Saturday, September 13, 2008

Proper scenery and repaints for the Goshawk!

NOTAM for T-45C Goshawk users:

Jim Dhaenens has released an FSX version of Meridian NAS, which is one of the two major real-life "homes" of the Goshawk (the other one being Kingville, TX).
The scenery is well detailed and has some excellent custom objects placed upon an 2meters per pixel aerial photo. Try it, it is much better than the spooky default FSX Meridian, and adds a lot to the Goshawk experience (by the way, Jim has released also other nice sceneries for vitual naval aviators, like Pensacola NAS). File name is available at (and elsewhere). Here is a picture:

FSX Meridian NAS by Jim (

Also, if you are looking for some non-fictional repaints, Russell R. Smith has released a set of four repaints which include Pensacola NAS and (much needed) USMC Goshawks. File name is

USMC Goshawk repaint by Russ

It is a real pleasure for me to see that so many people all around the world enjoy the Goshawk, and it is an even greater pleasure to see that there are people who develop their own additions.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

T-45C Goshawk v1.1 released

T-45C Goshawk for FSX:Acceleration v1.1

The updated version of the T-45C Goshawk for FSX has been uploaded to both and and will soon be available for download. The file name you should look for is
This is the complete list of changes that made their way to the final package:

Visual model:
-added two liveries: USN without sq.insignia, USN Training Wing 1
-added user-defined identification numbers (numbers can be changed in aircraft selection window)
-added pilot & instruction animations
-fixed instructor HUD shape
-fixed light position (some lights are now hardcoded in the mdl)
-fixed point of view position in spot views
-fixed minor flaw in flaps animation
-added few minor details

Interior model:
-Added MFD functionality: Power/BRT/CNt controls work as well as all keys; as the code is from Accelleration Hornet,incorrectly show 2 engines and working radar.
-Added some HUD functionality (altimeter mode; power/brt; azimut & elevation controls)
-Added functional radios (COM1/COM2/NAV1).Only active frequency selector work. FSX stock radio and GPS can be brought to screen by pressing SHIFT+2 & SHIFT+3.
-Replaced non-working TACAN with NDB (display only - knobs do'nt work)
-Following controls/switches now working: Flood/cabin light; Fire test; Warning test (incorrectly not all lights will light up while tested); Formation light; COM 1 / COM 2 / NAV1 audio selector
-Slightly moved and modified AoA indexed for readability
-Added blane profile to attitude indicator
-Fixed Vertical Velocity indicator bug (zero was not properly set).

Flight model:

- Slightly higher roll rate


- Update checklist to include new functionality

Some (minor) problems are still there. I hope they do not bother you too much....and since many are asking, these are thr projects I'm working on:

Grumman F-14 Tomcat: I've not yet decided which version, probably F-14D Supertomcat. I am rebuilding it from scratch (it will NOT be a port of the FS2004 version). I already did some work last year, and it is not bad, so there is a good chance that the external model will be ready in a month or so. If there will be a market opportunity, this may be my first payware release. I am sorry to ask money for what is basically a hobby, but the development efforts required to make a good FSX plane is huge.

Aermacchi MB-339PAN: I'm sure you know Massimo Taccoli, and his excellent work. Massimo was so kind to give me his 3D mesh of the 339 to work on it. I've already begun placing some textures, and it's looking good.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

T-45C Goshawk for FSX:Acceleration v1.1

T-45C Goshawk of VT7, Kingsville NAS

I'm working right now on a Goshawk update that will be released in a week or so. The improvements will be:

External model:
- "Point of view too far" issue solved
- Animated crew
- Added Minor details in the visual model
- Added Training Wing 1 texture set, and a texture set without markings
- Now you can change the identification number by typing it (like stock FSX planes)
- (not yet decided for sure) an additional model with practice bombs

Virtual cockpit:
- MFDs working and clickable (even if they show 2 engines and radar, as they are aliased from the Hornet)
- Radios working and clickable
- Tacan replaced with working NDB. IFF replaced with working Squawk
- Few more buttons working

Flight model:
- slight improvements

I'm sorry to make an update so soon, but there are cool functionalities I've just learned and implemented and really there is no point in keeping them only to in my hard disk.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to fix/avoid the "point of view too far" (Scale) issue in FSX planes

I think the major defect of my Goshawk is that, in "free flight" selection screen and -much more important- in the spot views, the camera is very far away.

This is an issue related to the XtoMdl software (the one that processes the .X file and makes the .mdl), which, in certain conditions makes an incorrect estimation of the plane size and moves the camera away assuming your plane is much bigger than it is. This is caused by animated meshes that have a Uniform Scale applied to object level (e.g. small gear details that you may have drawn in much bigger scale and then you shrunk to right size)

At the moment, there is no workaround for the .mdl (hexediting will not work) - but something can be done in the source file. Most important, there are good practices to avoid it in future projects.

If you have done a model which has that issue, in 3D studio or gmax, you need to:
1) Open the source file and select the parts that may have been rescaled and apply the Reset Scale command (better do this in keyframe 0). You may need to selectively and temporarily delete part of the aircraft and compile them separately to see where the issue is. Important: if the model is not animated the issue will not appear.
2) You may end with deformed meshes or incorrect animations. In some cases it is easier to remake them rather than try to fix them
3) Compile the .mdl and see what happens. If you still see the camera is far away, there are other "guilty" parts. Go back to (1). If the camera position is OK (or close enough) then you're done.

If you are making a new model, in gmax or 3Ds you need to:
1) NEVER apply a scale command to an object as a whole. Always apply a "Edit mesh" modifier an manipulate vertex from there.
2) As soon as you have an animation in you model, export, compile and try what happens. If the model is not animated the issue will not appear.
3) See point (1)
4) Export often
5) Always remember point (1) when you model!!!!!

If you are an end user and have an aircraft with that issue, there is nothing you can do.
Yesterday I've tried to fix the Goshawk. The problem was found to be the front landing gear. The camera is much closer now, even if still slightly far. Maybe I've not found all the defective parts. The whole fixing process took no less than 5 hours :-(

How to animate the launch bar in FSX:Acceleration planes

One of the most trickiest points in modeling a carrier-capable FSX:Acceleration plane is to have an animated launch bar.
This feature is not properly documented in the FSX:Acceleration SDK and there is almost no way you can guess the missing information.
I've found the answer on this post:

Basically you need to:
- delete the "launch assistance" entries in the aircraft.cfg file if any. If they are present the bar will work but will not be animated.
- make the attachpt_Launch_Bar_Lug and attachpt_Launch_Bar_Pivot objects in the modeling tool. Note that their position shall influence the force application during launch. You may need to tweak them a little. In my case, if I put them in the "actual" place, the plane crashed into the deck during launch. I had to raise them a little.
- Assign empty attach attach points launch_bar_lug and launch_bar_pivot (pivot is where the bar connects to the gear, lug is where the bar connect to the catapult).
- Right click on those objects and edit the XML code and remove the suffix "_whatevernumber" - I'm not sure this step is really necessary
- Animate the launch bar keyframes 0 - 200 where: 0 is gear in, launch bar retracted; 100 is gear out, launch bar retracted; 200 is gear fully compressed, launch bar attached.
- Assign the animation launch_bar with Aces tools.

The procedure above should work on both 3D Studio and gmax. I'm sure the link above is much clearer than my description.