Some more animation tricks

To some of you it might seem that I only hang around forums and create new tools, but sometimes I also work on some actual scenery. I do that as part of the NL2000 team. For the Schiphol scenery I have been working on the animated gates the last week and this gave me a good chance to test some new animation ideas I had.

These gates will use the ActiGate module to show different animations based on the aircraft type you use. I know Nick has been working on the same for his Shannon scenery and he has made all the animations in GMax. But for Schiphol this was not really something I was looking forward to. The reason is that while Shannon has 1 type of gate, Schiphol has three different types. And to make things worse, not all positions where these types are used have the same layout. So that would mean I would have to make a load of different animations, based on parking position, gate type and aircraft type. I am just too lazy to do that.

So I came up with a new idea. If I know the distance of the aircraft door from the stoppoint of the gate, then with some “simple” mathematical formulas it is possible to determine the animation matrices, based on the layout of that specific gate. So this way I only have to collect this aircraft related data and after that enter a few parameters for each gate (like relative position of the stoppoint from the origin of the gate model). I have already tested the ASM coding need to get this working, now the only thing I have to do is to finish the math and implement it in some sort of tool (unfortunately the math you can do in BGLC itself is so limited, that it will not be enough).

While doing this, I also tested an coding idea I had for quite some time already. This is to do the condition checking at a different location in the source code. The advantage of this new location is that animations used for attachpoints can also be affected by the condition and besides that it means less code tweaking in other sections. The downside is that you are a bit more limited in the commands you can use to perform the condition check, but it seems I have it all working now (after a few crashes of FS).

So once I have finished these gates, I will hopefully have some time to make a few articles or tutorials about the new things I have found. And after that CAT deserves an update as well of course. But I don’t expect I have time for that very soon.

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