In summer 2000 I saw the advertisement of the Ikarus Piccolo indoor
helicopter in all rc model publications.
I was very fascinated, but not yet sure, whether I really wanted to fly such a small helicopter.
The announcements of the piccofly simulator gave me the chance to test my
interest and develop my abilities
in controlling a rc helicopter which I have never flown before.
So already some weeks before release I ordered the simulator bundle consisting of easyfly, piccofly and transmitter cable.
After installation I checked all the files there and found out that the
painting consists of a bitmap file which can be manipulated by the user.
One week after installation I published my first painting, the bell jet ranger number 1 with ferrari logo (tribute to Michael Schumacher).
Some more paintings followed, e.g. german police, us camouflage schema, raf rescue.
New model sets:
The next step was the realization, that an easyfly model consisted of a set
i.e. DNS, OBJ, BMP, TMS, _PREVIEW.TMT and sound.
Copying and renaming all the files allowed to install a new model in easyfly. This led in new model sets with the above mentioned paintings.
In this phase I met Knud Jacobsen from Denmark and William Rohmer from France by email.
We installed a cooperation to develop new models for easyfly. This was an excellent time of cooperation, development and friendship.
After we found out, that the preview file is a simple bmp of a certain size,
we could include the new preview paintings as well.
So the new model set was complete. The linking of new sound to the models was an easier step in this time.
Modifications of geometry using spread sheet calculations:
We were not yet able to create new geometry for easyfly models.
We found a way to modify existing models by using MS Excel for coordinate calculations.
This was a hard way of testing, recalculating, testing again and so on. But we were happy with our 'new models' derived from the existing ones. Examples for this phase are the Redbaron, the Piper, 3DFun and some more. All of them were done without any graphic control !!
First converter from 3D CAD:
Since we now had a better understanding of the OBJ structure we could try to
write such a format from outside.
I installed a VB code which converted a 3D CAD format into easyfly OBJ format.
This allowed us for the first time to create really new geometry with a graphic control. Another big step was done and we were happy again. Examples for this phase are the Hughes500, Robinson22, Cobra...
Unfortunately the CAD format translation had some disadvantages too.
It does not contain the bitmap information for painting and the vector normals information for the light. We had to copy these date from existing models across. This resulted in graphic errors as the model got dark in a certain position on screen.
So we moved from the cad operations to another 3D product for model
construction. Again a hard and time consuming learning phase began. But with 2-3
steps of conversion we could create OBJ file format with bitmap coordinates and
the light normals.
A new converter was written by Roland Goeggel. The results were better models with correct bitmaps and surface lightings.
Another chapter is the creation of new sceneries. Neil Baker had the
idea to create new sceneries in the internet by fractal geometry.
With some testing and programming we came to the final solution to create the landscape and the bitmap directly from his homepage.
What a smart boy!
The Metasequoia aera:
Then we found the 3D product Metasequioa LE. This was another chance for
model development by more people
because it was freeware and much easier to handle than the other 3D program.
In a personal meeting with 2 IPACS guys Torsten Hans and Marc Borchers we installed the idea of a converter
from Meta file format to OBJ format. This was executed by Marc and resulted in the actual converter program which is available free from Ipacs. All the time from the beginning up to now we had a good relationship to Ipacs. We set up rules for publication and they helped us in critical phases of development with valuable hints about data format.
Our efforts in model construction led to the invitation by Ipacs, to cooperate for the easyfly addon 2. Of course we accepted!
Another simulator arrives:
Aerofly Professional was just published so William and me moved quickly to
this new simulator. Knud left us then due to other challenges.
Take my best wishes with you, my dear friend.
William had to move from Belgium back to France and his great homepage having so many hits by easyfly users was closed.
In this phase at the end of 2002/ beginning of 2003 we want to go on with development of new aircrafts both for aerofly professional and easyfly, reconstruction of the homepage, design of some new sceneries and investigation of still unknown parameters.
So we hope you will go with us!