Spaceroom Enhancements & Updates


Last week Gavin asked me to come down for a visit, saying he had a surprise. It was a good one!

The Spaceroom got a major overhaul in terms of equipment last week. Through a surplus web site Gavin was able to get 10 Dell OptiFlex 170 computers for $96 each. We are now upgraded from really old computers running Windows 98 to only slightly old ones running Windows XP.

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Shields and the color of heat


As sometimes happens I took a bit of a break from Spaceroom work to deal with other things in life. However last week I as able to get back to coding again. This time I added a new Shields component to the ship. I am appreciating the event interface system because it was very easy to add the new component and instantly have it sending data to the console application. I also added a new page plugin named Tactical which will provide controls and monitoring of the Shields as well as eventual weapons systems.

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More ODE and expanding the model


I spent some time expanding the console to do the RCS control, but also started to add some convenience functions such as Stop Rotation, and Set Angles. They are kind of cheats in a way since I just reset the values in the model as oppose to writing feedback control loop code, but I just couldn’t write PID controlers for this. Too much work, and I am not really interested in that much realism.

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ODE Continued


I continued working with the ODE library, this time working on the Reaction Control System (RCS). The RCS in a ship is designed to control the orientation in non-atmospheric conditions. It is also used to do fine maneuvering. There are two modes: Linear for position changes in each of the three relative dimensions, and Rotational for performing orientation changes on any of the three axes.

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Physics Modeling


In previous incarnations of the simulation model, I have written the physics code related to movement and rotation. Linear movement is pretty straight forward but rotation is often complicated. There are a number of different ways to represent rotation in terms of the computations, but on the display a pilot would typically want the standard Roll, Pitch, and Yaw (also known as heading, bank, and attitude). These calculations require matrix math and or use of Quaternions to prevent difficulties when using combined rotations on multiple axes.

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