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The compass and points of Interest switches

Discussion in 'Mission Development' started by Jib01, 27/2/07.

  1. Jib01

    Jib01

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    Ok, we'll keep this simple.

    How would you create 2 points of interest that the compass follows.

    How do you get the compass to switch to the next point of interest after going thru or near the first one ? It looks pretty complecated.

    You need a point of interest
    You need a waypoint for that point of interest
    You need to activate all points of interest with the first trigger ?

    And that is about as far as I can understand.

    Tell me more in simple terms.

    If I can do it for 2, I can do it for all.

    Regards
    Jib01/02
    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  2. rightnumberone

    rightnumberone

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    Jib,

    As the mission designer, Microsoft gave you many options when it comes to Points of Interest. You can activate them all at the beginning of a mission if that is appropriate for the mission. You can also activate them in sequence if that is important to the plot of your mission.

    Because you have so many options, it is somewhat more complicated to have Points of Interest do EXACTLY what you want, when you want.

    If it is your desire to have Points of Interest activate only at certain times during your mission, there is a fairly easy way to do this, but it does require some additional setup.

    Essentially, there are two elements to a POI:

    * the POI icon itself (its location, name, its size, its type, its order in the rotation etc.)
    * the activation of that POI (deciding when and how it appears)

    (You don't need any waypoints for POI's, because they don't move. Once the POI becomes activated, the Mission Compass will automagically provide the user with a vector to it and tell them how far they are from it.)

    Here's an example: Let's say that you want two Points of Interest. Let's say further that you want to control exactly when they appear; and that they won't appear at the beginning of your mission.

    The first step would be to create the two individual Points of Interest; set them where you want them to point; and ensure that they are not activated.

    For the next step, you need to create a PointofInterestActivation action for each POI that will turn on the Points of Interest when you decide. (Don't confuse PointofInterestActivation actions with ordinary ObjectActivation actions. They serve two slightly different purposes ... with the benefit that a PointofInterestActivation action is slightly easier to set up.)

    One way to "turn on" a second POI when a user reaches the first POI is to create an AreaRectangle around your first Point of Interest, and then create a ProximityTrigger bound to that area that has as one of its actions the activation of the second point of interest whenever the player enters that Area.

    In this example, the sequence of the mission elements you would create would be as folllows:

    1) Create POI #1 in its location, give it a Target Name and cycle order
    2) Create POI #2, give it a Target Name and cycle order
    3) Create the first PointofInterestActivation action and set the ObjectReference to POI #1 (this allows you to turn on POI #1 whenever you want based on any trigger you decide ... you will usually turn on POI #1 at the beginning of your mission. Not always, but usually.)
    4) Create the second PointofInterestActivation action and set the ObjectRefernce to POI #2 (this allows you to turn on POI #2 whenever you want, using any trigger you decide).
    5) If you want to turn on POI #2 when the player reaches POI #1, create an Area Rectangle around POI #1 as large as you want (the goal here is simply to detect when the player has reached POI #1)
    6) Lastly, create a ProximityTrigger for that Area Rectangle that has as one of its actions the activation of POI #2 that you created in step 4.

    This is one way you could do it - but there are also other ways. You could, for example, activate the second POI with a Property Trigger that detects when the user reaches a certain altitude ... or reaches a certain airspeed. It's totally up to you how and when you decide to activate POI #2. Use any type of trigger that you decide makes the most sense for the given scenario in your mission.

    You have several other options as well. For example ... with Points of Interest and the Mission Compass, it is possible to allow (and conversely to not allow) the user to cycle through all currently activated Points of Interest by pressing the K key. There will be times when you want the user to be able to cycle through them. There may also be times when you decide that whenever a Player reaches a Point of Interest ... that POI should "go away" forever and is never needed again and for whatever reason, you don't want the user to cycle through it again. That is also possible (by de-activating it using an ordinary ObjectActivation action).

    As a practical matter, I usually don't add POI's until my mission design work is almost complete. I don't create The POI's and the other elements associated with them until I am certain that the plot of my mission isn't likely to be further changed (this cuts down on the editing of them if you later decide to change the mission.)

    There is a lot of flexibility with POI's - so, naturally, there are many decisions that you have to make with respect to them, and if you decide that you want total control over every aspect of the POI, then it's a little more complicated to set up.

    One additional note: In testing Microsoft Flight Simulator X with users before the game was released, many users provided feedback to Microsoft that they were often confused about where to go and what to do during some missions and that this detracted from their experience. It was for this reason that Microsoft "invented" the Mission Compass. Every mission should have a Mission Compass and Points of Interest (the users who do not want this help can always turn it off.)

    I hope this has been helpful. Good luck with your mission.

    Kevin D. Greene
    http://fsxmissions.blogspot.com
    Last edited: 27/2/07
  3. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

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    Kevin, I more and more appreciate your work and skill here in and in your missions. :)

    It's quite interesting how similar we work - and how different sometimes.
    For example I always set POIs to the main locations first of all in my missions. So I can easily navigate while being in the objectplacement tool. This is very good if you want to know how far some places are apart while working on the mission. You can switch between the POIs even if you're in the objectplacement tool. :)

    There are some routines that you will do again and again when creating missions. One of them is:
    If you place a POI you will probably create those objects at the same time:
    - an activation action
    - a deactivation action
    - an area linked to the poi
    - a prox trigger for that area.

    It's a lot of work and it's nerving sometimes, but it's just the way it is - and it's fun! :)
  4. rightnumberone

    rightnumberone

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    Horst,

    As always, your kind comments are humbly received with much thanks.

    Incidentally, I have had one or two missions where I also placed POI's at key scene locations just for reference while developing the mission.

    This can be quite handy when doing the dialogue recordings. I sometimes have my "copilot narrator" or the tower tell the pilot to "fly heading XXX for XX miles." Having the POI's there for referencing vector and distance is quite handy during the recording process.

    I include these "vector/distance" recordings for those Players who decide not to use the Mission Compass and Pointer during the mission. They too need to know "where to go and what to do!"

    (Now I am going back to reread again your post on "payware vs freeware" to lament the fact that designing complex professional missions takes hundreds of hours and expertise in 9 different disciplines and one can expect almost no support from the download community for such efforts except the occasional pat on the back. :confused: )
    Last edited: 27/2/07
  5. Jib01

    Jib01

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    Thanks. I'm sure more readers will find this very helpful in designing missions.

    Now, one last question. I notice that the size of the compass can change. Were do you set this ? With my first try the compass was 2 times bigger than the ones in the game.

    regards
    Jib01/02
    :) :) :)
  6. rightnumberone

    rightnumberone

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    Jib,

    You can control the size changes of the POI Icon with these four settings:

    MinimumModelScale
    The scale factor to be applied when the object is MinimumScaleDistance away from the view camera.
    MinimumScaleDistance
    If the object is closer than the MinimumScaleDistance to the view camera, it will be scaled by MinimumModelScale.
    MaximumModelScale
    Scale factor to be applied when the object is MaximumScaleDistance away from the view camera.
    MaximumScaleDistance
    The distance beyond which the object is scales by MaximumModelScale.

    Yes ... lots of gobbledygook, so I leave it default as Microsoft did. The default will keep it sized right depending on how far away the user is, so that pretty much no matter how far away they are, they can see it on a clear day.
  7. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

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    I'd agree with that. Default should be ok for most occasions.

    But I think he meant the compass.

    I also experience that it's appearance changes from mission to mission. But honestly I wasn't yet able to get rid of how to scale it (if not by hand in the mission).
  8. BASys

    BASys

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    Hi Folks

    Compass size changes.
    I'd also noticed this.

    AFAIK
    It apparently changes with switching
    from windowed to full screen.

    Haven't fully pinned this down yet.

    It might be dependent on
    which res or mode you'd initially loaded
    either FSX or the mission itself.

    Question
    How can I programatically turn off the displayed compass,
    from within my mission XML ?

    HTH
    ATB
    Paul
  9. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

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    I'd also say that it changes sometimes when switching via ALT+ENTER - but only sometimes. :confused:

    You can't turn off the mission compass unless you deactivate all POIs.
  10. Jib01

    Jib01

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    Ok, in trying numberones setup for POI's I notice that they automatically disappear as you go thru them and trigger the next point. How do you keep them all on and still trigger to the next point. I tried to put in a POI 1 deactivation but it is not needed if it is automatic.

    Also, if your Start trigger, triggers them all on, how do you get the compass to move to the next POI ?

    Regards
    Jib01/02
  11. rightnumberone

    rightnumberone

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    Jib,

    I think if you look closer, they're actually there. Unless you deactivate them, they stay "in the cycle". Hit K to cycle through them (I think Shift-K cycles backwards through them).

    Cheers,
    Kevin
  12. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

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    Agreed.

    If you want to keep the active POI but make the next POI the active target I can see only one possibility to do this: deactivate the POI you just passed and replace it with another that has the same name but a higher number in the circle.
  13. archtx

    archtx

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    The little right-left arrows at the bottom of the compass will also cycle thru the POIs (if they haven't been deactivated).

    This is an interesting thread....but I'm still a little confused about what Jib is trying to accomplish. Is it that you wish for several POIs to be available at any given time? If so, the user needs to be instructed to cycle thru them. If the idea is to use the same POI multiple times, then it seems merely a matter of activating/deactivating/reactivating that particular POI, using POI activation actions.

    Note regarding payware missions. I've flown just about all of the missions that have been uploaded (not too good at the helicopter missions), and enjoyed most of them....but the bar would have to be raised considerably before I would pay money for any of them, including my own. No intention of hi-jacking this thread, but my feeling is that I have garnered so much enjoyment and benefit from freeware tools and addons over the many years of Flight Simulator, I would feel guilty charging for a mission. Frankly, considering the time involved, it certainly doesn't seem lucrative. I think if you aren't doing it for the enjoyment, you ought to give it up. There are many far easier ways to make a buck.
  14. rightnumberone

    rightnumberone

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    Arch,

    Most of the downloading public agrees with you.

    My experience so far (and I have been extensively testing the theory) is that the downloading public for the most part won't pay even trivial amounts of money for any quality, however, you've raised an interesting point:

    What aspects of the mission's you've flown do you see as most in need of "bar-raising?"

    I'm also curious: Would you pay for any addon? Airplane, scenery, mesh?
    Last edited: 1/3/07
  15. archtx

    archtx

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    Hi Kevin:

    As I said, I don't want to hijack Jib's thread.....so I'll move this to a new thread.
  16. archtx

    archtx

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    Jib: In the FSX gauges folder there is a cabinet of mission gauges. I haven't messed with them, but it does appear this is the location of the mission compass, and that it could be resized.
  17. BASys

    BASys

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    Hi Folks

    Thorsten -
    Cheers,
    I'd already done that. ;)

    But your post prompted me to re-check this,
    then realised that I my activation action to 'False',
    was still ticked, therefore applying 'True'. :eek:

    Many thanks
    ATB
    Paul
  18. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

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    Oh, I hate these little mistakes... :eek:

    Good to know it works now. :)
  19. BASys

    BASys

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    Hi Folks

    Thorsten -
    LOL
    It did then.
    I only wish it worked now. :(

    Made some major functional changes using a text editor.
    FSX no longer loads the mission.

    There's nothing wrong with the xml itself.
    Checked using a couple of different tools,
    and a full manual inspection.

    OPT loads it all ok.
    All items are correctly linked to one another.

    It's just something in the functions I've incorrectly implemented.

    12,300 lines of xml going spare. :D

    I'm reluctant to step back to the LKG 10k line version,
    but may have to yet. :eek:

    The OPT & Mission system desperately needs a debbugger.

    ATB
    Paul
  20. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

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    If the OPT loads the mission (which it should do even with broken mission files afaik) and everything seems to be correct there, it's still the possibillity that something went wrong.

    Examples of my most nerving errors:

    - a waypoint suddenly got lost - never found out how
    - a proxtrigger had an empty "entercondition" in the xml - you can't spot that in the OPT

    I had some other things which I could only resolve by scrolling through the xml.

    And I totally understand your problem. My latest mission (halfway through) has almost 200k yet... :D

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