Drone camera controls, and how it can evolve.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jonas Hammar, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. Jonas Hammar

    Jonas Hammar Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Hey guys!
    I've spent the last few weeks trying to wrap my head around drone footage in rF2.
    I fly drones in real life and i have a pretty good idea of what proper drone footage should look like, and i would love to replicate that in rF2.

    So in this thread i hope to get people involved in a discussion and hopefully some devs to, cuz simracing as a broadcasted e-sports is growing and the way a race is covered makes a HUGE difference for the people watching.

    So to start off, lets see what we have available to us right now, and later on talk about what needs to change.

    In the .json file for controllers we have these lines to play with, and this is how i've set things up right now

    "Freelook Keyboard Pitch Accel":0.4,
    "Freelook Keyboard Pitch Accel#":"Freelook pitch acceleration when using keyboard.",
    "Freelook Keyboard Pitch Decel":0.5,
    "Freelook Keyboard Pitch Decel#":"Freelook pitch deceleration when using keyboard.",
    "Freelook Keyboard Pitch Speed":0.8,
    "Freelook Keyboard Pitch Speed#":"Freelook pitch speed when using keyboard.",
    "Freelook Keyboard Yaw Accel":0.4,
    "Freelook Keyboard Yaw Accel#":"Freelook Yaw acceleration when using keyboard.",
    "Freelook Keyboard Yaw Decel":0.5,
    "Freelook Keyboard Yaw Decel#":"Freelook Yaw deceleration when using keyboard.",
    "Freelook Keyboard Yaw Speed":0.8,
    "Freelook Keyboard Yaw Speed#":"Freelook yaw speed when using keyboard.",
    "Freelook Mouse Pitch Speed":0.004,
    "Freelook Mouse Pitch Speed#":"Freelook pitch speed when using mouse.",
    "Freelook Mouse Yaw Speed":0.004,
    "Freelook Mouse Yaw Speed#":"Freelook yaw speed when using mouse.",
    "Freemove Down Speed":5,
    "Freemove Down Speed#":"Freemove Down speed.",
    "Freemove Forward Speed":40,
    "Freemove Forward Speed#":"Freemove Forward speed.",
    "Freemove Right Speed":30,
    "Freemove Right Speed#":"Freemove Right speed.",

    As we can see there are two distinct ways that rF2 manages camera motion, pitch/roll/yaw has a few values to simulate some form of inertia and the "freemove" section does not, we can only regulate the speed of the camera movement front/back/side/up/down without any additional smoothing/accel/decel.

    Im currently using an E-sky flight controller to control my "drone" ingame and it has 4 analog axis.
    In a normal drone, the left stick would be Throttle (up/down) and Yaw (left/right) and the right stick would be Pitch (up/down) and Roll (left/right) but rf2 doesn't simulate a drone that has weight and needs thrust to move around, so i have changed it slightly so that the left stick moves the camera front/back/left/right and the right stick is used for pitch and yaw in order to track the cars.

    To make a pretty long story short, here's a list.

    1. Jaggy and jittery movements due to lack of smoothing/accel/decel values when moving the camera front/side/up/down.

    FIX= Introduce the same "accel/decel" lines of code used for pitch/roll/yaw to the values of "Freemove"

    2. When moving the camera forward, it goes in the direction i'm looking, meaning if i'm 30 feet up in the air pitching down, and i moves the camera forward, it drops altitude, this makes following a car from above impossible if i wanna follow the cars around the track, the way i work around this now is i have a button pressed for "Move camera up" with a fixed elevation speed value of 5 meaning as long as i'm pitched down and moving forward i can stay on the same altitude roughly, but it's a terrible work-around.

    FIX= Lock the cameras altitude and only let the "move camera up/down" be the input that controls altitude.

    3. Pitch/Roll/Yaw has the proper codes for accel/decel but the controls themselves are not analog, so for instance if i want to yaw left with the camera, my analog input only controls how fast/slow the acceleration of that yaw rotation will be, it will still reach it's "top speed" even if i only have 20% stick input, the time it takes for it to reach top speed however takes longer as i'm not giving full input.

    FIX = keep the accel/decel code but let the analog input dictate what top speed should be reached instead of how fast the rotation/movement is accelerating or decelerating, let those values be constant instead.

    4. Sound? the track side camera i've high jacked and use "freelook" to move around doesn't pick up sound from where i've positioned the camera, so there's no way for me to capture the sounds of the cars im tracking, which makes for a pretty dull stream.
    FIX= link the pick up point of the sound to the position of the camera.

    Camera movement should have weight to it in order to look realistic, and we can achieve that pretty okay with the rotational controls but its near impossible with the actual movement of the camera/drone, so rF2 still lacks the proper controls for broadcasters to easily have a well controlled drone shot in their feed.

    There are more areas that needs some attention, for example focus control and how the depth of field is controlled, how the zoom function needs to be included with some smoothing-values and so on, but i don't want this to become too hefty of a thread just yet, i wanna figure out the basics first!

    Here's a short clip of me trying to track down a pack of cars around Donington Park
    Alex72, DJCruicky and mantasisg like this.
  2. Comante

    Comante Registered

    Nov 20, 2013
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    Pretty interesting, and would be great to have such features implemented, even one controlled by AI. But this kind of camera can show all the tricks and shortcoming of a track , that is optimized for looking at it from ground level, and not from the sky, this just to say that on some track or in some circumstances, results may vary.
  3. Jonas Hammar

    Jonas Hammar Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    This is very true, however that's something that can be "flown" around to some extent, but yeah how well the track is modeled off track plays a bigger factor when flying than it does when only using trackside cameras

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