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CombatHelo Blog (RSS Import)

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Fuel XFER

Dull day, so lets post about something most normal people find dull. Fuel flow controls. In the Apache D model this is administered on the FUEL MPD page.   Not much to say about it, I'm bored already. It does what it does. Our Apache has two internal ballistically shielded self-sealing fuel tanks. Fuel can be drawn or transferred from one or the other to adjust weight distribution. Activating fuel boost engages the rear tank cross-feed valves as seen here. Fuel transfer between tanks should no

Flexman

Flexman

Shaders the old fashioned way

Yes were still using Notepad to edit them. Well that's not quite accurate, I'm using Notepad++   What's nice about Leadwerks is being able to create a shader to add new effects or change how the engine renders something without anything getting in your way. So when Dave asks for a version of the cubemap that will blend in some particular way it was no problem to quickly put it together. He's doing terrible things to make filthy looking windshields, chrome toggle switches and this rather neat l

Flexman

Flexman

AD posts more Chinook updates at SimHQ

AD posted more Chinook goodies at SimHQ Link here >>> SimHQ - AD Chinook Update         What am I looking at?   It's a little creepy, crew heads now reflect the pilot helmet sight (PHS) and gunner helmet sight (GHS) Vec2 offsets, so using trackIR, mouselook etc will operate the appropriate crewman head position (with suitable organic tweening). These positions are stored in the aircraft state so will work across all aircraft (AI and player) as well as multi-player.

Flexman

Flexman

Combat-Helo Prologue wip Video in HD

Now available.   *edit* A few additional notes...   The controller setup page shown in this video has a number of devices listed. These are just the ones I had plugged in at the time of recording. All DirectInput controllers should be available, some will have ready to fly config files (most Saitek sticks, Logitech).       I forgot to turn on the post processing effects since I work without them (generates more heat). There is a LOT of changes going on to various sensors and the IHADSS w

Flexman

Flexman

Two years old

Yippe..the 18 month project is now 24 months old. Horray. Short post but I felt I couldn't let it slip by unnoticed. Especially with all the Tipex (White-Out) all over my Project Planner.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

KBU, FCR mode logic

First screen-shot of a quickly put together KBU (keyboard unit). This is a flat 2D image you click on, taken from the texture used in the cockpit. I wanted to see how good/bad it looked since we don't have time to develop a 3D one.       Clicking on Air Surv will abort current FCR operation and switch to an active air scan (air surv mode) The keyboard command list is looking horrible if you want full control over this. The shot cut keys work fine however. I made some tweaks to the h

Flexman

Flexman

Smoke ribbons, when emitters are too slow

Particle engines are commonly used for fire and smoke effects adding a lot of eye-candy for little effort. Every frame an emitter creates a number of billboard sprites along a vector. Normally this is not an issue when movement along this vector between frames is quite small.   But what if you're talking about something that moves really fast between frames? Such as a rocket launcher or space-ship? Fellow Brit and indy developer Cliff Harris of Gratuitous Space Battles fame ran into the same p

Flexman

Flexman

Fingers crossed for good weather on Tuesday

Fingers crossed the weather is not too bad tomorrow at Gilze-Rijen air force base. Our man in the Netherlands is prepared for a day of audio recording for the Apache and Chinook.   Good luck Reck. Weather is pretty lousy here, high winds, low temps and rain, sat images and forecast is so-so. Expect wet weather and don't forget the 'dead cat'   Source

Flexman

Flexman

To facilitate new vehicles and multiplayer

In the process of sweeping changes to how the game loads vehicles and other data. A lot of data the describes how the virtual cockpit works, where you sit, angles of views etc. was not available early on and since my long term plan is a system in which we can serve you new vehicles down the wire, even adding the Chinook was going to need a bit of fiddling around. Some data was in the object LUA, some in an external file, some embedded. It wasn't the original intention to build vehicles this way,

Flexman

Flexman

More HUD config options

Completed changes to the HUD section of the config file. <HUD col="1.0, 0.8, 0.2" glow="0" shadow="1" breakoutfpi="1" />   I'm using the TinyXML lib for config functions, it's been fast efficient and easy to use. I added a new option today that was born out of looking at videos of games projected onto huge screens giving almost 1:1 scale. Before my tripplehead PC went pop I had a problem with virtual symbology relative to HUD size. The larger the screen, the smaller the HUD relatively.

Flexman

Flexman

Tuesday - map almost completed

Spent a lot of time today house cleaning. No not code, literally the house. It's amazing what teenagers can do to your treasured Monty Python DVD collection, it's not funny. Stop that, it's silly.   I over-complicated the map drawing and stripped it down. Added functionality to the TSD page for controlling the map scale. I'm happy that it will work with 3rd party maps too. Oh I just noticed in the screen shots the scale index is off by one.   The green colour is from the low elevation rang

Flexman

Flexman

Vector font tweaks and HSI

Working on the tactical situation display elements, the vector font output was never quite as crisp as I'd hoped for but that's now fixed by keeping the 1:1 scale and changing the ortho projection matrix. Bigger works better than smaller when it comes to float accuracy with consumer level drivers that focus on games and performance I guess.   Still have the map scale to do, that's forming part of the mission terminal code. But the rest of the TSD is coming together. I need to put an upper limi

Flexman

Flexman

TSD started, avoiding work for a Split Second

Another little progress update but first a diversion. Yesterday I took some time-off to brush up on gaming skills and really enjoyed Disney Interactive's "Split Second", one of the few car games I keep going back to since I typically find racing games tedious (lack of skill and patience on my part). However this game is almost pure adrenaline and I find my self coming back to try and shave off 2 seconds while avoiding exploding aircraft and collapsing control towers. Split Second is actually the

Flexman

Flexman

Static reflections or cubmapping

I was looking at the problem of glass again, reflections for cockpit instruments and improving the canopy and TADS optics. FSX manages to do so much with so little (a small 128x128 DDS) for shiny metal parts, such as chrome props it was time to look at adding cube mapping again.   I know this has been added to Leadwerks 2.40 but the corona problem doesn't seem to be fixed yet. Retro-fitting cube-maps to 2.31 is an easy task and the river mesh material was updated (we don't use the single heigh

Flexman

Flexman

More HUD readability

First of all, a sincere thanks for the feedback. It's not something to get too hung up about and it's easy to get the idea that we spend hours and hours on making HUDs pretty colours without getting anything else done. Yesterday was pretty intensive in terms of tweaks and adjustments to the HUD but not just in terms of colours.   We've added clipping regions (using glScissor() ) so items like the pitch ladder no longer intrude into areas it shouldn't, this declutters and improves overall reada

Flexman

Flexman

Improving HUD readability

HUDs often used in simulators adopt a green hue and use an additive or alpha blend. It can be hard to read them in some conditions and this is something I was thinking about so I tried a few experiments, non of which I like fully.   First: To improving readability of heads up displays by down-sampling the HUD buffer to a smaller buffer (I called the hud_fx_buffer) with a texture filter, a poor-mans blur. Using the resulting 'fuzzy' version to reduce the intensity level of the background image.

Flexman

Flexman

Virtual Waypoint Marker

The HMD of the new MTADS Apache comes with a number of 'virtual' items displayed to the pilot. The currently selected waypoint is made virtual in cruise and tranistion modes, the waypoint position is marked with a flat bottomed diamond with a dot in the centre. See the take-off point (W00) on the image below.   Flying with the flight path marker inside this symbol and you should head right to that spot.   Waypoint marker     Source

Flexman

Flexman

Gamenavigator (ru) press

Thanks to "GrViper", bit of Russian press coverage courtesy of "Game Navigator". I think I like the intro about raining fire and brimestone? I had to have a Russian friend in Siberia read it out to me over Teamspeak after which he asked, "so you're interested in flight simulation then?" Work update Last night I added the waypoint/navigation system which is rudimentary but has the needed functions for other bits of code to insert them into an aircrafts avionics. It's a linked list with some

Flexman

Flexman

Little update on work - flight model mk2

Spending time working on my laptop here, which now has some reliable memory from Kingston has proved to be a fantastic little work platform for developing with Leadwerks.   The FFD or Free flight dynamics physics engine is still a little rough around the edges for putting into Combat-Helo proper so I'm working on a small test platform which hooks into the Leadwerks entity update callback and calls the FFD update.   I'm not sure if this is a good method of doing it, FFD is just a flight model

Flexman

Flexman

Not a good sign - drive IO failiure

Another disaster strikes, PC wont boot at all. Strange thing happens on the BIOS screen, the moment any attempt to detect any drives (and I tried a few different drives that I know were fine), a bright underscore character appears under the circled comma (picture above).   So apart from my laptop I'm now without a working PC and no means to fix it atm :/   Source

Flexman

Flexman

HMD flight symbology

More flight symbology added today. Raining almost non-stop and my cars wiper motor has failed, so wasn't going anywhere.   We added a couple of items that make it possible to do some precise flying.   Velocity Vector Acceleration Cue The Velocity Vector is the blob on the stick that originates from the cross in the centre of the HMD. This is a representation of the direction and speed of your aircraft. Think of these as "top down" views with your aircraft in the middle, forwards move

Flexman

Flexman

HMD virtual symbology

HMD = Helmet Mounted Display   Remember when Virtual Reality was going to be the next big thing? Seems odd having to re-create something virtual in a game that is virtual, the modern Apache has evolved a bit since the late 1990s. Being able to display in the pilots 3D monocle (yes that's a joke) a lot of data to the crew about targets hidden behind objects, terrain contours. These 'virtual' items are matched 1:1 with the crews head movement unlike a lot of the symbology that is static.   The

Flexman

Flexman

Mobile Innovators of Tomorrow

It's a sentence I pulled out of context from the recent Unity newsletter. It relates to a Mobile Generation Education Project, a project with a $250k giveaway to help students become the mobile innovators of tomorrow.   Now, when I was a student, we didn't have mobile phones, or the world wide web. And if we did, we'd have moved onto something else by now. Teachers point out that 60% of the jobs their students end up doing haven't been invented yet. I helped develop Risk Assessment software us

Flexman

Flexman

ENG rebuilt

Been pretty ill this last week, progress has been sporadic. I took time out to rebuild the engine code so it's now the same for all Apaches, AI and player alike.   Pilot feedback from screen-shots and videos also allowed me to rebuild the whole engine start-up and ENG display page. Automatically switches to in-flight mode. Things blink, change colour, are boxed appropriately. Couple of bits left to do, the biggest headache was dealing with all the fiddly scale changes and adding new code to si

Flexman

Flexman

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