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Flyable aircraft

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Refuse2lose
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby Refuse2lose » 18.04.2012, 07:42

Argh - not Ce3 back on the backburner. :sad:
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 18.04.2012, 12:26

Hi AnimationWizard,
Yes, the vibration is a huge problem. I've added a hack for my aircraft code - optionally, in-flight you can scale up the aircraft size e.g. by a factor of 10. The aircraft interior looks exactly the same (think about it!) but the vibration is greatly decreased so you hardly notice it.
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Although the vibration is certainly caused by insufficient FP precision, there is one surprising aspect. The vibration is not caused by vehicle translation (movement), it's caused by vehicle rotation. Even if flying in a straight line there are constant and very small vehicle angle changes all the time, and this triggers the vibration. If I disable vehicle rotation then there is no vibration even when hundreds of kilometers from the origin. I've observed a number of other problems (e.g. spurious movements of clouds) which go away when rotation is disabled. Someone once mentioned that these kinds of precision problems are triggered by rotation and not by translation, and my observations certainly confirm that.
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If Crytek could release a version of CryEngine that uses high FP precision (including the Z buffer) then a huge number of problems would probably be solved. My guess is that the resulting fall in frame rates would be tiny. If increasing numbers of people abandon CryEngine because of its low FP precision then maybe CryTek would start to take note and do something about it....
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@Refuse,
I'll try to get the CE3 demo out in another week. I'll include all the aircraft and the Titanic, but only one demo map.
One problem was that the flight model didn't seem to be working very well in CE3, but I've just found a clue. The problem varies with the frame rate - with a lower frame rate the controls get coarser. The flight model code knows what the frame rate is and compensates for it, so this shouldn't happen and does not happen in CE2. Still, with this clue it should be much easier to track down the problem and fix it.
I find CE3 very frustrating, mostly because my terrain loses solidity due to a bad design decision by Crytek (e.g. objects lose solidity at heights greater than 2048 meters, which is ridiculous). There are still basic functions that simply don't work properly, the latest example is that the keyboard FG node returns the same code if I roll the mouse wheel forwards or backwards (I've added a hack so the code assumes it's always an increase signal). This worked fine in CE2. Still, CE3 will be very good when it's finished....
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The planet code is progressing well. If the player is in deep space all planets are scaled down so that the solar system out to Saturn fit into Sandbox. With the latest version, when the player is a few radii from a planet the planet automatically scales up smoothly so that it's full size when the player is close to the surface. Crucially, the detailed terrain is working with the new code and it's solid. This means that the player has a normal planetary environment when walking on the surface. The last hurdle is to be able to enter a vehicle, fly normally as an aircraft and boost into space. Now that the planet code is working this should not be too difficult. I'll add a new spacecraft category to Aircraft Factory and develop the code as required.
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One key difference is this: once the spacecraft has reached sufficient height - measured in terms of planetary radii - it has to smoothly switch to deep space mode: the spacecraft is stationary at the Sandbox origin and the solar system moves and scales so that planets have the correct apparent position and size.
With a bit of luck I'll be able to make my first spaceflight by the weekend....
Chris
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the_grim
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby the_grim » 18.04.2012, 12:38

cwright wrote:The planet code is progressing well. If the player is in deep space all planets are scaled down so that the solar system out to Saturn fit into Sandbox. With the latest version, when the player is a few radii from a planet the planet automatically scales up smoothly so that it's full size when the player is close to the surface. Crucially, the detailed terrain is working with the new code and it's solid. This means that the player has a normal planetary environment when walking on the surface. The last hurdle is to be able to enter a vehicle, fly normally as an aircraft and boost into space. Now that the planet code is working this should not be too difficult. I'll add a new spacecraft category to Aircraft Factory and develop the code as required.
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One key difference is this: once the spacecraft has reached sufficient height - measured in terms of planetary radii - it has to smoothly switch to deep space mode: the spacecraft is stationary at the Sandbox origin and the solar system moves and scales so that planets have the correct apparent position and size.
With a bit of luck I'll be able to make my first spaceflight by the weekend....
Chris

That sounds incredible. :) I'm really looking forward to seeing a video or a hands-on ingame test of the space flight system!
Refuse2lose
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby Refuse2lose » 18.04.2012, 22:17

Hmm Chris - that issue with the back and forward may be systemic. The xml files respond the same way and I could not get the FG to work either...
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 20.04.2012, 12:16

Hi the_grim,
It's coming along. I now have a basic spacecraft entity made with Aircraft Factory - I'm temporarily using the Super Constellation model - so it's a Super Super Constellation! After I've fixed a few bugs it should be working in deep space mode later today. But it still leaves the major problem of natural transitions to landing on the surface. With a bit of luck that wil be working this weekend.
When all the basics are working I'll make a short demo video. I'll either include the spacecraft with the next aircraft release or make a specific spacecraft demo.
Regards,
Chris
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@Refuse,
Yes, it's a weird problem. In CE2 the keyboard node returned a different code depending on whether the wheel was rolled forwards or backwards, so it was fine. But in CE3 it always returns the code 'maxis_z', irrespective of the direction, so it's impossible to determine in which direction it was moved. I've really no idea how such an obvious problem could have got through.
I raised the issue on the official thread but I think it was wiped with the new 3.4 release. I'll need to raise the issue again....
Regards,
Chris
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 27.04.2012, 12:08

Hi all,
Good news, I now have some real spacecraft I can use:
http://www.2001-3d-archive.info/
Mark has kindly given me permission to use these excellent models from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I've converted the Orion model by B.J.West, see screenshots. I think you'll agree that it looks very nice.
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I had created a new spacecraft category in Aircraft Factory (and tested it with the Super Super Constellation!), so it took just a few minutes to get the Orion into space. Today I'll convert Space Station V. I'll soon have the code to re-create the famous space station sequence in the film - you'll just need to add the Blue Danube!
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I encountered *big* problems with the solar system code. Unfortunately it looks like Crytek have reduced the floating point precision of Lua to FP16 (Lua normally uses FP32). Because all initial calculations are done in space coordinates (with the sun at the origin) the x,y values can be very big e.g. 1E11 meters (or 100000000000 meters). In each frame the spacecraft movement has to be addeed. Because this will be *far* smaller than the x value, then the low FP precision causes a big loss of accuracy. The result is jerky movement.
I do have a solution, but it's still partially implemented. However, movement is better, though still far from perfect.
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Of course, in many cases (e.g. in orbit around Saturn) apparent movement will be very slow, so you woudn't notice the jerkiness. However, I've added a simulation rate setting (in Properties) so you can speed up movements by, say, 1000 times. But I will need a complete solution for the FP16 problem when approaching space stations or other spacecraft.
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Apart from one or two other issues, the solar system code seems to be working reliably now. By increasing the simulation rate I can easily make a quick voyage to the moon. Currently I don't calculate the gravitational forces of the planets, so the spacecraft moves in a straight line. Adding those forces will be pretty easy, so I should have spacecraft following real orbits fairly soon.
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There still remains the biggest problem: to allow a natural transition from spaceflight to detailed planetary surfaces. Realistically, it will probably take a few weeks to have a really good working solution. But it is definitely doable, in fact I had a basic working solution a few weeks ago. But I have to update it and make it completely compatible with the new solar system/spaceflight system.
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I haven't forgotten the CE3 demo, but it will be a little while yet. In fact, I'd be curious to see how the spaceflight system and the planets work and look in CE3.
Chris
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Hamers
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby Hamers » 07.05.2012, 23:58

Pretty damn awesome 8o :]
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Released !!! DOWNLOAD NOW !!!
JBJHJM
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby JBJHJM » 24.05.2012, 01:32

How are you doing? Hope no news doesn't mean you're stuck? :D
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 24.05.2012, 11:52

JBJHJM wrote:How are you doing? Hope no news doesn't mean you're stuck? :D

One aspect - normal operations on detailed planetary surfaces - is proving to be very difficult, but I've made significant progress on other aspects, including zero g movement and EVA's. I've also added more 2001 vehicles: Discovery, the space station and the Pod.
In the next day or so I'll be adding the ability to hard-dock e.g. with space stations, and also multiple attached vehicles e.g. Saturn V or the space shuttle.
I should have a detailed update in a few days, probably with some small videos.
Watch this space! Unfortunately the CE3 demo is still stuck on the ground....
Best regards,
Chris
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 29.05.2012, 12:18

I've just uploaded the latest version of Aircraft Factory.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4380128/AircraftFactory.zip
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It includes the latest spacecraft code. For any budding astronauts, note that the spacecraft require use of the SolarSystem entity.
You can get some useful royalty-free spacecraft models from NASA:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/3d_resources/models.html
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I'll be using some of these in the near future, including the shuttle, ISS, LEM and Saturn V.
I've got the code nearly working for stacks (e.g. Saturn V). Multiple spacecraft vehicles are linked together (defined by their Properties settings). They can be fired separately and in sequence and, when exhausted, ejected to fall back to Earth.
The next job will be to implement a docking system.
With this in place, it will be possible to simulate virtually all orbital and deep space situations.
I'll have a more detailed update in a few days....
Chris
sceluk
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby sceluk » 11.06.2012, 11:35

You're eventually planning to do something like this: http://en.spaceengine.org/ ?
Awesome job on the stuff btw :)
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 11.06.2012, 12:56

Hi sceluk,
Space Engine looks very interesting, many thanks, I'm downloading it as we speak!
I was particularly impressed by the natural transition from space to planetary surfaces. That's precisely the problem I'm struggling with at the moment. I have a solution, but it wasn't working properly, either due to a bug or a more fundamental problem with the system.
Of course, CryEngine can't compete with a dedicated space simulation engine. But maybe, if Crytek could remove some of the limits that cripple the engine, and add a sophisticated procedural scenery system for CE4....
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Meanwhile, I've concentrated on deep space/orbital features.
I now have a working stack system, so you can assemble stacks of spacecraft e.g. Apollo/SaturnV or the space shuttle. You build stacks by assigning the names of parent and child spacecraft in the Properties settings. You can also send messages down the stack e.g. to command one of the stages to fire/shut down/eject. When I've updated the AI system to support spacecraft it should be possible to e.g. have the SaturnV take off, fire and drop stages automatically and proceed into orbit.
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I've now added a docking system which is mostly working. This allows you to dock your vehicle with other spacecraft or space stations. The control system gives your spacecraft manual control of translation and rotation in three dimensions, but you need to steer your vehicle quite accurately to achieve a docking!

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More down to Earth, the CL-215 is flying in Sandbox. I'll be adding a water bombing system and dynamic fire effects, so you'll be able to fly the CL-215 over a lake, scoop up the water, and drop it on the fire. All programmed with Lua, of course. The fire will respond to your efforts and, with lots of practice, maybe you'll be able to put the fire out!
I'm not happy with the fuselage model, I might make a new one. I also need to make a detailed virtual cockpit.
I'll have more details in a while.
Best regards,
Chris

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sceluk
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby sceluk » 13.06.2012, 16:16

Well I'm guessing with a lot of work, you'd be able to do your own procedural generation, these guys have managed to code their own physics system (using FreeSDK, they say).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KppTmsNFneg
cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 15.06.2012, 15:53

Hi sceluk,
Space Engine is pretty impressive, particularly as it seems to be the work primarily of one designer. I'll be interested to see how he develops the procedural planets. If the code can add cities, buildings, much more detailed terrain, AI characters etc then it would be pretty amazing. But I'm not at all sure how an equivalent system could be designed for CE as an addon, maybe it would have to be a core part of the game engine itself. It would be great if a procedural terrain/scenery system could be built into CE4.
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Actually, I do have a very basic procedural objects system (Objects.lua). It can automatically add hundreds or thousands of specified objects to the map in a few seconds. It could be used to create a very basic city in seconds. At some stage I'll probably do more work on it, so that it can, for example, add objects according to a set of rules.
Best regards,
Chris
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cwright
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Re: Flyable aircraft

Postby cwright » 08.07.2012, 12:21

I'm working on a procedural fire system. Now the water bomber has work to do....
Chris
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