Jonfliesgoats

Aviation Style Flight Director for Stock

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Rather than pushing for an autopilot, what about having the blue maneuver cues displayed for launch and reentry?  A player could configure the specifics of how they want to execute their gravity turn.  The maneuver cues could guide the player in the execution of their gravity turn and you could even have "bugs" display desired v. actual acceleration on the accelerometer (g-meter) to the right and speed up/down cueing similar to but not identical to angle of attack (^oV display).  The aerodynamic challenges of keeping the craft stable through aggressive maneuvers would still be present.  The same could be set for precise reentry or even aerobraking.  This would also allow players to see challengers posed by having to fly over-complex, maneuvers.  So I guess the flight director would have to be tied to much more intricate launch/reentry/aerobraking maneuver planner.

Perhaps this could be incorporated into the tech tree or a VAB/SPH upgrade?

In real life, airplane flight director cues are magenta.  Since we already have blue maneuver cues and magenta target indicators on the navball, I'd keep the same symbology and colors that players are used to.

Is this feasible for stock?  

 

 

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Flight "assists" (as opposed to complete auto-flight) sounds as a very interesting idea, because it will also teach players to fly spacecraft by themselves instead of relying on SAS to fly all maneuvers for them.

I once implemented a "Flight Director" that just projected a virtual target on the navball as a tiny mod, never got around to finishing it into a proper flight director, though. But I do support the idea of cueing the player into steering their spacecraft the correct way, as opposed to blindly following a computerized auto-flight.

I'm kind of in favor or re-doing the "navball" in Surface mode to carry more information for atmospheric flights. Compare to the Primary Flight Display of a 737, here:

BOJuv.png

The aircraft nose indicator (center) and the prograde marker are pretty much identical to what is shown on the KSP navball. In this case, 'prograde' means flight path angle, which is the angle the aircraft's prograde vector makes with the horizon underneath. So with a horizontal FPA of zero, you're flying level and not gaining or losing altitude. The FPA marker moving off the vertical axis means the aircraft is turning. A roll indicator and a sideslip indicator (which is important for making a coordinated turn) are at the top.

The flight director is shown here as two crosshairs which line up in the center when the aircraft is flying the correct path. Horizontal lines mean pitch, and vertical lines mean roll, which is currently impossible to display as a target marker on the KSP navball. Targets are strictly pitch and yaw only, because for a rocket, roll is practically irrelevant.

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MechJeb actually lets you do that, if you wish; it calculates the trajectory, gives you control, and points a target programme marker where you need to go.

As for implementation in stock, sure, I'm all for it. Maybe also have the trajectory get more efficient as you progress down the tech tree?

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Nice idea, Stoney!  I like the Boeing PFD layout and associated features in general, but I may be biased. 

When I used to play on the PC, I loved Mechjeb.  I get why the developers don't want to add an autopilot.  I got away with ridiculously complex orbital construction projects without realistic risks.  The SAS modes take care of a lot of the pilot workload, anyway.  In in real life simplicity is a virtue.  Valves stick, CPUs overheat, some pump is slightly less efficient than advertised at a specif temperature, etc.  When I was abusing Mechjeb, I could dock thirty modules in LKO without really considering the risks of something going awry.

Since Mechjeb already has the code for this sort of thing hashed out, what about using Mechjeb style parts to increase the display quality on the nav ball as you progress through the tech tree?  This would be similar to how different probe cores have increasing SAS capabilities?

 

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