Classic Battle Field

As promised, here is a battle field that features the Classic Saucers. Imagine you are in the classic ’56 film. The Saucers even make a sound very much like in the movie.

We’ve set this field to have only 6 levels of game play. As you may expect, the levels start easy and get progressively harder. As the levels increase, not only are there more enemy, but they also have more speed, and their weapons have higher fire rates.

After you fail to finish all 6 levels with your stock planes, try increasing your model’s speed by increasing the motor’s RPM. Another thing you can do to help is increase your gun’s muzzle velocity. Still not happy? Try increasing your missile’s thrust and burn time. Decreasing the missile’s “Launch Delay” will also increase the rate of fire of the missles. (You probably shouldn’t go below about 0.2, which is 5 missiles per second!)

Download the Classic Battle Field Now

You can download these new field weapons from Page 4 of the User’s Area.

Enjoy!
Sunday Flyer Software

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Classic Flying Saucers!

There have been many really imaginative, truly awe inspiring space craft in the movies over the years, but for me the seminal design was from the 1956 thriller Earth vs Flying Saucers. This simple disk with its elegant dome and funny antenna shaped weapon hanging out of the bottom was absolutely fascinating to watch for movie goers of the era. Let me tell you it was an unforgetable joy for those of us who were lucky enough to see it under the stars on the local drive-in screen.

Now you can see these classic saucer designs come alive again in your field! I’ve tried to capture the feeling of the originals. I hope you agree it comes pretty close :)

How to use

This is the first field weapon we’ve published as a downloadable file. You use it a little differently than the models you have been downloading and flying. the models are stand alone complete spaces. You load them and go flying. The field weapons are not stand alone complete. They need a field to live in. Make a folder for the file you download. Unzip the contents of the file into the folder. Run DAM and load a field and a model. They are ready to go fly. But before you do, we need to get the new field weapon into the field. Load the field weapon (in this case, the file “Classic_Flying_Saucer.dam”. It will open in a third space (or tab), this time a “work” space. Now select the top item in the object list. This will cause all the items in the space to be selected. Copy them. Activate the field space and paste it in.

That’s all you have to do. You can now go flying and you’ll see the new flying saucer flying around the sky. If your model has weapons, you can go shoot it down!

Modify the speed and weapons!

You can also select the new flying saucer (again, select the top item in the list so all the objects in the flying saucer are selected), copy it and paste it. You’ll see another flying saucer appear. Do it again until you have 5 or 6, then go flying. You will see all of them flying around, ready for target practice.

Change their starting position

You can also select one and translate it to somewhere else in the field. This is the position where the saucer will appear when the level begins.

Change their speed

Don’t forget you can change the speed and altitude of the saucer by right clicking on the top control object and selecting “Control Object”, “Edit this Control Object”. The window that opens allows you to change the parameters in any way you see fit. In the near future I’ll write an entry detailing the variables, or publish a pdf on the subject, but for now just play hacker! They are pretty self explanatory and you’ll get the idea quickly.

Modify their weapons!

If you load the saucer with weapon, it’s fun to change the saucers gun. Expand the object tree until you see “Field Gun CO” and expand this item so you see “Shell CO (field gun bullet)”. Right click on this item and choose “Control Object”, “Edit this control object”. The window that opens allows you to specify all kinds of things about the gun’s bullet. See the gadget for “Rounds Per Sec”? Change it to 6 rounds per second and watch how the weapon changes. As you can infer, a value of 0.5 would be one bullet every 2 seconds, 0.25 would be a bullet every 4 seconds, and 0.1 would be a bullet every 10 seconds. Get the idea?

You can make the gun as accurate as you want. The accuracy is mostly affected by the “Muzzle Velocity”. The higher the velocity, the more accurate the gun. If the “smart” tag is on in the “Field Gun CO”, the gun will not only track where the model is. It will predict where the model will be when the bullet arrives! Any change in flight speed or direction you make between the time the bullet fires and the bullet arrives will allow you to avoid the incoming bullet. The higher velocity means the bullet will arrive in a shorter time making it harder for you to avoid it. Of course this time is also shorter when you are close to the gun.

If you change the velocity from the 8000 to, say 24000, the bullet is going to be a whole lot harder to elude. Try it and see.

Download them now

You can download these new field weapons from the Page 4 of the User’s Area.

We’ll create a field featuring these Classic Saucers and publish it soon.

Good Digital Modeling!

Digital Aircraft Modeler
Sunday Flyer Software

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DAM 2.0 – The Battle Is ON!


As you know, at Sunday Flyer Software we’ve been hard at work on the new version of Digital Aircraft Modeler. Well, I’m proud and excited to say it’s finished! This is a MAJOR version release. So what’s new? Literally too much to talk about in this article. But I’ll mention (ok, brag about) a few highlights…

Control Objects

The new control objects fundamentally change the way animation occurs in the DAM environment. In the easiest form, you create a line in space and tell the program to create a control object where the line is. You edit the new control object and make it a rotation object. Now you assign ANY OTHER OBJECT to the control object, and it will rotate as instructed by the control object around the axis defined by the line’s position. There are lots of types of control objects besides rotation. I’ll leave it to you to look. Prepare to be amazed :)

And to give you as much power as possible to bring your creative ideas to life, the control objects can be hierarchically linked! In plain English, they can be assigned to other control objects. Ad infinitum. Very powerful. And very very cool.

Autonomous Objects

One special type of Control Object is an autonomous object. It can be a ground type, or air type. As you may have guessed, any objects assigned to this control object will move independent of any input. It’s like they have a mind of their own.

Trucks that drive themselves around the terrain. Planes and saucers that fly around the sky.

You can specify envelop parameters, like min/max speed, altitude, etc. You can draw an entire vehicle and, well — give it a brain:) This gives you something to shoot. Did I say shoot? Yup. Read on.

Weapons – Weapons – Weapons!

This is the NUMBER ONE REQUESTED NEW FEATURE. Apparently almost every DAM user wants to shoot stuff. Well, we’ve answered your requests. You can now draw a gun, and a bullet, and put the bullet in the gun. You assign them to control objects that look for button or keyboard presses to know when to fire. You specify the muzzle velocity and rate of fire. You specify the range. You can even assign the sound the bullet makes when it fires, flies and hits its target. You can also assign images to be used for the muzzle flash, flight (as in tracers) and impact/explosion. Oh, you can also assign a smoke image for where the bullet strikes. The result is an enormously flexible system for creating nearly anything you can imagine.

The gun can be placed on your model. As you fly you can fire the gun by pressing the button or key you have specified.

You can also draw a MISSILE and hang it on your plane. You control all aspects of the missile, like range, thrust, and all imagery and sounds. You can also specify the missile to be HEAT SEEKING, to dramatically improve your hit ratio.

You can also draw BOMBS, hang them on your plane, and drop till your heart’s content and of course, ’till your enemy’s dead.

You’ll find a new “Weapons” folder in the Parts Bin that has completed weapons you can add to any model and edit to just the right stuff. It’s couldn’t be simpler.

Game Modes

So your model can be outfitted with weapons. And you can have autonomous objects running around and flying in your fields. I’m sure you’ve already guessed what we did next. We made sure the autonomous objects can carry guns and shoot at you. And of course you can shoot at them. It all adds up to a fun and challenging game environment where you have complete control. DAM 2.0 allows you to specify a number of levels of game play for each field. The goal of each level is to destroy all enemy in that level before they destroy you. You can tell each autonomous object which level(s) it will appear in. You can put less aggressive AO’s in the early levels and more agressive AO’s in the later levels. In addition, DAM 2.0 upgrades the speed and weapon capability as the levels increase. DAM 2.0 also allows you to specify a playing level of NOOB, YEOMAN or EXPERT each time you start the game.

The result of all of this is when you design your flying field, you can now design your own game. You can make it as hard or as easy as you like. You can view a short video of DAM 2.0 gameplay by clicking here.

Cad Based RC Simulator

With all of the new features, we haven’t forgotten the original intent. DAM 2.0 is still one of the top RC flight simulators out there. You can build your own models and fields, and practice your flying skills. One thing that I’ve noticed is that avoiding enemy incoming and shooting down all the enemy is a terrific way to polish your flying skills.

Download And Try It Now

You can go to our download page and get a fully functional install package now. It will allow you to run the program 20 times. DAM requires a compatible graphics card. The try-before-you-buy approach allows you to make sure your hardware supports it before you decide to get the program.

Make sure you come back to this blog in the near future. We’ll be adding lots of how-to articles. And don’t forget to check out the website in the next couple of weeks. We’re putting together a couple of demo videos of the program in game play**. We’ll also be adding models and fields you can download and use.

** Editor’s note: we finished the video – click here.

Good Digital Flying – and Fighting!
Greg Gorby
Sunday Flyer Software

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New Fokker DR1 and Coke Plane

This pair of models are the first submissions from Chuck B. I’ve had them for a few weeks, and am just now getting around to posting them. Thanks for your patience, Chuck!

The Coke Plane was Chuck’s first model in DAM. The first time i flew it was quite a surprise for me. I think the best way to describe the model is “slow and gentle”. The Coke Plane may be the easiest flying DAM model yet.

The Fokker DR1 is Chuck’s second submission, and all I can say is WOW. Chuck is really showing his mastery on this one. There is a lot of attention to detail. I particularly liked the method he chose to build the wings. You can almost feel the ribbing.

It is always interesting for me to see and fly models others have constructed. They teach me about how others are using the program and what they enjoy.

Make sure you download and try Chuck’s models, and if you are also building, send them in for others to enjoy!

Good Digital Modeling!
Greg

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Taking Time Off

Some of you have emailed me wondering why I haven’t posted any new models for a while.

I’m glad you noticed! Don’t worry. I’m taking a little time to myself while I work on some really cool new features for Version 2. It looks like it will be ready to release sometime in early May.

I’ll see if I can find a little time to do another model or two in the next few weeks, so check back once in a while. Meanwhile, make sure you send in what you are working on. It’s fun to see what you are working on!

And of course – Good Digital Modeling :)

Greg
Sunday Flyer Software, LLC

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Bede BD-5J

Digital Aircraft Modeler BEDE BD-5J

Reclining in a 358 lb thin walled fuselage with 225 lbs of jet thrust pushing you along at 300 mph. You just can’t get cooler than that. Of course, the safety record may cause you some concern.

How cool is this jet? James Bond cool. It was featured in the 1983 movie Octopussy (I still can’t get over that name – anyone know what it means?) James, being pursued by a heat seeking missile shot by the local bad guys, flies the little jet into a hangar, just barely clearing the closing doors on the other end by doing a knife edge, which might be a little hard to believe if it wasn’t James.

The aircraft was first created in the late 1960’s, and sold as a homebuilt kit in the 1970’s. It was a prop driven plane, pusher style, and it was a hot seller. Not many of the kits that were sold actually got delivered. The company went bankrupt in the 70’s.

As for the safety record I mentioned, the Bede_BD-5 Wilkipedia page tells us there were four early “short wing” versions, all of which crashed on their first flights, killing 3 of the 4 pilots, and the next 21 planes with either the short or the long wings, experienced 10 crashes with 6 more fatalities. That’s 9 dead pilots in the first 24 aircraft! One cause they list is particularly interesting. The high prop location results in a high line of thrust. Think about what is happening when the engine is pushing. The center of gravity is lower than the line of thrust. The more power you apply, the more the tendency to rotate the aircraft so the nose points downward. Not a problem, because you can compensate for it, right? But what happens if the engine suddenly quits? All the compensation you’ve been adding would make the nose suddenly come up high. You’re in a sudden unexpected stall. If you’re close to the ground your one of nine!

We “fixed” this in the model by moving the thrust line down more in line with the center of gravity. It’s easy to do in Digital Aircraft Modeler, and it makes the aircraft a lot friendlier to fly. If you want to fly it more like the original just right click on the “engine” object and select “Engine”. The window you see will let you change the center of thrust. Click the drop down arrow on the “Rotate” gadget so you are looking directly at the right side of the aircraft. Now drag the center of thrust up to the jet engine outlet location. When you fly the model with this high line of thrust you’ll notice the aircraft nosing down when you apply power. The effect is most pronounced at low speeds.

One more thing – we created graphics to make the aircraft look like the one in the movies. I can hear the theme from Octopussy now :)

Download your copy from page 3 of the user’s area.

Good Digital Modeling!
Sunday Flyer Software

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Cessna Skymaster


When I was a child, someone must have owned a skymaster at an airport near our house. I would occasionally see the plane flying by above the fields to the North. I didn’t have to see it to know what it was. The sound was distinctly different than the single engine planes, and even a bit different than the other twins. It must be something to do with having both engines inline.

When I was lucky enough to see it, I would watch until it moved out of sight. The stroke of the twin booms and the signature rake of the twin fins instilled wonder in my young mind.

The digital version brings back all of those memories for me. I hope it does for you too!

Download the plane and fly it now in the User Downloads.

Good Digital Modeling!
Greg

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Beechcraft Sierra


Happy New Year! This Beechcraft Sierra is the first DAM digital model published on the website in 2012. I actually did most of the work in late December, but with the holidays demanding so much time, I couldn’t finish it until now. 2011 was an eventful year for us with the initial release of Digital Aircraft Modeler in June followed by an upgrade in October. As if this was not enough, we also created an initial group of models for everyone to download. Don’t be mislead into thinking we were working. All of this is our idea of fun :)

The Sierra is an iconic personal airplane that was an evolutionary step in the development of the Musketeer. It appeared in 1970, and was the first of the Musketeers to feature a retractable landing gear. This helped it take full advantage of the 200 hp Lycoming engine.

The aircraft has a lot of devotees and there is plenty of material to read about it on the web. You can Google it easy enough so I won’t repeat any of it here. One thing that I found particularly interesting was that the type of landing gear used required a bit more practice to achieve a smooth landing than other aircraft brands in the same class.

The digital model as published is pleasantly aerobatic. I hope you enjoy flying it. We also took some time to add a rough interior just so the cockpit has a nice look when the model rolls by you on takeoff and landings. I added nav lights and strobe lights too. I’m not quite sure I have them right. If anyone can tell us if I have the colors in the right locations, or what the timing on the strobes should be, let us know.

Good digital modeling!
Greg
Sunday Flyer Software, LLC

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3 View Plans

I decided to work on a Beechcraft Sierra. My usual work routine is to use Google to search for a 3-view drawing that I can work with. I load the drawing into the sketches in DAM, and use them to trace the aircraft shapes. I can then extrude and revolve the polygons into mesh objects with shapes that are very similar to the original aircraft.

I am so impressed with one of the sites that came up in Google, that I have to share. The site is a veritable treasure trove of 3-view aircraft drawings. I ended up spending a couple of hours looking through the images. There are enough aircraft there to keep us busy for years!

Take a look by clicking here. I think you will find the 3-view you are looking for.

By the way, I’m about half done with the Sierra. I’ll post it as soon as it is done.

Good Digital Modeling!
Greg

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Trike Powered Glider

On my farm in NE Ohio I occasionally see one of the local farm boys flying over the back of the property in his trike powered glider. What fun that must be! If I were just a little crazier…

I decided to try modeling this aircraft. The project raised several challenges. First, the wing had to have a stretched fabric feel, with an open bottom. This I did by using only the top half of the skin of the wing, and making a set of ribs to fit. The ribs are transparent, which made for a very nice effect. I also made the ribs in alternating lengths. This gave a “scalloped” shape to the trailing edge, which further enhanced the stretched fabric feel. You can also read the texture from below in a “wrong” reading orientation, which makes it look like the fabric is thin and partly transparent (even though it does not have any transparency).

The second challenge was the control surfaces. I’ve never flown one of these things, but apparently you turn by pushing the control arm left and right. This arm is attached to the entire wing, which makes the wing swing! This was easy to do, and the effect is quite rewarding. However, apparently you also push and pull the control arm for elevator. I had already used the rotation axis assigned to the aileron. DAM only allows us to assign each object to one rotation axis. I need two to make the wing work the way the real ones do. Guess what’s coming in the next version of DAM? Yep. I’ve put in linkable rotation axes, so we can assign two or more rotation controls to a single object :) I plan to release version 2.0 in the second quarter of 2012. The linkable rotation axes will be in that version (along with a lot more!).

We took time to set the flight parameters to make this digital model fly just as we imagine the real trikes do. Apply full throttle and let the model run down the runway. If your controls are set correctly, it will gently lift off on its own, with no elevator input required. There isn’t enough power for a loop, although you can get something resembling inverted flight if you start high enough and push in full down elevator.

Note that we put in some rudder control so you can turn it on the ground. The rudder input also affects the model in flight, which is not something you would have in the real model. For instance, you can snap roll the model by pushing full left rudder and full left aileron at the same time. This could not be done in the real aircraft.

If any of you actually fly one of these things, leave a comment and let us know how close the flight characteristics of the model are to the real thing.

Good Digital Modeling!
Greg

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