the newer installer will automatically uninstall it

• If a newer version is found, the installer will abort


→ You don't need to manually uninstall SODE anymore if you use one of the newer installers, just
run it and it will handle everything automatically.

2.2 SODE Platform Manager


The SODE Platform Manager handles all necessary configuration file editing (exe.xml, dll.xml,
fsx.cfg, simconnect.cfg) for the various platforms. The program will list each installed platform in
its own tab, indicating the installation path and the path to the exe.xml and dll.xml files.
Moreover, the Platform Manager is able to detect various error cases concerning your configuration
files. It will display a 'Repair' button if it is able to fix it.

2.2.1 Register/Unregister
This action will inform the platform about the existance of SODE on your system and will create
the necessary configuration file entries in order to launch SODE during start-up of the platform.

2.2.2 Activate/Deactivate
For temporary deactivation of SODE, you can use this action. The platform still knows about
SODE, but it will not launch it.

2.2.3 Tools
There are four tools available:
1. Show Log: Opens the SODE.log that is helpful for troubleshooting when problems arise.
2. Settings: Displays the settings panel where you can edit some properties of the engine. Note
that every new installation of SODE will reset the settings to the default state. See next
section for description of each setting.
3. Check SimConnect Version: SODE needs the FSX SP2/ACC SimConnect version. This
tool will check if that required dll is installed on your system.
4. Fix 'Third-Party Software' Error: Can be used to fix the annoying FSX 3rd party module
pop-up message during start-up, which prevents SimObjectAnimationModule.dll and hence
the entire sim platform from running.

2.2.4 Settings

Secondary Text-Menu Hotkey (Default: NONE) If you want to have a custom hotkey for the
SODE text-menu, you can define it here. See
next section for an example.
Enable Debug Mode (Default: False) Write more debug log messages into the
SODE.log file
Enable Sound Engine (Default: True) Should you have trouble/crashes using the
internal SODE sound engine (mentioned in
SODE.log), you can entirely disable it with this
setting.
Enable Watchdog (Default: True) The watchdog monitors the connection to your
simulator. If the sim crashes, the watchdog will
notify SODE about it and SODE will shutdown
Enable Jetway Sound (Default: True) You can disable sounds being played when the
jetway is moving. Note that not all jetway
models have a sound defined.
Enable AI Traffic Detection (Default: False) You can enable AI Traffic detection for the
jetway system. Note that this setting may
decrease performance.
3 The In-Game Text Menu
For objects that need user interaction (triggered objects), a special text menu is being used. You can
access it either via the platform's top menu bar under 'Add-ons' → SODE 1.X.X, where the text
menu commands are displayed or you can just use those short cut commands, e.g. 'Tab+S'.
Remarks:

• At the moment, Drzewiecki Design uses a custom text menu which is called with
'SHIFT+D'. Refer to their documentation.

• Users of PMDG aircraft may experience that 'Tab+S' does not bring up the text-menu. This
is because those aircraft have already mapped the 'Tab' key for their FMS keyboard input.
SODE offers to define a custom secondary key stroke combination yourself: Open the
SODE Platform Manager utility, go to 'Settings' and edit the 'Secondary Text-Menu
Hotkey' string. Note that the keys must be written according to the official SDK! See
http://www.prepar3d.com/SDKv2/LearningCenter/utilities/simconnect/key_strings.html for
a complete list of supported key strings. For example, to combine the shift key with the J
key, you have to write SHIFT+J.
Here's a picture of the SODE entry within the Add-Ons menu. You can also bring up the text-menu
by clicking on the 'Text-Menu Commands' menu item.

The text-menu looks like this:

It lists the available interactive objects in a 12km radius. The [V] stands for triggered visibility, the
[A] for a triggered animation.
If there are stands (parking positions) available with special objects, e.g. a SODE jetway, the first
option in the menu enables you to select one of them.
4 The Jetway Control System
One of the key features of the SODE framework is the jetway control system. It offers a flexible
operation of one or multiple jetways serving multiple aircraft doors.
Like the native platform IK-jetway system („CTRL+J“), SODE jetways read the exit position from
the aircraft.cfg. The exits must be properly defined there.
Also, the jetway hood is not just a fixed animation as in the built-in system, but tries to approximate
the aircraft fuselage so that the hood connects to the aircraft nicely. For this „eye-candy“ feature,
additional parameters are read from a special AircraftParameters.ini file. If there is no entry found
in this file for your aircraft currently in use, the jetway will still dock, but will not extend the
hood.
Since V1.3.1, SODE allows GSX to trigger the jetways from the GSX text-menu. If you use GSX,
you should operate the jetways exclusively through the GSX text-menu!

4.1 Operation using SODE's text-menu


First, you need to select the desired stand through the menu. This will activate the jetway and/or
VDGS if available. Then, you will be shown the avaiable options for that selected stand, i.e. jetway
operation and/or VDGS activation/deactivation.
5 SODE does not work! - Troubleshooting
To check whether SODE is correctly installed and running in your simulator, always follow these 3
steps:

5.1 Check if SODE Main module is running


SODE adds an entry into the top menu bar of your simulator (Add-ons → SODE 1.X.X).

5.2 Check link between SODE Main module and Jetway


Control System
SODE has a built-in functionality to check this connection, found in the top menu bar of the
simulator (Test DLL Connection!):
A text prompt at the top should announce the following if the dll connection can be established:

Check the displayed version number. It should match with the one of the Main module.
If the message is not displayed, then the dll is most probably not loaded. Check the dll.xml file if
the entry for the SimObjectAnimationModule.dll is existing and confirm that it is not disabled in the
xml. You can use the SODE Platform Manager to fix dll.xml entry errors, see next step.

5.3 Launch SODE Platform Manager utility


If you are using Prepar3D, use the 'Check SimConnect Version' option under 'Tools' to verify if the
proper FSX-SP2 SimConnect version is installed. You have to install it manually afterwards, the
procedure is explained in the displayed message box.
The SODE Platform Manager will indicate if SODE is properly registered with the platform. That
means all the necessary entries in the exe.xml, dll.xml, fsx.cfg or simconnect.cfg are correct.
If SODE is not registered, then try to unregister and re-register SODE or click on the 'Repair' button
if presented.
As a last step, you should consult the SODE.log for any warning or error messages. To get support,
it is always a good idea to provide your SODE.log for further troubleshooting.