Thursday, September 24, 2015

F-35 Version 3 - Beta Test Log

This post has the purpose to collect the feedback from Beta testing, and allow both myself and the testers to share the status of the open issues.
Beta testers are kindly invited to:
- Log a minimum of 3hrs in the F-35A/B before posting
- Before reporting an issue, make sure it is not already included in the list below. In case it is, please do not
- Provide feedback either by commenting this post (preferred) or by email
- While reporting an issue, please be as specific as possible. Try to replicate it and identify the conditions that generate the issue.
A couple of notes which may be unclear or obscure in the operation of the F-35:
- HMD "X-ray" vision: the "brake" key activates this function while in the air. There is currently a bug, as the zoom level stays linked to the EXP value. Note that in some case Tacpack seems to "hang" and the function is not working as intended. If so, reloading the aircraft should fix the situation. This is done assuming that most people will have a stick button mapped to wheel brakes
- To save memory, some pages which have no use if maximized cannot be maximized to half-screen view.
- You can designate a ground target in the TSD mode, by selecting the ATK mode (just click anywhere in the TSD window) "phantom" triangle means that the target is designated, but no proper weapon is selected
- STOVL functions work much like the previous version: HOVER and VTOL are inhibited if weight is above 4600 lbs
- Files are NOT validated for multiplayer in Tacpack
- From leaked Pirep, F-35 tends to loose a lot of energy a high Alpha maneuvering / dogfighting. Note that initial release has quite a low pitch control authority. 
- Test points for engine performance ("tactical" configuartion should be 2 x JDAM + 2 x AIM120, no SW). Note: F-35 cannot supercruise, leaked transonic acceleration are available too.
Current package version: Version 3.00 Beta 1 (NOT RELEASED YET)
Last Update: October 3rd 2015
External model

F35_MDL_1 - Missing autoflaps and other FCS animations. Status: CLOSED. Added XML animation control on Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_MDL_2 - Missing texture for Norway. Status: CLOSED. Added on Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_MDL_3 - Check minor details in main Landing gear texturing. Status: CLOSED. 4/10/2015
F35_MDL_4 - Change navigation lights default effect, as generates visual anomaly in P3dV3. Status: CLOSED. Changed effects on Beta 2 build. 27/09/2015
F35_MDL_5 - Introduce delayed animation for engine exhaust flaps
F35_MDL_6 - Introduce clickable "remove before flight" areas in external model for P3Dv3
F35_MDL_7 - Introduce external model configurator mouse area for P3Dv3
F35_MDL_8 - Formation lights - check dependency of formation lights from battery status. Status: CLOSED 10/08 Beta 2    
F35_MDL_9 - Potential XML malformed inside F-35B external model file. Status: CLOSED 10/08 Fixed Modeldef.xml in Beta 2
F35_MDL_10 - Added black mask to external model MFD when power is off. Status: CLOSED 10/08 Beta 2
F35_MDL_11 - Fixed Mouse Areas in external model. Status: CLOSED
Virtual cockpit and Avionics
F35_VC_1 - Fix HMD graphics not matching to real symbology (A/S target and Others). Status: CLOSED; Changed some of HMD graphics for more accurate resemblance to real HMD. Beta 2, 28/09/2015
F35_VC_2 - Missing BINGO, FUEL LO, MASKED, PULL UP cues from HMD. Status: CLOSED. Added missing cues to HMD code. Beta 2, 28/09/2015
F35_VC_3 - Missing refuel probe and Lift Fan geometry from F-35B cockpit. Status: OPEN
F35_VC_4 - MFD FUE page, bug in MFSOV closure. Status: CLOSED. Also, fixed bug in FUEL full screen mode.
F35_VC_5 - MFD ASR page, add possibility to designate targets in SAR mode. Status: OPEN
F35_VC_6 - MFD TFLIR page, basic functionality and graphics incomplete. Status: CLOSED. TFLIR AUTO, MAN, AA, AS, VV modes implemented, as well as AUTO and MANUAL Zoom.
F35_VC_7 - MFD HUD page, add possibility to slave TFLIR. Status: CLOSED. HUD now can slave TFLIR rather than DAS. Beta 2, 30/09/2015
F35_VC_8 - MFD SRCH page, change default presentation to Range versus Az. Status: CLOSED - Decided to keep AZ/EL presentation and fixed display and aspect issues. Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_VC_9 - MFD TFLIR, DAS pages, add A/S target cueing. Status: CLOSED - Added A/S cueing to both DAS and TFLIR pages. Beta 2, 27/09/2015
F35_VC_10 - Add "bullseye" information to TFLIR, DAS, TSD pages. Status: OPEN
F35_VC_11 - MFD TSD Missing target information / shoot list. Status: CLOSED 10/07
F35_VC_12 - MFD DAS/TFLIR pages, North Arrow inaccurate. Status: CLOSED 10/07
F35_VC_13 - MFD Master Switch also toggles VC. Status: OPEN 
F35_VC_14 - DAS zoom level does not get reset to default value if "X-Ray" vision is enabled. STATUS: CLOSED, fixed XML code of DAS.XML in Beta 2 build 24/09 NOTE: This also affects Xray vision.
F35_VC_15 - ASR mode curson does not show at "NORM" zoom level. Status: CLOSED 10/07
F35_VC_16 - HMD Heading indicator not normalized. Status CLOSED, fixed XML code of HMD overlay in Beta 2 build.25/09
F35_VC_17 - ASR mode, image warped. Status: CLOSED, Beta 2 build 29/09/2015 - Note: warp was caused as I tried to improve the radar image resolution... better leave the default values!!!
F35_VC_18 - Fuel Dump: consider inhibition when on ground. Status: CLOSED. Fuel dump now inhibited while on ground, also inhibited if less than 1000lbs. Valve will now closed if one of these conditions are met. Beta 2 build, 27/09
F35_VC_19 - TFLIR camera: consider inhibition of VV slaving when on ground. Status: CLOSED. Added "sim on ground" bypass code, if on ground TFLIR looks forward. Fixed in Beta 2 build. 26/09
F35_VC_20 - MFD SMS: current station not highlighted. Status: CLOSED. Fixed in Beta 2 build 26/09 by changing XML... source of problem unknown as previous code seemed legit.
F35_VC_21 - MFD DAS: in some cases manual zoom control does not work. Status: CLOSED. Rewrote code, now working. Beta 2 build 26/09.
F35_VC_22 - SRCH page shows as PHM-INOP when in subportal. Status: CLOSED. Graphic error - fixed in Beta 2 build 27/09
F35_VC_23 - TFLIR image does not show in subportal. Status: CLOSED. Wrong transparency setting - fixed in Beta 2 build 27/09
F35_VC_24 - Request to add selectable laser codes to TFLIR page for multiplayer purposes. Status: UNDER EVALUATION.
F35_VC_25 - TFLIR A/S Targeting inaccurate for F-35B (probably due to panel aliasing issue). Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_26 - Add A-A SPD and ALT indications to HMD
F-35_VC_27 - Add A-S DIST and ALT indication to HMD
F-35_VC_28 - Missing Weapon release cues to TSD. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_29 - ATK mode bug if in full screen TSD Mode (continuos designation). Status: CLOSED 10/07
F-35_VC_30 - Bug: if TSD3 selected, menu drives MFD3 instead of 2.... STATUS: CLOSED 10/07
F-35_VC_31 - Missing MASKED indication on TFLIR page
F-35_VC_32 - Missing SLAVED indication on TFLIR page. Status: OPEN
F-35_VC_33 - Missing weapon release cues to TFLIR page. Status: OPEN
Flight Model

F35_FM_1 - Revise elevator authority (seems slightly too weak in the latest iteration). Status CLOSED. Slightly increased elevator authority. NOTE: check behavior in P3Dv3. Beta 2 build, 27/09
F35_FM_2 - Revise aileron authority (real aircraft seems more responsive. Evaluate  roll rate increase. Status CLOSED. Slight increase in roll rate in Beta 2 build, 27/09
F35_FM_3 - Revise autopilot logic: current values generate undamped oscillations on ALT HOLD control. Status OPEN
F35_FM_4 - Consider adding functionaliy to FCS RESET button. Status: OPEN
F35_FM_5 - Engine performance at high altitude: over 30-35k feet, thrust is insufficient and needs to be revised. Status: OPEN
F35_FM_6 - Aircraft is unbalanced and tends to have a nose-up attitude, requiring trimming. This is unrealistic for a modern FBW. Status: CLOSED. Rebalanced weights and misc improvements to FCS code. 10/07
F35_FM_7 - Request to revise/reduce rudder autorithy when on the ground. Status: CLOSED. Slightly reduced rudder control authority when on the ground.10/07
F35_FM_8 - Fix engine readings and warning signs. Status: OPEN
F35_FM_9 - Real aicraft sits on the ground with more static NLG compression. Status: OPEN
F35_FM_10 - Fuel quantity of F-35B inaccurate. Status: Closed. Fuel for F-35B is now correct.
F35_FM_11 - Malformed XML code in FCS-Autorudder module. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_1 - Check weapon station locations, IFR, chaff/flares agains new visual model. Status: OPEN 
F-35_TP_2 - Revalidate multiplayer security Keys. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_3 - Flir functionality incomplete. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_4 - Ammo counter fails to report total ammo upon A/C reloading. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_5 - RWR anomalies detected by users. Consider adding location discretization for more realism. Status: OPEN
F-35_TP_6 - Ownship VRSTP Surrogate sometimes reported as radar track in TSD. Status: CLOSED -> increased rejection radius for surrogate objects. 06/10
Miscellaneous and Others
F35_Misc_1 - Improve configurator graphics and functionality. Status: OPEN
F35_Misc_2 - Create documentation and/or video tutorials. Status: OPEN
F35_Misc_3 - Include Custom Avatar with HMDS helmet
F35_Misc_4 - General XML cleanup. Status: OPEN
Color Key
RED - Major product flaw, fixing this before initial release is a high priority .  
YELLOW - Medium severity issue.
GREEN - Very minor issue, or mitigated to the point it is acceptable by the vast majority of the users.
BLUE - Not an issue per se, but rather a suggestion or opportunity for improvement.
LIGHT GRAY - Issue solved in latest internal build (left for testers' reference)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

F-35 version 3.0 - Beta Testers wanted

F-35 over Luke AFB (great photorela freeware scenery by Blue Sky)
The Beta testing stage of the new F-35 project will commence in a couple of weeks - and if you are willing to partecipate to the testing, here is how to apply.

Minimum Hardware Requirements:
This F-35 is a high detail model, both graphically and computationally - it will not run properly, or with decent frame rates, on a low end computer. Minimum hardware requirements are as follows:

CPU: Quad Core, 3 GHz minimum
GPU: Nvdia 660 or above, minimum 2Gb dedicated video memory
RAM: 6Gb minimum
Hard disk: Installation should be around 500Mb (but will depend on the number of liveries I will include)

Required Software Platform: This project is strictly dependant on Prepar3D v2.5 (or above) and Tacpack functionalites. They are required for the F-35 to work properly. I may be interested to have one or two testers without Tacpack to check the non-tactical functionalities.

Main software platform: Lockheed Martin Prepar3D v2.5 (updated to latest version - hotfix 4)
Tacpack: updated to latest version (currently


I am looking for testers with various degrees of aeronautical knowledge and realism expectations. Still, all testers are expected to be able to install add-ons autonomously, and have some understanding of P3Dv2 configuration and settings.
Please bear in mind that package is designed to depict the F-35 in a reasonably realistic fashion - so it will be a good thing that you have some knowledge of the F-35 program and features, as well as a decent knowledge of how a jet fighter performs in reality.


- Take your time to test the F-35. If you do not have time, there is no point in joining the Beta.
- Please log a minimum of 3 hours, 10 take-offs and 10 landings on the F-35 before reporting anything.
- Please make sure the issue you are reporting isn't already in the "known issues" list.
- If you find a problem or a malfunction, please make sure you can replicate it and be as detailed as possible
- Issues, problems or malfunctions shall be reported exclusively in the ways I will dictate
- You may be kicked out of the Beta at any time, without notice (sorry for that...but some people really deserve it)
- You do not get any compensation but the fun of testing it
- Please do not post screenshots, reviews or comments on the Beta... just because it is a Beta.
- Maximum number of testers is 10: sorry but I cannot handle more than that

I am sorry to dictate rules... but otherwise the Beta will become an uncontrolled mess. I am sure you will understand.

How to apply

If you have read this post carefully...please read it again. Then if you think you can comply to the requirements and the rules please send an email to as follows:
The email title must be: F-35V3 Beta Testing Application
In the email you must specify your hardware and software configuration, as well as your general knowledge/skill level of aeronautics and simulation - and wether or not you have some knowledge of the real world F-35 project.

Thanks for your help and... good luck for the selection.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

F-35 project update

AL-1 in flight over Cameri... just a few hours after the first flight in real life
F-35B BK-01 - First British aicraft - Britain will buy only the STOVL version (although the F-35C was considered at a certain point)...

WIP picture of the "see through" feature of the HMD. As in real life, pilot can choose to project DAS imagery on the helmet, and have it aligned to the real world... as result, the pilot can look through the cockpit as if aicraft it was transparent. In real life the current HMD are monochromatic green.

Livery for the R.A.A.F. - I have already made at least a livery for each nation who has an aircraft actually flying in real life.

In the past few months I have been posting much more on Facebook than on this blog - it is a faster way to share information and collect feedback very quickly. Still, this blog is still the main reference for my activities - and here is a quick update for the F-35 Lightning II version 3.0.

First and foremost, I am working with an accountant to check the viability of a payware distribution. Sorry for that, but the development costs have been really high (few thousands euros...)... and will be higher if I'll decide to add the F-35C (at the moment, only the F-35A and F-35B are featured).
I still need to figure out the potential revenue, expenses and taxes... if it turns out that the project is at loss...well, I'll release it for free. It will probably be in the 20€ area price range.

The project at the moment is being developed uniquely for Prepar3d V2.5 (and above) and utilizes some of its unique features intensively (e.g. radar visualization service and render-to-texture features). Weapon functionality is provided by Tacpack. I do not rule out a FSX version in future - but, if it will ever be done, I will need to get rid of some of the new features.

The visual model is hopefully a good improvement over the previous version - better, more realistic textures and additional 3D detail. I like the new model much better.
I have made some substantial changes to the flight model, too, and it seems to match the (few) data currently available (there are some clear numbers circulating in official PowerPoint slides about subsonic and transonic acceleration).
The cockpit model is (slightly) more detailed, it has been upgraded to the latest cockpit configuration and features higher resolution textures.
The biggest change is probably in the avionics - the MFD has been vastly rewritten and it should be much closer to the real deal. Still a far cry from the real deal, but probably it is by far the closest thing to the real F-35 a consumer can buy.   
The HMD has been slightly updgraded too, with corrections to the symbology....and the "X-ray vision" feature unique to the F-35 (i.e. the ability for the pilot to look though the aircraft).

All in all I am quite happy with it - although I think I need another month to complete it.
A Beta version may be ready in 3 weeks or so... I will make a post on how to apply for it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Projects update (a.k.a. lack of time complaint)....

My real life if job is consuming most of my time and life-force... and this is the reason for my recent lack of updates. Here is a quick recap.

F-35 Version 3.00 (Potentially Prepar3D v2.00 only)
The updated visual model for the F-35B is ready, and looks way better than the previous version. Experiments with TFLIR, DAS and ASR modes under P3Dv2+Tacpack were largely positive, albeit simultaneous usage of TFLIR + DAS on separate images uses too much video memory.
The plan now includes the F-35A... so the next milestone is to complete the new -A model.
With the current pace, it will be ready after the summer.

MB.339 and Eurofighter TyphoonThey both look very promising, but I do not have time right now to develop them. So they are ON HOLD. Priority is given to the new F-35. Which of the two I'll prioritize after the F-35 it is still TBD.

S-3B Viking UpdateAnother thing I have been promising for too long. Could not find the time for it either.

MB.326, F-14D Tomcat and T-45C Goshawk Prepar3Dv2-specific versionsI have been experimenting with all of them. No time for them either at the moment.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

F-35 Project version 3.00

Here are some preview pictures of the new version of the F-35 for Prepar3D v2.5.
This new version will be an improvement of the previous freeware package.
Some of the main features will be:
- Focus on F-35B model
- Higher detail external model with better textures...
- Updated virtual cockpit, with higher definition textures and improved modeling
- Support for TFLIR, DAS, ASR modes (tbc)
- Improved fidelity of pilot interface
- Improved flight model (according to the latest publicly available information)

...project resources and technical constraints are limiting the scope of the project to the F-35B (STOVL) only. There is some chance I will include the F-35A (CTOL), too... while at the moment the -C (CATOBAR) version is ruled out (more details to follow).
My scope is to keep the project FREE, but the development costs have been relatively high so far... so I may need to ask for a small admission fee for this one.

The development platform will be PREPAR3D 2.5 - this does not mean that it will be surely totally uncompatible with FSX (except P3Dv2-specific features, of course), but rather than FSX compatibility is not a priority. If I will have the chance to easily support FSX I will, but do not count on it.

Also, this means that the work on MB.339 and Eurofighter Typhoon is "on hold". I still wish to do both, but I do not have the time to do everything and this looks by far the most promising (and less time consuming) project.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Prepar3D v2 special features....

Ok... I am starting to really love P3Dv2 improvements over FSX: here is a picture of a draft DAS system on the first portal, the ground radar on the second and Tacpack-controlled TFLIR on the fourth one.... P3D allows you to implement render-to-texture images in XML panels in a very easy way... and there is A LOT one can do with this, especially for MFDs like the one on the F-35. Now... hold your horses... there are some bad news:
 - To fully exploit this system, you probably need to be a full-time programmer...and I am not. So I'll stick to some basic functionality.
 - You cannot actually drive the view orientation of render-to-texture cameras straight from your XML code ( could have had EOTS to track aerial targets around your plane...)
 - There is an impact on the frame rate (albeit not as great as I feared)
 - There are rendering issues in the 2D panel (you see in the pictures that some graphic overlays are missing)... 3D works fine.
 - Apparently there are some bugs (ground radar sometimes failes to initialize)
 - Memory consumption is higher...and P3Dv2 may be more prone to CTD.

I am considering Pros and Cons of this technology...but in the end it is a definite improvement over FSX.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rethinking my plans for the future

I am seriously rethinking my plans for the future, and I would like to start sharing my thoughts.
It is unfortunately evident that I do not have the time to develop a completely new product in 2015. Let me say that most of you have no idea of the amount of work needed to create a new aicraft, especially if you are looking to achieve a good quality level.

On the other hand, while FSX:SE brought new life to FSX, it is also clear to me that Prepar3D v2.5 development kit offers a much advanced platform for me to develop in, especially if in conjuction with Tacpack for P3Dv2.

Also, I am not completely satisfied with the quality of my previous projects - I would like to do higher quality stuff.

The scope of IndiaFoxtEcho project is, and has always been from the beginning, to create interesting military-oriented and possibly freeware add-ons for Flight Simulator X to fill some of the gaps in the scene...I had a lot of fun and learned A LOT about each and every aicraft I have designed - and I am really grateful to all the people that contributed to my designs.

So, what's next? Well, first thing I will release some minor updates to the existing projects (another small one for the T-45, the S-3B AI tanker, etc.).
Then... well... I am seriously considering to close the IndiaFoxtEcho project, at least in its current form, and support only Prepar3Dv2 + Tacpack on smaller, more focused projects.
The MB.339 and Eurofighter Typhoon projects are hereby "ON HOLD".
The new project being evaluated is a Prepar3Dv2 only, high-detail, F-35B project.