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Subject: Computer aid for Nomographs? rss

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Dan Fielding
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Seems like the nomographs ought to be computer aided on a laptop or device. Anything in the works?
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David Tsui
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Gronak wrote:
Seems like the nomographs ought to be computer aided on a laptop or device. Anything in the works?


I've been following the evolution of this game over the years. The designer worked out the mathematics using a spreadsheet. I would guess if he decided to offer a computer-based aid, then it would be a matter of designing the "look" and converting the spreadsheet to the appropriate operating system.

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Sweet William None
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I'd second that motion. Though I believe he has said that he feels the players should do it manually on purpose.
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Kris Miller
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I'm not sure which of the designers might have said that it is better to do the calculations manually, but I can see why.

It certainly gives you a better feel of what the jet is doing if you work through the numbers.

Plus, and this is demonstrated in the tutorial book, it would be difficult for some software to give you all your options for choosing your flight parameters. In fact, you can choose to work your calculations out of sequence in order to see all your options.

That being said, I have seen an iPad app that lets the user draw the nomograph lines on the screen. It looked like a simple graphic app. The big problem with it was when the user's battery ran dead and he had to play tethered to the wall. And given that BoP games can last over 5 hours, dead batteries can happen.

Kris
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Chris Hobbs
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Besides eliminating the visceral experience of actually drawing the lines, an app would have the disadvantage of always calculating a given set of parameters exactly the same way.

Why is that a disadvantage? I'll share this quote from Robert L. Shaw's book "Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuvering":
Shaw: pg 98 wrote:
Because of the human influence on the performance of manned fighters, similar aircraft are not necessarily exactly equivalent in performance, since on any given day, even with the same pilot, an aircraft is unlikely to duplicate consistently a given maneuver so that all parameters are within tolerances much close than 5 or 10 percent.

To my mind, this uncertainty in how lines might be drawn helps keep some of this day-to-day variation built into the system.

My $0.02.
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Sweet William None
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travellerne wrote:

That being said, I have seen an iPad app that lets the user draw the nomograph lines on the screen. It looked like a simple graphic app. The big problem with it was when the user's battery ran dead and he had to play tethered to the wall. And given that BoP games can last over 5 hours, dead batteries can happen.

Kris


I actually scanned the two nomographs and imported them to Excel worksheets as jpg's, where I could "draw" lines on them and could then "erase" (i.e. delete) them -using the "drawing" toolbar (I think it is called).

Advantages: A workseet tab for each aircraft, no ink to erase and helps elimate the physical paperwork clutter that is this game.

Disadvantages, I suppose the power cord, but laptops can go pretty much anywhere.

I'd like to do the same with the Aircraft Control Cards but that is a little more complicated. Though I did do up an Excel worksheet with all ACC info as columns except for the PHAD.
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Martin Gallo
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I have not really looked these over but I am willing to bet that one could "reverse engineer" the nomographs and use a spreadsheet instead of the nomographs (or even a calculator). Yes that goes against the spirit of the idea, but if you are uncomfortable with nomographs...

(Note that I am an engineer and so math i not really a problem for me. To put this into more perspective, my degree is aeronautical engineering.)
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Ryan Frans
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martimer wrote:
I have not really looked these over but I am willing to bet that one could "reverse engineer" the nomographs and use a spreadsheet instead of the nomographs (or even a calculator). Yes that goes against the spirit of the idea, but if you are uncomfortable with nomographs...


I have done this actually, but just for fun. I prefer the nomographs for all the reasons mentioned above.

martimer wrote:
(Note that I am an engineer and so math i not really a problem for me. To put this into more perspective, my degree is aeronautical engineering.)


The same, well aerospace.

Enjoy!
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Martin Gallo
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PhoenixSF2 wrote:
The same, well aerospace.
You are so lucky, you get a badge, I do not.
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Ryan Frans
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martimer wrote:
PhoenixSF2 wrote:
The same, well aerospace.
You are so lucky, you get a badge, I do not.


Hah! I never thought of that.
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Fall Jester
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I have been developing two different Excel workbooks (with heavy VBA behind them) to support this game for the last 12-months. I agree that the best way to play is with ink and a ruler, thats the best way to understand what is going on and to get the "feel" of the aerodynamics. But when I was playing 4v4 solo.... computing KEAS 8 times a turn seemed like work (not to mention the physical pain of doing 4v4 visual sighting every turn by yourself, still makes me cringe). I realized that outside of the flight phase, there are very few decisions youmake. Things like KEAS, max-aero load, Form drag, fuel usage, G-Effect, Radar/missile acquisitions, computing bearings and visual search happen because of your plot.
Consider visual search: All you are deciding is which AC to look for, then the math takes over and spits out a percentage of success. Or consider Crew-G Effects: The only decision to make during this phase is how many AP (0,1,2) you want to strain, then the player-aide determines fatigue, g-effect, g-onset, and structural effects.
I initially began looking at "automated play-aides" that would do each task or phase independantly, but quickly found that i had to enter in a lot of data every time i used it, so I tried to make a more integrated system. This led me to begin development of the BANDIT HUD tool (BANDIT because it sounds cool, and Heads-Up-Display because it is meant to keep your focus on the strategy and not get bogged down in tracking down inputs to play-aides). As you can imagine, this has been a pretty complicated problem.
A lot of the basic calculations were already accomplished by whoever developed the Turn-comparison Excel sheet, located in the files section of the yahoo group. That amazing tool gave me the start, and I have been building two versions, one with the flight phase and one without. The flight phase is incredibly complex when you take into account all of the special rules (stalling, unloading, negative loads), so the "BANDIT-lite" version does nearly everything, you just input your throttle, maxG, AveG, and new hex location and everything else works pretty well. I have played a few games with the -lite and despite a few bugs, it works great. It has dropped my average turn time from 25 minutes per plane to 10 minutes.
I have suspended developing the full model for now, everything worked for basic turns/rolls (with sliders for segment length, G and roll!!!), but for now, i wanted to get the -lite version working completely.
If there is interest in this tool, I can put some more polish on it and release it (with the designers approval, since it has all the AC data in tabular form). In the meantime, play more PbEM!

EDIT: Also, if you couldn't tell, I'm an aerospace engineer as well!
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Martin Gallo
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FallJester wrote:
Also, if you couldn't tell, I'm an aerospace engineer as well!
You people are EVERYWHERE!!!whistle
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