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Author Topic: Weekly progress report  (Read 30126 times)

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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #204 on: November 23, 2017, 07:54:28 AM »

It is really funny how things get done on a project like this.

I wanted to drop in a very simple flight model to help with debugging the radar code, so I needed to add an engine to my aircraft.

So I wrote an EngineComponent and linked it to a definition file so I could hook up the physics code that actually does all the engine calculations.

That was fine, but then I realised I needed a way of specifying which keys would map to which commands without having to edit game code.

So I added InputEventComponents and attached them to the EngineComponent. So I now have keys which can be remapped to external devices, but have default keyboard values which you define in the game object editor.

But I needed to check my engine code was working before I moved on. I was very annoyed to realise the MFD's don't have a page for engine management.

So I decided I could easily add sound effects so I could hear the engine start up.

So I added a sound effect manager, but that meant I had to have a way for you to change the sound effects attached to an engine without coding. Don't want an F16 sounding like a Fokker tri-plane.

So I added a sound effect pack system and linked that in as a parameter on an EngineComponent. So for an engine you create a standard set of wav files, put them in a directory and specify the directory in the game object editor on the EngineComponent.

Great. All works. You can now mod the engine on an aircraft without writing a single line of code.

So I tested it.

I found that the engine cranked forever. Debugged it and found that my fuel tanks were empty. So I filled them with fuel.

Debugged it again and found it cranked for about 1 second then started to spin up. When N2 got to the required level the engine ignited just as I expected.

The sound effect for EngineStart finished and the engine never transitioned to the running state. 

The first thing I did was add code to allow a sound effect to partially loop. So you specify a loop start and end position and it will play that section of the sound effect again and again.

Then I debugged why it was never going to the run state.

I hadn't advanced the throttle from 0 to idle as I was supposed to  :P

So now I have fully modable engines with sound effects and keyboard inputs.

At the moment I have just used one key for power management, and one key for the starter motor, but I can add more very simply.

Now since I have this in my mind, I'm going to add code to detect you flooding the combustion chamber with fuel before the engine starts up properly.

I suppose that one day I will put in the simple flight model, but at the moment I see engine fires and warning tones in my future.

Funny old world. ;D

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Ibis

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #205 on: November 25, 2017, 05:10:40 AM »

 Great stuff Stainless.
I regularly check to see if you have posted. I know nothing about coding
or for that matter modding but your work is fascinating, can't wait to
see something fly.
 Thanks you for all your effort.
  cheers,
   Ibis
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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #206 on: December 07, 2017, 08:58:31 AM »

This is another great feature!

The ability to tweak engine performance could easily be adapted to model engine wear, with reduced performance and increased risk of failure if maintenance intervals are skipped. It can also be used to model progressive engine failure due to things like oil or coolant leaks. Additionally, it will easily allow upgrades or downgrades in engine performance based on fuel quality and octane ratings.

It will solve a lot of debates about aircraft performance since manufacturer's tests used highly tuned, new engines and tests of captured aircraft likely used aircraft with engines which weren't in such good condition resulting in different performance curves.

Finally, in a campaign mode, insufficient supplies or lack of ground crew can result in planes in a particular squadron having reduced engine performance and/or greater engine failure rates.
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #207 on: January 12, 2018, 09:04:42 AM »

I need an airport.

Normally a games company has about a dozen grizzled coders who create the engine and tools for the game.

They then have about 20 fresh faced games designers who use the tools to make the game do things.

They are supported by 70 weirdos who call themselves graphic artists.

I don't have any of that. Just me.

So I went to the data in FlightGear and looked at that. I quickly wrote a parser for the data and found they have 34074 airports in the database. So I wrote a browser to look at them.




The buttons at the bottom allow you to jump to a particular batch of ICAO codes. then you use the mouse wheel to scroll through them.

Clicking on any one of them gives you a brief summary of some of the information.




So far I have handled parsing the signage data to create bitmaps.




Not perfect yet, but it occurred to me this might be useful for you guys. The bitmaps are in a slightly strange format, the magenta blocks indicate a change of side for the sign. So G<-29-11-> is the front of the sign and G ^ 11L-29R ^  is te back of the sign.

However they still might be useful to someone here.

Let me know if it is of use and I will upload it somewhere.

Now... onto the airport map.... much more fun....

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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #208 on: January 13, 2018, 03:15:15 PM »

The Airport Data Browser/Parser app is a useful tool for any flight simmer interested in modern flight, not just historical combat flight sim fans. With a bit more work, it might be of interest to real pilots as well, possibly as payware.

For historical simmers, there could be a method of easily changing airport data by year/decade and quickly adding or removing airport scenery based on date. For example, you could take Berlin Tempelhoff from grass landing strip in 1920 to small 20s era airport, to Nazi showpiece in 1934, simulate bomb damage from 1942-45, then US occupation during the Berlin Airlift, and so on until its closure in 2008. Over time, navigation aids would be added or removed, landing strips opened, closed, or altered, and so forth.

In any case, there should be a method of easily adding and removing airports from the list of real-world airports. Not only does that allow for quick placement of fictional airports, it also allows creation of closed or temporary airfields, or creates the possibility of certain airfields being unavailable due to damage, enemy occupation, closed airspace, weather, etc.

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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #209 on: January 15, 2018, 02:01:22 AM »

The final app will allow you to view the airport in 2D and 3D.

I need the 3D view as it will have an export button which saves the entire airport with lights, pavements, parking spaces, runway markings, signs etc as a 3D object you can edit in your favorite 3D editor.

For my game, I will need to add a date field to each airport. Can't have all the modern bells and whistles available in 1917 after all.

I am torn about what to do about the editor.

On the one hand you can use world editor from flightgear to create new airports, save them in a apt.dat file, then load them in this tool.

However that feels a little clunky.

On the other hand I don't want to spend the time writing an editor unless it has other uses than just my game.

Not sure yet, thoughts?

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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #210 on: January 15, 2018, 03:33:01 PM »

As long as there is some method for fans to make edits to airport scenery and the airport database, that's sufficient.

An improved editor with all the bells and whistles seems like an excellent 3rd party project for sometime in the future.
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #211 on: January 16, 2018, 03:05:17 AM »

I like that idea  :)

Think that's a plan, but will it survive contact with the enemy?
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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #212 on: January 19, 2018, 04:43:04 PM »

The "enemy" in your case is lack of time and manpower.

That means that you'll need to keep the project as "bare bones" as possible, keep notes on all the "nice to have" features that you don't have time to implement (including all my invitations towards feature creep), and make sure that the basic architecture of the program is easily "expandable," to allow easy updates and additions by yourself or by future assistants/fans.

Ideally, you'll create the broad outlines of a program which sufficiently "open architecture" and "generic" enough that it can eventually handle everything from 1890s wing-warping gliders to supersonic 21st century stealth military aircraft, but with provision for fans or developers to collectively "lock down" vital portions of the game (e.g., plane lists, flight and damage models) as needed to preserve the integrity of online play.

What's got me excited about you might be writing a ground-breaking "sandbox" flight sim, since you're building tools to give fans/less skilled developers the ability to add content to the game, or tweak its basic parameters, from the very start.
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Unca-Fester

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #213 on: January 21, 2018, 10:54:36 AM »


 I noticed that you're making an easy to use landscape/scenery modder as part of this new sim.  Have you thought of using Corine terrain and elevation mapping?  FlightGear uses Corine for all of the European Subcontinent and it's pretty brilliant.

  You notice this especially in the hillier parts like Eastern France, Switzerland/Austria and Northern Italy.  FlightGear uses TerraGear, a commandline/gui shell app ( depending on what OS you are using.) to generate the mesh that's rendered.  Problem is it tends to be made up of individual mesh objects as different land classes and there's a bit of an abrupt edge to the forests and cities.

  You can export out these terrain meshes using a little Blender Py. script to modify them, since FG uses a true spherical mesh for the world, each .1 degree by .1 degree mesh 'chunk' interlocks with it's neighbors and when you import/export you have to work with it based on it's local orientation.
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #214 on: January 22, 2018, 02:36:35 AM »

I've looked at it, but it has some massive problems.

What you end up with is little kind of round patches. Typically a dozen verts about a central point.

These are splattered around to form the entire terrain.

This makes it incredibly difficult to make these terrain splats into a consistent landscape. It works great for rough areas , but for low rolling hills you tend to end up with discontinuities.

 


This is a shot from my test app. Not easy to see from a still, but if you look at the water line you get an impression of what I am seeing.

I may use it as a base data server, but it needs a very different handling system to make it look as good as I want it to.


Hmmm don't know why but the image is not showing up.






Problem with postimg maybe?
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Unca-Fester

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #215 on: January 22, 2018, 09:11:43 AM »

yeah I know exactly what you're talking about.  So you can import .btg's?

 I made sim ride-able motorcycles for FlightGear a few years back, and one of the first courses I tried out was the Isle of Man TT course.   And with the roads being strips of triangles they would have all sorts of weird off camber slopes perpendicular to their length.   Especially, like you're saying, on otherwise flattish terrain.

  It is especially bad on arroyos and little valleys where the road has to pick up it's vertex cues from the landscape to either side. 

I will say there's few things in favor of FG's scenery, that there's no other sim, WWI era or otherwise, that has captured the look of the Somme Valley.    Most sims make the river as a snaking strip of water.

  It's not anywhere near that shape,  it's more of a series of hundreds of little oxbow lakes and U shaped wetlands joined by a small river, and it is accurately done in the Corine sourced mesh, it may be a bit angular in places, but from a distance it's unmistakable.
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