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2D cockpit mod


Przemyslav
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It is too much to call it a mod yet, but I can do some 2D cockpits for this game. I attach work in progress file to my post.

 

Some time ago when I proposed such thing it was (if I recall correctly) impossible since cpanel.png dimensions were hardcoded into the game. How are things now? What do you think about this idea?

 

[attachment=2199:cpanel_wip.png]


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nozmajner
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As far as I now, the bottom panel will be ditched for good.

Here's the latest discussion about the HUD and stuff:

http://pioneerspacesim.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=24

I thing a good selection of dynamic 3D cockpit would be better, but I don't know if there's an intention to implement such a thing.

I certainly want to creat at least a simple 3D mockup for that sometime, and I hope that with a good selection of prefabs it will be easy to produce different cockpit for each ship.


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Geraldine
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It would be wonderful to see a dynamic 3D cockpit for the game.


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Przemyslav
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Thanks for the replies and the link for current HUD topic. 🙂

 

BTW, maybe it is just me, but to be honest I'd rather like to have 2D cockpits than 3D ones. I don't know, maybe because I flew so much hours in Flight Sim 😛


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pazuzu
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Being a huge I-war fan, I totally love the mockups shown in the dev thread.

Concerning 3D vs 2D cockpits, I'd rather go the 2D way, as long as it's kinda nice to see a different one for every ship (or shipyard), the novelty of it quickly fades into "I just don't care anymore", at least for me.

Also I always thought future spaceship won't have windows anymore, everything will be displayed on screens or some form of 3D screen, maybe oculus rift style.

 

Maybe different 2D cockpits with less/more data, depending on what kind of nav-computer/software/ship component you have installed, getting back to my beloved I-war (EOC especially), one of the things that made you loose sleeping hours was collecting resources so you could get (along with better guns/shileds/etc...) better avionics.


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nozmajner
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I'm not sure 2D cockpit worth the effort. It's a bit of immersion breaker in my opinion because it's too static. The main advantage of a 3D cockpit is that the pilot can react to accelerations with a little bit of movement to indicate forces. You can't really do that properly with a 2D cockpit. And it needs to be quite elaborate and realistic to have any point which is qte a lot of work.

Also with a 2D cockpit, you have to squeeze in every instrument and such into the FOV, which means clutter. Or you have to make it movable with some keys a'la MS flight sim or Orbiter, but that's an immersion breaker (and quite hacky in my opinion). And one main problem is aspect ratio too, especially if you don't make it moveable, because then you have to squeeze in every instrument in 4:3 to be fair, which means a lot of unused space for widescreen. Or you have to design a separate one for each aspect ratio, which means at least two, but if I remember correctly, there are some others (and maybe even a custom one).

With a good 3D cockpit where you can look around with the mouse or joystick hat, these problems are not that severe, but now you need to model and texture them very nicely since it will be literarly in the face of the player. Which is quite a lot of work. And if we want it to be meaningful, then the instrumnets need to be dynamic which would need quite a lot of work from the developers and a nicely done starter cockpit for development.

It seems to me that cockpit is quite down on the feature list if it's even on it right now. But don't quote me on that :D.

For VR style, it should be strictly HUD in my opinion. That's the point of VR after all. No view limitation or obstruction.

But it sure makes sense to have different buyable modules for some instruments on the HUD.

I admit that a 3D cockpit is a quite interesting creative problem, and I certainly want to try my hand on it once, but thats a thing of the future.


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robn
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I'm personally not a fan of a true 3D cockpit, for two reasons. One is that it blocks the view, and two is that you need a different one for each ship to do it right, and that's just more effort for our already stretched/nonexistent artists. But I know that opinions are mixed on this, so I'm not going to push my position too much. If workable code arrives for it, then I'll make sure it gets merged. But I probably won't be writing it.


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Przemyslav
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Yes, pazuzu I see your point and I think it would be nice to have such system in Pioneer, but it is (for now at least) impossible, because the developers have other things to fix/make and implementing your idea would mean a lot of work. But I would like to see that in Pioneer one day 🙂 Of course, future ships probably won't have any windows for convenience. It is probably easier to protect crew against radiation, micrometeoroids etc. with thick layer of some material rather than some window (made of whathever is see-through).

 

I couldn't agree more, nozmajner, but for 3D cockpits you need some 3D-modelling skills and unless you are familiar with that kind of job I think it would be hard to learn everything relevant in short time. Maybe I am wrong, but here around Pioneer we have more 2D artists than 3D modelers, so even if you had to prepare various aspect ratios for 2D cockpits, it would be still faster to get them working in game. For movable 3D cockpit there would be needed some additional code also and for extended 2D cockpit just unlocking hardcoded 800x80 if I recall correctly 🙂 By the way - do we really have to draw all the instruments? All the instruments already are included in this default cockpit. I would just go for making (textured of course, my black mask was just to show the main idea) various templates which would correspond with the ship chosen 🙂 What's your opinion on that?


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NeuralKernel
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It would be nice to be able to look around from a POV inside the ship (not just external and sidereal views) and a 3D HUD if not a cockpit would be one of the best ways to keep track of things. Some of the Flightgear aircraft have the HUD floating ahead of you as a plane in 3D space, I think having the instruments in 3D would help in a similar way... and it would make it a bit easier to add some HUD data to the external views.

Actually on that note I would LOVE to have some HUD options for external and especially sidereal views. Projected indicators a few dozen meters out along all 6 cardinal vectors... crosshairs for the side and vertical views that you can see from inside or outside the ship, basically.


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nozmajner
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@Przemyslav: I still think it's an immersion breaker. 🙂

And I'm not affraid of modelling and texturing. (Check Amphiesma, Mola-Mola and Pumpkinseed for some example 🙂 )

A 3D cockpit block some of the view for sure, but that's true for a 2D one if it's more elaborate then the current one. So it should be optional, and I'm not a diehard 3D cockpit craver, but I want to try doing one in the far far future. Just because it's an interesting design problem, and then I would see for myself, how difficult to make it scalable/modifiable, and it might even inspire a developer.

In fact I'm more interested in a good HUD interface. But if I need to hypotetically choose between a 2D and a 3D cockpit, then I'd choose 3D. But thankfully as robn said, it isn't really on the table.


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Przemyslav
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Maybe you are right. Right now developers have more important things to do than making extended 2D cockpits or 3D ones, even if they were to be optional. BTW, speaking of HUD - I have seen your topic on the dev forum with HUD mockups. I think they are very good and I hope they will be implemented in future versions of Pioneer. Especially that in-system nav screen with orbits etc. looks very cool. 🙂


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pazuzu
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Yes, pazuzu I see your point and I think it would be nice to have such system in Pioneer, but it is (for now at least) impossible, because the developers have other things to fix/make and implementing your idea would mean a lot of work. 

 

I know, I'm just blabbing ideas, maybe something gets picked up and ends up in the actual game.


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Przemyslav
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Yeah, hopefully someone will pick up one of our ideas here 🙂


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Geraldine
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I'm personally not a fan of a true 3D cockpit, for two reasons. One is that it blocks the view, and two is that you need a different one for each ship to do it right, and that's just more effort for our already stretched/nonexistent artists. But I know that opinions are mixed on this, so I'm not going to push my position too much. If workable code arrives for it, then I'll make sure it gets merged. But I probably won't be writing it.

Yes I see what you mean Robn. It would be a lot of work making custom cockpits for each ship. Perhaps, as a suggestion for anyone that might be thinking of attempting it, a modular approach to cockpit design could work? Start with a base then add or remove parts as required to suit the various ships. A sort of mix and match Identi-kit cockpit similar to the face generation from Frontier. That way it might be possible to maximise the variety of the cockpits while minimising the work load.

 

Again Robn your are correct about the view being restricted. Perhaps a way around this would be to borrow an idea from Flight Simulator, have a HUD view option that only displays the current flight data much like the present cockpit does but without any background at all, just the read outs, radar and other tell tails like missiles, fuel ect.

 

As I said though, it's just a suggestion.


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Przemyslav
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Could please you explain in detail what do you mean by modular approach to cockpits, Geraldine? It seems like a perfect solution.


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Geraldine
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I will try Przemyslav. For a 3D (and I guess a similar approach could work with 2D cockpits too), start out with a base set of separate panels, readouts, footwells, struts and whatever else looks cool, but don't stick them together. Instead have something like a script that takes particular parts of the cockpit to mix and match them (depending on the style of the ship) to build a unique cockpit just for that ship. It would give every ship it's own customised cockpit, yet at the same time, maintain enough familiarity between them so that the player doesn't feel confused jumping between different ships.

 

Basically then, a folder full of cockpit parts, then use an unique script that each ship would have to access that folder so that it can build it's cockpit from the parts. Some ships say would use "Panel 2", "Strut 66", "Footwell 17", another ship, "Panel 4", "Strut 20", "Footwell 3". Crucially though both ships would also use the script to place their readouts in the correct place too. This way if you feel the size and placement of a particular readout is not to your liking, then you can easily change it by modding the script. Hope that makes sense.

 

Just one more point about ship scripts. You could also expand it's functionality to include engine and undercarriage noise and possibly a whole host of other things that would bring a uniqueness to every ship in the game.

 

But as Robn says, with no-one with the ability to step up to do it, it will have to sit in the background unfortunately.


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Przemyslav
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I understand now what you mean 🙂 thank you for explanation.

 

I see it more (or let's say more easily implementable) adequate for 2D cockpits, because scripting sprites to load at given screen's coords seems (for someone who is not a coder, like me) easier than making the same for placing 3D models and even the most sophisticated designs would draw less computing power from your PC's hardware, right?

 

Yes, Robn has a point there. I can only help with 2D work, however, I am not much of an expert, but check this topic:  http://spacesimcentral.com/ssc/topic/3447-cockpit-fun/

Maybe this guy could make some great 3D cockpits for us? Probably nozmajner have some experience there too, I think. He seems to know a lot about this kind of things, and also - as he wrote in the second post in this topic, I assume he had something similar in mind as you when he mentioned making cockpits from prefabs for each ship.


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fluffyfreak
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I... have no strong feelings one way or the other 🙂

 

No? Ok that's not quite true, I do want the option of having a 3D cockpit model, and I quite like Geraldines suggestion of keeping it modular like the face generation system.

 

However I also like the fixed 2D screens that make me think of Wing Commander and other classics. It would be very simple to load 6 fullscreen images, one for each direction you can look in (including up & down) and only display some things on certain viewing directions.


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Przemyslav
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Probably some kind of poll should be conducted when the time comes to implement cockpits. Maybe even some kind of option for low-end computers, where you could only enable 2D and if you have better rig then also 3D would be possible to display?

 

Yeah, that is why I always choose 2D cockpit when it is an option in any game (even in Flight Simulator, when I can fly with visually better 3D one). I just love the oldschool feeling of this and also most instruments can fit on one screen, which is more important to me than the fact that it blocks most of your FOV. 🙂


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