Orbiter-Forum  

Go Back   Orbiter-Forum > Blogs > RisingFury
Register Blogs Orbinauts List Social Groups FAQ Projects Mark Forums Read

Rate this Entry

OBSP - Progress report 2 / Nellis AFB development

Posted 11-27-2012 at 12:13 AM by RisingFury

Hello, people!


It's been a while since I last posted any updates on how OBSP's doing, so I figured I'd throws something up.

Well, we've been working hard on OBSP since the last updates. Just to jog your memory, the last update brought taxiing, takeoff and landing autopilots and AI into Orbiter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUooJ_jkwoU

I've been continuing the work in AI and also improving the "low level" code that allows the AI to perform as well as it does. So, what's new? Well, I'm in the process of implementing a high level AI that's capable of detecting what the situation of the plane is and respond accordingly. Up until now, every user command given to the plane was given directly by the user and was executed mindlessly. But now, for the first time, Orbiter saw a plane that thinks for itself.

I implemented a system where users and AI can order planes around with a single line of LUA code. Let's say your DeltaGlider is parked at Wideawake International in one of the hangars and you want to fly to Habana, land there and have the plane park itself. You can now do that with a single command. The plane will figure out if it's landed or in air, if it needs to exit a hangar and taxi, or if it's already on the runway. If it's already at the target airfield, it'll only taxi to its destination and if it detects it needs to fly there, it will take off.

Once in air, the plane will automatically figure out a path and flight altitude that minimizes fuel usage. It'll gain altitude and cruise there. Later on I'll even add the ability for suborbital hops.

Once the plane nears the target airfield, it'll descend, land and taxi off the runway into a hangar or parking spot of your choice. All that with a single command.

I want all of OBSP's AI to be this powerful. I want the user to be able to command units around with ease. It doesn't matter if it's attacking a base or just enjoying an interplanetary flight. The AI will know how to take care of it.



What about the "low level" stuff I mentioned? Well, I've been improving the ability of the autopilots to fly in formation. I've already implemented some simple changes that make the autopilots far better at flying in formation than I am and I still haven't run out of ideas for more improvements. Until that's done, the AI will be held off, but once that's over with, I'll continue full steam ahead with the AI!

It took 3 years of work and almost 29 000 lines of code, but OBSP is finally getting really exciting!


Now let me tell you what escapetomsfate has been working on!

He's been focusing on the user interface - the hooked HUD and OBSP MFD, as well as the Aircraft library.

Let me start with the MFD. One of its most exciting features it to display the mesh of the aircraft and the systems that can be damaged:



In this case, you can see the MFD set to the damage mode - with the mesh of the DeltaGlider shown. Every one of those green points are thrusters. Main, hover, RCS. EACH can be damaged. Green means it's working fine, red means it's broken.

OBSP gets the mesh info, positions of thrusters, airfoils,... right from the plane itself, which makes this 100% compatible with ANY existing and future addon!

The same can be done for air control surfaces and airfoils. A plane that is hit and not instantly destroyed can simulate having one of its wings blown off, which would make the plane spin and tumble before crashing. We've already built in the ability to damage air control surfaces, so you lose control of the aircraft.

Also, the systems closes to where the projectile hits are more likely to be damaged.


Here's another image of the OBSP MFD, showing the DeltaGlider with weapons loaded.



You can see the selected weapons - in this case AGM-65 air to ground missiles - show up in green. There are other weapons loaded, indicated by grey squares. ETF will update the MFD so that the gray squares show a grey mesh of weapons instead.


Another thing I should really talk about in depth that ETF has been working on is the Aircraft library. The Aircraft library is an extension of the Orbiter's API - the API allows you to create engines, airfioils, control surfaces, 2D panels, 3D cockpits,... but it doesn't have any pre made systems. The Aircraft library will!

That way, complex systems will already be built in for developers to use. Newbie devs will be able to create more complex vessels just by activating the pre built 2D panels, 3D cockpit, electrical and life support systems, air breathing engines... but in addition to that, they will have Orbiter's API available, that will allow them to build on top of what the Aircraft library already provides. Of course, if one doesn't want to use specific features in the library, they don't need to activate them.

Once done, the Aircraft library will be released. Hopefully addon devs will pick it up, however, we also need the library. That's the only way that will allow us to mass produce C++ based aircraft that currently only support Spacecraft 3.



I also have another surprise. Since OBSP got its taxiing, landing and takeoff AI, it's grown beyond what Cape Canaveral and Habana can offer as a testing site. I used Wideawake Internation for a while, but decided that OBSP needs its own airbase. Therefore, I've begun building Nellis Air Force Base!



Nellis makes for an excellent choice. It has two long and wide (that's what she said!) runways, that allow the landing of even the largest winged space craft like the XR5. It also has lots of parking space to store planes and vehicles.

Keep in mind that the image you see is a work in progress. My main focus are the taxiways. The shacks are there just to help me do the markings on the floor and will be replaced with a better mesh. Here's the image of the control tower:



Real thing:



I must admit that my meshing and texturing skills aren't as good as my programming, but I'll do the best I can with the time I've allotted to the base. I'll make the base more complex that the average "slap-me-together" base made in Orbiter Base Maker, but don't expect anything as complex as Wideawake International, CSSC or AU. The base will feature hangars, planes, shacks, air control tower, some surrounding structures that serve no purpose, but no 3D terrain or Las Vegas itself.


The development of Nellis AFB is kind of sporadic, when I feel like I need to take a break from coding and subsequent math problems OBSP keeps throwing at me, however, the base will be done by the time OBSP v1 is released.


So, 3 years of work and still no release... you might be wondering what's going on behind the scenes and why we haven't released anything yet.

Well... my fault. The combat part of OBSP's code has already matured. It's at the point where it needs some spit and polish. It's the AI that's been stalling the release. I simply don't want to release OBSP half finished, even a beta version. I want OBSP to be more than just a play-and-forget addon that you derp around with for 15 minutes. I want the AI to be mature enough where it can take over the control of at least some tasks from the player, so that planes begin to fly around on their own.

I also want content. Custom planes, a custom base, sound, music, weapons,... everything we currently have is just enough to test the code, but it doesn't unlock the full potential of OBSP.

So, in addition to what we already have, what can you expect before release:
-A more mature AI - capable of flying around and destroying targets on its own. Sure, it's capable of doing that already, just it won't pick targets and weapons at its own discretion yet - you have to order it to do so. I want that to be done.

- Some orbital autopilots. Just the basics. Getting into orbit, changing inclination, periapsis, apoapsis altitude,... but nothing more. Just enough to get OBSP orbital.

- Lots of meshes and textures for weapons.

- Sounds. Sounds already work, but we have to find good quality explosion sounds and stuff like that.

- Music. We want to add music into OBSP that changes will the type of situation the player is in.

- Nellis Air Force Base. I want it done and I want it to serve as the main military base for OBSP.

-POSSIBLY an anti sat weapon. I say possibly, because that will require some radical thinking, to ensure a 100% hit probability.

- Aircraft library with a few custom aircraft.


I can't talk about specific release dates. Development of OBSP is too sporadic and unpredictable to be able to set a release date. I can safely say that it's not coming this year yet. It's still months away.

Hopefully once it's out, you'll be able to enjoy it more. This will only be version 1 on the long road to turn OBSP into a fully AI supported simulator, with planes buzzing around everywhere and battles being fought in space!


Well, that's enough rambling for now. Let me know what you think!
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 12730 Comments 10
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 10

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    I really like what I hear about the autopilots. I have a tough question for you about them. Is the AI be smart enough now to carry out orders to circle around an chosen point, like near KSC, waiting for a certain plane to come within a specified distance, and then intercept them? Even if the certain plane is a flying brickyard falling back to Earth from orbit? If it can manage intercepting said brickyard, is the AI able to fly as chase plane with it to landing?
    Posted 11-27-2012 at 12:32 PM by orbitingpluto orbitingpluto is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Napalm42's Avatar
    I like what I'm seeing Reaper. Though my efforts have shifted into more lurking than contributing, this is definetly a monumental work for Orbiter. You could release what you have so far on the Hangar and it would be like its own release, can't wait to see what it'll look like when it's complete.

    Small question though, do you have any plans for toggle-ability, so when we just feel like cruising to orbit we don't have to worry about interceptors coming to get us?

    (Also, here comes the XCOM simulations folks, man your battlestations)
    Posted 11-27-2012 at 01:18 PM by Napalm42 Napalm42 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    RisingFury's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by orbitingpluto View Comment
    I really like what I hear about the autopilots. I have a tough question for you about them. Is the AI be smart enough now to carry out orders to circle around an chosen point, like near KSC, waiting for a certain plane to come within a specified distance, and then intercept them? Even if the certain plane is a flying brickyard falling back to Earth from orbit? If it can manage intercepting said brickyard, is the AI able to fly as chase plane with it to landing?

    Yes, the AI is smart enough to do that. That specific behavior hasn't been written yet, but it's trivial to do. Even more than that, the whole squadron can circle a given point in formation, then wait for hostiles to enter the target area. After that, the planes will distribute their targets, so that not everyone fires at the same target.

    More than that, the AI will also keep an eye out for fuel level, so the planes don't just drop out of the sky. Ultimately, the idea is to have a support structure ready so that planes land on their own, refuel, then continue whatever they were doing without any interference from the user!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Napalm42 View Comment
    I like what I'm seeing Reaper. Though my efforts have shifted into more lurking than contributing, this is definetly a monumental work for Orbiter. You could release what you have so far on the Hangar and it would be like its own release, can't wait to see what it'll look like when it's complete.
    Thanks!

    Though we're not releasing quite yet. Releasing now would be like selling you a car with no seats and paint. Sure - it goes, but it's not very comfortable and it looks ugly.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Napalm42 View Comment
    Small question though, do you have any plans for toggle-ability, so when we just feel like cruising to orbit we don't have to worry about interceptors coming to get us?
    Yes, absolutely. Enemy planes will only attack if the scenario has an attached lua script that gives the "general" orders to attack or in world domination mode...

    When you just want to cruise around, the full power of the autopilots and AI will be available to you if you want it, but if you don't want it, you don't need to use it! You'll be able to let go of the controls to take a coffee break, while the AI reenters and lands at KSC.


    Keep in mind also that OBSP brings more than just combat, autopilots and AI. It also has a complex damage system, so don't crash unless you want to start losing systems!

    Every component that OBSP brings can be enabled or disabled for any ship. If you feel like you don't want to have a damage component, RADAR or weapons on your XR2, you can easily do that!



    We're making OBSP in a way that's handy, but not intrusive.
    Posted 11-27-2012 at 01:46 PM by RisingFury RisingFury is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Pipcard's Avatar
    I appreciate your hard work on the AI. The ability for a plane to automatically take off, fly, and land at another base is truly amazing.
    Posted 11-27-2012 at 06:01 PM by Pipcard Pipcard is offline
    Updated 11-27-2012 at 06:05 PM by Pipcard
  5. Old Comment
    ky's Avatar
    Quote:
    I must admit that my meshing and texturing skills aren't as good as my programming, but I'll do the best I can with the time I've allotted to the base.
    You kidding? That was a pretty good tower Your doing a great job, keep it up, can't wait to be able to test this out in the near future
    Posted 11-28-2012 at 02:13 AM by ky ky is offline
  6. Old Comment
    RisingFury's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ky View Comment
    You kidding? That was a pretty good tower Your doing a great job, keep it up, can't wait to be able to test this out in the near future

    Thank you!

    Well, Nellis Air Force Base is my first meshing, texturing and base making project. As such, expect it not to be up to the highest standards the community has seen, but I'll try to make it better than the average base.

    I'm sure given enough time, I could do better, but I need to use up time wisely as coding is my primary mission.
    Posted 11-28-2012 at 11:58 AM by RisingFury RisingFury is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Izack's Avatar
    Excellent work RisingFury, and the OBSP team! This is an exciting project, and it's great to see work on it progressing despite the long development cycle. Don't give up!
    Posted 11-28-2012 at 12:37 PM by Izack Izack is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Spacethingy's Avatar
    Quote:
    But now, for the first time, Orbiter saw a plane that thinks for itself.
    Dude, have you even seen Terminator?! So this is why the world's ending on the 21st - self-aware Deltagliders with nukes...

    Awesome job though seriously!
    Posted 12-05-2012 at 06:27 PM by Spacethingy Spacethingy is offline
  9. Old Comment
    MaverickSawyer's Avatar
    Looking good! Can't wait for the finished product.
    Also, you should release the Nellis AFB as a seperate addon. Just replace the USAF logo on the tower with a DeltaGlider or a Probe shape, and you'll have an awesome base.
    Posted 12-05-2012 at 06:55 PM by MaverickSawyer MaverickSawyer is offline
  10. Old Comment
    RisingFury's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Spacethingy View Comment
    Dude, have you even seen Terminator?! So this is why the world's ending on the 21st - self-aware Deltagliders with nukes...

    Awesome job though seriously!
    Well, at least you know who to blame


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Comment
    Looking good! Can't wait for the finished product.
    Also, you should release the Nellis AFB as a seperate addon. Just replace the USAF logo on the tower with a DeltaGlider or a Probe shape, and you'll have an awesome base.
    No, Nellis will not be released as a stand alone addon. The whole point of Nellis is to give OBSP a home base, where we can stage the training campaigns and where I can test the AI. If we then make a bunch of scenarios that depend on other addons, we'll just make a mess of things.

    Anything and everything in OBSP that has official scenarios will be done in house. Any scenario not using OBSP material is marked as Unofficial.
    Posted 12-05-2012 at 08:48 PM by RisingFury RisingFury is offline
 

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:40 PM.

Quick Links Need Help?


About Us | Rules & Guidelines | TOS Policy | Privacy Policy

Orbiter-Forum is hosted at Orbithangar.com
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright 2007 - 2017, Orbiter-Forum.com. All rights reserved.