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#3639614 - 09/06/12 04:30 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document ***** [Re: MarkG]  
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damson Offline
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Very good concept. I like it.

Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#3639725 - 09/06/12 06:56 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Thanks. Talk about a rough draft though. smile

I figure this way I can include the main three theaters (North Cape, Central Europe and Persian Gulf) while using the same campaign scenario, adjusting the details with each theater. While the original game has them separated by a couple of years, the Russians are still involved in all three.

I'm really not interested in Libya, especially since we'll already have a desert with the Persian Gulf. But I came up with an idea that I feel stays true to the original game...

Like the original game I want to use Libya for training missions, except instead of also including Libya as a real theater, I want to use it only for simulated missions. In other words, you'll be entering an F-19 simulator, however military simulators looked in 1986. I can't imagine graphics being much better than the original F-19 game, so while I'll have a regular looking cockpit in a simulation area, the graphics projected outside the cockpit can look just like the original game (i.e. texture-less triangular mountains)! This way it's realistic for 1986 (I think) and again pays homage to the original. Plus it'll be fun to see what game graphics looked like in the '80s.

So what do you think?

And about flight modeling, I may have to ask for help from the Blitz programming community, and then we can cipher through the code (and data file with plug-in numbers) to make any improvements. I really do want to make all of my physics models reasonable, I'm just more interested in WWIII than hypothetical aerodynamics.

Also, I plan to stick with the original back-story more than with the game itself. The game has you taking off from busy airbases (and Carriers), even with rudimentary ATC speech Cleared for Takeoff, You are cleared to land (maybe F-117A only). But this doesnt reflect the back-story at all: the aircraft arriving in a C-5 Galaxy at a secluded airbase on a moonless night, working under red-lights. Even the F-117 in real-life was kept in a closed hanger with all lights extinguished before the hanger doors were open. And that's how many of the airbases you fly from are described in the manual (i.e. unpopulated , discrete, less public , quiet location). And let's face it, like with air-the-air (especially gun kills), F-19 doesn't model active bases very well (no aircraft collisions or even coordination).

So no ATC (no radio comms allowed), no airbase traffic (must be secret), no wing-men (w/complex commands), no air-to-air (I'll talk about the one exception in a moment), and no full-blown FLOT-changing dynamic campaign. Well that's a load off! smile

And of course, no mulitplayer (did MP even exist back in '88?). Not that it matters, I've seen DirectPlay code, it's like rewriting your entire game but with more complexity. Not for me to even attempt, especially on Satellite Internet.

#3639726 - 09/06/12 06:57 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Please feel free to ignore this unsolicited advice, but if you haven't gotten to far in the actual coding, may I recommend you look into the Unity 3D game engine? I've done a bit of work in it and the free version would be more than sufficient for the F-19 remake. I believe the Lunar Lander game just reviewed here is using Unity.

It's biggest attraction is that it is cross-platform. With the free version, you can deploy to PC,Mac and soon, Linux. Personally I use a Mac and Linux for everything other than gaming and would love to see more sims coming out for Mac.

For an additional fee you can deploy to iOS and Android devices. Usually the only changes you have to make are on texture sizes, which might be moot with your retro look. And F-19 on iPad might actually be quite popular.

There are several languages available, I find C# to be the most flexible and robust. You can also use a lot of existing .dll libraries that are pure .NET, even if they are not specifically for Unity. In addition there is some basic networking built-in if you ever wanted to tackle MP.


http://unity3d.com/


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#3639752 - 09/06/12 07:52 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Thanks, I mentioned Unity3D on one of my recent posts (maybe on the other thread). It was tempting to get started with it (the free one) but I got sucked into using BASIC because I'm just so darn comfortable with it. Plus I'm kinda partial to Windows 2000 (as I post this using Win7 x64...lol), at least when I'm working and not playing.

I'm trying to be careful not to get tied down with BlitzBasic because I have the feeling I'll want to eventually move on, although BB is more C-like than VB6 and it's not so easy to take shortcuts (i.e. processing a list by slapping a hidden listbox on a form vs. using looping pointers). Looks like I'll be learning Java when I start school next year so I guess that's another possibility. About NET, I'm done with anything MS (post Win2000, VS6, DX7). I'll go Linux if I have to (Python/Blender and C++). I don't know a thing about Macs.

I've only coded samples thus far, to make sure I can do what I need to (i.e. making a Blitz3D Camera display my 3D world with a FLIR look). I'm still working tutorials and studying HS math (one lesson a day, about 3 pages) so not much game coding yet. I'm about to start 3D modeling so I can stop using the sample models and to finally have something cool to look at.

#3639758 - 09/06/12 08:09 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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damson Offline
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Originally Posted By: MarkG
Like the original game I want to use Libya for training missions, except instead of also including Libya as a real theater, I want to use it only for simulated missions. In other words, you'll be entering an F-19 simulator, however military simulators looked in 1986. I can't imagine graphics being much better than the original F-19 game, so while I'll have a regular looking cockpit in a simulation area, the graphics projected outside the cockpit can look just like the original game (i.e. texture-less triangular mountains)! This way it's realistic for 1986 (I think) and again pays homage to the original. Plus it'll be fun to see what game graphics looked like in the '80s.

So what do you think?

It's a nice idea and it would be a great homage to the original game, but in reality the graphics in real military sims in early eighties were pretty advanced, check those videos:



and here is a nice post I got those links from. As it turns out this simulator is form 1981! I was born in that year! jawdrop We got this level of detail after at least 15 years on PC with introduction of first 3dfx cards.

#3639852 - 09/06/12 11:38 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Those vids are VERY impressive for that era, that KC-135 or whatever it is that takes off in the beginning of video #3 has a lot better real life look than my F-14 in Fleet Defender did 13 or so years later.. Best of luck Mark!

#3639958 - 09/07/12 06:41 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Fleet Defender was released in 1994 - it was 18 years ago and I still play it from time to time. Played the hell out of it in the mid '90s, good times.

#3639970 - 09/07/12 08:04 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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last video reminded me of F/A18 interceptor for the Amiga, i would like to fly a sim like this one.

Last edited by Bluedeath; 09/07/12 08:10 AM.

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#3639977 - 09/07/12 08:35 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Nice idea, I'll keep an eye on this thread.

yep


"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm

#3639982 - 09/07/12 08:54 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Great project! Just make sure the Alps look like 'realistic' cyan pyramids. smile

#3640117 - 09/07/12 02:18 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Man, I sure misjudged early to mid-80's graphics! Must have been some serious mainframe running those graphics. I might have to rethink my idea.

For anyone interested in some F-19 nostalgia, here's a jumbled mess of strings extracted from the game files for reference (just to make sure I'm not missing anything)...

http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/F19.txt


I've shown this already...



I want to also include the Monogram F-19 (plane in middle) if just as an exterior model. Actually the Testors and Revell models have slight differences (i.e. canards and intakes) so I might include both.

The F-117 model on left I bought here...
http://www.hobbytownebatonrouge.com/

This place is just awesome, I've never seen so many aircraft models in one place. The owner (older guy) remembers selling the F-19 and that it was a big seller (I knew this, bigger seller than even the original NCC-1701 USS Enterprise). He told me there was a MiG counterpart, looked it up and sure enough there's a MiG-37 Ferret...that's an idea for a future project.

I have one more post coming as part of the GDD, the rest of game-play...

#3640141 - 09/07/12 02:56 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: zzzspace]  
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Originally Posted By: zzzspace
Great project! Just make sure the Alps look like 'realistic' cyan pyramids. smile


Hehe. smile All I've been playing with so far is primitives and sample models and it's both silly looking and exhilarating, "Hey, that's MY pyramid mountain I created in MY own 3D universe!" smile

I'm taking it as a personal challenge to do the best looking low-resolution game I can! And one reason I'm going low-res (1024x600 screen) is so that I can more easily create a LOT of these...





This is where DID really excelled with TFX, IMO...



These are blown up from 320x200, and IMO the TFX cut-scene really doesnt look bad at all. I'd like to see this treatment given to the Reagan Gorbachev pic.

After the "sim" work is done I'm probably going to spend the rest of my life making my game fun with this kinda stuff. This is so retro. smile

#3640327 - 09/07/12 06:42 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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lol .. I remember SOB TFX guy! ... he chewed me out more than a few times ... 'music' was nuts in that sim ... those original screens look awesome, I wish you lots of luck, keep a sense of humor and you should do well with this amazing project. smile

#3640390 - 09/07/12 08:14 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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The first scene is from Microprose's Red Storm Rising. Obviously I'm a fan of the book...

http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/RFS/MG04.jpg

...and of course the second is from F-19.


Eurofighter Typhoon has CNN/BBC-like reports with fantastic production value, even a live lady news-anchor with blue-screen graphics behind her...

http://www.gamespot.com/eurofighter-typhoon/images/128935/

...which is great for screenshots and the first time you watch them, but after that...

Using a cartoon newspaper or news-anchor with subtitles allows text and "speech" to be dynamic. For example, F-19/F-117A gives you a nice animated mission debriefing so we know the mission highlights are stored during the mission. These are variables that can be used in news reports to make them seem much more real. For example, "Major ???? was shot down over ????".

And then there's the rendered intro video...

http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/SSI.wmv
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/F2.wmv
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/PSF.wmv

I cannot tell you how inspired I get watching these, and they don't have to be real-life or even hi-res, IMO.

BTW, Project Stealth Fighter for the Commodore has a really cool intro with an animated wire-frame drawing of the F-19's orthographic views.

#3640550 - 09/08/12 04:00 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Oh man I am so freggin' PSYCHED!

I just figured out I can do all my 3D modeling in regular AutoCAD (I also own ACAD2000, I just prefer using LT), even adding textures and lighting to my 3D models! I can then export to .3DS and from .3DS to any 3D modeler that exports to .B3D (just about all of them at least have an export plug-in).

Man I KNOW how to work in 3D AutoCAD, mainly Architectural and HVAC though so it'll be a matter of working with models and materials vs. walls and ductwork. But it's still AutoCAD and that is going to make my life SO much easier!

I'll finish that last GDD post later, I want to get started with this tonight. Now I'm really glad I decided on 256 colors/frame because AutoCAD doesn't support a higher color depth until version 2004. This is going to work out great!


Oops, Windows Movie Maker AVI to WMV compression made a mess of those last videos, especially the Graphsim one, sorry.



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#3663289 - 10/15/12 04:49 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Just a quick update...

This project is FAR more complicated than I ever dreamed! BlitzBasic (BB) is a fantastic game language with it's numerous built-in 3D functions, but it's really just a C shell with a BASIC syntax (i.e. Select Case [Switch] not limited to integers). BB compiles to C and requires no separate run-time like VB6, you can even use curly braces for code blocks and semi-colons for line termination, although you can't use the += / ++ operator shortcuts.

Problem is that even the BB documentation for beginners, while not assuming you've ever developed a game before, assumes you know how to use pointers, create linked and double-linked lists, know the difference between by-val and by-ref arguments, and especially how to create user-defined Types and/with mufti-dimensional (sometimes dynamic) Arrays. Basically that you know at least C programming fundamentals.

I'm deep into my third C++ book (figured I'd also learn OOP for good measure, if just to think in OOP for better code organization) and C isn't such a big deal once you have a few good libraries. And I don't mean the MS Visual MFC Wizard crap (although the browsers in VC6 are nice). I mean at least a good string library (i.e. CString) so you at least don't have to use char pointers just to create some simple freaking text! OMG that is so asinine, THERE IS NO BUILT-IN STRING VARIABLE?!

Ok, so I'll report back when I have something to show.

#3663408 - 10/15/12 07:53 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Always great to hear what you're up to. thumbsup

We're still analysing the DiD stuff, so can maybe help you with a retro graphics engine. Wow, they were efficient in those days.

Hopefully, we'll get around to TFX, but here's TFX2 for now:


Keep up the good work with the C++. smile

#3663537 - 10/16/12 01:01 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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mike, TFX2? TFX2???!!!???
Before my brains fall out, is this something you did with EF2000? Or what?
Those large pixels for the terrain along with the transport lines and the deep snow look familiar. Assuming those pixels (sorry, is that what each of the blocks that make up the terrain are called?) could be shrunk a bit, flying an F/19/117 remake in this engine would be just short of miraculous.

Now about EF2000 with a higher resolution... smile2


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#3663571 - 10/16/12 02:38 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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#3663599 - 10/16/12 04:05 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Wow... that F-117 Nighthawk was my very first PC flight sim.


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
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