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Joe W

Float Plane Scenery Question

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I need help! I'm desigining a floatplane base for Chalks in Bimini I plan to share and it's my first. I have a little problem with my dock areas. The AI Grumman Goose shows up but it's sitting on top of the water with it's gear extended. (Just like it's walking on water)Im new at this float stuff so I'm not really sure how to use AFCAD for the Taxi way links in the water. I tried using normal Taxi links but they showed up as blue lines in this pretty Carribean water. Even with a 2 foot width. So I had to use apron links to make the lines dissapear. Is this the problem? Also the elevation is set to zero for the airport reference and they still are standing with the gear extended. Whats the secret to this?Jim

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Hi Jim,you will need to do some tweaking for both your AI aircraft(s) and the AFCAD files but it's not that difficult.I suggest you download my AI Floatplane "starter kit", ai_float.zip, and perhaps also my AI floatplanes and vessels for the Columbia River Gorge, gorge_ai.zip (both are here in the file library). The former includes detailed documentation about how to adjust AFCADs and aircraft.cfg files and the latter includes some additional models and effects that might fit better for the Goose.One thing you can't change youself is the gear deployment of amphibian aircraft; it's hard-coded in the model (you can, however, have the aircraft sink into the water as described in my docs for the default C208). Either you ignore this, pick floatplanes instead of amphibians, or ask the original author whether they can create a separate model that doesn't extend its gear (the HU-16 in gorge_ai.zip has that feature).Good luck and have fun with the AI floatplanes.Cheers, Holger

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Hey Thanks a million. I did just that and I will use your advice.Again thanks and Thanks so much for you outstanding contributions to this wonderful pastime. "Flight Simulation"Jim

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One Question!I assume if you alter the contact points to have the AI gear sink below the water level to hide the Gear will also have the same effect on a Tarmac as well, Right? So trying to realisticly follow a Chalks flightplan of having the Goose take off the normal runway at FLL and having it land in the water at NBS will not work correctly. Tje Goose will look strange at one of the locations,,, True?GRRRRRR" HEHEHEHEJim

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Hi Jim,that's correct. The easy solution is to copy the folder of the original aircraft, give it a different name (e.g., "AI Goose") and then do the necessary changes for the copied version (make sure that you also change the title= line in the aircraft.cfg).While you're at it, remove the sound and panel subfolders of the AI version as neither are used for AI but may influence loading time and memory requirements.Cheers, Holger

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What is the difference in a regular ship aircraft.cfg and an AI ship aircraft.cfg? If you make the regular ship an AI you run into problems. Yep..... We are doing another FREEflow project.:-doh Thanks Holger.Joe W.

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WOW This brings up a question. I use a ton of my regular aircraft for AI purposes. I have always had some memory problems with FS, I think!"This could solve some issues I have perhaps" , So is it wise to duplicate all folders of the aircraft I use and remove these sub folders? As far as the sound folders how do the AI birds get their sounds. I have a lot of PAI aircraft and they all have sound folders with alias directed to default sounds. Should I leave those?Are you limited to any number of aircraft folders in the Aircraft directory?I really appreciate all of the help you have given so far. Im a 50 year old kid here! I flew helos in the Military and fixed wings in civil aviation and I love flying this simulator as well as the real thing.Jim

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Hi there,Jim, AI aircraft get auto-assigned a specific sound set based on their engine type and weight class; the AI sound sets are in your FS9Sound folder (AI*.wav and XAI*.wav). The aliasing approach in the cfg files doesn't work. In other words, unless you have plans to fly any of the AI planes yourself it's safe to remove all panel and sound subfolders. However, you probably won't notice much of an increase in frame rates because the AI models and their textures are what makes the difference there. Lots of discussions and tips available about AI optimization in the PAI forums: http://www.flightsimmer.com/forums/forumdi...y.php?forumid=3Joe, indeed, getting ships set up as AI can be quite the process. Sometimes I get lucky and get it done in 30 minutes but other times I'm still working on it after eight hours. The docs for my ai_ships.zip package provide quite a bit of detail about the process but, in general, you have three separate steps/goals: adjusting contact points for smooth ship movements, adding (and editing) nav lights and dynamic effects, and determining the behavior of the ship once it reaches the (invisible) "runway".If the original contact points of the ship don't work well, a couple of things to keep in mind are:* three or four points work best* keep the points symmetric around the center of gravity. Frequently, the CoG is offset from the 0/0/0 point. Check the reference_datum_position= and empty_weight_CG_position= for offsets and adjust your contact points accordingly* AI get "bouncy" if the contact points are too far apart; 20-30 feet between the front and aft CPs seems ideal.* other CP values, like the gear compression settings, are important too; I suggest to use the parameters of an existing "well-behaved" ship.For the effects you have a choice between triggers via the EFFECTS or the LIGHTS section in the aircraft.cfg. Using the EFFECTS section (specifically the concrete= parameter) works well for wake and spray effects as they are triggered based on the ship's speed (~5kts seems to be the on/off threshold). The triggers need to be defined as additional Class 4 contact points that "scrape" on the taxiway. The disadvantage of this approach is that all effects have to be combined into a single effect file and that each Class 4 contact point will trigger the same set of effects (one usually needs more than one Class 4 point to keep the ship stable).Using light types as triggers allows you to keep different effects separate and to pick a light type to meet your needs (different light types are on/off during different times of a "flight"). One important setting for your effect file is to ensure that all Face= parameters in the Particle sections are set to 0,0,1; if not, your water or smoke effect will glow strangely at dawn, dusk, and night.Finally, the "fate" of your AI ship once it reaches the runway (disappear, sit still, or steam off in a straight line) is determined by a combination of AFCAD and aircraft.cfg settings. I mostly use the "sit still" option for which one just has to reduce the engine power settings to a minimal value (taxi speed is determined independent of engine power). The "steam away" option requires a bit of trial and error to set engine power to a reasonable cruise speed value and the "disappear" option (with subsequent re-appearance at the start gate; useful for ferries etc.) requires a simple tweak to the AFCAD: hold-short node too far from the runway. Hope that helps. Feel free to ask specific questions. Good luck with the next FreeFlow project; it's an awesome series!Cheers, Holger

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" and determining the behavior of the ship once it reaches the (invisible) "runway"This is exactly what I need to know. Some of the ships when they reach the " runway" don't disappear, they turn around and come back and most times they don't use the taxiways.This was a problem in the FFUF at Maimi and Port Everglades.Can you shed some light on what affects this?EDITJust read that reply in full. The hold short make sence. The "sit Still" option is one I'm not familar with. Is that in the cfg or of the afcad? Also the Steam Away" option.One thing I noticed was that if the nodes in the taxiway were close together the ship will slow down quiet a bit.I'll try some of these in this one.ThanksJoe W.

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Hi Joe,the problem with those runways is that they can and will be used in both directions, depending on wind direction (in FS2002, we could selectively close one runway end in the AFCAD file). Thus, even if there is open water in one direction so that the ship could steam off toward the horizon, if the active runway is the opposite direction the ship will behave as you describe.Like I said, to make a ship "sit still" on the runway requires to reduce its engine power to such extent that it can't start the takeoff run. The specific settings depend on the engine type. For example, the Misty Fjords ships have turboprop engines and all I had to do in the cfg file was to set power_scalar=0.01 and thrust_scalar=0.01 to stop them from moving. For the "steam off" option you'd have to experiment with slightly higher settings so that the ship does move but remains unable to keep accelerating beyond a reasonable cruise speed. For the Garwood Cruiser in my ai_ships starter kit, which has a piston engine aircraft.cfg, the setting that worked was to reduce max_rated_hp to 10. Obviously, though, other settings in the aircraft.cfg, like the weight and station load parameters are important for this method. Since all these parameters don't play a role for the important part of the ship's journey, the taxiing, it's perfectly fine to use the entire parameter set from an existing AI ship (unless there are copyright limitations, of course) even if that means a super tanker ends up with the Garwood Cruiser's settings.Cheers, Holger

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Thanks Holger.......That clears a bunch of muddy water. I'll try that in this next one.Joe W.

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