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Instruments Build Guide

This page is pulled externally from the FBW Aircraft repository and describes the processes of building the instruments.

This directory contains the source files for the instruments.


The instruments build is powered by Mach. Mach uses esbuild internally, which uses native code to compile JavaScript sources quickly.

Building all instruments

To build all instruments outside of the normal build process, one can simply run:

$ mach build

...provided that your working directory is fbw-a32nx or fbw-a380x. If it is not, you can specify a path to the config by adding --config path/to/mach.config.js --work-in-config-dir.

$ mach build --config path/to/mach.config.js --work-in-config-dir

Building a specific instrument

You can build only one instrument by using the --filter / -f flag (parsed as a RegEx):

$ mach build -f EWD

Watch mode

To watch an instrument and recompile when changes to source files are detected, simply use watch instead of build:

$ mach watch -f EWD

Source maps

You can append source maps to the end of instrument bundles using the -u / --output-sourcemaps flag.

Note: Source maps currently do not work with React based instruments. This will be fixed in the future.

Adding a new instrument

To add a new instrument, simply edit the mach.config.js file of your desired project folder.

You can add an instrument to the list using the reactInstrument / msfsAvionicsInstrument helper functions. Note that React should be avoided for new instruments. Consult with the dev team on Discord if you have any questions.

A note on cross-platform usage

Since compiling aircraft in this repository usually happens using the provided dev-env Docker image, the OS in which the commands are run can differ.

This can cause issues with esbuild, as it relies on pre-compiled binaries to work correctly. For this reason, running npx mach after Mach was installed in the Linux dev-env container can cause errors.

To solve this, install Mach globally on your PC:

$ npm install -g @synaptic-simulations/mach

A note on ACE instruments builds

If you are building instruments for use with ACE, the old rollup pipeline is still used. A convenience script is available:

$ npm run build:ace

This will be ported over to Mach in the future.

How to create a new instrument

To create a new instrument, create a folder in /src/systems/instruments/src, with a config.json file, for example:

    "index": "./index.tsx",
    "isInteractive": false,
  • index - Name of the main file in the instrument, in this example index.jsx.
  • isInteractive - true if this instrument should intercept click events and such.

Once you have your index file, you can import the render element target and start doing stuff with it:

import { renderTarget } from '../util.js';

// modify it manually... = 'red';

// or use a rendering library...
ReactDOM.render(<MyAwesomeThing />, renderTarget);

// or something else!

Last update: November 7, 2023