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Anyone want to help create a simple ATC game?
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08-20-2003 20:35

Posted by:
DavidJJ

Location:
Waterloo, Ontario

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Is there anyone about willing to be a co-creator of a simple ATC simulator-type game for the Mac? ATC being "air traffic control."

I'm not talking something horrifically complex here, perhaps just simulating either an approach/control situation at a single airport (or choice of a few if I can get traffic flow patterns from others besides YYZ). Either that or the low/middle/high sectors of a radar area where most of the traffic flows through to other places.

Basic trig programming required (speed, altitude, rate of climb/descent, and compass directions). Will need to display aircraft info as text block next to moving targets.

Possibly for the uDevgames contest??

I am a former ATC from the Toronto YYZ area and also a senior graphic designer so can contribute knowledge and graphics, but not programming skills :-(. I also have access to a major game programming musician who might help out with sound files.

Any takers? Thoughts??

DavidJJ

scuffleanddustcough_at_artspin_dot_com

or

djanikjones_esolutionsgroup_dot_ca

08-22-2003 07:09

Posted by:
eekaydee

Location:
CA, USA

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Sounds cool. Are you aiming for a fun game or just something interesting?
I might be interested, but I'm already working on a game and I want to finish it sometime :)

08-22-2003 14:10

Posted by:
DavidJJ

Location:
Waterloo, Ontario

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Fun versus interesting, hmm...

Either one, since both have their advantages/disadvantages. I'm willing to take advice/suggestions as to which way would be the better route from a programmers and also game players perspective. Here's a rough overview of advantages to each ...

Fun
simpler to program in terms of amount of stuff to code (?)
will appeal to a wider audience
less stringent "real life" requirements
ability to, assuming point 1 holds, give players more options (e.g., a larger selection of airports or sectors to choose from)
assuming point 1 is correct less time to completion

Interesting
more accurate (although still simpler than real life) simulation
less options for players to choose from but with more accurate sim qualities (e.g., real life traffic patterns, more accurate graphics)
perhaps a free-flowing/non-goal oriented sim than "fun" version
offers expandability options (e.g.future sectors/airports, revised traffic flow files, etc

I think I'd prefer a deleicate balance between the two. I can prepare something that lists all of the feature someone *might* want versus the features/gameplay that we *need* to make something both interesting but still playable for someone with a casual interest.

I'm hoping that most of the traffic data could be held/read in from XML files.

The reason for an ATC sim is there hasn't been one readily available for the Mac since my earliest Mac days back on the late 80s when Wesson has one called TRACON available. I have server and web space available for development/distribution.

Let me know what you think.

David JJ

08-22-2003 16:45

Posted by:
eekaydee

Location:
CA, USA

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What is ATC?

I know you already explained that ATC means air traffic control, but what do you do for that job? Do you sit in the airport and watch all the planes to make sure they won't run into each other?

Yes, I agree that there should be balance. You don't want it overly realistic, or only real ATCs would be able to do it right? Then again, it has to have some realism or the player wouldn't be able to get into the game. All you really need is a long term goal, like getting rich and buying the largest house, or saving the most planes or getting the highest score. Then it's a game, but I don't know how fun.

08-23-2003 00:35

Posted by:
Jason Anderson

Location:
Doylestown, PA

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I like to create fun non-games with this language.

If only I could do resizing Arrays (Where I can redim it to make it larger or smaller.) I could make my favorite experiment. Life.

I had pixels on screen. Thousands. I want to make them live. They'd be born, live, grow up, get married, have children and die. All the while, they're continuously moving and stuff. But right now I can only have them move around. *sigh*

One idea I had been toying with every time I drive in my car, is a traffic simulation. A city layout with roads, then smart "cars" that would be able to plot paths and move along the roads. Wouldn't know where to start, though.

08-23-2003 12:04

Posted by:
mark_667

Location:
England

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Arrays aren't really a problem, if you cannot re-size it in the way you want, youcan always use dummy entities with null values to take up access space. Also, this link: http://www.tntbasic.com/community/forums/showthread.php?threadid=540 has some information on re-dimensioning arrays which might be of use to you. Besides a project such as LIFE would mainly just require good maths. You may be interested in a project called hopalong, which I believe may use similar principles to the ones you will need. Hope this helps :-)

Oh, and as for the ATC, do you think TNT's 3D capabilities are powerful enough for what you want? or are you thinking of a simplified 2D version? Be good if you could do it, though.

08-26-2003 01:05

Posted by:
DavidJJ

Location:
Waterloo, Ontario

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In answer ...

mark_667 ...

Yes, I think a balance can be struck between "simple" and enjoyable in an ATc simulation. As I said, the thing to do would be create a list of wanted versus needed features and then eliminate and combine to strike the right balance. Sort of like the tweaking game companies do to make sure, say, one character class isn't significantly stronger at the same level as any other.

I'm not sure how much of the 3D stuff is required, beyond simple math. Remember, I'm envisioning a 2D radar display (similar to that found in many TRACON (radar centres) around the country) that displays aircraft data (e.g., airspeed, altitude, call sign, transponder code, rate of climb/descent, and last 3-5 positions) as a simple data tag next to a simple outlined square representing the aircraft. Compared to something like Raptor I'd say it's much simpler in that there is no scrolling screen, sprites, real collisison detetction etc.

I can certainly post a screen shot of what I'm envisioning and more details to anyone interested enough to give this a go. All comments always appreciated :-)

eekaydee

While not really realistic, I'm hoping to either create a sim/game where players get scored on their performance, ability to manage larger volumes of traffic, route aircraft to their destination in the most effective manner, and a few other things (I think). A sim without a real goal I guess, except to perform at increasingly better levels.

Again, any comments or critiscism welcome. I'm not sure how realistic a project this is.

08-26-2003 05:35

Posted by:
eekaydee

Location:
CA, USA

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Mark_667

quote:
Oh, and as for the ATC, do you think TNT's 3D capabilities are powerful enough for what you want? or are you thinking of a simplified 2D version?

I don't think davidJJ is talking about a flight sim.

DavidJJ
So the game is just watching a radar right? Doesn't sound too difficult.

08-26-2003 20:31

Posted by:
DavidJJ

Location:
Waterloo, Ontario

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Yup, just a 2D radar screen

eekaydee.

Yup, just a 2D radar screen. The only thing moving on it would be the aircraft sqaures, the associated data tags, and maybe(?) weather systems.

DJJ

08-28-2003 00:48

Posted by:
LordFire

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Player input?

I'm only going from what I've seen in the movie "pushing tin" but how would the player tell a plane A to change course to header 120, change airspeed to 120mph, to it misses plane B.

It sounds like an interesting idea, I'm just concerned about how a player would control the traffic.

08-29-2003 14:52

Posted by:
DavidJJ

Location:
Waterloo, Ontario

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Controlling aircraft (answer)

Most of the early ATC sim games (right up to the somewhat voice controllable ATC Simulator 2000) have used the keyboard to issue aircraft their instructions.

Normally in these games, the player/controller would click on an aircraft's square/symbol on the screen (signifying that they are "talking" to that specific aircraft) and then issue their orders via standard keyboard commands in text fields. When the players clicks the aircraft target the aircraft ID/call sign appears in the first of a string of one line text feilds across the bottom of the screen.

Therefore, if you clicked on, say, ACA127 (Air Canada flight 127) you'd get ...

ACA127 in the first text field, and in subsequent text field(s) you'd type TR FL270 DM FL340 then click the "Issue" button. This string would correspond to ...

"Air Canada 127, turn right, fly heading 270 degrees, descend to and maintain flight level 340 [34,000feet]."

The aircraft should then do what you've asked.

This is the method I'm envisioning using as well.

David JJ

08-29-2003 16:15

Posted by:
eekaydee

Location:
CA, USA

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The commands sound confusing, but the game seems simple enough. It shouldn't be too hard to make, except maybe for those editable text fields.

08-29-2003 23:12

Posted by:
someone

Location:
Quebec ( Canada )

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Typing commands... hum... I have a crazy idea... could it be possibly possible to control it with speech recognition? ( forgive me if I'm saying something stupid, :) ! )

08-31-2003 18:38

Posted by:
Wil Hostman

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Not Stupid...

But voice rec is not a great way to input for time-critical data in current hardware platforms.

Specifically, the voice recognition idea is hard enough to get natural speach into in a timely manner (many can type as fast or faster than many speach-input programs can do).

In a few years, that may change...

besides, I don't see a speach input socket... and I've not seen docs on TNT doing speach rec.

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