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Author Topic: Weekly progress report  (Read 33925 times)

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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #300 on: October 30, 2018, 02:52:27 AM »

The formation was taken from a document online, which of course means it is probably fantasy :)

Don't know how much time I will get to work on it today, but I think we need a formation designer and some fuzzy logic.

Then the formation can be fed into the AI for the bomber pilot and control inputs generated.

Finally after a lot of hard boring work, I am starting to get to the fun stuff.
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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #301 on: November 02, 2018, 06:04:53 PM »

Don't know how much time I will get to work on it today, but I think we need a formation designer and some fuzzy logic.

Then the formation can be fed into the AI for the bomber pilot and control inputs generated.

This is a great idea since it allows others to input details later.

Just make sure that there's a method of linking formations created in the formation generator to other elements of the game, such as specific aircraft, units (by nation, air force, unit, or element), conditions (e.g., day/night, VFR/IFR), locations (e.g., geographic locations, theaters of conflict, altitudes, or map locations), time period, and possibly mission. That way all the air history geeks can fine-tune historical formations, mission builders can customize formations for specific missions, and online squadrons can design custom unit formations.

Also, make sure that there's a way of easily building larger formations from smaller formations, with users being able to specify the nature of the larger units (e.g., USAAF heavy bomber "vee" > 1944 USAAF heavy bomber squadron combat box > 12-43 to 7-44 USAAF 15th AF B-24 6-group box  > 1-44 to 7-44 USAAF 15th AF standard wing formation or 1938 IJAAF 3-plane medium bomber shotai > 1938 1938 IJAAF 3-squadron medium bomber chutai > 1938 IJAAF Hiko sentai > 1938 IJAAF 2-sentai Hikodan)

"Nice to have" would be a method of linking callsigns, unit markings, skins, etc. to particular aircraft or formations (e.g., "1st flight," "Redtail-1," "Able Box," or "357th USAAF Fighter Group")
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #302 on: November 04, 2018, 03:23:48 AM »

We might as well brainstorm this here rather than me implementing something and then having to modify it later.

I am thinking of having text files that can be-parsed in the mission builder.

So let's rough out a text file format here and anyone with any knowledge please chip in.

Let's start with the basics.

Formation nameStringThe name of the formation
Usage datesDate,DateThe timespan the formation was in use
Element typeEnumEither Aircraft, Wing, or Formation
Number of elementsIntThe designed number of elements ( not the actual number )
Element namesString ArrayThe name of each element.  Red 1, 1st flight, Able box, etc.
Element locationVector3 ArrayThe relative position of each element in metres from a key location. Probably should be lead element.
Night modifierVector3For night flying, multiply the relative location by this
Poor visibility modifierVector3For poor visibility, multiply the relative location by this


So you would start by defining a wing.

Something like

Code: [Select]
Bomber Element
1/1/1940 1/1/1945
Aircraft
3
Lead,Port,Starboard
{0,0,0},{-30,-5,-30},{30,-5,-30}
3
2


Then you would build up a combat box...

Code: [Select]
Combat box
1/1/1940,1/1/1945
Wing
4
Lead Element, High Element, Low Element, Low Low Element
{0,0,0},{-50,50,-50},{50,-50,-50},{0,-100,-100}
2
2

Then you could go for another level.

Code: [Select]
Javelin
1/1/1940,1/1/1945
Formation
4
Lead,Group 2,Group 3,Group 4
{0,0,0},{0,2000,100},{0,4000,200},{0,6000,300}
1
1

And then another level above that would give you a whole battle plan.

Would that cover everything?
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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #303 on: November 04, 2018, 04:56:21 AM »

The variable list looks good, but the "Element location" string could either refer to a point in space some distance from the various planes in the formation or some portion of a particular aircraft in the formation (e.g., left or right wingtip, tail, nose, dorsal or ventral surface).

**
EDIT: While basing "element" location on a particular airplane, basing it on an aircraft part isn't necessarily such a good idea, since with breaking parts the "element location" could go hurtling to earth, with all the other planes in the formation following it, even if the rest of the "formation lead" aircraft is still flying.

As a related issue, the user should be able to assign conditions which cause other units in a formation or element to break or alter formation, reassemble, swap locations within the formation, or change the lead aircraft. That way you can have units automatically do collision avoidance or evasive combat maneuvers, automatically regroup when planes in the formation are destroyed or are too badly damaged to keep up, etc.

The game could also use a bit of simple "AI" to have planes automatically make simple decisions a real pilot could make, such as not following a destroyed lead aircraft, opening up the formation when there's a high risk of collision, splitting up into smaller elements prior to landing, and so forth.
**


A simple GUI that allows the user to "drag and drop" planes into a particular formation, view them from top, front and side, show distances between planes in an element, and elements in a formation would probably be the most intuitive for a non-programmer to use. Once you've got your elements arranged, there could be a simple menu you can use to name and link individual planes and elements, apply unit/or formation markings, and designate "element location" points which planes and elements formate and maneuver around.

Planes could maneuver like "particles" with the element and unit formations acting as an "emitter mesh" focused on the "element location" point.
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #304 on: November 04, 2018, 07:20:18 AM »

I think they will end up using a flocking behaviour to determine control inputs, but otherwise yes... I suppose a tool is in order.

I will just add that to my TODO list.....

One day it will get shorter  :(
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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #305 on: November 06, 2018, 08:23:20 PM »

Just keep the formation creator relatively low on your TODO list.

I'm a walking feature creep generator and you're a highly skilled game designer and coder who's clearly smart enough to know the difference between "nice to have" and "must have."

That said, you seem to have a genius for quickly creating powerful, reasonably intuitive GUI-based tools that non-coders like myself can use to tweak the game. And, as Google CAPTCHA has amply proven, brilliant computational ideas seem to involve getting lots of other people to do your work for you! :)

I hope that once the core sim sees the light of day, it will become the most powerful and realistic "sandbox" combat flight sim available.
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #306 on: November 07, 2018, 12:19:01 AM »

Well more along the same line.  ;)

I had a few hours to spare while UE4 built a game I am working on in my day job.

So I attacked another of those awkward "nice to have" jobs. USB devices.

I had hand coded drivers for my devices, but I knew that wasn't ideal and none of you would want to do that. So I fought my way through the black art that is USB HID device handling. I have mostly solved it.

I can now scan a device and detect what user interface components it provides. Then set up a driver for it.

In short. Plug in a HID compliant joystick, throttle, rudder pedals, switch box and it becomes available in game.

There is one problem. Looking at the data there are some gaps in the bitstream. On the X56 flight stick there are 7 unused bits between the buttons and "Generic Desktop Ry".

I have assumed this is to make the value appear on an 8 bit boundary, and that is what the code does. No idea if that is correct for all devices, but it works for the ones I have to test with.







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slibenli

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #307 on: November 07, 2018, 03:59:00 AM »

Interesting progress, thanks for keeping us updated.
I guess very few people can imagine the dimension of your project.
You definitely have my greatest respect.

]cheers[
Mike

I second that :)
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #308 on: November 09, 2018, 07:59:24 AM »

You can now set the aircraft and squadron code as well as get the correct roundel for a time period.

Haven't decided how to handle night fighters and navy yet...


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Pursuivant

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #309 on: November 10, 2018, 10:46:14 PM »

You can now set the aircraft and squadron code as well as get the correct roundel for a time period.

Looks very nice.

Haven't decided how to handle night fighters and navy yet...

What's the problem with those units?

Different camo, different lighting conditions, something else?

If you're feeling really munificent, another "nice to have" feature would be the ability for the player or mission/campaign designer to place certain "decals"/partial skins/graphic overlays on aircraft, using some combination of plane, unit, time period, pilot assigned to the aircraft (for things like nose art and other personal markings), Air Force, and nationality.

For example, late WW2 USAAF carrier-based aircraft carried their unit markings on the vertical and horizontal stabilizers and on the upper and lower right wing, and usually had the aircraft numbers painted boldly ahead of the national markings on the side of the plane and repeated in smaller "font" near the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer, just above the horizontal stabilizers. Plane numbers might possibly be repeated on the upper portion of the landing gear doors, if they faced forward when the plane was on the ground. With the "decal placement" tool you could create a rule for that system of markings for all USAAF carrier-based aircraft from mid-1944 until 1946, as well as customizing individual aircraft with kill flags just below the cockpit of each plane (based on the usual pilot and the unit's decision to use/not use certain types of personalization).

Mission builders could use a "drag and drop" style GUI to place markings and designate their meaning and the planes they apply to. Players could further customize a plane before a mission by adding distinct personal markings to the existing skin overlays. After a successful mission, a campaign builder could set things up so that the player's plane is updated with new kill or mission markings, and so that "patches" (or even unrepaired damage) appear on damaged aircraft returned to service.
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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #310 on: November 10, 2018, 11:27:05 PM »

The unit identification markings will be added in the mission builder.

The way the code works is ...

  • Load meshes

I load the mesh files once per type. So if you have a formation of 100 He 111's I only load the mesh once.

  • Instance meshes

For each mesh I create an instance with all the per mesh data. This includes any aircraft customisation. Markings, payload, position, speed etc


So the mission editor is going to have to handle all of this.

Just a note about the mission editor. I am creating a database that the mission builder can use. It doesn't force you to use it, but it makes life a lot easier.

You simply specify the map region and the start date, and it automatically populates the map with airfields and squadrons.

So if you create a mission in the UK starting 10,10,1944 it will add Andrews field as an airbase and move RAF 306 (Polish) squadron to it with it's Mustang 3's.

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Stainless

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Re: Weekly progress report
« Reply #311 on: November 11, 2018, 01:27:08 PM »

I was pissed off by the rugby yesterday, bloody TMO, so I decided to start something that I new had too be done.

The mission editor.




The first stage is to define the map area.



Then the app downloads all the SRTM data it needs, these are zipped , so it then unzips them.



The missing files are usually one minute height maps that are totally water.

Next stage will be to generate the mission map.... which will have to wait until I am annoyed again.

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