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Alouette III overhaul

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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby wkitty42 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:40 pm

i've seen these walker models with someone's face draped over the face... they've looked pretty real... but the whole walker model is really needing some TLC to make the model smoother... more triangles or something... they just look blocky and deity knows the hands are ummm... yeah... ;)
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"Why not?" said Gurder.
"Dunno. It's frightened of heights, I guess."
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Hooray » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:49 pm

it's actually a fairly common feature found on some MMO-type games, i.e. avatars that can be customized according to your own preferences, which includes uploading 3D meshes and/or textures to customize the apppearance as desired.

Personally, I don't care about the underlying gender debate though - I do think that this adds a nice touch to FlightGear, and I can kinda relate to Thorsten picking a prominent aviation figure for that. Besides, it is kinda pointless to discuss politics on the forum (I think that's even part of the forum rules) - anyway, let's keep in mind how many fictional aircraft we have in FlightGear, including the Dragon - now, I don't know if the dragon is male, female or whatever - but I'd politely suggest not to hijack the thread ... otherwise, we could just as well point out that the female pilot should be black to be on the safe side ;-)

More seriously though, if the walker features gets a little revamped, that could actually be a good thing - whenever I am seeing a checklist "executed", I keep wondering how difficult it would be to turn that into an algorithmic problem - i.e. we have 3d positions of all switches, levers and knobs in the cockpit, and we could encode the movements necessary to change the state of all actuators - which is to say that it would not be far-fetched for a walker figure to look up a library of pre-canned "movements" and find a matching combination of movements to execute steps on the checklist - which could actually have /some/ educational value, i.e. watching Amelia walk you through the checklist of a pre-landing checklist, like a real flight instructor would do.

again, I am really only interested in the technical parts of this discussion - in other words, I could also live with an E.T. based walker :lol:

https://artofadam.wordpress.com/tag/e-t ... rrestrial/
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:57 pm

not sure if you were joking or not - but technically, there really isn't anything missing to animate a "face texture", and hook up the whole thing to the built-in Flite TTS engine to come up with plausible-looking mouth movements.


Well, that was the whole point about 'not chatty yet' - I was looking into GLSL solutions for facial expressions (deformation of the mesh being an option just as well as texture-based stuff), and TTS is assumed to be a given.

now, I don't know if the dragon is male, female or whatever


She's a dragon girl (I asked Erik at some point, who got the information from the mesh creators).

However, within the CONTEXT of the thread, part of the discussion was deleted with regard to anatomical imperfection. Is the community better served by this decision? Would not have fruitful, and possibly educational discussion been a better result?


Detlef Faber created a couple of human 3d models (aka 'the walker') years ago. They include 'Amelia', 'Waldo', 'Caleb' and 'Marty the Mechanic' (names assigned by the creator). They come with a ready framework to equip them with stuff like headsets and to animate their various limbs by specifying joint angles - which makes them (in my view) an eminently better solution for pilot or co-pilot 3d models than the static solutions we usually get.

Unless you have a 3d model that also comes with an equivalent animation framework or are willing to create one or find anyone who is willing to create one, there's no need for any discussion of alternatives because we don't have any.

As for the deletion of any comments, I have nothing to do with that - you need to talk to the person who deleted whatever was deleted.

I did bring up the HR aspect as this is a real thing. Amelia is fidgety. And perhaps in the future chatty. Why not the guy? The one we've had around for years? This is stereotyping based on gender.


Whereas if there'd only be guys depicted as flying planes in screenshots, it'd not be stereotyping based on gender? Seriously?

If you really believe that describing the properties of one 3d model (which we've had for years without animation framework) versus another (which had a working animation framework for years) says anything meaningful about what I think about women or men, you have an issue.

In the event, I chose consciously Amelia over Waldo precisely because I appreciate Amelia Earhart as a role model and liked the idea of having that perspective in FG - rather than yet another guy. Call me sexist for that if you like.

And THAT, my friend, is why we need transparency, engagement and discussion, NOT censorship and unrequested negativity.


Well, I certainly don't need to be called sexist for depicting a woman flying a plane. So far for unrequested negativity. I suggest you leave it with your company (for whom I'm not going to work) - because I'm done talking to you.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Hooray » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:37 pm

Yeah, I kinda expected you'd bring up GLSL - I just googled for the exact terms (GLSL facial expression morphing), and it came up with a GPU programming class project from 2008, which includes some interesting technical information and source code/code snippets: https://www.evl.uic.edu/sjames/cs525/project1.html

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A more recent paper from 2013 is this: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/97a5/9 ... ab2750.pdf

So it seems, this isn't all that uncommon at all 8)

PS: Regarding your idea of letting the copilot actually take-off/fly the helicopter, I actually once tinkered with a set of simple PID controllers for different phases/modes of rotary flight, and it would "just work" perfectly well. But I guess given your experience with the shuttle controllers, that coming up with the controllers to take-off/fly/hover and land a helicopter is a piece of cake in comparison, right ? ;-)
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:07 pm

But I guess given your experience with the shuttle controllers, that coming up with the controllers to take-off/fly/hover and land a helicopter is a piece of cake in comparison, right ?


Probably... I wrote and tuned a viable cruise AP for the Alouette (zero sideslip, hold heading, follow heading bug, hold altitude) in less than two hours, so I'll assume also hover flight won't have any unexpected issues.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Hooray » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:09 pm

Using an FDM systems/Property rule based approach or Nasal ?

(Wondering that, because a Nasal based solution is better reusable elsewhere - as we cannot simply instantiate an arbitrary number of independent PID instances later on)
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby bugman » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:42 pm

We have children reading the forum, both young boys and girls. The post archived in the 'Trash bin' subforum backstage was most certainly not suitable for such readers. Any female reader, and most male readers, for that matter would also find it objectionable (it has nothing to do with the long overdue cascading situation in the US either). All the mods/admins agree with the backstaging of such content. So now point 1 of the forum rules have been updated to mimic posting rules as found on a large number of other public forums:

  1. As a community of like-minded people who use FlightGear as a hobby, or professionally, we owe it to each other to be polite and courteous. Everyone deserves to have a positive experience on these Forums. Personal attacks are not tolerated nor will racism, sexism, bigotry or foul language.

The part in bold is the new text. Free speech does not mean you are free to talk about and emphasis female anatomy as you please. We are trying to keep this as a family friendly forum, as best as we can.

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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:27 am

Using an FDM systems/Property rule based approach or Nasal ?


I'd design the Amelia co-piloting work as mixture between Nasal and FDM elements just like the Shuttle - Nasal for high-level decisionmaking (what phase are we in, do we change phase, what is the current desired altitude target,...) and JSBSim for the actual cycle to cycle update of the controls.

Nasal controllers are too prone to numerical instabilities at low framerates - while this can be overcome to some degree by suitable numerics (aka, don't use naive algorithms but ones with built-in error correction and frame artifact compensation), it's frankly a royal pain to deal with.

I keep wondering how difficult it would be to turn that into an algorithmic problem - i.e. we have 3d positions of all switches, levers and knobs in the cockpit, and we could encode the movements necessary to change the state of all actuators


That's called 'inverse kinematics' and there's a solved example of it for FG in my favourite spacecraft - you can specify a coordinate/attitude command, and the RMS arm software works out the joint movements to get you there.

Let's say the trigonometry underneath is not for the faint of heart.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby swampthing » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:21 am

Is this available via FGaddon trunk yet?
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:27 am

The things that are done mostly yes - the things that have been discussed as future possibilities no.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:19 pm

Heh - I succeeded in teaching Amelia to fly the Alouette in hover - she can now take off on her own, maneuver around slowly, increase and decrease hover altitude, and in my last experiment she even managed to take over from a half-baked attempt at hovering from yours truly and successfully stabilized it (as expected, she's now better at this than I am...).

Need to work a bit on the interfaces and make the lateral control better, but all in all this looks good. And of course animate Amelia to visible work the controls... Should make learning how to fly helicopters much easier for beginners.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby geed » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:23 pm

Guys I just had a look at Blendswap. There are some models available that are rigged in Blender. I don't know how the rigging data format needs to be designed to be compatible with Flightgear. Have a look, maybe you like one of them.

https://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/73681

https://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/66413 (Armature seems to be present)

https://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/72953 (Fully rigged but with body armor model .. dunno if it still helps somehow)

https://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/87822 (Fully rigged, three detail levels available)

It's not much but it might help. The characters used in Flightgear up to this point in time are very basic and contain a lot of errors and problem areas. It would be very nice to have at least one male and female model available.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:27 pm

I don't know how the rigging data format needs to be designed to be compatible with Flightgear.


Look into $FGData/Aircraft/Generic/Human/Models and study e.g. female-copilot.xml which contains the animation definitions.

Also, check license compatibility with GPL for the models!

As every so often, someone has to do the work. I'm happy to review any merge requests, but I'm neither a 3d modeler nor do I have time for this, so I'm not going to do it myself.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby geed » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:32 pm

No time here either, unfortunately. Maybe someone might have a go at this at some point.
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Re: Alouette III overhaul

Postby Thorsten » Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:34 pm

If anyone with real control hardware (stick and pedals) could have a go at testing control handover from Amelia and back, that'd be cool. It works like a charm for mouse piloting, but before this gets approved for teaching purposes, I need to know how it works on different setups.
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