Canvas view camera element
|Description||Rendering arbitrary views to a texture/Canvas|
Several aircraft developers have manifested their interest in being able to render scene views to a texture (RTT) and use it inside cockpits as mirrors, external cameras (so called tail cams) and other uses.
With the Compositor framework it's possible to configure custom render pipelines in XML space, which together with Effect schemes allow complete control over how a rendered scene looks. A synthetic terrain can be rendered by assigning an Effect scheme to a scene type pass, which textures all terrain with a brown checkerboard pattern and paints the sky in a solid blue color. All other objects are ignored and aren't rendered, saving a lot of computation time. Custom render distances independent from the main LOD settings can also be used to further optimize the performance of the display.
- Tail Cams (gear view)
- Dynamic in-sim view configuration
- On demand creation of views and windows (e.g. FGCamera previews)
- Missile/payload views
- Prototyping/testing HUDs or PFDs requiring synthetic terrain to work properly
Currently FlightGear uses only one instance of osg::Viewer, which is used by CameraGroup to manage the slave cameras. Supporting CompositeViewer would require modifying flightgear/src/Viewer/fg_os_osgviewer.cxx and creating some kind of wrapper class that manages the CompositeViewer instance and assigns a CameraGroup to each osg::View. It's also important to note that currently all FG subsystems assume there is a single instance of CameraGroup.
Standardize the View manager Pending
The first step would be to port the view code to SimGear so it can be used and known by the Compositor and Canvas. The view manager (flightgear/src/Viewer/viewmgr.cxx) currently has some hardcoded assumptions, so it would either need to be rewritten to remove them or a new interface for the Views could be created specifically for the Canvas Camera View.
In FlightGear, the Canvas system (which resides in SimGear) is integrated using the equivalent of a FGCanvasSystemAdapter, which provides all FG APIs to SimGear and makes the Canvas system available inside FG: flightgear/src/Canvas/FGCanvasSystemAdapter.cxx
Instead of using tied properties, the adapted view code would either used propertyObject<> or the propertyBasedMgr abstraction, so that the corresponding canvas element can continue to use well-known conventions to manipulate views: (flightgear/src/Viewer/view.cxx)
See Canvas_Development#Adding_a_new_Element for the main article about this subject.
This derived class would require the following configuration:
- Compositor to use.
- View to use. This could be one of the "main" ones (i.e. the ones on the main property tree), or a locally-defined one that is only known to this Canvas Element (think FLIR).
- Scene graph to use. By default the main scene graph would be used, but an arbitrary XML file can be loaded to render a custom model. A typical use-case would be instruments that need to manipulate/render a 3D object (for which we have working code, too)
- Several optimization/miscellaneous parameters like framerate cap, etc.
Simplifying a lot, this Canvas Element would be an aggregation of a Compositor instance, a View and a pointer to a osg::Group representing the scene graph to render. This setup could be replicated in flightgear/src/Viewer/fg_os_osgviewer.cxx, with the difference of ignoring Canvas and using native windowing features from OSG.