Friday, August 15, 2014

Aermacchi MB.326: announcement and project scope

One thing I am really happy about my new Aermacchi MB.326 project is that it will benefit from the help of members the Sim Skunk Works Group. I think they need no introduction, but in the remote case that you do not know them, you should definitely check out their website and their aircrafts (to name one their F-104 rendition is legendary - and the work they are doing on their new Tornado model is really promising):
  
 
They have offered their help in several areas and their help is more than welcome - especially since the quality of their work is guaranteed. As additional "bonus" their team includes a pilot which has hundreds of flight hours in the real MB.326. Here are primary targets of the project:
  • The main scope of the project is to create a realistic rendition of the Aermacchi MB.326
  • The level of realism shall be enough to provide a good training device for people looking to advance to "serious" military simulation 
  • The model will be optimized for minimal frame rate impact
  • Given the dozens of different configurations (I have counted more than 25 variants) the main visual model will be the MB.326E I-RVEG - the reason why I picked this particular variant is that I had the chance to fly on it, and it is the only MB.326 in flying conditions.
  • The backseat cockpit will not be modeled to help with frame rate
  • For flexibility, the cockpit model will be a sort of "average" between the cockpits of the MB.326E, -G and -K - i.e. a generic "mid-70's" configuration.
  • The package should have at least one livery for each major operator (by "major" I mean by number of aicrafts: Italy, South Africa, Brazil and Australia were the largest users).
...and here is a list of "secondary targets" that I would like to achieve (in order of difficulty - easiest to hardest) but it will depend on time and resources:
 
  • Include basic Tacpack compatibiliy (note: given that different variants had different weapons capabilities, I will stick to a generic configuration)
  • Include at least a livery for EVERY operator (there are dozens!)
  • Include external model variants
  • Extend the project to include the MB.326K (single seater, light attack version)
  • Extend the project to include the MB.339A (there are a lot of commonalities between the 326 and the 339, and I have some draft material on the 339... but that is a lot of work)
That being said, I believe there is no way to complete anything before end of 2014 - beginning of 2015.

...and in reply to your questions: YES I'd like to to an Eurofighter too. Problem is that, as you know, this is just a hobby for me and my "bandwidth" is full. When the MB.326 project will be in a better shape, we will see...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

S-3B Viking, bug report, suggestions, etc.



I am quite happy to see that, apparently, there are not catastrophic issues with the 0.99 release of the Viking. This is indeed good news - but still there are a couple of things that I'd like to fix.
Here is a list of known bugs / suggestions / requests / FAQs with my comments ("Fixed" means that it is fixed in my own build):

1) [BUG] Wrong entry in the aicraft.cfg makes it impossible to see the NASA livery - Fixed

2) [BUG] Incorrect cruise speed, especially at high altitudes (aicraft is slightly too slow) - I will check the NATOPs and will work on this to find a proper fix.

3) [Request] Torpedoes not working: torpedoes are not currently supported by Tacpack and therefore are not implemented.

4) [Request] Missing SENSO and TACCO stations: unfortunately I have no time and resources to do them, besides they would have little or no function in FSX

5) [Request] Where is the S-3 AI Tanker? It is almost ready. It will be initially released as a separate file, but may be integrated in the base package in the initial release.

6) [BUG] External Light switches are not working - I will fix that.

7) [BUG] Launch bar still having issues on some system - I will investigate that, but cannot guarantee a solution as it is perfectly working on my system...

8) [BUG] Allowed airspeed error on carrier approach is too small - I will investigate that, but I am reclutant to make big changes to the flight model in that department, as the carrier behaviour seems quite good...

9) [BUG] Autothrottle apparently not working as intended on my system (but I have checked the code several times and it seems OK)...

10) [BUG] Reflection of bomb bay doors is slightly different from the rest of the fuselage.

....if you have other things to report, you are welcome to do it here. I will keep the list updated, at least for a while, to track what your feedback.
Also, as usual, I am looking to improve all my aicrafts and any suggestion on the F-35, F-14 and T-45 is welcome.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

S-3B Viking version 0.99 release




Well, given that my vacations are approaching and I ran out of steam on the S-3B Viking, I have put togheter the most complete build I could and so here is version 0.99 for you to download.
There are several minor known bugs, (hence it is not named version 1.00) but there is no way for me fix them in a reasonable time - and given the feeback on the Beta, I believe the current build is good enough for the vast majority of the users.

One of the biggest shortcomings is that this rendition cannot be used, as it is, as a tanker for other aicrafts.... I will release separate file with a suitable model soon.

Anyway, I hope you'll like it - download from the side bar as usual (note: it is a quite large file...aboy 250Mb. This may easily saturate the daily Google Drive bandwith... in case you are unluckly and cannot dowload the file, you can try in a day or two...from my experience, in 2 or 3 days there will be no problems)...

 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

...and F-14D Tomcat upgraded to version 2.35.


Yet another small upgrade to the F-14D Tomcat. I do not see major improvements in the FSX environment...it may be finally worth moving to Prepar3D v2.X as main development environment, maybe. Anyway, changes are as follows:

VERSION 2.35
July 23rd, 2014
- added ADF needle in MFD HSD
- fixed HSEL/CSEL section in MFD ADI
- fixed and updated flight manual
- added code for automatic launch bar retraction
- added 2D panels (MFD 1, 2, 3 and PTID - note: PTID must still be turned on in the RIO cokpit. 2D displays are controlled as touchscreen)
NOTE: as pointed out by many users, some soft keys are not working. This appears to be a mouse click area detection bug in the FSX engine, since the code has been checked several times and found to be completely correct.
Also, moving the point of view inside the cockpit will make them work... so sorry if it detracts from the experience but I see no wat to solve it.


Download from the side bar as usual.

Monday, July 21, 2014

T-45C Goshawk updated to version 2.66...


***************************************************
NOTE: VERSION 2.65 HAD WRONG ANTI-CHEAT KEYS.
KEYS HAVE BEEN UPDATED IN VERSION 2.65
***************************************************

Following the release of Tacpack version 1.4.1.6 (which introduces training bombs), here is a small upgrade to the T-45C Goshawk. I took the chance to introduce some fixes and add a couple of user-requested features like the 2D MFDs. Download from the side bar as usual.
VERSION 2.66
- FIXED TACPACK ANTI-CHEAT KEYS
VERSION 2.65
NOTE: BEFORE INSTALLING THIS VERSION YOU SHOULD COMPLETELY DELETE THE PREVIOUS ONE.
- Added (subtle) environment reflection to the external visual model
- Added working training bombs (requires Tacpack 1.4.1.6), to implement this payload stations have been changed as follows:
  applying 125lbs to wing pylons will make the bob rack appear; applying 25lbs to the auxiliary stations will make a bomb appear.
- All A/S weapons in Tacpack are now released by pressing the Pickle
- It is possible to pick CCIP option in the MFD/STRS page.
  Note that neither the CCIP or the manual depression reticle have been tested for alignment and they are almost a gimmick.
- Added station direction indication for VORs to the MFD-HSI page
- Added station direction indication for Tacpack-spawned Tacans to the MFD-HSI page
- Added station direction indication for NDBs to the MFD-HSI page (fictional, added for training purposes)
- Added ILS needles to the MFD-ADI page
- Fixed minor backlighting bug in Virtual cockpit
- Fixed minor texturing bug in Virtual cockpit
- Added code to provide automatic retraction of the launch bar
- Added pop-up 2D MFD panels (SHIFT+5 and SHIFT+6) - soft keys on the 2D panel are controlled via "touch screen"
- Minor tweaks to low speed flight dynamics
- Tweaks to .fx effects (should get rid of the infamous red blinking of the VC)
- Manual (finally) upated to reflect recent changes

Friday, June 27, 2014

...and here we go again. F-14D Tomcat Version v2.33


Sorry but I could not resist, and here is another update for the F-14D Tomcat. Thing is, while I was writing the code for the Viking (and for the T-45C update) and following feedback from the users, I realized that there were a couple of missing features in the Tomcat and Goshawk avionics that could be implemented with no effort.

So here we go:

VERSION 2.33
June 27th, 2014
- added ILS needles in MFD ADI
- added ILS needles in MFD HUD
- added VOR bearing needle in HSI
- added Course deviation scale in HSI
- added VRS Carrier support to the HSI (shows as Tacan)

As usual, you can download the file from the side bar.
The T-45C Goshawk update will be held until the new Tacpack update is released.
The S-3B Viking will be released most probably in a couple of weeks.

By the way, I do not have time to upload the file to Avsim and Flightsim (takes more than one hour and sometimes it fails from home!)...so, in general, I will not do it in future.
Should you want to upload the file to any repository, you are welcome to do so - provided the site is free.  In any case, the only place guaranteed to have the latest version is this blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

...and yet another Tomcat update (version 2.32)


I believe it is hardly surprising that, while testing the S-3B Viking, few more minor bugs pop out on the other aicrafts... and I feel the urge to fix them (this is getting embarassing... as starting to look like a mild for of OCD)...

Anyway, here is the list of changes:
VERSION 2.32
June 26th, 2014
- Fixed very minor glitch in ADI backlighting
- Fixed bug preventing HUD Declutter to work
- Reworked stores configurator: now shows current weights and limitations
- Fixed bug preventing "LAUNCH" button in RIO stations from working. Button now fires A/A missiles.
- Few additional buttons can now be switched on/off (but no function)
- Added automatic retraction of launch bar
- Fixed bug preventing the manual control of the Radar Elevation in the RIO cockpit (Tacpack). Radar is anyway re-centered when A/S or GUN mode is invoked.
Download from the side bar as usual. Let me know if those fixes screwed up something else (as it is sometimes the case - the F-14D avionics is starting to be quite a large piece of code and mistakes may well happen!)