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Questions and discussion about creating aircraft. Flight dynamics, 3d models, cockpits, systems, animation, textures.

Postby FokkerCharlie » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:23 pm

Hi HHS

If you'd like to have a go at this, I'd be delighted. It sounds like you know your way around blender- is there an easy way to display the number of vertices/faces of an object?

I had a quick go with poly reducer, without too much luck. I was playing with the seat, and couldn't get the polys reduced without losing detail. I suspect that I have been too liberal with the 'subsurf' modifier!

If you would like to alter the model, could I ask you to bear a couple of things in mind?

- The external model is the original F50, which I have not changed. HeliFlyer is doing some painting, so ideally we would leave this bit alone.
- The position of most of the cockpit furniture is measured and correct- particularly the pedestal and main panel. Please don't move these, or all my instruments will be in a mess!

Thanks for your input!
Charlie
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Postby Ampere » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:59 pm

FokkerCharlie wrote:By the way- what was small.wrl? I couldn't open that one, either!

Charlie


Save the files onto your computer first, then go to File > Import > VRML 1.0 and open them.
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Postby pauljs75 » Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:27 pm

Ummm... I have yoke...

Looked at the one here, looked at some pics, figured what the hey...
A 10 minute modeling exercise from pics, so who knows what the scaling is.

Image

Made of 8 pieces. Under 3K polys in base quad mesh, somewhere around 5K smoothed, just a hair over 10K smoothed and tesselated to tris. (could probably get it under 8K or so smoothed tris with some manual reduction) Might be a tad nicer than the existing one from the F100, but what do I know?
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Postby ajm » Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:38 pm

Hi Charlie,

Sorry I'm a bit busy with work just now, but to answer one or two things; yes, I'm suggesting using textures to set the material colours. You can actually use a relatively tiny swatch of texture to set the colour for a large area if need be.

Regarding your concerns about modifying the external model, I agree... the best thing would be for you to separate out your own stuff into a new 3d model file (cockpit.blend/ac or whatever). You can load that in the main model file in exactly the same way you currently do the instruments (you shouldn't need any offsets as it's already in the right place, I think).

Regarding YASim... I do have a rough fokker50 fdm config, but it needs a bit of work before it could even be alpha tested. The things required for a yasim turboprop definition are documented in README.yasim which should be on your PC already I think in the Docs directory (if you're interested).

On another point, would you mind if I had a look at your clock/stopwatch instrument, I might get round to doing another bit of tutorial on using nasal (to add the stopwatch function)

Cheers,

AJ
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Postby FokkerCharlie » Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:46 am

OK!

AJ - here's the chronograph with a brief explanation of how it behaves in the Fokker.
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/charlesnet/f ... chrono.zip

Paul- That is a good yoke. I particularly like the control wheel, it's definitely better than the F100 one that I have adapted. That's quite a lot of triangles, though- how many should we be aiming for in the model?

HHS- have you started on reducing the size of the cockpit? If Paul could post the yoke, then between us we could install it!

Separate cockpit models here:
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/charlesnet/f ... kpit.blend
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/charlesnet/f ... cockpit.ac

actually having a little problem uploading these, but they will be there later today

Ampere- I've been merrily downloading your instruments, but the small.wrl file seems to be corrupt. I have already installed your splendid standby AI and ASI, altimeter to go in next, but have no inkling as to what the small.wrl file might contain!

Cheers
Charlie
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Postby HHS » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:55 pm

Hi Fokkercharlie,

Use the one of pauljs75 - he did a great work! I lost too much details!

Greetings
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Postby Ampere » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:00 am

FokkerCharlie wrote:Ampere- I've been merrily downloading your instruments, but the small.wrl file seems to be corrupt. I have already installed your splendid standby AI and ASI, altimeter to go in next, but have no inkling as to what the small.wrl file might contain!


Try this link instead:
http://www.students.yorku.ca/~ampere/small.wrl
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Postby FokkerCharlie » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:26 pm

Nice one, Ampere- that will be very useful.

I have been working on the standby altimeter, which is coming on:

Image

But have a couple of questions if someone can help with animation?

First, a close-up of the instrument:

Image

I have been looking at animating the top row of digits- I need to make the thousands and 10-thousands move. What I have been using is textranslate, with a view to using the step and scroll functions. However, I would also like the model to show the bottom of the digit above the one displayed, and the top of the one below; eg in the picture, a bits of a '1' and a '9' are visible.

I started getting around this with this bit of xml:

<animation>
<type>textranslate</type>
<object-name>thousands</object-name>
<property>/instrumentation/altimeter/indicated-altitude-ft[0]</property>
<factor>0.000061443</factor>
<step>1000</step>
<scroll>100</scroll>
<axis>
<x>0</x>
<y>-1</y>
<z>0</z>
</axis>
</animation>
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Postby FokkerCharlie » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:34 pm

Nice one, Ampere- that will be very useful.

I have been working on the standby altimeter, which is coming on:

Image

But have a couple of questions if someone can help with animation?

First, a close-up of the instrument:

Image

I have been looking at animating the top row of digits- I need to make the thousands and 10-thousands move. What I have been using is textranslate, with a view to using the step and scroll functions. However, I would also like the model to show the bottom of the digit above the one displayed, and the top of the one below; eg in the picture, a bits of a '1' and a '9' are visible.

I started getting around this with this bit of xml:

<animation>
<type>textranslate</type>
<object-name>thousands</object-name>
<property>/instrumentation/altimeter/indicated-altitude-ft[0]</property>
<factor>0.000061443</factor>
<step>1000</step>
<scroll>100</scroll>
<axis>
<x>0</x>
<y>-1</y>
<z>0</z>
</axis>
</animation>

The factor part is important, as I mapped the texture of the digit to an area bigger than 1 figure. Otherwise, the factor could be 0.0001. This works well, right up until we climb beyond 10k ft, when the texture map continues to slide down into what happens to be blank space on my rgb file. It pops back up again to 0 at around 16k ft.

Could anyone advise any of the following:
1) A modification to textranslate to make this work.
2) Forget textranslate, rotate the object.
3) Just live with a slightly reduced level of detail. It's only a small, standby instrument, anyway.
4) Something else.

Also, the subscale setting on all the aircraft is in mb rather than inches of mercury. Is is possible to convert this easily?

Phew!
Thanks in advance

Charlie
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Postby Ampere » Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:26 pm

FokkerCharlie wrote:Could anyone advise any of the following:
1) A modification to textranslate to make this work.
2) Forget textranslate, rotate the object.
3) Just live with a slightly reduced level of detail. It's only a small, standby instrument, anyway.
4) Something else.

Go route #2.

Use cylindical map to map the 10 digits onto the cylinders in my model, and rotate them.

By the way, in your screenshot, the standby ASI and altimeter seem a bit too small. I thought they are 55mm x 55mm in size?
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Postby ajm » Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:10 am

According to "units", 1 inHg = 33.863886 millibars, so you should be able just to use a simple factor for that conversion...

Cheers,
AJ
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Postby FokkerCharlie » Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:39 am

By the way, in your screenshot, the standby ASI and altimeter seem a bit too small. I thought they are 55mm x 55mm in size?


Well spotted! I've just found the error in my magic spreadsheet that works these things out for me- I'll correct it shortly.

Meanwhile, I'm off to try and learn how to cylindrically map textures in blender. Any tips on how to get the altitude digits only move within 50' of the indicated altitude in the meantime?

Thanks for the factor AJ, I suppose with that, I can just use the 'scale' function in the xml file... I think!

Have fun weekends.
Charlie
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Postby ajm » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:45 pm

FokkerCharlie wrote:Any tips on how to get the altitude digits only move within 50' of the indicated altitude in the meantime?


That's what the scroll tag is supposed to do; something like this perhaps (which I tested in the Lightning)

<animation>
<type>textranslate</type>
<object-name>feet2</object-name>
<property>instrumentation/altimeter/indicated-altitude-ft</property>
<factor>0.0001</factor>
<step>1000</step>
<scroll>50</scroll>
<axis>
<x>0</x>
<y>1</y>
<z>0</z>
</axis>
</animation>

To quote the model-howto;
"The scroll value specifies the distance the input property value should be from a step when scrolling to the next position begins"

In your bit of XML the factor looked a bit strange... is that a bug, or was there a reason for that?

One tiny tip, which makes no practical difference right now, but might one day; for the property name, you're best to leave off the leading slash (i.e. make it instrumentation/altimeter/blah instead of /instrumentation/altimeter/blah). I know the model-howto shows the way that you've done it; perhaps we ought to update that, because it's a good habit to get into.

The reasons are to do with our "Multiplayer" capabilities. In the case of, say, flaps animations, if you use a leading slash in the animation, any other pilot viewing your aircraft in MP will see your flaps being controlled by their own flap selection. We're still weeding out the more blatant examples of this sort of "bug"; it wasn't really a bug before the current MP capabilities came along. Like I say, almost irrelevant here, but a good habit to get into nonetheless.

Cheers,

AJ
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Postby FokkerCharlie » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:01 am

Right!

A few things, animating the stand-by altimeter first-
- The strange looking factor was deliberate, but didn't quite work. It was an artifact of the window showing thousands of feet being larger than one digit in height. I've circumvented that issue by mapping the digits to a cylinder, and textranslating them around. Was that what you meant, Ampere? If I rotated the cylinder, then I wouldn't be able to use step or scroll, I don't think?

The altimeter display now works OK, however, I have a snag with the subscale. Have a look at this:

<animation>
<type>textranslate</type>
<object-name>mbten</object-name>
<property>instrumentation/altimeter/setting-inhg[0]</property>
<factor>0.338639</factor>
<step>0.3338639</step>
<axis>
<x>0</x>
<y>1</y>
<z>0</z>
</axis>
</animation>

That's intended to make the 'tens' digit of the subscale pop over to the next increment when the units digit reaches 0- going either way. However, it doesn't quite manage it. Note that the factors and steps are involved with converting the numbers to mb. It had the instrument working perfectly in inhg, but with mb it goes awry.

What happens is that adjusting the setting to 1020 works OK, with the '2' appearing at about the right time, but then up to 1030 the '3' only comes on at about 1033mb! The effect becomes more pronounced the further away from standard setting I select. Hope that all makes sense.

Any ideas? It must be something to do with the step number, but I can't get one to work- I've tried trial and error (a lot!!) but nothing works out.

Meanwhile, I've found some engine data. It relates to SHP for given pressure and temperature data, along with cockpit selections. Nothing on ITT at the moment, but I can get some approximate figures. Of course, this is SHP from the engine, rather than thrust from the prop- so is it any good?

Back to work!
Charlie
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Postby Ampere » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:05 am

FokkerCharlie wrote:Right!

A few things, animating the stand-by altimeter first-
- The strange looking factor was deliberate, but didn't quite work. It was an artifact of the window showing thousands of feet being larger than one digit in height. I've circumvented that issue by mapping the digits to a cylinder, and textranslating them around. Was that what you meant, Ampere? If I rotated the cylinder, then I wouldn't be able to use step or scroll, I don't think?


If you have programming background, you could always use FlightGear's internal scripting language called Nasal to make the cylinders rotate in step. However, if you do go the scripting route, you might want to leave it until the end. I might get around to do one by that time and save you the trouble.
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