Project VesselBuilder for Orbiter

Buck Rogers

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A bump & plee

Hi Fred, please come back! VesselBuilder was cut short just before the finishing line. If IIRC there were only a few bugs holding it back from release, and was already as a base version (without the advanced features) superior to its predecessors; not only working touchdown points!, but the ability to work in game is a real bonus, just to mention a couple of points and would be worth it even if the other features were put on indefinate hold, remain "experimental". Orbiter16 still suffers from "new terrain not enough toys" and there are some excellant addons waiting to be updated and this could be the right imputus. Looking at Orbter2010 and before there is a wealth of content covering practically everything it would be a shame to see all of it disapear and with the advent of some key addon updates I feel a (well deserved) renaisance for Orbiter is on the horizon. I also have several projects on hold for so long I'm wondering if they'll ever see the light of day. But as proof of VB's potential & motivation, I will release my test project (AFAIK the first official relase for VB).

https://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?t=41664

I found a workaround for the only bug holding it back from release: The "none" flag for aero animations doesn't work so I created a dummy ani and the whole thing works great!
It would be nice if this isn't the only release for VB.

Actually my only real gripe with VesselBuilder is that one can't sellect a single key for animations, I imagine using Shft+"" & Shft+ Cntrl+"" for eg. airbrake on final could be a bit of a gamekiller, apart from that and a couple of small bugs it's a gamechanger!
Of course I fully respect if this is not possible, and if possible, if there is anything I can do to support, even just helping with the documentation it would be my pleasure to assist.

Whatever may come, wishing you all the best.
 

fred18

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Hi Fred, please come back! VesselBuilder was cut short just before the finishing line. If IIRC there were only a few bugs holding it back from release, and was already as a base version (without the advanced features) superior to its predecessors; not only working touchdown points!, but the ability to work in game is a real bonus, just to mention a couple of points and would be worth it even if the other features were put on indefinate hold, remain "experimental". Orbiter16 still suffers from "new terrain not enough toys" and there are some excellant addons waiting to be updated and this could be the right imputus. Looking at Orbter2010 and before there is a wealth of content covering practically everything it would be a shame to see all of it disapear and with the advent of some key addon updates I feel a (well deserved) renaisance for Orbiter is on the horizon. I also have several projects on hold for so long I'm wondering if they'll ever see the light of day. But as proof of VB's potential & motivation, I will release my test project (AFAIK the first official relase for VB).

https://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?t=41664

I found a workaround for the only bug holding it back from release: The "none" flag for aero animations doesn't work so I created a dummy ani and the whole thing works great!
It would be nice if this isn't the only release for VB.

Actually my only real gripe with VesselBuilder is that one can't sellect a single key for animations, I imagine using Shft+"" & Shft+ Cntrl+"" for eg. airbrake on final could be a bit of a gamekiller, apart from that and a couple of small bugs it's a gamechanger!
Of course I fully respect if this is not possible, and if possible, if there is anything I can do to support, even just helping with the documentation it would be my pleasure to assist.

Whatever may come, wishing you all the best.
Hi Buck!

First of all WOW! your addon looks AMAZING!!

Then on the point: yes I know it came short just for a bit but my job with the Formula 1 began and all my coding time for orbiter had to be turned into coding time for F1... I am still in that kind of situation, especially after Covid F1 is having now GPs every week and I am running around to stay a bit with family, do my usual job + work for F1, it's crazy. But I never forgot this, I strongly believed it could be a game changer. I had a thought around christmas to give it a final shake down but at that time Orbiter seemed a bit "dead" so I decided not to. It is really hard to find time, I'd say that instead of pushing on big finish points the only way to make it to a release anytime soon is to leave it at the present status, trying to solve the bugs and if impossible just state them.

If you can point to me the ones you know it would be extremely useful! I promise I will try to make it to a release as soon as I can, it was a big project and is too bad that is left there almost finished, considering its potential. I guess I could make a small guideline, and then anybody will be able to make a full guide if willing to.
 

Buck Rogers

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Hi Buck!

First of all WOW! your addon looks AMAZING!!
Than you very much, I've only "updated" it so I can only accept part of the credit, but on their, and my behalf, thanks.
Then on the point: yes I know it came short just for a bit but my job with the Formula 1 began and all my coding time for orbiter had to be turned into coding time for F1... I am still in that kind of situation, especially after Covid F1 is having now GPs every week and I am running around to stay a bit with family, do my usual job + work for F1, it's crazy. But I never forgot this, I strongly believed it could be a game changer. I had a thought around christmas to give it a final shake down but at that time Orbiter seemed a bit "dead" so I decided not to. It is really hard to find time, I'd say that instead of pushing on big finish points the only way to make it to a release anytime soon is to leave it at the present status, trying to solve the bugs and if impossible just state them.

If you can point to me the ones you know it would be extremely useful! I promise I will try to make it to a release as soon as I can, it was a big project and is too bad that is left there almost finished, considering its potential. I guess I could make a small guideline, and then anybody will be able to make a full guide if willing to.
Nice to hear from you and great news, I was expecting worse! RL comes first, and we are living in very real times.
The addon works 100% as stated the only bug holding it back was the "none" flag for aero animations, and I thought it would work as good proof of VB's potential and a working example for others.
I have a few projects in the wings, I was hesitant but now I'm motivated to make them in VB, and I'll note any bugs, or possible workarounds.
All good things come with time. To know your heart's still behind it is very encouraging. Looking forward to future developments
 

fred18

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as stated the only bug holding it back was the "none" flag for aero animations,
can you elaborate it a bit? I am sorry but consider I don't open orbiter since like a year and neither the code of VB, so you need to explain it to me like to a child :)
 

Buck Rogers

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If you add Control Surfaces, there's a window selection for the asociated animation, this model doesn't have any visible surfaces, but the option "none" doesn't work, it defaults to the first ani. in the list, I made a dummy ani as a workaround.
 

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If we had a SC3/SC4 import option that would be great.
Even a partial import for thrusters and animation definitions would be enough.

Inputting them manually field by field in VB is just not for me, too boring.
I don't feel motivated to redo something that I've already spend many hours on years ago.

That might make 2016 come alive.
Otherwise it's the same problem as always - too complex, takes too much time (that nobody has).
 

fred18

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If we had a SC3/SC4 import option that would be great.
Even a partial import for thrusters and animation definitions would be enough.

Inputting them manually field by field in VB is just not for me, too boring.
I don't feel motivated to redo something that I've already spend many hours on years ago.

That might make 2016 come alive.
Otherwise it's the same problem as always - too complex, takes too much time (that nobody has).
I surely have no time to develop it, but it's a script to convert text to other text, it shouldn't be too much difficult for someone who has some time for it and it's not linked to any programming language, since is text file to text file can be done basically with anything
 

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On the topic of converter, I think it is wasted time to write something that converts addons written in a more or less outdated format into a format that never really took off and is not maintained anymore.

It seems like middle-ware systems in the Orbiter ecosystem are a difficult thing to create. Once the leading figure leaves, a whole bunch of work is obsoleted, naturally demotivating content creators. What follows is a decline of active content creators, which it seems we are witnessing currently.

Is VesselBuilder open source, btw?
 

Buck Rogers

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Admitadly it's a shame the syntax is not closer, but both are very close write-ups of the same API, and as long as VesselBuilser is current and functional it stands alone on it's own right, I also think Fred18 will atleast have an eye on it in the future, PCMIIW but IIRC Fred18 stated that it's also open source. A converter would just be a bonus, with a dummy txt file most data can be copy/pasted, as 4throck said thrusters and animations are a bit trickier, but considering the mass of outdated content a converter may well be worth it.

@4throck, just out of interest, where there any other reasons/bugs that held you back from using VB. BTW I was looking forward to your Hermes conversion.

@Fred18 Was the last post detailled enough? Also the spotlight illuminates but doesn't have a visible emitter, but possibly not a major problem.
As said if there's any chance to change the key mapping for single key use (ani.) that would be really cool!
 
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Donamy

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I ran into problems with the "robotic arm" animations. Don't remember the specifics, but it was a problem with multiple animations, running on the groups.
 

Face

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Admitadly it's a shame the syntax is not closer, but both are very close write-ups of the same API, and as long as VesselBuilser is current and functional it stands alone on it's own right, I also think Fred18 will atleast have an eye on it in the future, PCMIIW but IIRC Fred18 stated that it's also open source.
AFAICS VesselBuilder was never really released. If it is open source, could you point me to the code, please? If the "none" flag you mentioned above is the only thing holding it back ATM, other coders could take a look and perhaps fix it.
 

4throck

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@4throck, just out of interest, where there any other reasons/bugs that held you back from using VB. BTW I was looking forward to your Hermes conversion
I always reach a stage where I lose my work due to CTD or unsaved changes.
VB should have a save option.

I can try to manually restore from the backup (it's usually bad thruster/thruster group logic), but then I get CTDs.
By this point I've lost hours of work, so I give up.
That's why I considered manually creating the config files.
It sort of works, but VB is too verbose... so again it takes too much time.

As for SC3 conversion the gain would be time.
Some people just don't consider time as a factor, when in fact it's the most important one on a hobbie.

I have some fully working VB vessels (like the Aries Ib from 2001), but I can't login to Orbit Hangar to upload them.
And frankly I don't know if I even want to see my stuff on such a broken site...
Sorry for the negative tone, but browsing OH in 2020 is embarrassing. If get the felling that the communty has died, it's so sad....
 
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Face

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Sorry for the negative tone, but browsing OH in 2020 is embarrassing. If get the felling that the communty has died, it's so sad....
Yes, I can understand that feeling, it certainly looks like so.

However, I also have the feeling that the community shrank back to the hard-core fans and old-timers that rather meticulously put together a quality addon in a slow manner than rush out many addons in a hurry, and that rather discuss addons in a constructive way than demanding things "NOW and does it have UMmu?!111!".
Perhaps what we see is just the consequence of the hype phase around 2006 and 2010 flattening out, seeing the fast-paced flock traveling on, leaving the "natives" again with all the garbage and litter and broken toys to be picked up, cleansed and put back on the shelf.

In a way, I think it could make the community feel more like home again.
 

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I just don't see many new addons being published, quality or rushed.

Not only that, also no corrections to basic Orbiter errors (like wrong markers / base locations for the Apollo sites). Easily fixable with a text file. It's something a thriving community would welcome. But I guess that's too fast paced for the old-timers here, that prefer to land in the wrong place because they are used to it :p
 

Buck Rogers

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could you point me to the code, please?
I just skimmed through the thread, which was quite enlightening in several ways:
I only found a indirect reference stating a preference not to make it closed source, but I'm sure I read a discussion about job change and source code release to ensure future development (but haven't found it, maybe Multistage?)
Fred18 will have to answer that.

A year or so ago there was a very positive spirit!:lol:

Donamy & 4throck, just to mention two, have invested so much effort into promising VB projects

@Fred18 You did answer my question about keys a while back (it has been a while!) suggesting to use a "state change". If you could look into it again to open up the key mapping choices as standard?

it could make the community feel more like home again
Agreed.
I have always seen Orbiter as a serious, educational simulation (as well as a scifi play sandpit- but boy what I've learned about scifi through Orbiter!), and requires, no possibly deserves, a good requisite of well researched and developed addons, at the moment for O16 there is very little (respect to Brianj's Spacex), and I feel that I almost have a duty (as meanwhile possibly being an "Oldhand" and having gained so much from Orbiter over the years) to bring some of the old glance back (- and certainly no demand on anyone else, alot of you guys have done amazing things with Orbiter and you recieve my uttermost respect!); I've been working on a Viking Orbiter/Lander addon painstakingly researching it for months because "Grand Explorations" was such an essential addon (IMO), I would like to consolidate, update, and improve on all those huge efforts made before me.
SC1-4 played a huge role and was a major keystone in the development so far, and so I do feel this is a matter of importance.
But I'm sure I'm not telling you guys anything new, VesselBuilder was so close, just maybe...
 

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VB can replace SC, no problem. At what point are you regarding Viking ?
If you need any help just say so.
I'm motivated enough to help with projects, like I did with Mercury X (another great O16 add-on).

In fact Mercury X was a good example of collaboration and building on previous work. Also on balancing dreams vs reality when it comes to development time, assets and what works in reality.
 

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Thanks 4throck, your support and comments are very welcome.

I was rethinking my approach in general and considering that the best way forward would possibly be collaboration, my forte would be 3D design, I would not confess to being the best; I've seen some excellant work here in Orbiter, but atleast above average. I'm not totally alien to coding but it's not really a viable option for me, unfortuneatly as far as I've seen over the years on many mod sites it's the coders that are rare (and a SC or equiv. would ease that). And those that are successful are mostly those that combine both; I've been watching Gattispilot's "career" with great interest as he seems to have followed this path (possibly reluctantly?), and continuously makes progress and admirably doesn't give up!

That said I would be more than willing to offer my services in collaboration with practicaly any Orbiter project, wherever I can assist it would be my pleasure (not only 3D).

In fact Mercury X was a good example of collaboration and building on previous work. Also on balancing dreams vs reality when it comes to development time, assets and what works in reality.
Yes indeed, looks really good, was a fav. in Orbiter2010 (sadly haven't got it working on my system though)

@ 4throck what area of addon development do you prefer to work on?

As far as the Viking project goes I have working launch (& mission) scenerios using BrianJ's SLC-41, and the best meshes from velcro and multistage titans, a very detailed Multistage ini and guidance file (I'm a realism junky!- I like everything to be as accurate as possible!- prob. why I like Orbiter?), I've created a Centaur D-1T stage (the previous ones where very ugly)(with a little help from DaveS- come back to that later), interstage, and adapter. An Orbiter and reentry capsule with parachute; all working with animations so far in Spacecraft4 (with the jettison bug!). The lander is still work in progress (because of touchdown points, was hoping a solution would arise before I'm finished, and I'd forgotten about the jettison problem).

I'm interested in trying out VB with payloads, the system may be more "natural", advantageous over SC's babushka style. And now that I've found a workaround for the only problem I had with VB's viability I'm going to push through with VB and see how far I get; either it works and one can see how accepted VB is, or it doesn't work/ or no ones interested in using VB in which case pick up the pieces and reassess. And at that stage it should provide a good impression of my capability.

Researching did leave some open questions, if anybody knows, for example, what the initial earth parking orbit was? ( I know that the Titan3e can take 15,400kg to LEO (185km), and 3,700kg trans mars, to simulate the short circulisation burn of the centaur stage I'm at ~280km- seems high?), Where the boosters white? (which doesn't seem to match up with Velcro?)- I've only found one photo, if somebody could confirm the colour, and any idea what the heatshield looked like?. But I don't want to go too off topic in this thread so probably better to start a new WIP thread.
 

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@ 4throck what area of addon development do you prefer to work on?
I can code but I don't have the time needed to be productive.
On Mercury I helped by testing, fixing and creating some meshes, tweaking some scenarios and converting terrain textures. Also contributed with some previous multistage based work (Little Joe).

But basically I was just supporting asbjos's work.
It's good for a developer to have someone to discuss things with.
Helps when they get stuck :thumbup:


.... all working with animations so far in Spacecraft4 (with the jettison bug!). The lander is still work in progress (because of touchdown points, was hoping a solution would arise before I'm finished, and I'd forgotten about the jettison problem)
For the lander itself, VB is the way to go because of touchdown points.
VB supports reconfiguration, and that's much better than the SC matrioska.

....probably better to start a new WIP thread.... Researching did leave some open questions...
Yes, open thread for this. I have a Viking launch video on my channel but let's not discuss it here.
 
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fred18

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Hi guys,

I lost a bit the spot on the thread, but I remember to have noticed Face asking if VB is open source or not. I was in doubt at the beginning, but since I surely will not be able to maintain it with fast updates in the long term, it will be open source. I will put the code togheter with the release. Actually the code is quite huge and since I'm no professional coder it would be quite hard for anyone to pick it up, but it is what it is.

cheers
 
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