Thursday, April 9, 2009
Major rework of the Goshawk fuselage (and a word about quality).
I just finished a major rework of the Goshawk geometry.
This is the "blueprint box" method I've used to check the geometry and improve it. It is a common practice in modeling, and basically consists in pasting accuate blueprints of the object onto the faces of a box. Then make the box 100% dimensionally correct and use it as reference while modeling.
As some (well very few) of you have noticed there was something "wrong" in the Goshawk... While I think it captured the "look and feel" of the real machine, some dimensions and proportions were, in fact, inaccurate. This was not done intentionally, but it was a sort of "error propagation" that sometimes happen when some "artistic" touch is applied to what is, basically, an cold automatic process.
While I like adding some artistic touch here and there (I think it helps making the thing more "striking") I simply could not stand the fact that, from some angles, the Goshawk did not look quite right. So, I took it back in the modeling hangar and made a major rework, checking it towards a 100% accurate "blueprint box".
It turns out that there were several areas that could be improved. I knew that the model was longer and taller by roughly 30cm... but the inaccuracies affected the general shape much more than I tought. In detail:
- fuselage "slope" towards the tail was wrong, and, in general, it was too "rounded"
- the tail itself was too big, and too "straight"
- the stabilizers were too wide, and the shape was incorrect
- the air intakes were slightly too small
- the hook "support" was slightly too big, while the hook itself was a little "stubby"
After 4.5 hours of tweaking the result is that now the dimensional error is less than 1%... and the model looks better.
Now my two cents on freeware "quality"... I recently saw a post in a forum that was complaining about the Goshawk geometric accuracy - the message was like "well I don't think is good, but as it is freeware I think it is OK". There were two things I did not understand:
1) why the authour did not drop me an email. I am adult - I can take the criticism: I think criticism can help me making better models. And it will not spoil the fun I have in making them and flying them. I may agree with a comment or not....but ultimately let's call this whole thing for what it is: A VIDEOGAME. Nothing more. Don't be afraid of commenting my work.
2) Much more important: I cannot understand the logic for which if it is freeware then the "quality bar" is lower. Sure, professional payware has, on the average, a quality level that is impossible to reach for freeware - which lacks the resources that payware can afford to employ. But on the other hand, in freeware you can develop interesting models that have little or no commecial value. And it is basically the only way in which you can have unusual planes or scenery. There are some amazing freeware addons out there. I think I will be reviewing some in this blog sooner or later. The fact that a project is freeware, to me, does should not be a reason not to try to deliver the best possible software. I like trying to do the best I can for the sake of doing it. And ultimately, it is just a videogame so...when I am not having fun I can quit.
End of this big post. The new Goshawk will be released as soon as I finish improving the rest of the package. Tomcat fans: do not panic. The big cat is still coming and is sharpening its claws for the Beta. Maybe next week - depending on the wheather: good weather here means Tomcat delay :-)