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.
VERSION 2.25
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)
VERSION 2.20
- 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 rules...as 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.

NOTE: THIS AFFECTS THE "FULL" PACKAGE ONLY - THE F-35A MODEL EMBEDDED IN P3DV2 WORKS FINE...

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

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Due to a severe bug that hampered the MFD usability, the release has been updated to version 2.38... see below.
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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.
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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:

REVISION HISTORY

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.
NOTE: DOCS AND MANUALS DO NOT REFLECT THE CHANGES OF VERSION 2.35 AND 2.36


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.

Monday, January 6, 2014

T-45C version 2.57 release


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IMPORTANT!
Just after the release I noticed that one file was wrong (namely the new pilot helmet texture) - I have amended that file and, to avoid confusion, I have updated the release version to 2.57 - Sorry for the incovenience!
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During the tests of the latest version of the F-14D, I noticed some minor issues with the T-45C... these are really minor things, but a little annoying to me - so I decided to fix them and here we are with another update:

VERSION 2.57
- Minor color adjustments to crew helmets


VERSION 2.56
- Minor graphics adjustments in the MFD ADI page
- Minor graphics adjustments in the MFD HUD page

- Further adjustment to the bounding box


You can download the updated version (version 2.57) from the side bar, or by clicking HERE.

By the way, people asked why I stick on making "full versions", rather than patches. Reason is it is easier for me to manage. Given that I update the projects quite often, it is much easier to provide updated version in this way rather than keeping track of the various amended files in the different releases.

Another thing I have been asked is to provide automatic installers - I did it once and I received a lot of negative feedback. Most people seem to prefer the manual installation, and I prefer that too - let alone the fact that you need to update the installers, Windows registry etc. 

So, I'll keep on providing the files in .zip format, with no installer. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

F-14D Tomcat version 2.20 release


Apparently, the Beta version did not have major problems - so I just tweaked a couple of things (further tweaks to roll rate - now there should be a significant difference in roll rate depending on Mach number, and some tweaks to the main Rio display, including the addition of a declutter button). The complete list of changes is as follows:
VERSION 2.20
January 4th, 2013

- Completely new MFD system, much closer to NATOPS interface and graphics: realism and functions of the individual pages may vary (some pages are fully compliant to NATOPS, others are gimmick or guess work)
- Integrated Autopilot functions into the HSD page for gameplay purposes.
- SMS page now reflects Tacpack weapons, while ECM page provides Tacpack RWR functionalities
- Slight improvement pilot downward visibility
- Redone glass effects for P3Dv2 compatibility
- Replaced HSI gauge with modeled one: thin needle should now point to VOR location, thick needle should point to NDB station or VRS Tacan.
- Redone afterburner special effects (now modeled) for P3Dv2 compatibility
- Redone transonic special effects (now modeled) for P3Dv2 compatibility
- Replaced pilot figures with professional-level models
- Fixed bug preventing the Fuel indicator to display the correct fuel quantity (both Rio and Pilot cockpits) - note numbers and "column" position may differ a little: the numbers display the actual value
- Fixed minor bug in ADI indications.
- Increased drag at transonic speeds
- Lowered tolerance on airframe stress - it is now much easier to overstress the aircraft
- Minor tweaks to flight dynamics
- Miscellaneous improvements in cockpit graphics
- Added Declutter function to NAV screen on Rio PTID
NOTE: FLIGHT MANUAL DOES NOT REFLECT THE CHANGES ABOVE


You can download the new version by clicking HERE.