So hey, remember how I said you couldn't actually fly the airplanes yet? Well it's far from perfect, as will be obvious, but progress is definitely being made. I've been working on a chase cam system but am clearly dropping some positions or failing to interpolate or something, because the camera seems to stay in place for several frames of airplane movement and then catches up suddenly, resulting in very jerky/twitchy camera action.
Also, though I've attempted to force the camera to use full transforms instead of removing the roll axis as per default, I have so far been unsuccessful, no doubt due to my own incompetence - I can get the roll working, but am messing up when it comes to applying the transform to the camera position, so the end result is awkward, to say the least.
But for now, with a chase cam view rather than full cockpit, and with a gentle craft like the Dragonfly ultralight as opposed to a full fighter/aerobatics flier, this could actually be fairly fun to fly...
Website note: any chance of supporting vimeo links here directly, someday?
Oh yeah, also, in case anyone doesn't like ultralights, here is an illustrative subset of all available aircraft in FlightGear, any of which could flown in T3D now using the same system.
There are, of course, loads of issues involved in converting the aircraft models over from FlightGear's ac format into Collada (using Blender) and hence into dts inside Torque. If there happen to be any modelers and/or major airplane geeks out there with some free time on their hands, I could definitely use some help with this one!
First issue: the nodes seem to be coming in almost but not quite all of the time with no parents, meaning all my ailerons/rotors/everything are parented to the world instead of the wing or wherever they belong. When this is fixed I'll be able to record anims on the planes and include aileron, rudder, landing gear etc movements.
Second issue: the textures are almost all wrecked, I got lucky with the dragonfly but there is _much_ work to be done there.
Third issue is not a bug, but the next feature (which will totally seal the deal): to read the flightgear xml setup files for each plane, and use them to place all of the cockpit instrument models and whatever else they define. And animate the instruments and controls - airspeed, altimeter, throttle lever, etc.
I'm planning on calling up flightgear as a slave process at the time the player walks up to a vehicle and decides to use it, that way I can fire it up with the correct starting location and aircraft type, and turn it off when we're done flying. I have much work to do on the flightgear end to make it an efficient and invisible background program, but for now it's actually kind of fun to let it be itself in a very small window, even on my old machine the extra render doesn't really cost too much when it's 320x240.
So anyway, that's the latest greatest. Stay tuned next week, for attack helicopters and people flying out of buildings!