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CombatHelo Blog (RSS Import)

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Internal views

Added some fixed internal views for 'quick' look downs and drama shots.   Wiper dash...this has a little vibration.   Pilot displays...   Over shoulder...   Pilot engine controls (startup and lighting)...CP/G similar (not pictured)   Co-pilot target panel (TEDAC)...   I think a 'foot-well' cam will come when we get a pilot model in game so we can see the crew looking around. And I think we could use an ADI/Comms panel view. Feel free to suggest a few more.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Herat city, almost

This is months of painstaking trial-and-error, optimisation and experimentation. I said months ago, "We don't have the resources or time to build a whole city, just a close approximation". Well it's an approximation but it's more than what we anticipated was possible. Given that the old girl Longbow 2 had a small village, a dozen or so muddy cubes, this is 2010 and we can afford to push it a little.   Putting the demo together for Summer Sim 2010 next weekend, the updated map includes Herat

Flexman

Flexman

WAH-64D Replica Controls

Summer Sim 2010 is nearly here. Komodo Simulations, makers of replica helicopter controls for virtual training are sadly not going to have their replica controls ready in time but a recent news update on their web site shows the current collective at the pre-mould stage.   Komodo Simulations WAH-64 collective WIP   Looking good so far. Combat-Helo will be there to show a build of some kind. Although like the controls we're perhaps not going to have all the goodies ready to go into a demo bui

Flexman

Flexman

Camera views askew

Taking a little time-out from debugging to recharge my batteries, something slightly less frustrating, camera views.   Not helped by my original program flow which had camera commands in-line where needed, and I still have to go through and fix up TrackIR to work with the new class but shouldn't take long. TrackIR is really simple to implement in this kind of software.   Crew positions are parented to a pivot and then offset so it was important to retain any camera/parent relationships, add

Flexman

Flexman

PC Pilot, published in the UK but have to buy from US

It's ridiculous, I'm seemingly unable to purchase from the UK, PC Pilot, a UK based flight simulation magazine . The only way I'm able to obtain copies is via ebay sellers in the US.   Local stockists are non-existent and repeated attempts to buy them online results in emails informing me that they are unable process my details. The same details which seem perfectly fine for US ebay vendors.   Two weeks now.   I give up, I'll stick with US postal charges. More reliable.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Flight model Mk2 update and roads

At no point before have I felt so much under pressure as I do now. Hence the lack of blog updates. The new physics engine is still being problematic but these are issues relating to -ff-math and tracking down typos, the odd logic error and other errors that occur when programming.   In a flight model, such errors result in numbers quickly blowing up, which they do. So I'm currently tracking down each issue, one at a time until, eventually, it should just all click into place.   I finally con

Flexman

Flexman

Some more architecture

I think these have been on the SimHQ forums for a couple of days but I've been too busy to post any updates. Here AD has been adding some gardens to the Friday Mosque and adding it to the city. To overcome scale/zbuffer issues of having a large scene, AD has buried the the tiled gardens into the terrain, just like the river sections. The gardens sit on a large slab that is quite deep, this also accommodates uneven terrain.     No paved road surface currently. While Leadwerks supports

Flexman

Flexman

New oak-tree billboards in place

While I'm spending hours pouring over interfacing the flight model, AD has been tinkering with billboards again, finding a blend of shadows. There's still more to do, I want a ground fog layer, multiple layers, realistic light scattering and a more dynamic LOD system which we can't do yet. AD is reducing the tree poly counts from 1,500 to 500 on the LOD1s. This should improve shadow performance a little.   Looking at shadows again, I came across a GameDev.net post that I might look into. It'

Flexman

Flexman

Another art-dev diary update

Updates to the green-zones, incremental improvements to the billboards, painting 'shadow' under vegetation. Dev-diary update at SimHQ   It's looking great considering how much detail we can't use. Currently we can't use the 2.32 engine due to lack of LOD distance control, and loading the levels with all the vegetation takes three times as long in the new version due to the extra processing required for veg culling. The detail in our production level map shows little performance difference

Flexman

Flexman

Art-dev diary update at SimHQ

Dave has been inspired to work a bit more on the more empty areas of the terrain to give them a bit more "pop". See his diary update at our forum hosted by SimHQ.     Source

Flexman

Flexman

Showroom pic

I'm still hard at work on flight model code so not much to show or talk about. I'm feeling a bit sleep deprived but we're against the clock.   Dave is refreshed from his little break in the sun and has been rendering shadows for the opfor ground vehicles and CH47. I like these "showroom" pictures. Gives me a hankering to play an RTS game.     Source

Flexman

Flexman

Astrasim Expo 2010

If you're in the UK on August the 28th and can make it to RAF Cosford for the Astrasim Expo flight simulation show, there's a chance that one of the more haggard and tired members of the Combat-Helo development team (me) will be hanging around Komodo Simulations.   http://www.astrasimexpo.co.uk/   Some of my favourites will be there, Sky Blue Radio, Flightstore (who were always good at sorting out my Saitek woes).   So fingers crossed we get the demo completed in good time and hopefully we

Flexman

Flexman

Flight modelling, a modular approach

I can't talk about the details much as it's proprietary code. Helicopters have been (inaccurately) described as thousands of moving parts flying in lose formation. Mathematically a helicopter is thousands of interactions flying in loose formation. For Combat-Helo and future simulations we're assembling a modular version of what we call FFD (FreeFlight Dynamics), a library based on definitive engineering texts on how helicopters fly through air. Texts such as Bramwell's Helicopter Dynamics and Wa

Flexman

Flexman

Scrappy day

Began preliminaries on the advanced flight model. This involved looking through the various classes and discussing best strategies to minimise future maintenance and ease integration.   Dor setup a flight-sim workstation and was researching the finer points of .GAU programming but was thwarted when her PC detected a Rookit virus infection picked up when working away over the weekend. She shouldn't have plugged into strange networks and let the client install software. Lesson learned the hard w

Flexman

Flexman

Flare, flare...no look a flare

Congratulations to ArtDave (AD, geddit) for scaring the poo out of me.   He tells me he's been scripting the flare pen (Gyrojet), I'm so busy heads-down in game code I'm often grunting and throwing back idle comments and ideas to get his flare launching LUA code to work.   Then he sends me his completed files. I'm taking a late afternoon break and thought I'd drop his new files into the project to have a look. So I pull over the gyrojet flare pen into the scene editor, I had no idea my speak

Flexman

Flexman

FSX, MPD menus and Perlin Noise

Quite a scrappy day. Installed Microsoft Flight Simulator X and the SDK, there's an interface I want to try and build as a gauge in FSX. I've used the Simconnect API to interface to my own radio panel, now I need to build a gauge to talk to the Simconnect DLL.   I re-worked the avionics menu page using the new vector glyphs, adding some commands to toggle the chat console, about page for version information. The UTIL page sets the FMS channels (Flight Management System or FLCS FLight Control S

Flexman

Flexman

CSEL (Combat Survivor/Evader Locator)

Dave completed more of the survival equipment, looking really good. The concept is simple, if you need to perform an emergency landing and leave your helo, the CSEL can be activated and will mark the location on everyone's tactical situation display. The signal flare may be use to mark your position visually.   More up close pictures in the SimHQ thread here.         I spun off a new shader to do the MPD video mixing. The symbology layer needed to mask the video layer using its alpha c

Flexman

Flexman

Video underlay part II

Video underlays are working as intended (more or less).   I split the MPD buffers into two, symbologyBuffer and compositeBuffer. The symbology buffer is texturestage2 and rendered by the shader at full brightness. If the underlay is active the TADS/PNVS buffer is copied to outputbuffer which is texturestage0 (the simple diffuse buffer). The two are mixed by the material shader which is applied to each MPD screen.   The mix works well, providing enough contrast between video and symbology eve

Flexman

Flexman

Video underlay

Not quite there yet.   What I'm trying to do is copy the raw TADS buffer into the diffuse COLOR0 buffer and render the symbology into the same bugger but into channel 2 (COLOR2). Texture channel 2 is used by the "fullbright" shader and mixes at full intensity. The net effect being a normal diffuse texture with full-bright symbology painted over it.   At the moment it's not working as intended. I need to go through the shader to check it's doing what I think it's supposed to do. And see if I

Flexman

Flexman

Some improvements to the MPDs

Added a simple frame-skip to MPD draw method, they don't need to be updated every single frame and it squeezes out a little extra. Found a "toob" video in which you get a couple of frames of the UTIL page. Anti-ice and FMS options, presumably this is where you can toggle pitch roll and yaw augmentation. Well seems like a good place to add that and we will need to flag some FMCS values for HTR which can auto-trim. Turning that off in the UTIL page will be handy. Looks like "NOE?" at the bottom to

Flexman

Flexman

I need a new chair

My chair's really bad and falling apart. Went looking online, some nice ones that might be good for my back but I saw this one,from Amazon.co.uk oh boy, to bad it doesn't come with Kevlar plates and a cup-holder.   This one is quite nice too...bloody expensive though...   Guess I'll end up with this one...   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Quick update

Monday was one of those email days.   Future Tech   As director I'm looking beyond Combat-Helo, the future of the game and where we want to make improvements. One major improvement I'd like to see is the terrain rendering part of the engine. Make it more flexible, scalable and efficient. We've been looking at different engines and technologies, none of them are suited for flight-simulation out of the box. As much as we'd like to license those for use in a future commercial project they are e

Flexman

Flexman

Combat-Helo to use HTR technology for flight model

I'm happy to announce that Combat-Helo will incorporate Frederic Naar's HTR Helicopter Total Realism technology for advanced helicopter flight dynamics. (link: Hovercontrol forum, HTR section). Developed as an external physics model that interfaces with Microsoft Flight Simulator via Pete Dawson's FSUIPC, HTR is an impressive implementation of blade theory using door-stopper text-books that designers of helicopters use as source material.   Fred invited me over for a few days for a mutual show

Flexman

Flexman

Light amplificiation

Today I added a postbuffer pixel shader to do light amplification for ETADS. Based on Geeks3D lightamp shader and modified for Leadwerks Engine it actually performs amplification by sampling the source pixel and if it's below a threshold, boosts the pixel intensity. Pretty neat.   These are tests, the left half is the amplified area, right side is ambient light.   The the first greyscale image has the polarity reversed. Into the mix I added a scanline mask with animated noise. The ET

Flexman

Flexman

Acting!

As I sat down to implement the generic event system I was reading Game Coding Complete which discusses something similar, the Actor class. I was reinventing the wheel...badly. The wheel is overrated as an invention. By far the greatest invention was the second wheel, lets face it, the unicycle isn't the most practical form of transport.   I digress. Actors. If you want to know more about them see Actor model at Wikipeadia   Then I came across this public domain implementation by Otus which

Flexman

Flexman

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