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CH-47D - work commenced

For the record, practical work on the detailed CH-47D interior started yesterday.   The CH-47D is a great machine better suited to the environment in which it will operate in Combat-Helo. The Chinook (prn: shin-uk) is a surprisingly nimble and small helicopter, not the large lumbering giant as is often perceived. What you may find surprising (I did anyway) was that it's about the same size as the Apache. See the comparison image below.   Apache / Chinook size comparisonIn Afghanistan, the CH

Flexman

Flexman

BBC's BoB Weekend

Hey it's a blog, I'm blogging. All this talk about fluids.has brought on a nasty head cold. Up at 6am searching for the Lemsip (a horrid lemon flavoured drink with decongestant) and watching "Dogfights" on DVD.   The History Channel series "Dogfights" prompted the next three to four hours of viewing since I realised just how bad it really was from the simpleton "Top Trumps" presentations to the seemingly good idea at the time computer graphics. To be fair I did learn something new every episod

Flexman

Flexman

Hydraulics - lifeblood of any modern aircraft

Time for another dull dev blog. This time, the exciting world of Hydraulics which I didn't know much about except what I can gather from various books I have laying around.   Hydraulics are a game component as it effects how long you can maintain control in event of damage to your controls or hydraulic lines and it also powers gun turret control. Controls are not direct in modern aircraft, due to the amount of force required to move a large surface area on an aircraft weighing tons, human mus

Flexman

Flexman

TADS/PNVS Stow

I wasn't sure about the STOW angles so I set the PNVS to 165 inboard (0=along the nose) and TADS 180' inboard. Activated via the NVS mode switch in the cockpit (or CTRL S). The CPG station doesn't seem to have the noeswheel/NVS panel unless we missed it. You'll just have to play as the pilot if you want to flip the switch by hand. Switch has 3 position, off (stows the sensors for transitional flight), normal for tracking head movement and fixed for boresight (straight ahead). The NVS Mode sw

Flexman

Flexman

Combat-Helo to offer a special 2D mode

That's right. No 3D glasses will be required. Full support for the very latest 2D high-resolution monitors will be included, no additional headache inducing hardware will be required.   (yes I am loosing my mind)   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Problem with gun camera

I like the idea of having a GunCam view. However it means increasing the texture detail on cannon as it really wasn't meant for up close viewing.   Heh, I have you in my sights.   Trying alternative offsets for the cam to get a good viewpoint. You can see the spotlight on but we don't yet have it deploying from the hull.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

RotorCam - the stupidest idea in the history of helo simulation

Yup, perhaps the most nauseating camera view is back. One that a still screen-shot and an fps hungry FRAPs recording IMPROVES. RotorCam is like having your brain ripped out by your eye-stalks and soaked in vinegar. A virtual camera is strapped to the underside of blade number 1 and everything else is a blur. Only use I can think of is a debug aid when we get to blade flapping etc.   I'd like to thank Macklebee for helping me sort out the LUA object passing to get this working. RotorCam fo

Flexman

Flexman

AD updated his dev diary on SimHQ

AD's SimHQ Dev Diary - Road works   Interesting post on improving the look of the new roads which are meshes exported from 3DMAX using a number of different post processing techniques to level them to our height-map. He touches upon adjusting the height-map to sink roads into the terrain, thus ageing them.   Note that the heightmap images in this post are flipped vertically. If you plan to use them as a map at a later date and get confused then this is why.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Dave experiments with damage visuals

Just got back home and Dave left a nasty sight in my MSN window. No, not another scene of drunken debauchery, actually I have to complain, there's been a distinct lack of that.   We got to discussing visual representation of damage. Different ways we can do this. I write it here so I can remember what we discussed. We looked at some complex set-up of assets for iL2, the results of which are impressive but it hardly makes for an easy pipeline, especially if we want to quickly add more aircraft

Flexman

Flexman

Units, Events and Triggers

I'm putting together specifications on the mission side of the game. To me, the bit that you 'play' is every bit as important as the simulation side, and while it's taken a back seat for now, things are getting to the point where it's time to get on and make it all work. Going through some of my older material on this, it needs to play like Longbow 2, have the crew management elements from Gunship 2000 and strategy elements from tactical board games on guerilla warfare and a bit of a story eleme

Flexman

Flexman

Tonight I have mostly been coding...rotor RPM

Actually the rotor brake system. I'm not really clear what would happen if the rotor brake is off when you move the power levers from the Idle to Fly position. Procedures say DONT, return the switch back to on until the engines are at flight speed (approx 100%). Once the engines are happily settled at flight speed flip the brake off and the rotors begin to turn. Watch the rotor RPM gauge on the MFD until it's in the yellow close to 100% then you're good to go.   Conversely, I'm not too clear w

Flexman

Flexman

New video finally ... free flight

Finally a video showing the free flight mode we really wanted to show at Summer Sim 2010. Thanks AD for doing an amazing job of making it all look good.     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ILqIQDaio     Sorry about the lack of blade-cam, LUA object reference problem. Will get it sorted.

Flexman

Flexman

Crashed helo fish-tank decoration

Never felt the need to keep fish until now. It's a crashed helicopter for use in your pond or aquarium. Thanks Phil (and Rob for sending it on).   This wonder compares to the bizarre "Titantic with inflatable iceberge" bath toy I once found in an English Heritage gift shop.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Camp....insert name here

AD has been working on a new FOB which will be the "other" main camp you'll be deployed at during the course of the campaign.   It's a triangle arrangement used by some forward operational bases. Here the CH47s are ready to be deployed.     And finally..   Don't have a name for the camp yet.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Saitek X65 - A Tale of Two Joysticks

I've been using this for testing and making profiles for Combat-Helo since the weekend. This is a really odd stick. It's perhaps the best built joystick out of the box I've ever had the privilege of using. And quite a looker too. The textured metal feel, the metal triggers and even a couple of the HATs. Oddly this level of build isn't consistent with several hats made from what feels like a poor quality plastic. But it wasn't broken or badly assembled, and nothing has broken yet.   If you didn

Flexman

Flexman

Missing lighting knob

Dave, the kids must have been playing "pilot" again, they've gone and pulled off the knob for the standby instrument lighting, make it like the other two rotaries. I'll fix the camera clipping on the seat     Source

Flexman

Flexman

Weekend video

I know I said this week but will likely be over the weekend, there were some LUA issues I needed to get my head around. As for LUA, I think I'm going to pull out some of the model features I've been putting into the model LUA scripts as it's starting to get in the way when I need to control them in game logic. Reading values and objects back seems to be a dark art, these things may have been fixed, or not bugs at all, but caught between moving engine versions and not much documentation I'm left

Flexman

Flexman

Combat-Helo is 1 y/o today

Was exactly a year ago today we started work on Combat-Helo. I really don't know where the time has gone. Happy buffday team, and well done. To commemorate the occasion I dug out one of the earliest screen-shots I could find to compare with one from this afternoon.   And thank you to everyone who's offered kind words of support and encouragement. It all helps.   Sept 2010 - "Herat"   Oct 2009 - "Camp Zero"     Source

Flexman

Flexman

Saitek Instrument Panel test

Had a quick play with Saitek's DirectOutput SDK, results are mixed but not bad. The MFD resolution in Combat-Helo is a native 512x512 and the Saitek Flight Instrument Panel is VGA 320x240, there's a bit of difference.   Sampling the buffer down to a smaller surface and then adding a suitable BMP header to send over to the device. Remarkably easy. I'll have three more please Saitek   BUT please can you make an FIP version two with a 512x512 square ratio display? Or at least increase the ve

Flexman

Flexman

Summer Sim, ups and downs but great fun

I want to thank Komodo Simulations for inviting me down for Summer Sim 2010, even though it didn't go according to plan we all learned a lot, I certainly did and this was really a chance to meet people and forge connections.   Rich was clearly deep in thought and concerned about hardware performance. I was lost in deep thought and concerned about software. Everyone else didn't seem to mind very much. What happened was, early in the day while I was re-compiling the demo to fix a stupid inverted

Flexman

Flexman

Summer Sim 2010 pre-flight

All the things we want to show but can't. Still making some final hour changes to get a robust demo working that can be operated by Joe Public (I'm told he's coming along). A simple flying demo that will show the technology, Afghan map, lighting and cockpit. It has the mark 1 flight model I keep tweaking. sounds could be better. I wish I had time to do the landing gear joints, it's hard to land without wheels.   Better stop with the bloggin and get back to writing.       Source

Flexman

Flexman

Atmospheric screen-shots

AD made some atmospheric screen-shots when playing with lighting and environment settings. SimHQ Diary Starting with the only major airbase in the region. AD is responsible for some Strike Fighter mod aircraft models, one of which is a Tornado GR1 (?). Which he's used here. I don't think these will be in the game unless we get permission from the original mod maker to use it. But it does look nice.     This is our early version of Camp Stone complete with a half-court basket. You wouldn't

Flexman

Flexman

Exterior night lighting

These are placement tests for the Apache model in the editor, getting a feel for colour, levels, position, range and angle. The left nav light (red) on the Apache model needs to have the fullbright material applied to be visible in dark conditions. One pilot was telling me that the ground on the left side on the helicopter appears brighter than the right with night vision. Interestingly our night vision shader amplifies lighting levels based on final pixel colour and gives a boost to red values

Flexman

Flexman

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