Modding Tutorials?

Discussion in 'Flight Commander' started by Iceblade, Apr 17, 2011.

?

Do you think some Flight Commander needs some new/update tutorials?

Poll closed May 17, 2011.
  1. Yes, and I would get some use out of it.

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. Yes, but I won't need them.

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  3. No, the current tutorials are sufficent.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Is there an interest for some new/updated tutorials for Flight Commander?

    Most of the basics are already covered, though I wonder how up-to-date some of these tutorials are given certain format changes in recent years.
     
  2. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    I think I'm going to start coding up some missions, but it would only be using the vanilla FC. I might add in some more of the WCP sim missions, maybe recreate the first few missions from Prophecy or something. Just to help fill out the default group of missions and provide more examples for designers.

    Are there any missions in particular that users might like to see added to FC?
     
  3. QuailPilot

    QuailPilot Spaceman

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    I don't really remember any of the Prophecy missions to well to be honest.
     
  4. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Looking at all of the tutorials and tools, I think the one aspect that is lacking is ship editing.

    Currently it is the hardest/most tedious thing to edit and perfect. In addition to having to look up the weapon number and search for the parameter you want to change/add (ie acceleration, armor etc.), you have to meticulously adjust the weapon and thruster positions, which involves constantly going into a mission in FC to test the current position.

    So what I am currently crafting right now is an editor for ships, programming entirely in python with a GUI interface and released as a windows executable (since the current versions of FC only work on Windows).

    The main feature will be a 3D display of the fighter/capship with highlights on what you are editing. Weapons would of course end up being points (probably spherical), but if it is possible, I would add in display of thruster flames for fining ability.

    Once fighters are fully editable, I plan to add in turret editing for capships, which will provide users with the ability to more easily fine-tune their turret matrices.

    Essentially this will be very similar to WCPedit with easier to edit turret and hardpoint tools.
     
  5. eddieb

    eddieb Vice Admiral

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    So before you start work, let's coordinate. Ship xml has some new fields in 1.7.
    Also 1.7 has changed how you refer to weapons. In 1.7, you can refer to weapons by name, not by number.

    Also, I'd wait on capships. Since they're a bit useless now, turrets don't fire yet.

    The ship display idea is very cool, it is hard to place the mount points. But let's think of other approaches first.

    The way most people would probably do it is:
    Create the .obj mesh of the ship.
    Open up the .obj in a 3d editor of your choice.

    Place weapons and engines from within the 3d editor.
    Copy the locations from the 3d editor into XML.


    Also, I've already taken a stab at this in Java, although it is quite outdated, and was written for an old version of flight commander. You're welcome to the source if you like. It edits some xml fields, no 3d.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, I can put up an early version of 1.7 for you if you're interested, to avoid getting outdated.
     
  6. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Really, excellent. Even getting the information parsed out in Python is taking some time. I'll need to think about how I'm going to do the 3D display, but it might be easier to do in java come to think of it.

    Yeah, if you could send both of them over, that would be great.

    Edit: Hmm... Don't know how some of these java apps/classes would stack up with Tkinter 3D, but they look pretty easy to use. I'll take a crack at the source and see about getting it updated to the current xml files.

    Oh turret-editing would be somewhat useful since you can fire turrets on the bombers (a cool addition for 1.6). Besides, capships just look plain naked without turrets.

    And one quick question, do mesh pods (like those on the Panther and Vampire) move yet with fighter movements?
     
  7. eddieb

    eddieb Vice Admiral

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    No the pods don't rotate.

    Here's the old ship editor.
    http://flightcommander.solsector.net/shipeditor.zip
    I sent you a private message with a link to a 1.7 preview.
     
  8. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Currently working on a mission at the moment that takes advantage of some of the new 1.7 features as well some of the enhancements over previous versions. Including will be a landing sequence that mimics WCSO.

    I would show some screenshots, but Vista/Nvidia won't let me thanks to hardware acceleration.

    Edit: Thank you Snipping tool... as much of a pain as you are to use.

    Sorry about the quality, I was hurrying to capture these, so they ended up saved originally in .jpg format.
     

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  9. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Dang timelimit.

    To finish:

    The screenshots show the following: the first two show a more complicated briefing where multiple ships fly around the nav zone... there is actually four groups that move. Three and Five show wingman feature, and four shows a wing of moray's going for a head-on pass.
     
  10. Winnyfred

    Winnyfred Commodore

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    I see you're a fan of the Shrike, Iceblade.

    You know, this little stand alone engine is starting to become quite powerful, for a one man team, that is. I'm surprised more people haven't taken a bigger interest into this. It's somewhat user friendly, mission editor is extremely simple... the only turn off I really see is the AI doing it's thing.
     
  11. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    That and there aren't any functional turrets. It probably will take off more once the turrets work and the AI has better collision avoidance.

    Oh and normally I'm not that much of a fan of the shrike (at least in the vision engine), but boy does it come in its own in FC. Aside from the piranha, vampire and maybe Panther, all fighters get torn apart when trying to get turned around to attack your the tailing enemy. And even still, its mostly being about to outrun the enemy, so you have the time to turn (which doesn't take too long in these three fighters).

    The Shrike though has that rear turret to get those bogies off your tall with enough of a better turn rate than the Devastator to actually get around to face your enemy. The Shrike also has the heavy punch of charging mass with the support of stormfire to give the enemy quite a concussion.

    Still, it is very easy to get nailed by mantas and devil rays in any of these fighters.
     
  12. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Since there seems to be an interest in more tutorials, I'll craft some advanced FC tutorials (FC 1.7 required). Included in these will be

    • tips and tricks on crafting involved missions
    • getting more out of your briefings
    • quickly setting up briefings from your missions
    • even how to craft default launching and landing cutscenes.

    With these tutorials will come a full campaign of missions using for the most part default resources, though I probably will import some more comms, maybe a few additional ship variants, and possibly import a few more ships from WCSO.

    Official announcement will be coming in a few days, so hold off on a news article CIC.
     
  13. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Update on the ship viewer.

    My attention has been divided elsewhere the past month, so I haven't devoted much time to this yet. Currently, I can view and compile the editor, so there's a good thing in itself. Just a few deprecations warnings, which I'll deal with later.

    My main problem right now though is understanding the code. Differences in structure and syntax between Java and Python or lua/pascal is much more significant than I had expected. That and the heavy use of classes, which I've not used much of in any language, will slow down my progress drastically.

    If it weren't for the difficulties in developing a GUI interface in Python, I'd probably just start from square one with a python script. Definitely would be faster.

    In any case, I'll be busy the next week or so doing java tutorials.
     
  14. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Dang, quadruple posting. :eek: I really need to post on here more carefully.

    Anyway, I'm not having much luck figuring out the current java code. I feel like I'd have to rewire my brain to read the java script here, but I have come up with another solution.

    I've found this program called Jython, which compiles python script into Java Bytes, which would allow better compatibility to a Java front end.

    It might take me some time to get some python script built for reading the ship.xml and tying that into the current Java GUI.
     
  15. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    (FYI, there was a news update the other day about the Java Editor)

    Wow, this thing is really coming together. Most of the pieces are in-place or won't take long to complete. Aside from turrets, the primary build should be completed very soon.

    Currently, I plan to release the primary build before starting the model viewer plugin.

    The primary build will include full editing of all FC ship.xml elements. Included in this release will be the weapons file for FC 1.7 as well as all of the WCSO weapons. Also, a WCPEdit ship stat (.def) importer tool is included, but it is not where near as useful as Eddie's IFFreader for importing ships.

    Weapons are editable by drop-down list and turrets are rotatable by x, y, z degrees instead of matrices.

    The release date is tentatively this next Friday, but it might postponed to the following week in the event of turrets giving me trouble.
     
  16. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Good news and bad news.

    The good news, I am fast approaching completion of Stage 2. All that remains are the complex turrets and the simple fiction panel.

    The bad news, I'm a perfectionist, so the editor probably won't be finished by Friday as there is quite a bit of polishing and code cleaning I want to do before the initial release.

    So to satiate your appetites, I have a couple of screenshots to show it off.

    One feature I've added is selective access of ship editing elements depending on whether it is a fighter/bomber or capship/station. This will help prevent the possibility of crashing as well as focus on the issue on only those aspects relevant to their ship.

    As you can see, there are a fair number of additions to the editor since my initial screenshots of it a week or so ago. Some of these additions aren't even available until the FC 1.7, so once I've released the editor, you will probably want to get a head start on improving your custom or imported ships.

    Obviously, the editor's usefulness with regard to WCP/SO ships is limited (partially because the IFFReader is built for WCP craft and most all of the WCP/SO already have complete ship.xmls), but it is very handy for creating new fighter variants, correcting WC3/4 conversions, and creating ship.xmls for new craft.

    Please post any thoughts, suggestions, or criticisms.
     

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