The Nature of Digital Control
Published on 1/12/2012
So after some effort I've got the rocket's firing. But now I've come upon a control problem.
The thing about rockets is that they fire straight from thier mounted position, much like the mounted machine guns on the old WW2 airplanes. Of course the mountings are slightly angled inwards so that eventually the two lines of fire cross each other, which determines the optimal distance to target. But in that I've now come across an issue, and it's to do with the controls. The chopper pithes and rolls, and affects where the rockets are aimed at. But with keyboard control it's really difficult to keep that reticle pointed on a specific target. Partly because my targets are now moving as well (if you aim it at a vehicle), but mostly because with keyboard controls there's no in-between. The chopper is either fully pitched flying forward, or hovering flat, or lifted up going backwards, in which case you're firing into the air.
Now, the controls as implemented at the moment are shaky at best, because I've never needed it done well enough for gameplay. So that's obviously what I now need to do next, before I even bother with the smoke effects and all the other neat stuff that will give the pleasure of firing rockets.
There was also a more minor problem with the HUD in regards the rockets. Since they have a static reticle, and since the player can swivel the view around the chopper, seeing where the rockets were going to hit didn't work out that well. Of course it's easy to say "Yes, but the player should look down the sight when using rockets", but that's not a very good argument because then it renders the use of the gun, which is tied to the camera, impossible.
Fortunately, with the reticle for the nav/gun sight, I've already solved the problem of correctly projecting the reticle at the correct position onto the HUD relative to the spot being aimed in conjunction with the camera position. So it wasn't too much of a hassle having the rocket reticle always appear to show where the rockets will hit, irrespective of where the camera is. In this way the player can now fight two battles as once - attacking one target with the gun, and another with the rockets, all at the same time.
Hopefully I'll have some screenshots towards the end of next week with smoke effects, bullet tracers etc, but first I've got to solve the control issue, otherwise there's no point to all this.