Friday, September 19, 2014

New Directions in Model Making

New Directions in Model Making...

For those that know my work in the developer field, usually I make my fuselages with Splines, creating cross sections all lined up to make 'half' of the fuselage in wire that is unjoined.  I then apply Cross Section and then Surface to the joined Splines to get the half of the fuselage.

Well, in a project I was doing the past 2 days, the Splines turned into a nightmare and was turning into a LOT of work.  I had been seeing quite a few tutorials on YouTube on a new direction in model making, where people make a simple model and then use TurboSmooth to 'smooth it all out' intelligently, letting the computer and program finish the smoothing part.  (Usually in the old days, we hand did the model sophistication so that poly counts were low, but these days, our restrictions on poly counts is no longer a barrier, allowing us to make much more elaborate models).

This is an example of such a technique.  I created a 'D' shape box and then extruded it outwards to the front and the rear, making a 'half side'.  I then adjusted it to the basic shape of the fuselage against a photo of the plane in the background that is on a Polygon panel.

The trick is, you keep the basic level structure as long as possible, and check its shape by applying a 'TurboSmooth' and recheck its shape, over and over until you like it.  You can then collapse the stack when the shape is perfect.

Another trick of this type of model making.  If you have an edge that needs to be a certain diameter, or a sharp edge, you chamfer that edge, creating one or more duplicate edges.  You make the closeness of these edges per how you feel they look when TurboSmooth is active.  If the edge isnt sharp enough, go back and bring the second edge closer, then recheck in TS.

With this technique, you are only working on a few Vertices instead of hundreds.  3DS Max manages the end result for you.  The only thing though is that just moving a vertex a very very small amount will make a world of difference in the finished TS version model.

I had seen this done with a Mini Cooper in a YouTube tutorial 2 years ago.  The model was so horrible, so basic.  The wheel arches had perhaps 5 sides on them.  But when he make the TurboSmooth level 'active', the model was a brilliant replica wire mesh with such amazing smoothness.

Basic shape that I worked with.  Note the incredibly basic complexity.  Note the close edges at the base of the front of the perspex and the cowling line and rudder 'edges' where it separates.  This is to keep the edge 'sharp' during TurboSmooth states.

This is TurboSmooth view.  Note the incredible smoothness.

The wire frame stage of the models exterior is close to done.  It will then need paint and mapping, animations, etc.

Some things I did on this also that are interesting.  I used 'Hinge' to create the sides of the Elevators.  I hanged out the edge of the leading edge shape in Polygon mode, dialed in the amount of edges in the Hinge, then extruded the sides rearward.  I then adjusted the teardrop shape via FFD boxes in several stages, then welded up the Vertices.

The main Wings were done from the wingtips inwards.  I wanted that perfect rounded edge and was having issues making that.  I finally made the wing by making a Spline, visible mesh, dialed in the diameter of the tube, saved as an Editable Poly object.  Then I deleted the inner side (facing the fuselage) and extruded that into the fuselage.  Next, I deleted the inside area on the outer edge and used Cap to create the flat side.  The 'bend' in the wingtip was done with FFD boxes.  Very simple, very quick.  I was very thankful for the result.

Sometimes we really need to work on ways to simplify our models.  If we really work on a direction of how we are going to make something, rather then just diving straight into it, we can find a better approach or tactic to creating the shape and spend less time and energy carrying it out.

That and watch lots of Tutes on YouTube.  ;)


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Release of the Learjet LJ24B

Lionheart Creations Release the LJ24B Classic Learjet

We released the long awaited Learjet LJ24B at the end of August this year.  She has had a warm welcome from many.  The immersion factor has been massive with all the various alarms and sound effects and system depth and super high resolution texture sets and vehicle themes. 

With the LJ24B, I introduced a new system called Realism Mode, (code named 'box of tricks).  You flip a switch on and you have the ability to cook your engines, over-rev them, etc.  Another feature is the very rare fuel system of the LJ 20 Series where their fuel is blead from the wing tip tanks first, then the wings.  There are fuel tanks in the fuselage but they are handled as auxiliary tanks.  This means you cannot use the fuel in the fuselage unless you use the transfer pumps to pump the fuel from the fuselage to the wings.  Everything flows from the wings to the engines; left side to left engine and right side to right engine.  There is a hidden computer logic that manages the fuel system.  Like the jet, the fuel is automatically managed (aside from the transfer part).  No fuel selectors.  The tip tanks automatically flow out first, then the wings, and thats it.  You simply overlook them, then fill the wings if needed from the fuselage tanks.

The above photo is a shot of the Learjets fuel management system; the panel and a 'Fuel Map' popup that shows you an actual 3D looking fuel flow model of the fuel loadout.  The blue zones will lower as the fuel runs out.  Pounds are also shown which are how fuel is measured in the LJ.

Here is a screenshot of the blue-gray standard instrument panel of the LJ24B.  The panel was created off of an actual Lear diagram or blueprint.  Much of the instrumentation was taken from photographs of actual instrumentation.  The shading in the color graphics was created in 3DS Max, a system called Ambient Occlusion where the panel sections (and interior panels) are 'Rendered' with a AO map (for each graphics sheet) and super precise shading is generated that give the graphics a wild photo-real appearance.  A lot of technology in just the graphics alone.

Some of the other features include wind noise when you drop the landing gear, gyro spool up sound when you flip on the battery switches, and spool down sounds when you flip them off.  Atmospheric pressure system 'sound' (ambience, one of 3) when the pressure system is active.  Panel, systems sound when batteries are on, this is ambience sound 2.  Fuel jettison option (switches with red covers) for dumping the wing tip tanks fuel loads for early landings.  Landing gear weakened to accomodate damage possibilities when landing with tip tanks full, (a bad thing to do).  Spoilers generate a con trail, engines generate a glowing orange area in the back exhaust which grows brighter when you apply more throttle.  Hide-able full detail passengers also accomodate the rear cabin area.  Tons and tons of detail saturate the model experience.

There is a 'manual' located in the 'manual folder' in the Learjet folder in your sim.  There is also a online version of the manual at Lionheart Creations (dot com) where you can access the manual with your device (tablet, smart phone, laptop), and there is a 'Insights' webpage that shows you alot of ins and outs of the LJ24B.  Lastly, there are 3 tutorials at YouTube that walk you through the Autopilot, fuel system, and startup.

Links to YouTube tutorials are here;

The project went overtime long ago, taking a massive 13 months in development and features a 'ton' of coding and systems.  It has been an immense 'journey' to create this girl.  I hope you all enjoy it.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ATT, Samsung Note 2, and System Recovery no longer supported

ATT, Samsung Note 2, and Support

For those of you that own Samsung Phones and are with the carriers ATT and Verizon, beware.

This just happened to me a month ago, when ATT released the new KitKat 4.4 update (from 4.3 to 4.4) for the Samsung Note 2.

I decided to get the update about 2 days after its release.  I had heard about disastrous installs from the first 4.4 release from months prior, which was halted.  This time it seemed fine.  I began the download on my phone.  The update then began, it rebooted, and then locked up.  It was stuck in a 'boot-loop' which means it never starts.  It just shows the ATT icon until it either shuts off or the battery runs down.  I tried all I knew (rebooting by taking the battery out, rebooting), and that only did the same thing.  It was as though my phone was bricked.  The download must have been bad, (a blip in the download perhaps).

For the next 8 hours, deep into the night, I was googling all over the place trying to find a fix.  My 'Restore' was even crashed from the bad update.  I could not restore the phone.  At around 10PM, I remembered I can restore a phone using the infamous 'Kies'.  I downloaded it, both versions, 2 and 3.  I tried to link in, but found something missing.  System Recovery was no longer there.  Yep.  They took out System Recovery.  You can no longer restore your OS on your Samsung with Kies.

About 1AM in the morning, (yes... )  I found at a site information and downloads of firmware.  They were 'rooted' firmware operating systems that work in my Note 2 phone, the SGH-I317.  I got the stock version downloaded onto my computer.  According to the site, I also needed Odin, which I had heard of, and the drivers for the phone.  I downloaded those as well.  I went on YouTube and found out how to do a Boot Restore via Odin, went into my phone, did the upload of the new Firmware (rooted) and installed it.  It worked!  My phone booted right up, even with the same wallpaper and everything.  All settings still there.  By now it was 2AM.  From 4:30 PM to 2 AM in the morning.  (I love this phone and paid $950.00 for it outright, new from BestBuy and I need a phone and cant afford a new one).

The next day, I found that ATT can restore your phone to its original firmware.  This was on Google again.  I went into my store and they told me I needed to go to the store across town in Scottsdale (Phoenix Arizona) and they can restore the firmware, no problem.  The next morning, I went on the journey across Phoenix to this store, went in, explained, he hooked it up, said he couldnt do it, the computer didnt recognize the phone.  He suggested I buy a new phone, the new LG in about a month.  (Another $900.00 USD????)  I asked him 'What about using the Odin method to install the OS?'  He said he didnt know anything about that.  Bang...  Red Flag.  Here is a 20 year old cell phone technician specialist for ATT and he doesnt know about Odin.  So in a day of hours online, I had learned more then a ATT specialist?  Surely not.  Such a huge corporation making zillions of dollars off of people and they cannot reload firmware in a phone (properly)????

I left.  I went home.  At home, I tried a few more times to get the update.  Nothing I did worked, and I could not find the firmware online (free).  Alot of sites had it, but you had to join them and pay at least $100.00 USD to be a member.  (lol...  Pirated copies of the firmware being charged money for, but ATT do not give it out to their own customers?).

Sitting at my desk, I thought, I need a new phone, I need to leave this goofy carrier that I have been with for years that now treat me like a dumb, money-bags moron and at a cost of $135.00 USD per month, even, and with the worst data download speed on the planet!  

Then, it occurred to me, the new OnePlus One phone soon to come out has CyanogenMod. I had heard alot about it and decided to try it.  I soon had CyanogenMod (CM) operating beautifully on my phone.  It wasnt 4.4 KitKat, but its close to it.  I cant watch movies, but its lightning fast and nice.

So...  Bottom line;
* Update from ATT came out
* Update didnt download right, bricked phone
* Restore was wiped out also
* ATT repair store couldnt/wouldnt restore the firmware
* ATT recommended a new phone, and also a different brand
* Contacted Samsung, they asked a couple of questions (what model is your phone, what is the serial number, what is the platform) and that was it!  They never got back with me.  Nothing....   I did get back with them.  No response.  Well, they said they were sorry for me.

My next plan of action is to contact the Better Business Bureau about ATT and Samsung.

I was really liking Samsung.  I gave up brand new iPads and iPhones for Samsung brands.

Let  me ask you this.  In retrospective of the above story, if you had purchased a Laptop or desktop computer, with Windows, and after an update, the computer wouldnt reboot, and you went to restore it, and restore had been removed, and Windows or the computer company tells you 'well, get another one'...   How would you feel?  This happens often with computers.  Updates happen alot that get messed up somehow. I have had to restore Windows many times.  What if I couldnt anymore?

What have cell phone companies become that they pull garbage, money making stunts like this on customers.  Customers are your business. You should treat them like gold, like 'family'.  If you start ripping them off, you will start losing them.

So, my new quest is, to let the entire world know what ATT and Samsung are doing concerning firmware restorations and how poor their support is.  I want all to know that have phones with ATT / Samsung, so they know what can happen, and also for perspective buyers as well.  This is not good people.  If they can send you an update and it bricks your phone, they evidently force you to get a new phone!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Well, my first Blog.  It has taken me a few years to finally stop and make one.  I hope to discuss some cool things here.  I have a company called Lionheart Creations which I love managing and I hope to take it to new, higher, better levels and perhaps one day, if God allows me, to touch the world and help to make it a better place, to help people and perhaps also to come out with some amazing inventions and creations.  For me, creation is what its all about.  Design and onward.  The dream.... 

Just a few things about myself.  My company makes flight simulation software (aircraft digital packages) which one flies in Flight Simulator X, or in the new Lockheed Martin 'Prepar3D', a newer and very well done flight training simulator.  We are presently making a Piper Pacer (classic) and working with two manufacturers with two new planes that will follow this one.

I am into God, the Holy Word, and am a non-denominational, pure Christian.  I study the word daily and I love it.  I recently claimed the promise in Psalm 91: 14-16.

I love Science Fiction movies and got caught up in 'John Carter of Mars' and found that it was an old book series by a famous author long ago.  I then found it in digital format and got it for my iPad.  I am on page 700 something of 1600 pages.  A very long, great read.

I am a designer and love to create things.  I started a car company in 1986, which fell apart a year later via insufficient startup funds.  I went into car design and the Kit Car market for years, then into aircraft production for a short while, then vehicle engineering and development with jobs at Range Rover and also Chrysler.  I then started a company that was based around design and found that there was a market for payware aircraft packages for simulators, which is what I am presently doing now.

Thats it for this first, short blog!  Thanks for reading.

I hope you all find the blog informative.  I love to help people out and love to share what I learn. 

Kind regards and Gods blessings,

Bill Ortis