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[WIP]D12 Aerotech - A B9 Aerospace Expansion (Beta1)


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i like how people seem to hate the B9 pack itself but like the art style... (ok ok i know it's two different points but come on...) i mean without the B9 pack they might not of been the slick buildings we have now or the invetions of what we have today like this and other packs.

People hate B9? I think that might be an overstatement. Last time I checked, the majority of people liked B9.

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These are absolutely beautiful. I'm not sure why it has taken this long for another modder to replace Firespitter's work. As nice as Firespitter's plugin is, in my opinion, these are much better models.

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I always saw Snjo's stuff as a sort of "sample showcase" of his programming work and that he was really expecting other modders to exploit all the unlocked potential. B9 is just plain art but there are some overall issues with the pack.

- It was originally conceived for people that wanted to build BIGGER space planes. Most of the staple parts, like the cockpits, landing gear, and wings are way over-sized for everyday use and stand apart from the stock parts. (One of my goals)

- The styling is so good it severely clashes with the stock parts (and other popular mods that logically go together, such as FS or R3/4 boat parts) in cases where the sizes are compatible. (Another goal)

- There are some key "staple parts" still missing from the pack and they're difficult to style match with anything else - parachutes, retractable ladders, basic rocket parts, etc. (and another goal)

- Catalog bloat is extreme for things you end up rarely using. There have been a lot of advances since the pack was released that can reduce that even more. Bac9 did a pass at it once or twice at the then current tech level and made a lot of improvements, but thanks to Mr. Snjo, there's now a lot more to be done to whittle it down. (above my pay grade except where there is low hanging fruit)

- Originally it was a resource hog, and this may still stick in people's minds. Currently its footprint is relatively small but there's still room to eek out a little more efficiency. (not really an issue now)

In trying to address some of these, I may end up making things worse...there's just so many fun original toys you can come up with when you start seeing the parts as "modeling clay" instead of mere building blocks. Its so damned hard to focus on one thing because just staring at a single part you get a million more ideas. For example, I got side-tracked last night and spent an hour turning the HL-MK4 adapter into a full set of cargo bays and loading ramps (CargoTech pack later?).

Other issues can't really be addressed in the scope of an expansion pack, the original creator can address them at his leisure. Squad also needs to get on the ball with catalog organization, which would go a long ways toward helping out. They have the stats in there for subcategories, but so far haven't used them.

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For example, I got side-tracked last night and spent an hour turning the HL-MK4 adapter into a full set of cargo bays and loading ramps (CargoTech pack later?).

Can you make a clamshell tail door without a ramp so that we can crane stuff into the aircraft with an onboard monorail system?

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Can you make a clamshell tail door without a ramp so that we can crane stuff into the aircraft with an onboard monorail system?

FSanimate says it can support multiple animations...right now I have a standard drop ramp in a tail section at a 45 degree angle. Its not pretty but functional.

I could convert the ramp to a pair of doors opening sideways (I assume that's what you mean by clamshell) and have a deployable ramp as a separate animation. There's probably about 1.5m-2m of overhang you could play with, but the IR gantries can extend further out if I remember. I'd need to model in a flat central block also, as the ramp section's ceiling is sloped for some reason.

mk4_ramp.jpg

Mind you that's morphed out of just the adapter piece. If I start borrowing from the HL pieces we could probably get nicer things...but...WINGS. I love the 6m x 4m deck clearance (with a perfectly flat floor), it can actually carry something useful. Must finish wings first, then cockpits...I'll get back to that.

Edited by PolecatEZ
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So, will there be an S2 - Mk2 adapter(s)?

That would really kickass.

You can see how badly I need something like that:

(I think I'm using a S2 to Mk1 Adapter to Mk1 to Mk2 Adapter. Or... whatever that piece is)

80UEY3nl.png

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At this point I don't know whether to kiss Snjo or beat him with a stick. This wing pack was going to be wrapped up...but nooooooo...he had to let me have the option to morph wings.

So now we have about 60 different wings/ailerons/specials - with options like undershielding, crunched into about 10-12 catalog entries. Things I learned today:

- Horizontal resizing can be done with a config, don't waste time doing it in blender. I had a dumb before I realized that.

- No more structural crap on the wing insides. Pure beveled smoothness all around.

- Making a nice round shape out of a square is a lot of work.

- Folding wings can be done without animations! No more mucking about with .fbx exports and having it break when I arrange transforms in Unity.

- With mesh switching - one collider to rule them all!

So the pack is re-shaping nicely.

- I cut it down to 4 textures used from B9 pack. We don't need no stinkin' delta wing textures.

- Ailerons and flaps have 3 side styles (straight, standalone, adaptive) x 3 styles (B9 styles) x 3 sizes x 3 textures each. Grand total of 3 catalog entries.

- Alt textures for everything, Blackish from SABRE stuff and "Porksworkish/Squadish" along with original B9

- Alternate "bottoms" for standard wing parts, add space shuttle heat shielding.

- Wings are beveled all around for better fit and no exposed inside junk. Keep your underwear in your pants.

- Alternate wing shapes for delta wings - convex and concave rounded, concave angular.

- 2 or 3 folding wings, fully articulated with flaps and ailerons

- 2 or 3 swing wings with flaps/ailerons

- Several alternate rudder/canard/wingtip designs.

- F80 and SU23 style intake/wing mounts.

- One square decal, can toggle between 10 stored textures by default. Can toggle between various flat and rounded shapes/sizes to fit anywhere.

- Most standard wings have top and bottom stack nodes for center mounting or placing stuff.

- Designed with FAR in mind, though swing and folding wings won't use FAR. Everything else can be worked.

- All for a very small footprint in your catalog and hard drive.

All this probably added another 20 hours to my workload, but its fun going and now I can cram in every crap I can think of without worrying about cluttering up people's games.

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any chance we can have a combination cockpit/nose section for the Mk.4 fuselage from TT that opens up ala an255 or c5 galaxy??

Challenge accepted, but I'm not entirely settled on the Mk4. I'll probably end up doing an HL, S2, or S2W morph from the ground up as I already got excellent results converting them to naval ship parts. TT asked that we don't duplicate Mk4 functions from his pack (even though its dead), and I'd like to do my own cargo bays and such so using Mk4 might get touchy.

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Wow! This stuff is amazing! This is the kinda expansion pack I've been dreaming of! There are parts I've thought of in a B9 style, and I've even thought of B9-ifying stuff on my own, you beat me to it and it's done much better!

As you can see in my signature, I've attempted to try and retexture Snjo's Firespitter, but as I read in an earlier post of yours, the firespitter parts are more a showcase of what his plugin and coding can do. So I'm going to just message him voicing my backing-down. After seeing how his project folders are organized, and my lack of modding understanding, I can't do anything with the mod in it's current state. I've thought of making my own models and having him replace his, but alas, I don't have the skill.

So that's why I'm glad you've done so much with this B9 Expansion! Can't wait to replace all the squad parts with prettier, more optimized parts.

I'm willing to contribute to easing your workload somewhat, if you'd like! I'm mainly a texturer, but since you're recycling textures anyway, all you need is knowledge of UV map morphing, which is a skill I haven't honed. I would instead be thinking up more parts to add to the pack, added functions, etc. I can create preliminary models in sketchup, export them to .dae, and send them to you so you can do the rest of the polishing.

Anyway, great work! Message me if you're interested in the help!

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hmm maybe your own Cargo bays then? somthing akin to the C-5 Galaxy >_> with that extra hump up top to mount the wings. also a cockpit for it?? like talk to CoffeeSE he's got a kickass IVA for his new cockpits that may look badass and if re done in a b-9 style would look epic

...also Far support?

Edited by Hellbrand
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Wow! This stuff is amazing! This is the kinda expansion pack...Anyway, great work! Message me if you're interested in the help!

Since now mesh switching is a thing, you still have some time to get some wing ideas in.

How it works is that there's one part, one collider, and one config file that isn't contextual. What mesh switching does is to take parts of roughly the same shape (and that could use the same collider and other .cfg stats), and let them be toggled between each other. Each of these alternate meshes can have their own texture/UV map/shaders applied. So you could do something as simple as vary it between shiny and dark, or as wild as having a completely different looking part that does the same thing (so long as nodes and colliders still make sense in the game). You can also have multiple sub-pieces on the same part able to be toggled, so a top and bottom can each vary. This is purely cosmetic for now until Snjo lets you toggle child parts with the main transform.

So, this means basically come up with a wing design and if it matches the rough shape of one already there, I can throw it in the pack without bloating the catalog. Anything that fits the bottom and right side of a right triangle will work for delta wing variants, for example:

wingvariants.png

These will have 3 toggles...one for the main wing shape, one for the choice between beveled edges or not, and one for the choice between normal or shielded bottom. A fourth toggle will let you change the texture/color scheme between 2 - 4 choices.

Keep in mind you aren't restricted to a UV map or even a texture, and texture switching still works on all parts that use that texture. You can even add cosmetic accessories to the part and have those on a separate toggle.

The only downside is that the collider will still be there for the original delta wing, so placing anything on the leading edge of wierdly shaped variants could get wonky.

Give me even a rough sketch and I can slip it into most existing wing parts - this goes for anyone that wants to contribute.

Edited by PolecatEZ
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I was talking mainly about other parts being B9-ified, like Rover Wheels, Docking ports, etc. Since you mentioned that you were just going through the Stock Part Categories and B9-ifying them. I'm currently working on some rover wheels that are a bit more science future.

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Rover wheels are a long ways down on the list for me as B9 doesn't have anything that would easily convert. I did toy with them a bit but it was big fail.

One part badly needed are 45-degree laterally mounted landing gear that extend out about 1 - 1.5 meters and then drop down. I think both A-7 and Mig-23 are good examples. If you could get something like that going I'd be happy to cooperate with the modeling and animation.

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Preview up on original thread. Spent three hours trying to get flaps to actually articulate and rotate down instead of just flapping...finally said screw it, but went with plan B. Now we have one aileron that can work as a leading edge, flap, dead lift surface, or aileron/rudder...or a combination! Yay us! Game of Thrones and bedtime now.

See original post, or download here.

Edited by PolecatEZ
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*ahem*

The very post before yours. -_-

The post before mine also states

Now we have one aileron that can work as a leading edge, flap, dead lift surface, or aileron/rudder...or a combination!
. Unless I'm missing something very obvious (which is possible), I cannot get them to do anything. I do have the latest version of Firespitter installed, or at least the version that comes in the download.
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No, that's not the answer. He's talking about flaps, not normal control surfaces.
Unless I'm missing something very obvious (which is possible), I cannot get them to do anything. I do have the latest version of Firespitter installed, or at least the version that comes in the download.

Hmmm... Apologies, it just looks to me like the B9 surface is moving, but the flap at the rear is the component that's sitting there static. That's what led to my interpretation. I'm not in front of the machine at the moment, but I'll try to see what it does for me tonight. Maybe I can offer something in the way of help (if you haven't already figured it out by then). :)

EDIT:

D'oh! How did I miss that he was actually trying to develop honest-to-Jeb flaps, not just control surfaces that... you know, flap? >_<

I'm not above taking my own advice and doing a little remedial reading, which I shall now continue over my lunch of piping hot crow. :D

Edited by Deadweasel
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FAR may be disabling it. Not FAR friendly yet. Also, if using as a rudder, disable lift (set Pitch to zero) and if using as an elevator/aileron, disable rudder (set to Yaw to zero). I'll put "auto detect" for the control surface on a list for Snoj.

I just tested it again and other than a need to update the directions a bit, they work just fine.

Edited by PolecatEZ
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