Gaming Balsa Model Flight Simulator

HarvesteR

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
386
Reaction score
14
Points
18
Hi,

So, as of today I can talk about the game I've been working on for the last two years or so. I don't know if there is a lot of overlap with the Orbiter community, but I think of OF as a home base of sorts on the internets, so I think it deserves a thread of its own here.

It's called Balsa Model Flight Simulator.

Balsa Model Flight Sim | Announcement Trailer



Balsa is a model flight simulator where you can design and fly your own scale aircraft, then take them into missions, including combat (with paintball weaponry).

The game was built for multiplayer from the start, and it supports up to 16 pilots flying together in MP.

DdNlJKh.png


Balsa also features a fully featured Vehicle Editor, which shouldn't be unfamiliar to you if you've played KSP. The Balsa editor however was built from the ground up, and features many additional features, including painting and decal tools.

D58fPup.png


Vehicles in Balsa are assembled from parts, as in KSP. This time however, parts have many new features, like internal attachment spaces (featuring an x-ray style interior view you can use during construction), morphing wings and fuselages, and an entirely new visual resource flow system that you can tweak as well.

hFb0y0h.png


Balsa also features its own characters, or rather, Action Figures. You can place figures aboard your vehicles, which enables you to see through their, erm, eyes :rolleyes: for an in-cockpit FPV perspective.

There is also a fully-featured Mission Editor in Balsa, which will be available in game. It lets you set up missions of your own using a modular system of interconnected components, which allow creating gameplay logic without the need for scripting.



Speaking of scripting, Balsa fully supports mods also. The addon pipeline was built on top of unity's Assetbundle system, so the game is able to import additional content made in Unity itself, using the upcoming Balsa SDK tools. In fact, the game's base content itself was developed and loads into the game using this same pipeline, so we know it is fully functional already. Addon assets can contain new parts, figures, and also new maps.

In addition to asset mods, Balsa also supports plugins in the form of c# assemblies, much like KSP did. The game code provides several entry points for plugin code to initialize, in addition to loading in part modules, scenario (mission) modules, and so on.


There is a lot more that I could talk about here, but I think this just about covers the essentials of it.

The game is being published by The Irregular Corporation (PC Building Sim, etc), and we are planning to release it as Early Access on summer 2020.

Alright, that's about it I think. Let me know what you think. :)


Cheers :cheers:
 
Last edited:

kuddel

Donator
Donator
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
500
Points
113
Looks like there's a "Balsa-DeltaGlider" included :thumbup:
...at least a "Balsa-DeltaGlider Lookalike"
 

HarvesteR

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
386
Reaction score
14
Points
18
Looks like there's a "Balsa-DeltaGlider" included :thumbup:
...at least a "Balsa-DeltaGlider Lookalike"

Oh yes, I called it the DeltaRay Mk1. It's going to be one of the stock craft.

Cheers
 

MaverickSawyer

Acolyte of the Probe
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
3,919
Reaction score
5
Points
61
Location
Wichita
Dang, Harv. Looks sharp! May the Early Access phase be as successful as KSP was!
 

4throck

Enthusiast !
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
3,502
Reaction score
1,008
Points
153
Location
Lisbon
Website
orbiterspaceport.blogspot.com
Looks fun, and I hope gameplay is interesting :)

Some questions:

- Are physics real world ?
- You mention missions. Something like flying from point A to B in X minutes ? Or cary Y passengers ?
- Is there ATC ?
- Will there be commercial add-ons or just free stuff?
- Can you add realworld maps?
 

HarvesteR

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
386
Reaction score
14
Points
18
Looks fun, and I hope gameplay is interesting :)

Some questions:

- Are physics real world ?
- You mention missions. Something like flying from point A to B in X minutes ? Or cary Y passengers ?
- Is there ATC ?
- Will there be commercial add-ons or just free stuff?
- Can you add realworld maps?

Not sure what you mean with real world physics exactly, but they are definitely not arcadey physics, that much I can say. Any aerodynamic simulation in a game needs to be an approximation in some form or another, because a true simulation of flight requires modeling air as a fluid, which means for a complete simulation you'd need to model each and every air molecule around the vehicle. Needless to say, no simulator does that. :)

Balsa's aerodynamic model is still (like everything else) a work in progress, so there are many things I want to improve with it, but as it is, it's convincing enough to give a decent flight experience, complete with stalls, spins, and all that stuff.


As for missions, they come in many shapes and sizes. Yes, there will be time challenges, where you need to get through a course as fast as possible, but that's just one possibility. There are also different types of combat missions, transport missions, and a lot more we are still working on.

What I did was implement a complete scenario editor in the game, which lets us create missions using an editor, not unlike how you can create vehicles.


About ATC, well, it's a model flight sim, so by definition there is none... But there is VOIP in multiplayer. :)


As for addons, for now we are just planning to have free, community-made addons, but we are definitely open to the idea of allowing commercial addons (like DCS modules) at some point. I think the game as a platform still needs to reach a certain level of maturity before that though.

And about maps, actually, yes. If you make a scene based on a real world location, you can definitely get it into the game as a mod. In fact, I know there are unity tools out there that let you generate scenery from map data (I've used a couple in the past). Unfortunately these tools aren't free, but they're likely cheap enough for a dedicated mod-maker to afford (none were more expensive than your typical AAA game at release).

Cheers
 

4throck

Enthusiast !
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
3,502
Reaction score
1,008
Points
153
Location
Lisbon
Website
orbiterspaceport.blogspot.com
Not sure what you mean with real world physics exactly, but they are definitely not arcadey physics, that much I can say.
.....
As for addons, for now we are just planning to have free, community-made addons, but we are definitely open to the idea of allowing commercial addons (like DCS modules) at some point.

Sorry I didn't explain it well. For real world I mean real world sizes, distance, speeds, fuel autonomy/range, etc.
I think third party commercial addons are important for quality and to appeal to different types of users. Microsoft Flight Sim is still going because of that.
 

White Owl

Member
Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
31
Reaction score
0
Points
6
If we build ridiculously overpowered airplanes, are transonic and supersonic effects modeled?
 

Donamy

Addon Developer
Addon Developer
Donator
Beta Tester
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
6,892
Reaction score
155
Points
138
Location
Cape
Will I be able to use my, RealFlight 9 Interlink DX Flightcontroller with it ?
 

White Owl

Member
Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
31
Reaction score
0
Points
6
After reading the YouTube comments denigrating Balsa as merely SimplePlanes 2, I saw SP was on sale for only three bucks, so I bought it and played around a little bit.

Even this very brief trailer demonstrates the core gameplay of building and flying airplanes is so much more advanced in Balsa. Building in SP is awkward and difficult. Flying in SP is awkward and way too simplified for anybody with any flight sim experience at all; maybe okay for somebody for baby's first sim plane. Balsa in pre-Early -Access is visibly superior to SimplePlanes several years after launch.

Only major things missing from your trailer, IMO, were in-cockpit instruments and a headtracking system to look around.
 

HarvesteR

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
386
Reaction score
14
Points
18
Hi everyone,

Bumping the thread here to let everyone know, we are starting sign-ups for the Closed Beta phase for Balsa. :)

The sign up form is available here.



Also, we've got a new video out now, where I talk about plane building in the game, and make a sorry attempt at designing a good plane.


Cheers
 

HarvesteR

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
386
Reaction score
14
Points
18
Interesting. Some of the editor tools do remind me of KSP. Do you plan to test the flight model against real balsa model aircraft?

Well, no, I don't make any claim for the game flight model to be able to reproduce anything in real life to any degree of accuracy. My goal for the flight model is just for it to feel authentic and self-consistent.

That said, the flight model is detailed enough to model many effects of flight already, and each of your design choices while building a craft do have an effect on the final flight characteristics.

I imagine that if you did build an in-game replica of a known model, however, and made sure that the mass of each component was reasonably close enough, you might get something that behaves at least somewhere close to the real thing... at least in terms of balance and such.

But if you're looking for something to do virtual wind-tunnel testing, then I would recommend looking for CFD simulation software instead. IINM, Fusion 360 might have a module for that sort of thing.

Cheers
 

Cairan

Donator
Donator
Joined
Apr 11, 2008
Messages
601
Reaction score
1
Points
18
Location
Amqui, QC
I'm going to keep it simple:

This is great! :cheers: :thumbup:

Are you planning a native Linux version to be released?

Good to see you put out great stuff again!
 

HarvesteR

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2008
Messages
386
Reaction score
14
Points
18
Unfortunately, I don't have any plans at the moment for a dedicated Linux version. The development team consists of entirely two people, so we just don't have the manpower to support more platforms.

However, people have reported being able to run Balsa on wine, AFAICT, without issues.

Cheers
 
Top