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Monthly Archives: July 2009

First of all let me mention this mission is turning out to be more then just a basic FSX mission, it’s basically its own separate game inside of flight sim now, haha!

 

While putting more and more work into the F-18 Blue Angels training mission, the scoring technique was starting to get messy – and the last thing I want to do is to confuse the user. So today I stepped to organize all this to the best I could before I go any further!

 

The reason why it got so messy is because I’m keeping track of so many things, each with different significance and formats of computing, and when you add them all together you get a huge score that means something…But what? So I took a step back, looked at the big picture and asked, what does earning 1 point even mean? I couldn’t answer it… 1 point really had no significance! The reason is because I was adding points for all sorts of things. Such as doing something correctly – for example each time you complete a checklist item you get 2 points, each time you pass through a hoop you get 2 points, and if you pass through all hoops you get 10 more points, ext… If you do something wrong such at forgetting to flaps down you loose 5 points. Then there are the maneuvers, depending on how well you did on the maneuver I added more points. While more and more points piled on, the scoring was really hard to follow; you really have no idea how well you were doing. And the weight of the scores was not balanced compared to the varied tasks!

(BTW, all the scoring is being done by the external FSP.exe application (Free sky productions)  – not counter trigs in the mission system. Simconnect really adds the ability to do anything).

 

So here is what I decided to do. I decided to split the mission into tasks; each task has a maximum earning of 100 points. As you complete a task it sends a message to FSX showing the user how well they did (for example 80/100 for the chandelle manuever). So as you play you now know if your doing good or bad for each task you do. Here are the tasks which I plan to incorporate in the mission: Checklist Score, TakeOff/ Climbout Score, Chandelle Maneuver Score, Loop Maneuver Score, Chicken Maneuver Score, Low Contour Flying Score, Formation Score, Landing Score, and Bonus Point Score.

 

Each of the tasks is going to have its own individual tab in the FSP.exe external application. So after you complete the mission, or even as you play the mission, you can look at how things are being graded for each task. 

 

To give you example let’s take a look at one of the maneuver and how I grade it. Let’s look at the chandelle maneuver. If you don’t know what a chandelle maneuver is it’s basically a climbing turn. The things I keep track of are Bank angle and speed. The entire time you should maintain a bank angle of 40 degrees with a constant speed of 400 knots. The maximum you can get for this maneuver is 100 points. You lose points by the amount you deviate from the assigned speed and bank angle. You must also pass through all the hoops! Take a look at a screen shot of the grading system for the chandelle maneuver:

 

This is how I plan to grade the rest of the maneuvers – in a similar fashion. As you can see, the mission has grown from a basic mission to more of a sophisticated external application. I am really starting to learn to program now which I never thought I be doing Wink

 

 

A website dedicated to reenacting the Blue Angles for FSX! Im glad to see there is an enitre group of people dedicated to the Blue Angles, I will be sure to join their forum section so I can ask questions and gather ideas from the people who know the Blue Angels the best and perhaps cordinate with the mebers of that site to help with my quest of creating the best Blue Angles mission ever! 
 

This week Mike and I took a good look into developing a data driven website using ASP.net. If we wanted to upload scores to our website we needed someway to develop an interactive website where you can register and manage your accounts and what not.

 

After playing around with it and watching some tutorial videos over at Asp.net I must say ASP is some powerful stuff! You program in c# and it automatically creates the HTML and data driven related stuff. The way the databases are handled is fairly simple. You create a SQL database; create a table, then using a dataset object create the methods that manage your data. It looks like some fun stuff that im even tempted to play around with but Mike will be the one mostly responsible for the website related material.

 

I haven’t looked in on how to do this yet but hopefully there is a way to connect directly to our databases on the server then write scores directly over the internet. Something I have to look into this week…  

 

I also have been working on programming in C# for our external application that will be used for the score calculating. Reading events was easy to get working but getting simVar data from the sim into our application was a little trickier to set up. But I got it working and it will come in very helpful for our final product! For instance say we want to grade how well you keep a steady 15 degree turn during one of the maneuvers. Now we are able to capture your bank angle – let’s say every second, store that to a variable then once complete average it out to see how close you were to staying at 15 degrees.