Monday, February 18, 2008

The lure of 3D cockpit ...

Saturday morning, I had the great pleasure to notice on the Orbiter's forum that AMSO 1.16 had been released by it's author. In case you don't know AMSO, it's the other Apollo simulator for Orbiter, which unlike NASSP doesn't focus (yet?) on the ultra-realistic simulation of the systems, but provides magnificient graphisms and a great gameplay. One of the pretty neat (and new?) feature of AMSO (among plenty), is a nice looking (but static) Virtual Cockpit. While looking at the Erath from the various vintage points offered by the 5 portholes, it suddently stroke me that maybe we should be using a Virtual Cockpit as well for our projects.

Since the inception of our project, back in January 2006, I have always been rather reticent to doing such a virtual cockpit. The main raison for my opposition was the limited resolution of 3D panels and controls, in comparaison to a 2D equivalent. I haven't changed my mind on this, but seen what could be attained with a virtual cockpit, the idea came to me that maybe we could combine both 2D and 3D panels, in a sort of hybrid cockpit, where mouse input on area located in the virtual cockpit, opens floating panels (aka Window) representing the corresponding instruments/panel in a nice flat 2D rendering ... I'll post more on that once we have implemented that concept a bit further.

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