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CombatHelo Blog (RSS Import)

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YAG - yet another gui

I wasn't going to add a complete gui system, we don't need anything complex. The address book needs to accept input from mouse and keyboard and when I thought about it, the planned map viewer/editor will require it too.   It had to be a simple gui system with input focus and keyboard entry. Since the chat console had functions for filtering keys and the input mapper directed keyboard input into it when active it was simple enough to change it to send to a gui class and whatever control input h

Flexman

Flexman

Splash one load screen

We've been using the black and orange diamond logo for some time, it needed to reflect the game colour palette. As a 90's homage to sims of that era, a saturated colour scheme with the GUI elements using 90'-45' angles, black and orange. Two contrasting colours that are visible against most backgrounds.   It wasn't until after I had designed and coded a number of elements that I noticed other military games using the same colours.   Why bother with stuff like splash screens at this stage?  

Flexman

Flexman

Monday update

Today was spent working on reliable interface network client/server connections. It's apparent I need to add some additional items to the top of the screen:   Current world time Mission Time (as offset of world time) Connection status indicators (connecting/connected/ping status) These to sit alongside the current game mode, camera mode and have a suitable background image.   Testing is proving difficult logistically. I would like a fairly inexpensive second PC with small form facto

Flexman

Flexman

Low poly infantry en mass

We finally sourced a a reasonably good infantry soldier, low poly model, rigged, animated and exported. We can fill the screen with dozens of these guys, falling, shooting prone, grenade tossing. We'll give them a couple of weapons they can swap between and a range of helmets swapped in by setting an entity key.     To initially test animation sequences I populated a drop-down control for the editor dialog with the following LUA, chopped up for readability. But lets you pick which frames to

Flexman

Flexman

Building a city, Herat

Another update of map progress on the SimHQ Combat Helo forums. Showing how the City of Herat as a sprawl of densely packed compounds and commerce is being built. Using blocks of prefabs and arranged on a grid. This is a selection of my favourite.   Meant to be viewed from a low altitude, the prefabs do a good job of keeping the eye busy. Here is half a city already with parks and minarets to add. All built to be frame-rate friendly.   And a mini-game for your base, the "Hello World" of

Flexman

Flexman

Multi-player address book

Before I code the address book, what do you think of this arrangement?   I'm trying to keep interface items as simple as possible as I hate coding fiddly bits. But these things are mandatory for modern multi-player games.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Middle East city block

Dexsoft's Middle East City pack has been tweaked by the Dave-9000 supercomputer and has produced a low poly high density city block of 1038 polys. Requiring heavy edits of UV co-ordinates and placing all the textures onto a single surface for blinding performance.   Perfect for iPhone and as a building block of the high-density city of Herat.     Source

Flexman

Flexman

Comms console

Today I added the ubiquitous chat console complete with 4 colour coded channel presets, Global, Side, Group, Vehicle. Complete with command parsing (/setkey lets you send keys to any object you're standing before which is handy). The console also has a command history using the UP/DOWN cursor keys. Chat entry toggled by hitting the ENTER key ala Warcraft. Be aware that the primary action key has moved from the ENTER key to the "P" key (P for primary and also handily close to the square bracke

Flexman

Flexman

GEOWEPS - Gratuitous end-of-week post of screen-shots

Airbase preview at our SimHQ forum.   Gluing the airfield into place has been an interesting job, using terrain 'visibility' to cut out terrain chunks and fit it into place. Shindand airfield is used for medical and humanitarian flights, it's currently VFR only and no lighting system. We might modernise it a little for our scenario.   Most NATO flights will come and go from here. A node system for AI aircraft to follow the taxiways and tank-off/land will be added.   Multiplayer options sta

Flexman

Flexman

Upgrade 2.32 - let the fun begin

My wife reminds me that it takes typically two weeks after each engine upgrade to get things working as intended.   There's the odd "caps sensitive" issue in some of the LUA source. And a quick change of fw.Main to fw.main in Renderer to get ll the helo/sky scripts working. Rebuilding the lua-gluefunctions and making sure not residue from the previous version was causing problems.   All that's left is handling changes of appearance and shaders....and re-serialising all of the 3D work.   Pe

Flexman

Flexman

Tricubic Studios Ltd.

Formally announcing the foundation of the legal entity Tricubic Studios Ltd. developers of Combat Helo, associated content and iPhone/iPad games / applications.   This doesn't change very much, it grants us a recognised identity for trading, taxation and investment. Plus we get a chance to develop an insipid company website. We plan to have our first mobile platform release ready for the summer. More details on that in a few weeks. Blog updates will continue at this location.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Environment, weather, day cycles, iPhones, everything.

It's not going to win any awards for realism but we have a rudimentary ENV environment class that handles time-of-day ticking and updating scene elements accordingly. Lighting, colouring, fog, sun position. Currently it's using computed light values which renders lovely post apocalyptic scenes, the colours are terrible IMO, looks like a nuke's gone off. A lookup table will be better and an exercise I'll leave for later. Also I added some data structures for moving weather zones around the map. T

Flexman

Flexman

Building bridges and instrument lights

Dave sent me his first bridge work for crossing the Death Star trench across our terrain.   Pictured below is an editor scene showing it in place with some of our other 3D assets rolling across it.   Five brickwork textures were used to break up the surface detail with colour matching used to make it blend with the terrain textures.     Last night I finished playing around with the cockpit night lighting thanks to Bushmaster and his reference photos and nudging to fix the colours. Three

Flexman

Flexman

Multi-Page Displays - WEP Gun Submode

All actions relating to the AH64D go though a message receiver. Player mount, dismount, ground crew arming, lights, AI commanding and (getting to the point) virtual cockpit interactions.   The MPD button naming convention of "MPD_1_17" refering to MPD 1 (pilot left) and key 17 (counting from top left) that gets sent to the input handler for that MPD.   Key messages can originate from the client or network. I had to add a source ID to account for situations where one person in the same vehicl

Flexman

Flexman

Avionics and cockpit update

Quick update. Busy working on a lot of small things. We have a cockpit update coming to update MPDs, internal and external night lighting. MPDs taking to the TStores class and working towards having a number of cockpit functions up and ready for the start-up. Dave added the CP/G throttle panel too (which removes the power switch and engine startup).   Experiencing a problem with fps slowdown over time again. Mostly down to repeatedly running combat-helo, stop, edit, re-run. FPS drops to single

Flexman

Flexman

Dave experiments with pit lighting

The art-gnome at Combat-Helo has been playing with bloom and glow shader materials for the cockpit and came up with instrument night lighting. I thought it was a cool use of extra texture stages and materials with Leadwerks engine, it's an easy effect to add. With additional green point lights around the pit it should look pretty close to the real deal.     Here's a real shot with night lighting. Panel back-lighting and small point lights.     Source

Flexman

Flexman

WEP page (advanced)

This is OpenGL, vector based rendered to an offscreen buffer, now with added mipmaps. I'll try and detail the functions of these pages and sub-modes as I go and allow you to submit corrections early on.   The WEP (weapons) MFD page   Pictured below shoing the gun sub-mode. Main feature is the bust limit selector on the left side indicating the number of rounds fired when the pilot commands. The bottom MFD buttons marked GUN, MSL and RKT will switch the weapons and display rounds and options.

Flexman

Flexman

SimHQ Dev Diary update

AD has been finishing more of the villages and green zones around the region. You can read more about it here...   SimHQ Dev Diary update   This is "Dara" in the Northern region (See map below)   Source

Flexman

Flexman

Third Person Cam - don't laugh

I'm in the process of adding the weapon systems; avionics and links to the stores. While that's coming along at a steady pace I often come across a bit of code and think "I could quickly do this..."   So I just quickly added the third-person cam; as we don't yet have any character models I'm having to use this laughable code generated place-holder.   Character height is 1.8m.   We're going to require a rigged humanoid with a number of animations for sitting, prone, kneeling, aiming,

Flexman

Flexman

Weapons, pylons and stores

Spent the day working on the Helicopter entity and the sub-classes that handle all the pylons and stores. It's worth spending time automating these things as much as possible now to simply things later.   I broke out UMLet, a nice fast Java based UML editor to look at my structure. What's missing is the store-jett which needs to be a function of [TStore], pass it the pylon number and it will be required to generate the physics object, parent the rail/pod/fuel cell, detach it from the pylon and

Flexman

Flexman

XML Database lookups

I needed to add some on-the-fly lookups for data stored in XML databases without having them gobbling up memory. Most games of this type had a vehicle and weapon database, usually with a rotating 3D model or picture of the object. Using the TxmlTextReader function with a cache works fine. Only need to do the lookup once when examining an object.   All weapons come with suitable entries by entering the ground crew mode from proximity to any Apache helicopter. We can re-use this for tutoria

Flexman

Flexman

Volcanic ash, no flights and weekend progress

It's been a blissfully quiet weekend.   The Combat-Helo configuration files are now in an easier to use XML format and I added a lot of extra options too. Player profile name, host IP, graphics filters etc. Fullscreen and Windowed modes having their own settings.   Also experimented with light scattering, we'll be adding per time-of-day lighting and retiring the old LB2 style skybox. That's not a priority item just something that's nice to toy as a little break.   Arming system which shoul

Flexman

Flexman

Autopatcher - needs patching

hehe well the XPatcher2 software worked great for the upload, but the client program doesn't seem to want to work at all, requesting a file that wasn't supplied or exists.   Might have to look at other some other software.   Converting all config files to use XML format, this will make editing control inputs a bit easier later. They are rather messy atm and adding new options should be a lot easier.   Source

Flexman

Flexman

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