the SAS Hangar > The Lounge

Some recent tweaking

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In 4.08/4.09, when using my old AAA 6DoF mod and while 'head out' as the canopy was opened, I was able to still move my PoV L/R, fore/aft and up/down. It was great. Now in 4.12 I find that my position is locked down, where I can only swivel my virtual noggin. Anyone know how to get back the full 6DoF action when activating the 'head out' view with canopy opened?

Yesterday I installed into my 4.12.2 game the Martlet I and II, and the Martlet IV mods available here (in US Singles, and UK Singles fora, respectively.) I put notice postings in those two threads, outlining the following:

- Updated to my Wildcat cockpit standard, with British GM-1 gun sights.
- Changed the base 'pit for the Martlet IV from F4F-3 to -4.
- Expanded the range of 6DoF movement limits.
- Incorporated the improved spinning prop mod (looks properly thick when seen from the side, and not as a zero-thickness disk), retaining the smoothed hub given these mod planes.

When I'm satisfied after tackling an outstanding issue or two, I'll release these mods as full standalones, to replace the originals. I don't know if the addition of 6DoF limit parameters impacts compatibility with earlier game versions (e.g, 4.09), and so I might have to supply an additional set of class files leaving this feature out--just in case.

Some other stuff, some recent and others over the past year (starting with 4.09/4.09, then carrying over to 4.12.)

- For the telescopic sights when playing on a 16:9 display ratio, changing the sight view FoV from the former 31 degrees to 45. The older value of 31 is fine for 4:3 screen aspects, but with wide screens there is much clipping of the top and bottom of the circular field. The additional benefit of the lesser zooming in is better flying control.

- This is a rather more involved project, requiring tens of hours at the keyboard. Namely, rationalizing the bullet/cannon values for "Power" in the gun classes, and coordinating these with the values in code with which to determine the called hit effects in Explosions.class. For my taste, there was a bit much 'scatter' in the values for Power among the gun classes. I devised a logical table of values for the different calibers (keeping pretty much in line with the basic scheme already established), and have most gun classes so altered. The class file code employs randomness, which I refined also. The aim also was to better differentiate among the hit effects for the various calibers. This involved tweaking all the hit effect files as well. For example, now the difference between .30 and .50 hits are more pronounced, with the flash and (occasional, random) smoke puffs for the smaller bullets being more subtle than previously.

- Toning down the intensity of light from explosions and rocket flames which illuminate their surroundings, and making the color warmer in hue.

- Making the light from landing lights a warm white, more like the color for the lamp's 'on' graphic. The stock cyan-blue color cast is just awful--I've seen many a real landing light in operation. (I might similarly alter the searchlights as well.)

I just pretty much settled on my latest fiddling for aircraft lights:

- Reduced the intensity of the self illumination for the navigation lights. The stock effect was cartoonishly bright, with the plane exterior and interior being far too strongly lit up in green and red. Nav lights just don't do that.

- Also reduced the same self illumination for the landing light. The housing is after all designed to direct as much energy as possible in a focused beam. And for such lights *under* a wing, or otherwise shadowed, it's crazy to have the cockpit (and other shadowed areas) lit up to any great degree.

- Made both the landing light plane illumination and the ground spot of light it generates a warm-hued tone, as opposed to the utterly wrong bluish color we've suffered all these years.

- Increased the projection distance for the landing light from 1,000m to 3,000m. 1km is a bit short, given the fairly good degree of focusing for such lamps. The landscape illumination intensity is still constrained to the stock limits, albeit 'stretched' out over that longer range. But that's valid. I considered altering the scaling factor, so that at nearer range the intensity would be rather stronger. But the way different objects respond to the light source kept me from pursuing this track. The pop-up trees *really* glow brightly with this method (which is the very same as for the lightning ground strike effect.) And the layered forest textures don't respond whatsoever, remaining 'black.'

You see, the landing light scheme is a simple thing that's very much a fiction. The generated light is *not* from the landing lamp. Instead it's simply a source placed on or near the ground where the lamp is pointing. This light is just like a light bulb magically transported to that spot. And so the ground pattern of the lighting *is always circular* as seen from directly above that spot. And so the virtual pilot sees a highly foreshortened elliptical spot due to his shallow sight line on approach.

In reality, with the cone of light coming from immediately beside the pilot, he would see the scenery *always* as circularly lit up in projection. That is, at shallow approach angles the ground spot, as seen from directly above, would be a very highly elongated ellipse with the long axis aligned with the plane. But again, the pilot would see a circular pattern of illumination, just as you do when exploring a blacked-out house with a flashlight.

Anyhoo, the effect of a more properly colored landing light, operating over a rather longer range, is wonderful. And the plane itself not being lit up like near daytime by this and the nav lights is a further improvement, in my books.

These changes involve Aircraft.class and AircraftState.class. It's certain there are one or more other mods that have altered these classes, and so the best approach is for those mod authors to incorporate my additions into their work--if they're curious. ;)

I'll supply the relevant Java code snippets. Making the changes is dead easy, where just a few lines are involved.

But I suppose some players may well not have any mods already that have altered these classes. In such case I should make the classfiles available. They're  for 4.12, and I'll include the Java files so that other modding folk can make the changes for other game versions (like 4.09 in particular, where the classes differ significantly.)

Hi Mate! all your valuable work is making this old game absolutely update as a sim! I wonder if all these wonderful stuff will be released as an all inclusive stand alone Mod easy to install. that would be just great for us numb users!
Thank you again and keep on with this fantastic job of yours! Ciao!


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