Sky Dolly - The Black Sheep for your Flight Recordings
Sky Dolly records and replays simulation variables such as the aircraft position and attitute and basic flight controls such as rudder, ailerons, elevators, flaps and gear position. The record frequency can be specified (and even changed during recording), in order to minimise the amount of recorded data. An "auto" sample rate records values as they become available (for each "simulated frame" event). The replay speed ("slow motion", "timelapse") can also be adjusted.
This external application connects with the flight simulator via the SimConnect API, a standard API introduced with FSX back in the days.
Note that thanks to an interpolation algorithm even low sampling rates such as 1 Hz result in smooth replay, especially for airliners. For "acrobatic flying" the "auto" sample rate is recommended, in order to accurately capture every flight maneuver.
Sky Dolly can replay flights with multiple aircrafts ("formation"). The number of aircrafts is technically unlimited, but possibly limited by CPU, RAM and especially your patience. But flights with 30+ aircrafts do not seem to slow down the system.
During recording the previously recorded aircrafts are replayed - so you know exactly where your aircraft is in relation to the formation flight.
"Multiplayer formation flights" are supported by adding the imported CSV aircraft data to an existing flight. Each aircraft can then manually synchronised (depending on when each pilot hit the "Record" button) with the other aircrafts, by adding or subtracting a time offset.
Note that this is an early pre-release version 0.8. While it should run stable and all its present features should work as intended it is far from feature complete. Release 0.8 introduces a plugin architecture. Not only for the various import/export plugins, but also for the connection with the flight simulator. While new features are being added and developed the database format may change.
Automatic migration is done during the preview phase, but please do take note that the first release 1.0.0 version will consolidate all previous migration steps ("start from scratch") and hence logbooks generated with preview versions won't be readable with the first release version (from that point onwards databases will again be migrated to the next release version).
Database Backup and Optimisation
Database backups can be automatically scheduled (once per month, once per week, never, ...) and are done after exiting the Sky Dolly application (where they may also be skipped). Before migration an update is also done. All backup options are now in the File | Logbook Settings... dialog.
By default the backup databases will be located in the same folder as the original "logbook", in a "Backups" subfolder, but can be changed when the Backup dialog shows up.
As flights are recorded and deleted the database file may grow considerably. Unused file space will be reclaimed at some point (by SQLite), but in case many flights have been deleted the database file can be optimised, by the "Optimise" command located in the File menu.
In case you want to still use the previous Sky Dolly versions (e.g. 0.6 or 0.7) you may download all previous releases from the github release page (the ZIP archives are identical to the one available here).
The source code may be found at:
Problems can be reported here:
A free github.com account is required though. "Small issues" may also be mentioned in the comment section below.
- Unzip the ZIP archive to any location of your choice
- Run SkyDolly.exe
- Optional: you may associate Sky Dolly "logbooks" (files with the extension *.sdlog) with the Sky Dolly application:
- in File Explorer: right-click on the logbook file and choose "Open with..."
- Select the SkyDolly.exe application
- Make sure to enable the "Always open with..." checkbox
- The default logbook is located at: "c:\Users\[Your Username]\Documents\Sky Dolly\"
- One the *.sdlog files are "associated" with Sky Dolly you can double-click on those files and a new Sky Dolly instance will start and open the selected logbook
- Start a flight in Flight Simulator 2020
- In Sky Dolly, press the "Record" (key R) button
- Stop the recording (either hit key R again, or ESC for "stop")
- Press the "Play" button (spacebar)
- Seek the play position (left and right arrow keys, page up/page down keys)
- Adjust recording sample rates in the settings menu (also during recording)
- Show flight information (key F)
- Hint: press the same key F again to close the flight information dialog
- Show the recorded "simulation variables" (key V)
- Same here: press key V again to close the simulation variables dialog
- Minimise the user interface (key M)
- Hint: Before you minimise the user interface you may also want to hide the replay speed group, in the View menu
- As the "minimal UI" as a "fixed layout" the replay speed group currently cannot be shown/hidden once in this "minimal UI" mode
Load a Flight
- Select the desired flight in the logbook
- Press the "Load" button (or double-click the row)
- Note: double-clicking its "Title" column will edit the title
Add Aircrafts to Existing Flight ("Formation Flying")
- Switch to the Formation module (press F2)
- For each aircraft to be recorded press the "Record" button (press R): the plus (+) sign in the button icon indicates that aircrafts will be added to the existing flight
- That's it!
Note again that the existing aircrafts will be replayed during recording, so you know exactly where to fly ;)
- To start a new flight simply switch back to the Logbook module (press F1) and press the record button
You may optionally load an existing flight in the Logbook module before switching to the Formation module. Once all aircrafts have been added start replay, pause and seek in the timeline as usual.
- Aircrafts may be deleted from a flight (but which keeps at least one aircraft)
- The last recorded aircraft becomes the "user aircraft" (the one being followed with the camera in FS 2020)
- Before adding a new aircraft you may set its position relative to the current "user aircraft"
- You may switch the "user aircraft" at any time - also during replay!
- Want to fly for yourself together with the formation? Simply select the "Take control" option in order to take control of the recorded user aircraft. Or choose the "Fly with Formation" to join the formation with the currently loaded user aircraft (so you can also join "single aircraft formations" in an ad-hoc manner).
- Disable "crash detection" and "engine/stress failure" options in Flight Simulator 2020 for replay