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Thread: AI Basics

  1. #1

    Default AI Basics

    Can anybody tell a thick headed 82 year old man, WHAT AN AI AIRPLANE IS Where you put it after download and unpacking?
    How to make it fly around or at an airport? Fancy programs like World of AI bury you in complicated instructions, but
    nobody tells you WHAT YOU ARE DOING and what you expect to happen when you get there. Their installer is the most
    obscure set of instructions I have ever tried to do in my life.

    Anyone is welcome to e mail me with this and other FS2004 help.
    Last edited by Smutley; 05-19-2017 at 01:05 PM. Reason: E Mail removed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Gibsons, B.C.
    Posts
    80

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    Hi; I would not post your e-mail address in an open forum. I have heard this only invites spam. I have a great selection of AI aircraft all provided by World of AI. If you like you could send me a personal message and i could guide you through it. It is really quite simple after a few tries. Regards, David. I noticed that longbreak754 has posted a very detailed reply, i doubt i could offer much more.
    Last edited by Mowgli22; 05-19-2017 at 12:55 PM. Reason: added text

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pontefract, West Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    883

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    Hi Bob,

    First observation here is to NEVER post your personal email in a post. Sadly, however good the website security is, it can't stop what are called Bots from scanning the site for such details. A better option would be to invite members to use the sites' Personal Message (PM) function to contact you and you can then provide your email address that way. BTW, if you are not aware of the PM function it accessed by clicking on a posters name and selecting the PM option.

    Onto your Q........

    WRT to WOAI and instructions - Unfortunately, that is often the case regarding instructions, be it from a well established provider like WOAI or someone sharing a basic plan that they have made for themselves. That said, on most occasions the installer provided by WOAI should place the files in the correct location - however, you don't have to let the installer place files where it wants. You can point the installer to a temp location and do a manual install.

    Basically, AI objects (Aircraft, Boats, Vehicles etc) are objects that populate the sky, seas, roads that you see in the sim and they can be moving or static. They are controlled by the AI engine using traffic files.

    An AI package will either be a full package (that contains the AI models and flightplans), as model package (that will only contain a model for which you will need to source a suitable flightplan for - there are loads of plans available) or it may only contain repaint textures for a specific model - some of these may include a flight plan for the airline represented in the repaint. In some rare cases, the package may also include other folders/files (such as effects or sounds). There may even be a readme file that provides install instructions and/or details of the airports/flight schedule etc)

    For most freeware that don't have installers it is best to unpack the files into a temp location so that you can see what is included - I have set a permanent folder on the drive called Unpacked AI Models for this purpose. Note, that on unpacking, what folder structure you will see will depend on how the author bundled the package. Some will have the bundle starting point set at Aircraft so that when it is unpacked you will see something like Aircraft\ModelName, whilst others will have the model folder name as starting point. As you will see below it is important that you learn to recognise this.

    An AI model will contain the same type of folders you find for a flyable model. Traffic files are distinguishable by their file extension type and can be provided in one of two formats, the most common being a .bgl file - this is the format that the sim recognises. The other format is in the form of 3 .txt files (usually named as Airports_<filename>.txt, Aircraft_<filename>.txt and Flightplan_<filename>.txt) - this format is not recognised by the sim but if no .bgl file is included you can use any of these .txt files to create one using a AI tool such as TTools or AIFP.

    Adding them to the sim is relatively easy once you know the basics........

    These actions are carried out without the sim running.

    The AI model - the AI model folder must be placed in the appropriate folder within the main default SimObjects folder. To keep it simply for you I suggest you put them in the Aircraft sub-folder. Look at your current Simobjects folder to get an idea of what entries are there and how it should look. As indicated above, the package unpacks to a Aircraft\ModelName folder, it is only the model folder that need to be placed in the Aircraft folder. If you place the whole lot in (so that it reads Aircraft\Aircraft\ModelName) it will not display.

    Traffic Files - The basic rule regarding traffic files is that they must be placed in an active scenery folder. The standard location often quoted by most authors is the Scenery\World\Scenery folder, as this the folder where the default sim AI traffic file (which uses the default sim airplanes and other objects to provide the basic AI traffic that you see in the sim before adding any others) is located, but you could, if you wish place them in the default Addon Scenery\Scenery folder.

    Effect and Sounds - if these are included then place them as follow

    Effect files - note that there are two types of effect files - the effect file itself (which has a .fx file extension) and the texture file (which has a .bmp extension) The .fx files go into the sim's default Effects folder and the .bmp files go into the sub-folder named Texture that is located within the Effects folder.

    Sound - Where the sounds are placed will depend on how the author has set them to work. All sound files have a .wav extension and will either go into the sim's default Sound folder or, if the author has placed then in a specifically named folder (i.e Sound\Airplane ZZZ) then the whole Airplane ZZZ folder goes into the Sound folder.

    Once you have placed the files in their respective locations start the sim. The first thing you should notice is that you should get a message that the sim is rebuilding the scenery library - this is because is has found the new .bgl traffic file and is referencing it into the scenery.cfg file. Once the sim is running the only way to really verify if the package is working is to go to one of the airports visited by the package

    This is a very basic overview of how AI works and adding AI can be as easy or hard as you want to make it. Once you have an understanding of the basics of what goes where it will become a breeze to add more stuff. If you want any additional info post back into this thread or PM me
    Regards

    Brian

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks Brian. I am a good reader but a poor absorber. I have copied you treatise completely and
    have given the composition a place in my Flight Simulator 9 folder. I forgot to ask if we are hidebound for all the AI airplanes to be airliners. I have little interest in airliners, or than to park my Cessna or Piper next to them at some airport. What I was most concerned to know, was if I could make an AI airplane out of
    any of my 25 or more years of add on airplanes. It would add great simulator interest to add historical planes at places like Biggan Field in England, etc. There are not many real examples of some of them left in the world, except in museums. British Lancaster's etc.

    Thanks again for any help. I will get to work on your information.

    Bobvan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Manchester UK
    Posts
    1,165

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    Hi Bob, I remember when I first got started with AI, once I found out how to do it I never stopped I love it.
    You don't have to have airliners as AI as you ask, I have all kinds of aircraft as AI type and as my friend Brian above says once you get the hang of it then it is easy.
    May I suggest you start with just one aircraft rather than a bundle then it will be easier to delete if things go wrong then you can start again.

    Aircraft made for use as AI are made slightly different to flyable models, they have less poly counts which makes them more frame rate freindly, having said that a lot are very well made and they look really good, they also don't have a panel (cockpit) but if you added one and tried to fly it some don't fly as good as a flyable type but they fly great as an AI using the inbuilt AI engine in Flight Sim.

    I have also used flyable aircraft as AI but that is for another discussion, again some of them don't fly as good as an aircraft made for AI use and need a bit of tweaking which I won't go in here.

    Once you install an AI aircraft in to the sim then you need to get it to fly from a-b, installing an aircraft in the sim is the easy part but the next part is the bit you need to learn.
    Making a flight plan for it, there are 2 programs that you can create a flight plan, one is TTools which is good but it is an old program now but I still use it, mainly because I know how it works and I'm used to it.
    The other is AI Flight Planner, you may find this thread more helpfull:

    https://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/showt...anner-Tutorial

    Then let us move on, so we will presume you have the aircraft installed and you now have a flight plan for it so you want to see if it works.
    You will need a program called Traffic Tool Box, once you install this it puts a littel tab on the menu bar, you can click this and select your AI aircraft and it will let you follow it for a few miles then it will flirt you back to the start off airport.
    There is another program that lets you follow it the whole journey that is called Traffic View Board, that is the one I use a lot.

    Also go on Youtube there are a few clips on there that show you how as well, here is an example:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35mth4LpLv0

    I hope this helps, it seems like a lot at first but once you have one aircraft flying then any more you add just follow the same proceedure.

    Col.
    Last edited by ColR1948; 05-20-2017 at 05:00 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pontefract, West Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    883

    Default

    Hi Bob,

    To add what Col has said and to give more specific info regarding your desire to add historic AI at an airfield.

    When you add AI to an airfield you need to:

    A. Have parking spots available for - these can be set to accept specific models using a 'airline' or 'type' designator to 'reduce'. the chance of another AI model using it. If an airfield has no parking slots (or none of suitable size for the AI model) an AI aircraft will either not land at the destination airfield or, if it does land, will remain on the runway and eventually 'time out' and disappear.

    B. A traffic file for it - this can one that makes it taxy/take off (either to another airfield or to do circuits/touch and go around the departure airfield) or it can be set for it to remain static

    Another option is to include it as a static object on the airfield - this option does not require a parking spot but the object used must be a library object and not a AI model.

    To accomplish any of these methods you will need a AI flight planning tool as previously mentioned and a scenery editing tool, such as Airport Design Editor (ADE) or AFCAD2, to add/make changes to the parking spots and/or add a static object. However, this is something that requires some understanding of how the scenery/AI is used within sim and time to get to understand the chosen program used to amend the scenery. I use ADE, and whilst it is a very powerful tool and seems complicated, you can add/change parking spots with relative ease.

    I recommend looking in the file library - there are loads of AI types available, as well as updated scenery (including 'retro versions of modern day airfields) and various Object libraries that contain static aircraft objects and various types of buildings, etc.
    Regards

    Brian

  7. #7

    Default

    Brian
    I appreciate yours and the others' information on this subject. I am still at sea on it because all the tips are patches that would help someone who understood AI aircraft operation and how it works. I am no dummy in computing. I have been in personal computing for 32 years and in flight simulation all the way back to the very first MS FS (it was on a 5 inch floppy.) Somehow I missed the entire subject of AI and have never had any idea how it works. I understand drivers an their function. I have even played with some C++ programming. I have scores of add on airplanes. But I just don't have any idea how Ai works in FS 2004. I have X but I will never use it. It does not even have Southeastern U.S. scenery in it, where my home area of Mississippi, Alabama, Texas resides in some pretty good FS2004 scenery. My big hobby is 2D panels. When they killed the 2D panel in X, they killed my hobby. But FS 2004 still works. I have USA Roads in FS 2004. Without USA Roads, X is nothing.

    Back to the subject. I do not mind buying, downloading, reading, or studying books. Is there a book anywhere on the subject of AI aircraft operations in FS 2004 that I could buy or download, start from the beginning, one click at a time, do this, do that, etc?

    The main question I still do not know. CAN I MAKE AN AI AIRPLANE OUT OF ANY OF MY HUNDREDS OF BEAUTIFUL add on FS2004 airplanes? I have absolutely no interest in airliners. I would like to make AI airplanes from all my historic, nostalgic, warplane, general aviation planes.

    Thanks for any information.

  8. Default

    Ai=planes around you. (traffic, ships as well, not cars.)
    needed: the plane(s) and a .bgl file that tells it where to fly and when.

    .bgl file it compiled file. 3files compiled into one. Aircraft.txt (listing by number the aircraft that should be used). Airports.txt (list of airports and their coordinates). Flightplans.txt (list of flightplans. In there planes are referenced by number.).

    Compiler (old): TTools.exe
    download ttools from the flightsim.com file library. Read the instructions. It explains much more then I can fit in here.

    More modern program to create plans in a graphical interface, store the .txt files if you want, and compile, all in one, is called: Aifp.
    Have their own site to download it from. Freeware. (aifp-ai flight planner.)

  9. Default

    Woai-planes and .bgl file. No need to compile anything. Organised per airline. So if you install british airlines, you will have planes like b737, b747, a330, etc. All in BA livery (texture).
    If you install another airlin that also flies 747 you will the woai installer will only add the extra texture and the extra .bgl file. Not a full plane. That way it doesn't take up too much space.

    Woai does not have much GA traffic. You can create that yourself with aifp.

    There are also traffic downloads in the library, but those come without planes. Linking the traffic files to planes before compiling is tricky.

  10. #10

    Default

    This is great material and I have printed this also. One problem I have is that I can no longer open Flightsim.com in a Google Chrome or Internet Explorer browser. It claims they are lacking some kind of
    updated programming that makes their site insecure. I am here in a Mozilla Firefox browser that is taking an eternity to get a reply or request in. I wonder what the trouble is with the web site? (or is it just my
    old Windows XP system being shunned again?

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