Author Topic: Take on Helicopters is out  (Read 4099 times)

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Offline Dragon

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Take on Helicopters is out
http://takeonthegame.com/
Take on Helicopters, the latest helicopter simulator from Bohemia Interactive has just seen a digital release. That means we finally have a decent, modern helo sim that doesn't use Starforce.
Of course, as usual with BIS games, the initial release is a bit buggy and system requirements are demanding (it's based on ArmAII enigne). Personally, I'm going to wait about a month and get a boxed version (I'd really prefer to have a paperback manual for such a complex game).
Anyway, if anyone here wanted a helicopter sim, here you go.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
this a combat sim? how realistic is the flight model?
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Offline IceFire

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
What else have these guys done? The visuals are very impressive. Never heard of this project before... but helos are cool. Sign me up for flight with a Little Bird :)
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Offline achtung

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
So ****ing ready for this, I've been craving a new helicopter sim for quite some time.
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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
A relative of mine pre-ordered it and has recently finished the career mode, so I'm a little concerned about how long it lasts. I'm hoping to give it a try soon to see if I like it enough to buy a copy. Having read the pre-release beta review I'm a little concerned about the flight model, in particular as to whether it features vortex ring effect and retreating blade stall (I've crashed many a helo in EEAH and EECH just by trying to hover and increasing collective too rapidly).

Speaking of Bohemia Interactive games, I still have the Airwolf mod for Operation Flashpoint to try out.

Another helicopter sim to keep an eye on is Combat-Helo, which I hope will have something playable released before the end of the year. Just hope it won't have restrictive DRM.

Also, any fans of the Enemy Engaged series might like to know that the EECH Central team has released their newest version (1.14.0) of their enhancement pack on their SimHQ board.

 

Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
how exactly do helo sim controls work?  i've never really looked at them at all.  if i'm not mistaken, helo controls are quite different from the HOTAS setup of a plane (don't they have an extra axis?).  i'm curious to know how that translates to be able to control them in simulators. 
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
Well, much like with regular aircraft, there are four main controls but they are subtly different from how they work in fixed wing aircraft.

Pitch and roll are controlled with the joystick, called cyclic in helicopters. This adjusts the angle of the rotor blades at different sides of the helicopter; for example, to pitch forward, the blades in front will reduce their angle of attack and therefore lift, while the blades on the back will increase angle of attack slightly and cause more lift, so the rotor disk will pitch forward and the fuselage of the helo along with it. Roll works similarly. This control is called cyclic because it causes the rotor blade angle of attack to cycle as the blades go around the rotor disk.

Yaw is controlled by the foot pedals, which adjust the tail rotor to produce more or less sideways force.

Vertical lift is controlled by a handbrake-looking lever called collective. This control adjusts the collective angle of attack (and therefore total lift) of the main rotor assembly. Even though the collective is usually sensible to map to the main throttle axis, it is not the throttle in helicopters and shouldn't be treated as such - it is much more like the elevator in fixed wing aircraft.

The powerplant in helicopters usually drives the main rotor(s) at more or less constant speed. The powerplant can produce certain amount of torque; that sets limits on how much resistance the main rotor blades can be allowed to produce (it must be less than the maximum torque output of the engine - otherwise rotor blades start to slow down or damage the transmission, this is called overtorquing and usually happens with excessive collective angle of attack).

Much like with overusing the elevator in a fixed wing aircraft, using too much collective angle of attack can cause rotor blades to stall, though the stall situations are more complex and there are other ways that the rotor disk can lose lift. Most common anomalous flight states are receding blade stall and vortex ring state, read up on them if you wish.

Basic flight is a little bit different than with fixed-wing aircraft where propeller produces thrust and wings provide lift; in helicopters, the main rotor(s) produce both horizontal and vertical lift, and it is the pilot's job to direct that lift to control the vehicle in horizontal plane as well as vertical axis. It is, in some ways, remarkably similar to flying a lunar lander would be - except much more complex because of the more complicated dynamics, and once a helicopter gets into level flight it actually gains certain characteristics of fixed wing aircraft - for example, turning is pretty much the same: You bank the helicopter to the direction you wish to turn to, then increase collective to prevent loss of altitude, and use the tail rotor pedals to keep the turn coordinated. If you wish to expedite turning, you can also increase pitch attitude.

My experience with helicopter sims is that they require much higher precision and smoothness of controls than fixed wing aircraft. They are also much more challenging because of the hover operations you are required to do to take-off and land them, and much easier to lose control of. Fixed wing aircraft are more stable and I much prefer flying them, but helos are a nice occasional challenge as well.

All in all, though, four axes HOTAS is well enough to control a helicopter. However, helicopters especially benefit from separate rudder pedals because of the sensitivity of the controls - tiny correction of yaw usually results in changes in pitch/roll positions as well with a twist handle stick, and that can lead to it becoming almost impossible to, say, hover.

High frame rates are also almost required for any sort of precision flying such as landing on a helipad or hovering over a specific target.
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Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
so is the throttle not really used much then?  i guess i always just assumed that pitch, bank, yaw worked the same as fixed wing, and that some sort of throttle interpreted the pilot's input and translated it to the aircraft to make it go forward.  and the little handbreak thing for altitude.  that specifically was what i was most wondering about for sim controlls.
I like to stare at the sun.

 
Re: Take on Helicopters is out
A helicopter's throttle controls the amount of power delivered to the rotor blades via the transmission. The rotor blades are designed to rotate at specific speeds so that the rotor disc can provide enough lift, so throttle is used to maintain the required rotor speed. On some helicopters it takes the form of a twist grip control incorporated into the collective lever, but others have a device called a governor which automatically controls the rotor speed for the pilot.

I don't think I've come across throttle controls in the helicopter sims I've played. In the Enemy Engaged series all the featured helos (Apache, Havoc, Comanche and Hokum) have no throttle control simulated, and I think those choppers have governors installed anyway. Flight Simulator X probably does feature it in some of its helos and I'd imagine X-Plane certainly does. There probably are controllers out there that are suitable for mapping a throttle to.

EDIT: Actually in the modded version of EECH you can control the RPM of the gas turbine but that's only really necessary when you are starting up the engines and getting the rotor blades up to speed, or when you need to decrease it due to damage and potential overheating.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 05:04:43 am by lostllama »

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
SO. KEEN.

And yes, as for collective as throttle dialogue - it's different kinda flying, summed up pretty well by the people above with 'treat it like the elevators'. HOTAS kits are fine for that **** but once you get your head around the flying it's pretty dope. Haven't flown any helicopters IRL (though am considering getting a few flights when I go for full powered and gliding licenses after my finals) but was an avid Hind 95 bloke back in the day. :P Different kinda flying, but good kinda flying nonetheless.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
Yeah, with helicopters you control airspeed with pitch attitude, and vertical speed with your collective. So basically if you want to fly at a certain airspeed you push the nose a little bit down, keep an eye on the VSI, increase collective to negate any descent or ascent, and let the aircraft stabilize to whatever speed it wants to fly at that particular attitude. If it's too slow, you push the nose forward a bit more and see what speed it stabilizes to, adjust collective continuously to maintain desired altitude, and so on.

If you are on hover and simply pitch down, you will speed up and start to lose altitude as you are tilting your lift vector forward and with a simple application of pythagorean theorem we can see the upward lift is reduced unless you increase the total amount of lift.

More curiosities: If you are on a stabilized level flight at constant airspeed and altitude, and you reduce the collective, your airspeed will actually increase a bit because your helicopter will start to descend, and descent adds to the horizontal velocity, so there you go.

There are also a lot of couplings between the controls: Changing the collective will cause changes in the torque effects so you will need to manipulate the tail rotor pedals to counter that. Adjusting collective in level flight will cause pitching up or down; roll will result in the aircraft turning (yawing) to the direction of the roll, and so forth.

Oh and vertical maneuvers such as landing in constricted areas is a huge pain in the arse because you can't really see through the floor (unless there's a window or you can lean out the window).
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
I've seen helicopters fly a mini-circuit for landing, or at least some kind of downwind parallel to the landing area before coming in, so I'm assuming a good look at the LZ's enough to tell you how much tree in the windshield is a good amount of tree for landing. :P AFAIK minimum clearance for a landing zone is about 100 metres so that's about enough to land the thing decently at least.

Tight squeezes LZ wise would probably be too dangerous most of the time I'd imagine - especially in urban environments because of settling with power and such (I think that's what it's called? I haven't looked it up since the super blackhawk the SEALS took with them crashed).

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
Ground effect?
Anyway, I guess that RPM controls (on helos without governors) might be simulated, overtorque is on the list of features.
Retreating blade stall is simulated, vortex ring state is planned (in a patch), but not implemented yet.
I'm getting TKoH on 24th November (my birthday). Hopefully a box version will be out in Poland by that time.

 

Offline Pred the Penguin

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
How would this simulator compare to games like Apache Air Assault. I've played that and the flight model seems somewhat... sluggish.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
i traditionally map the collective to the throttle axis on my hotas. since you either let the governor control throttle, or just keep it all the way up most of the time. i do have a trim wheel on my stick which i can use for throttle though, but its kind of a hard thing to control since with a helicopter if you remove your hand from the stick you tend to die.

in a helicopter the rudder pedals are actually called anti-torque pedals, since they control the amount of anti-torque you need to keep the copper from spinning. i do own an r/c heli that uses a gyro to automatically adjust the tail rotor to compensate for torque, and im not sure if real helis have this, but i would assume so. im still not too good at flying the r/c because crashing tends to cost $30 on average to fix, so the learning curve is steep and expensive. i may just use an imu to make the thing idiot proof.
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Offline Pred the Penguin

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
You could by a copilot to use as training wheels.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
well using an imu means having an autopilot that i can switch on or off. in an emergency i can flip the panic switch and have the chopper stabilize itself by reducing motion on all 6 axes. an mcu essentially does the flying, and i pretty much just tell it where to go, and it will try to maintain heading, altitude, and speed. a cheap 6 axis imu is sufficient for stabilization, but is somewhat inadequate for navigation. to navigate youd need to throw in a magnetometer and a gps, of course this is overkill, i dont want a drone, i just want to make it really hard to crash.
I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

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Offline Cobra

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
What else have these guys done? The visuals are very impressive. Never heard of this project before... but helos are cool. Sign me up for flight with a Little Bird :)

The ARMA games, the early Flashpoint games... They also made DCS Black Shark, which is currently now a paperweight until I get my new computer built. Black Shark is one of the most realistic helicopter sims I've ever played.
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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
Quote
hey also made DCS Black Shark, which is currently now a paperweight until I get my new computer built. Black Shark is one of the most realistic helicopter sims I've ever played.

You sure? I never read anything on the 'BIS' forums about Black Shark - Did they absorb another company?

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Re: Take on Helicopters is out
LOMAC, Flaming Cliffs, DCS Black Shark, and DCS A-10 Warthog are developed by Eagle Dynamics.

ArmA: Cold War Assault (originally named Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis), ArmA: Armed Assault (redundant, yes) and ARMA 2 were developed by Bohemia Interactive Studio. Related to the series are also a few Codemasters games.

BIS used ARMA 2 engine as the basis for TOH. They don't have any connection to Eagle Dynamics and cater to a slightly different crowd (TOH is not a study simulator).
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.