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Guest Ansgar

A new AI-family is born: The Airbus A320 !

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Hello dear FU3 family,now I can present you the first shots of the last big development step around our HQ AI-models.As the beta testers of my AI-upgrade pack V0.07 know the old B757 AI-series in their beta-version is still looking crazy and I want to replace it with the Airbus A320 family. The 3d-model I implemented as untextured version in some B757 places of the last AI-ipgrade V0.07beta. In the meantime I completed it

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Lovely stuff, Ansgar. You stated that you were having a small problem with the NWA version, but that looks superb to me !Chris Low.

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They all look great :-)I appreciate the Airbus series as AI airplanes but I don't want them as sim aircraft. The reason is that they're all "fly-by-wire". You can't handfly them (at least not in the real world) since the flight computer is in command. I still have a movie of a tragic demo flight. The pilot shut off some computer functions before coming in to land. Or, it could be that he intended a fly-by for the camera crew. In any event, the pilot fought the flight computer and ended up landing in a forest at the far end of the runway.I prefer planes that don't interfere with my piloting until I tell them to, for instance by choosing to switch on the AP.Hans Petter

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Well dun Ansgar,I #### the red one the best,it maches the buterns on my joystik.glidernut :-outta

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Hi together,it seems everybody so far likes the new series as they are.If there are still some other minds don

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Hans,"I appreciate the Airbus series as AI airplanes but I don't want them as sim aircraft. The reason is that they're all "fly-by-wire". You can't handfly them (at least not in the real world) since the flight computer is in command."Well I can vouch for the fact that one can indeed mess up a "manual" landing in an Airbus. My 2nd landing (of 10) in the A320 full motion sim at United Airlines Training Center was done without computer assistance and I put it down on the very right edge of the runway with a pretty good thud. Of course there are still computers involved... the FBW system is still trimming the aircraft automatically. The 1st landing had been using the full AP functions. The 3rd through 9th were "manual" (like the 2nd) but I got better as I went along... got to be pretty good IMBO (in my biased opinion). The 10th was another story... the instructor put in heavy fog with a quarter mile visibility. He let me use the AP but cut it off at 100' AGL without warning me. The nose dropped away before I reacted but I did catch it in time... a bit of a bump on touchdown but no disaster.I guess the bottom line is that I think a flyable A320 would be a great addition to the FU3 lineup. And you & Ansgar are just the guys who could do a great job of it. :)I did 3 flights in the 747-400 at the UATC also. The first I got to play with the FMS and some of the other complicated AP functions although I did land with only the AT & AB functions active. The 2nd flight was devoid of any AP functions and that was no FBW machine. It still boils down to being the same challenge approached a bit differently. I love 'em both! I just wish I could go back and fly them some more. :-lolSeriously... I'd love to see a good flyable Airbus in the FU3 lineup. I have tried a number of ones in FS04 and have yet to find one that really captures the feeling of the real thing.Here are some pictures taken by another guy who was in the same sims I was:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/105035.jpgA320 lined up on KSFO 28L - note the pilot's joystickhttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/105036.jpg747-400 lined up on KSFO 28R - but who is flying this thing? :-lol

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Yes, we could get an airbus with realistic flight dynamics and the standard AP. The same goes for any other sim as MS Flight Simulator. However, what is an Airbus without the advanced flight computer functions? It's a nice airliner for sure but it ain't no Airbus :-)I'm just saying that we can't really simulate what makes the Airbus stand out -- the manual mode of flight is the only one we can get.Still, I'm certainly not against the idea of getting an Airbus -- I'm just stating that no current PC flight simulator can give credit to this new computer controlled approach.Hans Petter

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Actually, I'm not so sure about that, Hans. If you think about it, simulating an Airbus on a computer should be MORE accurate, since the flight dynamics really ARE under computer control ! The only difference is that your PC won't prevent you from turning the plane upside down, or stalling on take-off :-)I agree with Tom. I would love to see a flyable version of this A320, if for no other reason than we really could do with a small airliner in FU3. I am now very familiar with the Beechjet flight dynamics, but trying to hand fly Ansgar's 747 (as is my preferred approach) is EXTREMELY difficult. What I need is a sort of "middle ground"....and the A320 would be perfect (or Daniel's suggested Boeing 717).Chris Low.

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Tom,How did the Bay area environment in the simulator compare with that in FU3 ? Obviously the airport would have been far more detailed, but what about the surrounding terrain, bridges, water etc. ?Chris Low.

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Chris,"How did the Bay area environment in the simulator compare with that in FU3 ? Obviously the airport would have been far more detailed, but what about the surrounding terrain, bridges, water etc. ?"Well like you implied the airport is super detailed. You have AI planes & ground traffic that looks very real roaming around... but not randomly... as they should. As you approach the terminal & gate they look real. But away from the airport there is not as much detail as the FU2 scenery by a wide margine. Many of the more famous buildings are to be seen in downtown SF and Oakland but not as many as we see in FU. Water, bridges, hills, and all that sort of thing is well done and in the proper places. Since you mostly fly in dusk conditions much of what is missing is made up for with well placed city lights that look real enough from altitude. I was able to go exploring for a while in the A320 sim and that was a kick. Mostly I was doing some radical banking over SF & the immediate area to get close looks at the downtown and bridges. When you add in the feel of reality that you get from the highly detailed cockpit and the realistic motion/sound the total package is very convincing. There is still a part of me that believes I've actually flown those aircraft.If I had Bill Gates sort of pocket change I'd have a network of sims... airliners... biz jets... turbo prob commuters... light twins... and some singles like 172s & maybe even a Lake all tied into a central scenery data base that would be constantly being added to by a staff of good scenery people. You would need that high fidelity scenery for those lighter planes. That would only cost a couple of billion bucks... if only... ;)But in a strictly airliner sim you are rarely going under 160 kts and away from the airport you are usually at 20,000 + feet. When you are in the process of landing a 747 you really don't care if the needles on the pine trees look exactly correct or not... trust me... you just don't. :-lol

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Hello Tom,nice to hear that there are also some interest for a flyable version. ;-) :-)Indeed we would have to make compromises as stated by Hans for it because we didn

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Ansgar, whatever aircraft you decide to model is guaranteed to be a winner, no doubt about that :-)My point is just that the more we focus on aircraft types that can't be modeled properly the more we lose in realism. That's why I would prefer an older jet (as the DC-9) which would fit the Beechjet "format" 100%.However, we can certainly fly the Airbus as a B737 and practice handflying skills as well as AP assisted flight. In any event we'll get an airliner that fits between the Beechjet and the B747 :-)Hans Petter

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Hans,Yes, you make a valid point. I would certainly settle for a DC9. It might even be easier to model, since it shares a common feature with the Beechjet (two rear mounted engines). We already have the MD88 as an AI model, although I would prefer a DC9 as a flyable plane, since it is shorter and more compact (sometimes, planes can be stretched TOO much) ;-)Chris Low.

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The new AI planes do look superb - they would grace any sim. I look forward to the Concorde as well. I think landing the Concorde must feel a bit like landing a high rise apartment from the top floor. And since Jon made me a little bird (two actually - a seagull and a butcher bird), I now look forward to the BIG bird. The improvements in quality of all the planes is staggering!In some ways you have gone ahead of the scenery detail. The 4 sq m ground texture is too large, too coarse when you are on the ground, and that is why most of the new airports have been overtextured to some extent. But even this is not a great solution since the 256 colour palette is still a limit. I am trying to find ways to make more realistic and more detailed ground textures and have some new ideas which don't wreck framerates. It is too expensive (in terms of framerates) to photographically render the whole airport, and you need high density on the taxiway/apron/runway, but less texture around other areas, so I am trying to make this work. Best example so far is London City Airport, which I made with Hans Petter. There is an old and a new version (the new version made to combat framerate problems!) - the runway and aprons are in high detail, but many areas around the terminal and the grass areas are much lower textured. Its not the resolution of the MIP files, it seems to be more related to the number of files in FU3 memory, and once you get up to thousands of objects in a package, old FU3 starts to hiccup. So fewer, but more complicated models, may be a better solution. Still experimenting !!So I think that Ansgar has again raised the standard here, and its up to the package developers to match this standard in future work! RobD.

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As to a DC9, yep ;)As to textures and realism, I agree with Rob here. Both He and I have made models which far exceed anything FU3 is capable of displaying, texture-wise. This becomes apparent when parts of models that shouldn't be seen are plainly visible at certain angles. FU3 creates 'chinooks' on top of some models - but only when viewed at certain angles. Same goes for aircraft. The detail available to any aircraft creator is almost limitless, given the 8-bit limit. If I'd bothered using all the detail available to me on planes, they would look real sharp - but also look out-of-place with the scenery. For example, I am using 3 bitmaps per side on the S340, giving 768 pixels along it's length. Unfortunately, when sitting on the ramp/apron/taxiway, it occupies about 4 pixels of ground texture :-erksHence why I try to overtexture only the bits one sees when parked etc, as they are the most noticeable. Once you get 100' away, the ground textures get masked by the scenery.As far as fewer but more complicated models go, it's still a tradeoff. When I created a new marina for Half Moon Bay, I was surprised at the framerate loss so I removed various parts of it and the ONLY improvement was by removing everything but the breakwaters. These were large but simple models whereas the wharves were more complex. I then tried putting it all together in one HUGE model and I still got bad framerates but now from further out, because now it was one model, it came into view much earlier :-rollRegards,**************Jonathan Point**************"I'd rather be down here wishing I was up there than up there wishing I was down here"

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Yes. Sometimes I find that I have to delete the whole package and rebuild it from scratch and that helps. But I still don't understand what causes the big drops in framerates in some packages. Is it to do with deleting models, or models straddling tile boundaries, or too many models in memory so FU3 can't load them efficiently? Who wrote this code anyway and why couldn't they have told us some of this in the White Pages? You can fly from Heathrow to Southend with models continuously in view, with reasonable framerates, but looking west around LCA gives slow framerates. Why? Arrgghhhhhh. Sometime I'll rebuild them from scratch again, trying to exactly place each model first time, no deleting. But I think agtim's genius is a chance here - if he could write a little program that could explain the package header structure ...RobD.

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Hi Robert,thank you for the praise, but the standard I didn

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There needs to be a compromise in detail since we can't make models for the whole world, and over the years I have come to agree with the MSFS system that detailed airports help the feeling of reality, because that's when you're closest to the ground. To give an example, in FU3 drive up close to the gates of Buckhingham Palace. There is an "Easter egg" there - just behind the gates is a highly detailed sign telling you what time B.Pal is open. But has anyone ever seen this? No, it was a waste of a very large textured MIP!x( But on the other hand, has anyone ever noticed that the main cargo terminal at Gatwick is called "Avermeyer International"? I don't think so! Its too far away from your normal taxiing routes.Now look at Grays AAF. The taxiways there are in high resolution, and the feel of taxiing along them is very realistic, especially as FU3 models the bumps and noises. But at Luton, which is far more advanced technically, the feel is not as good because I have used large textures to "overtexture" or improve the resolution of the whole airport. The orange taxiway lines are blurry and little better than the default FU3 taxiways. So now I think I have a way of combining these two together, and that's what I want to work on for the next airport. But Ansgar, even blind Freddy can see that your AI models are now way ahead of my ground models, and I would like to try to improve the standard. Not with greater complexity in models, but by improving the bitmap resolution at those points which you see most, such as taxiways, close buildings etc. Building smarter, not more.You have throught of some new ideas for the framerate problem, especially that one of shared textures. I had never thought of that. The original LGS models certainly used shared textures (their houses have many textures in common, for example), and I never thought it could be a problem. So I have used the same concrete textures for everything from aprons to rooftops. Do you think this could have an impact? Anyway, I will add it to my list of suspects.My top suspects for impacting framerates now are:1) models near tile boundaries2) deleted models not handled correctly by FLED3) shared textures ???4) number of models5) models that interact with the ground (eg runways, sloping terrain)The factors I think are not important (but used to think were important):1) model complexity (see Duxford - no big framerate issue) - has a small effect only.2) size of texture (max size 256x256 is not a factor)As I said before, since agtim's not very busy (apart from building UK, building Switzerland, fixing elevations, building planes, writing FU3 utility programs, adding terrain mesh etc), maybe he could sort out the package header and we could fix this model deletion problem.The new FU3 is very impressive though. I could never fly over generic terrain again, and the worst must be this new MSFS fad of putting correct streets and roads over generic textures so that you get a mismatched mixmax of generic roads under floating grey lines. Worst idea since Adam ate the apple. But we have detailed photographic scenery, in large areas, with excellent planes. Not bad.RobD.

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AnsgarYou plain brilliant - thanks so much for your committment and devotion to FU !!RegardsShelton.Australia

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Ansgar,Gee... while in Ohio you need to wave hello to Tom Staggerwing Beech... being in his neighborhood and all. If you want to wave to me face Southwest and wave real hard... I'm in Colorado... a bit farther off. Stay in that same position and wave really, really hard and you may get through to Bob FlyBert Stiles in LA. ;)Seriously while in this country if you find yourself with some free time shoot me an e-mail with the telephone number for your hotel and I'll try to give you call... I always have extra minutes on my cell phone. :)

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Ansgar; same for me. I'm in Akron ,Ohio. Be glad to chat with you on cell . Welcome to Ohio although weather is cold and snow,freezing rain ,bla ,bla bla .Oh well 55 days to spring !!CaptRolo

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