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Burkhard

Introduction

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When Microsoft published FSX back in 2006, there was a lot of excitement that FSX allowed not only AI traffic of aircraft, but also to have ships running under control of artificial intelligence. This excitement cooled down due to a couple of reasons:

  • The precision of ship movements was not satisfactory, ships did not position precise in harbors.
  • A large scale ship traffic concept requires a lot of data to be stored and computing resources, which inside of FSX take away resources for other tasks – most of them are more important than the ships out there on the water.

Now, in 2012, some things have changed, which led me to finally start to convert my dream of naval AI traffic into code and a product ready to use for designers and end users.

  • Aircraft AI traffic has reached a level of perfection that makes the missing ground transportation more and more obvious.
  • Prepar3D extends the simulation of user activities from aircraft pilots to a driver of a naval object.
  • On current generation PC, large memory is available, and a lot of CPU power on cores not used by the simulators main process.

In the following I will often use the term FSX to address the simulator environment. This applies to both simulators, unless explicitly stated.

MyCaptain is a software intended to offer a very general solution to the task of naval AI. It starts on a rather plain field, there are no given harbors inside FSX – only coast lines, land, water. FSX comes with a couple of ships which can be made usable, but of course more ships need to be added over the time. Not every detail can be added to the software by me, so it must be flexible enough for extension and modifications, containing design tools as well as ready to use boat traffic – and in the end the enthusiasm of users to create local areas and add them to the global world.

This version comes with around 100 different ships and a naval traffic in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Sea, so the area between the island of Sardinia, Sicily and the Italian main land, containing very important harbors like Genova, La Spezia, Naples, Palermo, Civitaveccia and several hundred more, the area of Singapore and of Hong Kong, so yes you will see ships passing the Suez Channel if you wait a while there.

MyCaptain can be used together with the Microsoft supplied boat traffic. MyCaptain ships will not know of the existence of Microsoft supplied ships, so they may pass through them. The supplied scenery will not use the ferry terminals used by the Microsoft AI traffic.

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The heart of MyCaptain is a standalone program "MyCaptain.exe". This program connects to the simulator as a simconnect client. It organizes all the ships and moves them around – FSX just is there to display them.

This program reads a couple of data files at startup, which tell it where to place the ships and which routes to take. These files are very similar to the files used by the default boat AI defined in the SDK, but some additions turned out to be needed in the boat types and the terminals.

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where is the info on how to purchase and install My Captain in P3D v2.4...........and does it work for ships in the Grat Lakes or smaller MN lakes, or is it mostly for worldwide oceans??.......looks like a great addition to the slow and go simmer.........thanks, B42L8

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@Burk,

 

Just to let you know, one of the more prolific posters at AVSim started a thread about MyCaptain and it has apparently generated some interest:

 

http://forum.avsim.net/topic/452568-im-populating-the-p3d-seaswith-mycaptain/?hl=+mycaptain

 

I've never really paid much attention to MyCaptain until Mitch (Sesquashtoo) started that thread. That got me playing around with it to develop naval targets for VRS TacPack.

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MyCaptain is part of MyTraffic 5.4. Since 5.4 does not support P3D V2, I cannot say if it will work. I will go back to it once the issues of AI traffic and P3D V2 are solved.

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