Wednesday, April 23, 2014

F-35 Lightning II - Update to version 2.40

In a futile attempt to clean my virtual factory to make room for the roll-out of the S-3B Viking, here is an update to the F-35 project. No big changes, but several minor fixes I had collected over time. Change log for the update, which can be downloaded frome the side bar as usual, is as follows:

Version 2.40
April 22nd 2014
- Added functionality to external tanks: if tanks are present, it is possible to fill the "external tanks 1 and 2" (461 gallons each).
  If tanks are absent, any fuel in those slots will be immediately depleted. External fuel quantity appear in
- Added IFF Friend cue (UNTESTED in multiplayer). A "FRIEND" cue will appear if a A/A missile is locked on a friendly A/C and the target
  is within launch range.
- Added DUD cue to bombs (flashing cross for CCIP, flashing "DUD" on AUTO and MAN modes).
- Fixed A/S Targeting issues. Now "ENTER" designates aicraft boresight, while TRIGGER designated HMD LOS.
- Fixed minor bug in ENG page
- Fixed rendering issue in F-35C external model
- Minor improvements to autopilot logic (still not working as intended in many instances)
- Fixed bug causing unnecessary opening of weapon bay doors
- Fixed bug causing occasional uncommanded release of ordnance
- Changed in flight refuel logic, now with more realistic fuel rate (takes minutes to refill the A/C - UNTESTED)
- Added 2D MFD (SHIFT+5) to all aicrafts (feature previously available as patch)

...and yes, there is an update for the T-45C in the works, which will mostly add some missing details in the cockpit and will increase the texture resolution...but this is not complete yet, and may take another week or two to be done.

As for the S-3, my current ETA is to have a Alpha build by mid may...and possibly a Beta in June, and a release once the Beta is debugged. I can tell you it is coming along quite nicely.
I have not yet decided if the Alpha and Beta builds will be public - please do not write asking to partecipate. I will post relevant instructions either on this blog or on facebook.

Also, provided there are no catastrophic issues, this may well be the last FSX-compatible update for the F-35 Project... Prepar3D v2.2 offers native sensor support (we could have ASR, TFLIR and DAS native support)...and it may be a better choice for the future of the project. But in any case, the focus is now on the S-3B Viking. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yet another Tomcat update (version 2.28)... and a brief review of various projects.

Here is another update to my F-14D Tomcat - this will probably the last update for a while, and maybe the last FSX-compatible build. In the not-so near future, my plan is to start introducing P3DV2.2-only functions, such as working rear mirrors, and native sensor emulation and A/S radar. But don't freak out - this will not happen until 2015, and the S-3 and the MB.325 will be still compiled for FSX.

Here is the release log for this update:

April 22nd, 2014
COMPATIBILITY NOTE: the release of P3DV2.2 has solved the compatibility issues with the existing code.
- Fixed bug in fuel system preventing external tanks to work with Tacpack
- Fixed fuel quantities (more correct values)
- Fixed bug preventing wing sweep air bags to deflate in oversweep mode
- Tweaked engine performance tables
- Fixed minor bug in Tacpack weapons configurator
- Improved Tackpack laser designation logic (but bomb still missing the target in many instances...JDAM is still the preferred and default choice)
- Minor improvement to NACES textures

As you can see there are only minor changes... but still they have been sitting on my hard disk for a while, so here you go. You can download the files from the side bar, as usual.

And now, a very quick review of where I am with the various projects...

T-45C Goshawk
There are a number of small improvements I am working on... most prominently, I am upgrading the visuals of the Virtual Cockpit, which now features better textures and more details. Also, I'd like to improve the near-stall behavior and add support Tacpack-based rockets.

F-35 Lightning II
Also for this one, there are a number of small improvements, like fixes for a couple of rendering issues I have spotted, and improvements to several areas of the code (working fuel tanks, more realistic refuel rate, IFF "Friend" cue, improvements to laser designation, support for HMD head roll. etc.etc.) - again, very minor things, but still...

S-3B VikingI know this is the one you are waiting for... and I am happy to announce that an Alpha build may be available at mid-May (hopefully!)... A lot of work to be done, but I have recently completed the VC modeling and texturing so, it is getting closer and closer.

MB.326Working on this from time to time...and it is making some progress. Looks good so far!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Grumman F-14D Tomcat Version 2.25 Release

All, given I will not have much time in the next few weeks, here is an update to the F-14D project. There are still many bugs and inaccuracies, but, well, in the end it is still better than the previous version IMHO. The file can be downloaded from the link on the side bar of this blog.
March 30th, 2014

COMPATIBILITY NOTE:There are minor incompatibility issues in P3Dv2.1, unless the HOTFIX 1 patch IS applied. Please check Prepar3d website for download and installation of Hotfix 1.

- Added support from AIM-54 Phoenix on STA 1B and STA 8B (Token weight is 1024lbs)
- Fuel tanks are now removeable. Presence is controlled by the weight on Station_load.11 (for STA 2) and .12 (for STA 7). Token weight is 381 lbs.
- Fuel tanks can be jettisoned in Tacpack via the EMERGENCY Jettison button.
- Fuel tanks are functional, through the Doug Dawson's fuel dump gauge. Uninistalling/dropping the tanks will immediately eliminate the fuel in the "External Tank" slot. Upon reinstalling the tanks, they must be refilled manually.   
- TACPACK Weapons configurator rewritten from scratch, new graphics and more configurations available
- Minor improvement in the rendering of afterburners
- Minor improvements to autopilot logic (it still has many problems unfortunately)
- Revised transonic drag and engine performance at high altitude/high Mach no. (transonic wave is still low, but overall engine performance should be closer to the real deal)
- Fixed aicraft description in manus
- Fixed cockpit lighting issues
- Fixed few bugs in the MFD keypress logic (still apparently FSX cannot detect some mouse areas, which seem to work in P3Dv2)
- Improved NACES textures
- Added digits to Airspeed indicator for both Indicated Air Speed an Mach No.
- Added digits to Altimeter for both Altitude reading and Barometric setting
- Added AUTO and MAN mode for Air to Ground Ordnance release
- Added support for Pre-Planned (PP) targets. Note that the next Navigation Waypoint is designated as PP target, but in many instances the NAV computer updates the WP too fast. The function can still be used to upload the next WP to the current target, by switching back to TOO mode.
- Added DUD cue for bombs release in TACPACK (flashing cross in CCIP mode - flashing DUD cue in other modes)
- Rewritten Tacpack code in order to get rid of weapon accuracy bug in the previous release. Note: bug was not clearly identified and may still be there, weapons accuracy has not been tested.
- Rewritten Tacpack Air Refuel code, now should support a realistic fuel transfer rate (UNTESTED FEATURE) 
- Fixed bugs in AoA Indexer (not transitioning correctly between lights)
- Added IFF Mode 4 TACPACK "Friend" CUE to A/A (will flash "FRIEND" cue in the HUD only, in A/A mode, if L&S target is positively identified as FRIEND - UNTESTED FEATURE)
- Fixed accuracy of several analog gauges

Friday, February 14, 2014

F-35 HotFix for Prepar3D V2.1

Prepar3D version 2.1 is finally out and I highly reccomend it - on my system is a much more stable build and the vast majority of the most annoying bugs are finally gone (texture swapping and joystick disconnection in Windows 8 drove me mad!)...

Unfortunately there seem to be changes to XML parsing result, a small portion of the F-35 code did not work anymore.
Specifically this was the part that told the sim which version of the F-35 was being flown and selectively deactivated the version-specific functions.
Long story short, STOVL functions for the F-35 did not work anymore - nor the launch bar and wing fold option were accessible from the MFD.


Anyway, here is a hot-fix that should solve the issue with the STOVL not working in P3Dv2.1 - DOWNLOAD HERE

Changes will be integrated in a full release in the near future...

And now some complimentary screenshots from P3DV2.1 (with various add-ons, including my own aircrafts, BlueSky's California, Isola d'Elba and Aerosoft's Venice X)!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Projects updates

A very quick update on the status of the various projects I am working on...
As you know, it is extremely difficult for me to find the time to work so many projects, which are getting more and more complex and time consuming.
At the moment all the new projects (S-3 and MB.326) are being developed as freeware - but given the effort needed for those projects I cannot rule out a switch to payware. For the moment it is just an option... but it is being evaluated seriously.

Lockeed S-3B Viking
At the moment, this is the highest priority and I am (slowly) working on the Virtual Cockpit geometry and textures. The preliminary work was not completely satisfactory, so I have restarted it from scratch. It will take a couple of months before it is complete... so a Beta version may be released around Easter, hopefully.
An almost complete AI Tanker version is also in the works, and I am considering to release it separately.

Boeing T-45C Goshawk
I am working on few small improvements and I have made some minor tweaks to the Virtual Cockpit... no high priority changes at the moment.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
I am still collecting feedback from the latest build, although, apparently, there are no major issues that need immediate action. There are few unrleased enhancements I'd like to share with you and I will do that as soon as possible.

Grumman F-14D TomcatAlso for the big cat I have been collecting feedback from the latest build - which is far from being perfect but, at least, seems free from major problems. Once I have reached a "critical mass" of fixes/improvements I will release a further update.

Aermacchi MB.326
After some preliminary (and quite promising) work, driven by the enthusiasm of flying on the real thing, I have put this project on hold in order to try to complete the Viking.

As usual, suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

F-35 Lightning II version 2.38 release

Yet another major bug that required an immediate fix... in version 2.36, high longitudinal acceleration made it so that the some invisible geometry required for the new HMD system made it impossible to use the MFD system (or any other mouse area)... so here we go with version 2.38.
I took the chance to implement two tweaks:
- it is now possible to disable the off-boresight graphics of the HMD by pressing Control+Shift+H (same control as the Superbug... but in this case it is ON by default)

- better, and more realistic, off-boresight logic: if IR source seen by the seeker escapes the 1.5° "search circle", lock is lost and seeker is commanded to return to the center of the HMD sight. Note that with the latest Tacpack version, the seeker position is limited by the gimbal (70° cone for the AIM-9X).

And so it is 3 versions in 2 days...what a mess! Sorry for the inconvenience!!! Change log as follows:

Version 2.38
January 15th 2013
- Fixed major bug which prevented MFD operation under certain acceleration conditions
- Added control to deactivate HMD off-boresight indications (SHIFT+CONTROL+H)
- Implemented proper Off-boresight logic: if the target exceeeds the 1.5° circle, AIM-9X unlocks and seeker is reset to HMD center.

You can download the file from the sidebar or by clicking HERE

Aside, some of the improvements have been sent to Lockheed Martin to update the default F-35A included in P3Dv2 - they are working for version 2.05 which will fix many of the issues of the base release.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

F-35 Lightning II version 2.36 release

Due to a severe bug that hampered the MFD usability, the release has been updated to version 2.38... see below.
NOTE: as usual, just after the release of version 2.35 I have noticed a small glitch in the F-35C visual model (shadowing error of the right flap...) this has been fixed and files are now promoted to version 2.36 - if you have downloaded the files before the fix, you may need to download them again. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Here is yet another update to the F-35, which will hopefully get rid of the (very few) visual incompatibilities with P3Dv2 (which were mostly in the visual effects rendering and shadowing areas). There are some fixes for FSX users, too and I also took the chance to update the Tacpack functionalities a bit.

The full change log is as follows:


Version 2.38
January 15th 2013
- Fixed major bug which prevented MFD operation under certain acceleration conditions
- Added control to deactivate HMD off-boresight indications (SHIFT+CONTROL+H)
- Implemented proper Off-boresight logic: if the target exceeeds the 1.5° circle, AIM-9X unlocks and seeker is reset to HMD center.

Version 2.36
January 14th 2013
- Fixed shadowing glitch on the left flap of the F-35C model.

Version 2.35
January 14th 2013
- Changed pilot figure with a much more detailed model and removed pilot animation.
- Changed afteburner effect with modeled rendering for P3Dv2 compatibiliy.
- Changed transonic effect with modeled rendering for P3Dv2 compatibility.
- Removed sound barrier sound effect (adopted pilot's perspective - no sound is heard by the pilot)
- Removed high Gs and high AoA effect (they did not render properly in P3Dv2)
- Improved responsiveness of autopilot gains
- Fixed minor glitch in MFD>ENG page
- Slight visual improvement in MFD>HUD page
- Solved (partially) shadowing glitches in F-35C model when used in P3Dv2
-TACPACK ONLY: Added support for Off-boresight launch. Note: actual seeker is limited to +/-70° deg AZ/EL.
 NOTE: Seeker will not detect targets outside that range.
-TACPACK ONLY: Support for Pre-planned target. Selecting PP as A/S target, the current waypoint (if any) is designated as target.
 NOTE: Upon reaching the waypoint, the next waypoint is automatically designated...better be quick when releasing the weapons.
-TACPACK ONLY: Support for Tacpack generated Tacans (boat and tanker).
 NOTE: ILS for the boat will be tuned automatically if Tacan frequency is entered.
-TACPACK ONLY: Added support fro proper, Tacpack driven, Head Mounted Display. Gimmick HMD removed from non-Tacpack installation.

Some additional comments:
- Installing the files into Prepar3d V2 will not change the default F-35. You can safely upgrade the visual model (only) by copy/paste ONLY the Texture and Model subfolders of the F-35A from the full package to the default F35A (no "minus" sign) folder. Better not touch the other files.

- For gameplay design reasons, in order not to loose the seeker lock for off-boresight mode, please note that the AIM-9X seeker will always continue to follow the most intense IR source acquired, even if the target exits from the 1.5 degrees circle, uless a UNDESIGNATE command is given, or lock is lost for other reasons.
You can download the update by the side bar, or by clicking HERE.