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EC130-B4: major update

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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:18 am

Hi,

It's always a pleasure to fly this heli. I encountered a little problem last Sunday though: I flew on MP with some other EC130 (callsign AR123 if I remember correctly). In the pilot list, his model was indicated as ec130b4, but the line was orange and accordingly, I couldn't see his model (i.e.: I saw the generic blue glider). He said he couldn't see mine either. He said he was using FG 3.7. What I was using is:

SimGear e7598df Wed, 17 Feb 2016 21:16:33 +0100
FlightGear de959a1 Wed, 17 Feb 2016 21:25:39 +0000
FGData c3c246c Wed, 17 Feb 2016 23:51:27 +0000
FGAddon r1574 2016-02-19 17:45:43 +0100 (Fri, 19 Feb 2016)

but I was flying the ec130b4 from your repo (mhab) at https://gitlab.com/mhab/ec130.git (commit d11ca5f89fccb6691d45a3b52259b2e7b710abd4). FFGo passes the --aircraft-dir option to fgfs to allow me to choose which of the two available ec130b4's is going to be used---playing with FG_AIRCRAFT order is unreliable due to the <path-cache> in $FG_HOME/autosave_X_Y.xml.

I saw that, compared to the state in FGAddon, this Git repo has seen some new files (ec130-base.xml, the ec120t2 variant...). Maybe one of these changes gets in the way of visibility over MP? Or maybe the problem was there before and nobody noticed/reported it?..

Sorry for not being able to be more specific, and thanks for considering!
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby mhab » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:28 pm

Hello

Thanks for the kind words about the EC130 and for using it :)

I think the problem you ran into, is caused by the changes I did recently with introducing the EC130 T2 = H130.
As you noticed, there are changes to several files and the ec130-set.xml no longer exists.
This is an incompatible change and also causes a loss of ec130 flight info (logged hours, flight number, etc.)

It is the result of how I tweaked the H130 into the implementation of the ec130 with the target of having the least possible
redundancy and a consistent implementation over all.

Things are not perfect and I already have more redundancy than I planned for, due to limitations in FG (i.e. effect defs don't care for conditions)
but that's how it is for now.

I guess the multiplayer problem is hitting whenever a mix of old and new EC130 implementations happens.
Maybe you can install the old version of EC130 in a different location and add the path of it in your configuration.
This may resolve the problem with older EC130 versions in MP mode, as it should find the "old version" aircraft in your environment.
On the other hand I am not sure if this approach is free of file mixups within FG.

Thanks
Mike-DE
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:34 pm

Sorry, I wasn't accurate enough in my previous message: I use the ec130 version from your Git repo, but I also have the version in FGAddon in my FG_AIRCRAFT path list (passed with --fg-aircraft). Therefore, there is a problem with the different versions at least, even if one has them all installed in FG_AIRCRAFT (well, for what I know: the Git version from your repo and the version from FGAddon).

Note that, in order to avoid mixmatching files from various versions of the current aircraft, some FG methods such as AircraftResourceProvider::resolve() will only look in (the value of) /sim/aircraft-dir for resources whose name starts with “Aircraft/<ac>”, where <ac> is the current aircraft name (cf. FlightGear commit 1d34b96d4954ef2c1da673fae83ac22c778d24d4). Normally, if the MP protocol and implementation were all fine (able to differentiate between various versions of the "same" aircraft), that shouldn't matter IMHO, but maybe this is not quite the case...
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby mhab » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:59 pm

OK, so you already use a configuration which I thought might solve the problem.
If that doesn't work out I lack ideas at the moment, as I don't know how MP identifies and finds the remote aircraft.
Maybe changing path sequence might help ?
Remark: I spent the last hour with some strange situations in a mixed installation, really confusing and not reproducable ...

It would be helpful to know if the new H130 works fine if both sides use it. I expect that, but you never know in complex systems ;-)

As for me I never use MP mode so I might overlook issues related to that. I also don't know if it works in the "old" configuration.
If it is clear if and what needs to be fixed, I will take care.

Happy flying
Mike-DE
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:53 pm

OK, I see. I'm afraid I can't say precisely what needs to be fixed, otherwise I would have said it. :)

This needs some trial and error presumably. If you want to do tests over MP one of these days, I'll try to be there. Otherwise it is possible to simultaneously run several FG instances on the same computer for this kind of testing... I haven't done that myself, but have seen it done on the devel list (some even without being connected to the MP network, but using direct connection between the two instances---not sure this last setup would allow to see the problem at hand, though). I think the basic principle is to use different user accounts to run the various FG instances, otherwise I would expect a big mess in the various files managed by FG (TerraSync data, autosave_X_Y.xml, maybe also the navdata cache...).

Thanks for your answers. :wink:
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby jaxsin » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:06 am

How does one use rudder trim with this helicopter, Fun to fly but my hand hurts?
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:00 am

You can add bindings yourself for rudder trim. For instance, $FG_ROOT/Input/Joysticks/Saitek/Cyborg-Gold-3d-USB.xml does that with Nasal code such as:
Code: Select all
controls.rudderTrim(-0.75);

and:
Code: Select all
setprop("/controls/flight/rudder-trim", 0);

But I am not sure that would help you a lot, as you would still need fast and almost permanent corrections (at least for stationary flight). Personally, I don't use this for the heli. Instead, I have a used, cheap joystick (Logitech Attack 3, bought 5 euros or so) from which I have removed the centering spring specifically for helicopter flying. No resistance -> very comfortable! I use the left-right axis of this joystick for rudder control (with factor 0.5 in the property-scale command, see for yourself what you find best), and none of the other axes. The trigger button is handy for setting the collective to zero when you want to be sure to stay on ground. This is for the right hand. :wink: In the left hand, I have the mouse with an almost normal setup (factors 1.0 and -1.0, respectively for the property-adjust commands used for aileron and elevator). Ah, and I forgot I have bound the mouse wheel to control throttle in flight controls mode (this is from a separate patch).

My setup is described in detail in one of the videos linked from my signature. In the video comments, you'll find links for the patches and all.
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby Johan G » Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:56 pm

mhab wrote in Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:28 pm:I think the problem you ran into, is caused by the changes I did recently with introducing the EC130 T2 = H130.
As you noticed, there are changes to several files and the ec130-set.xml no longer exists.

I am not fully sure what it would do, but how about keeping the ec130-set.xml and have both -set.xml files in the package?

Also possibly related, note that the MP system looks for a model with the exact same path to the model/animation XML file.* If a model is not found a glider is usually the result. I am not sure what will cause a model to not load though, but it might be related to the model/animation XML file.

* ...or the exact same path in "$FG_ROOT/AI" instead of "$FG_ROOT/Aircraft" if one exists, allowing for more light-weight models to be loaded instead. See the wiki article Howto:Animate models#File name of main model and animation XML file (perm)
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby mhab » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:45 pm

Hello

I was quite busy working on the cockpit adaptions necessary for the EC130 T2 = H130 variant.
That was more work than expected, as the CWS is quite different, Turn indicator is gone, the Horizon (AI) is fairly different and
the ELT switch and another instrument is moved from the console to the panel.

New Cockpit Instruments layout of H130
Image

Still undone is a complete redesign of the console, but I don't have enough information to do this for now.

Good is, that through this activity I was able to fix the Slip Indicator Ball movement even for the EC130 B4, and make it more
realistic both during flight and on ground.

The wingman is also up to date now, and everything is posted to the dev repo.

Tragically I was so excited to fly with the new cockpit, that I crashed and ruined the Air Zermatt on top of Patscherkofel near LOWI (Innsbruck) :wink:
Image

Have fun
Mike-DE

P.S.: As for the multiplayer problems, I will go for that next.
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby jaxsin » Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:41 am

from which I have removed the centering spring specifically for helicopter flying


I had the idea of taking mine apart and seeing what the end of the stick was made like. If I could effectively lengthen it, I'm quite handy with metal, I presume then one could sit it on the floor and have more range of motion and a lot less resistance and more natural feel. But, I was not ready to tear into it yet. I might look for a cheap one now and see what your idea does for me. Sounds pretty ingenious to me, I like it!
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby Johan G » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:02 am

The Thrustmaster T.16000M is a relatively cheap but high-resolution Hall-effect joystick. Maybe you can find a cheaper used one. I wonder how any bearings would hold up though, but maybe a cheap plastic fishing rod or something light and slightly flexible like that could be used instead of metal tubing.
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:52 am

mhab wrote in Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:45 pm:Tragically I was so excited to fly with the new cockpit, that I crashed and ruined the Air Zermatt on top of Patscherkofel near LOWI (Innsbruck) :wink:

Pfff, you did that on purpose to show the burning effect! :roll:
jaxsin wrote in Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:41 am:I had the idea of taking mine apart and seeing what the end of the stick was made like. If I could effectively lengthen it, I'm quite handy with metal, I presume then one could sit it on the floor and have more range of motion and a lot less resistance and more natural feel.

Please post photos if you do that. ;)
jaxsin wrote in Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:41 am:I might look for a cheap one now and see what your idea does for me. Sounds pretty ingenious to me, I like it!

To be fair, it is not my idea, I probably got it from Howto:Fly a helicopter on the FG wiki (but using the mouse in one hand and this particular setup for "rudder" in the other hand is “my” thing, though).
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:27 am

Johan G wrote in Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:56 pm:Also possibly related, note that the MP system looks for a model with the exact same path to the model/animation XML file.* If a model is not found a glider is usually the result. I am not sure what will cause a model to not load though, but it might be related to the model/animation XML file.

Thanks for the hints, Johan G. I have met mhab on MP yesterday, and while it was difficult to communicate with FG's chat system for copying/pasting paths to files + XML code (that would have been very helpful) with many FG restarts in-between, I think I understand what is happening: the FGAddon version of the ec130 wants to see a model called Aircraft/ec130/Models/ec130b4.xml, because its Aircraft/ec130/ec130b4-set.xml file contains:
Code: Select all
    <model>
      <path archive="y">Aircraft/ec130/Models/ec130b4.xml</path>

but the version from GitLab (developer version) of the same heli only advertises Aircraft/ec130/Models/ec130.xml in its ec130-base.xml file. I think that, for full compatibility, it would be necessary to do the following in the GitLab version:
  • rename Models/ec130.xml to Models/ec130b4.xml;
  • change line 44 of ec130-base.xml from:
    Code: Select all
          <path archive="y">Aircraft/ec130/Models/ec130.xml</path>

    to
    Code: Select all
          <path archive="y">Aircraft/ec130/Models/ec130b4.xml</path>
I know it is not pretty given the new variant you are working on, but unfortunately the old versions are already on people's computers, and short of waiting/forcing them all to upgrade to the latest version of the heli, there will always be some out there with the old paths.

I did this renaming on my Git clone of the GitLab version last night, too bad you (mhab) couldn't restart with the FGAddon version to check :-/ (yup, that was late; Mumble would have allowed voice communication and/or copying/pasting of paths, URLs, etc. and all this without losing anything while one of us restarts FG, since it is a separate application from FG. It would have saved us a lot of time, I think)

Another option might be to rename the top-level directory 'ec130' to something like 'ec130new' or 'ec130family', but in such a case, I think people would have to install both the old 'ec130' and the new thing to have full MP visibility, and probably the same model could be loaded twice if an old heli were to fly with a new one on MP, therefore I don't think this solution is very sound.

Nice to meet you, mhab :wink: (and also AR123; are you on the forum?)
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby mhab » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:39 pm

Hello
It was exciting to see the EC130 used in multiplayer.
Thanks for this experience.

The testing result was important to see, the less exciting part being the result itself.
The described fix from above can only be considered a hack and not a solution.

In order to enable compatibility with older EC130 versions it seems a quite heavy redesign is necessary of how the EC130B4 and the H130 are jointly implemented.
I will need time to learn and understand the details of this.

What really seems unclear to me is how an improved EC130B4 will ever be compatible with an old version.
e.g. I added new optional strobes on the horizontal stabilizer with all the rembrandt light volumes, etc. Also new multiplayer props are necessary for that.
These props are not there in older versions.

Give me some time to make up my mind and in the meantime use the hack described above.

Mike-DE

EDIT: Issue #14 Multiplayer problems and incompatibility with older versions added in gitlab
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Re: EC130-B4: major update

Postby rominet » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:56 pm

Hi mhab!

Thanks for following up on this. There is no urgency whatsoever to find a proper fix IMO, especially considering that the new MP-incompatible version is not even in FGAddon. Take the time you need. Unfortunately, I can't answer your questions regarding the behavior of several versions accross MP. As I said on chat, I am completely ignorant of the inner workings of the MP subsystem. I suppose some things can work more or less automatically (i.e. maybe a new version with enhanced lighting could transmit whatever is needed over the network so that someone with an older version of the heli installed still sees the new lighting). But probably for other things, one has to explicitely declare specific properties to be transferred over MP, etc. I'm only guessing here, so I'd rather shut up now and let more competent people hopefully enlighten you. :wink:
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