CLsim is an attempt to create some very simple simulation of the C/L plane.
I just wanted to have something I can use to improve my abilities to control
F2D planes (which are still too sensitive to me :-( ). During winter months
there is no much time to fly the real planes frequently... And whilst there
are RC simulators available I found no one which simulates C/L plane.
So I started to think about a computer simulation I could write by my own. After short time
it seemed that there are 2 major problems:
- the implementation of the simulation itself (3D data presentation and the physical model of the plane flight)
- and the problem how to easily control the virtual plane (the control device)
The first problem I have decided to solve using OpenGL 3D library (all I knew
about it was that it exists and is frequently used by game developers. Now I don't know
about it much more so the model looks like 3D object but there are no textures, no shading and
lighting or so. From my point of view these are not too much important). I simplified the plane
flight so there is no aerodynamical, centrifugal nor other forces
calculated at all (if someone has a good hints how to do it I could try to implement it). All the mathematical black magic
is limited to some sinus/cosinus functions which are used to calculate speed
vectors in vertical and horizontal direction.
Altought the real physical model is missing the virtual plane flies not so bad (IMHO).
The second problem showed to have a simple and reasonable solution. I am using an
old computer mouse as a device which converts handle movements into digital signals. There is
a thread attached to the handle (as usual CL lines) which I wrapped around the
shaft with the shutter in the opto-mechanical mouse sensor. So when I move the handle
the thread causes the shaft rotates and the mouse sends a number of impulses it
detected to computer.
It is easy and it works fine. The only problem is that I am not able to read other than serial ports so the mouse must support serial port connection. And the program understand only standard (3 byte) mouse protocol (my mouse is 3 button Genius mouse).
Known problems and limitations
Some screenshot (ugly, isn't it?)
If all is OK I am not going to get bad habits and I will be able to fly the real plane after the time spent with the simulator :-)
And may be the simulator could be used to learn total beginners to control C/L plane (of course if the model sensitivity is properly lowered in plane setup).
The program runs under MS Windows. There are no special requirements. Perhaps except the OpengGL library which has to be present on your computer. It seems that newer versions of Windows (XP, 2000) include OpenGL support. I am not sure that older version of Windows do (probably not). There are some related information on www.opengl.org (menu item Application/Installation). If you have not too old graphic card (manufactured since 1999) you should have the OpenGL support installed together with graphic driver. Or the card's vendor should offer the OpenGL driver for download.
CLsim (zipped version) Changelog
The file is the executable itself. There is no installer - just download the file, copy it to directory you prefer
and start it (if you downloaded the zipped version you have to uncompress it, of course). The program stores its settings
into clsim.ini file stored in the directory where the executable was started from.