Overview

PicaSim allows you to configure a very large number of settings within the application. These are divided into different blocks (options, aeroplane, scenery etc), which can be loaded and saved independently. By default, only the most commonly used and understandable settings are exposed, but you can access much more (including the save button) by clicking "Advanced". The settings are divided into:

If you modify any of these settings - for example if you prefer to fly a particular plane with ballast and have it associated with your own controller setup, you can enable the "Advanced" settings, and then save it.

The settings all get saved when you exit PicaSim, and/or just after you start flying. This means that next time you start PicaSim you can continue with the same settings by choosing the "Use default/previous" button in Free-Fly.

User settings

Settings that have been saved, as mentioned above, get stored in a directory under one of the following locations (which I'll call the $UserDir directory):

Once you've run PicaSim once, you'll find two files (as well as placeholder directories):

The two directories under $UserDir contain slightly different types of data:

Creating your own planes

The best way to create a plane is to start with a copy of an existing plane - perhaps one that is similar. You might want to tweak the aerodynamic properties, or perhaps you want to create your own graphical model for it. Rather than modifying the original plane (which you could do in the Windows version), it is best to make a copy of it into the UserData and UserSettings directories, and then modify it there. PicaSim will then present it in the selection screens at the bottom, below the built in planes. If you do this under Windows, where it is easiest to set up a plane, then you can subsequently transfer the files to an Android/iOS (using the tools above), or indeed share them.

The steps for doing this are (making a Middle Phase, based on the Phase 6, for example):

  1. Install the windows version, so you have access to the builtin data. We'll call the installation directory $InstallDir
  2. Copy and rename $InstallDir/SystemSettings/Aeroplane/Phase6.xml to $UserDir/UserSettings/Aeroplane/MiddlePhase.xml. Note that this file determins how the plane will appear in the PicaSim settings screens.
  3. Open MiddlePhase.xml in a text editor (I use Notepad++). For now just change the mName value so that it points to "UserData/Aeroplanes/MiddlePhase". Once you've got everything working, you can come back and adjust the other properties.
  4. Copy and rename $InstallDir/SystemData/Aeroplanes/Phase6 to $UserDir/UserData/Aeroplanes/MiddlePhase. Note that this contains the aeroplane definition (physics, graphics, audio etc).
  5. In the MiddlePhase directory note that there is a .ac file. You can edit this in AC3D.
  6. Edit the Aeroplane.xml file. The first thing to do is to modify the model3DS value near the bottom to point to your new model (assuming you changed it). Then you can modify the aerodynamic/physical properties. Note that the Phase6 uses aerofoils that are shared amongst a few models, but you can create a specialised aerofoil definition and place it in the MiddlePhase directory. For example, copy $InstallDir/SystemData/Aerofoils/StandardSemiSymmetric.xml into $UserDir/UserData/Aeroplane/MiddlePhase/Wing.xml, edit it, and then refer to it from the relevant places in Aeroplane.xml.

Without going into the details, here are a few tips that I have found useful. This assumes you are creating a plane under Windows (it's probably possible under Android/iOS, just probably rather awkward!):

I guarantee you'll learn lots about how a plane's aerodynamics work if you do this!