Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crimson Eagles - Maneuvering Chart

When I began this project the first step was to work out the maneuvering chart. Canvas Eagles has good, comprehensive system for movement. The problem lies in fitting the plane’s characteristics to it. There is no formula for matching a plane to the maneuvering chart; it is based on personal interpretations of how a plane historically behaved – was it good in turns, how did it climb and dive compared to other planes of the time. The problem with planes from Crimson Skies is that they are not real world aircraft and so have nothing to compare them too.

So I started by gathering data from the design book from the original game and also the construction process in the video game. After much trial and error I was able to create an algorithm that produced results matching those of the PC game. (I knew an astrophysics degree was good for something.) Now I have a number that lets me compare the various aircraft of the Crimson Skies world as to how well they perform against each other based on their Base-Target-Number (BTN), speed, acceleration, and G’s. Of course, the number is only a relative scale to compare a Crimson Skies plane to another Crimson Skies plane – poor to excellent. Next I began trying to match these characteristics to real world planes from WWII and their maneuvering charts from Canvas Eagles. The difficulty again was the fact that Crimson Skies planes aren’t real – they don’t have the little quirks of real planes. A BTN 6 plane with a max speed of 3 and G’s of 2 is just like all the other planes with the same characteristics. So comparing them to real aircraft does not work well, nor does it keep the pulpish feel of Crimson Skies. Back to the drawing board, though the algorithm is useful in classifying stability.

What I did next was to convert the Crimson Skies’ maneuvering chart to a Canvas Eagles’ type chart. With a few minor changes to bring in maneuvers that aren’t in one system but are in the other, or make some moves more difficult or easier depending what seems to fit best, I now have chart that appears to work. Restricted moves are now ones that are three G’s or greater from the Crimson Skies’ chart, with a few exceptions.

So here is the basic maneuvering chart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking great - can't wait to see more!

James