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Author Topic: AeroKinetics Mod  (Read 88374 times)

HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #150 on: March 24, 2016, 11:19:39 pm »


You have a lot of balls in the air....... Have you ever considered a developers diary?
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #151 on: March 24, 2016, 11:56:05 pm »

LOL! Should I take that as a complement?  :))

What do you mean by dev diary?

Regards,
Uriah
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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #152 on: March 25, 2016, 12:38:06 am »

LOL! Should I take that as a complement?  :))

What do you mean by dev diary?

Regards,
Uriah

Developer diaries are articles, usually accompanied by screenshots and videos, showing the momentary state of development, describing features and explaining game design choices.

They are published more or less regularly by developers to let people know of a game's status. For instance, whats going on with the Aerokinetics mod? Videos of a flight? What are some of the problems you encountered? How are you solving them? What's it like collaborating on an Outerra project with other modders? etc.......

Whatever happened with the F-22?

Whats the Apache looking like?

How do the runway lights you are working on affect framerate?
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #153 on: April 21, 2016, 04:17:33 pm »

I haven't posted much about rockets, or space flight simulation in general in a while, so I thought I would at least give a brief update.

So where are all these rockets?!  >:(
Good question! :D I've built flight models in JSBSim for about 10 different rockets, simple 3d models for 5, and released 0. Why? Am I just a tease, am I still working on anything, or is it just really hard? First of all, I do apologize, I have a slight case of perfectionism. Second, yes I am absolutely working on rockets and space flight simulation in general and have short term and long term plans. Lastly... yes... it is incredibly hard.

Navigation, Guidance and Control.
There is a major issue that I have been struggling with from the beginning, which is the automated guidance system as well as manual control during ascent. My conclusion has always been, since the guidance system needs to target a final orbit in order to maneuver, it needs to have a guidance and flight computer which calculates and plans the ascent trajectory and calculates the current and final orbital parameters. Since the original J246 example included in the JSBSim CSV repository had only three equations, for semi-major axis, apoapsis and periapsis, I needed to learn orbital mechanics and build a complete flight computer, which has been an ongoing project for more than a year now, and is finally nearing fruition.

Outerra Interface.
Another thing that has prevented me from releasing rockets in Outerra is that the JavaScript methods I needed to build functional rockets simply didn't exist. The exciting news is... since working closely with the developers, many of those methods have been added and released in the latest updates! This means I now have the tools needed to build a rocket worth releasing.

3d Models.
The last problem with releasing rockets in Outerra has always been the 3d modelling. I simply don't have time to build the flight models and guidance system as well as make detailed 3d models worthy of OT. So until an experienced 3d artist comes along with both the time and dedication for space flight to work with me, rockets will have to be relatively simple.

What Are My Objectives?
My final goal is to build a set of tools and resources and example with which other developers can build rockets and spacecraft. This includes orbital mechanics equations, a knowledge base for building JSBSim flight models including extensive documentation, and a plugin which provides back-end and front-end features for procedural parts, assemblies and flight models, as was always the original intent of this thread. I am always open to feedback and suggestions, and will release more information as my plans move forward and solidify.

Orbital Mechanics.
Before, I was working on a JavaScript function library which would include all of the equations to calculate the Keplerian Orbital Elements, and other orbital parameters for the guidance and flight computer, which will make it possible to perform maneuvers such as prograde/retrograde burns, plane changes and transfer orbits. Instead of continuing in JavaScript, I've taught myself C++ ported all of my code over, and done a complete audit of the equations to make sure everything is accurate. I found a number of issues where certain functions wouldn't work in certain cases, such as parabolic and hyperbolic orbits, among other use cases. Those are being corrected, and I'm now splitting up the functions into two parts, 1. General Orbital Dynamics Equations, and 2. Cartesian Coordinates to Keplerian Orbital Elements Equations. The product of this effort will either produce a plugin for Outerra, or be integrated directly in JSBSim, but I haven't decided which of those directions to take yet. Whatever the case, these equations will be universal for all rockets and spacecraft. It is a given that these functions will only take into account the two-body equations of motion, but multi-body equations would be the next step once N-body physics can be supported.

Legacy Launch Vehicles.
A number of real world launch vehicles will be released as examples. Upon a number of requests lately, I'll update the Jupiter 246 launch vehicle and release that first.

Procedural Parts and Assemblies.
Procedural rockets and spacecraft will require a C++ plugin/add-on, with both back-end and front-end features. This is my long term objective, and applies to both legacy and novel launch vehicles which would be assembled of multiple separate parts. Some progress has already been made, but the focus has been on orbital mechanics, which I felt were the first priority. I have documented the long term plan for procedural parts, assemblies, and flight models, including all of the technical requirements, which I may share an except of at some point in the future for feedback and suggestions. There has also been some brainstorming for a possible user interface and specific end-user features.

Now, to answer your questions HiFlyer.
I have never really considered writing a developer diary, I guess a lot of what I have done since joining Outerra has been a learning experience, and I don't really consider myself a developer in that sense at all. I hope this post serves to answer some of your questions about the "AeroKinetics mod". Maybe if I am ever able to work on Outerra full time that is something I would consider.

To collaborate, or not to collaborate, that is the question!
As for collaborating, it is always better that people collaborate instead of working alone. The biggest sins of collaborative projects are unquestionably; 1. time, 2. focus and 3. completion. I'm working with a number of people on various projects, and am guilty of all three of those sins. I do find that truly dedicated people will be far more efficient and effective working together if they can hold it together the duration of the project, but without making money, it is pure passion which moves those projects forward. Personally, I think my goal is to turn this into a full time job eventually, so my long term goal is to find a way to make Outerra projects financially equitable in order to make that a reality. If that isn't possible, such as has transpired with DCS and other communities, than the most dedicated artists and developers will probably turn elsewhere to collaborate other than Outerra. I say that because for those kind of people, it is more than a part time hobby, and for that to work they must also be able to make a living in order to work on it full time. Hobbyists can afford to mod part time, but they will never be able to reach the level of someone who is fully engaged, and they cannot be fully engaged without being able to put food on the table. So yes, in the long run, I would like to collaborate with others on projects to build paid content for Outerra and work on it full time.

As for your other questions, which may be slightly off topic, but I'll answer them here nonetheless.

Am I planning to release the F-22 and Other Aircraft?
The F-22 suffers the same fate as many other things I have dabbled in, without a good 3d model or artist to collaborate, there isn't much I can do. I found an extremely simple and free 3d model, and implemented the F-22 flight model included with the JSBSim CSV repo to experiment with thrust vectoring. Without a decent 3d model, that is probably where it will end, as with the F-35, UH-60 and many others. My focus is flight modelling and programming, so I really need people to collaborate with on the art side.

What's Up With the Apache?
On the Apache project, it would be better to answer that in detail on the thread, but in short I'm finishing an audit of all my code in general, just as with orbital mechanics, which will be used for all of the projects I work on and made available for others to use. There were a lot of changes made in the latest Outerra releases, and I felt that all of my code was out of date, becoming extremely cluttered and it was hard to keep each aircraft I was working on updated with the latest code because only scripts local to the package folder can be used, so there can not be scripts common to all aircraft. I've discussed this with the developers, and there are two solutions which could resolve this while not causing extensive compatibility issues with version updates.

Do Runways Light Mean Bad Performance?
The runway lights have been found to have some performance impact with upwards of a few hundred light sources, but the number is less of an issue, and the greatest factor is how much area the light source illuminates on the ground, causing the engine to compute shadows and illumination. So, for instance a single light source that covers a circle with a diameter of 1000 meters would have far greater of an impact than a few hundred lights each only illuminating a small area. The same goes for light on vehicles and aircraft, the greater the area illuminated, the greater the impact on performance.

So that is the past, current, and future state of my efforts, hope that fills in some of the unanswered questions.

Best regards,
Uriah

Here is a screenshot of the C++ FGOribtalDynamics application I've been working on with some test inputs and outputs.

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HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #154 on: April 21, 2016, 04:59:48 pm »

Well that is much more of a reply than I was hoping for, so thank you! When I didn't hear back, I just assumed it was the stupidest question ever
and you weren't going to answer.  :-[  =D

Interesting to hear your thoughts about others working on Outerra, as its been a constant surprise to me that more programs I see, (primarily) hobby projects with future commercial goals but which lack mostly a believable world as a backdrop, have not yet (at least publicly) taken an interest in Outerra. I could just imagine how much creativity could be released if they could concentrate their main efforts on the sim technical aspects and not building an engine as well.

As for the F-22, remember I did ask if you had seen any available models out there that would suit your goals. I would still be interested in taking a look at pricing as once upon a time you were interested in collecting funds for a purchase......

I've been waiting for that Apache for a while, and carefully not bringing it up except that once, because I didn't want to be the kid in the back seat asking every ten minutes "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we..........."

Finally about the lights, I wonder what method X-plane uses for its lighting system that allows them to seemingly have just about limitless lights. I've always wondered why turning on all the lights in the Cessna (or some of Thesenergys vehicles!) could cause such a hit. Hope that gets worked out!

Again, thanks for the reply!

« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 05:31:05 pm by HiFlyer »
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #155 on: April 21, 2016, 05:36:53 pm »

Well that is much more of a reply than I was hoping for, so thank you! When I didn't hear back, I just assumed it was the stupidest question ever
and you weren't going to answer.  :-[

I've just been really busy, but I had been planning a post on this thread for a while any way.

Although this is really off-topic...  8)

I think you mean the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. There is an issue which goes beyond the licensing aspect. A vast majority of commercially available 3d models were intended for high-end rendering and not optimized for game engines, in fact from experience so much so that it would take less effort to build it from scratch than to fix the original. Many of Levi's projects encountered this problem even though they were built for games, but the texture draw calls were too high so he had to merge the textures, which takes considerable time and effort. Now imagine that the geometry has too many polygons, so to optimize it you need to not only work on the meshes, but also re-map the UVs which might mean completely re-doing the textures, and by the time you are done the time spent fixing it could be more than if you just built the whole thing yourself. Also, the cockpits are usually of far worse quality then the exterior, which should be the opposite for a game, where the cockpit should be of superior detail and quality to the exterior. Any further discussion on the F-35 should probably be carried out on that thread.

The reason X-Plane is able to seemingly render infinite lights with no performance impact is because there are two types of lights, one being essentially like the billboard trees in Outerra, which is exactly what we need for optimized lights that can be seen from a distance, and has already been discussed with the devs. X-plane also has lights which illuminate geometry, and they suffer the same performance impact as do those in OT. I don't have almost any frame rate drop with the Cessna at all, and even with the MiG-29 which has far more lights, very little performance impact, no sure why it would be any different. I can check what the illumination distance is, but that can be discussed elsewhere to stay on-topic here.

Regards,
Uriah
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HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #156 on: April 21, 2016, 07:13:37 pm »

What you're attempting brings to mind other projects I've been keeping my eye on over time (Like the Seven-G F/A-18 project) where essentially a single dedicated person has an idea and does an awful lot of impressive heavy lifting on it, though with Cameni, Angrypig and others you are in a much better position for success, I think.

I also think you have a very obvious potential market with Outerras other partners, and making these capabilities available can't help but make Outerra even more attractive. I was playing with your rocket about a week ago, but suspect I just suck, as I was successful primarily in making it fall over.  =D

Good luck!
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #157 on: April 21, 2016, 07:28:33 pm »

Which rocket? Jupiter 246? I wasn't sure if the version I have for download would even work now or not, given the number of changes to the JavaScript interface since then. I will be upgrading the J246 and releasing a new version with special effects, stage separation and guidance, before anything else.

Regards,
Uriah
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HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #158 on: April 21, 2016, 07:45:40 pm »

Which rocket? Jupiter 246? I wasn't sure if the version I have for download would even work now or not, given the number of changes to the JavaScript interface since then. I will be upgrading the J246 and releasing a new version with special effects, stage separation and guidance, before anything else.

Regards,
Uriah

Nope. Don't think it works. I fiddled for quit a while before realizing that, though.  :P

(My basic assumption was that I had five thumbs)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 08:03:25 pm by HiFlyer »
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #159 on: April 21, 2016, 10:24:51 pm »

K, I'll get that fixed.

By the way, here is a glimpse at the evolution of the original AeroKinetics GUI concept. Note, the name "AeroKinetics" was always intended as a placeholder, and in all likelihood will not be the final name. In fact there is a real company with that name and I will come up with something much better in the future.

Always appreciate feedback and critique!  :))

Regards,
Uriah

Launch Vehicle Staging GUI



Orbit Visualization and GUI

« Last Edit: April 22, 2016, 03:10:08 am by Uriah »
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HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #160 on: April 21, 2016, 11:15:15 pm »

With you working to push the envelope on Rockets/Aircraft and SteelRat pushing on the ground vehicles, I guess the next thing is to wonder who will eventually tackle boats!  =D

(and trains)
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #161 on: April 25, 2016, 05:28:37 pm »

Re-post from original thread since I know a lot of people follow this one who may not sign into the forums regularly or have an account. The Atlas V thread can be found here.

Some major progress I've made on the Atlas V launch vehicle, which is applicable to aircraft and rockets in general, made possible largely due to support from the Outerra developers.

While not complete, the launch vehicle is an assembly of separate parts, which can be attached in a number of configurations. The final version will include a user interface for launch vehicle configuration and customization, including selecting between the Atlas V 400 and 500 series, choosing a Payload/Flight Vehicle to launch, Payload Fairing size, up to five Solid Rocket Boosters and selecting between the Single Engine Centaur (SEC) or Dual Engine Centaur (DEC) upper stage. It will also support user-made payloads, and easily customized graphics on the Common Payload Fairing Module. Part of the GUI will be a mission planning interface, where you will be able to program the guidance computer for the mission, including different types of earth orbits or transfer orbits, and given a selected launch vehicle configuration and flight vehicle calculate and visualize the approximate trajectory and delta V.

Here are a few screenshots for your enjoyment!  :))

Best regards,
Uriah


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HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #162 on: April 25, 2016, 06:08:08 pm »

Very nice work! Is it possible yet to set objects onto stable orbits and then dock with them (fairly) realistically?
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Uriah

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #163 on: April 26, 2016, 07:00:19 am »

Orbits yes, docking no. Using either Two Line Element (TLE) data or Keplerian Orbital Elements I can put an object into any orbit around Earth. Docking with another spacecraft or space station won't be possible without physics support, including collision and a force to hold the two objects together.

Regards,
Uriah
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HiFlyer

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Re: AeroKinetics Mod
« Reply #164 on: April 26, 2016, 07:02:14 am »

Orbits yes, docking no. Using either Two Line Element (TLE) data or Keplerian Orbital Elements I can put an object into any orbit around Earth. Docking with another spacecraft or space station won't be possible without physics support, including collision and a force to hold the two objects together.

Regards,
Uriah

Bullet physics rocket? (yells for Andfly)  =D
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