Tuesday, November 6, 2018

S-211 for Aerofly FS2 - update to version 1.0


**** EDIT - .ZIP FILE REPOSTED ON 07/11 AS ONE OF THE FILES IN THE ARCHIEVE WAS INCORRECT - PLEASE DOWLOAD IT AGAIN! ****

With thanks to Jan from the IPACS forum, here is a small update to the freeware SIAI-Marchetti S-211 model for Aerofly FS2. Apart from a general cleanup of the s211.tmd file and some improvements in the control.tmd file, the important thing is that the update introduces a much needed damping effect to the main landing gear - generating a much better behavior during touchdown.

Version 1.0
05/11/2018
-Included improvements in to the tmd files provided by Jan-Hendrik Hanuschik from the Aerofly FS 2 forum
-Minor tweak to the external model to fix speedbrake actuator

Model can be downloaded from the sidebar or by clicking HERE.

Friday, November 2, 2018

F-35 LIGHTNING II UPDATE TO VERSION 3.53


While debugging the E-2/C-2 Package I have discovered a nasty bug in the TACAN system that affects also other planes… so I took the chance for a quick update to the F-35. Here are the details of the update:


CHANGE LOG
Version 3.53 - 02/11/2018
- Fixed major bug in NAV1/TACAN frequency conversion causing generating incorrect TACAN channels in some instances.
- Fixed bug preventing NAV1 frequency tuning once a TACAN channel has been entered
- Fixed graphic glitch in MFD TSD1 screen
- Fixed minor graphic glitch in BFI Baro setting window
- Updated Koninklijke Luchtmacht F-35A livery
- Added F-35C VFA-147 Argonauts USN livery
- Fixed wrong entry in F-35C configuration file

NOTE: THE UPDATE WILL RESET THE MFD TO "FULL FEATURE" MODE. IF YOU WANT TO USE THE SIMPLIFIED MFD YOU MUST RE-APPLY THE SIMPLIFIED MFD PATCH OVER THE UPDATES FILES.

NOTE: THIS UPDATE WILL WORK WITH ALL PREVIOUS VERSION STARTING FROM V3.50. WHICH MUST BE DOWNLOADED BY YOUR DISTRIBUTOR OF CHOICE.

The update can be dowloaded from the sidebar or by clicking HERE.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

PROJECT ROADMAP FOR 2019

The E-2/C-2 project is close to completion, and given that this 2018 is slowly approaching to its end, I though this was a good time to share my current projects for 2019.
But first, let me thank you once again for your continues support to my projects - you enthusiasm and appreciation for what I do is much appreciated!

So, let's start with the easy things...

 UPDATES TO CURRENT PROJECTS:

As usual, I'd like to keep my projects up to date whenever possible...so here is what I am working on:

SIAI S-211 - A small patch is in the works to fix a couple of minor glitches. I am also looking to add a couple of liveries, a (much requested) smoke system and some sort of aiming support for weapons release (at least for the HUD-equipped versions). At least the glitches will be fixed before the end of 2018.

F-35 LIGHTNING II - Minor fixes to the BFI and MFD, possibly new liveries. The patch will be for P3D versions only. Release is planned before the end of 2018.

EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON - Also for this one, fixes to minor glitches are planned. I'd like to rework some aspects of the cockpit model too...but I am not sure I can find the time. Release date TBD.

F-14D SUPER TOMCAT - Although this project was "closed" years ago, I've been working on a P3Dv4 version to provide full 64 bit compatibility and AO support. I am not sure when (and if) it will be ready, so release date is TBD.

NEW PROJECT: McDONNELL-DOUGLAS TA-4J

If you follow my Facebook page this is hardly surprising, but my next project will be the TA-4J. The scope is to deliver a high quality rendition of this aircraft. By similarity there is some chance that the project scope may creep towards the inclusion of the TA-4F and/or the A-4F...but at the moment the focus in on the TA-4J.
With the current pace, a Beta version may be ready in spring 2019.
Lead Platform is Prepar3D v4, but with backward compatibility to FSX:SE in mind.
Also, the model will be built with provisions for an easy export to other platforms.


External model of the TA-4J in P3Dv4.3... it is already 50% complete.
Very early look at TA-4J cockpit… it will require months of work!

NEW PROJECT: BOEING T-X

I have been following the TX competition quite closely - and I have to confess that, technically, my money was on the T-50. However, for a number of reasons, seeing the victory of Boeing/SAAB design was hardly surprising.
I have been working on a T-X model lately, although at the moment, the information about the cockpit and pilot interface is insufficient for a reasonably accurate simulation. Provided that more information will become available in time, the T-X project should be available before the end of 2019.
Lead Platform is Prepar3D v4, but with backward compatibility to FSX:SE in mind (but chance is that the MFD may be too complex for FSX...much like it was for the F-35).
Also, the model will be built with provisions for an easy export to other platforms.

Early picture of the Boeing T-X in P3Dv4.3

...AND NOW THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: THE DECLINE OF FSX

As much as it is hard to admit it, I think that FSX is now technologically outdated, and its popularity is declining (albeit more slowly than most people predicted). And, while P3Dv4 is a good step forward, unless Lockheed Martin pulls a rabbit out of the hat with new shaders or a better rendering pipeline, chance is that P3D will follow. 
Continuing to support FSX is getting harder and harder, as basically you cannot use the new features of P3Dv4 if you want to maintaing backward compatibility - and developing multiple versions requires a lot of effort - especially if you are a small developer like me.
For these and other reasons, in the past years I have been closely looking at other platforms and made a number of experiments.
Still, at least for the TA-4J, I'll continue supporting both FSX and P3D as main development platforms. Then we will see.

X-PLANE 11

Unknown to most users, XP11 has a number of limitations in the aicraft modeling which make the conversion from FSX/P3D to XP11 not trivial (see the document I have published some time ago). Also, in terms of avionics, XP11 has almost everything you need for civil aviation...but not much for military planes, especially if they have digital instruments, MFDs and HUDs.

Anyway, I am moving forward with the conversion of the Siai Marchetti S-211, which feels at home in XP11, and, in 2019, the TA-4J. Given their avionics and cockpit features, they are relatively easy to convert.

I have been experimenting with the conversions of other aircrafts, too… but at this time I have nothing to announce.

The SIAI S-211 Flying in XP11 - it is almost complete...it just needs some work on the cockpit but it is already flyable.

AEROFLY FS-2 

While it is not much popular, I really like this sim for VR, sightseeing flights. Its excellent frame rate and high-resolution photoreal terrain make it the ideal showcase of my HTC Vive when friends come and visit me.
Unfortunately, with the current status of the SDK, developing aircrafts for this sim is very time consuming.
This is why I have recently released the unfinished S-211 for free lately.
I am not sure I'll have the time do other projects in future, but I'd like to, and then may be IPACS will improve the SDK. We'll see.

The SIAI S-211 in Aerofly FS2

DCS

The question I have been asked most in 2018 is, "Aren't you looking at DCS? Why don't you convert your planes for it?"...well… of course I've been looking at DCS. Below is a picture I took in an early attempt to convert the Eurofighter Typhoon to this platform.
However, the big problem with DCS is that it does not offer a "middle ground"...you either do simple mods (and rely on default functions) or you'll have to model each system on your own - which is very time consuming.
To develop a "decent" (and I am not saying "good" - by "decent" I mean FC3-level airplanes) you still need to assemble a good team, and it still requires a lot of work.
I am looking at different strategies for this, but, at the moment, no one is really a convincing way to move forward.

An early shot of the Eurofighter Typhoon in DCS - Don't hold your breath, at the moment it is just a test and may never become an actual product.

OTHER PROJECTS
...and that is not all. Back to FSX/P3D I have a number of other small projects on the drawing board… which include an MQ-25, the final release of the USS America model and the "pro" version of the T-45.
Also, I have been looking at making the M.C.72 as a divertissment, and I have been discussing cooperations for a number of other interesting projects - which I cannot disclose right now. The main problem is that I do not have much time - and, at the moment, quitting my real life job to only this is not an option...



Monday, October 22, 2018

E-2C Hawkeye / C-2A Beta Release - How to apply for Beta Testing


*********** DUE TO THE OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS RECEIVED, THE ACCESS TO THE BETA TESTING IS NOW CLOSED (SORRY!) - WE CURRENTLY HAVE 35 TESTERS ON BOARD, INCLUDING FORMER E-2/C-2 CREW, SO THERE IS NO ROOM LEFT...I AM SORRY!!!!*******

I know that some of you have been waiting for this post for quite a while ;-) !
Applications to join to the E-2C Hawkeye / C-2A Greyhound Package Beta Testing are now CLOSED.

Here are the minimum requirements:

Simulator: FSX (Acceleration/Gold/Steam Editions), P3D (all versions). NOTE: TACPACK IS NOT SUPPORTED IN THE INITIAL RELEASE (some functions are implemented but not all)
OS: Windows, any version suitable for the simulators above
CPU: Multicore 2.4GHz
GPU: Nvidia 760 or better. Should work with 1.5Gb dedicated video memory.
RAM: 3Gb
HD: 1.4Gb needed for installation

I am looking for different computer specs and for user of different skill levels/knowledge of the aircraft.
This is not a paid position - if you want to join the test, the only thing you will get is the fun of testing a new product!
If you want to apply for the testing you should drop an email to indiafoxtecho@gmail.com as follows:

Subject of the email must be: E-2 C-2 Beta Testing (I am always surprised how hard this seems to be ;-) )

The email shall contain:
- Which simulator you intend to use for the testing (please specify the EXACT version)
- Your system OS/CPU/GPU/RAM (no printouts/screenshots - just list these. Also, I do not need other details or verbose system description)
- Your real life flight experience and/or simulation experience (just a couple of lines please!)
- Any special reason for which you want to test these planes or any special link you have with these models.

As usual, I will be a certain number (around 20) testers - I am sorry for those who will be left out, but too much feedback is detrimental: the test team size must be manageable.
The Beta is not ready yet… but it will be ready soon. It may take a while to read all the applications and reply, but if you do not receive a reply before the end of the month, most likely you have not been selected (sorry!)!

If you will be selected you will receive an email with the download link and some Beta testing directions… ONE IMPORTANT THING I ALWAYS SAY TO TESTERS (but apparently very few read): PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME BEFORE SUBMITTING FEEDBACK. HAVE A GOOD READ AT THE MANUAL AND FLY AT LEAST 2 OR 3 HOURS WITH THESE MODELS BEFORE SENDING ANY FEEBACK.

….AND THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!!!!







Monday, October 15, 2018

SIAI Marchetti S-211 / Aermacchi M-311 / M-345 / M-345 HET PAINT KIT


Upon request, here is the paint kit for the payware S-211/M-311/M-345 package (actually I had already uploaded it on my Google Drive and sent it upon request).
Files are provided in layered PSD format - with separate layers form mechanical details, servicing decals, rivets, panel lines and ambient occlusion.

A sample file is provided for each of the 3 visual models (S-211, M-311/M-345 prototypes and M-345 HET) - this should be enough for most repainters to work proficiently.
Just remember that the M-311 and -345 have ventral fins which the S-211 does not have, and then the M-345HET has longer fuselage and different air intakes.

The paintkit is also valid for the freeware S-211 for Aerofly FS2 and for the future S-211 for X-Plane 11.

These files are provided for free to repainters ONLY to create new liveries for the S-211/M-311/M-345 and M-345HET model: any other usage is prohibited.

As usual, you can download the paintkit by either clicking HERE or from the menu on the side bar.

F-35 LIGHTNING II - PAINTKIT FOR V3.XX


As some of you have requested it, here is the paint kit for the payware F-35 Lightning II.

Files are provided in layered PSD format as follows (layer structure top to bottom):
- Ambient Occlusion: multiply layer that superimposed the precalculated ambient occlusion shadows
- GreyToneForMarkings: darken layer to set the brightest grey tone in the livery. This was introduced to dim all the markings as they were too bright.
- Nation specific color: normal layer with the full livery; a sample for each nation is provided. All layers are blanked by default. You can delete the portions you do not need and merge it with the base color layer below.
- Base color: clean livery with only base markings for servicing.

These files are provided for free to repainters ONLY to create new liveries for the F-35.
Any other usage of these files, included but not limited to, applying these texture to other F-35 models is prohibited.
Repaints created with this package can be freely distributed

As usual you can download it by clicking HERE or from the menu on the side bar.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

SIAI Marchetti S-211 for Aerofly FS2 - Freeware Beta Release


It is clear to me that I will not have the time, at least for several months, to bring the SIAI-Marchetti S.211 for Aerofly FS2 to the same level of quality of the FSX/Prepar3D version.
But if there is a thing I despise is wasting my work.
So I decided to release it "as is" as freeware for everybody to enjoy.
"As is" means that is it still somewhat incomplete: that is radios, the navigation instruments and some gauges are not working and the flight model is "decent" but far from the flight manual accuracy of the FSX/P3D version.
Also, steering the aicraft on the ground is quite difficult (the real aircraft does not have a steering wheel, and so does the AFS2 version...but differential braking does not work that well in my implementation).
Do not expect any kind of support from my side - as usual I'll try to help if I can, but this product is not officially supported.
Thinking about it, I believe this is the very first third party aircraft for AFS2. While the sim itself is not yet as complete as P3D or XP11, it offers a great VR experience and unsurpassed performance (well above 120 frames per second on the highest settings on my system) and wonderful photoreal sceneries. And then there are ORBX addons.

Anyway, this model features:

- Detailed visual model of SIAI-Marchetti S-211
- Visually detailed virtual cockpit, with basic functionality and preliminary night lighting
- Multiple liveries including JPATS, Phililppine Air Force and Singapore Air Force
- Basic, easy to fly flight model

To install the package you should drag and drop the S211 folder contained in the zip file to either the "addons/aircraft" or the "aircraft" subfolders of you Aerofly USER folder.

By default your AFS2 user folder is the Documents folder - you can copy-paste this shortcut to get there.

C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Documents\Aerofly FS 2

You can download the S-211 for Aerofly FS2 by clicking HERE or from the FREEWARE section on the side bar.