SPAD.neXt (Saitek Panel Advanced Drivers neXt Generation) by Ulrich Strauss is a replacement driver for Saitek’s Flight Simulation Panels. The just released version 0.8 now provides full support to Saitek’s Flight Instrument Panels as well.
Indeed, the recent drivers from Saitek have brought improvements over older versions. That’s no doubt about it. But they are still lack of flexibility and configurability. Especially, the company’s FIP driver still only support a subset of the simulation variables. This has caused incompatibility issue among those 3rd-party aircrafts which use the simulation variables extensively in their designs.
The using of LVARs on the RPM gauges on the A2A’s C172 Trainer is a typical example. My refund of the aircraft as mentioned in my Post 214 was due to that reason. Now, Ulrich’s SPAD.neXt has provided a bridge for an adequate solution.
Over the last few months, I’ve been working with Ulrich in his beta versions. My existing C172 gauges have all been tuned accordingly to be fully compatible with SPAD.neXt as well.
I am currently working on a new installer for my C172 gauges. Links to updates will be sent to users in a couple of weeks.
There are two things to be noted, however.
One — All my previous and current gauges under development (such as the B58 and A36) for FIPs are based on the default aircrafts coming with the simulator. In other words, my current C172’s RPM gauge still require some script modifications in order to be used with the A2A’s C172 Trainer correctly. Adjustments will be provided separately once available.
This approach will be true for all my future gauges — to be compatible with the default Saitek driver as well as the SPAD.neXt first. Then provide adjustments to specific 3rd-party aircrafts, if necessary. Afterall, not every 3rd-party aircarft is designed to use the full set of simulation variables.
Two — As the name of the SPAD.neXt suggests, it is in some ways targeting advanced users by design. There are plenty of settings to do. If the current Saitek drivers already satisfy your needs, my suggestion is to stick with what you have. I, for instance, are still running my gauges under the Saitek drivers most of the time. They are still working happily as usual.
Truly, SPAD.neXt is a dynamically developing product which brings enormous flexibility and possibility. No doubt it will get better and better.
Forget to mention that SPAD.neXt requires a 64-bit Windows environment.