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Author Topic: Modding Tornado  (Read 98749 times)

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #150 on: August 15, 2018, 02:19:02 AM »
Now that Mod#90 has been done, my goal is to hit 100 mods/posts for Modding Tornado. If you have any ideas/requests for modding or enhancing Tornado, I have only one question for you:

What would you like to see added to Tornado as part of the final 10 mods?

I look forward to hearing from you.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 12:59:35 AM by Frankie »

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #151 on: August 18, 2018, 06:39:50 PM »
91.  Colour diversity of tree ground object
Mod: Trees are now shown in three colours, giving the landscape some visual diversity.
By Frankie
Description:
My latest mod. Mixed-color trees. The current stock game paints all trees the same colour. So when tree structures overlap with one another (e.g., one tree partially behind the other), some of the detail gets lost.

Some interesting effects as a result of the tree colour mod
  • So with the three-hue trees - 2 different colours for the leaves + 1 colour for the trunk - more details is seen, and the games gives an illusion that the ground suddenly becomes more detailed;
  • The enemy and friendly ground units are harder to visually spot or identify!  But for those, really, one should just use the Ground Radar to highlight the specks of the enemy;
  • I find that I tend to spend more time checking out the ground detail because my eye might miss an enemy SAM or AAA unit.



Below is a sample of what I did to get different coloured trees.

I modified these 4 files:
D:\TORNADO\VISUAL\OBJECTS\GROUND\COPSEA.INC
D:\TORNADO\VISUAL\OBJECTS\GROUND\COPSEB.INC
D:\TORNADO\VISUAL\OBJECTS\GROUND\COPSEC.INC
D:\TORNADO\VISUAL\OBJECTS\GROUND\COPSED.INC

I then recompiled the file D:\TORNADO\VISUAL\GRNDOBJ1.ASM.



FLIGHT.EXE will be uploaded with Mod#92.

All 91 mods are listed here.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 06:59:22 PM by Frankie »

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #152 on: August 18, 2018, 06:55:06 PM »
92.  Split-screen TV-Tabs and MFDs susceptible to damage
Mod: Will show static if damaged.
By Frankie
Description:
Split-screen TV-Tabs and MFDs will be damaged if the Pilot's and Navigator's TV-Tabs and MFDs fail. This happens when a SAM hits home on your Tornado. Or from AAA inflicted wounds. More realistic.


TV-Tabs are damaged. So split-screen's TV-Tab display shows only static. Good luck, Mate!

Files modified:
D:\TORNADO\VISUAL\EXTRNPAN.ASM
D:\TORNADO\TAB.ASM


Pilot's and Navigator's MFDs are damaged. So split-screen's MFD shows only static. Tornado down (soon)!

File uploaded as usual. Covers both Mod#91 (see tree recolouring post) and Mod#92 (this post).

The Split-Screen TV-Tab and MFD positioning have also been overhauled. Previously they would jump around. This time, the mini-displays are flush against the upper-left of the screen. They are now consistently placed.

All 92 mods are listed here.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 01:01:09 AM by Frankie »

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #153 on: August 19, 2018, 01:08:23 AM »
93.  Increased initial zoom level of the Big Map, Moving Map and Reference Map to Level 2 Zoom.
Mod: Level 2 Initial Zoom for Maps
By Frankie
Description: This mod is for gamers who run Tornado's FLIGHT.EXE on retro PCs or on authentic 1990s hardware like the 486SX/DX. Or even less. One of the biggest framerate hits is caused by the 'M' Big Map display, Moving Map display or the Reference Map. This is mentioned in the Tornado manual. This is because each of the three map displays always start at the initial zoom level of 1. This is the maximum zoomed-out map with the highest level of detail.

When accessing the Map windows, here is the spectrum of polygon counts from highest count (slowest gameplay) to lowest count (fastest gameplay).

MAP_ZOOM1 = polygon count from 6,000 to 1,000++.
MAP_ZOOM2 =polygon count from 2,000 to 600
MAP_ZOOM3 = polygon count < 1.000

I have found that my choosing the next zoom-in level, which is Level 2 Zoom, the number of polygons generated drops by a couple of thousand. And the framerate picks up. At level 2, a sector is represented by 16 pixels width. It represents a zoom level of 512 feet above ground. So the FLIGHT.EXE above is where I have set the initial map detail level to 2.


Zooming in with "<" or Ctrl+RightMouseClick further reduces the polygon count, but makes it harder for the virtual pilot gamer to "see the forest for the trees". So I have settled on the Golden Initial Zoom level, Level 2, as being the best balance between faster play and sufficient overall detail for the gamer.

BEFORE (Initial zoom of Big Map of Level1) - 5,482 polygons

AFTER (Initial zoom of Big Map set to Level2) - 1,478 polygons

That's a big jump in reduced polygons = increased speed of gameplay.


Previously this setup of split-screen with the Big Map ('M' key) and TV-Tab with moving map would be a major slideshow speed causer of the game. No more. Polygons are now around 500+ instead of the thousands.

Here's the code to achieve all this.













The code above achieves the Map Zoom Level2 for all Map displays:





File attached is FLIGHT.EXE. This FLIGHT.EXE is essentially the same as Mod#92, except that Mod#92's initial map zoom levels are all set to the default MAP_ZOOM1 - the highest zoomed-out level. Whereas Mod#93's initial map zoom levels are all set to MAP_ZOOM2 for faster game speed. So if you are playing Tornado using DOSBox on...
...(1) a fast modern PC, use the FLIGHT.EXE of Mod#92
...(2) a retro or 1990s PC, use the FLIGHT.EXE of Mod#93 (this post)

Cheers
Frankie Kam
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 02:01:13 AM by Frankie »

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Offline Tom N

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #154 on: August 19, 2018, 11:26:36 AM »
I'll gladly try the tree-three-colour-mod, but I get mixed feelings about the zoomed in map, because the map should give a good overview, it should be zoomed out as default to find the next airfield as fast as possible, when all other means (TABs + MFDs) already failed.

Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #155 on: August 19, 2018, 11:40:09 AM »
Hi Tom. Yes you are right in that a zoomed-out map gives a better overview.

I created the "by-default zoom in by one level" map because one gamer experienced slideshow speeds on his 486 (retro PC - the real DOS deal, not like what I am using which is a modern laptop with DOSBox) when going to split-screen with the Moving Map in the TV-Tab display. I created FLIGHT.EXE of Mod#93 for gamers with old, retro PCs where speed may be an issue. For the rest of us who experience no speed slowdown issues, Mod#92 will suffice.

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #156 on: August 23, 2018, 07:33:27 PM »
94.  ADV Tornado F3's HUD now works in full-screen view
Mod: Working ADV HUD in full-screen
By Frankie
Description: I have good news. Yesterday I managed to get the ADV Tornado (F3) Air-to-air gunnery and missile HUD symbology to work in full-screen mode.


Tornado F3 cockpit. From this ...


...to this with all the avionics and HUD symbols faithfully
reproduced in full-screen mode.

The HUD symbology is very complex and realistic for a 1993 DOS flight simulator. It comes with a small moving cross "+" which is the intersection point between cannon shells and the moving target.  That moving cross - is smaller than the stationary central HUD cross . In the screenshot below, the Tornado F3's Skyflash A2A missile is armed and a target has been locked on. The moving cross is seen as the small yellow cross on the HUD slightly to the right of the centre section of the countdown circle. The intersection or impact point is based on the trajectory, airspeed and angle of the target relative to the Tornado F3. There is some serious physics and mathematics calculations involved here, courtesy of the brilliant  programming by Kevin J. Bezant. The aeronautics and Tornado flight data was fed to him by David Marshall. the Project Manager.


A larger, clearer view (edited screenshot)

Getting the ADV Tornado full screen is a big deal to me because the original simulation had terrible situational awareness. No padlock view, limited half-screen height for pilot's front view. So now the full-screen with working HUD will go some way to overcome the usability issues of the original game where flying the  the ADV Tornado. DI's Tornado is mainly about the IDS Tornado. The ADV Tornado is IMHO, kinda neglected. I guess if gamers wanted to do air dogfighting, they would have played Falcon 3.0 instead.

FLIGHT.EXE will be attached in the next post.

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #157 on: August 23, 2018, 07:43:12 PM »
95. Added ADV Tornado F3's HUD to split-screen view, aided by visible Air-To-Air Radar display.
Mod: Working ADV HUD in split-screen
By Frankie
Description: Now it gets more useful and interesting. Previously only the IDS Tornado GR1 could enjoy the split screen. Now the Tornado F3 interceptor too. With an Air-To-Air RADAR to boot!

\
F3 action.


Plenty Air-To-Air action on the HUD to keep the keenest pilot busy!


Same HUD information presented on the full-screen (From Pilot's cockpit, hit Shift+D.
Or at Navigator's cockpit. cycle the left and right TV-Tabs with the '[' key or ']' key.

This, IMHO, is a long-overdue mod. In December 2017, I managed to get the IDS Tornado's HUD to be fully-functioning in full-screen. Now it is the ADV Tornado's turn. Enjoy, and please help to catch any programming bugs that may have been overlooked.

For the first time ever, the Air Radar appears together with the ADV Tornado's full-screen. ENJOY THIS MOD!

Attached is the FLIGHT.EXE
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 05:51:50 AM by Frankie »

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Offline Tom N

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #158 on: August 23, 2018, 10:11:03 PM »
Yes, kudos to Kevin J. Bezant and David Marshall and all the helpers for this amazing computing and displaying stuff to be seen in the HUD alone, but not only there!

And yes, the Tornado isn't that powerful in dogfights, the MiG-31 and the Su-27 seem to be quite playful when accompanying the Tornado as enemy. The Tornado isn't agile enough in close quarters, but faaaast just above ground with afterburners on and fastest in the greatest heights, given that the packages are no longer at the pylons but have found their targets.

So it's only important to get into the hot zone and "lose some weight" there.

Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #159 on: August 24, 2018, 02:48:28 AM »
> So it's only important to get into the hot zone and "lose some weight" there.
>
After jettisoning ordnance and fuel, if all else fails, hit Ctrl+E and eject the pilot. How's that for weight loss?

After the Dogs of War are let slip, let us smoke the Pipes Of Peace.

Offline Tom N

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #160 on: August 24, 2018, 04:09:36 AM »
I asked google about some "tornado ejections":

some are really bad and tragic
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1322184/Tornado-navigator-fell-450mph-plane-died-fliers-unaware-safety-checks.html

and here is the VERY detailed data making me reverently running dry:
http://www.tornado-data.com/Production/RAF%20Crash%20Data.pdf

EDIT:
And that's not even including the german, italian and arabic Tornado staff.
Too many issues for my taste!

Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #161 on: August 25, 2018, 03:28:19 PM »
Adding a new feature to the split-screen: Big Map display at the bottom half of the screen!

Work in progress. I managed to get the Big Map to reduce in height by 100 pixels, plus I can bring the halved Big Map down to the bottom half of the screen. I can also get the full-screen FLIR in the upper half of the screen. And there is the Moving Map display at the top-left hand corner.


This is work in progress. Getting the rest of the program/code to accomodate this new feature is not so easy. Below is a video that shows you the 2 maps in action. Multitasking 16 bit x86 assembly language at work here.


Sorry, no audio. I forgot to run FLIGHT.EXE with the sound flag/parameter.

Let's see what comes out of this.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 03:48:16 PM by Frankie »

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Offline Tom N

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #162 on: August 25, 2018, 05:28:31 PM »
Hmmmmm,
could you split the screen vertically?

Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #163 on: August 25, 2018, 10:03:27 PM »
An interesting question! Never before attempted. Not that I know of.  I tried it and ... FAILED. Looks like halving the screen vertically is impossible.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2018, 05:55:11 PM by Frankie »

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Offline Frankie

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Re: Modding Tornado
« Reply #164 on: August 26, 2018, 06:14:31 PM »
96. Big Map now works in Split Screen as half a Big Map - use with TV-Tab and half-screen FLIR
Mod: Split-Screen Big Map (works)
By Frankie
Description:  IMHO, one of the most neglected features of Tornado is the Big Full-Screen Map.

THE PROBLEM


The ORIGINAL BIG MAP does give a wealth of information to the gamer,  BUT!
(1) the gamer has to keep the Tornado on autopilot;
(2) the gamer cannot see anything else as the map covers the entire screen;
(3) continuous prolong use of the big map may result in the gamer neglecting the safety of his plane as he does not have the pilot's front view; (4) constantly switching between Big Map view ('M' key) and the Pilot Panel ('Home' key) is not very practical. 
So in summary, the big map, in my view, has limited use.

As of Mod#95, when you are in split-screen view (F1, followed by ']' and/or '['), hitting 'M' will give you the Big Map (halved) with the Aircraft symbol smack right in the centre:


Major PROBLEM! The fact that you cannot see even one pixel ahead of the aircraft, renders this Map view utterly useless.

My PRIMARY problem was how to bring the centre point (the top pointed tip) of the Aircraft 'cross' symbol, down to the middle of the lower half of the screen. My SECONDARY problem was to integrate the modified Big Map into the rest of the Tornado program so that it would be seamless. My TERTIARY problem was to make this mod BUG-FREE. Not an easy thing to do.


THE SOLUTION

After much work and testing, I believe I have solved it. My solution was to resurrect the Big Map by halving its height. I then added it below the full-screen HUD. A split-screen view where the top half of the screen gives the Pilot's view and the bottom half consisting of the Big Map. So to make the Big Map useful, I have had to compromise. The loss is the shorter vertical height of the map (100 pixels versus 200 pixels of the original big map). The gain is increased gameplay made possible by the synergy of the split-screen components of the full-screen (albeit half height) FLIR , various TV-Tab and MFD (top-left of the screen) AND the Big Map (albeit half height). So I am counting on the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.


SCREENSHOTS

This is what I have done:


The white specks are structures (buildings) on the ground.

As you can see, NOW the centre of the Aircraft 'cross' is at the exact centre of the lower half of the screen. The position of the Aircraft 'cross' of the (halved) Big Map, the Aircraft cross of the TV-Tab Moving Map (top left of the screen) and the view looking out of the Pilot Panel 50% full-screen FLIR (top half of the screen), are perfectly synchronised.

Another screenshot. All three elements of the screen are working in unison and are in sync.


Multitasking assembly language. Digital Integration's Kevin Bezant and company
did a great job synchronising the 3D simulation world with the 2D map!

Another scenario. This time I am flying at night. Without the Night Vision


Flying at night without the Night Vision.


MINI-TUTORIAL

Here's the sequence of keypresses to get the 2 Maps in split-screen:

(1) Hit F1 (Tracking View)

(2) Hit the ']' key to go to the Split-Screen view.

(3) Cycle through the top-left TV-Tab display with the ']' key or '[' key until you come to the Moving Map;
(4) Hit the "M" key to activate the Big Map. It will appear at the bottom of the screen:

4.1 Use the "<" and ">" keys to zoom/unzoom the Big Map;
4.2 Use the Ctrl+LeftMouseClick and Ctrl+RightMouseClick to zoom/unzoom the Moving Map at the top left of the screen;
4.3 Use Alt+RightMouseClick to bring the Moving Map's Aircraft symbol to the centre of the screen.
4.4 Click anywhere on the Moving Map to create a Target "T" Waypoint;
4.5 Hit F7 to actiavate the AFDS Autopilot;
4.6 Press "T" key to fly the plane autopilot towards the "T" Waypoint.


In the screenshot below, the 'T' Waypoint is the crosshairs at the top-left of the screen that is touching the brown line.

Important Note:
with the Big Map visible, if you try to cycle the TV-Tab display past the 10th screen, the game will prevent you by giving a Morse-Dash sound. You won't be able to get past the 10th screen. Likewise, if you try to cycle past the first split-screen screen, you won't be able to as well. You will hear a morse-dash sound. So in other words, with the Big Map visible, I have locked the gamer into a set of 10 split-screen screens.

To unlock this mode, the gamer needs to just hit F1 (or actually any of these keys: F3, F4, F5, Weapon View 'V', and any other external view, e.g., F11 or F12)...

Finally, the gamer hits the "3" key to break out of the split-screen. In the below example, the gamer when from Split-Screen with Big Map, to Split-Screen with F1 Tracking view, to full-screen Tracking View. So this is how to get into the Split-Screen with Big Map and then out of it.

Below is a montage that shows the various TV-Tab and MFD displays at the top left of the screen. You can mix-and match any of them with the half-screen FLIR and the half-Big Map.

So this is synergy I was referring to earlier. Hope you enjoy trying this one out. I spent hours on the coding and testing. If there are any bugs, please do let me know.

Note: you cannot activate the Big Map (with the 'M' key) when in a normal full-screen like the Pilot Panel or Navigator Panel. I had to lock this down because whenever the half-screen Big Map appears on top of a full-screen (e.g., Pilot Panel), the screen layer behind it would freeze.


YOUTUBE VIDEO

Here is the Youtube video showing this mod in action.

Below is the FLIGHT.E79 executable as well as the full source code. I will be updating the code to the new Tornado Github repository at https://github.com/TornadoGame/Tornado

As always, I am attaching the latest FLIGHT.EXE file. Enjoy!

Regards
Frankie Kam

Update on 28/8/2018:
Now the Moving Map, Reference Map and Big Map will all sport green flourescent colours when the game is in Night Vision mode (Shift+Tab).

Update: this mod breaks the code that handles the full screen Big Map ('M' key). See Mod#97 for the solution to this dilemma.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 12:40:23 AM by Frankie »

After the Dogs of War are let slip, let us smoke the Pipes Of Peace.