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Camera icon in dogfight missions?


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#1 Waxworks

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:23

I still want to come up with a better recon mission. Will the photo flash style work in dogfight? What are the disadvantages? If I have multiple possible recon missions widely spaced then I'm not so worried about the enemy being aware that photographs are being taken.

What about the artillery spotter icons? It seems very consuming of mission resources to implement one in dogfight, the way the existing demo one is set up. I'd like to be reassured that it will work before I build one! This will alert the enemy, but that seems reasonable.

Lastly I was reading an account of a German contact patrol- 'Our task was simple and straightforward: to determine the German line of advance to the south and west of Moeuvres. Keeping a sharp look out, we glided down over the battle area and fired flares.' The RE8s seem to have used klaxons to alert the infantry to respond by identifying their position, but perhaps these were not as effective during barrages. Is the complex trigger 'fired flare' element functional in the current version?
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#2 Flashy

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:42

I have played around with the flash icons in dogfight missions a bit, and the main problem I found was that not only could every other player see the icon, but they could interact with it as well! So you could have enemy players just clicking randomly on the artillery map or the take a picture icon. Also, the flash dialogues have a time limit attached to them (how long they display for), and the max number of seconds is quite low for a dogfight mission (I think its 1000 seconds). These issues make these flash dialogues pretty useless in dogfight MP unfortunately, but maybe you can think of someway around them? I am 100% certain the whole MP community would love to have these mission types in MP..
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#3 SYN_Vander

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:53

I have recently finished a co-op mission where I have used the artillery spotting icon and the grid on the map. This works fine in multiplayer (make sure only one or two players have the correct load-out!) and makes the missions for two-seaters more interesting. Some of the things I found:

-If the artillery spotting icon comes up when the two-seater is near the target, everyone in the game will be notified. Since artillery spotting is only done over/near the lines the two-seaters will be easily found. Therefore I show the artillery icon during the whole mission and only restart it when the two-seater is near.
-To make things more unclear I show both the artillery icon and camera icon, so the enemy will not know what the two-seater objective will be.
-The hardest part: Only one side can use the Icon! That's why I am using coops where in one mission only one side is on the offensive and one on the defensive. Of course you can also do this within one Dogfight mission.

No, the event "fired flare" does not work! I was also going to use this for a contact patrol but alas. Let's ask the devs when this will be implemented.
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#4 Waxworks

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:27

The artilery issue sounds like a non-starter when there are multiple artillery shoots then, even if both sides did try to jam each others transmissions it may be going too far to have them able to redirect artillery! It would be good to have the icons tied to named objects.

Offhand I can't imagine a disadvantage to having 'your' camera icon clicked by an enemy player while it is active, however? A limit of 1000s doesn't sound especially tough when the picture zones will be small. The only real problem might be whether having to have the extra zone per target photo area and recon ship, to determine whether the recon has left the area, is a good trade off for the ability to click the camera icon rather than read instructions. The straight and level element seems valuable, though.

However the main consideration is whether this would take resources away from having more ground objects.

Another question- I haven't yet succeeded in damaging an object and having it remain on the map as an inactive object. When I have placed ruined buildings I have simply borrowed them from the pre-Hindenburg lines. Is it possible to use a damaged inactive building? The limited number of ruined buildings means that like the gun positions they can be tricky to place. If I could transform extra scenery into ruins that might keep me occupied for a while. Is it yet possible to switch the ambient features of the old lines off?
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#5 Flashy

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:52

I recently decided to give this another go because I think being able to do artillery spotting and proper recon in MP missions is just too important not to and, good news! It does actually work and can be used in Dogfight MP missions! I have been working on an MP artillery spotting mission stolen shamelessly from the SP demo missions made a while back by Richy. To make it work in MP, I decided to (again, shamelessly) steal Vander's idea of displaying the artillery icon all the time, thereby hiding when the artillery spotter was in the area and alerting enemy players to its presence. Initially, I wasnt sure how to get around the fact that the Media MCU's have a base time limit (in effect, a maximum amount of time they can display for), but then I discovered you can just make a loop and keep activating them over and over again, so they should display indefinitely this way. After that, it was just a matter of replacing checkzones with complex triggers and setting them to only be triggered by the one plane, and stopping the "fake" media MCU and starting the "real" one when the plane enters the zone, and voila! - it seems to work :) Also, it seems that only the artillery plane can actually open the artillery spotting map - other players will just see the icon in the top of the screen, but clicking on it doesnt seem to do anything, even when the artillery spotter is in the zone.

I am currently busy modifying the mission now to randomly spawn the artillery target (an enemy gun battery in this case) in any of the 64 squares of the artillery correction grid, so that the target does not just respawn in the same spot over and over again. When this is done, I will upload the mission for others to use. Also, the same logic can be aplied to the camera icon and maybe even the visual recon mission types. The only minor problem is that if you want each side to be able to do both mission types, you will have 2 artillery icons and 2 camera icons on the top of the screen, but since these will all be inactive for everyone other than the pilots of the artillery spotter or recon plane, I dont see this as an issue.. Thoughts?
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#6 Flashy

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 18:45

Okay, I have made a quick dogfight mission (attached) with a working artillery spotting grid. All that is
required is for a player to fly the Breguet Artillery Spotter plane (Called BR14ARTSPOT in the mission) into the
area, afterwhich the little flash dialogue will come up and you can then direct the artillery. I have also added
a (somewhat) random spawner which will spawn the target (a German Artillery battery) in a random place in the
zone. The artillery battery is hard to spot from the air (as it should be IMO) and you will have to fly around
looking for tell-tale puffs of smoke from the guns before you will see it. Either that, or turn icons on and
look where it is in the grid on the map :P

To use this mission, extract it to your multiplayer dogfight missions folder (I think its Rise of
Flight/data/Multiplayer/Dogfight). Go into the game and start a new MP dogfight server. Uncheck "Visible from
Internet" because you are testing and dont really want people joining your server. Then find the mission in the
list on the left and use the arrow to move it to the right hand window. The name of the mission should be
"MPArtilleryCorrection", but it *MIGHT* be "My mission" for some reason even though I resaved it about 3 times
and I was too tired to try fix last night. Anyway, once you have the mission in the list on the right click
start server and wait for it to load. When the mission starts, choose the only available airfield and the
Breguet artillery spotting plane and click fly now. I have added an AI version of the plane as well which will
take off and fly to the zone, so you dont have to actually take off and fly if you dont want to. Once either you
or the AI plane gets to the zone the little flash dialogue should open and you should be able to correct your
guns into the squares in the grid.

Some observations/ramblings. Feel free to skip this part if you want :)

There is something a bit odd going on with this artillery spotting logic which I have borrowed from Richy. It
seems it will only work with planes whose country is France! (must be a French plot!) Even if I simply change
the country of the plane to Great Britain (which is still part of the Allies coalition) it will only display the
flash dialogue (which means the complex trigger logic is working fine and it is triggering the flash dialogue
properly etc), but you cant open the flash dialogue or click on it etc. The same happens if you try change it to
German - even if I change all the subtitles and icons to only work for central powers and remove all traces of
Allies or France from the logic, it doesnt work - I just get an Icon that I cant click or open. I will continue
to try figure out why, but if anyone has any ideas why it only works for France, please share!

The biggest problem, it turns out, with using this logic in MP is not the fact that the camera icon displays:
that can be dealt with by making lots of possible artillery spotting targets on both sides so the players will
never really know where the spotting is happening. No, the biggest problem is performance, which sadly precludes
the possibility of having many zones. You can have two or three of these grids in a MP mission with hardly any
effect, but start adding more and the perfomance of the mission just plummets. Any attempt to scroll on the map
is met with massive lag and slowdowns, both on the map and in the game :( I think this is because of the number
of icons (each grid needs lots of icons to draw the lines,letters and numbers on the map) which just seems to betoo many for the game to handle. I am still thinking of a way around this, but Im not sure what we can do unless
we can find a way to massively reduce the number of icons required to display the grid..

The good news though (and more on-topic) is that photo recon with the camera is easy to do for MP and you can
add plenty of those all over the map because they only consist of one complex trigger and an Icon, so more
realistic photo recon is very possible. Again, the presence of the camera icon on the screen is not a big deal
if both sides have 10 possible photo targets all over the map because the other players will have no idea who is
doing recon or where..

Attached Files


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#7 SYN_Vander

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 20:09

Okay, I have made a quick dogfight mission (attached) with a working artillery spotting grid. All that is
required is for a player to fly the Breguet Artillery Spotter plane (Called BR14ARTSPOT in the mission) into the
area, afterwhich the little flash dialogue will come up and you can then direct the artillery. I have also added
a (somewhat) random spawner which will spawn the target (a German Artillery battery) in a random place in the
zone. The artillery battery is hard to spot from the air (as it should be IMO) and you will have to fly around
looking for tell-tale puffs of smoke from the guns before you will see it. Either that, or turn icons on and
look where it is in the grid on the map :P

To use this mission, extract it to your multiplayer dogfight missions folder (I think its Rise of
Flight/data/Multiplayer/Dogfight). Go into the game and start a new MP dogfight server. Uncheck "Visible from
Internet" because you are testing and dont really want people joining your server. Then find the mission in the
list on the left and use the arrow to move it to the right hand window. The name of the mission should be
"MPArtilleryCorrection", but it *MIGHT* be "My mission" for some reason even though I resaved it about 3 times
and I was too tired to try fix last night. Anyway, once you have the mission in the list on the right click
start server and wait for it to load. When the mission starts, choose the only available airfield and the
Breguet artillery spotting plane and click fly now. I have added an AI version of the plane as well which will
take off and fly to the zone, so you dont have to actually take off and fly if you dont want to. Once either you
or the AI plane gets to the zone the little flash dialogue should open and you should be able to correct your
guns into the squares in the grid.

Some observations/ramblings. Feel free to skip this part if you want :)

There is something a bit odd going on with this artillery spotting logic which I have borrowed from Richy. It
seems it will only work with planes whose country is France! (must be a French plot!) Even if I simply change
the country of the plane to Great Britain (which is still part of the Allies coalition) it will only display the
flash dialogue (which means the complex trigger logic is working fine and it is triggering the flash dialogue
properly etc), but you cant open the flash dialogue or click on it etc. The same happens if you try change it to
German - even if I change all the subtitles and icons to only work for central powers and remove all traces of
Allies or France from the logic, it doesnt work - I just get an Icon that I cant click or open. I will continue
to try figure out why, but if anyone has any ideas why it only works for France, please share!

The biggest problem, it turns out, with using this logic in MP is not the fact that the camera icon displays:
that can be dealt with by making lots of possible artillery spotting targets on both sides so the players will
never really know where the spotting is happening. No, the biggest problem is performance, which sadly precludes
the possibility of having many zones. You can have two or three of these grids in a MP mission with hardly any
effect, but start adding more and the perfomance of the mission just plummets. Any attempt to scroll on the map
is met with massive lag and slowdowns, both on the map and in the game :( I think this is because of the number
of icons (each grid needs lots of icons to draw the lines,letters and numbers on the map) which just seems to betoo many for the game to handle. I am still thinking of a way around this, but Im not sure what we can do unless
we can find a way to massively reduce the number of icons required to display the grid..

The good news though (and more on-topic) is that photo recon with the camera is easy to do for MP and you can
add plenty of those all over the map because they only consist of one complex trigger and an Icon, so more
realistic photo recon is very possible. Again, the presence of the camera icon on the screen is not a big deal
if both sides have 10 possible photo targets all over the map because the other players will have no idea who is
doing recon or where..

Flashy, how do you solve the problem of more than one artillery spotters (from both sides) using the Icon at the same time? I found that for each new Media command a new Icon will be displayed and no-one will be able to tell which one to use?

About the Icons affecting performance: I found that as well when we were testing a co-op mission with artillery spotting objectives ( I had three). For some players the FPS dropped to 5 when opening the map, although this is only the first time.
My solution: To keep things simple I only use one quadrant, so rows/columns 1-4 of the total grid and only display the Icons for that part on the map.
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#8 Flashy

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:18

Hi Vander,

Well I havent been able to get this logic working for the German side yet, so I havent seen what actually happens, but I dont think it will neccessarily be a problem because only one of those icons will actually be useable by the player on each side. So even though there might be 2 icons being displayed, you should only be able to interact with one. Obviously you would still have to limit the artillery spotting plane to one at a time to prevent two players from the same side being in two different zones at the same time, in which case the problem you describe becomes an issue because they both have "access" as it were to the flash dialogue. I think we could get around that by using planes with different names for different zones, but I think limiting the plane number is easier. But all this is academic anyway because we can actually only afford to have one grid per side. The way I have done it at the moment is to have many "fake" artillery zones which are only triggered by the AI spotter plane. He takes off and goes to one of the zones randomly. When he gets there, it displays the icon for all to see, and then once the enemy guns are destroyed he goes home and the icon is turned off. This basically allows me to only have one "real" zone for players because the enemy wont know if its a human player in the real zone, or just an AI plane in a fake zone. Also, if you do this for both sides, the players wont know if its a friendly player player, friendly AI, enemy player plane or enemy AI doing the spotting. It should work to create enough confusion to prevent anyone actually knowing where the artillery spotting planes are. Its not the most elegant solution, granted, but I think it could work..

Another Idea I toyed with was just making the icon be displayed randomly from time to time, even if there was no artillery spotting going on. This could also create confusion and be workable, as long as you disabled it when the real spotting was going on obviously..
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#9 Flashy

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:19

My solution: To keep things simple I only use one quadrant, so rows/columns 1-4 of the total grid and only display the Icons for that part on the map.

Could you explain this a bit more please? Do you mean you cut the size of the grid down to 16 cubes? I suppose if we removed the letters and numbers from one side so that there was only one set on one side of the cube, that would also help get rid of some of the icons..
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#10 Flashy

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:38

I just had another thought: why do we even need the grid? Using the grid actually just makes it too easy. Artillery correction at the time was done by watching where the shells fell and then sending corrections until they were on target, so why dont we do a similar thing - keep the attack areas obviously so the guns can fire into the squares, get rid of the grid entirely, but keep the flash dialogue. A player flies into the area (which we mark as a circle or an icon or something) but then they have to choose a grid to begin firing into. Once they see where the shells land, they correct their guess by moving up or down or accross etc, until they are actually hitting the target. Not only does it solve the perfomance problem, but its more realistic (harder) too! Thoughts?
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#11 AnKor85

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:33

Guys, if you find a flash programmer with enough free time you can do anything :)

For example, the Flash Dialogs SDK comes with complete source code for photo recon GFX. I think it shouldn't be hard to change it in a way that button is hidden (not just disabled) for planes without the camera and is shown only for one side, though the latter will require two separate GFX files like photoreconCentral.gfx and photoreconEntente.gfx.

Artillery spotting sources are not available though, so it is much harder to tweak.
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#12 Flashy

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 11:37

Guys, if you find a flash programmer with enough free time you can do anything :)

For example, the Flash Dialogs SDK comes with complete source code for photo recon GFX. I think it shouldn't be hard to change it in a way that button is hidden (not just disabled) for planes without the camera and is shown only for one side, though the latter will require two separate GFX files like photoreconCentral.gfx and photoreconEntente.gfx.

Artillery spotting sources are not available though, so it is much harder to tweak.

Lol, yeah its a pity RoF uses a programming language that nobody has any idea how to use! I dont suppose you want to have a go at modifying the Camera Icon for us do you Ankor? :P
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#13 Flashy

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 11:42

UPDATE on the artillery spotting: bugger! It seems Vander was right (I hate it when that happens! :P ) and you cant actually have both sides doing artillery spotting or recon because they are able to open and interact with each other's dialogues :( It seems that the game has a very weird way of determining which plane the icon is available for, and its not based on coalition. I have managed to make the zone work for both sides in the same mission (dont ask me how! - lots of playing around) but like I said above, both artillery spotter planes can interact with both dialogues at the same time, and therefore they can direct each others artillery. There is also the problem whereby the Stop Media MCU stops all flash dialogues indiscriminately, so any player using any dialogue at the time will have it stopped when another player leaves a zone. This is a big problem that I havent really come up with a workable solution for yet, other than not stopping them… hmmm

However, I did manage to solve the perfomance problem by simply removing the grid entirely. This actually works quite well because the player actually has to do proper artillery spotting (watch where the shells fall, work out which way they must be adjusted, choose the appropriate square on the flash dialogue, repeat) and this is quite fun and much more challenging than the easy grid method.

So basically where I am at the moment is: I can make a mission where one side does artillery spotting and the other does recon. Each side can have multiple targets for each mission type because the performance-killing spotting grid is now gone and the photo recon logic doesnt use any resources per se. There is still a problem with players trying to do both missions at the same time though because they will stop each others flash dialogues…
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#14 AnKor85

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 21:42

I've made some experiments today, looks like I've found a trick that may help to overcome mentioned problems when using photo recon for both sides.

The main idea of this trick is to let GFX script check mission's state and respond to various events, providing more options than MCU Media allows.

The simplest example (not everything is tested, but most likely this will work):
- Photo recon GFX is started when player's plane is spawned.
- First, it checks player's loadout to make sure the "Photo" option is included, otherwise no further steps are needed.
- It then finds a special object in the mission (let it be a truck hidden somewhere) named "Photo Recon Entente".
- The camera button is enabled only when this truck belongs to Entente, and disabled if truck is "Neutral".
- Same applies for Central powers, but using another truck named "Photo Recon Central".
- Both trucks can exist at the same time and we use only one GFX because it already knows player's side.
- When player enters recon area we use Behavior MCU to change truck's side.
- GFX detects this change (by checking every few seconds) and enables the button.
- When player leaves the area the truck is changed back to neutral and thus the button turns off.
- To tell which side takes photos GFX triggers event #0 for Entente and event #1 for Central powers.

It may seem more natural to use Activate/Deactivate MCU for the truck instead of changing its side, but this doesn't actually work - GFX script can't tell if the object is deactivated.
I'm using truck as the simplest entity that shouldn't eat up CPU resources. Is there anything simpler? Buildings won't work (even those with linked entity), available options include vehicles, ships, trains, balloons and planes, and maybe something else, I'm not sure.

Also the algorithm doesn't work when there are two (or more) recon missions for the same side running at the same time - they both will see the button when at least one player enters the recon area. The problem here is to distinguish players from the same side so they won't interfere with each other. Maybe we can use named planes. I don't know yet. What if player ignores his objective and goes for another recon area?

Anyway, all of this is just dreams until they are implemented in code. I may do this… someday. Flash development is a huge PITA and very time consuming even for simple things like this one.
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#15 Flashy

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 09:55

Hi Ankor, some questions below:

The main idea of this trick is to let GFX script check mission's state and respond to various events, providing more options than MCU Media allows.
The simplest example (not everything is tested, but most likely this will work):
- Photo recon GFX is started when player's plane is spawned.
- First, it checks player's loadout to make sure the "Photo" option is included, otherwise no further steps are needed.
- It then finds a special object in the mission (let it be a truck hidden somewhere) named "Photo Recon Entente".
- The camera button is enabled only when this truck belongs to Entente, and disabled if truck is "Neutral".
- Same applies for Central powers, but using another truck named "Photo Recon Central".

What exactly is the GFX script you refer to here? How is this implemented in the Mission editor? I only know of the Media MCU where you can specify the .gfx files for artillery correction and recon, but how do you invoke this script without that MCU?

- Both trucks can exist at the same time and we use only one GFX because it already knows player's side.

Does it though? In my tests I could have a German plane triggering a complex trigger and an British plane on the ground directing the artillery (provided both the German and British plane had the same name and the radio loadout). It didnt seem to care what coaltion/side the planes were..

- When player enters recon area we use Behavior MCU to change truck's side.
- GFX detects this change (by checking every few seconds) and enables the button.
- When player leaves the area the truck is changed back to neutral and thus the button turns off.

It may seem more natural to use Activate/Deactivate MCU for the truck instead of changing its side, but this doesn't actually work - GFX script can't tell if the object is deactivated.
I'm using truck as the simplest entity that shouldn't eat up CPU resources. Is there anything simpler? Buildings won't work (even those with linked entity), available options include vehicles, ships, trains, balloons and planes, and maybe something else, I'm not sure.

Also the algorithm doesn't work when there are two (or more) recon missions for the same side running at the same time - they both will see the button when at least one player enters the recon area. The problem here is to distinguish players from the same side so they won't interfere with each other. Maybe we can use named planes. I don't know yet. What if player ignores his objective and goes for another recon area?

Anyway, all of this is just dreams until they are implemented in code. I may do this… someday. Flash development is a huge PITA and very time consuming even for simple things like this one.

The idea of using the truck is very good! I think it could be used as a replacement for the stop media MCU, but how do you stop the button without using the Stop Media MCU? We cant use this MCU because it cant discriminate between the different flash dialogues..

And yes, a truck (or car) is the best option for this because it doesnt have to track anything like a AA unit or machine gun does. Alternatively, you could use an AI object you already have in the mission for this - kill two birds with one stone. Just need to remember that neutral units are enemies to both Entente and Central, so everyone will fight with them..

- To tell which side takes photos GFX triggers event #0 for Entente and event #1 for Central powers.

This sounds very interesting! Does it the camera icon actually generate a different output if clicked by different players/coaltions/loadouts? I was unaware of this!

These are very interesting ideas. We still havent figured out how to stop different players interferring with each other on their missions as you mentioned, but I think we are getting close..
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#16 Flashy

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:26

Just some more thoughts I have had while eating my lunch :) : Do we actually have to use the Stop Media MCU? Cant we just keep one flash dialogue going for the whole mission, and then just change which zone it affects based on where the player is? For example, have one camera icon and link it to all the zones. Then, when the player enters zone A, disable the logic for zones B through J (arbitarily assuming 10 zones). This way, when they click the icon, the MCU fires to all 10 zones, but only zone A is currently active so the rest of the zones ignore it..

This could also be done with the artillery correction grid, although I shudder to think of the number of OL that will be required to all those attack areas for 10 different zones! It can be done though, it will just be massively complicated..
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#17 AnKor85

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:56

Oh, looks like I haven't made it clear: current photo recon (or arty spotting) GFX does not have any special features, but I can add them - at least into photo recon (and if devs will be generous to share sources then into arty spotting too). So I was speaking about theoretical usage, not the current one.

Does it the camera icon actually generate a different output if clicked by different players/coaltions/loadouts?
No, no, it does not. However I've already made a simplest "objective button" that triggers different events for different planes: Re: Request for 3rd party "mod" !
So it is not a problem to add similar stuff into photo recon. And don't worry about it being a "mod" - new GFX works when mods are off and can be automatically downloaded from the server when player joins.

You see, I'm trying to show the potential for released Flash SDK and what can be done hoping to provoke "out of the box" ideas :)
However, as I said making and testing Flash stuff takes a lot of time thus I don't want to program anything serious before I'm sure that it is really demanded and will be put to use.
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#18 SYN_Vander

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 11:59

Have a look at that link Flashy. AnKoR already made a button that we can use. I have tested it at it works well. I just haven't had the time to use it in a mission, but my idea was to use it so specific players (depending on what they fly and carry) get specific instructions (subtitles). This, because we can't change Icon (descriptions) half way through the mission….
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#19 AnKor85

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 12:30

I don't want to derail the thread, but here is another idea, related to "Objectives button".
GFX has access to mission description text. Combined with the ability to read objects' state in real time we can use it to get dynamic plane specific objectives. Let's say that mission description says:

Mission Objectives.
Entente Bombers, Phase #1: Bomb a factory, blablabla.
Entente Bombers, Phase #2: Bomb another factory, blablabla.
and so on.

Now we can use "dummy trucks" named "Entente Bombers, Phase #N" to let the "Objectives Button" know what objectives are currently active for various sides and planes, and thus avoid using subtitles at all.
Parsing mission description is an easy task, the only problem so far is that GFX truncates object names longer that 19 characters and "Entente Bombers, Phase #N" is a bit too long, but I hope to find a workaround… Of course if there's a real use to it.
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#20 Flashy

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 13:25

I think there is plenty of demand for this sort of thing Ankor. Virtually everyone who plays MP wants proper 2-seater objectives like photo recon and artillery spotting, but hardly anyone has the skills to program flash, nor are they willing (or able) to sit for hour upon hour, week after week in the ME like I have trying to figure out a way to make it work. I think if you can build tools like you are proposing, they would be massively popular.

@Vander - thanks, I have read through it and its very interesting. Its not really what I am trying to do though. Communicating the objectives to the players is obviously massively important and we do need a better way than subtitles, but I am focused on finding a workable solution to recon and arty spotting for MP atm. If Ankor can come up with versions of the camera and arty spotting flash dialogues that only work for one coalition or, better yet, only planes with the camera or radio loadouts then that would be fantastic! In the meantime though, I am trying to make something workable with what we have..
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#21 AussiePilot

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:52

This is an interesting subject you guys have on the go here.

I currently have an artillery mission built in co-op style in dogfight mode, as in us human against ai enemy.
Not knowing how to use any of the above I used complexe triggers set to a 70 meter sphere over the group of enemy artillery thats set to "on object entered" would trigger via a 10 second timer for our artillery to "command attack area" set to about 50-70 meter radius put on top off the artillery. Then of course off the same complexe trigger a second timer set at 25 seconds for the enemy artillery to return fire. Now we have an artillery battle on the go. I then set a 3rd timer for a second lot of artillery to activate/spawn elsewhere in about 15 mintues time. I set the complexe trigger only to recieve the Re8 as the trigger and the pilot must fly within those parameters to set it off, he can then fly around watching and waiting to confirm the first incoming stike. Once comfirmed he can fly back to base and let someone else go out and look for the next lot and so on for about 5 spawns. Mean time everyone else is protecting the Re8 from incoming planes as well as covering our artillery on our side of the front.

It works well and is pretty basic i guess but it would be good to use the same mission plan but use the artillery spotting icon you are talking about as the trigger for it all to start instead of a fly through trigger…which, lets face it, is pretty easy to do…if the flak dosen't get you first…:)
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#22 Flashy

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:45

Hi AussiePilot, that is a very good start and is basically how the artillery spotting logic works in singleplayer, except there are 64 AttackArea zones instead of 1, and the player uses the little flash grid to choose which one the friendly artillery attacks. The basic concept is the same though. The flash trigger is nice, but its massively troublesome to get working decently in MP.I have been trying to come up with a way to "communicate" corrections to the artillery without using the flash grid. Historically, they used a clock system to direct the artillery. This is from firstworldwar.com: "From 1915 onwards the corrections, transmitted in Morse, were in the "clock code": a letter was used to indicate the distance from the target (the letters Y, Z, A, B, C, D, E and F representing distances of 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 yards respectively) and a number in the range 1-12 representing the direction from the target (with 12 indicating due north of the target, and 6 representing due south of the target)."

If we could find a way of "sending" a letter and a number from player aircraft which the mission could read, we could create a far more accurate representation of WW1 artillery spotting. But alas, I dont think this is possible :(

At the moment I do have quite a nifty system whereby the player first has to find the friendly artillery battery and fly over it. It will then send a flare to acknowledge the spotter plane and the flash grid will show. The player can then proceed to the spotting area and commence the shoot. Whats nice about this is that you can have as many of these zones as you want, and they can be spaced all over the map. So even though enemy planes know there is artillery spotting going on (because they can see the icon), they dont really know where the spotting is happening. It basically encourages them to patrol the front looking for the spotter, which is what they should be doing anyway :)
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#23 AussiePilot

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 03:26

I like your thinking with the system you are using there Flashy.

I am trying to reverse engineer your mission that you put up on page one, you know how it is when you look at something you didn't build…:) That looks like a lot of work getting that grid sorted, so many timers and icon.

Anyway I am looking at the Translator Media you used for the artillery, you use something called "artillery correction gfx" that is located in the games "swf" folder. I only have planes and profiles in mine, where do i get these?

I take it I need these for the translator media to work peoperly, to show the artillery spotting icon you select in game to bring up the "in game map" for the spotter to use in flight…??? am i right?
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#24 Flashy

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:27

I like your thinking with the system you are using there Flashy.

I am trying to reverse engineer your mission that you put up on page one, you know how it is when you look at something you didn't build…:) That looks like a lot of work getting that grid sorted, so many timers and icon.

Anyway I am looking at the Translator Media you used for the artillery, you use something called "artillery correction gfx" that is located in the games "swf" folder. I only have planes and profiles in mine, where do i get these?

I take it I need these for the translator media to work peoperly, to show the artillery spotting icon you select in game to bring up the "in game map" for the spotter to use in flight…??? am i right?

Thanks AussiePilot, but I didnt actually build the original logic, that was from Richy's practice photo recon missions. I have modified it quite a bit for use in MP though. For what its worth, I dont fully understand all those timers either! :P Luckily I havent needed to yet..

the .gfx for artillery correction,photo recon and visual recon are all included with the game, but they are not seperate files, they are all part of some other file in that folder. You dont need to download anything though, just use the media MCU as it is with that file name as in the practice mission I posted and it will work. In other words, you can point the Media MCU to that file even though it doesnt physically exist in the swf folder. And yes, that .gfx is the little flash dialogue/map thingy that you can open to choose which square the guns must fire into.
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#25 AnKor85

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 17:53

Ok, this is me again. I'm a bit stuck with Map Editor UI so decided to make another attempt in flash programming.

Here it is - "side-specific truck-controlled photo recon button" as described on previous page :)
Extract attached archive into "data" folder of ROF - it contains a mission and externalmedia files. Then start dogfight server for MediaTestMission.

There are two airfields with air start. Planes are Bristol and Halb, don't forget to take Photo loadout. Recon area has 500m radius and situated between airfields (above some building) - just turn right when flying for entente or turn left for central.

Button will be dynamically turned on/off when player above recon area and will trigger side-specific event when clicked. Events are #01 for Entente and #02 for Central (instead of #00 used by original photo recon!).

I haven't verified with more than one player - so it is up to you to see if it really works :)

One more thing that is not covered - I think that if player "disappears" (killed, quits, etc) over recon area, the button will stay in active state because "control truck" won't be reverted to "neutral" side. Probably need to add one more even into complex trigger, I'm not sure.

Oh, and by the way, I've added a partial workaround for "simple gauges bug" into this button - it should correctly track player's altitude even if simple gauges are disabled and thus require to take photos between 1500m at 2500m, however it still allows to take photos when banked.

Attached Files


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#26 Flashy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:44

thats awesome Ankor, thanks! I will check it out when I get home tonight. Next task: we need to get hold of the code for artillery correction and visual recon swf from the devs :)
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#27 AnKor85

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:27

If modified photo recon works and become really used in missions then I see no reasons why devs won't agree to share sources for other missions.
I would be also happy if devs introduce some kind of "dummy object" that isn't visible to players, but can be modified by mission scenario and accessible from SWF. It will be better than using trucks.

As I said current version can't distinguish multiple recon planes in one side - they will see the same button. So if you have any ideas how I should improve the button's logic let me know. For example, we can use naming convention for planes - like button for "Recon Plane #1" is controlled by state of "Recon Truck #1". But maybe there are better ideas. The problem with named planes is that different mission authors may want to use fifferent names for their purposes. Thus naming convention must be well defined to suit different needs.
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#28 Flashy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 08:26

If modified photo recon works and become really used in missions then I see no reasons why devs won't agree to share sources for other missions.
I would be also happy if devs introduce some kind of "dummy object" that isn't visible to players, but can be modified by mission scenario and accessible from SWF. It will be better than using trucks.

Agreed, but using an existing object is no big deal at the moment. We can always just use an AA gun instead of a truck and put it in NML. That way it doesnt matter if the coaltion is changing all the time because it will just fire at everyone, which is fine for an AA gun anyway.

As I said current version can't distinguish multiple recon planes in one side - they will see the same button. So if you have any ideas how I should improve the button's logic let me know. For example, we can use naming convention for planes - like button for "Recon Plane #1" is controlled by state of "Recon Truck #1". But maybe there are better ideas. The problem with named planes is that different mission authors may want to use fifferent names for their purposes. Thus naming convention must be well defined to suit different needs.

Well you are the developer of this version, so you can define it as whatever you want! :) As long as the naming convention makes sense (like your example above) its perfectly fine. If you can make 20 different versions of the icon (like Recon plane1-ReconPlane20 so we can have 10 per side) which are only triggered by planes with that name, then we are in business!
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#29 AnKor85

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:17

Using AA seems good, my code just looks for object name regardless of its type.

If you can make 20 different versions of the icon (like Recon plane1-ReconPlane20 so we can have 10 per side) which are only triggered by planes with that name, then we are in business!
Well, it is not good. I want to make one button to rule them all… I mean, to suit all needs.
And we can't have 20 buttons because they have to be downloaded from the server to each player. Button's code take about 60 Kb, but images are additional 300 Kb. Images are the same for each button, but I don't see a way to share them.

Of course I can define whatever naming rules I want, but I don't make missions and don't know what people want to see there.
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#30 Flashy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:01

Well, it is not good. I want to make one button to rule them all… I mean, to suit all needs.
And we can't have 20 buttons because they have to be downloaded from the server to each player. Button's code take about 60 Kb, but images are additional 300 Kb. Images are the same for each button, but I don't see a way to share them.

Of course I can define whatever naming rules I want, but I don't make missions and don't know what people want to see there.

Okay, well I was just thinking that we would need a seperate icon for recon zone, otherwise players could interfere with each other's camera. Maybe I am misunderstanding how the icon works, do you mean that each different player who clicks on the "Make a shot" camera button will generate a different event out of the flash dialogue, so that way we could have many pilots ineracting with one icon and not messing with each others results?
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#31 AnKor85

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:29

Maybe I am misunderstanding how the icon works, do you mean that each different player who clicks on the "Make a shot" camera button will generate a different event out of the flash dialogue, so that way we could have many pilots ineracting with one icon and not messing with each others results?
Yes, up to 16 different events from one button (or even more with some tricks, but 16 is simple and should be enough here).
My above example uses just one button (i.e. only one GFX inside one Media MCU) that triggers two different events depending on whether the plane is Entente or Central.

Hmm… By the way, I think I've made a mistake in my example mission. For both sides I've added a complex trigger that enables the camera when "object entered" with countries filter. This trigger enables Entente camera for French planes and Central camera for German ones… But that means that it will enable player's camera even if any other friendly plane enters the area. How do you normally solve it?
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#32 Flashy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:44

Maybe I am misunderstanding how the icon works, do you mean that each different player who clicks on the "Make a shot" camera button will generate a different event out of the flash dialogue, so that way we could have many pilots ineracting with one icon and not messing with each others results?
Yes, up to 16 different events from one button (or even more with some tricks, but 16 is simple and should be enough here).
My above example uses just one button (i.e. only one GFX inside one Media MCU) that triggers two different events depending on whether the plane is Entente or Central.

Hmm… By the way, I think I've made a mistake in my example mission. For both sides I've added a complex trigger that enables the camera when "object entered" with countries filter. This trigger enables Entente camera for French planes and Central camera for German ones… But that means that it will enable player's camera even if any other friendly plane enters the area. How do you normally solve it?

Ah! got it now, yes that is a much more clever solution! :)

For the complex trigger, set it to check entities and use the name of the plane under "Entities" rather to trigger it. That way, only the recon plane(s) will trigger the dialogue instead of any Entente plane..
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#33 AussiePilot

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 01:48

the .gfx for artillery correction,photo recon and visual recon are all included with the game, but they are not seperate files, they are all part of some other file in that folder. You dont need to download anything though, just use the media MCU as it is with that file name as in the practice mission I posted and it will work. In other words, you can point the Media MCU to that file even though it doesnt physically exist in the swf folder. And yes, that .gfx is the little flash dialogue/map thingy that you can open to choose which square the guns must fire into.

Hi Flashy, I got the icon working with the map popping up.

How do you know what area size the map covers?
Is there a predetermind area of coverage, like say within a 1000m radius of your aircraft or something, or is it something we have to set ourselves?
If you know what area the map covers there would be no need for the grid set up. Just put command attack area's around the artilley area as you have done and keep correcting from there.

I still can't get subtitles to show via complexe triggers, whether i use a timer or not first. Yet other mission builders i know can, it's weird cause i'm doing exactly as they have done. You still having no luck with it also?
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#34 Flashy

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:36

the .gfx for artillery correction,photo recon and visual recon are all included with the game, but they are not seperate files, they are all part of some other file in that folder. You dont need to download anything though, just use the media MCU as it is with that file name as in the practice mission I posted and it will work. In other words, you can point the Media MCU to that file even though it doesnt physically exist in the swf folder. And yes, that .gfx is the little flash dialogue/map thingy that you can open to choose which square the guns must fire into.

Hi Flashy, I got the icon working with the map popping up.

How do you know what area size the map covers?
Is there a predetermind area of coverage, like say within a 1000m radius of your aircraft or something, or is it something we have to set ourselves?
If you know what area the map covers there would be no need for the grid set up. Just put command attack area's around the artilley area as you have done and keep correcting from there.

I still can't get subtitles to show via complexe triggers, whether i use a timer or not first. Yet other mission builders i know can, it's weird cause i'm doing exactly as they have done. You still having no luck with it also?

It is something we set ourselves, yes. All the little flash dialogue does is provide a grid of 8 X 8 (64) squares which the player can click. Each different grid then generates a different output from the grid. Its the attackareas that actually control where the guns fire, and you can make those as big or as small as you want.

I have had some luck with the complex triggers. I can now make a subtitle appear whenever a plane spawns now. Im not sure what I was doing wrong before, but it seems to work now when I trigger it using the OnSpawned event.
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#35 SYN_Vander

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 10:00

Just had a quick look at AnKor's sample mission.

Not sure why the truck is changing sides?

Anyway, did you guys check if a second camera icon is displayed if both sides spawn an aircraft? The built-in photo icon/media will do that, it will display two (or more!) photo icons next to each other and then you don't know which one to use…
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#36 AnKor85

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 11:56

Just had a quick look at AnKor's sample mission.

Not sure why the truck is changing sides?

I'm not sure how to describe it simpler…
There are two "special" trucks (they can be any other AI object, like AAA as Flashy suggested) - %photo-entente% and %photo-central%.
When my GFX starts it looks for one of these trucks (searching by name) depending on player's side. Then instead of starting and stopping the GFX when player enters and leaves recon area, I'm using truck's side as a switch. This was an arbitrary choice - I just needed a parameter that I can easily update when mission is running (with Behavior MCU). At first I wanted to use Activate/Deactivate as something more natural, but GFX is not notified when object is deactivated.

Anyway, did you guys check if a second camera icon is displayed if both sides spawn an aircraft? The built-in photo icon/media will do that, it will display two (or more!) photo icons next to each other and then you don't know which one to use…
I can't test it on my own. I can only host LAN servers, and have only one gaming PC that can run ROF.
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#37 AnKor85

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 17:46

I've put together my ideas for much improved recon button that will allow extended features - up to 16 recon areas in total (with any number per side) and automatic handling of "return home" requirement. And without using named planes or complex triggers thus preventing any interference between players.

The functionality can be achieved with a single button and some "marker objects" like trucks or AAA.

Please review the doc for details:
https://docs.google....Ka-dDNeMDw/edit" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">https://docs.google....document/d/1JXn … NeMDw/edit

It is not implemented yet because I want to know if this is what really needed. I know that my ideas may be hard to understand, but if you managed to get used to the mission editor then this stuff is not harder.
But if nobody really needs all this stuff – please let me know so I won't waste my time – I don't build MP missions myself.
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#38 SYN_Vander

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 18:11

I've put together my ideas for much improved recon button that will allow extended features - up to 16 recon areas in total (with any number per side) and automatic handling of "return home" requirement. And without using named planes or complex triggers thus preventing any interference between players.

The functionality can be achieved with a single button and some "marker objects" like trucks or AAA.

Please review the doc for details:
https://docs.google....Ka-dDNeMDw/edit" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">https://docs.google....document/d/1JXn … NeMDw/edit

It is not implemented yet because I want to know if this is what really needed. I know that my ideas may be hard to understand, but if you managed to get used to the mission editor then this stuff is not harder.
But if nobody really needs all this stuff – please let me know so I won't waste my time – I don't build MP missions myself.

Wow AnKor, this will have a big impact on MP missions. I and others would really like to see more two seater objectives and it seems this will be a good solution!

So, any (allied) plane with a camera on board is able to activate the camera icon? That would be great, but remember we need to track the specific plane until it returns to the airfield.

About your question: "Also it seems (at least for me) way too easy to click photo camera many times in a row while flying over the area. Shouldn't it have any delay between shots?"
Yes, a delay of one second would be nice. Also, the default camera logic prevents you from making photo's when you are not flying level.

Another thing, it might be cool if a plane can only take a specific number of photo's so it can't photograph all areas in one sortie.
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#39 AnKor85

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 18:30

So, any (allied) plane with a camera on board is able to activate the camera icon?
Even better - the icon will be visible only for planes flying over any of recon areas. For each player the icon will be personal and not affected by what other players are doing. Players without camera won't see icon at all.
The only limitation - and I don't know if it is important or not - my specification doesn't allow to designate specific recons for specific areas. It is "free for all" - any recon may take photos of any area. Is it ok? I can find a solution but it will be much more complex than what I'm proposing now.

That would be great, but remember we need to track the specific plane until it returns to the airfield.
Sure, this is one of important requirements.
Since the icon works as personal for any player - it remembers which area was photographed by that player, and when the plane is landed it triggers an event corresponding to that area. I haven't yet found a way to know (from inside GFX) that the plane successfully landed on the airfield better than placing an object on airfield and checking the distance to it. Hence the idea about "marker objects" for home bases.

Yes, a delay of one second would be nice. Also, the default camera logic prevents you from making photo's when you are not flying level.
Ok, I should be able to add a delay.
And I remember about flying level but it will work only when the bug is fixed, in 1.027 probably :)
Until then I can only provide a workaround for altitude requirment. BTW, I can change it from 1500-2500m to any other value if there are other preferences.

Another thing, it might be cool if a plane can only take a specific number of photo's so it can't photograph all areas in one sortie.
Good idea! Can be done, just need to define what number it is.
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#40 SYN_Vander

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 21:28


The only limitation - and I don't know if it is important or not - my specification doesn't allow to designate specific recons for specific areas. It is "free for all" - any recon may take photos of any area. Is it ok? I can find a solution but it will be much more complex than what I'm proposing now.

Oh, that's very good actually. If we need specific planes to photograph specific areas we can tell them in briefing or subtitles. If they don't follow, it's their problem :)

… Hence the idea about "marker objects" for home bases.
It's a very good solution, no problems there.

And I remember about flying level but it will work only when the bug is fixed, in 1.027 probably :)

Until then I can only provide a workaround for altitude requirment. BTW, I can change it from 1500-2500m to any other value if there are other preferences.

I don't think you need to bother with workarounds. We'll just wait for 1.027, until then players may do rolls over the target. They can do that now as well… :)

Another thing, it might be cool if a plane can only take a specific number of photo's so it can't photograph all areas in one sortie.
Good idea! Can be done, just need to define what number it is.

Well it would be nice if it's a variable, in the range of 10-20, but I'm also okay if we have a fixed value since we can already determine the number of photos you need to take.

Were these all glass plate negatives they used? Couldn't have been many then right? Maybe 20 at the most?
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