A little background:
Like many aviation enthusiasts, I was excited to see the first flight simulators on PC in the early 90s (the MS FS as foremost) and it was natural wish to make the input controls a little more realistic, which at first was just a home-made yoke and rudder connected to game port.
Later I was looking for a suitable I/O interface in the just appeared Internet, but eventually a few available options was either too limited or too complicated.
X-Plane, first I/O code
After a 5-year break, when I bought the X-Plane 9 in 2010, I decided now was the time to create an interface for the X-Plane, given my professional background in electronics and electromechanics since the early 80’s.
In 2011 I started building a full-size Baron 58 panel simulator and chose the popular Arduino as a convenient microcontroller platform (no need to deal with “barebone” chip programming) to write input/output code for this panel that should use UDP network protocol built into X-Plane. It was just standalone code (not library).
Then, having a clear understanding of the troubles that cockpit builders might face using existing solutions, especially since many of them have very little or no electronics and programming skills, I wanted to do something different – to develop a really convenient interface, cheap and simple to use for every home cockpit builder.
Firstly, the further development of this project would not have been possible without my son (Roman) with his wide-range system and application programming skills. My programming expertise is mainly related to hardware (microcontrollers), scripts, web… So, this interface became a “father & son” team project.
We set ourselves the goal of developing a universal interface for X-Plane, trying to make it simple to use by home cockpit builders, without using a lot of programming and a heap of expensive electronics, to let you concentrate on the building process, not thinking about how to make it work with the simulator and not wasting money and time.
At first, we spent a little time learning the in-built X-Plane UDP protocol and in 2012 developed our Arduino library called “XPData”.
Then there were a few “transitional” libraries, that grew up to become ARDref / ArdSim / ArdSimX with using the plugin as main part of the system, and finally to the current SimVimCockpit Interface.