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#3638115 - 09/04/12 03:21 PM Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document *****  
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Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document Part 1

Summary: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 is to be a fan-developed retro-style faithful remake of Microprose's venerable flight simulator F-19 Stealth Fighter. Released November of 1988, F-19 was preceded by Project Stealth Fighter (1987) and followed by Nighthawk F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0 (1991). F-117A is generally considered to be a graphics upgrade of F-19 while replacing the F-19 aircraft model with the F-117 and adding additional theaters and options.

Online References:

F-19 on Wikipedia...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-19_Stealth_Fighter

The Official F-19 Stealth Fighter Handbook (with author's permission)...
http://www.flightsimbooks.com/f19stealthfighter/


Developer's Intent: It is my intent to develop a freeware retro-style flight sim closely resembling F-19 Stealth Fighter. While no file-based content will be used from the original game, RFS: F-19 is intended to closely resemble the original game-play for nostalgic purposes and to pay homage to one of the most successful combat flight sims of all time.

Developer's Back-story: Never considering myself a gamer it was almost by chance that in 1993, while walking past a game aisle at a CompUSA in Atlanta, I stumbled upon a discounted boxed version of F-117A. With CNN coverage of the '91 Gulf War still fresh in my mind, including FLIR footage of smart bombs being dropped from the night sky by this strange looking aircraft, I couldn't resist not taking home that big beautiful heavy blue box.

I was overwhelmed just by the manual! And the game itself was also phenomenal, sneaking around the night like a sly solitary fox hunting its prey, and then suddenly becoming the hunted! The typical combat flight sim has you and at least one assisting wing-man seeking out and engaging groups of other aircraft, usually in a full-blown war. In F-117A you were eerily alone, trying to remain undetected deep behind enemy lines with no offensive capability to defend yourself against aerial predators, and usually following a strict rules of engagement. A very unique combat flight sim experience and one that has not been repeated since.

Design Considerations: What I would like to do is to explain my design decisions as they relate to the original game. Many of my ideas for improvement are substantial as one would expect when remaking a game that's almost a quarter of a century old. But I'm also trying to stay true to the original design as much as possible. Any design decisions (especially early ones) are subject to change, while this document reflects how I wish to proceed initially...

Development Workstation:
- Windows 2000 / Laptop: Windows XP
- Blitz3D (BlitzBasic w/Direct3D 7)
- Visual Studio 6 (VB and C++) w/DirectX 7 SDK
- DeleD, Wings3D, Milkshake or Blender (not decided)
- Photoshop 5 LE
- Tomahawk Physics Engine
- AutoCAD LT 2002

Projected Hardware Requirements: Pretty much anything running Windows 98SE to Windows 8 64-bit, possibly even Windows 95B.

Graphics: 1024x600 WSVGA screen resolution (wide-screen aspect of 800x600 SVGA). Low screen resolution is one of many reasons I'm calling my game retro and low-res. I'm not attempting to make a modern looking remake, just to vastly update the original 320x200 graphics.

128x128 textures. I feel this is an acceptable size for WSVGA and bumping up to 256x256 can increase total game size substantially, something I'd rather keep to a minimum.

256 distinct colors per frame. I won't be using pallets (8-bit color is not supported) but I do want to keep everything graphics-related as simple and as manageable as possible.

Low polygon models and meshes. I've set no limits yet.

Now before I continue I want to point out that my game will not model any daylight hours in the 3D world, at most you'll see a late sunset and early sunrise, just like real-life F-117 pilots. And the F-117 is what I'm using for reference, both in real-life and with the F-117A game, even if my flyable is the fictional F-19.

My game-play will be similar to F-117A with the more realistic Lockheed option, so no air-to-air capability (with one exception, more on this later) and you fly only at night. These limited options are compromises not just to make development easier but to make it actually doable.

Also note that real-life F-117 pilots seldom concern themselves with what they see outside of their severely restrictive canopy. Except when taking off, landing and air refueling it's heads down in the cockpit, just as I played F-117A and how I plan to play my new game. Hi-res graphics would be an unnecessary burden, taking time that could be spent on the rest of the game.

I'll use EF2000 as an example of a good looking game with low-res graphics (640x400, 8-bit color, 128x128 textures). I believe they pulled this off with really good contrast, like using dark hues of greens and grays for terrain and sky, then contrasting them with a few bright colors in cockpit displays and explosions. And using bright whites in icebergs that really pop out against the dark blue sea.

Using low-res graphics (i.e. resolution, textures, colors, models) will make development time far shorter, not just with creating the graphics but with compile and load times, while player mission load-times should be instantaneous. If it helps, think of my game as one of those online Flash games you might have in your Favorites. You don't take it seriously but you pull it up when you just want to something quick and easy to play (and some of these games are addictive).

I'll end this post here, next I'll be covering cockpit and key-ins, and a whole lot more after that.

Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#3638320 - 09/04/12 07:31 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Cockpit Views: Like with the original game the cockpit will be 2D views only, no smooth-panning 3D virtual pit. It would make no sense to me to model a virtual pit for an aircraft with restrictive outside visibility and one that flies only at night. Now if I were modeling a day-time bubble-canopy fighter then absolutely I would give it a 3D pit! But in this case it would just add unnecessary complexity in both development and playing.

The advantage of a 2D-only pit is that you don't need separate full-screen MFDs which can become cumbersome, and I want my game to be easy to play. I realize that current hi-res sims have sophisticated 3D-only pits, allowing you to zoom in and out and even flip switches. This won't be one of those sims.

But I am making improvements to the original cockpit. Firstly, with a much higher resolution and with a wide-screen aspect, I'll be able to give the standard front view more of a wide-angle look (similar to F4:AF's 2D wide-angle view). But more importantly, unlike the original game I'll be using a 45 degree snap view system, again similar to F4 but only on a single horizontal plane, no up and down scrolling on the sides. And I'll even be able to use the original key-ins:

F-19
===
F1: Cockpit (front view)
Shift M: View Left
Shift <: View Right
Shift >: View Rear
Shift ?: View Ahead (helmet view, no pit)

Note the blind spots at 45 degree angles.

RFS: F-19
========
F1: Cockpit (front view)
Shift M: Scroll View Left (45d left front / left side / 45d left rear)
Shift <: Scroll View Right (45d right front / right side / 45d right rear)
Shift >: View Front Up
Shift ?: View Ahead (helmet view, no pit)

Of course key-ins will be player configurable (I hate it when they're not), I'm just using the original key-ins as a guide in development.

Cockpit Canopy Frame: Most models and artist conceptions show the F-19 with either an SR-71 looking canopy (see also the F-106 Delta Dart) or with a full bubble canopy. I choose neither, I'll be using a canopy frame similar to the MiG-31 Firefox. I just think it looks cool, especially from the inside of the pit, and is similar looking to other '80s speculations as to what the stealth fighter might look like (also see MiG-37 Ferret, important because this could become my next flyable).

Note that Have Blue had the obstructive center metal bracing which was redesigned for the F-117's HUD view but at a slight cost in stealth.

Cockpit MFDs: The only change I plan to make on the left MFD is that I'm going to combine the tactical and moving maps into a single map view. The F3 key will simply toggle the moving map overlay onto the tactical map vs. switching maps. I believe the maps were separate to avoid information overcrowding with such a low screen resolution.

The right MFD and HUD will be getting some additional touches...

F-19
===
M: Cam Left
<: Cam Right
>: Cam Rear
?: Cam Ahead

Cam = Targeting Camera, selects targets by HUD mode type (Nav/Air/Grd), otherwise is turned off.

Add to this...

RFS: F-19
========
Alt M: Static Cam Left
Alt <: Static Cam Right
Alt >: Static Cam Rear
Alt ?: Static Cam Ahead

Static Cam = Static Camera (i.e. flying NOE or checking your six), always on.

F-19
===
F4: Day/Night HUD (white or green)
F6: FLIR On/Off (F-117A only)

RFS: F-19
========
F4: HUD Dimmer (3-way cycle of three shades of green)
Alt F4: HUD Image (low-light forward image projected onto HUD [ala Jane's F-15])

F6: FLIR (3-way cycle TV/FLIR white hot/FLIR black hot)

Alt Z: Cam Zoom In (2X/4X/8X)
Alt X: Cam Zoom Out

To summarize HUD/MFD improvements: Combining map views, adding static camera views, brightness control and night vision in HUD, FLIR white/black hot option, and zoomable targeting camera.

Other cockpit features I plan to include is the moving throttle in F-19 (although with gloved hand and more correctly located).

Next I'll discuss game-play and back-story.

#3638361 - 09/04/12 08:10 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Nice systematic approach. thumbsup

#3638437 - 09/04/12 10:00 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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My carpal tunnel is telling me to go do something else so I'll continue transcribing my notes later.

The making of F-19 is an interesting read, those guys were amazing building their 3D engine from scratch while constantly hitting hardware limitations and having to squeeze every bit of performance they could out of their code! I know I'm no Sid Meier or Andy Hollis but the fact that I don't have to deal with any of that gives me hope. smile

EDIT: Forgot to mention, I noticed a lot of the same names in F-19/F-117A are in Jane's F-15.

Last edited by MarkG; 09/04/12 10:05 PM.
#3638459 - 09/04/12 10:38 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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biggrin Now you got my attention! Loved F19!

I'll be reading this...


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#3638542 - 09/05/12 01:06 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Awesome, F19 Stealth Fighter is one of my favorite sims ever, defintely interested to follow your development.


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#3638601 - 09/05/12 02:55 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Mark! Has been great seeing you post again. Very glad you are well and working on this most promising project. Will stay tuned.


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#3638628 - 09/05/12 03:44 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Thanks, guys. Except of course at the moment I'm just (pardon the pun) talking a big game. smile

I was going to wait until I had something tangible but it so happened mikew asked about me as I was checking these boards to see if I was still registered (I believe Third Wire finally expired me).

The past ~5 years have been most difficult with taking care of my mother-in-law and this explains a lot of my absences. I'm forever indebted to my wife for what she's done for me, but I believe she's feeling the same by being incredibly supportive and giving me space to work on my studies and my project.

I think what I'm enjoying most about this project is returning to the Cold War '80s. Like every kid born in the '60s I loved the cold war jets like the F-14 and the F-15. In fact, I had two Eagle models on my bedroom dresser (oh wait, one of them was from Space 1999...lol). But I find myself becoming more fascinated by this time period (that I apparently paid little attention to as I was exiting puberty), and not just the real technologies but all the speculation of what might be and what was on the immediate horizon (i.e. SDI [Star Wars]). And I continue fueling this interest by finding '80s/Cold War books at Goodwills and thrift stores.

I really believe this project is my calling, if I can pull it off. smile

I do have a beef with the original game, 1985 North Cape and no SAAB Viggen nor SR-71? This is unacceptable.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3638655 - 09/05/12 04:57 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I was measuring the Kola Peninsula when I came upon these puppies...




So I took a picture...



Those subs boomers still give me the creeps.

<I'm going to turn these pics into links in a couple of days so as not to clutter up the thread>

Last edited by MarkG; 09/05/12 05:41 AM. Reason: Added Red October lingo


The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3638716 - 09/05/12 09:00 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Fantastic Mark, Will certainly be keeping an eye on this project


At Fiddlers Green, where seamen true, when here they've done their duty, The bowl of grog shall still renew and pledge to love and beauty.
#3638771 - 09/05/12 11:51 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Oh, I loved that sim, and would be glad to play with a refreshed version!
I am also willing to help you out. I can create sound effects / music and also capable of doing 2D graph (but graphics is something I think you wanna do on your own, to keep a common concept and look).
Let me know if you consider to accept my help.


Freedom of speech is our birth right, but the privilege of being heard needs to be gained.
#3638818 - 09/05/12 01:02 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Wow!
That would be nice!

Project Stealth Fighter was the first sim I bought when I got my C128 back in 1987. Played it and played it. Along w Up Periscope! and Gunship!

Those were the days ( late 80's, early to mid 90's ) of great packages. Boxes, BIG manuals, maps, keyboard overlays. I loved reading the step by step tutorials in the manual. Microprose was it!!

Todays sims are great too. DCS has great products with .pdf manuals and tutorials and a well put together product. I buy them, but something about the old Microprose sims just had a different feeling. Maybe it was the medals or the post and pre briefings or ....

Sometimes I wish we can get another cold war started so we can get a lot of great sims made or maybe we need Top Gun and Iron Eagle to be re released and put in the theaters (lol) to get people mor into sims and get more made. When I go into Best Buy, I take whatever sims ( NOT The Sims ) they have left for sale and put them eye level with the box facing out so people can maybe pick one up and we produce another simulation fan.

#3638884 - 09/05/12 02:36 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Great news Mark! I'm going to monitor your progress. Few questions though:
Which theatres are you going to include in your sim? All from F-19 (Libya, Persian Gulf, North Cape, Central Euope) all from F-117 (same as F-19 + few more) or maybe only one/two of them?
Will the flight model be simplified, semi-realistic, realistic?
What's the ETA (roughly)?

Best of luck with your project!

#3638900 - 09/05/12 02:54 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Oh yeah, you certainly got the whole package back in the day...
F-19 Packaging

Believe it or not I've recruited my 72 year-old mother for this project. She's an amateur pianist (played church piano many many years ago) and about 5 years ago she replaced her worn out wooden piano with a full-size multi-function Yamaha keyboard she bought from a local musician. She reads sheet music so if I need something like the Soviet National Anthem or The Hunt for Red October we've got it covered. We looked it over and I think I'll need to buy a MIDI cable to connect it to a PC.

I'm also going to recruit my wife's cousin for advice who is big into Cold War tech (mainly earlier stuff, IIRC) and who is moving home from NAS Lemoore. I think he wanted to be an aviator but I guess it didn't work out, he ended up being a Super Hornet avionics technician.

But thanks, if I do need any help this is where I'll ask.

I'm typing the game-play stuff but I may break it into multiple posts.

#3638932 - 09/05/12 03:54 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: damson]  
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Originally Posted By: damson
Great news Mark! I'm going to monitor your progress. Few questions though:
Which theatres are you going to include in your sim? All from F-19 (Libya, Persian Gulf, North Cape, Central Euope) all from F-117 (same as F-19 + few more) or maybe only one/two of them?
Will the flight model be simplified, semi-realistic, realistic?
What's the ETA (roughly)?

Best of luck with your project!


damson, my next post is going to cover some of this in detail, but the short answers are:

1. I'd really like to do all four theaters from F-19 (well 3 + 1, you'll understand later) in the first finished game but right now I'm standing at the bottom of Mt Everest looking up into the fog. smile. My first priority by far is the North Cape. I've lived in the US deep South all my life (Louisiana, Georgia, Florida) where it's usually hot and always flat (except maybe N Georgia). EF2000 was an exotic experience for me, it influenced me so much that we're thinking of taking our first really big vacation to Alesund, Norway.

But what would an F-19 remake be without the windmills of Central Europe (wouldn't these be in Holland?) and the oil platforms of the Persian Gulf? Central Europe kinda scares me to model such a populated area, even retro-style, but it has to be done.

Right I'm just now figuring out why terrains are always perfectly square and a power of 2, that the bigger the map the lower the resolution (i.e. 1024 vs. 2048) and that you cheat by measuring in NM and then converting to KM to size your map smaller than real-life for less travel time (or is that the other way around?).

So I really don't know yet. smile


2. Yes, yes, no. I have samples of simplified FMs but I don't know what to do with them just yet. I can tell you this, I'm not going back to JetFighter IV. I want a FM that at least feels believable and covers the basics (weight, altitude, cornering, stall, damage), etc.

But really, could this thing actually fly? smile




3. I'm probably dreaming but I'd love to celebrate F-19's 25th birthday next November with a finished remake. By then I should be attending LSU (next fall) but I'll just have to balance, I'm going to school for the game(s).

But, I'm seeing others using Blitz3D and they're knocking their sims out pretty fast. One guy is working on a Fighters Anthology-like sim (I think) and already has air-to-air, air-to-ground, wing-men, air-refueling, Carrier ops...

Blitz3D F-22

Not exactly what I'm trying to do but his progress seems pretty quick for being just a hobby (I think I read this in a translation). That's what makes these all-encompassing 3D game engines so compelling to me, we're getting back to the office bedroom developer.

And those were the short answers. smile

Last edited by MarkG; 09/05/12 04:07 PM. Reason: Fixed link
#3639039 - 09/05/12 06:22 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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The game-play/campaign post(s) is going to take little a while. In the meantime, I want to clarify something...

I've posted samples of Blitz3D flight sims on this and the other thread and of course they're in various degrees of completion and graphics quality. Graphics are subjective of course, and keep in mind that every one of those sims is an individual's spare-time hobby as far as I know.

But I'll tell you exactly what I'm looking for in graphics. From my 2D GUI to my 3D world, I want you to swear to yourself my game has to be a higher resolution 3D-accelerated version of EF2000. I may make a few changes like using the colors of dusk in Jane's F-18 and of course I'll have stars, even the northern lights if I can pull them off (watched them in Fairbanks, breath-taking).

I know these videos are so worn but just try to imagine them at higher resolution and in D3D...

http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/Test_EF2K.wmv
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/EF2K_RFM.wmv
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/EF2K_SEAM.wmv
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/EF2K_TIALDWN.wmv

...and that's the look I'm going for!

And you might be thinking I'm just talking about Eurofighter Typhoon which was also DX7. No, not really. ET looks nice to me for the most part but has it's own thing going, IMO it's a lot newer but lacks the "crispness" of EF2000.

SimHQ poster Red Ocktober (the guy doing the submarine sub in the Screenshots forum) started in Blitz3D but then ported to 3D RAD, I believe because he wanted better water shaders than DX7. If I can't get what I want from Blitz3D graphics I'll move on too, whatever it takes to get the look I want. I just need to program heavy with Types in BlitzBasic (Structs in C++) anticipating a future port to OOP (i.e. Types have inheritance). A smart move would also be to write any major functions in C++ DLLs but I don't wanna unless I have to, I'm really not that good yet.

Enough about that, details of code and modeling is for GDD Part 2.

EDIT: I'm going to replace those videos one day with my own.

Last edited by MarkG; 09/05/12 06:25 PM.


The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3639071 - 09/05/12 06:59 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I played that sim so many hours that it was crazy. Those where the times and the plane was so beautiful. I really hope you succeed with the project smile


Noob in current sims, but played tons of combat sims back in the 80's and 90's

Flying:
DCS World 2 Beta
Prepar3d primarily GA planes
Elite Dangerous

And I love games like XCOM, Fallout etc


System:
I7-2600k, MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X 8 gigs, 16 gigs memory,Thrustmaster Warthog, Thrustmaster MFD, Saitek pro flight pedals and TrackIR 5
Saitek yoke, multipanel, radiopanel and switch panel
3* Dell U2414H

#3639281 - 09/05/12 11:58 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Too much to hope for!!!
Mark, I still have F-19 and the remake, F-117, manuals and all. Great classic stuff.


Eugene
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#3639441 - 09/06/12 10:30 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Good luck I will follow the development!


-Sir in case of retreat, were we have to retreat??
-To the Graveyard!!

sandbagger.uk.com/stratos.html
#3639605 - 09/06/12 04:15 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Backstory: "Stars Wars System Wrecks Iceland Summit"

Reykjavik, Iceland, Oct. 13, 1986

The once-promising arms meeting between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev broke up late yesterday. According to administration spokesmen, the talks ended because of the continuing U.S.-U.S.S.R. impasse over Reagan's refusal to drop the Star Wars space defense program. The Russians offered to make major cuts in their medium and long-range nuclear weapons system, but only if the Americans would agree to stop both the testing and deployment of space-based weapons envisioned in the President's so-called Strategic Defense Initiative. Reagan apparently said he would not do so, and the talks came to an abrupt and confused end.



The Russian Politburo, feeling the Americans are violating the 1972 ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty while conducting training exercises with NATO forces conducive with a first nuclear strike, agree they must take decisive action immediately. They must make the imperialist aggressors think twice about carrying out their first strike plans. But first it was time to blind prying eyes...

==========

You are an F-117 pilot with the 4453rd Test and Evaluation Squadron, selected and reassigned to fly covert missions over Russia and Russian held territory in another black project aircraft, the F-19 Ghostrider. The F-19 was developed alongside the F-117 as a reconnaissance and precision bomber, to be used as a testbed for new technologies being developed for future aircraft (ATF). While the F-117 was developed using parts from existing aircraft for reduced costs and reliability, the F-19 uses almost all prototype state-of-the-art systems, making regular production cost prohibited. Like the F-117, five prototypes were built and three can be made combat ready if absolutely necessary.

It just became necessary...

Optical and infra-red sensored satellites in low-altitude sun-synchronous orbits have discontinued transmitting images as they pass over sensitive areas of the Soviet Union. Photographic images taken by SR-71s over the Barents and Baltic Seas have been undecipherable while their sensors have been damaged or destroyed.

ELINT satellites indicate a serious strengthening of radar coverage along most of the Russian border and Eastern Bloc, while other intelligence indicates unusually heavy activity on and around the Kola Peninsula, as well as apparent military buildups along the Eastern German and Iranian borders. We must determine the Russians intentions and if possible, find the source of their ASAT (anti-satellite) capability and destroy it.

So what are the Russian's intentions?



You won't know because it'll be randomly selected when you start a campaign:

Aggressive
Defensive

This will determine the initial values (0-100) of the following settings when starting a campaign:

USSR
=====
Provocation: 37%
Resources: 85%
Morale: 62%

(the above is how they might look during a campaign)

There will also be...

US
==
Intelligence: 22%

These values will be recalculated after each mission, and will determine when (or if) the war goes from Cold to Limited, and when (or if) the war goes from Limited to Conventional. Conventional War will almost always result in nuclear war.

Settings will work on a 100 point system.

Provocation points are added on detection with more points being added when shot down over enemy territory. To a lesser degree Provocation will be increased just by destroying a target, although not necessarily being detected. For example, destroying a bridge or tank farm might add a point or two, but destroying a surfaced Typhoon-class submarine or Mainstay AWACS is going to be more points.

Resource points are subtracted by destroying targets (partially or fully), although some targets will have a repair timer set so you may have to destroy the target more than once in a long campaign. Or you may have to photograph an assessment of damage to determine % of destruction. All target destruction in % will be recorded to keep a persistent world between missions. Repaired targets will be added back to Resources.

Morale points (morale of government, not troops) are added when detected and when mission in unsuccessful, while points are subtracted with destruction of targets, especially when undetected.

For the Russians to elevate the war condition to Limited or Conventional, they must be provoked, have adequate resources and have high morale, or else they may sue for peace while agreeing to terms determined by their current point system. Or they may push the button.

Intelligence has to be figured into the equation on the US side, as a reward for successful reconnaissance missions. Poor intelligence (possibly leading to wrong conclusions) might have the US pushing the button.



So you'll win a campaign by signing a favorable agreement of peace with the Russians. But if you lose, at best you sign an unfavorable agreement (advantageous to the Russians) or at worse...

I want to model the scariest looking (and sounding) city-busting nukes ever put into a flight sim (better than Graphsim and Novalogic's bubble looking tactical nukes.) I even want it to sound scary. I want it to be so creepy that you actually care that you win the campaign.

Well, this is the best I could reasonably come up with while keeping the original game-play in tact. Like the original game, if you don't like a mission you can let the mission generator randomly select another set of targets (primary and secondary), based on condition of war. I'll just be adding a persistent world and war conditions (or peace) which change on the player's success.

To be continued in next post...

Last edited by MarkG; 09/06/12 04:45 PM. Reason: fixed typo
#3639614 - 09/06/12 04:30 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Very good concept. I like it.

#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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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.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#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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Somebody just got my attention... notworthy


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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.
#3663647 - 10/16/12 07:04 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mikew]  
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mikew, that pic is downright gorgeous! thumbsup

My path is going to cross with DID again, only next time I might actually know what I'm doing! smile


Originally Posted By: mikew
Keep up the good work with the C++. smile


It's my dream of a perfect retro flight sim that gives me the motivation I need to suffer through some of the boring and overbearing. Do I really need to learn the many rules and nuances of Polymorphism / virtual functions and operater overloading, just to port sample C++ code to BASIC? I doubt it but I really don't know so I plow through it all, it's the only safe bet.

I really don't care for C++ OOP, too much planning and overhead (class bases w/logical hierarchy, rights, constructors, prototypes). Individually no one feature is too difficult to understand, but mixed all together with nesting, pointers and what seems like a million rules and symbols (*,->,::) and it just becomes too much.

That's why BASIC was invented for people like me (who happens to like spaghetti). smile If encapsulation is suppose to help avoid spaghetti code, can a sub-standard C++ programmer still make a real mess of a program?

#3663663 - 10/16/12 08:07 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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<Follow-up to last post...>

I appreciate Microsoft's continued support for VB6 through the lifetime of Windows 8...

http://vb6zone.blogspot.com/2011/09/vb6-on-windows-8.html
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/ms788708


And for CodeSmart keeping VB6 current and vibrant...
http://www.axtools.com/products-codesmart-vb6.php


Microsoft has recently made some interesting decisions (and reversals) regarding Visual Studio NET...

- Not long ago MS was promoting HTML5 and JavaScript for developing Win8 Metro apps, while not saying anything about VS.NET. Several months of panicking developers and finally MS spoke up. I thought it might be history repeating itself (VB6) but not this time, maybe they were testing the waters? Just give it time.

- VS2012's GUI is Metro (or whatever it's called now) ugly with a flat washed-out look that's very hard to see. MS added a color scheme fix after many complaints.

- It was announced that the free VS2012 Express versions would no longer be capable of creating desktop apps. MS reversed that decision after many complaints.

- VS2012 ships with a version of the NET framework which won't be supported by WinXP (NET 4.5). MS has NOT reversed this decision after many complaints. BTW, with VB6 I can write for Win95 - Win8, covering pretty much every Windows box out there! VS2012 can still write for XP, it's just that the program may not work properly (NET 4.5 updates and bug fixes are not available for XP).
++++++++++

Since VB6 supports the DirectX 7 SDK, I can make my in-house tools in VB6 with the same DirectX version as Blitz3D. Also, I can use VB6 as a front end to B3D for a more sophisticated GUI, works seamlessly.

It worked out good for me that I never went NET.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3663999 - 10/16/12 07:29 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I thought you might find this amusing. While I had been interested in making games years before F-19 came out that was first game that I really wanted to get my hands on the code to make some changes. I could handle enemies just suddenly appearing but it drove me nuts that I'd be trying to get home with MiGs on my tail and would buzz one of our cruisers and they wouldn't do anything. I got so frustrated that I made a character Ben "D__ked" Arnold and went around destroying friend targets and I think I even was able to land at an enemy airbase. I really wanted a newspaper pop up about my defection. I got quite the negative score but it always reset to zero afterwards. I swore if I ever made a flight sim it wouldn't be "you against the world". I talked about this in an interview where they asked some sim developers what inspired them or something like that but I can't find the link anymore.

As for spaghetti code, planning and the such, while it's a pain I'd recommend avoiding spaghetti code as much as possible and at least getting a firm idea of how the different parts of the game are going to interact with each other. Even with good planning your codes going to get more complex over time as you need to make changes and add new previously unplanned features. Debugging code that's become a bunch of spaghetti just makes it that much harder.

I wouldn't worry too much about learning all the ins and outs of a language, at least initially and especially for what you're doing. Understanding that you can overload operators or other more complex operations is good to know in case you run into a situation where you might want to use it but until that time knowing the details on how to do it is just going to fill up your mental cache. I've only had to overload an operator a few times and usually I'll consult a book to make sure I'm doing it right but knowing it was an option did make those few situation easier.

We used C++ when we were doing the Jane's games but most of coded it more like C. I really didn't get the whole virtual function/inheritance thing myself. I wish I had though because, for example, there was a lot of that I would have shared between the ground vehicles and the planes. Instead I just copied the code and any time I made a change to one version I'd have to make a change to the other or bugs would show up. If I had done that I would have been able to make it so the planes, particularly the AC-130s could have used their guns against ground targets instead of running out of time.

Function-wise the shift from function based to object based coding wasn't that big of a deal. Most of our function were already things like "FlyPlane" where we'd pass in the plane we'd want to fly. So instead we'd just have plane->Fly().

The "ah ha" moment for me and virtual functions was when I was working on D&D Heroes and they were doing a lot more with these. This is one of those cases where having an understanding of what was going on under the hood made things easier. I'm going to go into detail here in case it might be of help. I will also note that this is how I think of it working and the actual details might be a bit different. Take a class. In it you have the data it needs and the functions it calls. Virtual function are stored in the class as a table where you have the name of the function and a pointer to where it is. Now you create a subclass. It's going to have a block of data that's everything contained in the parent class. If you look at it in a debugger you'll see the sub class but the parent class data will be in its own block within the subclasss data that you'll need to expand to look at. This makes it easy to see that the parents data is still kept as its own thing. This makes it so if you call something that takes the parent class as an argument that it will just pass that self-contained block of data. This subclass also has its own function table but I don't think it's partitioned like the data. So, if you have a virtual function that overrides the parent class it just replaces name/pointer pairing to use the new function. You can still get access to the original classes function which can be very useful.

For example, let's say you have a "Plane" class. In the tick function you have calls to move the plane, AI logic and other such things. Well the base plane might be considered a "civilian" plane. The basic flying and control code will probably work for all planes, though they'll have different values for "top speed", "roll rate" and such. For the AI you could do have a Think function. The base version could be for everyday flying, following waypoints and such and possibly some base defensive logic. For a fighter logic you could add looking for targets (though then might be in a situational awareness function instead) and flighting code but if none of that was going on just call the base function.

Now you could do this in C. In the tick function you could have a case statement or an if/else section which could get pretty big. Something like:

if(plane.type == bomber)
{
DoBomberLogic(plane);
}
else If(plane.type == fighter)
{
DoFighterLogic(plane);
}
else
{
DoCivilianLogic(plane);
}

And both DoFigherLogic and DoBomberLogic could call DoCivilianLogic if nothing was going on. Still, lets say that you wanted to add a function of DoEnemyFighterLogic. In C++ you could just create an EnemyFighterPlane class that derived off of the Plane class or more likely the FighterPlane class. Youd create any virtual function that needed creating and you were done. If you were doing it in C youd still have to create those new function and probably have to search on every instance of type == fighter to see where you might need to hook things in. You can also run into some rather large case or if/else statements as you discover new types you need to add.

Another problem is that if you want to use the plane class for all planes then every plane is going to use the same structure. This means that even a civilian aircraft is going to need all the data allocations that a fighter would need. Also, lets say that you wanted to add a helicopter at some point, this can then open up a whole new can of worms. Trust me, I speak from experience. As I said, we didnt really take advantage of all C++ had to offer and I had to do some interesting stuff to add in helos and Harriers.

Of course trying to do stuff in a new language can have its own growing pains so that need to be factored in as well. Ive had to work with a bunch of different languages over the years. There were times I would have preferred to have stuck with a language I knew better but there were reasons for the shift. Thats a good part of why I focus on learning what I think I need as opposed to learning all the details. Ive learned a lot of stuff that I cant use anymore. Right now Im working in C# and since it has its own memory management a lot of debugging tricks I used to do which depended on data staying at the same memory address dont work anymore. Im actually having to use tricks from back when you didnt really have a debugger, just a compiler. Still not learning/worrying about all the details has caused me to miss out on some job opportunities when interviewers have asked questions about stuff, like definitions, you only really need to know in college. And, as I said earlier, there were the things I learned which would have made things easier if I had known them earlier. Trying to keep track of all the details can be overwhelming but being aware of what a language can allow you to do can sometimes make things easier. In this case forums can be your friend. If you run into something that's going to be a pain you can probably find some people with suggestions.

Oh and you can definitely still make a mess in C++.

Hopefully this was of some interest though I fear Im probably being as clear as mud.

Elf




Last edited by Scott Elson; 10/17/12 02:43 AM. Reason: Fixed a typo and maybe formatting issue.
#3664004 - 10/16/12 07:42 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I have no idea what 80% of that meant..but it was interesting to read the thought process about how you approached game design and what, as a developer, you wanted to do.

Much appreciated insight!

BeachAV8R

* And F-19 was one of my favorites. I remember trying to keep that little ECM/Stealth bar as low as possible all mission.. biggrin



#3664282 - 10/17/12 06:14 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Scott, I was hoping one day you'd show up on this thread! Thank you for giving examples of procedural vs. OOP in a combat flight sim, that's a rare read. And I'm sure everyone agrees that it's an absolute treat when we get details about the development of classic flight sims.

I occasionally check the Kindle store and Amazon hoping that one day a flight sim developer will write a book on their experience. I've purchased several similar type Kindle books but none can be found specific to flight sims, I keep waiting.

BTW, it was only recently that I noticed the F-117A credits include some of the same names as Janes F-15 (i.e. Andy Hollis, Greg Kreafle, Max Remington, David McKibbin, Todd Brizzi).

++++++++++

You may have noticed I'm using a very old "batteries included" 3D game creator called Blitz3D (BlitzBasic + DirectX 7). It's actually still being sold and maintained because it's still being used for quick prototyping, I'm using it to learn how to create a 3D game (which is still not easy even in BASIC).

Not OOP though, only ways to mimic...
Applied Object-Based Programming with Blitz3D (PDF)

This is all it takes to show a primitive in 3D:

==========
Graphics3D 800,600,32,0
SetBuffer BackBuffer()

camera=CreateCamera()
light=CreateLight()

cone=CreateCone( 32 )
PositionEntity cone,0,0,5

While Not KeyDown( 1 )
RenderWorld
Flip
Wend

End
==========

Gotta start somewhere but it won't be with C/C++ (other than porting code). BlitzBasic makes initializing 3D graphics about as easy as VB6 makes displaying a new window, something I don't bother with in VC++6. Even with the MFC Wizard it's too many steps, I can't imagine what it takes to code it manually. First thing I do in VC++6 is include the iostream header and then use cin/cout with the console.

I'd have no problem overloading my own functions but not the built-in operators, just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. And that's one thing I don't like about C, it seems like everything is defined by context (and that's before any overloading)! On a similar note, what trips me up the most (and no it's not = vs. ==, that one is constantly harped on) is working with tutorials where pointers aren't labeled properly and I confuse them with regular variables.

Again, thank you very much for your post. I followed along pretty well except vtables are a bit over my head right now. smile

#3664284 - 10/17/12 06:34 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: BeachAV8R]  
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Originally Posted By: BeachAV8R
I have no idea what 80% of that meant..


Whenever I feel like I'm finally getting it I just pull up the Falcon source in VC++6. Other than some recognizable scattered syntax, total Greek. May as well be ~10,000 pages of Klingon. The EECH source (plain C, I think) is a little better.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3664288 - 10/17/12 07:06 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I should [clarify] something, I would never port copyrighted material without permission (EECH).

I have plenty of simpler examples to port (or at least to reference) like those found in the DOS-based Build Your Own Flight Sim...




I use the REAL flight sims only as a reminder as to why I should keep it as simple and easy to develop as possible. A reality check, I guess.

#3664295 - 10/17/12 07:27 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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You're getting sidetracked again. wink

This thread is called "Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document", and that's what I want to see. smile

Design the game first, then worry about how you are going to implement it.

#3664469 - 10/17/12 02:37 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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LOL. wink

Unfortunately for the self-taught and inexperienced game developer, the design is dictated by the implementation. That is, the design is limited to the capabilities of the decade old tools the developer has chosen for their accessibility.

In regards to being sidetracked, what's required the most discipline is putting the game aside long enough to complete some programming and high school math textbooks. But I'm almost done with the books and then we're going to have a whole heap (pun intended) of fun!

explode

++++++++++

You know, I never did finish my document, I see nothing about air-to-air.

I'll at least summarize my idea for now:

Air-to-air is kinda silly in F-19, although F-117A fixed this with the "realistic" Lockheed option (nighttime only, no air-to-air, etc.). I'm initially going down that path, if anything just to keep my scope smaller. But what would an F-19 sim be without the ability to fly the mission in Red Storm Rising?

The answer could be the successfully tested anti-AWACS Hughes Brazo air-to-air HARM missile:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_Brazo

At least have specialized anti-AWACS capability. I dunno, maybe optional Sidewinders attached to the bay doors ala the F-35?

There was some other stuff too, I'll have to dig through my notes.

Oh yeah, some things in F-19/F-117A should be made easier IMO with at least an option (i.e. auto-open/close bay doors on pickle ala TAW). Also, I want to have the ability to fly with a mouse or keyboard, I don't usually carry a joystick around with my laptop. F-29 Retaliator is a rare example of flying with a mouse while keeping good control.


EDIT: Scott, you're dead-on about friendly defenses not helping you, this also griped me sometimes with TAW. But in TAW I could at least land (or eject) then jump in an AWACS and vector a can a woop-ass to my pursuers. At the very least the enemy AI should drop the pursuit and turn away before reaching a friendly cruiser or SAM site.

Last edited by MarkG; 10/17/12 02:52 PM.
#3664704 - 10/17/12 09:29 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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The point of doing the game design first is that you can break the task down into smaller chunks, then start implementing those chunks in VB6. In fact, the only thing that VB6 will struggle with is the 3D world, but BlitzBasic will be good enough to see whether your game 'works' or not.

It's your gig though. smile

ps What's the ISBN number for that 'Build your own Flight Sim in C++' book?

#3664728 - 10/17/12 09:59 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Scott's right, I'm drowning in the details. I can look at relatively simple C++ code and follow it just fine, should be all I need and I can look up the rest as I go. (And C has no built-in string "data type", I said it wrong with "variable".)

I finished Algebra 1 and I'm almost halfway through Geometry, probably already know more than enough math to get started. I'll be using an add-on physics engine, not sure if I'll ever be capable of writing my own (needs to be a C .DLL). I'm going to keep doing my one math lesson a day regardless (Trig is next, then Calculus), so maybe one day.

3D modeling is my next really big learning adventure (but remember, low-res polys and textures). AutoCAD will be useful for creating detailed uniform plan and isometric views for each model (and you can import scans), but probabley not for full modeling, at least not the old version I use (2000).

For 3D modeling I'll be using DeleD...
http://delgine.com/

It's free and has very good support for Blitz3D. This can always change, of course. But DeleD is suppose to be very easy to learn and use, exactly what I need.

++++++++++

So here's the plan...

I'm taking the next two weeks to wrap up the book learning/tutorials and on Nov. 1 I'm going to start real development on this sim. I figure I'll start with the game loop, an empty map representing the North Cape and a simple flight model to fly around it (full-screen camera until we have a pit and exterior model).

Now we're not going to have moving clouds, animated lightning/thunder nor rain/snow modeling for some time, but you are not going to BELIEVE how easy this is to do in Blitz3D (easy being relative, of course)! I know this because it's all included in the samples. Even the northern lights are possible (an edit on lightning).

So...in two weeks we get started (that's a literal 14 days...rather 15).

+++++++++

Scott said, "If you were doing it in C[++] you'd still have to...". I knew what you meant before you corrected it. smile Just to let you know I'm paying attention, and please feel free to elaborate on your flight sim development experiences anytime.

#3664745 - 10/17/12 10:26 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mikew]  
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Originally Posted By: mikew
The point of doing the game design first is that you can break the task down into smaller chunks, then start implementing those chunks in VB6. In fact, the only thing that VB6 will struggle with is the 3D world, but BlitzBasic will be good enough to see whether your game 'works' or not.

It's your gig though. smile


I have a VB6 3D game somewhere (some kind of Mario looking racing game) and it actually works pretty good, except maybe being a little sluggish on my older laptop.

I was only going to use VB6 for the front-end GUI (also in the samples) instead of Sprite Candy, which is a large BlitzBasic source library for making GUIs in 3D graphics (among other things and man is it smooth!). Are you suggesting the entire game could be written in VB6?

I tell you what, I've run my VB6 apps under Linux Wine and although I imagine it would drag 3D game graphics way down, I would give up textures all together to get off Windows! I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you, but that's intriguing. Blitz3D will not run under Linux AFAIK (unfortunately), I assumed DirectX 7 was the culprit (which would be the same for VB6, unless using DX8). I never got TAW to work either.


Originally Posted By: mikew
ps What's the ISBN number for that 'Build your own Flight Sim in C++' book?


ISBN-10: 1571690220
ISBN-13: 978-1571690227

Build Your Own Flight Sim in C++

Last edited by MarkG; 10/17/12 10:38 PM. Reason: fixed link


The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3664761 - 10/17/12 10:59 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Thanks for the ISBN and link. I won't go out of my way to get it, but if it turns up locally I'll try and pick it up. There's a lot of wisdom from those days which is all but forgotten in this era of bloat.

Originally Posted By: MarkG

Are you suggesting the entire game could be written in VB6?
Yes!

I reckon you could easily (in processing terms) replicate a TAW AWACS mission in VB6 (minus the little 3D window). For 3D stuff, you'd probably need to do something like the things described here:
http://vbgamer.com/DirectX4VB/TUT_DX7Start.asp

#3664768 - 10/17/12 11:12 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Please excuse my knee-jerk reaction, the VB6 IDE would also have to work under Linux. I was thinking more about if I need to buy a new PC or laptop in the future (I know it wouldn't run Win2000, maybe not XP either).

mikew, I think I needed my own gig for motivation because I'm no genius and none of this comes easy to me. Most real game developers have college degrees and I barely passed high school. But I know exactly what I want...

When this gets started I think it's going to go pretty quick.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3664789 - 10/17/12 11:44 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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There's nothing more to programming than being able to count up to 1 lots of times, so you'll be fine. Besides, I've seen the quality of your VB6 work. thumbsup

I tend not to mix my Linux and Windows worlds, and only use Windows machines for gaming.
If I was forced to use only one machine, I'd have Linux as the base OS, then use VirtualBox to install any variant of Windows.

#3664802 - 10/17/12 11:54 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mikew]  
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Originally Posted By: mikew
I reckon you could easily (in processing terms) replicate a TAW AWACS mission in VB6 (minus the little 3D window). For 3D stuff, you'd probably need to do something like the things described here:
http://vbgamer.com/DirectX4VB/TUT_DX7Start.asp


Oh this is good!

Believe it or not it's taken learning C++ to really start understanding VB6. Not because VB was developed in C++ but because VB books normally don't explain passing arguments By-ref (using a pointer) vs. By-val (making a copy, staying local), or why it even matters with large variables (efficiency vs. safety). The instruction cache, the stack, FIFO, you learn about this stuff in C++ for Dummies but not in most VB6 books.

Heck, there's parts of the VB6 IDE I'm just now discovering how to use, along with more comprehensive techniques (nested types, multi-dimensional and dynamic arrays, random access files, ActiveX). ~20 years of VB classic and I'm just now learning to program. smile

I like where this is going.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3664821 - 10/18/12 12:35 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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It's late here, so one question about VB6 before I crash out:
Can you, given you know what parameters to expect, interact with a DLL written in C++?
I know this isn't a particularly 'safe' way of computing..but it's the shortcut to amazing things. smile

#3664835 - 10/18/12 01:13 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Absolutely! You just Declare it [EDIT: w/ function name] and it's like it was written in your program. Safe? Yeah, I believe you just have to make sure your argument types match. I just read up on this recently, I'll have to revisit it. But it'll work.

Another benefit of C++ is learning a better way of code organization which applies even to VB6 (surprised me, VB has classes although not exactly the same but with similar concepts).

A discussion on Polymorphism in VB6, couldn't quickly find a better link...
http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/discussions/87-191763

I understand C++ better in this case, I'll have to chew on this one.

I'm off to buy printer cartridges, the DirectX7 SDK has lots of help for VB6.

Last edited by MarkG; 10/18/12 01:17 AM.
#3664930 - 10/18/12 05:30 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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<Comes back with clearer head>

I was confused with the difference between Blitz3D and VB6 w/DX7 SDK, until I compared tutorials. Whoa, now I get it.

I'll get started with the game on the 1st as planned, knowing one day I may not need Blitz for 3D. Like you suggested, I can take it a piece at a time.

A 2D AWACS or campaign plug-in would be a nice VB6 project, B3D and VB can even share DLL functions. B3D can even use an ActiveX DLL written in VB6 but it needs a 3rd-party add-on which is no longer available (which I believe was buggy anyway).

#3665111 - 10/18/12 01:56 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Computer Science 101, Today's Assignment:

1. Write a simple function in C++ to return the factorial of a number using recursion.
2. Compile to DLL.
3. Link DLL w/VB6.
4. On a VB6 form add a textbox, button and label.
5. User enters number and presses button, factorial is returned.
6. Repeat function in native VB6 for speed comparison (larger numbers should grind).

Stay tuned...



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3665307 - 10/18/12 07:29 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hi MarkG,

Actually I saw the thread a while ago but usually I don't want to intrude unless I think I have something I can really add. I thought you were mainly doing stuff in Basic so it threw me a bit when you started talking about C++ but I thought you might be considering some of the other options people had mentioned so I figured it could be worth talking about some pluses and minuses. If you like the engine, and prefer Basic that sounds like the right way to go.

I've toyed around with writing a book about things I've learned about doing AI in games over the years. Part of the reason is that I've had some colleges ask me if I've ever thought of doing a class on AI and if I did the book that would pretty well cover what I'd need for that. Even if I didn't teach a publisher might be interested. Also I've toyed around with doing some development on the side. I've checked with where I work and with what I'm planning it shouldn't be a problem. So setting up the libraries and tools I might need would get the examples for the book done and I could write about the how's and why's as I do it. Of course now that I've talked about it, it probably won't happen. Also there's something coming up in about a month that might take my attention for a bit, sorry, not a game, so I'm going to wait until at least after that and maybe the holidays before I think about spending any real time on it. Also while there would be a section on stuff I did in flight sims if I did any examples of it the code would be very simple, or at least that's my current expectation.

You've probably thought about this already but don't forget that while the F-19 might not need to worry about A2A you will need to do stuff with it for the enemy planes. That was one thing I sort of ran into while doing Fleet Defender. Since the F-14 at that time wasn't being used for A2G it would be easy to focus on just A2A. Also, at least with the code I was dealing with, none of the games based off of it ever had an AI ground attack component. The focus had always dealt with A2A since the Player was the only one doing A2G. For FD it would need to be protecting planes doing A2G and defend against enemy planes doing it. Fortunately since the Player needed them I had A2G weapons I could access. Still I had to come up with a whole coordinated ground attack AI. This was a lot of fun to do but did take a while and there was a bit of a learning curve.

Got to run. Sounds like you're having fun while learning which is always a good thing.

Elf

#3665342 - 10/18/12 08:33 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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<Elf, I'm going to get back to that last post>
==========

So close, but now I'm stumped over a simple Boolean logic error that works in the C++ IDE but not as a DLL with VB6. Talk about hoops to jump through though, at first VB couldn't see my DLL, then it couldn't find my function entry point, then it couldn't accept my arguments (which were correct). So that's what the extra mumbo jumbo is about at the start of the function, along with the DEF file.

++++++++++

To make a VB6 DLL in VC++6 (named VBTest.dll w/factorial function):

1. Create a New "Win32 Dynamic-Link Library" and make it "Simple" (not "Empty" nor "Symbols").

2. Create a New Text File named "Export.def" and add the following:

LIBRARY VBTest
EXPORTS factorial

3. The main source file looks like this (but formatted, of course):

==========
// VBTest.cpp : Defines the entry point for the DLL application.
//

#include "stdafx.h"

BOOL APIENTRY DllMain( HANDLE hModule,
DWORD ul_reason_for_call,
LPVOID lpReserved
)
{
return TRUE;
}

//Returns the factorial of a number
__declspec(dllexport)
int
__stdcall
factorial(int Number)
{
if (Number > 1)
return Number*factorial(Number - 1);
return Number;
}
==========

I simply added the factorial comment and the code under it. The order of "__declspec"/"int"/"__stdcall" is important, "__stdcall" must immediatly precede the function name.

4. That's it for the DDL, compile and put into your current VB project folder.

5. The VB code looks like this:

==========
Option Explicit

Private Declare Function factorial Lib "VBTest.dll" _
(ByVal num As Integer) As Integer

Private Sub Command1_Click()
Dim num As Integer
num = Val(Text1)
Label1 = factorial(num)
End Sub
==========

It will give you back whatever number you type but not the factorial because it's not processing the if statement.


Yet this works in the C++ IDE (same exact factorial function):

==========
// crap.cpp : Defines the entry point for the console application.
//

#include "stdafx.h"
#include "iostream.h"

//Returns the factorial of a number
int
factorial(int Number)
{
if (Number > 1)
return Number*factorial(Number - 1);
return Number;
}

void main()
{
int Number;
cout << "What?";
cin >> Number;
cout << factorial(Number);
}
==========

I just don't get it.

I know the DLL is working though because this works (adds 2 to Number):

...
factorial(int Number)
{
if (Number > 1)
return Number*factorial(Number - 1);
Number += 2;
return Number;
}

...as does this (adds 1 to Number, also Number++ works)...

...
factorial(int Number)
{
if (Number > 1)
return Number*factorial(Number - 1);
++Number;
return Number;
}

...it just bypasses the if statement, but only in the DLL. I just don't get it.

#3665368 - 10/18/12 09:07 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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mikew Offline
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That doesn't seem right to have two 'return' lines in sequence

So, shouldn't this:
{
if (Number > 1)
return Number*factorial(Number - 1);
return Number;
}

be more like this?:
{
if (Number > 1) {
return Number*factorial(Number - 1);
} else {
return Number;}
}

I'm no C++ expert though...

#3665370 - 10/18/12 09:09 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Scott Elson Offline
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I haven't used VB since <cough>around 1993-4?<cough> and I don't really do much with creating Libraries, DLLs and stuff like that so I'm just going to resort to some brute force methods to test some stuff. If I'm understanding what you're saying I'd try a couple of things.

First I'd probably assign Number*factorial(Number-1) to a local variable instead of in the return or at least put a () around it. I'm wondering if there's an order of precedence thing going on where either the factorial isn't getting call because return Number is happening first or memory for the return value is getting set before the call. Sort of along the lines of ++Var being slightly different than Var++.

Along the same lines make sure that the "if" really isn't being seen. Instead maybe have the "if" return -999 or some other static so that there's no question.

if (Number > 1)
return -999;
return Number;

If you don't get it you know the problem is with the if, if you do you know the problem is with the return or the factorial function. You could even swap it and have

if (Number > 1)
return Number;
return 999;

but I don't think you'd learn anything more than just doing it the first way.

I hope you figure it out soon.

Elf

#3665420 - 10/18/12 10:07 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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mikew, yeah C++ is just shortcut happy that way, in this case the "else" is implied. Looks better before SimHQ text reformats it. The same code works within C++, you just leave off the "__declspec(dllexport) __stdcall".

And I suspect that's the problem, I'm reading now that with "__declspec(dllexport)" I shouldn't need the DEF file but VB can't find my function without it. Apparently "__stdcall" is needed because VB and C++ don't write to the stack the same way [by default].

Scott, I did go down your list but nothing worked. Weird that when I tried again before doing anything, I kept getting -3102... or something. But then it went back to the typed number. So I'll research a different combination of settings/files.

Thanks.

#3665433 - 10/18/12 10:27 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted By: MarkG
mikew, yeah C++ is just shortcut happy that way, in this case the "else" is implied.


Correction: Actually, there is no "else" in this case. A function stops on a return so it's like a fall through. This will really trip you up with Switch vs. Select Case, you have to put a break on every following Case statement in C++.

#3665448 - 10/18/12 10:47 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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lol I still have my original F19 disks and manual!


Shoot to Kill.
Play to Have Fun.
#3665457 - 10/18/12 11:08 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Well, you live and learn. I tend to put brackets around everything to be sure.

I know that to be able to use DLLs in Python, that they have to be exported for cdecl not stdcall.

My question about VB and DLLs was not totally random in that I'd like to make a simple GUI to tap into Krycztij's 3view program. While the following code will slowly extend the landing gear of the plane, it would be far better if I could have buttons to control the model parameters.

Since 3view is Windows only, it's probably easier to do this in VB rather than something like wxPython.


Having said that, I've been searching for my VB5 installation disk all evening....so far without success. frown

Ooops, derailing your thread here with my problems....although it's sort of related. wink

#3665584 - 10/19/12 04:57 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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mikew, I had a nice response to your above thread and it just vanished (wrong button?). I don't know what's going on, maybe it's my Satellite Internet but the latency in the Reply box is becoming unbearable. I guess it's progress whatever SimHQ has been doing for the past year or so but I hate it. And I post on a newer laptop w/Win7x64 so it's not that, I only "work" on Win2000.

So I'll just summarize...

cdecl is the C++6 default which is why VB6 couldn't see my DLL until I added stdcall (according to MS). I want to keep pursing the use of DLLs for VB6, even VB6's own ActiveX DLLs if there's any use for them.

No one derails this thread like I do! smile I'm also good at bringing it back from the dead, another no-no. But we're in the boonies out here and I don't want to start a new thread unless I have something really new to talk about.

I enjoy your pics so please keep posting them here. I try not to lose my focus (you know how I can get) but I do enjoy seeing what you're working on, always a surprise (like the above pic).



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3665587 - 10/19/12 05:04 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I find that it's loops (do...while) and conditionals (if... switch...) that won't work properly in my DLL.

This will always give 40:

==========
__declspec(dllexport)
int
__stdcall
test(int n)
{
switch (n)
{
case 10:
return 10;
break;
case 20:
return 20;
break;
case 30:
return 30;
break;
default:
return 40;
}
}

----------

... although I know it's receiving 10, 20 and 30 because that's what it returns when I comment out the Switch statement and use only "return n;"

==========
__declspec(dllexport)
int
__stdcall
test(int n)
{
\\switch (n)
\\{
\\ case 10:
\\ return 10;
\\ break;
...
\\ default:
\\ return 40;
\\}

return n;
}
==========

And it works fine in C++ proper. Go figure.

Simple one-line math works so we know we can connect, the main point of this exercise. It's complicated but I have instructions on how to hook VB directly into C++ for debugging a DLL while in use. That will tell me what's happening at every line.

There's different types of DLLs to create, different settings to use (in the DLL, in VB and the compiler), different PCs to try it on (I run a 3rd-party app in my IDE, I'll try a fresh VB install), I mean who knows? We'll figure it out.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3665606 - 10/19/12 06:34 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Could it be that VB and C++ have a different idea of how long a default Integer is? ie 16 vs 32 bit.

Don't get me started on how crap 'cloud' based computing is. All forums have these active reply boxes which screw up whatever you type in, even if you yse Code tags. In the rare situation that I create a long post, I'll write it in Notepad first, including all necessary tags then paste it across to the forum.

#3665910 - 10/19/12 05:43 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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IMO, it was around the year 2000...



...when software was hitting its peak ratio of performance/features to fluff/noise.

In 1987 I took a drafting class at a Vo-Tech. I remember we were using AutoCAD 2.5 on 8088s w/dual 5-1/4 floppy drives. It was so slow that to regenerate a drawing (a full redraw with float pt calculations) you could take a bathroom break.

Now fast forward 6 years...

On May 5, 1993 I bought my first real PC (I'm looking at the receipt), a 486/66 DX2 with 8MB RAM and Genoa 8500 VLB video (recommended card for AutoCAD). Then soon added a 17 Viewsonic monitor and another 4MB RAM (can you believe just the extra 4 MB was $624.00? [4 X $156.00]).

AutoCAD R12 DOS SCREAMED on this machine, I mean it was sooo FAST! Not to mention the library of books that shipped in a really nice sliding top box. Now all you get is a code and an online Help system (literally it's online) that doesnt work.

Now if someone would have told me that in the year 2012 (almost 20 years later!) that AutoCAD would take a full minute to load, experience constant pauses and overall feel like a bloated overstuffed codfish I would have never believe it! Not possible, not with the progress made from '87 to '93 (both in speed and features). I would have guessed it would be so fast you have not to blink or you'd miss something. Quite the opposite, although you do get a Facebook and Twitter icon on the start-up screen now and some storage in the clouds. :rollseyes:

I knew things were gonna go downhill as far back as Office '97 with that winking paperclip. And then we get the dog wagging its tail and finding a bone when you search for something. Cute. Of course you can turn it off (I think) but I don't even want it on my machine.

So what? RAM and storage is cheap.

Take the DLL problem I'm having, for example. When I get serious with solving it (and I will) I'm going to use my test PC where I have half a dozen Ghost images for different setup scenarios (i.e. fresh Windows install). I can reload the drive in no time at all with Windows 2000 (even XP isn't TOO big), but try doing this with Vista+, multiple reloads become an all day thing.

I hate that I'm falling behind technology, I was never a nerd (not smart enough) but I like the atmosphere (a BIG plus for the Blitz3D community for being a beginners tool), I had my CompuServe account back when it was a bunch of geeks on technical bulletin boards (AutoCAD and MicroStation for me). I was standing outside of CompUSA at midnight to get my copy of Win95 (and a free mouse)!

But now it's all different, Autodesk's CEO wants to be completely on the Cloud in less than three years so you can rent AutoCAD. Rent? For real? With my satellite latency AutoCAD would be a barrel of fun! smile

So now I'm getting off anything that even requires an online activation. I don't want to be in a situation years from now not being able to use my software because some connection is no longer available.

I'm not saying I want to go back to this...



...although XTGold was pretty nice for its time, and Links386 is still fun to play. But the whole bloat and cloud thing, I can't roll with it.

And the Metro look, I've seen better looking DOS programs (and this one includes fly-out toolbars which detach, very slick for DOS)...



Which brings me to Blitz3D... DirectX7, a non-OOP version of BASIC dating back to the Amiga, a sparse IDE, and I'm sure some other negatives I don't know about yet. But it's rock-solid stable and it's FAST! And being a Windows 95 program using BASIC that's some accomplishment. Also it's very small, take out the samples and zip the program folder and you're under 4MB.

Also, there's a 3rd-party IDE (unsupported abandonware by the author) that's also small, solid and fast...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/IDEal.jpg

Hopefully it'll do the job, along with VB6.

The abandoned puppy...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/blitz3dpup.jpg



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3666006 - 10/19/12 07:16 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Scott Elson]  
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Originally Posted By: Scott Elson
Actually I saw the thread a while ago but usually I don't want to intrude unless I think I have something I can really add. I thought you were mainly doing stuff in Basic so it threw me a bit when you started talking about C++ but I thought you might be considering some of the other options people had mentioned so I figured it could be worth talking about some pluses and minuses. If you like the engine, and prefer Basic that sounds like the right way to go.

I can code in VB6 almost as quickly as writing one of my long-winded rants! smile C programmers think that '}' is easier than 'End If'. What they don't realize is that we actually type 'end if' and let the IDE correct the case. smile Not having to use the Shift will keep you from getting early carpal tunnel. Might seem lazy but I don't think so, just more efficient as long as the end result is correct.

No way I'd use C++ everyday unless I was getting paid (it's just not enjoyable to me).


Originally Posted By: Scott Elson
I've toyed around with writing a book about things I've learned about doing AI in games over the years. Part of the reason is that I've had some colleges ask me if I've ever thought of doing a class on AI and if I did the book that would pretty well cover what I'd need for that. Even if I didn't teach a publisher might be interested. Also I've toyed around with doing some development on the side. I've checked with where I work and with what I'm planning it shouldn't be a problem. So setting up the libraries and tools I might need would get the examples for the book done and I could write about the how's and why's as I do it. Of course now that I've talked about it, it probably won't happen. Also there's something coming up in about a month that might take my attention for a bit, sorry, not a game, so I'm going to wait until at least after that and maybe the holidays before I think about spending any real time on it. Also while there would be a section on stuff I did in flight sims if I did any examples of it the code would be very simple, or at least that's my current expectation.

Even simple code examples would be good, but I was thinking more along the lines of the overall experience of developing a monster flight sim. What went wrong, what went right, how hard it was to meet deadlines or your own expectations, some funny and not so funny office stuff.

About six months ago I read a book on the two John's (Carmack and Romero), from their beginnings, to their creation of id, to their parting and it was one of the most interesting reads ever!


Originally Posted By: Scott Elson
You've probably thought about this already but don't forget that while the F-19 might not need to worry about A2A you will need to do stuff with it for the enemy planes. That was one thing I sort of ran into while doing Fleet Defender. Since the F-14 at that time wasn't being used for A2G it would be easy to focus on just A2A. Also, at least with the code I was dealing with, none of the games based off of it ever had an AI ground attack component. The focus had always dealt with A2A since the Player was the only one doing A2G. For FD it would need to be protecting planes doing A2G and defend against enemy planes doing it. Fortunately since the Player needed them I had A2G weapons I could access. Still I had to come up with a whole coordinated ground attack AI. This was a lot of fun to do but did take a while and there was a bit of a learning curve.

Got to run. Sounds like you're having fun while learning which is always a good thing..

I'm going to try and at least have the AI chase you. I read the original game (or maybe it was F-117A) would vector two sets a planes, one set to where you were last detected and one set to where you were going. Although Blitz3D has all but been forgotten as a game creator, the boards have hundred of pages of useful information including code snippets so hopefully I find the answers I need.

And BTW, I'm taking a cue from Jane's F-18 for dusk to dawn sky color. Simple but nice.

#3666190 - 10/19/12 11:38 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Scott Elson]  
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Originally Posted By: Scott Elson
\Also I've toyed around with doing some development on the side.
Elf





Hello! Embedded OS developer here, but hello.

Enjoyed your work with F/A-18. If your teaching/writing a book/rolling your own and need a hand...

#3666225 - 10/20/12 01:17 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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mikew, I found that 3D game made in VB6...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/3DRacers.zip

No source code though. The game was posted by the author who intentionally stuck with pure VB6 to see if it could be done.

About the DLL, the problem is that I really don't know what I'm doing yet. Everything I've read is that once you get the hookup it works perfectly, and there are no reasons this shouldn't be possible to do, if there were I would have read so. At least I made a connection so to me it's a start. smile

And about source code, anyone who wants to see my source will need the Blitz3D demo (about a 7MB download). The only limitations are the amount of code it can load (and I won't be reaching that anytime soon) and you cannot compile. You can run, edit and save just not compile. The full-version price was just dropped to $60.00, by the time anyone needs that they'll know if they're interested enough to buy it. DirectX7 and BASIC, LOL! I'm not expecting much interest except for anyone interested in how a game is developed from scratch.

Also, I was wrong about the Blitz3D program size, it's more like 2MB zipped (without samples, help and tutorials).

Ok, I'm falling behind my 'studies', unless there's something to respond to I'll be back on Nov. 1 to get this project off the ground.

I am excited.

#3666366 - 10/20/12 09:46 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I'm only checking this forum sporadically, so I missed the re-ignition of this thread I hope I'm not too late. I'm the guy who's implementing the C++ side of the tools mikew shows.

Originally Posted By: MarkG
I really don't care for C++ OOP, too much planning and overhead (class bases w/logical hierarchy, rights, constructors, prototypes). Individually no one feature is too difficult to understand, but mixed all together with nesting, pointers and what seems like a million rules and symbols (*,->,::) and it just becomes too much.
For C++ land of our TFX tools, OOP has just been used where absolutely necessary (i.e. where DiD's architecture did not permit anything else, and for typical 'manager' classes). The remaining code base is pretty data-oriented. One clue for you: Keep the code as simple as possible. 90 % of our C++ could also be implemented in C.

Originally Posted By: MarkG
Microsoft has recently made some interesting decisions (and reversals) regarding Visual Studio NET...
[]
- VS2012 ships with a version of the NET framework which won't be supported by WinXP (NET 4.5).
You can still use Visual Studio 2010 I'm using it for XP-compatible builds of our tools, too. I use Visual C++ 2012 for 64-bit builds targeting Windows Vista or above.

Originally Posted By: MarkG
I'd have no problem overloading my own functions but not the built-in operators, just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. And that's one thing I don't like about C, it seems like everything is defined by context (and that's before any overloading)!
Operator overloading can be quite useful. Our tools employ it to hide the implementation of lists (so no code needs to be changed if a doubly-linked list changes to an array) and for equality checking (a != b is just more pretty than a.notEqual(b)). For 99 % of the classes, you don't need it, though. Need for looking up what an operator does should not happen in well-designed code.

Originally Posted By: mikew
The point of doing the game design first is that you can break the task down into smaller chunks, then start implementing those chunks in VB6. In fact, the only thing that VB6 will struggle with is the 3D world, but BlitzBasic will be good enough to see whether your game 'works' or not.
Yes exactly. Programming actually is the easiest thing because it's straigh-forward routine once you know what to do. Becoming aware of the problem in order to subdivide it until it's solvable is by far harder.

MarkG, I think you can omit the EXPORTS.DEF file if your exported functions are preceeded by extern "C". This will tell the compiler that the function should be visible for external modules as a plain C function, i.e. with its original name and without C++ name mangling. I could be well wrong though, because I didn't use DEF files for at least ten years.

I recommend not to use Visual C++ 6 until it's absolutely necessary. It is by far the worst compiler on earth. From my memory, it would break any code but straightforward class-less template-less C code. Plus, support is hard to get. Its only advantage is, you don't need to install the Visual C++ Redistributable files before using its images, but this can be avoided with Visual Studio 20xx as well.

Considering the if/else discussion: MarkG, you're right, there is no else implied but program flow is logically equivalent to a written 'else'. I'd write the 'else', and use curly braces, too it really helps finding typing errors.

Sadly, I don't know what struck the VB/C++ DLL interaction either. I'd try what Scott Elson suggested.

I do enjoy reading this thread and following your progress. Keep it up!

#3666628 - 10/20/12 09:13 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted By: MarkG

Even simple code examples would be good, but I was thinking more along the lines of the overall experience of developing a monster flight sim. What went wrong, what went right, how hard it was to meet deadlines or your own expectations, some funny and not so funny office stuff.


Ah, OK. I think some of the strat guides might have touched on some of that stuff and sometimes guys would post stories on the forums. A book probably would have been more likely back when flight sims had a bigger market share. Also since it was a while ago and hard crunches were fairly common people might have forgotten a lot of what happened. If I have a chance I'll see if I can come up with some stories to write down but I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it.

piper,
Thanks. Right now the Mystic 8 Ball doesn't even want to give me any idea of what the near term future might bring so some plans are currently in a holding pattern. Thanks for the offer. I think I'll be OK but I'll keep you in mind and let you know if I come up with anything you might find of interest.

Elf

#3666665 - 10/20/12 10:21 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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If you guys will forgive me for one more personal indulgence, I was on a college campus all day with a lot on my mind.

++++++++++

My wife and I spent the day at LSU, a morning 5k run for Alzheimers and then we walked the campus. She reminisced while we tried to get an idea where my classes might be held next fall. The Fall 2013 schedule isn't posted yet so we followed along with 2012. It's a little confusing, LSU has no "Game Development" curriculum, only Computer Science (which is combined with Electrical Engineering).

The focus is on C++ programming but you can also take Assembly (optional, I think) as well as all kinds of other computer-related classes like "Advanced Compiler Design Theory". Um...yeah, right. A foreign language is required but I didn't see Russian on the list. I want to take Physics and Astronomy, but not Biology nor Chemistry if I have that choice (I think so). I'm not really sure what my choices are and what's best for what I'm wanting to learn (and what I might be capable of learning).

I'm going to make an appointment with a campus counselor, and when I get to the time of decision I may post my choices here and ask for advice. I wish LSU had a more stream-lined curriculum that focused on developing games. Maybe I need to look at a completely different (and certainly more affordable) option, like a technical school. Or do I just stay with being self-taught (I do believe I have the discipline for it)? For game development, can you teach yourself all you need to know from books?

Anyway, my ACT scores from 2/86 were surprisingly not that bad for being such a poor student in HS...

English 22
Math 23
Social Studies 18
Natural Sciences 27
----------
Composite 23

And I was admitted to LSU once already (4/22/86) pending their own math test. I studied hard for that test [EDIT: the ACT] using a Barron's book, but I never followed up on that 'success', going to work instead.

Wow, this is printed out on green-bar paper and my ACT scores have yellowed badly, I'm getting old. old_simmer I doubt my ACT scores would even be accepted today, a question for the counselor.

Thank you, now back to the thread...

Last edited by MarkG; 10/20/12 10:36 PM.
#3666690 - 10/20/12 11:22 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Krycztij, thanks very much for that information, I'll try what you suggested with extern "C".

I'm using VC++6 because my first book was (gulp) Visual C++ 6 for Dummies! smile In fact, most of my books use examples for VC++ 6 and I need that kind of hand-holding right now so I have no choice at the moment. But I'll keep what you said in mind for the future.

I'm sure I misunderstood but I swear I read somewhere that VB6 and C++6 share the same compiler (for the worse, I guess). I did misunderstand this, right?

Please excuse some of my other ramblings (i.e. about VS2012), some of us havent gotten over the abandonment of VB6. The hardest part for me was not being able to make a true WinXP-looking GUI, even with a manifest file. But I guess that doesnt matter anymore.

Thank you again.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3666708 - 10/21/12 12:20 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Scott Elson]  
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Originally Posted By: Scott Elson
Ah, OK. I think some of the strat guides might have touched on some of that stuff and sometimes guys would post stories on the forums. A book probably would have been more likely back when flight sims had a bigger market share. Also since it was a while ago and hard crunches were fairly common people might have forgotten a lot of what happened. If I have a chance I'll see if I can come up with some stories to write down but I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it.


I tried pulling up my Kindle but it needs recharging (oops). Most of these type books I've read are smaller and usually no more than $10.00, probably Kindle Edition only. I don't know if such a book would be profitable, but I assume you wouldn't need a publisher. In fact, some of the ones I've read seemed to not even have a proofreader. smile

I also enjoy books by Indie developers, but I've read a lot more game making tragedies than successes. Every start-up has big dreams (myself included) except they all seem to want to shoot for the stars, make the next AAA blockbuster right out of the gate. And some have lost big money in the attempt, rather it's usually people they talk into investing in their game who lose big money.

#3666746 - 10/21/12 03:49 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I have good news and bad news regarding the DLL...

GOOD NEWS: It works perfectly! Here's the source and run files...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/Test.zip

And here's the complete code:

C++
==========
// VBTest.cpp : Defines the entry point for the DLL application.
//

#include "stdafx.h"

BOOL APIENTRY DllMain( HANDLE hModule,
DWORD ul_reason_for_call,
LPVOID lpReserved
)
{
return TRUE;
}

int
__stdcall
test(int n)
{
return n *= n;
}
----------

VB6
==========
Option Explicit

Private Declare Function test Lib "VBTest" _
(ByVal num As Integer) As Integer

Private Sub Command1_Click()
Dim num As Integer
num = Val(Text1)
Label1 = test(num)
End Sub
----------

Enter an integer into the textbox, press the button and the square is returned to the label:
n *= n is same as n = n * n


BAD NEWS: Conditionals and loops still don't work.

I tried different Integer types, extern "C" {, different OSs (Win98), everything else I know of, nothing. The kicker is that nowhere have I read about a DLL working in limited cases, it either works or it doesnt. And mine works, it squares the integer perfectly every time! smile The rest I chalk up to inexperience in C++, I'll revisit this problem when I have more experience.

#3666993 - 10/21/12 06:15 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Doing some experimenting, something I don't think you'll ever get out of VB6...



This is the Blitz3D demo...
http://blitzbasic.com/Products/blitz3d.php

...running one of the samples on my Win7x64 DirectX11 [laptop] w/Intel graphics. Even with DirectX7 emulation that water motion is as smooth as it is on Win98/2000! Even at full screen and max resolution (1366 x 768) it's still silky smooth, the movement, mouse panning, everything...all silky smooth. And this is way more graphics than I'm looking to do, at least initially.

I believe the demo may be an older build though, it takes a couple of seconds to load (w/progress bar), the full version loads instantaneously.


EDIT: I forgot a video is on YouTube...



Last edited by MarkG; 10/21/12 08:14 PM.
#3667011 - 10/21/12 06:55 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hi very interesting thread. Loved F-19 on C64 and Spectrum. I used Blitz3D some decade ago and i recomend you check this:

http://www.thegamecreators.com/?id=2000&m=view_product&page=free

its free and supports shaders and DX9. Syntax is bit strange but you can get used with that after while.

#3667046 - 10/21/12 08:03 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Around six months ago I tried the different game making packages, including DarkBASIC. Some were obviously over my head (i.e. Torque) while others were too simple (I don't recall which). I even flirted with C# (bought a couple of books for 2005 and 2008) w/Unity.

On paper DarkBASIC blows Blitz3D away (and for being a 230MB download vs. Blitz3D 20MB [full version] it SHOULD) and I really wanted to like this program, but with three PCs and as many OSs I found DarkBASIC unstable and quirky. Blitz3D is the Terminator, it cannot be killed! Well, except for two samples that simply won't run on Win7 (the moving grass demo and something else, I forget...something about the way sprites are coded which isn't compatible). Otherwise, B3D is rock-solid stable, but I found DB to be less so.

But that was six months ago and I believe it was a demo, looks like they're trying to iron out the bugs now ...
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=193289&b=1

"We have decided to hire an ace programmer to fix twenty of your most annoying issues..."

...so I may give it another chance before I get too far in my game. You certainly can't beat the price (and I remember all the nickel and dime add-ons they were selling). Looks like they're making their money now on a cross-platform option, fair enough.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3667195 - 10/22/12 02:20 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Quick rundown after about 30 min. of playing with DarkBASIC Pro...

- Needs DirectX9 to run on Win7 (or possibly the latest version?), didn't bother.
- Ran fine on XP laptop after updating to latest version of DirectX9 (my fault).
- Requires e-mail to receive activation code (ok, it's free...I'll play along).
- Displays commercials advertising at bottom of IDE if connected online (not too intrusive but I'd rather have the screen space).
- No crashes.

If I needed more than Blitz3D's capabilities I'd give DB Pro a REAL test drive for consideration, which is more than I would have done 6 months ago. Maybe I was trying the original non-Pro version? But I don't so I'll stick with B3D as it's been completly no-hassle on Win2000/XP/7x64 and it's just so blazingly fast! The water demo above takes literally less than 1 second to compile and run, and that's in Debug Mode! I thought it might not really be compiling so I edited the code, but it was just as fast. Speed is addicting.

BTW, I think I was mistaken about the B3D demo not compiling, I believe it compiles before it runs, you just can't create an executable.

#3667224 - 10/22/12 03:25 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted By: MarkG
- Requires e-mail to receive activation code (ok, it's free...I'll play along).


When I logged onto CompuServe to get the activation code I noticed PMs from SimHQ. My apologies to everyone who's sent me a PM that's gone unanswered, I'm responding right now.

#3667269 - 10/22/12 05:24 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Surreal. <do-do-do-do do-do-do-do> The Twilight Zone smile

I believe this thread has run its course. I'll start a new one on Nov. 1 on this board (Air Combat - General: Modern Era) to actually begin development of RFS: F-19. I'll try my very best to post any personal stuff' in Community Hall and keep the thread stream-lined on the game's development.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3667297 - 10/22/12 07:29 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Well, Yes, Blitz is far easier to get started. I just do not like support. Seems pretty dead as there were few bugs with textures and so on last time i used it. TBH just select what fits you best and enjoy dev. Looking forward to result. Just want vote for 3d cockpit even in retro style. It realy adds immersion. I am code dev on BMS Falcon and i joined that show nearly 9 years ago just cos to make 3d pit better. Yes i am maybe biased towards 3d pit. If you want halp PM me. I can try model some F19 3d pit proposals based on orignal game and artwork in 8bit version manual or Testor/Italieri 1/48 kit.

#3667494 - 10/22/12 04:52 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted By: MarkG
Surreal. <do-do-do-do do-do-do-do> The Twilight Zone smile

I believe this thread has run its course. I'll start a new one on Nov. 1 on this board (Air Combat - General: Modern Era) to actually begin development of RFS: F-19. I'll try my very best to post any personal stuff' in Community Hall and keep the thread stream-lined on the game's development.
Noooooooooooo!!

This is the best thread in the history of the internet. smile

That 3DRacers VB game didn't start in Win7, but from it's texture files I can see it would be an impressive demo of VB6 if it runs smoothly.

Thanks for the DLL test code, I'll try it out when I find my VB5 disk...

EDIT:
I remembered that I have an old PC with VB5 on it, although I had to use VC2010 for the C++ part.
Anyway, your factorial example should work if you replace all the INTEGERs with LONGs in your VB code.
An INTEGER in VB5 is 16 bits, while a LONG in VB5 and an INTEGER in C++ are (usually) 32bits.
As written, the factorial algorithm will only give the right answer if the result can fit in 32bits, which corresponds to 12!

#3667903 - 10/23/12 06:46 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: ataribaby]  
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Originally Posted By: ataribaby
Well, Yes, Blitz is far easier to get started. I just do not like support. Seems pretty dead as there were few bugs with textures and so on last time i used it. TBH just select what fits you best and enjoy dev. Looking forward to result. Just want vote for 3d cockpit even in retro style. It realy adds immersion. I am code dev on BMS Falcon and i joined that show nearly 9 years ago just cos to make 3d pit better. Yes i am maybe biased towards 3d pit. If you want halp PM me. I can try model some F19 3d pit proposals based on orignal game and artwork in 8bit version manual or Testor/Italieri 1/48 kit.


I guess the good thing about RAD game makers like DarkBASIC and Blitz3D is that if you choose the wrong tool you should realize it pretty quickly. smile

About a 3D pit, I can think of a few reasons against it:

1. You're essentially flying a bomber and only at night (late dusk to early sunrise), sometimes in inclement weather. You're not going to see too much out of the pit anyway (like real-life F-117 pilots), and you'll have no real interior pit detail other than front view (no side consoles planned).

2. You're outside view is restricted by canopy frame (think F-117 which will eventually be included as a flyable), unless you use the bubble canopy option from the models. I wasn't planing to, I like having a visible canopy frame in front view for reference, similar to the F-117 if not so pointy.

3. Per original gameplay, you rely mainly on MFDs and ILS for landing, left MFD w/tactical view to align runway on look-down map, right MFD for FLIR padlock-view of runway. Although having a 'scrolling' snap view will be better than the original if runway is lighted.

4. Easier to play without a joystick. If I'm home I use my X-52 or Wingman Extreme, but sometimes I'm away without a JS and I'd still like to play (with EF2000 and TAW it's possible but difficult).

5. A lot of extra work?

I know a 3D pit is doable in a Blitz3D flight sim...
http://blitzbasic.com/Community/posts.php?topic=98497#1151287



...so it's not out of the question, especially if I eventually include the Monogram F-19 w/bubble canopy.

But initially I want to keep development as simple as possible and then build up features on a solid foundation. I'm sure you can appreciate this, knowing it's my very first attempt at making a game. And I have no idea if Blitz3D has a program size limitation before it chokes. I haven't read of any except for the IDE in some cases (which I won't be using past demo cutoff anyway).

I'm nowhere ready to think about any high-end features, I have to first see if I can even make a game! smile I do appreciate your offer of assistance when I get to that point.

Last edited by MarkG; 10/23/12 06:52 AM.
#3667915 - 10/23/12 07:18 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mikew]  
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Originally Posted By: mikew
Noooooooooooo!!

This is the best thread in the history of the internet. smile

Yeah...right. smile


Originally Posted By: mikew
That 3DRacers VB game didn't start in Win7, but from it's texture files I can see it would be an impressive demo of VB6 if it runs smoothly.

It's uhhh, mostly smooth. smile


Originally Posted By: mikew
Thanks for the DLL test code, I'll try it out when I find my VB5 disk...

EDIT:
I remembered that I have an old PC with VB5 on it, although I had to use VC2010 for the C++ part.
Anyway, your factorial example should work if you replace all the INTEGERs with LONGs in your VB code.
An INTEGER in VB5 is 16 bits, while a LONG in VB5 and an INTEGER in C++ are (usually) 32bits.
As written, the factorial algorithm will only give the right answer if the result can fit in 32bits, which corresponds to 12!


This could be and I'll try it tomorrow. I did change both to longs and singles as well as trying the different types of integers, but I never tried mixing types. But keep in mind I could never get it to see the if...

If Number argument is 2...

if (Number > 1)
return Number += 1;

...should return 3, but it'll never add the 1 because it doesn't see that 2 > 1.

But you still might be on to something, I'd just leave out the recursive factorial function for simplicity.

#3667928 - 10/23/12 08:20 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Just an FYI and to no one in particular (better this thread than the next)...

In a previous life I was a moderately successful software developer and sole proprietor of on an s-corporation in Atlanta, GA (still exists but inactive) named LT Solutions, Inc. Under that name I developed two large VB apps for AutoCAD LT 2000-2002 (also regular AutoCAD).

My flagship MacroDraft MEP...



Toolbars...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/Base_Toolbars.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/MEP_Toolbars.jpg

...and MacroBatch, a batch processor that was originally developed as an in-house tool for MacroDraft...




More pics...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss00.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss01.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss02.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss04.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss05.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss06.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss07.jpg
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/mb2002_ss08.jpg

And a Help PDF (an older version I believe, before any large pics were added)...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/MB.PDF

What was unique about these VB apps is that they could communicate with AutoCAD LT (the lite "non-programmable" version of AutoCAD) in ways that at the time was thought impossible, at least using 'legal' methods. If anyone here is familiar with AutoCAD and knows the difference between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, they probably understand the limitations of LT.

Here's an old self-extracting self-executable Lotus ScreenCam demo I made back in 2001 of the above programs when they first went commercial (sorry it's so slow paced)...
http://198.65.10.229/DID/Temp/LTS_DEMO.EXE

MacroBatch even caught the attention of Hewlett-Packard, they liked the demo and considered shipping it with their DesignJet plotters.

So please understand that while I may be a rookie at game making, I'm not a rookie at developing large BASIC programs that take years to create and perfect. I haven't chosen my flight sim development tools lightly, I'm just giving myself what I feel is the best chance to succeed.

Last edited by MarkG; 10/23/12 08:25 AM. Reason: spelling
#3667936 - 10/23/12 08:51 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted By: MarkG
Originally Posted By: ataribaby
Well, Yes, Blitz is far easier to get started. I just do not like support. Seems pretty dead as there were few bugs with textures and so on last time i used it. TBH just select what fits you best and enjoy dev. Looking forward to result. Just want vote for 3d cockpit even in retro style. It realy adds immersion. I am code dev on BMS Falcon and i joined that show nearly 9 years ago just cos to make 3d pit better. Yes i am maybe biased towards 3d pit. If you want halp PM me. I can try model some F19 3d pit proposals based on orignal game and artwork in 8bit version manual or Testor/Italieri 1/48 kit.


I guess the good thing about RAD game makers like DarkBASIC and Blitz3D is that if you choose the wrong tool you should realize it pretty quickly. smile

About a 3D pit, I can think of a few reasons against it:

1. You're essentially flying a bomber and only at night (late dusk to early sunrise), sometimes in inclement weather. You're not going to see too much out of the pit anyway (like real-life F-117 pilots), and you'll have no real interior pit detail other than front view (no side consoles planned).

2. You're outside view is restricted by canopy frame (think F-117 which will eventually be included as a flyable), unless you use the bubble canopy option from the models. I wasn't planing to, I like having a visible canopy frame in front view for reference, similar to the F-117 if not so pointy.

3. Per original gameplay, you rely mainly on MFDs and ILS for landing, left MFD w/tactical view to align runway on look-down map, right MFD for FLIR padlock-view of runway. Although having a 'scrolling' snap view will be better than the original if runway is lighted.

4. Easier to play without a joystick. If I'm home I use my X-52 or Wingman Extreme, but sometimes I'm away without a JS and I'd still like to play (with EF2000 and TAW it's possible but difficult).

5. A lot of extra work?

I know a 3D pit is doable in a Blitz3D flight sim...
http://blitzbasic.com/Community/posts.php?topic=98497#1151287



...so it's not out of the question, especially if I eventually include the Monogram F-19 w/bubble canopy.

But initially I want to keep development as simple as possible and then build up features on a solid foundation. I'm sure you can appreciate this, knowing it's my very first attempt at making a game. And I have no idea if Blitz3D has a program size limitation before it chokes. I haven't read of any except for the IDE in some cases (which I won't be using past demo cutoff anyway).

I'm nowhere ready to think about any high-end features, I have to first see if I can even make a game! smile I do appreciate your offer of assistance when I get to that point.


Yeah sure, whats better fits you. Just my recomendation as 3d pit adds a lot of immersion and can be used as 2d pit with fixed view angles. Hehe yeah i made TESTOR F-19 with bubble canopy in gray training camo. BTW i checked blitz site again after all that years and seems V1.106 fixes win 7 problems i had. I know how hard is write flight sim from scratch, I had enought even to modify existing one.

Last edited by ataribaby; 10/23/12 08:56 AM.
#3673718 - 11/01/12 09:08 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Delayed...bad head cold, postponed dental work...will return.



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#3673732 - 11/01/12 09:37 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted By: MarkG
Delayed...bad head cold, postponed dental work...will return.
OK! Thanks for letting us know.
I don't check SimHQ much these days, but I was looking forward to the 1st of November. smile

#3715619 - 01/10/13 11:56 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Any news on your work Mark?

#3725017 - 01/25/13 09:00 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Mark, this might be of interest for you: I just released an early version of the TAW / ADF / EF2000 terrain viewer (TFXplorer) I've been working on for the past year with the other TFX modders (screenshots here and here).

It's probably not what you imagine your retro flight simulator to be like (I know VS 2010 with D3D 9 is not on your agenda), but we have a little simulation running in it and I'm currently preparing the source code for release; and if you'd like to have a look or if you're interested in how anything works, just let me know. For example, much of game logic is implemented without floating-point numbers.

#3825911 - 08/22/13 09:45 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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It's been almost a year since my original F-19 post and I thought I'd give a quick non-update before getting back to "work".

We've recently gone thorough some sad days with my mother-in-law passing away...

http://wilbertservices.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2189455&fh_id=11684

...but it was time (mainly for her sake, Alzheimers is an awful disease) and we can now move on with our lives (I hope this comes across respectfully).

Other than working on getting my parents (both sharp for their mid-'70s) moved into our home (mainly add-on renovations to the house), my game is now my "full-time job" (6 to 12 hours a day). Fortunately I have a wife who whole-heartedly supports my dream and although she doesn't completely understand what I'm attempting, she knows what I've accomplished in the past and she believes in me.

The plan is to first develop a freeware F-19 remake as faithful to the original game as possible while updating it a generation or two (not just graphics and physics but also game-play as already described in this thread...persistent campaign style). When this gets completed and if I'm not too old (lol), I'd like to create my first commercial game as an indie game developer.

Using the free BlitzPlus game engine (2D version of Blitz3D/Blitz Basic)...

http://blitzmax.com/Products/_index_.php

...I plan to develop a commercial (typical indie priced) 2D dynamic (turn-based or real-time, undecided) full-blown campaign-based war game using the same maps and scenarios as F-19 (North Cape, Persian Gulf, Central Europe...no Libya, training only). This will be a totally separate stand-alone game, nothing to do with flight simming. EXCEPT, it will have hooks for connecting with F-19 if you happen to have it and you want to fly the F-19 or F-117 (more realistic) generated missions. Two totally separate games/excetuables that can act as one if you have them both and choose to play it this way.

Now THAT is my ultimate dream game (and career until I retire at 85), F-19 meets EF2000 w/TAW's AWACS (which will actually look like an '80s display, I'm a fan of the movie War Games)!

But of course, I have to first succeed in making the F-19 sim or else it's just big dreaming. The past year has been about acquiring skills, while it's looking like college will have to wait. I'm not really having fun with this yet (unless you feel learning trigonometry and surface modeling is fun), but the whole idea is still very exciting to me.

I'm still not ready to discuss (nor attempt coding) flight modeling, radar and missile performance, nor any of the hardcore subjects I'll be faced with. Just know that I'm grabbing examples for my game engine when I find them, which fortunately allows linking to DLLs (several physics engines to choose from, although I may one day try to write my own). I've also been studying AI programming techniques and algorithms which I believe will be suitable for my game.

Graphics...640x400 (same as EF2000). This aspect scales to full and most wide screens equally well, IMO (EF2000 on my 1366x768 laptop). My game (now called Stealth Fighter 3.0 unless the current "Microprose" gives me flack) is suppose to be circa 1994 (1988 1991 1994), just prior to Windows 95.

To me, EF2000 needs a bump in resolution for clearer cockpit displays. But oddly enough I don't feel this way about F-19/F-117's 320x200 resolution, it's blocky but cockpit information is relatively clear, obviously the game was designed for it. I'm doubling this, I can paint cut-scenes in 320x200 (standard for DOS sims) then scale uniformly by 2 (see TFX cut-scene earlier in this thread, not bad looking at all IMO).

I'm no professional graphics artist, although I did once have paintings displayed in a museum...



LOL, what the local papers will print!

Seriously, my graphics will be as pretty and mood setting as I can possibly make them under these self-imposed restrictions (Blitz3D doesn't support 8-bit palette indexing [ala EF2000 and TAW] so I'll have to use high or true color). I'm not spending countless hours working on high-resolution polys and textures when I could be coding. But more importantly, I want a small footprint with instantaneous load times as I'm working on the game, I'm setting a distributable size limit to 30MB (same as EF2000 minus unneeded files).

IMO, my world modeling and 3D models should still be sufficient for viewing from within the cockpit (canopy and MFDs) especially at night, the way Microprose intended the game to be played.

OK, it's going to look a LOT better than the original Stealth Fighter...




And as I've noted before, the antiquated BASIC/DX7 engine I've chosen is quite capable...





But I don't want to even come close to pushing the limits, leaving room for growth (and not necessarily with graphics). A mistake made by some Blitz3D users I believe, trying to get C++/DX11 graphics out of BASIC/DX7, and they keep trying because it's just so darn easy to use by comparison.

Anyway, just think EF2000 with hardware acceleration, but better than DOS 3Dfx. In fact, I'm taking very heavy graphics and color styling cues from EF2000, I still think it's a gorgeous game other than no real nighttime. This should look even better.

Which reminds me, the original Falcon 4 to me is pretty ugly, until you reach late dusk. Nighttime and early dawn look downright slick IMO, F4 only gets ugly again when the sun comes out. Proving you don't need stellar graphics for a stealth fighter sim, you just needs lots of little flickering lights (including stars). smile

BTW, I'm faking the DOS start-up screen you see in the original Microprose sims for a little nostalgia, except no "Do you have a joystick?" Maybe I'll include this so if you respond "N", it'll recommend you get one.

I still have half a math book to finish and another on advanced AutoCAD 3D and programming, plus several others I can cover during development but it shouldn't be long now before I start actually showing something.

Last edited by MarkG; 08/22/13 10:30 PM. Reason: spelling
#4088516 - 03/06/15 01:42 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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As I wrote in another thread...

We should talk. :P


Click to reveal..
"Himmiherrgottksakramentzefixhallelujah!"
Para_Bellum

"It takes forever +/- 2 weeks for the A-10 to get anywhere significant..."
Ice

"Ha! If it gets him on the deck its a start!"
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Sauron
#4088615 - 03/06/15 04:44 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Mark,

A couple of us were talking the other day about Megafortress (I just scored the whole package on eBay), and we were discussing how the game was released too early (not that it was unfinished, but it was out before SVGA was standard). The game doesn't need cutting edge graphics, but a high resolution screen and coop multiplayer would do it wonders. Stealth is also a huge part of the gameplay (even though it's a B-freakin'-52).

I'm not sure how difficult or feasible licensing would be, but at least it serves as a brainstorming concept.



-Home Fries

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
- Robert A. Heinlein

The average naval aviator, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy, and caring. These feelings just don't involve anyone else.

#4322503 - 12/22/16 08:45 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Whatever happened to MarkG?

#4322561 - 12/23/16 12:49 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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He's still around, Mike. He spends a lot of time in Community Hall.


-Home Fries

"Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty."
- Robert A. Heinlein

The average naval aviator, despite the sometimes swaggering exterior, is very much capable of such feelings as love, affection, intimacy, and caring. These feelings just don't involve anyone else.

#4324524 - 12/30/16 08:32 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Thanks. It's utterly tragic to see that the F-19 project has taken a back seat to the pursuit of physical health and going to concerts with the wife.
Some people just can't get their priorities right. smile

#4325082 - 01/01/17 12:15 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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biggrin

May be a snapshot of your excellent work with TFX would get his attention?

I miss his project updates as well, but I'm happy when he is smile

#4385665 - 10/18/17 05:56 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Is there still interest in this? I ask because i have been prototyping a remake of F117 Stealth Fighter by Microprose, and i want to emphasize the radar/stealth gameplay. Plus i want to preserve the look of the original. This is a small preview:


[Linked Image]

#4386798 - 10/26/17 10:01 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Toumal]  
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So I've been fiddling with this a bit more and I think it's a feasible effort to pull off. I'd still be super happy if one or more other interested parties were to join in.
ATM I'm still working on the terrain since there's a specific look (i.e. that of the original game) I'm trying to achieve. I'm also looking into procedurally generating roads and cities. Making this (and especially things like runways) work with the procedural terrain is a bit tricky smile

You'll notice that the scale of the terrain is still a bit off, and thus it's difficult to find enough room for a runway. But I'm getting there slowly!


#4386821 - 10/26/17 02:23 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Your previews look very promising.
F-117a is still one of my favorite games thus I'm happy to see that someone has started the work on a remake.

#4386828 - 10/26/17 03:39 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Yeah, looks amazing! thumbsup

#4386847 - 10/26/17 06:39 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Krycztij]  
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Look, a ship!

[Linked Image]

I always loved that effect that was caused by the fact that old DOS games couldn't display sub-pixel lights very well due to lack of interpolation and AA, so they always kept a minimum size:

[Linked Image]

I got the scale to where I want it, now it's time to think about some procedural roads, buildings and associated lights. And of course SAM sites. Then I'll look at the stealth meter and associated gameplay. Shooting back is probably gonna come much later down the road.

#4386862 - 10/26/17 08:41 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Awesome! For love of good make F117 3d pit. At least as alternative to retro 2d cockpit. Offering help with that.

#4386867 - 10/26/17 09:31 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: ataribaby]  
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Originally Posted by ataribaby
Awesome! For love of good make F117 3d pit. At least as alternative to retro 2d cockpit. Offering help with that.


I'll gladly take that help! Are you experienced with Unity? Blender?

#4386944 - 10/27/17 01:53 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hi, I have experience to make 3d pit. I will send you PM here.

#4386945 - 10/27/17 02:01 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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PM sent...

#4386962 - 10/27/17 04:36 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I spent today working on the SAM missiles. In line with trying to keep things to low-poly visuals (and to make things easy to render on weaker machines), I used a vertex based smoke trail.
Yes I know this is not realistic, especially the smoke continuing after the initial boost phase. I'm thinking this is something for a future realism setting in the options...


#4387000 - 10/27/17 09:45 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I think it fits retro art style pretty well.

#4387211 - 10/29/17 04:42 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I've started work on the whole radar side of things. It's a mix between a little bit of realism and a little bit of accessibility. Each radar has two components, a detection radar and a tracking radar (there's also an option for just a general surveillance radar, and radar can be put on missiles or missiles can be command guided)

Entering the detection range of a radar makes it possible for it to detect you, if your detection factor (a mix between your aircraft's cross section by type, your attitude and altitude, gear and bay door status, etc) is above a certain threshold. Once you go over that threshold, you are detected and your position will (in the future) cause the nearby airbases to react and scramble fighters to your last reported position.

The idea is that if you are not detected, you can approach the radar further (head on for pulse radar, perpendicular for doppler radar) and nobody will notice you. But if you ARE detected, and you enter the radar's tracking range, then it will start illuminating you with a tracking beam. Command guided SAMs will need to have tracking lock to be able to launch missiles at you. At the moment that's all I've implemented so far, in the future it will be possible for SAMs to launch missiles at you without tracking, provided the missile has its own radar system.

Once you are being tracked, there's a minimum detectionFactor threshold which will break the tracking lock. Basically either going out of range, or flying low, or otherwise keeping your emissions below a certain threshold will break the tracking lock.

I haven't implemented the detectionFactor calculation or the aircraft's own visibility factor yet, which means at the moment your altitude and roll/pitch angle don't matter. But they will in the future!

What I have implemented so far is a generic radar system that can be attached to SAM Radars, SAM vehicles, airplanes and missiles, as well as the whole RWR audio cue system. Note that the models are all placeholders. Also the SAM site doesn't do launch decisions yet, I have to figure out some launch decision parameters that are reasonable to simulate.





Last edited by Toumal; 10/29/17 04:46 PM.
#4387274 - 10/30/17 12:11 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Another update:

Missile launchers can now rotate towards the target, and will only fire once the angle difference is within a configurable limit. Still need to implement proximity fuzes so that missiles detonate even when not achieving a direct hit.


#4387442 - 10/30/17 08:57 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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In the Missile Test video it looks like the smoke is instantiating at the base of the flame. If it's not a hassle you might want to try having it start at the base of the missile/top of the flame so that it follows the missile better during pitch/heading changes.

For a proxy fuse I think what I did was have it go off once it stopped getting closer to the target. It's a fast check, easy to store the last distance value and still allows for a direct hit.

It's looking good.

Elf

#4387457 - 10/30/17 10:56 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Roger that on the smoke trail and fuze, completely agree. Suffice to say there's lots of room for improvement smile

Here's some progress for today: A simple FLIR system with automatic FOV. Of course a realism setting with manual slew and zoom is very much possible. I don't have a good way to render thermal highlights per camera yet, been playing with some stuff but nothing worked satisfactory yet. But I'll figure this out.


#4387660 - 11/01/17 08:04 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Wow, this looks good, very interesting. I was a massive fan of F-19, then 117, spent many hours on it...


mdwa
#4387688 - 11/01/17 01:25 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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FLIR Progress!

[Linked Image]

I was asked what level of realism/depth I'm shooting for. I'd say a tad more realistic than the original game, with manual slew/zoom controls and such. But being able to automatically toggle between targets is definitely something I would not be strongly opposed to as a toggleable realism feature.

#4387747 - 11/01/17 06:18 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Question, which one looks better?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

EDIT: Video of the current MFD in action


Last edited by Toumal; 11/01/17 06:52 PM.
#4387760 - 11/01/17 07:40 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Both look good but top one with smaller text less chance of overlapping image...


mdwa
#4388136 - 11/03/17 11:38 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mdwa]  
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Updates! I implemented manual targeting! This took me a while to work out properly, especially the ability to fine-tune your target after locking.


Last edited by Toumal; 11/03/17 11:47 PM.
#4388336 - 11/05/17 06:42 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Toumal]  
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Since today the F117A can shoot back! I'm going for a similar method as in the Microprose game: In realism mode you are restricted to two hardpoints and a selection of GBUs, unguided munitions, and even the nuclear payload that was available. In casual mode you also get access to Hellfires and a LOAL variant of the AGM-65E, as well as two extra AIM-9 hardpoints. Right now only the laser guided missiles are supported, though GBUs are next on the agenda. It'll be quite some time later when I start to think about unguided payloads, since the UI calculations for those is going to be a major effort.

Speaking of UI calculations, I've added an attitude indicator. Well the first version thereof, rather. Turns out it's suprisingly difficult to implement that in Unity, both due to the way the rotations are handled, and because the way the UI renders things. I've got things reasonably well working but it's still technically wrong, so certain orientations don't display correctly. I need to figure this out before I can think about working on the HUD. 

No damage calculations on targets yet.

Oh and the plane will get RWR. We can talk about an option to disable this for realism nuts, but it's my game and I want this in for gameplay reasons smile

#4388358 - 11/05/17 11:53 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Toumal]  
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Quick update with working weapon mfd:


#4388769 - 11/08/17 07:45 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Looking great!


mdwa
#4388835 - 11/08/17 06:30 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Today I made targets actually destructible, added proximity fuzes to missiles, and compiled most of the literature I was able to get into a set of MFD pages:



Group 1 (top menu)
ATT, STAT, SMS, TEST

ATT: Attitude indicator, general flight information (speed, altiude, autopilot status, etc)
STAT: Status display, stealth and damage status overlaid on airframe outline
SMS: Stores Management System, fuselage outline with payload/pylon status and weapon selection
TEST: Test display


Group 2: (bottom menu)
HSD, FPL, TGT, WPN

HSD: Horizontal Situation Display with tactical map
MMD: Moving Map Display
FPL: Flight Plan / Waypoint List
TGT: Target information / reference image, to help the pilot to pick the right target to attack
WPN: Weapon camera view



I've begun work on the STAT page but it's really just a static page right now. I've also reworked the FLIR cursor because as it turns out some of the commercial F117 flight sim addons out there use incorrect symbology.


The TGT page will be inspired by the experimental IRRCA avionics upgrade which added the capability for the pilot to receive updated threat information as well as revised mission plans and entire new target information including reference images. Which works well for a game because I really don't want to simulate you flipping through a booklet of deadtree-based imagery to find your target wink

#4388896 - 11/09/17 02:36 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Are you planning to incorporate taking recon imagery? I liked the missions where you had to load up the camera in one bay if your mission was to capture intel images...


mdwa
#4388943 - 11/09/17 01:48 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I forgot all about this thread (hangs head in shame).

Nice job, Toumal. thumbsup



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#4388962 - 11/09/17 03:12 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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MarkG! Are ya still interested in working on something like this?

#4388988 - 11/09/17 07:40 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Right now, nah.

I had started an F-19 project (this thread is really old and I don't have the heart to look through it right now). I kept running into roadblocks, mainly due to lack of knowledge. Then I became sidetracked with real life, wanting to improve my health and marriage as well as major home construction projects to get my parents moved in (a third and final underway). I lost motivation, especially since I never could seem to spend several consecutive days on it as I had once done with previous programming projects (not games).

Now that I've turned 50 I'm trying to transition from my second adolescence to a productive adult again. biggrin But right now I'm only interested in old-school 3-D games/development, the idea that any DOS game should be very portable due to DOSBox. But that's about the most difficult way to make a game today so it's very slow going. I'm going to make a new thread soon about simple 3D programming in DOS.

Looks like you're doing great though, I'll be paying attention to your progress. thumbsup



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#4389117 - 11/10/17 10:00 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Today I started work on the RCS/RWR system (yes I know, the original plane didn't have that, but it's needed for gameplay reasons and I can always disable things for added realism)

It works similar to the old DOS game: You have bars on the left that show the incoming radar energy, and a bar on the right (not implemented yet) shows your radar signature. If the two bars overlap, your return energy is strong enough to be detected by the enemy radar. As for rules, I've already implemented some basic functions like your signal is lowered by flying below 1000 feet, attenuates slightly with altitude, and your distance also plays a role in the equation. What's coming next is the airplane attitude and dependence on radar type, so you have to play the radar type / flight path game to be able to evade detection.

[Linked Image]

#4389293 - 11/12/17 02:50 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hiding in the bushes
Ah yes, the beam doppler, fly to/from impulse radar type was truly ingenious implementation as a gameplay mechanic by Sid Meier to minimize your RCS. But as you said yourself the real F-117 doesn't have RWR and from what I can imagine has to rely on intelligence of previously gathered enemy radar sites position to fly a strict flight route. Pop-up mobile SAM sites might become problematic in this case as proven by the shootdown of F-117 in the Balkans. I don't mind having the same ability as in the original Microprose title despite it being unrealistic.

I'm looking forward to seeing more. Great work Toumal.


Last edited by damson; 11/12/17 03:14 PM. Reason: added RWR part
#4389296 - 11/12/17 03:38 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Your project is looking great Toumal! Thanks for sharing the project's progress smile

Since you're aiming to create a simulator where radar/stealth is of outmost importance and based on stealth aircraft (this case the F-117) have you ever considered modeling the F-35 (as well or even instead)?
I'm asking this because when I see the F-19 and the "Microprose F-117 variant" in F-117 Stealth Fighter 2.0 (with all the its weapons variety including air-to-air missiles) I cannot stop to think that was expected with such (imaginary) aircraft is actually implemented in the actual F-35.
So the F-35 would allow the modeling of a greater variety of weapons (including air-to-air missiles) and systems such as RWR (actually ESM in the F-35) and at the same time all of this realistically wink

#4389351 - 11/12/17 10:35 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Simulating the F35 would involve a greater depth of avionics and user interface systems. I'm not sure I'm willing to do that at this stage. You have to keep in mind that nothing I can do will ever rival the work that has been put into DCS or Falcon 4. If it's realism you seek, you should look there.

The systems and weapons of the F117 are plenty of work to implement smile

Also here's a small update, I've made progress with the RCS calculations, and in the meantime have started upgrading the terrain generation a bit. There's still some work to do for performance optimizations, but I can make this as low or high poly as needed.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Toumal; 11/12/17 10:36 PM.
#4389471 - 11/13/17 04:46 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Looking pretty good, I love the retro style approach you are taking.

Since the first version of F-117 I played was on Amiga I did liked the different sky colors depending on the theatre you flew. For instance in North Cape you would have greyish sky tone as opposed to other theatres where it was blue. Of course the PC version had that awesome color grading horizon as you have, but it would be cool if you experimanted with different tones. Anyway here are both versions (DOS and Amiga) compared:




#4389499 - 11/13/17 07:17 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Different color gradients are definitely an option. Same with dynamic time of day, that's rather easy.

Today's status update:
x) Implemented stealth meter bar
x) added yellow compromised stealth indicator
x) added FLIR lock indicator
x) added optional minimum turret elevation angle (to prevent missile misfires)

I now have the problem that terrain tiles other than my current one are rendered in a slightly darker tone for a reason I have not been able to find out yet.

#4389512 - 11/13/17 08:23 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Damson you asked for different gradients? smile

[Linked Image]

#4389519 - 11/13/17 09:12 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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WOW, that really looks atmospheric! It would fit nicely with a Persian Gulf/Libya theatre.

#4389665 - 11/14/17 06:00 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Originally Posted by Toumal
Simulating the F35 would involve a greater depth of avionics and user interface systems. I'm not sure I'm willing to do that at this stage. You have to keep in mind that nothing I can do will ever rival the work that has been put into DCS or Falcon 4. If it's realism you seek, you should look there.

The systems and weapons of the F117 are plenty of work to implement smile

Also here's a small update, I've made progress with the RCS calculations, and in the meantime have started upgrading the terrain generation a bit. There's still some work to do for performance optimizations, but I can make this as low or high poly as needed.


No, no I'm not expecting a DCS/Falcon 4 kind of fidelity here which is actually one of the reasons why your project got my interest wink

And that's also why I asked/suggested the F-35 since afterall this isn't a Falcon 4 or DCS kind of fidelity (and as such with the hope that implementing a F-35 would be somehow easier) but yes, I get your point point: It's definitely easier to model the F-117 compared to the F-35 (or even compared to the F-22) and to me the F-117 is just as fine smile

Oh, and of course very nice screenshots here!

#4389697 - 11/14/17 08:57 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Oh I'm not ruling out the F35, and with that detailed cockpit demonstrator video floating around on the interwebs there's even a good source for how the menus and MFDs work, but... for now I'll stick to the Nighthawk smile

Update: Playing around with automated building placement. Still far from actually generating towns and roads and such, but I have an idea for that.

[Linked Image]

A video of the RCS meter in action:


Last edited by Toumal; 11/14/17 09:00 PM.
#4389869 - 11/15/17 07:39 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Tactical map is functional! The symbology is not quite there yet of course:

[Linked Image]

#4389880 - 11/15/17 09:34 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Toumal]  
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Originally Posted by Toumal
Oh I'm not ruling out the F35, and with that detailed cockpit demonstrator video floating around on the interwebs there's even a good source for how the menus and MFDs work, but... for now I'll stick to the Nighthawk smile


Cool, I can't wait for a F-35 smile

In the meanwhile I'll be following your project and eagerly waiting its release.
Your project is really looking great indeed! smile

#4389901 - 11/16/17 01:54 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Looks like you're making faster progress than ED's Hornet!


mdwa
#4389985 - 11/16/17 05:49 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mdwa]  
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Originally Posted by mdwa
Looks like you're making faster progress than ED's Hornet!


Indeed!

#4390032 - 11/16/17 10:00 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mdwa]  
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Originally Posted by mdwa
Looks like you're making faster progress than ED's Hornet!


I fully agree smile

#4390085 - 11/17/17 09:32 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: ricnunes]  
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Originally Posted by ricnunes
Your project is looking great Toumal! Thanks for sharing the project's progress smile

Since you're aiming to create a simulator where radar/stealth is of outmost importance and based on stealth aircraft (this case the F-117) have you ever considered modeling the F-35 (as well or even instead)?
I'm asking this because when I see the F-19 and the "Microprose F-117 variant" in F-117 Stealth Fighter 2.0 (with all the its weapons variety including air-to-air missiles) I cannot stop to think that was expected with such (imaginary) aircraft is actually implemented in the actual F-35.
So the F-35 would allow the modeling of a greater variety of weapons (including air-to-air missiles) and systems such as RWR (actually ESM in the F-35) and at the same time all of this realistically wink


Instead of F-35 I would rather have the actual classic F-19 in the cold war era. It would be a great homeage to the original F-19 Stealth Fighter game.

Since the F-19 was a fictional creation (still plausible though) it was more capable stealth fighter than real F-117 (A/A missions, carrier capable etc.).



Just imagine the possibilities with that plane. Anyone remembers Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising and its Frisbees of Dreamland Chapter?




#4390104 - 11/17/17 12:55 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Update time!
Proper MFD symbology this time, currently supporting static ground targets, SAM, and ships. I've also implemented a targeting cursor that gives the pilot a way to correlate the FLIR target point on the ground with the data on the HSD. I'll have to add a "NOT SOI" text to the MFD to make clear you're not steering the cursor but the laser, but I don't know if the F117A had that text...


#4390225 - 11/17/17 10:01 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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And a small update: Taking hits now has a chance of destroying parts of your wings or control surfaces, or cause an engine failure.The cool thing is that I simulate this by essentially removing the lift factor on various points of the wing and control surfaces, which results in very cool failure behavior. You can end up limping home if you're lucky.
Having flown many RC planes that had bits breaking off in-flight, I can attest to the startling realism of this approach smile
Remind me to add a brake chute lateron, because right now it's almost impossible to get the plane to stop after landing.

Oh and I had a cool bug related to guided missiles: Sometimes SAMs would launch one, but it would just fall to the ground. Turns out that if the target plane was flying away from the launcher, the fact that the distance to target increases briefly caused the proximity fuze logic to trigger, and act as if the missile had gone ballistic after a miss.

#4390236 - 11/17/17 11:13 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Toumal]  
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Originally Posted by Toumal
Oh and I had a cool bug related to guided missiles: Sometimes SAMs would launch one, but it would just fall to the ground. Turns out that if the target plane was flying away from the launcher, the fact that the distance to target increases briefly caused the proximity fuze logic to trigger, and act as if the missile had gone ballistic after a miss.


I guess you have to implement delayed fuse mechanic then wink

Are you planning to add trim function in case of damage and assymetric lift?

Good job so far btw.

#4390285 - 11/18/17 08:11 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Trim is already in. The chances of it helping are slim however smile
It sucks that the F had no flaps or airbrakes.

And yeah, i added a configurable time before the fuze wakes up after launch.

Last edited by Toumal; 11/18/17 08:12 AM.
#4390340 - 11/18/17 05:58 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Update for today:

x) Pulse/Doppler radar gameplay implemented
x) Improved FLIR rendering

Watch me sneaking past that pulse radar SAM by flying straight towards it, while flying perpendicular lights me up like a christmas tree.


#4390438 - 11/19/17 01:20 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Another update:

Multiplayer! I was getting to the point where there are so many moving parts that I need to start adding multiplayer, so I don't risk making this too complex in the future. I haven't done much testing yet but so far things seem to be working reasonably well. I'm sure there's plenty of things that are still broken but the basics are there.

Why multiplayer? Well I'd like players to be able to cooperate and, for example, provide scenarios that require one or more players to soften up the air defences so that the others can get through and deliver their payload on the high value targets. A full mission would involve coordinating your takeoff and attack runs, and making sure that all your fellow pilots make it back to base.

I already have a solid solution for NAT traversal and a multiplayer lobby system that I'll bring over from another project, so you don't have to deal with manual port forwarding and such terrible things. I'll have to do a main menu at some point too...


[Linked Image]

#4390622 - 11/20/17 09:51 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Update for today:

x) fixed multiplayer radar processing
x) fixed multiplayer RWR sound handling
x) fixed player aircraft bouncing around on spawn
x) fixed missile launches activating weapon cam MFDs on all clients
x) fixed SAM launcher rotation not being synchronized

Known issues:
Explosion VFX not synced to clients
Explosion SFX not synced to clients
Terrain collision does not result in damage/destruction yet
Player aircraft is just deleted on destruction, should implement proper death handling (possibly observer mode?)
Tactical map does not display fellow coop players
SAM launchers still rotate their turret towards a target even though they no longer have tracking lock

Still to implement:
AAA (guns, ZSU, with tracer projectiles)
AAA (heavy flak with airburst)
SAM C3 information network (one SAM discovering you should inform nearby air defenses)
AAA barrage (untargeted fire near your approx trajectory if you were detected or destroyed something nearby)
Main menu
NAT Traversal
Server List
Ground Features generation
Proper exterior model (with landing gear and movable control surfaces)
Proper cockpit model


Last edited by Toumal; 11/20/17 09:54 PM.
#4390686 - 11/21/17 04:13 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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This looks very good so far - great work.

Which theaters are you planning to implement?

I loved flying flying in pitch black at night over central Europe in the F-19 on one of those cold war missions, avoiding all detection and mountains! I loved looking around with the trackcam pressing "n" to pick new things up on the screen and then looking up those towns, radars etc on a real map of West and East Germany and Poland!

It would be good if you could have the F-117 as the more realistic aircraft, and add the F-19 as a sort of Easter egg, based mostly on the F-117, just with a different 3d model, some speed/flight tweaks, extra weapons/bays tweaks etc... Either way, what you're doing looks very interesting.


mdwa
#4390699 - 11/21/17 08:48 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I admit i do not know if i can offer you real geography. Reason being that right now, all terrain is procedurally generated. How important is this for you?

#4390731 - 11/21/17 02:44 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Personally I would opt for real geography. Without it a lot of immersion would be lost. Maybe you could combine the procedurally generated terrain "tile" types (like city, rural area, coast, forest etc) and use those tiles to build actual geography?

#4390755 - 11/21/17 04:53 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I love the retro sky! Perfectly captures the oldschool feel!

Are you planning on including Track IR support?

#4390798 - 11/21/17 08:04 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I can't promise real geography, sorry. The terrain is completely procedural and there are no tiles that "fit together other than the one next to it.
TrackIR is a definite possibility lateron.

Update for today: I've started work on AAA guns. No MFD symbology yet, explosion and damage radius still missing, but you can see that the aiming works pretty well. I've also added some visual spice to make those tracer rounds really pop.


#4391119 - 11/24/17 04:32 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hi Toumal,

I think if you can add real geography it will make it much more attractive to a whole lot more players and also much more immersive.

Any possibility of integrating OpenStreetMap data in some way like CAP2 is?


mdwa
#4391332 - 11/25/17 05:06 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mdwa]  
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Ok basically I had to deal with the floating point imprecision at some point. And... well your feedback made me think about various things.

So...

Is this real enough?

[Linked Image]

Disclaimer: I am NOT going to place tons of buildings and landmarks. I just don't have the time or the will to do that. What I'm going to do is concentrate on the SAMs and other defenses, as well as enemy airbases and HAS. Also, I am not going for super high texture resolution. That's for other people.

[Linked Image]

#4391337 - 11/25/17 06:26 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Looks like whole Iraq is there. I don't mind low res textures, I would be happy even with EF2000-level graphics to be honest. What theatres are you considering Toumal?

#4391359 - 11/25/17 09:07 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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ATM just Iraq. Right now I'm working on getting multiplayer working with the new large terrain and floating point system.

#4399833 - 01/14/18 01:57 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Any news on this project?

#4408900 - 03/05/18 01:24 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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I'm really curious, no updates in a while, but looks promising. Any update?

#4408939 - 03/05/18 11:24 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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He posted this on combatsim a week ago:
Quote
Just a quick update: I haven't been able to do get much done recently because, well, most of the core systems work but there's a lot of small tasks to do and so far I haven't gotten any contribution from others. So at this point my question is: Is anyone willing to join and help?

So if anyone can contribute to the project, please contact him!

#4419743 - 05/09/18 07:53 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Krycztij]  
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I'm willing to contribute, as I'd really like to play a modernized F-19. I could be a bit rusty with the development after years in management now, so keeping the skills is another positive side for me.

#4460162 - 02/06/19 02:44 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Anything more happen with this project?


mdwa
#4461419 - 02/14/19 09:38 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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mdwa, I assume you're referring to Toumal who was showing good progress on his game up until, it looks to me like, about the end of 2017.

As the originator of this thread...started 9/4/12 (over 6 years ago), I'd like to make a few comments...

My timing for attempting such a project was terrible. I had just turned 45 and was beginning with mid-life anxiety (I hate to call it a 'crisis' with the negative stereotypical implications, none of which refers to me). I couldn't focus for any extended amount of time and the knowledge I needed to even get started seemed overwhelming. Nor was I enjoying the process.

I wanted three things in life which, over the years, had been neglected or missing...

1. A permanent lifelong healthy lifestyle (mostly diet and exercise, regular checkups...constant for the last 10 years, but especially the last 5).
2. A fun fulfilling romantic marriage (knocking on 32 years...been really good for the last 10 years, but the last 5 have been awesome).
3. My dream game replacements to F-19, Subwar 2050 and maybe a space sim built on the same engine (flight-like in a darker environment).

To quote Meat Loaf, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," right? biggrin

Actually, I won't be happy until I'm 3 for 3. The first 2 are now on cruise control, maybe a bit time consuming but the habits are fully set and come naturally now, not something I have to excessively think about. Since the beginning of the year I've had my mind and heart in my game and now enjoying the process of learning and creating. I plan to put *something* out there (a playable alpha) before this thread hits the 7 year mark (this Sept.) and right now I believe I can do it. My wife has seen my recent progress and believes in me as well. smile

Anyway, even before then I'm going to start a new progress thread on the design and creation (coding and modeling) of a 3D game (circa ~1995) which hopefully will be interesting to everyone, even if they're not into retro-gaming.

Last edited by MarkG; 02/15/19 04:28 PM. Reason: wrong dates


The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#4461428 - 02/14/19 11:12 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Finally! biggrin

#4461531 - 02/15/19 03:23 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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thumbsup

It's all a mental state. Welcome to the 90's and the 90's = flight sims, the best ones IMO.

My fondest memories...

1. Eating at Upper Crust Pizza in Atlanta while staring at the back of the F-117A shrink-wrapped box on the table. Couldn't wait to get it home (with clean fingers) and it didn't disappoint.

Then a couple of years or so later...

2. Flying through the fiords in the Eurofighter. Unfortunately, I had an earlier DOS version of EF2000 which was too buggy to play for any length, more like a teaser. Then I upgraded my 486 to a P233 MMX and it wouldn't play at all. I wouldn't learn of the stable Windows 'Super' EF2000 until years later.

And finally, around 2004, after the disappointment of flying the F-117A in Jane's USAF...

3. Trying out the demo version of Total Air War (1998). Holy crap, this sim has real stealth game play!

I'm ready to relive the best of the 90's! smile



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#4461848 - 02/18/19 05:34 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hi MarkG,

Toumal seemed to be making some good progress..

Were you guys working separately or did he pick up where you left off?

Would be great rather than doubling up efforts..

Regards,


mdwa
#4461879 - 02/18/19 04:15 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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MarkG Offline
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Totally different projects, mdwa. Judging by his comments and pics, if Toumal has continued working on his game since his last post, I think he might be close to releasing something interesting. smile

My idea all along was never conventional nor collaborative, meant for a single 'bedroom developer' (but still requiring the knowledge to make such a game which has been my biggest hurdle). When I finally post a "Making of a 3D game" thread you'll see what I mean.

For example, my atmosphere, terrain and models are limited to what you'd expect to see (limited visibility) in the dead of night from inside of the F-117 (F-19...more SR-71-like), and at best on a clear night (although inclement weather is far more interesting to me). My single resolution is 640x480 and my cockpit is 2D-scrollable (think Subwar 2050 or Fighters Anthology, although the later is too zoomed in to show MFDs and side panels). I want my pit to be as functional as possible and also to click, for my game to be a retro cockpit sim similar to the original Project: Stealth Fighter for the C64 (cockpit only, no external views). Fortunately, a 3D/virtual pit isn't necessary since there's no bubble canopy (going with the F-19 version pictured below).

Even my city experimentations are mostly smoke and mirrors, with lots of simple (sometimes even code-generated) core shapes topped with single-pixel point lights, some flashing and some transforming, giving the illusion of a large living breathing metropolis...at least from a distance. But on close inspection (if I allow such an external view, which I probably won't smile ) it's not so impressive. Neither is my boolean up or down AI landing gear (no fluid animation) or lack of visible stores (might include static standard loadouts with each model, not decided). Stuff you really wouldn't notice inside of a frame-heavy pit at night, especially with more realistic MFD zoom factors. Heck, even my models include very few cylindrical shapes with more than 8 sides, maybe 10 on some fuselages (circles represented by octagons, but better than the original engine nozzle squares and with no landing gear at all smile ). Also, very few bitmaps, just shaded surfaces.

That said, I expect for my complete game (with PKUNZIP 'installation') to fit on the same number of 3.5" floppies (3) as the original F-117A (1991), only high-density diskettes vs. original double-density (4.3 MB max., PDF Manual released separately). You still might be surprised at the difference from the original though, with screen pixels more than quadrupling (307,200 vs. 64,000), 32-bit color plus 3D-acceleration effects.

Attached Files F-19_screenshot%20802.jpg


The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#4485362 - 08/07/19 12:26 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Toumal Offline
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Hey there,

I honestly didn't make much progress due to work constraints, and also the fact that unity doesn't like very large terrains. That kinda makes things difficult.
However, I'm toying with the idea of instead adding VR support and putting realistic scale a bit on the back-burner, and instead making it something that still retains the stealth strategy elements of the original, but would be possible to play on the oculus quest for example.

#4485415 - 08/07/19 07:52 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Scott Elson Offline
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I have a book by Richard Hawley who as been active on SimHQ (SimHQ was even mentioned in the "Thank you" section but I'm not sure of his current status since I haven't been as active as I used to) called, "Grome Terrain Modeling with Ogre3D, UDK and Unity3D" with a tag of "Create massive terrains and export them to the most popular game engines. It's from 2013 so I'm not sure how current things are but Google has a copy you can look through here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=h..._r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

I haven't had a reason to deal with large terrain in Unity myself so never got around to really exploring it.

Searching on "unity large terrain" gives me hits of other people trying to deal with this but I'm guessing you've probably looked through some of these.

Of course the original F-19 was so limited it wasn't going to get anywhere near the Uncanny Valley in regards to realism. For now I think you have the right idea of focusing on fun instead of realistic scale.

Elf

#4502743 - 01/05/20 04:35 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Scott Elson]  
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Originally Posted by Scott Elson
I have a book by Richard Hawley who as been active on SimHQ (SimHQ was even mentioned in the "Thank you" section but I'm not sure of his current status since I haven't been as active as I used to) called, "Grome Terrain Modeling with Ogre3D, UDK and Unity3D" with a tag of "Create massive terrains and export them to the most popular game engines. It's from 2013 so I'm not sure how current things are but Google has a copy you can look through here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=h..._r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

I haven't had a reason to deal with large terrain in Unity myself so never got around to really exploring it.

Searching on "unity large terrain" gives me hits of other people trying to deal with this but I'm guessing you've probably looked through some of these.

Of course the original F-19 was so limited it wasn't going to get anywhere near the Uncanny Valley in regards to realism. For now I think you have the right idea of focusing on fun instead of realistic scale.

Elf
I wonder what happened to 'Combat Helo' that Richard Hawley was working on. It was using the Leadwerks engine and was looking very promising, although I suspect that it would be subject to similar large world problems with that engine.

#4502834 - 01/06/20 01:31 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: mikew]  
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Originally Posted by mikew
I wonder what happened to 'Combat Helo' that Richard Hawley was working on.
Yeah me too. According to the Steam Greenlight page, we’re not alone: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/comments/225869017

I still keep my 404'd bookmarks to their blogs just in case.

#4502863 - 01/06/20 05:21 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  

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this blog still exists, but you can't find it on google because it's not indexed.
Flexman used the old version of leadwerks, the old plugin was no longer supported in the new version.
there was no good solution.all who create a simulator with a dynamic campaign give up at the same time.
when they start to create a dynamic campaign engine.this is the case with all simulators that never came out,such my observation.
Making terrain, models, flight model is easy.
Skipping that Flexman was a mythomaniac.

#4502864 - 01/06/20 05:25 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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What’s the blog address? I was watching http://combathelo.blogspot.com/

#4502866 - 01/06/20 05:28 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  

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Yes, this address, only he changed the address to another and removed the indexation, I will try to find it.

#4543900 - 11/07/20 06:01 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Hey Mark, how the progress? Are you still at it? As an inspiration here's little something wink


#4543904 - 11/07/20 06:22 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Good timing of question, damson. smile

Last week, Amazon dropped off my final game dev textbook (discovering over time what I really needed to learn). Now that hurricanes and current events seem to be wrapping up, and assuming no more important (to me) Rock gods pass away (sucking me into the past for a spell), I'm about to wrap up my studies and get on with the good stuff! It's about to become a lot of fun and I'll document all of my fun right here!

Thanks for the motivational video, but motivational music is what I really need right now... tuner
Cold War & Space tunes, preferably 80's but doesn't have to be



The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in
Gives way and suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset, hmph
Could be the human race is run
#4543926 - 11/07/20 07:53 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Glad to hear that you're still in the game. Will monitor this thread for sure!

#4637456 - 10/22/23 10:09 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Toumal Offline
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Years later, the Unity project died because of RL work, scope creep and Unity being Unity...

But I got something new, since I'm practicing Rust, I've started a version of this in that language using Bevy. It's much less code, doesn't require Unity, and could run as an executable as well as in a browser.

[Linked Image]

Since I'm not depending on paid third party libraries or content, I've put up the sourcecode and if anyone's interested I'd be happy to have people join the effort

https://github.com/dividebysandwich/F117A-remake

#4637467 - 10/23/23 08:52 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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jawdrop
I had to look up Bevy, but it doesn't have its own Wikipedia page yet, so this is some new hotness.

#4637730 - 10/29/23 09:32 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: Toumal]  
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Glad to see you back at it!

#4637731 - 10/29/23 10:20 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Update: I got proportional navigation working. Still some collision issues with the launching plane, but hey, the hard part works.

What has me a little bit stumped atm is terrain detail generation. I am still kinda hoping someone else might join up and write something awesome for placing low poly roads, fields, etc.


[Linked Image]

#4637824 - 10/31/23 10:08 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Update: Implemented DOS-style point light sources, you know, the ones that always show up as a full pixel even if they're far away.

Next up: creating those from hook points defined in the blender mesh, so I don't have to manually place all the lights in code.

[Linked Image]

#4637987 - 11/03/23 09:58 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Toumal Offline
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Who doesn't like flashing lights?

[Linked Image]

#4638219 - 11/09/23 05:05 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Toumal Offline
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Update: Implemented a basic FLIR MFD and arcade targeting. I will add manual FLIR aiming later, but don't expect DCS levels of realism.
Next steps: Fixing up the missiles, and being able to actually destroy a target. I have not decided on how to do explosion effects yet but I want to do something that is at least somewhat reminiscent of the DOS games.

#4638256 - 11/10/23 01:32 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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[Linked Image]

#4638536 - 11/17/23 12:46 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Toumal Offline
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Vienna
Update! Missile collision detection and target destruction now work. Explosion effects are placeholders, obviously. Proximity fuzing is implemented as well.

[Linked Image]

#4639027 - 11/29/23 06:22 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Small update, implemented radar and RCS stuff. No UI elements for RWR yet, that will come next.

#4640569 - 01/03/24 02:08 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Looking forward to the next update! biggrin

#4642498 - 02/13/24 02:27 PM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Toumal Offline
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Still here, just haven't had much progress yet. I need to find a good way of generating scenery. There's a bug in the RCS calculations, which became apparent once I added UI for a RWR indicator like in the DOS game. Oh and the third person camera acts jittery for some reason, which must've been introduced with one of the last Bevy updates.

#4642621 - 02/16/24 07:50 AM Re: Retro Flight Simulator: F-19 Game Design Document [Re: MarkG]  
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Thanks! Always interesting to see people attempt game development even though I can't really help myself. Particularly when not using Unity or Unreal...

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