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FlightGear Newsletter November 2009

60 bytes removed, 17:24, 28 November 2009
Trains, Boats and Planes (Vivian Meazza)
===Trains, Boats and Planes (Vivian Meazza)===
[[File:steam1.png|thumb|300px|Steam Train]]
As the song goes “but not for me”. But now they are for you in FlightGear. In a moment of madness on the IRC Channel I agreed to develop Ground Vehicles as an AI Class. It turned out that a few modifications to the AI Ship class would be a good jumping off point for the new class. I started with trains, because I thought they would be big enough to see easily from an aircraft. A very simple train with just 1 carriage. These are relatively common on commuter routes in the UK. Jon Stockill knew just such a train, and was familiar with a suitable route in Wakefield. (Where’s Wakefield you might well ask – I had to – it’s near Leeds in Yorshire.)
[[File:vinson.png|thumb|300px|Vinson Carrier Group]]
So what about boats? It seemed like a good idea at the time to extend some of the ideas we developed for trains into the MP Carrier scenario. We had some models converted from Savage models lying around, so how about some escorts for USS Vinson. In any case Alexis Bory had a dormant plan for some low-poly aircraft models for the deck park, so it was a good time to revisit the Vinson scenario. First, we added some aircraft to the deck park. Then Alexis took and completely reworked the Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7) into something very nice indeed. I worked up a new class: AI Escort. This enables stationing of an escort by range and relative or true bearing. The escort can have patrol range for the station, and can carry out a random patrol of the assigned station.
Then I found a very good model of the AIM9L Sidewinder which has been lying around in cvs for years. Too good: it includes the motor and warhead, and the unseen bolts which attach the fins. Too good to waste though, so after a bit of poly reduction, they got added as well.
Hey, that could be a real photo! It isn’t!
Next Alexis wanted a SAR helo which completes the Trains and Boats and Planes theme. So I modified the AI Escort Class (after all a helo is just a fast frigate), and between us we put together a model of the Seahawk H60B. This happily maintains a station half a mile on USS Vinson’s port side.
The current Battlegroup is completed by LPD17.
We also added a cruise liner, just to make the Captain of the MP Carrier think about where he was taking his Battlegroup.
What is the downside to the Vinson Battlegroup? Pretty much none. So far, on my system, I have seen no adverse effect on frame rate. Your mileage may vary of course.
====What next?====
[[File:Container-port-dusk.jpg|thumb|300px|Container Port at dusk]]
What else, where next?
We have a few more goodies in the pipeline. Some US railroad models. We await Jon to extract a suitable rail line for that one. We have some wagons waiting in the wings.
And, if I can persuade Jon to use it, a whole container port. Which comes with its own container tractor, which uses the train code to pull trailers around the dockside. Container ports work around the clock, so there’s some floodlighting just to add a little more realism.

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